Wednesday 29 October 2014

The Phantom of Dudley Castle........

The headless, ‘Green Lady’, has been espied once again roaming the environs of Dudley castle. 
Dudley castle, at a jaunty angle 

The spectral phantasm, is believed to be none other than ‘The Lady in Green’- a 15th century courtesan who plied her trade in the halls and byways of Dudley castle, circa 1462.

Her ethereal form has even been seen in Dudley High Street. On more than one occasion she has been observed entering ‘Supercigs’ and purchasing 40 Embassy filter tips (high tar). The shop owner, Mr Khan, had this to say: “Mrs Green is a frequent visitor and often stops for a chat.” Asked whether she appeared to be bereft of a ‘bonce’ Mr Khan became lyrical. “She seemed to be in possession of a head. In fact as I recall, she appeared to have more than the requisite number required for sentient existence. One was perched correctly upon her shoulders, admittedly at a jaunty angle, while a second was placed betwixt her arm and midriff, and a third was balanced rather precariously on the end of her left foot. I did think it looked rather odd, but this Dudley after all."

It is said the ‘Green Lady’ was executed in 1472 for treason. Her head was chopped clean orf and thrown into the local midden pit. Locals decree that she is forever doomed to tread Dudley castle and the High Street looking for her detached noggin. Although judging from Mr Khan’s testament she has already procured said dome and has set forth to acquire a tidy noddle collection.   

Green Lady, in repose

Sunday 26 October 2014

Arthur Askey: The years of contemplation

Big hearted Arthur after losing his legs and cock (and arse) in an unrelenting series of bizarre and freak accidents now contemplated life anew. Obviously the porn industry would no longer pester 'no cock' Arthur to take part in legless porn extravaganzas. Yet still he needed to make a legitimate living. He considered a career as a disc jockey, but was unable to hold on to the turntable. During a regrettable incident he was spun clear across the room, landing on his nose. Ouch!

He managed to acquire the services of a trio of ferrets which, once harnessed to his skateboard, gave him complete freedom to navigate the roads and byways of his native Tipton. Donner, Blitzen and Shagger (for it is none other) propelled said Arthur on a wild 'pony ride' throughout the West Midland environs, evading Birmingham by the narrowest of margins.

Shagger, before the accident

And so this idyllic life would continue unless punctuated by another strange and tortuous twist of fickle fate (arse, bugger). During a trip to the local supermarket, Shagger espied a rogue rodent and gave pursuit. On a particularly dangerous bend Arthur was thrown clean orf and unfortunately landed on a used/disused condom. His spinal cord was severed at C2 and consequently he became paralysed from the nose down. He would never twitch again without the aid of electrical stimulation. Of course an electrode up the arse was completely out of the question due to his artificial rectum (see previous post: Arthur Askey: The Wilderness Years).  As my astute readers will recall, on this occasion Arthur was buggered senseless by a wandering troop of camp homosexuals.

                                                          Now you share my pain 

Arthur, whilst lying in his hospital bed contemplated his life, thus far. He needed to make a living. But what could a legless, cockless, arrrselss (arse), paralysed washed up comic, do?  Indeed a conundrum, which could only be solved after much thought..... Of course, legs, a cock and a serviceable rectum would help.

To be continued.......

Saturday 25 October 2014

Evolution, the reprise

Seems about right, doesn't it?

I wrote a post a while back entitled, 'The Theory of Evolution'. In truth it wasn't really about evolutionary theory at all, and was a short piece about the scientific method. Oddly, this post attracted a lot of views and even more strangely, comments. Most of my posts go without comment, but on this occasion I attracted 26. Admittedly, some of the comments were penned by myself in reply to commentators.

I enjoy a good debate and revel in the sophistry it sometimes engenders. But on this occasion it attracted a few ill thought out comments of scant merit. There seems to be a lot of ignorance about evolutionary theory and the scientific method. That being the case, I have decided to institute a series of posts outlining various aspects of evolutionary theory and it's biological implications. My aim is to dispel some of the misconceptions and downright silliness which seems to attach to the subject.

