Wednesday, November 19, 2014

UK negatives; UK positive; Science and God; English improvement; Enshrined wisdom; & Mad daughter.

I cited a list the other day of Britain's Third World aspects, as seen by a Spaniard living in London. Frankly, I felt it hard to argue with his complaints. In addition, here's a few things I really dislike about the UK:-
  • Petrol stations are nothing like as good as they are in Spain. First of all, you always have to fill your own tank , and secondly the staff inside aren't a patch on their friendly opposite numbers in Spain.
  • The currency is ridiculous. The 1p piece is bigger than both the 10p piece and the 5p piece. And the 2p piece is bigger than all of them. The 50p is far too big and heavy but is nothing compared to the 2 pound coin. Worst of all, you can easily double your weight by getting a pocketful of this stuff.
  • Parking meters (in Liverpool anyway) deal only in hour segments and don't give you change. So, parking for 20 minutes when you only have a (humungous) 2 pound coin can be costly when the rate is 1.60 (€2) an hour.
  • You can't use a bank card to go through toll booths. At least for the Mersey tunnels.
  • Drink prices are spectacularly high.

Against that, as often noted, the drivers are pretty courteous. And there is no tail-gating at all. Drivers just patiently wait 20-30 metres behind you until you move into the middle lane. You almost feel like getting out and thanking them.

I heard a Christian astro-physicist say today, in the context of the comet landing, we should thank God for the wonders of science. An interesting view, given how long Christianity was violently opposed to science. Now it's just any science which conflicts with Christian beliefs. But since Biblical beliefs about the creation and development of man and the earth have been abandoned and since Christianity now fits itself around emerging science, episodes of conflict are rare. Not sure this is true of Islam. Or even Judaism. They may still believe the Red Sea really did part for Moses et al.

Changing English: Here's a list of the few past participles that came to mind today, as companions for kept, crept, slept, wept and lit:
etc, etc..
Please use them when you can.

Somebody asked the web for citations of books containing the most page-for-page wisdom. Here are the main contenders. Of which I've read but 3:-
Seeking Wisdom, by Peter Bevelin
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Do the Work! by Steven Pressfield
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell
This is Water by David Foster Wallace
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
Dr Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
An Intimate History of Humanity by Theodore Zeldin
The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Finally . . . As you may recall, my younger daughter is getting married on Saturday. So, I was a tad surprised this afternoon to hear her asking a professional busker friend of hers if she could sing with him in the centre of Leeds on Friday night. Youth!

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