When I was a kid, I remember thinking about my father: “Were you ever young?” I love my dad, but he is and has always been a bit of an old fogey, and I used to wonder at what point he became that way. I understood, of course, that he had to have once actually… Read More A cantankerous hullabaloo about some fatherly malarkey
A friend told me this story once. This friend is a nice guy, very amiable and easy-going. He also happens to be tall – very tall – 6 foot 5 inches. His height should be entirely incidental to any tale he might tell, except in the case of this one particular story he told me, it… Read More How to win a bar fight with Boris Johnson
There’s a mostly-forgotten little comedy from 1977 called “Oh God,” about a supermarket manager, played by John Denver, who gets regular visits from God. It’s not a particularly famous or memorable movie, but one scene has really stayed with me. It’s not a big moment, but I think about it from time to time, even… Read More I know this much is true, but I wouldn’t mind asking God for his take on it
We’re looking around for a secondary school for our daughter and it’s very stressful. There are so many admissions requirements to meet, exams to prepare for, tutors to hire and finally, applications to submit. But you do it all because you’re terrified of what might happen otherwise. If you miss one little deadline or make… Read More How to raise a happy, unsuccessful child
There’s an old joke that I always thought did a good job of capturing the frustration we feel when we want to be known for one thing, but wind up being remembered for something else. A man walks into a bar and sits next to a talkative old drunk, who introduces himself as Fergus. The… Read More You might remember me as that splat the rat chap. Also, I killed Jesus.
Today, I went to Canary Wharf to meet some friends at a pub, in order to collectively celebrate Mother’s Day. It was one of those very modern, family-friendly chain pubs where the menu features British standards such as fish and chips alongside twists on dishes from other countries and cultures. Vietnamese spicy chicken wings. Harissa… Read More I don’t think this song means what you think it means
One of my colleagues at work just came back from the USA and brought back a bag of Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups to share around the office. I opened the bag and ate six of them before anyone else even knew they were there. I did it out of love. I love Reese’s miniature peanut… Read More The Reese’s principle: the counterintuitive impulse to destroy the things we love
I first heard of Johnny Goobello one evening many years ago, when I was around 17 years old – at a birthday celebration for my father. Everyone was there that night – siblings, cousins, aunts, great aunts, great cousins, our family priest. Everybody. The cake came out and the room was buzzing, with everyone saying… Read More The ballad of Johnny Goobello
My 10 year old daughter believes there is a magical entity that sneaks into her room in the middle of the night to purchase her baby teeth. It never occurs to her that this might not be reasonable. She also believes that on one particular Sunday every April, a giant, partially-human hare hops up to… Read More It’s the great “Crockery Kraken,” Charlie Brown!
I’ve seen Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, I’ve read Milton’s Paradise Lost and I’ve listened to Handel’s Messiah, but the work of art that has had the most profound impact on my relationship with religion is the 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Conan the Barbarian. It’s a film I’ve seen at least dozens of times and with each viewing… Read More Deep meaning in “stupid” films: How Conan the Barbarian brought me closer to God