October 05, 2008

Drugs are bad, mmmkay

Ugh, idiocy on all sides. Stupid residents/gang for pressuring the girl, stupid sister for succumbing to peer pressure and overdosing, but what particularly irks me is the mother. It's not a moral stance, it's brainwashing. Drugs are not evil, and the whole mindset of acting like they are will only encourage people to take them by appeal to their taboo nature. 11 year olds are not idiots - it would be entirely possible to have some degree of logical, nuanced and most of all balanced conversation with her daughter about the positives and negatives of drug use. She could have stopped her hanging out with the other girls because they're too young to be doing drugs, and don't yet understand the consequences or importance of their actions. She could even tell her daughter to wait until she's 18, and old enough to decide for herself. But this self-righteous bullshit totally misses the mark.

"It annoys me when people start talking about kids having the choice not to fall into a gang, because there isn't much choice is there?" said Marie.

"What's the choice? Join in or we'll make your life a total misery?"

Well no. Peer pressure is just that, pressure, not necessity. It is resistable. What's more, it's highly unlikely that everyone else succumbs to it, so why not seek out those who also chose not to take drugs? And if some little brats on the estate are making life hard, then the parents need to step in, or the police if necessary. Just because the community is lax enough to allow some form of mob rule to take hold does not mean you should brainwash your children with one-dimensional, unjustified bullshit.


September 16, 2008

It's not science, and never will be

I find it so hard not to get annoyed at these idiots who drag the name of Christianity through the mud. For once, the government has it right - creationisim, if it is to be taught, belongs in an RE lesson, not in a science classroom. You literally have to be an idiot to take the bible entirely literally. I used to think it was just because there was no way I could relate to the creationist mindset that I found them quite so unsettling, but it's also profoundly uncomfortable to know that there are people so devoid of rational capacity. I'm not saying evolution is necesarily flawless or factual - it is only right and proper that inconsistencies in a theory be discussed and challenged. But criticism of evolution does not automatically lead to creationism, and it should not. If God is a non-interventionist, and I believe he is, then he is the why, not the how. The job of science is to give us the how, the mechanics of a system (not it's justification). That creationism tries to ally itself to any attack on evolution is fucking poor form - just because I might not like using Internet Explorer doesn't mean I'm stuck using fucking Safari. Creationism is simply not a scientific explanation:

Everything was created by an all-powerful being...

Perhaps, but where's your argument for the all-powerful being?

Oh, it's the beauty and complexity of the world...

A classic logical flaw. A -> B, and B, therefore A (affirming the consequent). There is no internally consistent evidence for God's creation of the world, except by the big bang and letting evolution take its course. In fact, there is more evidence to the contrary. I think Neil Butcher (in the comments section) gets it spot on

The media wrongly describes this as a debate between creationism and evolutionary theory. In fact, the debate is between creationism and the whole of science as we know it. If the universe is less than 10,000 years old, then: all of geology and biology are wrong; the speed of light has been wrongly calculated, so Einsteinian physics is wrong; the distance and speed of other galaxies has been wrongly calculated, meaning that all of astronomy and therefore Newtonian physics are also wrong. For informed people to challenge accepted scientific orthodoxy on the basis of proper evidence is always healthy, but to debunk the whole of science on the back of a story passed down by some Iron Age goat-herders is just self-delusion

Maybe the iron age goat-herders is slightly off, but otherwise right. Criticism is good, it's how theories evolve and get closer to the truth. Wild propositions, however, are not acceptable counter-theories...


September 01, 2008

Less of that nonsense, please!

Tesco are coming to terms with a mistake that's pissed me off for a while. At least it's a step in the right direction, but what pisses me off is that there is any sort of dispute at all. 10 items or less will NEVER be grammatically correct.


"Saying up to 10 items is easy to understand and avoids any debate," said a spokesman for The Plain English Campaign.

"Fewer" should be used when you are talking about items that can be counted individually, for example, "fewer than 10 apples".

