Thursday, 31 May 2007

A Crap Death

Now far be it from me to condemn anyone's passing into the other world, but today's death of Scott Timmins (aka Stingray) on Neighbours was downright arse. I've nothing against stupid or freakish deaths (like the guy who died while clambering down a cliff face to shag a chicken, or the bloke who had a heart attack while watching a fight between a set of bagpipes and a black pudding on "The Goodies"), but this takes the freakin' biscuit.

Firstly, Neighbours is resolutely secular, even unto refusing Harold a prayer while Stingray committed himself to surgery to save baby Kerry; it is always going on and on about the benefits of secular values like promiscuous sex sans the consequences; but today....Jeez....

Right. Firstly, Stingray, feelin' fine, but saying he'd "sit this one [dance] out" went and sat down and looked lovingly at his family's party. Then, the camera angle swooped to over his head _and rising_, then from that pov the fmaily noticed he was slumped in his chair and they all went over and the credits rolled. For such a secular show to even suggest that some kind of soul or spirit or some such nonsense "rose" out of Stinger (why do religious images suggest that rising is good? We are natural to the lowest point available and being in the air is an abomination) is a massive, massive cop out to an audience, which they believe doesn't do God, but still wants some kind of reassurance that the default position of tv companies is that "souls" or whatever, rise out of dead humans upon their death. Pathetic. If they'd really thought their worldview through they'd've just shown him slump, or sent the screen blank. But not a rising camera angle. Neighbours does not do religion or God, even if Stinger said "say one for me", like my old atheist grandad used to, today in a ghastly, shitheaded act of foreshadowing. This was cowardice, a sop to a society which _still_ has not got past Nietzsche's point about George Eliot: that they have given up the belief, but not the ethics, or sort of, or something.

I mean, how crap was that? A rising camera! Why not go the whole hog and show little fucking angel wings coming up as well?

Yes, I know it isn't real. But still. For goodness' sake. It could be I'm reading too much into a camera angle ascending on someone's death, but I doubt it.

No Stingray, you must die. Die Stingray, die, Stingray, die, die!!!! Hah! Hah! Hah!!!

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Blog Hiatus Continues

I'm still on hiatus BUT

1) In Doctor Who last night, "John Smith" gave his parents' names as Sydney and Verity.

Sydney Newman - inventor of Who, head of BBC Drama in 1963
Verity Lambert - the first producer of Who.

Truly, Doctor Who's mum and dad.


2) The highest score by an England batsman since 1990 with Pietersen's 226 yesterday. Does anyone know all the other test double hundreds by England players since 1990? Clue: there ain't many.

Friday, 25 May 2007

MMMmmmm....the 1981 Budget.... just a way of getting your attention. I'm still on hiatus, the previous piece of utterly harmless nationalism notwithstanding (anyone who disagrees with it can fuck off to France). I still have no way to express my infantile rage or my more considered anger at the self-serving habits of _any_ tosser who comes anywhere near power.

As if to prove it, I've just passed a law which states: "The financial dealings of Mr T Drummer Esq (MA (Oxon)) are herewith and hereby to be kept from the prying eyes of all and any agents of the state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Hey, it's a piece of piss, this lawmaking business, eh?

By the way, the 1981 budget was fucking amazing. Firstly, the inestimable Geoffrey Howe raised taxes, and then....

(contd 2007AD*)

* turns out that "AD" is in fact offensive*: it is in fact, hencefuckingforth to be known as CE and BCE (for "Common Era" and "Before Common Era", what the fucking twatting makes it common is to be fucking well censored untill we're all parts of another fucking planet).

*it is in fact, furthermore, offensive to people who want to be offended, in the hope that it might, somehow end capitalist oppression of socialist academics, who have been under the yoke since...well, since they left Oxford anyway.

Hibernation Interruption

Jeeeesus, when _will_ the French and the intellectuals learn? When I hear phrases like "perfidious Albion" and all that fucking bullshit that the French come out with, it fucks me off big time. The _most_ offensive phrase in history - to me - is "The English fight to the last Frenchman".


