Friday, 30 January 2015

Arthur Askey: The paralysed years

Arthur, before the accident 

Recapitulation: As my gentle readers will recall, 'Big Hearted Arthur' (but short on legs) was subject to an unrelenting series of freak and increasingly bizarre accidents culminating in the loss of his legs, arse (rectum) and his beloved prehensile penis. No longer would his cock stand erect and wave a cheery 'hello' to grimacing pedestrians. Thus is the inherent unpredictability, fickleness and mutability of life.

As he lay paralysed from the nose down he ruminated on his proposed future. He was left with a myriad of questions which clamoured for an answer? Would he ever walk again? Would he ever sing the 'Busy Bee' song, on stage? Only fate could answer these most perplexing of conundrums.    

Dr Ebola Mugumbo, inspiring confidence

Dr Ebola Mugumbo approached 'No Arse' Arthur with trepidation. "Mr Askey, I have to tell you that you will never walk again. Furthermore, there is a local council ordinance prohibiting the singing of the 'Busy Bee' song by bona fide spakkers." Arthur would have cried but the snapping of his spinal cord at C2 had also severed the vital nerve servicing the lachrymatory ducts.  "However Mr Askey, I have some good news. We have devised a robotic skateboard, cunningly fashioned from computer chips and stuff. You will be securely attached to said skateboard by the medium of several, six inch, titanium nails. Luckily due to your paralysis you will feel nothing and unless we hit a major artery you wont bleed uncontrollably and expire, exsanguinated. However, in this eventuality it is quite possible that a small amount of blood, pooling in your nether regions, will be spared. The whole contraption can be controlled by differential dribbling onto a solenoid. Take solace that you will be emulating our gracious Lord, the baby Jesus, by being attached to a piece of wood." Arthur's piety was piqued, anew.  "I just need you to sign this release form in the likely event that you will die during the procedure. Let me help you by jamming this pen up your right nostril......"

To be continued.........

What the fuck is an 'Ollie?'

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Flaxen's sexual healing, perhaps....

At least this post is not very ferrety

Dear Flaxen Saxon,
"Why all the smut? Do you get any questions from readers not relating to body parts or sex?"
Mrs Fannyitch

Fanny Itch akimbo

Dear Mrs Fannyitch,
A fair and pertinent question, Mrs Fannyitch. Indeed, often in the pub I’m accosted by vague acquaintances and asked about the validity and viability of alternative energy sources. Here is Flaxen Saxon’s, lean, green, alternative energy compendium, for our new exciting age. By the way, have you tried Canesten?

Dear Flaxen Saxon,
"The council have installed a windmill on top of my roof. I am very happy with the bone jarring whine and the way it chops up the local bird life. Unfortunately it stops working when there is no wind. Invariably the generator goes off in the middle of Coronation Street, just as Seth, Benny and Miss Diane are about to go to ‘top field’. I explained this to the Council, but they told me to fuck off. Any advice on the matter?"
Mr Brainstem

Dear Mr Brainstem,
Persuade your council to attach the windmill to the national grid. In that way you will receive all the wind you need on a daily basis, irrespective of the weather. By the way, Seth, Benny and Miss Diane are killed when Tracy goes berserk, with a baby, in ‘top field’.

Mr Bryan Stem

Dear Flaxen Saxon,
"My perpetual motion machine has stopped working as the machine’s rechargeable batteries have run low. Please advise how I can get the machine working again so I can continue to enjoy the free energy it provides."
Miss Befuddled

Dear Miss Befuddled,
Perpetual energy machines violate either the first or second law of thermodynamics. Therefore, I suggest you obtain a second perpetual motion machine, making sure that the batteries are fully charged, and link it to your original machine, thus ensuring your continued access to a free and eternal energy source.

Dear Flaxen Saxon,
"The council have installed a solar panel on my roof. Although connected to the water tank it has not produced the electricity as promised. As directed, I’ve arranged for the water to trickle down the electric cable but all I got was a flash and a bang. Also, it has electrocuted my beloved ferret ‘Arsebiter’, who had the endearing habit of hanging around electrical sockets. My question is: Is it possible to recycle 'Arsebiter' in a sustainable, biodegradable way? Please respond quickly as old 'Arsebiter' is starting to pong and ooze on the linoleum."
Miss Perplexed

Arsebiter, pushing up the daisies

Dear Miss Perplexed,
Collect poor old 'Arsebiter' and compress him into a briquette. Insert a wick up his arse- aim for the white spot. At a single stroke you have produced an eco-friendly candle which is liable to cast an oily, guttering, stench fuelled light upon your sad, limited and wretched existence.

