"Life On Mars", season 2

Finally! The US broadcast of the second season of Life On Mars started this evening. I’ve watched the first episode, and it’s as compelling as ever. Now if they could just release season 1 on DVD over here… ((There was a review of the new season in today’s San Jose Mercury News, which I’m testing on my Kindle, and the writer got me all excited by stating that the season 1 DVD was “readily available”. Well, yes, if you have a DVD player that takes Region 2 discs, and you order it from the UK. I’d rather have a kosher Region 1 copy.))

Secularism before democracy, please

Peter Watson’s piece in today’s Times – Here’s an improvement on democracy – has a lousy title but is spot-on otherwise:

The inconvenient truth is that the West should be exporting secularism around the world before it exports democracy. Democracy implies not just one person one vote but – no less important – that the political process proceeds by rational means, by argument, by persuasion, and is based on knowledge that is as objective, as scientific, as one can make it. The objective knowledge has to come first.

In other words, secularism is a necessary precondition for effective democracy. Without it, nascent democracies rarely survive.

An exception?

Regular readers will know that I’m a pretty hard-core atheist. It’s not just that I disbelieve in god; I find the whole concept of god incoherent.
However, having observed the rituals and manifestation associated with this particular deity, I might be persuaded to make an exception:

Cricket pads look rather good on an elephant, don’t you think?
๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰

heading home early

I’m just about to board my flight home from SFO to SEA. I got to the airport early, added myself to the standby list for an earlier flight, and it came up trumps – window seat, exit row. Sweet.
I had a great weekend, took lots of photos, saw lots of friends, and made some new ones. More details when I have access to my computer. (I’m composing this on my iPhone.)

Heading south for the weekend

I’m flying down to the San Francisco area for the weekend, to visit friends and family. I’m really looking forward to it, although not to the early departure and late return. I shall take my iPhone and my Kindle, which should be enough gadgetry to be going along with; I don’t think I’ll need a laptop as well.

Hitchens eviscerates Romney

Here’s Hitch, in characteristically forthright style, shredding “Mitt Romney’s windy, worthless speech”. Money quote:

A long time ago, Romney took the decision to be a fool for Joseph Smith, a convicted fraud and serial practitioner of statutory rape who at times made war on the United States and whose cult has been made to amend itself several times in order to be considered American at all. We do not require pious lectures on the American founding from such a man…