A Reprehensible Human Being

It took me a long time to realize the following truth: No matter how compassionate, charitable, winsome, and kind you are, if you oppose the sexual revolution you are the enemy. And in many ways, you’re not merely the political “enemy,” you’re also a reprehensible human being.

David French

Better Cricket Wicket For Walls

Random idea I don’t think anyone’s thought of: how about an air-filled cricket wicket with a flat back which sticks (temporarily) in some way to a wall? The (lightweight – perhaps inflatable) bails rest on top of the stumps with small holes underneath. When the ball hits the stumps, a puff of air is created which blows the bails off. The stumps would probably be linked for convenience and air distribution – either at the base or (probably easier) just below the bails.

Often kids play cricket against a wall because it saves having a wicket-keeper, and you can play in a smaller space. But that means conventional static wickets won’t work, as they can’t be knocked backwards, and chalk wickets can’t have bails (obviously). However, something made of e.g. thin flexible rubber, just strong enough to keep its shape under normal circumstances, which converted the hit of a ball into an upwards puff of air would give you the ability to be out (or not) in the conventional manner. No more arguments!

When “Neutrality” Masks Our Biases

[Notice] what passes for an insult these days. We call someone ‘dogmatic’ when we wish to imply that they are too rigid, when it is perhaps closer to the truth that their dogmas collide with ours. We consider being called ‘opinionated’ an insult; but we don’t use this word because someone happens to have an opinion – but because they have the wrong one or are pushy about it.

We call being ‘ideological’ a sin, not because having ideas is a sin, but because we think our ideas are better than others’. We accuse politicians of getting ‘political’ when what we actually mean is sectarian – not they had fallen into the heresy of having political thought. I also hear of people speaking of ‘propaganda’ as if it were a bad thing, and I wait for the punch line, and it never comes.

If I don’t like propaganda, it is because it is propagating an idea I don’t like, not merely because it attempts to propagate. (The word ‘agenda’, too, is often used like this.) Or, we hear of a group being denounced as ‘a cult,’ when it might have been more precise to call it a bad cult, for isn’t collective worship of anything a ‘cult?’

When we scoff at the manipulation of children by youth pastors in movies like Jesus Camp, calling it ‘indoctrination,’ it might have been clearer to say that children ought to be taught better doctrines.

[We] abuse language with a linguistic sleight-of-hand, distracting the mind by saying a disagreeable idea has a bias, whereas the magician remains unbiased.

– Haw, From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart, p. 130, emphasis mine.

(Via Jason Hood with thanks to Brian LePorte.)

Travel Tip: Order Currency Online

Off to the airport tomorrow morning, but realised that you’ve forgotten your dollars, euros or tögrög[0]? This probably means you’ll get fleeced at their airport, where the buy/sell spread on foreign currency can be anything up to 25%. “Zero commission”? Hah.

However, it turns out that if you order online for in-person pickup, even from a branch situated in an airport, you get a much better rate. To give an example: on my recent trip to the US, the rates at the Travelex at London Heathrow were Buy: 1.42; Sell: 1.81 (see the spread!). However, by ordering the previous evening online for pickup at that same branch, I got a Buy rate of 1.57, saving me £12 on a £120 purchase, which is 10%. Not to be sneezed at.

You do need to order the previous day to get this (presumably, at least for common currencies, this is to stop people ordering online while at the airport itself) but, at least for Travelex, it can be any time up to around 11pm.

This works for UK residents, and may work for residents of other countries too – YMMV.

[0] Mongolia, in case you were wondering.