Unlike most of what I write, this is something I venture upon with a degree of knowledge and expertise. As a professional biologist I've taken post graduate courses in evolutionary theory. Consequently, I can espouse bollocks, on the topic, until cow shit evolves into veracity.......

If nothing else, my expensive scientific education has provided me with the 'tools' to be able to debate the theory of evolution with Jehovah Witnesses when they turn up at the door. Coming off topic (I digress). Have you ever noticed that JWs always travel in pairs? One does all the talking, while his mate, just stares; most disconcerting. As with all JW doctrines, their stance against evolution is rooted in doctrinal dogma, and is therefore superficial and easily refuted.

Anyway, getting back on topic. Currently I have no idea how this will roll and haven't written a word, on evolution, as yet. I suppose, for once, I will have to be disciplined and present my posts in some form of unfolding and coherent order. Don't despair, gentle readers, I will intersperse the science posts with my usual crap.

If dinosaus still ruled the world 

Friday 24 October 2014

A visit to the physic

Dr who?

Tis been two score and 10 years since I last visited my physic. The last time I was in the first flush of manhood. Taut, straight and tall as a tree. But the years have lined my face, bent my frame and flecked silver in my gold spun braids......

As I sit in the waiting room I scan through the sundry magazines. Mud tablets are a wondrous innovation and are a perfect medium for the impression of West Saxon runes. But I digress. The last edition of 'Leech Quarterly' had a fascinating article entitled: 'The leech in Dark Age Medicine- will it replace trepanning as the therapy of choice?'

Dr Athelbald 'Banebreak' beckoned me into his 'Bleeding Room' and berated me softly:
"Well Flaxen, I don't see you very often, what can I do for you today?"

"Well physic, I suffer from a lack of flow of the water. And when I manage to proffer flow, tis stilted, and is relinquished only after much  strain."

"Bend over Flaxen."

Afterward, my eyes watered.

"I see your malady much clearly now. Your male organ has waxed mightily and has grown to the size of a turnip. If it waxes much more you will be rocking from side to side whence in repose. I am going to cut my fingernails now; I will return in a thrice."

Much later.............

"I prescribe a course of leeches liberally applied to your arse, big fat, ARSE."

"What no boring a hole in my head?"

"Modern medicine considers trepanning barbaric and without therapeutic merit. These days we use only the finest leeches dredged from the midden pit."

"Tis a shame modern medicine, in all it's wisdom, cannot devise a diagnostic test which does not involve shoving a digit up my sensitive orifice."

"I feel your pain, Flaxen. But one day, I predict the apothecaries will devise an analytical test which, sadly, will do away with anal probing. When that day comes the profits of the apothecaries will wax mightily and lead to the development of more exotic, effective, and of course, more expensive  leeches. That'll be 100 groats." 

Sadly, I was disinclined to pay the Danegeld and thought it fiscally prudent to lop orf his impudent head. Did any of my indulgent readers notice- he never once called me king? Saucy Jute!   


Physic, heal thy self (and cut your nails, before the exam)

Wednesday 22 October 2014


Tank meet trench

Is there anything more sexy than the modern battle tank. Sleek, powerful and fast. This beast can project lethal shot, whilst travelling at 35mph, with unerring accuracy. But it was not always so. The tank had humble beginnings which started with a war a 100 years ago, far, far, away........

By 1915 the war on the Western Front had reached stasis. Neither side could breach the trench lines, at least in a way which would end the war. And so the concept of the tank was born. The initial remit was simple. A mobile vehicle was required which could traverse enemy trenches, which could provide some degree of protection to its occupants and which could defend itself with cannon.

Winston Churchill was a fan, and largely due to his influence, the project became reality.

The first British tank was a strange beast indeed. Large, slow and cumbersome, it resembled an over weaned water tank err, hence it's name. Caterpillar tracks encompassed it's rhomboidal frame and side sponsons sprouted gun. The boiler plate armour was just 12mm thick, sufficient to stop bullet, but ineffective against field weaponry.  