"Less" is correct when quantities cannot be individually counted in that case, e.g. "I would like less water".

Except, morons, that a quantity is always measured in some form at a supermarket, or you wouldn't be able to distinguish between a lot and a little of something and rip us off accordingly. Water is bottled, meat is sold by weight in pieces, etc. But that's not even the main point. The main point is that an item is definitively a partitive, discrete value. Therefore it must ALWAYS be 10 items or fewer, because you cannot have less items. Let's hope the other supermarkets have the balls to go the whole hog...


I have missed these rants :D




June 10, 2008

With apologies to Oli

I was a stranger to the world today. Last night, the insurgency of faith coursed through my body, but this morning, I felt alone. The warmth of the sun, the whiff of the canal, the weight of my conscience, these things I felt, but, surrounded by people, I was isolated, the boy in the bubble. Only my bubble popped, and in came rushing the doubts and ignoble practices that define a life wasted, the insurrection of bad habits too long permitted, taking mallets and chisels to the edifice of my resolve, toppling the statue of my superiority, collecting my marble slabs, which had once made me the envy of all Rome, to sell or break or waste in their own pathetic constructions. I was raped by the world - the bubble burst, the condom split, and the gurgling spunk-noise of civilisation poured forth, clogging my thoughts, sticking them together as it dried over me like the cheap whore I sometimes feel myself to be. But fuck the world, I think. I am no slouch with a needle and thread - perhaps I can rebuild the bubble. But it is a losing game - every hole is a future weakness, and how long till I tire of the repairs? No, once broken, the returns diminish, along with my resolve. The apple may not fall far from the tree, but at least the tree bore fruit. My tree has not - no matter how deep I dig, I am always uprooted by the world. Perhaps I shall only learn by losing a few branches. Perhaps it is only just - I have had such sunlight and water and care as other trees have never known, could not even fathom. Perhaps last night's faith was simply the prelude to marshalled decline, but I know it's not, because this decline I bring on myself, yet still I scatter my leaves, instead of gripping them and bracing against the slightest breeze. Where they land though, even I cannot go...


May 17, 2008

It really makes you wonder

Medieval Parking Fines

Easily the most alarming thing in this article is Nick Lester's apparent complete failure to grasp logic or basic mathematics.

Nick Lester, corporate director of services for London councils, said the system did work.

"We know that less than 1% of all penalty charge notices issued are challenged, and of those about half are upheld. That suggests that the system is 99.5% right."

Errrrm, what? I almost fell out of bed reading that. It patently suggests no such thing. If all charges were challenged, and the ratio stayed the same, then the system would be 50% right. Does Lester have any proof that those not challenged are automatically right? No, of course not. And this guy is in charge of council services for ALL OF LONDON? The world is full of morons >.<


Q.E.D.

Follow-up to Why must we fawn over wastes of space? from Jimmy K's Eclectica

WineMouse

I really think this proves my point. Not just the video itself, but some of the comments that follow it.

" Oh an other video with the baby of Amy's mouse ! They are so cute. The kiss between the two little mice is so cute ^^

Pete you're so handsome and Amy is so beautiful, thanks for this video !
pete you're the best ! <3"

" this is so adorable. & blake, don t let her go. u must be there to support her. no matter what.
pete, thank you loads for all these videos. they re simply amazing! cheers."

" I LOVE YOU AMY AND PETE! you guys are so hot doing what your doing!! i love you and never stop making music!!!"

Granted these are not representative of the majority of posters - the majority rightly point out the sadness of the situation, not least in the fact that the mother of these mice will probably now reject them due to their contact with humans. But the point is that, unless I have missed some incredibly well-crafted irony on the part of the above posters, there are morons out there in the world who actually idolise these people. "Can't Stand Me Now" does not excuse Pete Doherty for a life of being a fuck-up, certainly not if he's doing it out in the public eye. For me, Winehouse has never done anything worthwhile - she even took Valerie, a good song, and made it shit, surely the opposite of what a cover is supposed to do. I can grant that other people enjoy her music, but I stand by my previous claim - these idiots take far more from the world than they have ever and will ever give back, unless they either die tragically (from ODs or DUI), or completely reform and go on to live a life devoted to rehabilitating others - either way serving as an example of the dangers of unmoderated, uncontrolled drug abuse.