Dear Flaxen Saxon,
"Our local council is firmly committed to tidal power. They have convened a committee and have engaged a company to set up a working party. Prominent council members have just returned from a two week, all expenses paid, trip to Honolulu on a fact finding mission. After vigorous debate and canvassing local opinion, they have come to the conclusion that tidal power is not a workable option for land locked Dudley. My question Mr Saxon, how can I cure a severe case of genital warts? My old todger looks like a cauliflower that’s been left in a cupboard for a month."
Mr Twinkle

Dear Mr Twinkle,
Alas, there is no cure for ‘brothel sprouts’. Are you by chance acquainted with Miss Fannyitch?

Mr Twinkle's twinkle- Dat gotta itch

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Of ferrets and moles

Need a lot more ferrets

Have you ever been wakened by a dark thought, perhaps precipitated by a florid dream? I had one such occasion the other night. I was so disturbed that I left my bed in search of pen and paper. Once found, I scribbled furiously. In my experience our best thoughts come in the dead of night, but unless recorded instantly they dissipate like a phantasm/fart in the cold light of day and can never be brought to the conscious mind, again. Anyway, next day when I checked my mid night musings, I was astonished to read: 'Arse, big fat, ARSE. Should have stayed in bed. I digress.

This is a thought I had today, in the daylight. How much would a mole of ferrets actually weigh? For those without a science background I, by necessity, must introduce a preamble. The molar concept is simple. Every element has a molecular weight expressed as a number. For instance, hydrogen's molecular weight is 1 and  plutonium's is 239. Now comes the interesting bit. Consider the molecular weight of any element expressed as a gram- the number of atoms contained therein is the same, regardless. This number is a constant called Avogadro's number. The number is: 602,214,129,000,000,000,000,000. Therefore, extrapolating onward and upward, a mole of ferrets would consist of this number of ferrets. Seems like a lot of ferrets. Next we need to know the average weight of the average ferret. After much research and drinking I have come to the arbitrary conclusion that the average ferret weighs 2kg. Actually, my ferret 'Shagger' is a shade heavier; the result of an over indulgent owner. Therefore to calculate the weight of a mole of ferrets, we just have to plug our number into the following equation: 602,214,129,000,000,000,000,000 x 2,000 gms equals 1,256 x 1022 kg.

This would result in a layer of ferrets 300km in depth. Everything would be crushed and life on earth would cease, except for ferrets of course, and especially those lucky ferrets in the top layer.

Can't help but notice that my posts of late are getting a bit 'ferrety'. Must make a huge effort to desist and, of course, take my medication.

I wonder how much a mole of moles weigh?     

This not a ferret

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Let them eat Thrips

Next thing you know, the civilised West will be eating frogs

Have you ever thought about eating insects? Probably not. Insect eating is for the folk who have no choice and those strange South Eastern Asians who consider large beetles and crickets a delicacy. Insects, in general, are highly nutritious, full of protein and are bountiful. If only we can get through our aversion of crunching through that chitinous carapace. They are also more efficient at turning what they eat into protein than cattle, sheep, chickens and even ferrets.

With an ever growing population perhaps we should be looking at farming insects. To palliate Western sensibilities, the insects and grubs (lot of nutrition in worms) could be processed into a palatable meal. Thereafter it could be moulded, pounded and cooked into a meal of (arse) your liking.

If you are sheepish/squeamish about eating insects, consider and weep. Apparently we are already ingesting insects inadvertently in our everyday food. Regardless of all the DDT we are spraying on our food, well at least on my tomatoes, them damn pesky critters still manage to make a presence. Here is some stats to make a vegetarian turn into a meat eater. But what about the vegan, you ask?

There are internationally recognised standards for the amount of 'insect material' allowed in food, at least in the civilised countries which bother to monitor this sort of thing. Our food looks wonderfully sanitised and sterile. Everything is packaged in cellophane, canned or looks suspiciously healthy and clean. When was the last time you saw a blemish on an apple or lettuce? But we are far too busy to examine our food too closely........

