Category Archives: Folklore

Cries From Casement and Penda’s Fen

A long time ago, back in 1973, I heard a play on BBC Radio: Cries from Casement as His Bone are Brought to Dublin. It was an extraordinary experience, and a brilliant realisation of the script. This week I bought … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore, Performing Arts, Television | 2 Comments

Showing Their True Colours

It would appear that the Catholic Church is not happy, not happy at all, about the result of the Irish referendum supporting same-sex marriage. First we had the Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin saying that the church needed to take “a … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore, LGBT Politics, News and politics, Society | 2 Comments

The Streisand Effect in Action

In 2009, Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History was published by Penguin. It seems to have attracted the wrath of Hindu (male) chauvinists; to the extent that a lawsuit from the Hindu group Shiksha Bachao Andolan accusing Doniger … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Folklore, History, Society | 1 Comment

Abraham And Sarah

Here in the Netherlands, there’s a tradition that when someone reaches the age of 50, they are said to be an Abraham (if they’re a man) or a Sarah (if they’re a woman). And in this part of the Netherlands, … Continue reading

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Stop Digging, Theo…

Ah, Theo Hobson. It’s been a while since I felt moved to document how much I disagree with his writings – well, I have to say that once I was astonished to find that I actually agreed with him. It … Continue reading

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Just Tying Threads Together

The news that Roger Ebert has died has brought out instances of what he meant to many people. Including the shout-out from Nina Paley, who thanks Ebert for his review of her film. Sita Sings the Blues is wonderful. Roger … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Folklore | Leave a comment

Keeping Tradition Alive

In this part of the Netherlands (the Achterhoek), there’s a tradition that when a new building is constructed, and the highest point is reached, then the neighbours will erect a Meiboom (a Maypole) alongside the building. Here’s a translation of … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore, History, Society | 3 Comments

De Botton’s Folly

A few days back, I wrote that I was not convinced by Alain de Botton’s presentation of his Atheism 2.0 thesis, and even less impressed by his use of a false categorisation of Richard Dawkins. Now I see that de … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore, Society | 2 Comments

“Verging On Fascism”

There was unease last week in Amsterdam’s Orthodox Jewish community when it emerged that their nominal Chief Rabbi, Aryeh Ralbag (who lives in New York), stated that homosexuality was an illness that could be cured. As a result of this … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore, LGBT Politics, Society | 7 Comments

Atheism 2.0? Dear God, No…

Alain de Botton is a philosopher. He recently gave a talk at a TED conference where he proposed “Atheism 2.0”, a form of atheism that would reject all deities and supernatural acts but cater to the “ritualistic side” of some … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore, Society | 5 Comments

The Buurt’s New Baby

It’s become something of a tradition here in this part of the Netherlands that when a baby is born, the neighbours (the buurt) will celebrate the fact by erecting a wooden stork, festooned with clotheslines of baby clothes. This week, … Continue reading

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Titter Ye Not

I found it hard to suppress a titter, let alone a guffaw of derision, when I read today that the Astrological Association of Great Britain is sending a petition to the BBC. In one of the brilliant Stargazing Live programmes … Continue reading

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What’s the Point?

I know I shouldn’t get irritated by it. I know that it is pointless to feel exasperated by twaddle. But when Lord (yup, Lord) Sacks starts heaping up strawmen, I really do feel like saying enough is enough, fer gawd’s … Continue reading

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"This"

I never fail to admire the barmaid’s ability to cut through nonsense to the heart of the matter.

Posted in Folklore, Humour | Leave a comment

Hitchens: No Deathbed Conversion

And in yet another post on Christopher Hitchens, here’s an interview with him. The lion still has a roar, but not for much longer, I fear. He is deep into the land of malady. Nevertheless, it’s good to hear direct … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore, Health and wellness, Society | Leave a comment

Dr. Seuss Updated

Crispian Jago has been inspired by Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat” and used it to pontificate on a forthcoming Papal visit. Don’t click on the link if you are easily offended. I enjoyed his puncturing of pomp a … Continue reading

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Islamic Superheroes

Here’s an interesting presentation by Naif Al-Mutawa. He has created a group of superheroes based on Islamic culture and religion. http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf I have mixed feelings about it. His heart is clearly in the right place, but… I think my misgivings … Continue reading

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It Takes Faith…

…to think that the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks isn’t talking out of his arse. Unfortunately, I don’t have that faith, any more than I thought that his predecessor, Lord Jabokovits, was anything other than a homophobic windbag. The moral zeitgeist … Continue reading

Posted in Folklore | 2 Comments

Uneasy Bedfellows

I sense that the spirit of Mandy Rice-Davies is with me tonight. My immediate response to the Synod’s passing of the motion that belief in Religion and Science are compatible was to think: “well, they would, wouldn’t they?” I can’t … Continue reading

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Carbideschieten

Around these parts, the Dutch traditionally celebrate New Year’s Eve with the traditional practice of carbideschieten – carbide shooting. It involves getting a milkchurn with a small hole in the base. Pop some calcium carbide into water for a moment, … Continue reading

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