May 14, 2008

They could remake Se7en. Or not…

Seven new mortal sins have been announced.

  • Environmental pollution
  • Genetic manipulation
  • Accumulating excessive wealth
  • Inflicting poverty
  • Drug trafficking and consumption
  • Morally debatable experiments
  • Violation of fundamental rights of human nature

Right, let's take each of these in turn. I'd like to remind readers at this point that, while I will endeavour to deal with the objective inaccuracies and contradictions that follow, my personal dislike of organised religion, and my own Christianity will undoubtedly come into play. Just FYI.

Environmental pollution - somewhat excessive, perhaps? If you're a literal believer of the bible, this is the same God who almost wiped out all life on the planet with a flood. How damaging is that to the environment? Not to mention pillars of salt, burning bushes and the like (one of those is a joke :P). Even if you're not, it seems a disproportionate punishment. So by extension, if you ever dropped a piece of litter which you didn't confess to, you're going straight to hell... Pardon the scepticism...

Genetic manipulation -  so using the intelligence God gave us (or allowed us to develop) to lessen the pain and suffering experienced around the world by those unfortunate enough to have been born with various defects is enough to be sent to hell? Unless you're one of those who believes God inflicts such things as punishments or whatever on people (a view I can't even begin to justify unless you're a moron), then surely lessening someone's suffering is only the logical outcome of the love we are all supposed to show one another?

Accumulating excessive wealth - what counts as excessive? Who defines it, the church? One of the richest organisations in the world is going to dictate how much money other people are allowed to have before they get sent to hell? Hypocritical much? Some of the richest men in the world are the biggest philanthropists, like Bill Gates. Surely what you do with your money is just as important as how much of it you have. I know there's the parable of the poor woman and the rich philistine, but I don't think that can really be applied in todays world, and it is a parable anyway. If it is supposed to be followed like that (giving everything you have, no matter how much or little it is), then we're all fucked.

Inflicting poverty - surely this is the corrollary of the above. Regardless, while the sentiment is somewhat commendable, it is lethally vague. If someone offers to buy something for me, and I accept, or offers to sell me something, and I refuse, then surely I am making them poorer. Since poverty is a relative measure, have I not inflicted poverty on them? Would this not totally undermine charity?

Drug trafficking and consumption - oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The Catholic Church (CC), in trying to modernise, has shown itself to be even more stuck in the past. Unless by drugs they mean to include alcohol (which would include the wine at communion) and tobacco, it shows a woefully poor understanding of the scope of drugs, and the realities of addiction. Drugs in moderation are not evil. As for trafficking, only insofar as it is breaking the law, and the practices it is involved with and funds. So why single out one illegal act over any other?

Morally debatable experiments - sorry, what? Any intelligent person can debate the morals of any experiment. Animal rights activists will debate the morals of any experiment using animals, yet without these, countless antibiotics, treatments, vaccines and the like might not exist. By this, the CC just mean "experiments our ridiculous Draconian institution doesn't approve of", i.e. anything they falsely view as 'playing God', a phrase that should surely be banned, such is the rank stupidity of those who generally use it as the be-all and end-all of argumentation.

Violation of fundamental rights of human nature - which are? Hell, people don't even agree on the current universal declaration of human rights: I find issue with articles 5, 13, 16, 21, 25, and 26. That's one fifth of the current set of human rights. Is the CC giving its much delayed backing to the declaration? Or is it trying to bolster its own set? Regardless, without clarification, the statement is vapid and meaningless.