Insect fragments and even whole insects are allowed in foods to a certain degree. Let us be honest, it is unfeasible to have completely critter free produce no matter how fastidious modern agriculture and subsequent processing may be. The limit is not based on health concerns but more on aesthetics. I wont labour the point but will give a few unpalatable examples, just to whet your appetite. Fig paste can harbour up to 13 insect heads in 100 grams; canned fruit juice can contain a maggot for every 250 millilitres; 10 grams of hops can nuture 2,500 aphids.

Tis deemed that the average Westerner ingests about 2 pounds of insect material every year or about 8 quarter pounders without the cheese or bun. None of this does anyone any harm, except the psychological. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Aesthetics aside, and those insects I can't see, I'll leave the voluntary and involuntary ingestion of insects to the pretentious rich and the poor dark folk. Personally, I prefer a steak, medium rare, to be shared with my faithful ferret, 'Shagger'.

Mr Teapot Mugumbo eating a frog: All civilisation is doomed

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Tipton is the new Lourdes

Rasputin Mugumbo
A celestial image of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been reported hovering over the midden pit in Tipton. Dubbed the ‘Holy apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Tipton’ the site has already become a Mecca (surely some mistake) for the faithful. There have been reports of several lepers being healed, although leprosy in the West Midlands has not been endemic in this part of the world for at least seven centuries. All this can be ascribed to the power of a manifesting holy bint.

My knitted rendition of Mary as a 'ferret of god'
The local Catholic Priest, Frater, Pedo Mugumbo had this to say: "Tis no surprise really, Tipton is a very holy place and was nearly converted to the one true faith in the 10thcentury. As you recall, a conclave of priests approached the mad Saxon king, Flaxen, in 923AD to explain the good news of the Christ child. Unfortunately, Flaxen entered into a theological dispute with Odo ‘The Disputant’ over the number of angels that could fit on the end of a bodkin. Odo contended that an infinite number would fit as angels are not invested with physical bodies, being incorporeal  and invisible, in nature. Flaxen said 12. Thereafter the discussion became heated and the heads of Odo and his fellow clerics mysteriously fell orf in a freak head cutting off accident. Thus the encroachment of Christianity was delayed for a 1000 years. I digress."

Mr Arthur Askey (no relation) was the first to report the wondrous and miraculous sighting. 
When pressed he waned lyrical: "I had occasion to be passing the midden pit when I espied an ethereal figure arise from its cavernous depths. I immediately recognised the wraith as  Mary the mother of god. I became transfixed into a position of devotional reverie. The image then dispersed as if it had never formed. I was left with an abiding feeling of sanctity and became completely cured of a propensity to hallucinate. My Tourette tics and vocalisations melted away like a fucking arse cunting snowman on a twat farting summers day.                                                                                                      ARSE." 

I count seven

And let's be honest, this is the nearest we are ever going to get to the sighting of a virgin in the borough of Tipton, and environs

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Nostrum for all ills

Total Bollocks

What is it about the word ‘alternative’ that lends undue respectability to the words that follow? For example we have ‘Alternative Energy’, ‘Alternative Lifestyle’ and of course, ‘Alternative Medicine’. The word ‘alternative’ confers a patina of respectability to concepts that are often found wanting if only we are prepared to probe a bit deeper.

Many of us are critical of modern medicine and rightly so. Medicine is an evolving science and has yet to find cures and effective treatments for many common and often fatal diseases. And this is where ‘Alternative Medicine’ enters the fray. In fact the term ‘Alternative Medicine’ covers a whole host of so called ‘therapies’ from the down right bizarre and silly (yes homoeopathy, I’m talking about you) through to treatments which have acquired a certain degree of prestige, such as acupuncture; even conventional medical practitioners have become seduced.  And let us not forget the financial incentives. Alternative medicine is a big and largely unregulated business. It is estimated that in the US alone consumers spend 34 billion dollars annually on alternative therapies. Unscrupulous individuals are making a lot of money as ‘practitioners’. Undoubtedly there are those who are sincere and believe in the effectiveness of their therapies. Equally, there are those who are utter charlatans whose main concern is the fleecing of the gullible and desperate.

