Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Funeral protestors dredge new depths

Westboro Baptist 'Church' members seem to have stooped to even greater depths (if possible) in their protests at military funerals in the USA - turning up at funerals amongst the mourners unannounced and anonymous, apart from their placards proclaiming "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "You will eat your children," and "Soldiers Die, God Laughs." (Funeralwire 19/02/07).

Despite being a tiny 'church' of around 70 people, mostly made up of one extended family and not affiliated with any other Baptist church, they've consistently used military funerals across America as a high-profile target to spread an anti-gay 'message' - that God hates homosexuals, so every soldier killed in service is a punishment for America's tolerance. (BBC)

To enable funerals to pass relatively peacefully and with an element of dignity for the families involved, a group of veterans, soldiers and civilians -The Patriot Guard Riders - frequently accompany funeral processions on motor cycles, to shield the families from unwanted attention.

In addition to this, Bills have been endorsed and passed in many states to restrict protests at funerals. This legislation has been supported by the military community, but opposed by civil rights advocates, as once passed, the laws could restrict legitimate reasons for protests at funerals, although originally passed in response to a fanatical minority classified as a defamatory, hate group.

Worrying that allowing freedom of speech for a tiny number of extremists has such permanent and far reaching effects on so many others.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Weird logic

Now I know why our carpets are always covered in filth in this department - we've got the wrong type of carpet.

One of the college cleaners demonstrated how this was possible, attempting to vacuum up a test patch of muck, to prove a point... look, the dirt is still on the carpet, despite the hoover's best efforts to suck it up. That's not because it's a crappy old vacuum cleaner without enough suction power, or the cleaning team's intermittent visits to this department. It's because we've got the wrong type of carpet. Sort of like when you get the wrong type of snow disrupting public transport. Weird logic, but strangely endearing.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Sometimes - like now- I'm so sick of how slow it seems, in reality, to change direction in your working life... I've been doing this PhD for about 5 years now. That's normal for people registered part-time, so nothing particularly lazy about my working habits there.

I'm just so tired of juggling jobs and academic research to change things. It's taking forever, and I'm getting impatient now.

Not because of the work involved - I really don't mind a challenge. I just feel like I'm stuck in a quagmire and not getting anywhere, just standing still in some pit of quicksand, or sinking, so whatever I do doesn't move me forward. It just all seems to stay the same, no matter what I do (and believe me, I always try to change things, always have.) I know all the theory about finishing doctorates... pace yourself, have regular treats, live a nice healthy life, sleep, good food, exercise, blah blah blah.... doesn't stop me getting sick of it all sometimes, though.

So I bide my time in a boringly sensible way, juggling various jobs and research as usual... I just wish I could speed things up a bit more, without losing the plot. I guess at this point, reasonably near the end, I just have to get on with it... but it's surprisingly satisfying to have a bloody good moan about it sometimes.

Ooh, aren't blogs useful for venting spleens- we had to use people for that, back in the old days!

Image is from a website purely about films with scenes of people sinking in quicksand and/or deep mud. I never knew it existed before, but how very appropriate today. I'll probably notice more of them now.

Update 14th Feb. Feel a bit guilty today about moaning so much in this post...some days, things are exactly the same, but seem fine. Actually, even rather enjoyable! It's a funny old life!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mummy, but not yummy

According to my blog stats, one of the most frequent searches from new visitors is for 'mummy's bracelets' in Google. I feel a bit guilty when I see that, as they're likely to be horribly disappointed when they start reading.

It's 'mummy' as in preserved dead bodies in the Egyptian Galleries at the British Museum, or scary, un-dead creatures capable of superstitious cursing in theatrical horror films. As opposed to a particular range of bracelets for the 'yummy mummy': sentimental gifts for new mums, or for that special mother and daughter bonding relationship. Well, I never knew these things existed until I started this blog, proving what an educational activity blogging can be.

So I'm terribly sorry if that's what you were looking for. This blog is named after a novelty song by Lee Ross on a compilation of 1950s rock 'n' roll horror tracks. Not actually very horrible, luckily for delicate people like me, as it's the 1950's, so predating the expected graphic detail of blood, guts and gore for contemporary equivalents. It's a perky little song about the myths that become attached to a bracelet stolen from a mummy's wrist, leaving a curse on those who wear it. Sentimental, but probably not very yummy... think tacky Halloween songs, rather than maternal bonding.

Ah well, the strangeness of the English language can be vaguely amusing sometimes, same word, but very different meanings...