 

Then again this passage pretty much tells you all you need to know:

He also named abortion and paedophilia as two of the greatest sins of our times. The archbishop brushed off cases of sexual violence against minors committed by priests as "exaggerations by the mass media aimed at discrediting the Church".   


May 09, 2008

Centre for the Bleeding Obvious

Europeans Get Drunk To Have Sex

No shit, Sherlock! How long did it take to work that one out?

And people get paid to do this?


May 04, 2008

Why must we fawn over wastes of space?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7381065.stm 

"And then there's Amy Winehouse, whose best songs really are works of art, no question."

I question it, Clive. I'll question it all day. I have absolutely no respect for Amy Winehouse or her apparent achievements. As a singer/songwriter myself, I find nothing of interest in her songs or lyrics. Her voice is nasal and grating. And most importantly, she herself is a disgrace. I saw her at Belgian festival Rock Werchter last summer - she stumbled onto stage 25 minutes late, drunk as a skunk, totally oblivious, you could practically see the coke dribbling out of her nose. She didn't know what songs she was doing, delivered a limp performance and was entirely held up by her excellent band. Had I been closer, I would have thrown a bottle.

I got in trouble last year for saying many of these things live on Kerrang Radio. I don't have any problems with drugs - I think they all should be legalised, as people have a right to treat their own bodies how they wish. But when you cannot control a habit (and the same goes for drinking, or smoking, or eating), especially to the point where it affects your personal and professional life, then you deserve no respect. Much like her male counterpart Pete Doherty, I feel that what Winehouse contributes to the world pales in comparison to what she takes. The sooner she is locked away to learn to control herself, the better. The she can go back to simply being a vocal annoyance, rather than a negative role model...


May 03, 2008

The Burbs on the Beeb

Boris takes the stage

Let's hope both the Premier League table and the US elections (with Obama in the running) look as blue at the end of the year.

"Blue is the colour"... 


April 25, 2008

Portfolio stuff

So here are some new poems I wrote over the holiday for my portfolio. One is just a sort of self-expurgation, the other two are investigative experiments into stylistic restriction, on the same lines as A MidSummer Night's Massacre.

 

The Pun 

The pun is unloved, and shunned,

And spun in webs, and freely flung,

Fried from gums in bottles lust and one,

Where reavers rum and common darn,

Firming into skirmishes unsung.

The wore of words anon, and, ear two lung,

A limb or to, linguistic atoms,

Become no Moor than flirting crumbs.

Sea how it is done, the old syllabic dissection maid Jung.

To witch did they belong, these peaces of a word unstrung?

The Thais that bind now stunned, a wondered land of fun

Re-leaving the humdrum with the mow juiced

And so begun, abandoned…


The Rhyme

The rhyme is alive, jumps from side to side,

Elusively gliding under the eyes and tickling the thighs,

Eliciting sighs from he who tries to scribe this butterfly’s jive:

Knowing how easily it dies, but striving to see how it flies,

And, once described, to help it survive, pressed inside his pages.

  

Here, both the full and the half rhyme thrive,

Safe from the genocide to which some would-be wordsmiths aspire,

Seeking the highs via the butchering of “I”s and “Thy”s,

Writhing sonnets mired in time which rightfully slide out of the public’s mind

Until they find themselves so dire, they expire on the spot.

  

Far from their funeral pure, the well-kept rhyme is admired,

Its plumage compiled entirely of its sire’s,

For though the combination’s inspired,

There’s nothing new for sale nor hire under the sun.

  

In its lifetime, the flyer’s course may change:

New sounds are acquired, as others fall away.

What was the mainstay yesterday is simply unseen today.

“But how the rhyme must strain to play such a game”,

They say, conveying an array of upsets to allay.

“It could not stay on the path whence it came, but,

No doubt kept at bay by some gale, gave way,

Braving unknown catastrophes with faltering grace,

Stretched, amazed at the pace with which it strays towards the malaise of clichés,

Abrasive dangers faced alone, destined to be disgraced and cast down

To await the same fate as the sonnets you slated before.”