Adherents of alternative therapies often claim astonishing results for their respective treatments. Beware of ‘cure all’ therapies. Panaceas for all our ills do not exist; this applies to both conventional medicine and the alternative variety. Modern medicine is founded on sound scientific principles and is subject to the rigours and self righting mechanism of the scientific experimental method. This of course reflects the world of perfection, which has never existed, but at least medicine is well intentioned, and although progress is sometimes faltering, it is inexorably forward. This is not the case with alternative therapies. Indeed they often revel in their unconventional non-scientific approach. Or if they attempt to explain their mechanisms they invoke non conventional ‘science’ or weird esoteric principles beyond the reach of scientific scrutiny. And really, this is the important point: Modern medicine is based on the double blind clinical trial. To judge a treatment effective, or not as the case may be, it needs to evaluated in a medical trial with a suitably selected control group. The results are then published in a scientifically respected and peer reviewed journal. The process is not fast but is designed to weed out effective from the non-effective drugs, procedures and treatments. In contrast, most practitioners of the alternative usually have little time for rigorous procedure. When they claim ‘data’ supporting the effectiveness of their nostrums it is mostly in the form of personal testimony (not worth the paper it is not printed on). In other words, patients report that the treatment is effective. Here is the problem: How are we to judge a treatments true effectiveness? Sometimes disorders get better regardless of intervention; people exaggerate with respect to their illness and possible cure. Others are not really ill at all; people lie. The placebo effect is a real phenomenon. If we think a treatment is going to be effective then that may well be the case, irrespective of medical worth. The only way to distinguish between these possibilities and uncover a treatments true value is by well established medical and scientific principles.

But surely I hear you say: ‘Not all the so called alternative therapies should be judged together. Granted there some that are plain daft, but others such as acupuncture, are actually very effective for certain conditions’. A fair point. Of all the so called alternative therapies, acupuncture has received more than its fair share of scientific evaluation. It has some of the hallmarks of an effective treatment. It is an ancient practice (must be worthy then?) and a degree of physical intervention is involved; needles are inserted and stimulated, either manually or by electric current. It also has its own ‘pseudo-scientific’ principles. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the proposed rationale for its effectiveness, so I’ll briefly summarise: Practitioners believe that by inserting needles at specific node points (define please), the needles influence the body’s natural energy channels (Chi- nice word, but what does it actually mean?). Whilst this is the basis for a hypothesis it has not been borne up by scientific evidence. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the treatment is ineffective. It could simply mean that the proposed mechanism of action is wrong. So what do the studies show? As far as I’m aware, and I am more than happy to be contradicted, the only sound scientific evidence for the efficacy of acupuncture, for anything, has been for the management of pain; that’s it. Moreover, it is no more effective than conventional analgesic drugs. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather take morphine or even Panadol. Other claims for acupuncture, as a treatment, are anecdotal and therefore completely worthless as evidence. To convince me otherwise I will require a reference to an article outlining a well designed and executed trial published in an established and respected scientific or medical journal.

I suppose we all want and yearn for quick fixes in life. This applies to many things from our money woes through to our health, and yes, it pays to be questioning and prudent in all things (this person does not exist). In some ways bad decisions in many of life’s activities have no long acting effects on our ultimate well being. Bad decisions with regard to our medical conditions can, and do, have catastrophic consequences. Steve Jobs, the highly talented and mega rich co- founder of Apple died in 2011 of pancreatic cancer. No surprise there. Pancreatic cancer is associated with a particularly poor prognosis. It is an aggressive disease and usually diagnosed when advanced. Once the disease has spread to other sites (metastasised) an early death is inevitable. Consequently, less than 1% of sufferers survive 5yrs post diagnosis. Not even the wealthy can circumvent medical reality. However, this is not quite true in Job’s case. Most pancreatic cancers are nasty adenocarcinomas. Jobs had a rare form of pancreatic cancer (islet cell neuroendocrine tumour) which is associated with a favourable prognosis and is very amenable to early treatment. It is estimated that between 80 to 90 percent of patients will still be around after 10 years-if treated. Jobs decided to eschew conventional medical treatment and opt for a treatment regime based on diet, herbs, acupuncture and spiritual consultation (God help us all!). After 9 months of ineffective ‘treatments’ he elected for surgery. By this time his tumour had spread and extensive surgery was therefore necessary.