Listen, you bunch of arrogant fuckwitted twats. We fought and died for _your_ country, you cunts. The British Empire lost 1 000 000 mainly _very_ young men in the Great War fighting for France or for ideas of France: and still they think we are selfish, Atlanticist (as if that were a bad thing) tossers.

When did France commit the lives of millions of young men to the defence of Britain? The fucking tenth of fucking never, that's fucking when, the gitannes smoking arsewipes.

I've just spent an hour looking drunkenly at photographs of British men - at the same age as me when I was listening agonisingly to tracks by Tony Wilson's bands - dying, dying, for fucking hell's sake, for France.

I've spent days looking at the immaculate cemeteries in northern France, full of British kids amid perfectly hewn grass and the magnificent smells of a northern European summer; and then watched the arrogant dismissals of French stallholders at the English accent.


I love France. I really do. Goshdarnit I love it so much I'd love to own it - just my little joke - but the French establishment's attitude that we're just a bunch of tossers, aided and abetted by an amazing u-turn by the British Left (from when Jacques Delors made lickspittle promises to the 1988 Labour Conference - before that pro-Eu-ism was just capitalist-clubbism or summat) - fucks me off big time.

We died, we really died, for France, and the cunts still think we're opposed to Europe. Well. When Frenchmen die in their millions, for, say, oooooh, idunnooww, Eng-er-land, - we'll see if they're really "Europeans", shall we?

UPDATE: Notsaussure points out the not very Gallic origin of the phrase "The English fight to the last Frenchman." However, I have heard French personages use it.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Blog Hibernation

Disgracefully, I have been offline for a while and have failed to post or explain myself. Well, as you might have guessed, I have run out of ideas. I am still frothing with anger at the incompetence and contemptuous attitude of our government, but I can find fewer and fewer ways of articulating it.

Hence I've decided to put the Tin Drummer on hold for a bit, until I can work out what it is supposed to be for. While I'm hibernating I will try to read everyone's stuff and leave more comments around than I've managed recently.

If anyone has any good ideas for me, do drop me a line....

(Takes tin drum strap off neck and places it on the ground, with little stick resting on the top).

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Humorous Mis-Reading

Phew. The Yahoo news headline says "Queen flashes wit at dinner with Bush." Thank goodness for that.

Slander of the Day

Lacking any serious argument why it should be a criminal offence to display prices in lbs and ozs, the UK Metric Association today compare buying a pound of apples with slavery:

But Roz Denny, spokeswoman for the UK Metric Association, said maintaining the current system was "a nonsense" and that Britain should not be seen as "a heritage theme park" that did not change.

"We are now going to have this crazy double measurement system forever," she said.

She went on: "We are trying to put ourselves forward as a modern country putting our imperial past in perspective, like slavery, and here we are glorifying one element of it."

Nice. Being a modern country does involve, in their eyes, as it seems to for so many people now, associating people who don't agree with you with all manner of evil, depredation and murder. There's a real tone of violence, I think, underlying our modern inability to debate with another without assuming he's something dreadful, and a sense of contempt for others in the need to make laws, laws and laws for things we personally don't like. The more we parrot the hollow slogans of diversity, the less we really believe that people with different views and ideals should exist at all.

The tin drummer is 5' 91/2" tall. Oops. I've just glorified our imperial past and the shocking legacy of slavery. Again. Oh well, off for a pint then.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Not A Guest Posting by Alex

The following post is not written by Alex, on the basis that this is the best I can do.

UPDATE: the rest of this post has been deleted, on the basis that it was stupid, rambling, vaguely drunken and ridiculous. I really have to stop doing that.

You'll Soon Have Ample Scope To Indulge in Melodrama

An advanced liberal democracy somewhere in Europe near the millennium...two candidates for the candidate predicts riots, upheaval and unrest if her opponent wins....

Mrs Thatcher? The Valeyard? The Master? The evil Tories exploiting widespread fears of decaying suburbs, immigration and casually demonising their opponents?