  

“No dice”, I reply.

“Though what you decry sounds like a dire slide into the abyss,

This rhyme does not mind, but actually requires it:

It must not tire of the course, cannot stay on old lines.

If the signs of boredom arrive, then, under that same guise of easy freedom,

It must take to new skies, and from such change arise

Renewed and revived, and thus, safely arrived where it began,

Retire to the poet’s page, to be divinely imbibed.

  

Until such time as the winds change again…

 

How Bitter It Is To Dream 

I am acutely aware of the world today.
I woke up with dry lips, stretching for a mirror that wasn’t there.
How vivid dreaming is, how upsetting.
In that night, we, who have known each other well,
Were transported to a summer’s eve,
And there, among the grass
Which welcomed us as a lover’s arms,
We spoke one language with our words
And another with our eyes.
The first, though I remember well, meant little,
Until the second overwhelmed it, and took charge.
And in the moment you lowered your head to kiss me,
I raised mine into nothingness.
Pouting at a bare room, I sank,
Cheated yet again by dreams esemplastic,
And lay to contemplate the silence of my lonely world.

Today is a day of what could have beens.
Still in expectation of that kiss, my senses reach
Far beyond their remit – my clothes are soft, they say;
The floor is hard, they say; and the sun is strong.
These feelings, they are not your lips, and never will be.
For one so strong, I am easily affected -
I eat and feel full, but still am void,
Unable to appreciate the beauty of the world around me.
For the beauty I seek has faded.
Seven seconds have set me in stone,
A tired effigy of the unrequited,
Hollow for your touch, the succour of your lips
Which I never have and never will know.


April 23, 2008

Kudos

Vader's gonna get you

"Earlier, when Hughes failed to arrive on time, District Judge Andrew Shaw issued an arrest warrant, adding: "I hope the force will soon be with him."

Absolute genius - someone get that man a high five. 


April 19, 2008

PMing the PM

Something Danish and cool other than Sandi Toksvig and bacon.

"The prime minister insists on responding in person to friends' comments on Facebook, the aide said. "I'm not doing this work for him," he added."

If only our politicians were so worthwhile...


February 29, 2008

Unbelievable

I'm confused as to how this is only her fault... The guy jumped a frikking red light. If he's too much of an idiot to pay attention to or follow road signs, an accident was bound to happen. Granted, she shouldn't have been texting, but it's hardly all on her shoulders.

Oh, and as regards Turkey pulling out:

"The development comes a day after President George W Bush urged Nato ally Turkey to wind up the raid and get out of Iraq."

Do you think he's speaking from experience? ;-) 


February 22, 2008

Almost cracked a rib


Fucking best title ever. Sounds like a product of those games where you turn existing stories into a particular genre - e.g. Bond travesty "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" gains a twisted pornographic edge as "On Her Majesty's Seeping Cervix". They play similar on ISIHAC (I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, hilarious radio 4 show). Anyway, sounds like the task was to turn things into Zombie flicks and someone really hit the nail on the head. It will probably be a shit film, but deserves similar props to "Snakes On A Plane" for igenuity :D

February 20, 2008

Faking It

For when you just can't tell...

I'd like to think I could. Especially if you look in their eyes.

And for the condoms of the future... 

Quite useful, really, if they can speed it up. Means no more 'the condom broke' stories...


The One and the Other

One

remembers.

The crevice was old,

from the time of one’s becoming,

when it had boiled and raged under the

cold, dark other which now ran in little paths

down one’s topsoil – quickly at first, or so it seemed to one,

but slowing as it reached where one curved, flattened out until one’s soil

turned to silicon, and sunk down under the other, where the little paths reunited

the lost other with the greater other, which showed no constancy, but was forever moving.