Steve Jobs was an intelligent, demanding, egomaniacal perfectionist who also happened to be a Buddhist. He placed his faith in unconventional treatments of dubious provenance when he should have been undergoing effective, conventional, medical treatments which would have saved his life. The irony of course, is that the character traits which served him so well in his creative and business life failed him at the last, much to the exasperation of his family and doctors. I suspect, towards the end, Steve Jobs realised his folly, but by then no amount of chanting or chemotherapy could have saved his life.

There is no such thing as alternative medicine, just medicine.

No comment

Friday, 16 January 2015

Flaxen Saxon's Sexual Healing: Part III

This is not a healthy gland

As we enter the New Year a mature man’s thoughts turn to prostate health

Over the years I’ve often been asked about prostate health. Yet men are, in general, woefully ignorant about this small, but very important organ. Today, I’m about to remove the veil of ignorance that covers this palpitating and often throbbing gland and replace it with a soothing salve of knowledge and self-awareness. Read on, grit your teeth and weep…..

Here is just a small selection of questions, and concerns, from every day black country folk regarding prostate health that I’ve been asked over the years whilst ‘Aled up’ in the ‘Ost House’, just north of Studley:

"Flaxen, ai it true that this prostate gety bigger as yow ages and that it con restrict the pisser?"

"Flaxen, yahm great big girl’s bloose yo. Me yonder gland has grewn in size till I’m rocking on it from side to side when I sit down. Reckon I should see yohm doctor?"

"Flaxen, I’ve been pissing blood for more than a year. Do you think I should be seeing the local sawbone? I don’t like to bother him as he seems such a busy man."

First sign of death and I’m off to the doctor …

As you can see, prostate concern runs deep in this sleepy rural community. Frankly, I wish they would all fuck off and leave me alone to drink myself into slow, but quiet, oblivion.

Here is Flaxen’s distilled, pickled, prostate wisdom.        

The science bit: The prostate is a small walnut sized gland which encompasses the urethra and is situated, if accessed rectally, just 10cm from the anal opening. It is responsible for supplying the bulk fluid for the ejaculate and provides a safe and hospitable haven for frolicking sperm.

Flaxen’s initial preamble: The best argument for atheism is to be found in the anatomy of the prostate. What benevolent god would wrap a gland around a small bore tube and then arrange for it to grow in size as we age? Perhaps god dislikes old men. Mayhap god is a woman with a sense of humour. If I were  god I would place the prostate upon the head. If it was hot you could cover it with a hat. If it was cold you could cover it with a hat. In temperate weather a simple sun shade would do.

Flaxen dispenses wisdom with aplomb: Pissing blood is natural as we grow older. Examine the vibrant mosaic of colours and textures as your piss sprays around the pan. So stop fucking whingeing and leave me to answer serious medical problems.

There is a positive side to an enlarging prostate gland, as we age. Every year the prostate acquires another layer; just like tree rings. Usually after prolonged and heavy drinking I forget who I am and end up in the local nick. There is a simple solution to finding out my age. If you find yourself in a similar situation just ask to see the police surgeon. In order to determine your chronological age he will take a deep needle biopsy of your prostate trans-rectally. Don’t forget to ask him to rotate. By counting the rings the police doctor is able to accurately determine your age, give or take a decade. When you return home the police can phone you and let you know your age, as rendered by dendrological data. Thoughtful readers will have noticed: how come a man can forget his age but remember his phone number and home address? A valid point. Luckily from an early age I deemed it fit to have my telephone number and home address tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. As long as l don’t move house this represents a sound strategy. Arse, big sore, arse........

Who needs a med exam with Dildo Therm

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Nocebo: 'To Do Harm'

Please take as directed

Most folk are aware of the placebo effect. Tis a confounding bias in drug studies. Simply stated if you believe a drug is beneficial then sometimes there is a demonstrable positive therapeutic effect, even though the 'drug' has no intrinsic therapeutic merit. This has been known for sometime. Drug trials, in order to determine if a certain drug has medical benefits, divides the participants into groups and each receives a different treatment. In some trials, but not all, the recipients are divided into two cohorts. One cohort receives the drug, while the other receives a placebo, which is generally a sugar pill or a therapeutically neutral compound. Those taking the placebo often exhibit medical benefits which can only be explained by the patient's positive expectation. Not only can this be psychological in nature but can actually transfer to the physiological. Thus is the power of the mind. But the placebo effect has a darker, evil twin, called nocebo, the Latin name for ‘doing harm’.   