The tank made it's debut on 15th September 1916 during the battle of the Somme. This was probably a mistake. Small numbers were available at this time and the British could only sport 50 tanks. Of this meagre few, 15 stalled before the battle due to mechanical malfunction and took no part in the subsequent action. However, when they did work, they produced panic in the German lines. On this day, the tank did not win the battle, however, it did manage to cross enemy trenches and hence hint at things to come.

The British War Ministry was criticised, at the time, for using the tank prematurely, and I think, rightly so. The tank should have been held back for future battles when it could have been introduced to the battlefield in it's 100s. In this way, it could have had a decisive affect. The psychological impact of the enterprise would have been astonishing. But battle politics dictated otherwise. The British were struggling on the Somme in September 1916 and it was thought that the tank, albeit in small numbers, would prove decisive. When used en masse (476 tanks), as at the battle of Cambrai in 1917, it had a profound impact on the initial battle. The Germans reacted with characteristic aggression and managed to win back all the British gains in a matter of days; such are the vissitudes of war.

The Germans had no idea that the British were developing this mechanical monstrosity. When it lumbered onto the battle field in September 1916 it caught them completely off guard. After their initial shock, the Germans took a shrewd measure of the new weapon. The tank was frighteningly vulnerable. Large and ponderous it traveled at a pedestrian pace. The Germans found that simply reversing the bullet in the cartridge was sufficient to pierce the relatively thin armour. Field guns were adapted as 'tank killers'. High explosive from a 75mm shell was sufficient to render any tank a useless wreck.

The tank of 1916 had a crew of 8. This number of men was necessary to propel the vehicle and fire its gunnery. Conditions within were hellish. Hot, smelly, noisy and exhausting. The inside of a tank was a mass of bare machinery and gears had to be changed with the aid of a mallet. Even though conventional bullets did not pierce the armour they did produce spall. Small pieces of metal detached from the inside and spattered around the inside of the tank. 'Tankers' could often be identified by the small black scars which peppered their face. Eventually goggles and chain mail face masks were issued.
Hannibal bites your face

It is reckoned that approximately 30% of all battlefield tanks were lost to mechanical failure prior to, or during, the initial manouvre to reach the start line. Unreliable they may have been but the tank was here to stay and improvements came fast in the white heat of war. The tank became an integral part of British battles following their debut in 1916. The Germans, were slow to acknowledge the value of the tank on the battlefield, and consequently, failed to respond seriously. They did produce their own version, but these machines, just 20 in total, played no major role in German battle tactics. The British eventually produced 2,718 tanks of various Marks. Most of these were eventually destroyed by enemy fire, lost to mechanical failure or captured by the enemy and reused.

The tank of the Great War was not a war winner. But the scene had been set and the years between the first and second wars witnessed great strides in tank development. The greatest gains in technology came during the Second World War itself. The tank which lumbered onto the battlefield in 1916 bore little resemblance to the main battletank which stalked the battlefield of 1945. That said, many of the mechanical and tactical issues of tank warfare were known to the the early tankers and through their pioneering work, they were ultimately responsible, by direct descent, for the modern armoured vehicle.  
Tank meet gun

Saturday 18 October 2014

The Tomb of King Flaxen Unearthed in Tipton

King Flaxen's tomb

Breaking news from the spa town of Tipton (incorporating Dudley West and Smethwick North). Today, it can be revealed that the tomb of the 'Mad Saxon' 10th century king of Tipton (incorporating Halesowen and Brierley Hill) has been unearthed on the site of an ancient midden pit. King Flaxen (for it is none other), also known as 'Flaxen the Addled' ruled his mighty kingdom by a combination of sage administration, sound fiscal policy and extreme violence.

His tomb lies today within the Tipton Metropolitan rubbish dump, adjacent to Mr Patel's kebab shop and home for tasty stray animals.

Dr Treehouse Mugumbo, renowned archaeologist and ferret tamer at Tipton University of difficult stuff and that, takes up the narrative with characteristic fervour: "This is a remarkable historical find of significant historical import and is likely to rewrite the history books, as we know it. Arse"

King Flaxen was found in repose, be-straddled by his trusty double headed Danish War axe, 'Twat Cruncher' and his mighty sword, 'Arse, Big Fat Arse Biter'. In addition, his body was bestrewn with a 100,000 Tipton groats, valued in today's money as equivalent to 5 billion Zimbabwe dollars, or about 50 pence.