The other was moving. But one did not move. From time to time, one crumbled a little, but this was the way of things. One was still young, and though the becoming was over, one’s rock could still change, though not as much as one’s soil. One knew this to be true because one had once been a greater one, and still was a part of it, thought distant – under the lapping other, the foundations of one’s self stretched away and joined other selves like one: selves of granite and basalt, born of becoming; selves of schist and constancy, thrust unchanged from the deeps which connected them all; even peakless selves, not born of the deep, but fallen and ingrained. One could feel such nearby, was faintly aware of separate peaks and rocks distinct from one’s own. But the more the farness from one’s peak, the more one hurt to feel. So one felt only as far as the other began. One had no way of thinking with the other peaks, across the farness filled by the hateful, changing other, but their presence served to make one sure that one was one, but one of many, and not all. One also knew this because of the other.

The other was enduring. It was not empty – unlike one, who was constant and solid all the way through, the other was composite, like a silicon which hung together, shifting to both pass and be passed through, running down one’s crags from one’s peak when separated, perhaps unable to help itself from coming together. But such as moved through the other one did not know. So fast was it that one felt only the change, and knew not what caused it. This was true also on one’s topsoil: once, there had been much unknown change, but whatever caused it had not survived the becoming, or the changes of one’s rock, though a little still remained. And remained in one’s crevice, not one’s highest crevice, nor one’s lowest crevice, but a crevice high enough and close enough to one’s peak that one was the most irritated one had been since the becoming. One wished for a change of one’s rock again to wipe such change away, though one had no control over this – one had no control over much anymore. In the becoming, one had been able to move things, been able to do, but now, one was able only to feel. And one felt different. Changed. And difference brought pain. And one felt pain, felt the pain of one’s rock being lapped away, broken down and eroded, and knowing one could do nothing about it but hope for an end.

The other was change. For all of one’s being, since the becoming, the one had been mostly the same, and so one feared change. One was often afraid. The outer was always changing – one felt it crack one’s exposed rock, felt it make one’s soil rock-like, felt it cover one’s peak with some stationary form of the hateful other which soon changed into its usual form, and ran down the paths that one talked of earlier to join its hateful version of the deep from which one thought all the other might have come. When this change occurred, some of the other soaked into one’s topsoil, which one felt give birth to thousands of tiny, different peaks, of a kind, but not of rock, peaks which burrowed into one’s soil. Some ended quickly, but some survived their becoming, as one had done, and spread their selves into one’s rock. This, one didn’t mind so much. A deep part of one, perhaps the part that spread and linked one to the others and to the core at the heart of the deep, from which all life sprung, told one that this was natural, and the way of things. One thought one liked the way of things, it gave one a certainty. Certainly, the burrowing of the strange peaks was fast, but it was not too fast. The other was too fast.

The other was strange. One did not understand it, though one had had long to observe it. The other, while not as old as the core, was certainly older than one – one felt that the core understood the other, but that, because one had not seen the other’s becoming, one could not hope to understand it. And what is not understood is simply experienced, and not truly known. And one fears what is not known as much as change, because what is not known could be anything, and do anything. What is not known could have the power to unmake – the same expanse of self which linked one to the core, that deep part of one told one that selves had been undone in the past. Not quickly, and not often, but sometimes. And so one feared. Because the other might be the start of one’s unbecoming. The other and that which changed within it were much faster than most of what one was aware of –the hasty backing and forthing that fed on one’s edges, the coming from above. This especially one could not comprehend, how the composite other, which liked to stay together – perhaps one should call it others, many others held together like the deep connects all peaks to the core – how this other separated itself and then rushed corewards from above, spattering against one’s topsoil and granite in one undefined, inconstant motion. One preferred the lapping – like most changes in the outer, the lapping was constant and regular. Though it was fast, it was most always the same fast, as were the roads of other, and the burrowing. Such changes were predictable and regular. The other that spattered was different.

