Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Thomas Miller Carol Service 2010

Thomas Miller's annual carol service at St Katherine Cree Church on 14th December was attended by some 60 people - both current members of the firm as well as a significant number of those who had retired. The fine Jacobean church, said to have been built after a design by Inigo Jones (who was also concurrently building the Mansion House) is is the process of being restored. Much ugly wooden partitioning has been taken out and both the organ and the peal of eight bells reinstated (with assistance from the firm). The west door, closed for over 200 years and through which its consecrating prelate, Archbishop Laud once passed, probably on his way to the opens again into Creechurch Lane.

Click here for a links to some favourite carols.

Thomas Miller Carol Service 2008
Thomas Miller Carol Service 2009

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Royal Hospital Chelsea Carol Service 2010

The Friends of the Royal Hospital Chelsea Carol Service held on 10th December is one of the loveliest of the Christmas season. Unusually the beautiful Wren chapel has its candle-lit choir stalls in the centre of the nave, creating a wonderfully intimate atmosphere. This year one of the lessons was a fine poem written and read by Alan Tichmarsh which you can read here. A video of the choir singing the first two verses of 'Once in Royal David's City' can be heard here, but the solist was a woman, who's voice lacked the cut-glass purity of a boy's

Click here for the 2009 Carol Service

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Mission to Seafarers Carol Concert 2010

The Carol Concert 2009. No photos were allowed this time
The Mission to Seafarers concert of nine lessons and carols was held at St Michael Paternoster Royal on 8th December 2010 in the presence of the Princess Royal, accompanied by the chairman of the trustees, Robert Woods. Lessons were read by the likes of Jeffrey Archer and the choir was from the London Nautical School. Unlike last year, it was not a vintage performance and one wished that they would stick to traditional carols and not attempt jumpy tunes from Moldova.

Clic here for some wonderful on-line carols

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Illogical Arguments

One of the things that annoy one most is having a discussion with someone who doesn't follow the rules of logic. The most common error is arguing from the particular to the general instead of the other way round. Here are some more of the logical fallacies we encounter, with examples. Identifying them makes one feel better immediately! 

GENERALIZING FROM SELF: I'm a liar. Therefore I don't believe what you're saying.

THE FEW ARE THE SAME AS THE WHOLE: Some Londoners are animal rights activists. Some Londoners wear fur coats. Therefore, all Londoners are hypocrites.

FAULTY CAUSE AND EFFECT: On the basis of my observations, wearing huge trousers makes you fat.

I AM THE WORLD: I don't listen to country music. Therefore, country music is not popular.

IGNORING EVERYTHING SCIENCE KNOWS ABOUT THE BRAIN: People choose to be obese/gay/alcoholic because they prefer the lifestyle.

ARGUMENT BY BIZARRE DEFINITION: He's not a criminal. He just does things that are against the law.

ANYTHING YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND IS EASY TO DO: If you have the right tools, how hard can it be to generate nuclear fission at home.

IGNORANCE OF STATISTICS: I'm putting ALL my money on the lottery this week because the jackpot is so big.

IGNORING THE DOWNSIDE RISK: I know that bungee jumping could kill me but it's three seconds of pure thrill.

SUBSTITUTING FAMOUS QUOTES FOR COMMON SENSE: Remember "all things come to those who wait." So don't bother looking for a job.

IRRELEVANT COMPARISONS: £100 is a good price for a toaster, compared with buying a Ferrari.

CIRCULAR REASONING: I'm correct because I'm smarter than you. And I must be smarter than you because I'm correct.

INCOMPLETENESS AS PROOF OF FACT Your theory of gravity doesn't address the question of why there are no unicorns, so it must be wrong.

IGNORING THE ADVICE OF EXPERTS WITHOUT GOOD REASON: Sure the experts say you shouldn't ride a bicycle in the eye of a hurricane, but I have my own theory.

FOLLOWING THE ADVICE OF KNOWN IDIOTS: Uncle Horace says eating pork makes you smarter. That's good enough for me.

REACHING BIZARRE CONCLUSIONS WITHOUT ANY INFORMATION: My car won't start. I'm certain the spark plugs have been stolen by rogue traffic wardens.

FAULTY PATTERN RECOGNITION: His last three wives were murdered mysteriously. I hope to be wife number four.

FAILURE TO RECOGNISE WHAT'S IMPORTANT: My house is on fire! Quick, call the post office and tell them to hold my mail!

OVERAPPLICATION OF OCCAM'S RAZOR: The simplest explanation for the moon landings is that they were hoaxes.

INABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THAT SOME THINGS HAVE MULTIPLE CAUSES: The Beatles were popular for one reason only: they were good singers.

JUDGING THE WHOLE BY ONE OF ITS CHARACTERISTICS: The sun causes sunburns. Therefore the planet would be better off without the sun.

BLINDING FLASHES OF THE OBVIOUS: If everyone had more money, we could eliminate poverty.

BLAMING THE TOOL: I bought an encyclopedia but I'm still stupid.

TAKING THINGS TO THEIR ILLOGICAL CONCLUSION: If you let your barber cut your hair, they next thing you know he'll be lopping your limbs off.

PROOF BY LACK OF EVIDENCE: I've never seen you drunk, so you must be one of those weird people.

BAD ANALOGY: You can train a dog to fetch a stick. Therefore, you can train a cat to do the same.

TOTAL LOGICAL DISCONNECTION: I enjoy pasta because my house is made of bricks.

Also frequently misunderstood: 
CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION in science and statistics emphasizes that correlation between two variables does not automatically imply that one causes the other. 
The opposite belief, correlation proves causation, is a logical fallacy by which two events that occur together are claimed to have a cause-and-effect relationship. The fallacy is also known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin for "with this, therefore because of this") and false cause. By contrast, the fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc requires that one event occur before the other and so may be considered a type of cum hoc fallacy.

A wonderful illustrated guide to Bad Arguments here

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair 2010

The Christmas Fair is now held every year at the Drapers' Hall in early December by the Wellbeing of Women charity. About 50 stalls of gifts, cards, clothes, cheeses, jams, chocolate, the best Christmas cakes, jewellrey, bags, small electronics, gardening things etc are set up around the main rooms at the Hall - and you can sit and have champagne and sandwiches when you need a break. A marvellous way to do 90% of your Christmas gift shopping! Click the heading for more photos and here for photos from the 2009 Fair

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Favourite Writings - Gilbert White

Venus, with Jupiter and the Moon 2008 (Bullit Marquez/AP)

Before dawn on these crisp cold mornings Venus has been shining astonishingly brightly, reminding me of Gilbert White's famous line

8th February 1782: 'Venus shadows very strongly, showing the bars of the windows on the floors and walls.'

With Samuel Pepys, Gilbert White is perhaps the most famous of all the keepers of journals. He wrote his Natural History and Antiquities of Selbourne from 1768 to 1793 when he died. 'No literary work has ever recorded more precisely, more sensitively and yet with less pretension the changing face of the countryside with the passing of the seasons'. (John Julius Norwich)