King Flaxen's remains are in astoundingly good condition. This is probably due to his fondness for imbibing the local alcoholic drink, mead which embalmed his robust and beautifully formed frame. DNA has been extracted from his well preserved scrotal sac and genetic testing has unequivocally determined that the incumbent mayor of Tipton (incorporating Halesowen and Brierley Hill), Mr Enoch Vowel, is a direct descendant of the mad Saxon king. On hearing the news, Mr Vowel had this to say: "It comes as no surprise, I've always had this pervading feeling of being special, indeed I went to a special school. I will be a wise and magnanimous ruler but will brook no dissent or criticism, whatsoever. From now on you will refer to me as King Enoch and scrape and bow in my presence under the pain of death. By right of birth, I now own the environs of Tipton (incorporating Halesowen and Brierley Hill) and all its chattels and bondsmen."            

All hail king Enoch

An artist impression of how King Flaxen may have looked in his prime, circa 923 AD. Note the clarity and detailed rendering of the visage.

Handsome bugger, ain't he?

In a civic ceremony, King Flaxen's remains were unceremoniously flung onto the Tipton Metropolitan dump site. King Flaxen's remains will remain here for an eternity unless consumed by stray dogs or rendered down for glue by a wandering band of Romanian gypos.

Stray dogs and gypos are said to be circling the periphery, as I write..........

You are never alone with solipsism

Solipsism is not only hard to pronounce it is also a peculiar philosophical stance with an ancient pedigree. This rather insular and introspective of philosophies was first tentatively broached by Gorgias of Leontini (483-375 BC). Solipsism is the belief, in its most extreme form, that only my mind exists and everything in my world is a construct of that mind. A less extreme form acknowledges the possibility of other minds and an external world but consider them inaccessible to the singular and subjective mind.

Solipsism is a logical conclusion of Cartesian contingent doubt. Descartes (1596-1650) is considered the first of the modern philosophers, and rightly so. His insight was to strip bare the problem of existence. He established that he could only be certain of his own thoughts which gave necessary credence to the existence of his own mind and by extension, himself. We are all privileged in this respect as we all have unique access to our own minds. Furthermore, it does not take a leap of reasoning to decide that as we can only access our own minds, and not others, we can never be really certain that these minds actually exist as independent thinking entities. This train of thought sets the scene for the modern concept of solipsism.

Descartes did away with the problem by the simple expedient of introducing God. A loving, benevolent God would not deceive his creations and therefore, at a stroke, plurality in an insane world was restored. Although Descartes stated the problem clearly, he offered a solution which would not satisfy the philosophers to follow and especially so, the British empiricists. Bishop Berkeley (1685-1753) extended solipsistic reasoning to its logical conclusion and denied the existence of matter altogether; matter became the construct of the mind. The unperceived chair does not exist. His philosophy was phantasmal and the dream of a madman. Equally fantastic, Berkeley saved the world from nonexistence by positing that God perceives all, even the occasional sideboard.

While the great philosophers were ready to state the problem, few actually embraced the concept, at least when sane. Solipsism has, in the main, been a stimulus for advancement in thought, especially when coupled to the problem of mind/matter duality. Indeed, for clever men, solipsism has always been a matter of high sophistry.

Solipsism, as a valid system, has been thoroughly discredited by modern philosophy. Wittgenstein (1889-1951) countered on the grounds of its linguistic and semantic absurdity. His arguments are highly technical, and as the second bottle of wine has started to kick in, and my head has started to loll to the side, I am disinclined to elucidate further. In addition, such a venture is likely to alienate the few readers that frequent this blog.          

Most people at some stage in their life have thought, even if only fleetingly, that only they exist. And herein lies the kernel of the problem and perhaps its solution. We could dismiss this most extreme of philosophies by an appeal to commonsense. Commonsense dictates that solipsism is simply 'silly'. Of course, the counter argument could validly state that reality is often contrary to common sense. Consider quantum physics or notions of infinity.......