The other was threatening. One felt, through the core, that the other had been responsible for unbecomings in the past, had thrown itself against the rock of other peaks until they sank back into the depths, or had worn them away and claimed them chunk by chunk. Fear spread through one like the strange peaks of not-rock burrowed into one, and fear claimed one as it’s own. One did not wish to unbecome, so one felt out. One stretched out from one’s peak, trying to find one’s way back to the deep knowledge of the core just as the stranded other found its way to the silicon battleground where even now the other was lapping one away. The hurt began, but the fear overwhelmed, fear of the greater pain of unbecoming, and one swept on past the hurt into heat. Burning. And the core was gone. Not unbecome, but out of reach. One felt oneself… on the heat, and the heat thought, thoughts which one could just about understand. The heat was rock, but changed, shifting and composite like the other, though much slower. It thought that it should be called magma, and one thought it was right, as if one had known this before. Even as one felt the magma, a self became just as one had done, on the edge of one’s awareness. And one understood, or perhaps remembered. The magma was the edge and the beginning, where one’s self had once sprung from. When the magma and the other met, the threat of the other caused the magma to harden in order to protect itself, forsaking its composite form so as not to let the variable other through. One was a guardian, then, a sentinel of sorts, protecting the magma, the source of all things, or so one thought, from the danger of the other. But one could feel danger still, and the magma knew, and thought.

The other was everywhere. Even when it was absent from the surface – and here, the magma thought of topsoil entirely of silicon, stretching further than one could comfortably feel – it lurked beneath, inside soil or between silicon, wherever rock wasn’t. Rock, the magma thought, was too solid, the only true defence, but even that could only slow its advance, for eventually the other would carry rock away, piece by piece. One wondered what end the other could possibly hope to achieve, wondered what was the cause of the sense of threat one newly felt, and wondered how the magma could know all this. The magma knew because the magma was deep, was the core, was rock in its purest form. And what the other meant was the end of constancy. To remove the heat from the magma, to end all rock and cover the world in change. The magma thought that one could feel further, with guidance from the magma, to understand the scale of the battle, and why one felt the threat. One still feared the pain, but the magma thought that the pain was just another kind of fear, of the unknown, and would pass. So one stretched out, spread one’s self so thin that one felt one might snap and break apart. And one almost did, felt it beginning to happen, until one realised that one was feeling through the magma. What one was feeling through the magma was almost indescribable. On the magma lie, or float as the magma thought one should think of it, all rocks. What once had been a solid layer, protecting the magma from the other, had begun to break apart, and float around, crashing into each other. Where they split apart, new front lines in the conflict opened up, with the other rushing into the gap, trying to change all magma and cool the core for ever. The other truly was everywhere.

One resolved. One had felt out for answers, and had received them in abundance. The magma had taught one much, or at least taught one to remember much, and with one’s new knowledge, one withdrew to one’s granite peak, which now seemed very small. The other lapped away at one’s edges, carrying pieces away, but one was no longer afraid. One knew the other would be the unbecoming of one, eventually, but now one knew why, and although one couldn’t stop it, one was comforted knowing that one was shielding the magma from the advances of the other, that there was a purpose, a war to win. It crossed one’s mind that perhaps the war was unwinnable – if the other kept destroying and taking pieces away, and there was nothing to replenish the side of the rock and magma, then the other would triumph in the end, unless the conflict somehow harmed the other too. One hoped so. One hoped to stay the other and ponder the problem a while yet. One hoped a great many things, and, armed with one’s newfound zeal, one hoped to make them come true.

The other eroded. But one persisted.


February 11, 2008

We have, at most,

two years, apparently... Seems a little restrictive. A lot of couples put their lasting relationships down to carrying on with sex for years (especialy some OAPs >.<). Well, even two years would be nice...

