Friday, 16 December 2011

RIP Christopher Hitchens (although you'd be the first to point out you have no other option)

I was genuinely saddened this morning when one of the first things I saw on my news feed was the death of Chris Hitchens. While I strongly disagreed with some of his points of view I had great respect for his intellect and articulateness and the whole hearted way in which he immersed himself in his convictions. And he always forced me to think, and think hard and that is one of the highest compliments I can pay any writer. Obviously, as an atheist, I agreed with most of his writings on the subject and was always a fan of his biting humour.

I also think he would have appreciated the flame war on twitter where Christians are behaving in a non-Christian manner (as some of them are wont to do) and threatening violence on those atheists who have begun using God is not Great in a hash tag as a tribute to the man ( . I can't help but think that Hitch would be amused by this one last controversy.

The world has suddenly become a much dumber place over night and I'll end with thoughts the man himself had of death:

"I'm not afraid of death myself, because I'm not going to know I'm dead."

"I have often thought that when I do die it will be out of sheer boredom."

‎"I do not especially like the idea that one day I shall be tapped on the shoulder and informed, not that the party is over but that it is most assuredly going on - only henceforth in my absence... MUCH more horrible, though, would be the announcement that the party was continuing forever, and that I was forbidden to leave."

and finally, as I'm sure we'll be enduring endless nonsense in the coming days:

"If I turn out to be mistaken [about the Afterlife], at the bar of judgment, I shall argue that I deserve credit for an honest conviction of unbelief and must in any case be acquitted of the charge of hypocrisy and sycophancy. If the omnipotent and omniscient one does turn out to be of the loving kind, I would expect this plea to do me more good than any trashy casuistry of the sort popularized by Blaise Pascal. One could also fall back upon the less-principled and more shiftily empirical defense offered by Bertrand Russell: 'Oh Lord, you did not give us enough evidence'."

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Archbishop Martin urges lapsed Catholics to leave the church

Diarmuid Martin has urged lapsed Catholics to have the maturity to leave the Catholic Church. One has to wonder how he expects them to do this considering it is the church who prevents formal abdication in the first place. On one hand I admire his openness and his willing to no longer have cultural Catholics make up the bulk of membership. On the other hand I really think he needs to have a word with the Pope about the relatively recent rejigging of Canon law that prevents people from leaving. Or did Diarmuid Martin not get that memo from his holiness. To me what Archbishop Martin says is eminently reasonable, and can only be a positive for secularists. In fact it is what non-believers and secularists have been wanting for ages, a bit of reality among both believers and lapsed. Let those who are really catholic be catholic, and those who don't really believe be honest about this.
Though I don't think he realises that absolute collapse the church would suffer if all the part-time, uncommitted, wishy washy, only-go-at-Christmas catholics left. They will be left with a bunch of old people and a hard core of fundamentalists, who were much more absolutist than even the clergy.

But back to my main bugbear - he needs to have a word about the Pope about this, or is it a mere ecumenical matter.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Breaded cheesy chicken and cheesy potatoes

I'm of the opinion that there are very few things that can't be made better by either a)breading them b)putting cheese on them or c)both

This is the second time I've tried the breaded cheese chicken combo and it's another staple favourite

Boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
three cloves of garlic chopped
two eggs
3tablespoons of milk
grated cheese of your choice (so far I've tried parmesan and mozzarella but the parmesan was far nicer)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
Mix up the breadcrumbs, the cheese and the garlic in one bowl
Mix the soy sauce, egg and milk in the other
Place the chicken breasts first in your egg mixture and then in the bowl of breadcrumbs ensuring it is as coated as possible
Place in the oven for twenty-thirty minutes

Cheesy potatoes
Olive oil
2 cloves of garlic chopped
Black pepper
A mixture of herbs
grated cheese of your choice

Preheat oven to 200C
Coat the bottom of a casserole dish with the olive oil
Slice the potatoes, place in the dish and coat with olive oil
Add the garlic, black, pepper and herbs and mix to ensure an even coating on the potatoes
Cover with grated cheese
Cook for about 40 - 45 minutes