No. The compassionate, fluffly, cuddly, inclusive, Socialist candidate for the French presidential election. Just look at the elaborate lengths she's gone to already.

Aha. Of course. Only Tories and other assorted evil right wingers demonise. Left wingers sensibly draw attention to the failings of their opponents....

Oddly enough, the thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate British left has been silent on the appalling tactics employed by Royal in her utterly, totally and utterly failed attempt to win the presidency (that is a mere coincidental occurrence). They have elevated futility to a high art: if Britain had been collapsing into chaos, however, they would have spoken out with the bravery that only the academy can possess. God forbid that the left, anywhere, should engage in any underhand tactics - surely all that has happened is that Royal has clearly and rightly spoken on behalf of France (well, the France that matters, that is)... er...on the other hand, moments such as this should be savoured. There is nothing she can do to prevent the catharsis of spurious morality. She's triggered a ray phase shift.

To disregard Sarko's commands would be to invite summary election will have inflamed his bloated

Well, at least the whole system might self-destruct. No. It's too late. And you said it couldn't be immobilised.

I'll tell you this for don't catch me going near no more quill pens again...but if Sarko owes France an apology then it is almost certainly not offered...

Am I the first blogger EVER to mix the French Presidential Election and Doctor Who: The Trial of a Time Lord Part Fourteen in the same post? If not, then I am a bit disappointed. It's way better art than the blimming Sugababes and Gary Numan track or whatever rubbish it was.

Switch it off! Switch it off!!

Carrot Juice, carrot juice, carrot juice.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Guest Posting by Alex

One of my great blog pleasures over the last few months has been reading and tentatively participating in, the debates between Alex, (Christian) Matt (atheist) and some others on the subject of faith over at Alex's blog In Search of High Places. This is a subject which often entails abuse, ignorance and all manner of high-temperature low intelligence frothing. Alex's blog is an exception. He debates with people diametrically opposed to his worldview with humility, intelligence and a sense of "we are all in this together so let's see how we get on". The commenters have played their full part in this debate, making Alex's blog one of the most consistently thought provoking around.

Accordingly, some days ago I asked Alex to write up a guest post for The Tin Drummer on this subject, so without further ago, Alex in his own words writes:

A while back The Tin Drummer approached me to do a little write up on belief as part of the guest blogging initiative started by the Blog Power crew. Let me first say that I am honored that anyone would approach me with such a request. I hope I can bring a helpful perspective to this topic.

Let me start off with a little introduction. My name is Alex Blondeau. I am a follower of Jesus, whom I believe to be a visitation of God Himself into His creation. In the same breath I must also say that I don't know that I will ever fully understand what that means in this life. To be honest, I seem to have the heart of a skeptic. I also have this uncanny ability to surround myself with atheists. Not sure what that's all about, but I seem to attract them like moths to a flame. I should also mention that I wouldn't have it any other way. I have been pushed towards growth more from my interactions with skeptics and atheists than in all my prior education. Of the atheists I speak with regularly, I would count many of them as my friends.

Now when TD asked me to to write on the topic of belief, my first thought was: "What about it?" Being asked to write on the topic of belief seems similar to having someone ask an engineer to build a space ship, then toss him a pencil and paper on his way out the door. How big of a space ship? How far must it be able to fly? What's the goal we are trying to meet here? Instead of doing the logical thing and asking for a little more direction, I decided to just run with my thoughts. Because of that, this essay may be a bit stream-of-thought. Sorry about that.