February 02, 2008

And on a related note…

Follow-up to Article 301 from Jimmy K's Eclectica

Secularism is the ONLY sensible system for any country, regardless of the principal religion, or how many faiths that country houses. Any country wanting to operate in any international or global environment cannot be ruled by religion. And I say that as a Christian. Because once you allow religion to enter government, you allow one faith to dictate how others should behave. There are many paths to God (Allah, Buddha, Krishna, whomever you want to insert). People should come to their faith, or non-faith, in whatever way they choose, as naturally as possible. Which cannot happen if any particular religion becomes enshrined in law, because then there is a palpable and unavoidable force drawing them into a particular faith, and a particular morality. I'm a Christian because I believe in God, and I believe Jesus was the son of God. But I don't believe in the church, or any real sense of organised religion - the office of Pope offends me, where did anyone get the idea that there was some spiritual authority closer to God than any of us? Religion is a persona relationship between you and God, and no-one has the right to tell you how to conduct that relationship except God. The government can stop you murdering in the name of God, or stealing, and so on, because then your faith ceases to be a fundamentally personal thing and necessarily impacts on those around you. That impact is what we have no right to, which is why secularism is vital, because it protects everyone's rights to freedom of religious expression by saying that there are some areas where no-one is allowed to express themselves, like politics, and education. This is why it pisses me off when Republicans use their "Christian credentials" on the campaign trail in the South, and middle America. I understand why they do it, it's what the crowd wants, it's what'll get them elected, but it's yet another example of the idiotic pandering to populism that democracy encourages.

I suppose the thrust of it is, in this particular case, that a particular intolerance is necessary to protect a greater tolerance. The Turkish laws, like the French ones also recently hotly debated, are often claimed as aimed at Muslims in particular, but actually apply to all religious symbols. There is no favouritism here, no two-tier system being played. There are just the ignominious rantings of those who like to play victim. As if the law could possibly persecute Muslims in a country which is nominally 98% Muslim. The very idea is ridiculous. The danger comes from Erdogan, and the AKP, sliding in a backdoor agenda until they're certain of a big enough slice of popularity to push it through. What upsets me is that they caned at the last elections. And yet the people regularly turn out in support of secularism, despite having elected an openly fundamentalist leader, whose wife wore a headscarf illegally in a a governmental office, if I remember correctly. I won't say he hasn't done some good - some of his reforms, especially economically, have seriously boosted Turkey in its own right, and as a potential EU member state. But he started out in political Islam, and I don't buy the claim that he's left it behind - he tried to introduce alcohol-free zones and make adultery illegal, and was actually convicted of incitement to religious hatred in 1998. These serve as classic examples of the importance of secularism, and hopefully this bid will fail as well. If it doesn't, it could easily be the start of a slippery slope which ends in the ruin of all Attaturk helped to build...


What happens when one side is more into it than the other…

Looking at that map (at the bottom), you realise what a serious and genuine commitment America have made to Afghanistan. Unlike Iraq, war in Afghanistan was justified, perhaps necessary, not just for the States, but the world in general, and definitely for the inhabitants. But the pussyfooting from the other member states of Nato makes me fucking sick. The more hesitation they show, the more difficult the mission becomes, because the insurgents get the psychological boost of knowing that not everyone's hearts are in it (those that have international news access), and the numerical boost of having fewer enemies to fight. Flood the country with troops from Nato countries and put the phrase 'overwhelming force' to good use - the current mandate is 3500, push it to maybe 5000, or even 6000, or make it proportional, say 15% of every country's army (if we're not past that already), or whatever's a realistic number given other commitments (I don't have all that information, surprisingly). Push ISAF from 40,000 to 80,000, or 100,000, and the country' infrastructure may improve to accommodate them, which can only be a bonus. The insurgency is a cancer that needs treatment, and the longer you fuck about with your fears of chemo, the worse it's gonna get. The analogy also extends because there is a cause, as well, or a variety of them, and those need to be fought in a different way, but showing steadfast commitment is one of the ways to show Islamic extremism that it won't be tolerated. I'm not sure where I stand on Harper's threat to pull troops, but I can definitely understand where he's coming from. Is NATO going the way of the UN, becoming a figurehead, with no real power, to be shown up whenever we please? That remains to be seen...

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