Several studies have shown that where there is an expectation or a suggestion of an adverse reaction to a 'drug' or treatment, which the medics know to be innocuous or beneficial, there is a negative response in a significant number of the recipients. I don't intend to outline these studies however, for those who like to see the fruits of Dr Death's research feel free to follow the link:

The nocebo response is vastly understudied in comparison to the placebo effect. A simple audit of the published literature reveals that there are more than 160,000 publications on 'placebo' whilst there are less than 200 on 'nocebo'. The reason is not hard to fathom. To conduct nocebo studies doctors need to inflict subjective 'pain'. Clearly this does not sit well with medics, or medical regulation bodies and is counter the fundamental ethos of medicine, of 'do no harm'. Research workers interested in this field of study often have difficulty in convincing medical ethical committees. This is a shame as there is a real need to study this topic and not just because of scientific curiosity. Consider the implications of telling patients about drug side effects. Most drugs have adverse side effects, but how many of these negative reactions, and to what degree, are due to expectation and anticipation by the patient.

Perhaps the nocebo response is behind documented cases of the Voodoo hex, or 'pointing of the bones' when a Shaman or Witch Doctor wills a person to die through ritual and cursing. Hex victims have been reported to lose their will to live, and even though there is no physical illness, undergo a physical decline eventually resulting in death.

Anyway, the nocebo effect seems a fascinating area of study and well worthy of further study and research. Surely it will throw light on the subtle and not so subtle influences of suggestion on the mind and how this manifests into real physiological and ultimately  physical responses. We just have to find a way to  circumvent those pesky ethics committees. And what ever you do, don't tell that well known Witch Doctor, Mr Mumbojumbo Mugumbo. He might get upset and point his bony finger...... You  have been warned.          

Mr Mumbojumbo Mugumbo being discombobulated

Friday, 9 January 2015

The fate of the Moriori: A lesson in history

 The Moriori, third class warriors, but a first class main course  
The Moriori protesting against fine dining
There are those who aver that the Moriori were the original inhabitants of New Zealand, and on the prospect of a whim, migrated to the Chatham Islands just off the coast of the North /South Island sometime in the 16th century. Initially the founders practiced the custom of their people and war between folk was endemic. But then arose a wise tribal Elder of the name, Nunuku-whenua. He interposed his impressive countenance  between the warring factions and proposed eternal peace. Not because of any pacific motives, as such, but in the name of sound common interest. The unceasing wars and strife caused unrelenting hardship to all folk and none could profit. By a remarkable quirk of fate, the tribes of the land embraced his law, although some, bellicose of nature, did demure, at first. But soon the fruits of peace became apparent. Resources were no longer squandered on squabbles. Men could apply their hands to obtaining and harvesting the bounty of the land and sea for their family and kin. The skill of war became lost. This did not matter as everyone could see that living in harmony benefitted all. Disputes, selfishness, or narrow of interest did not disappear, after all we are dealing with the nature of man. This was acknowledged. A great council was convened and was comprised of men who thought they were wise. In truth these men were those who had profited greatly from the peace and thus had accumulated much wealth. When folk, tribes or communities quarrelled their grievances were paraded before the 'The Great Elders'. Such was their power, which stemmed not from the spear or the club, that strong men and those more numerous accepted their deliberation as if delivered by a Chieftain parading a 1,000 warriors.

One day a boat was espied on the horizon. It contained refugees from wars in the land of Aotearoa. When they landed they were helpless and in pitiful plight. The Moriori, true to their new grown principles, administered succour and nurtured the interlopers unto their breast. As the dispossessed became well, they surveyed the land and people with a covetous glance. They saw that the inhabitants had lost the skill of war and being warlike in nature and barbaric themselves, they contrived a plan to rob this most peaceful and noble of people of their land and their breath. Furthermore, they noted that the Moriori would make fine dining, especially the young.