But enough on disclaimers. To begin, I'd like to look at how I've seen atheists deal with belief and how I've seen them apply the term to their world-view. Atheists are often considered "rationalists", as well as people who are without belief. They want to affirm that they are at the very least more rational than their theistic counterparts. Is that actually the case? Depends on which one you are talking to. ;-) Rationalists would like to use the term 'belief' as seldom as possible. For that reason, most reasonable atheists quickly back away from the first generally understood definition of atheism, which is:

1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

The reason this is a somewhat unpopular position amongst the atheists is that it requires a strong dose of faith to hold such a position. You see, when you ask how one might be able to defend such a claim, it becomes readily apparent that atheism, in it's strictest sense, is untenable. How can a human who operates within a physical reality claim to know that a being who is outside of our physical reality does not exist? It's indefensible Ñ and for that reason I have yet to meet a person who attempts to operate in the realm of strict atheism. Most will instead opt for a for a sort of agnosticism with a bias towards atheism. Still, some will try to cling to the second common definition of atheism, which is:

2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Most commonly it will be stated: It's not that I believe there is no God. It's just that I lack the belief that there is a God.

Sounds a bit slippery, does it not? The person making this claim is attempting to demonstrate that they are not trying to sustain a negative belief, but they simply lack the positive belief. In a sense, they are trying to convince themselves that they have no belief at all.

I don't buy it. For the most part I don't think the average atheist does either. You see, nature abhors a vacuum. With the absence of belief in God you are left with belief in something else, namely, a Godless existence. If one wants to take the position that they simply do not have enough information to make a decision one way or another, let's just call it what it is: Agnosticism.

At least for the atheists that I run with, their title 'atheism' simply means: according to the best information I have I find it highly improbable that there is a God. However, I would argue that one's taking the position of atheism (in the mind as well as the heart) has little to do with the information they are looking at. A confession of atheism is not a logical conclusion, it's a posture of the heart. In fact, atheism is an irrational conviction that does not rely on empirically demonstrable facts.

But that's okay. I would say that Theism is no better.

I know, I know, good believer folk aren't supposed to say things like that. We are supposed to believe that reason is king! Many believers come off as if all they need to do to convert the infidels is to pull out some well reasoned arguments. However, I'm sad to say that if one relies on reason alone you're not going to get very far. There's more to our mind than pure reason.

Now don't take that to mean that I think belief, or lack of belief, in God is stupid or sub-rational. I mean that our belief regarding God, is beyond reason. I am also not, saying reason should play no part in our beliefs. In fact, I'm sorely tempted to start parading out several arguments that I personally consider on a regular basis, but that's really beyond the scope this essay. What I am saying is this: Whether you are an atheist or a theist you take that position based on factors that are beyond what pure reason can give you.

I would argue that each of us has a spirit that is going one of two directions. We are either turning inward and growing in concern for our own affairs, or we are growing in our realization that this life is not about us. Far from it. This life is a gift from one much larger than us. In light of that, we must realize the proper focus of our existence cannot be ourselves. There is nothing in us that warrants the attention we give ourselves. We are not here by our own merits. We do not sustain our own existence. The only proper response to source of our existence is one of fear and awe. Furthermore, if Christ was indeed a visitation of this divine reality, then we can know that our creator and sustainer is good, just, merciful and above all, love. He is worthy not only of fear and awe, but of our surrender and our love.

In closing I would like to ask a question that is aimed more at the heart than the mind. When presented with the reality that Christianity holds to be truth vs. the reality that Atheism posits as truth, which world view seems more worthy of belief?

On one hand you have a world view that says we are created by a God who is love, who means for us to love Him and for us love each other. He grants us the freedom that love requires and has been working since the beginning of time to win our love; even to the extreme of becoming one of us and suffering the consequence of our rebellion in our stead. Human life is honored. Justice is honored. Love is honored.

On the other hand, you have a world view that tells us we are the product of mindless matter, energy and chance. We came from nothing, by nothing, for nothing and soon we will return to the nothingness from which we arose. Freedom of will is abolished since we are simply one insignificant step in a chain of cause and effect reactions. Our very sentience is passed off as an odd fluke that matter may sometimes generate under the right circumstances. All of our ethics and morality are illusionary properties that our freak conscious experience generates. In the real (read physical) world there is no such thing as a moral 'good', or 'evil'. All you have is a mindless matter hurtling on towards heat-death. You have no ultimate value. Your life has no ultimate significance. Your most selfless expression of compassion is no more praiseworthy than indigestion.

As for me, my hope is in Christ.