Once the killing began, the council held a sacred conclave. The debate was long and acrimonious. There were some who wanted to arm the men and resist the usurper. The Great Elder would hear none of this. The ban on war was law, and without law what is man? Some argued that the law should be like a supple branch which bends and changes in the wind. In times of calm, where is there the need for change? But when the wind doth blow, the sapling must bend. Without suppleness the sapling will snap and die. The Elder was adamant and clothed in fine feathers, and stone, he cut an imposing figure, of which there is no doubt. So it was passed that the Moriori would appease the Maori (who did you think it was?) and the finest amongst the Moriori, but not the Elders, would approach the Maori for a frank and profitable discourse; they were never seen again.....

Maori warriors ready for supper

Most of the Moriori were killed, some enslaved and many eaten. As for the Elders? They claimed business elsewhere and clambered on ships with their baubles and disappeared over the blue horizon, never to be seen again.......

Those who espouse peace become slaves


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Free Will

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Do we have free will? A deceptively simple question which most would answer in the affirmative. But this conundrum has occupied active and inquisitive minds for over two millennia. Until the 19th century this question was the exclusive preserve of pure philosophy. In the 19th century psychologists started to wade in and contribute to this most vexed of problems. Relatively recently disciplines as diverse as genetics, neurobiology and quantum physics have deemed free to add their own particular brand of wisdom/insanity. Surprisingly, at least to the layman’s mind, the view obtained from most studies and pure reasoning sides with the notion that we do not have free will. This deterministic perspective is counter intuitive and one which most would feel uncomfortable with. But it is not just about a vague feeling of unease that is at stake here. If the world is truly deterministic, if we have no real choice over our actions, then there can be no voluntary violation on our part and that, of course, has profound implications on our perceived notion of morality. If we have no free will then how can we be morally culpable for our actions? If our behaviour is determined from the day we are born to the day we die, then accountability is meaningless. We have no control over how we act and consequently traditional morality cannot apply. The ramifications from this sort of reasoning are immense and reach to the very core of what it means to be human. The practical implications are also disturbing and the judiciary should release all the felons from our criminal institutions immediately. After all we are mere automata. Trinkets driven by deterministic causal chains of events of which we have no conscious control. Arse.

As mentioned earlier, the idea that we are bereft of will free is counter to intuition and seems bizarre. Therefore, it will be profitable to outline why this viewpoint is prevalent amongst those who make a living by contemplating this sort of thing.

It is argued that all atoms obey predictable physical laws. The neurons in the brain, which are the ultimate arbiter of our actions, consist of atoms. Therefore in principle, at least, we should be able to plot the behaviour of all atoms in the brain and therefore the response of all the billions of neurons comprising our nervous systems, together with all their interactions, and hence all our behaviour should be liable to prediction with unerring certainly. Of course, this would only relate to a ‘closed system’. Or in other words an individual suspended in a blackened room not receiving any stimuli or any form of interaction from the outside. When we emerge into the sunlight and blink, things start to get complex. The point being that everything is predetermined and has an antecedent stretching back to the ultimate cause, the big bang. Or is this a case of classic scientific reductionism and causality running amok and turning the absurd into absolute madness (wibble bucket). If it makes you feel better you are free to disagree. Or are you?
To my mind this is one of sciences and  philosophies greatest challenges and is ultimately unresolvable. Perhaps we should stop pondering the imponderable and channel humanities immense talents into curing cancer or at least inventing the everlasting light bulb.

Very relevant after the atrocities in France caused by followers of the 'Religion of Peace'.                         Roland awake..... 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Sex scandal and the Prince of Tipton

Flaxen and Athelstan in repose
The Saxon kingdom of Tipton has been rocked, once again, by a sex scandal which is predicted to shake the kingdom to its morally decayed foundations. The kingdom ruled with an arthritic hand by the mad Saxon King, Flaxen ‘The Addled’  has been bedevilled with rumours and frank accusations of sexual impropriety involving  Flaxen’s  son and heir, Prince Athelstan, the ‘Forever Unready’. Athelstan stands accused of consorting with convicted sex offenders and associating with strumpets barely nubile. When confronted with the accusations, Prince Athelstan pronounced thusly: “Who dares accuse the Prince of gross moral turpitude and cavorting with wenches barely past puberty who expose their pudenda’s  for a groat, excluding weekends and holidays, whence the tariff extends to three groats for a four hour session. Show me the knaves and I will rid them of their turbulent heads, unless they pay me to the tune of 12 pounds of refined silver and allow access to their daughters.”

Prince Athelstan’s ex-wife, Berthilda ‘The Haggard’ had this to say about the Prince: “The Prince is a lovely man and a kind husband to his daughters, Grunhild and Emmalind. I would be still married to him today if it wasn’t for his penchant for having sex with underage girls. That’ll be 10,000 groats and 100 flagons of your finest mead, thank you very much.”  

10,000 Gilda Berthilda
King Flaxen is bemused at the accusations of indelicacy/indecency and spoke as if in a drunken reverie: “What is the point of belonging to royalty if you can’t do what you like and get away with it? You never heard anything of the kind said about my father, King Adric ‘The Philanderer’. The scribes knew their place and if they didn’t conform to our quaint tradition they would find themselves accidently thrown headfirst into the midden pit. The rest of the body would be given to the royal ferrets for their sport. 

The royal ferret, 'Shagger'

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Japanese Sniper unearthed in a Tipton park

Private Bushido in repose

Breaking news from the picturesque hamlet of Tipton. A Japanese sniper has been discovered/uncovered lurking in the municipal midden pit within the environs of Tipton's premier recreational area- 'Tipton Park and Recreational Area'. Private (First Class) Karate Nagasaki was found sequestered on the immaculately coiffured lawn adjacent to the marble memorial to the incumbent Mayor Mr Enoch Vowel-Strangler. Private Nagasaki parachuted into the West Midlands on that fateful day of Friday, the 3rd of January, 1945. He was commissioned to assassinate the then incumbent Mayor, Mr Enoch Vowel-Strangler (Snr). Unfortunately for Nagasaki, his spectacles shattered on landing. Private Nagasaki, like all Japanese snipers, was extremely short sighted and hence was doomed to roam the park for seven decades like an itinerant Japanese tourist, sans camera.

For the last 70 years Nagasaki has subsisted on a diet of half eaten kebabs and remnants of  fish 'N' chips discarded unto the midden pit by drunken revellers after a night at a Tipton's premier night spot: 'Mr Patel's Disco Ago Go and Laundry'.   

Private (first class) Hara Kiri' s last supper

After his apprehension Nagasaki related tales of his fanatical devotion to the Emperor god and war criminal, Hirohito. Sadly, Private  Hiroshima was killed in his cell, by his 'celly', Lugless Douglas. Apparently, Dougy, took exception to Private Kendo's obsession with origami. After a particularly inept attempt to fashion the likeness of a Geisha out of used toilet paper, the Dougster snapped and strangled the dirty little nip, with his socks.   

Private Bullettrain will be tossed back into the midden pit after a private ceremony officiated by the Right Reverend, Sanctimonious Mugumbo.   

The Right Reverend Sanctimonious Mugumbo. Arse, fick. girls. 

Thursday, 1 January 2015


Who you looking at?

Janus was/is a god of the Roman pantheon. He had/has two heads. One looked to the past, the other to the future. This god, which is as good as any other, I suppose, stood on the apex of the old year and the trough of the new. This ancient god gives us the  name to our first month of January.

Janus is the god of transitions and beginnings. He not only presided and guided over new beginnings or ends in the abstract sense, but also had a  real practical presence. The door to his temple was an indication of war or peace to the Roman people. In a time of war the doors were closed. In times of peace the doors were left open. It is of interest to the scholars of history, who reflect thusly, that the doors were open only on two occasions between 715BC and 45BC. This reflects the turbulent history of the Roman Republic and instructs that conflict is always our bedfellow. Tis the wise man who keeps his doors closed  As is my wont, I am liable to digress.

Happy New Year to all. May this year of 2015 be one of joy and true wealth. And remember wealth is not measured by bank balances but in the ability to buy expensive things. May your loins wax and your prostate (if you are suitably endowed) not increase in size thus restricting the flow of urine. Make time for the simple pleasures in life. Love the folk you love, regardless, because in this world of mirrors, nothing else really matters, does it?

And finally: Do not quaff heavily from the mead flask, unless tis your want.