I'll leave adjudication to the Great English Philosopher, Bertrand Russell.

Big, bad, Bert, in repose

“As against solipsism it is to be said, in the first place, that it is psychologically impossible to believe, and is rejected in fact even by those who mean to accept it. I once received a letter from an eminent logician, Mrs. Christine Ladd-Franklin, saying that she was a solipsist, and was surprised that there were no others. Coming from a logician and a solipsist, her surprise surprised me.”

And in the final analysis, perhaps, this is all that is required

Wednesday 15 October 2014

"It's starting to look a lot like Hitler...."

Tis that magical time of year (almost) when things are: 

"Starting to look a lot like Hitler"

'We will fight them on the beaches....'  Ooops, wrong war leader
Blondie knows it's not all about the look- you have to have the right moves as well. Good boy, blondie! If only I could get my faithful wolf Eingar to do that. He would certainly deserve extra gypo entrails from the midden pit.

Mr Adler contemplating the Danzig corridor question
This fish eagle is looking for some Herring volk to feed his hungry brood. Bit of advice, Mr Adler, if you want to continue in the role, get a beak reduction.

This Hitler wannabe has only got one ball. How's that for authenticity. Actually, he's got no balls. But don't tell him, it will upset him, and he's liable to have a hissy fit and annex the Sudetenland.

'Hitler has only go one bowl'
Contemplating invading Pooland, perhaps?

Even inanimate objects are making the effort

Shagger Christmas
Merry Hitlertide Everyone!
Soapy tit wank

Don't look at me, I didn't tell him!

Sunday 12 October 2014

The Trench in the Great War

Trench of Doom

Trench warfare symbolises the war on the Western Front. Static, linear lines, stretching from the Belgium coast to the frontiers of Switzerland. At first, they were mere scrapes in the ground. But as the war progressed, the trench and the trench system evolved into something fantastic. What follows will be a description of a typical British trench. Of course, there will be differences, according to nation. The Germans opted for a sophisticated trench system, which reflected, for the most part, their defensive stance, on the Western Front. French trenches were often crudely constructed in comparison. But this is merely a reflection, initially at least, on their aggressive policy of reclaiming sacred ground. There is no point in expending unnecessary labour on a temporary dwelling.

The German retreat after the Marne battles in Autumn of 1914 culminated in the Germans digging in. As they held the initiative they maximised the lie of the land, siting their trenches on the high ground, where possible. This meant that the British and French had to dig their trenches in inferior positions.

The trenches in 1914 were relatively crude and singular. As the war continued, the trench system became plural and scientifically designed. Typically, the trench system consisted of three lines. The first line would take the brunt of the initial attack. Die hard machine gun teams would delay and inflict loss on the attacking enemy. The main battle trench would lie some yards to the rear. Most of the men would be situated in this trench. Fully alerted, this is where the main defensive strength was concentrated. The third trench, in the rear, was the trench of desperation. It represented the final redoubt before retreat.  

The Anatomy of the trench circa 1916  
By 1916 the trench and the trench system had become highly developed. The average British trench was 8 foot deep. The base was lined with wooden planks to keep feet out of water. The water table in Belgium and northern France is often high. Mere planks of wood were not always effective and 'trench foot' was rampant among the allied soldiers. In some parts of Belgium the water table dictated a 'trench' of sand bags.

The trench was built up at the front and especially at the back. This was an important feature of trench design. The back end of the trench prevented men being silhouetted in the morning or evening sun. An important point considering the all prevailing presence of snipers. Finally, the trench was protected by a low palisade of coiled barbed wire,

The trench was kinked. This was important on two accounts. Firstly, the blast from shells, or more importantly, mortar bombs, could be contained. Secondly, if the enemy gained access to your bit of trench they could not effect fire along its entire length.

Communication trenches filtered to the rear of the main trench. This allowed men and munitions to move without the inconvenience of enemy observation. Forward saps extended into no mans land. This afforded protected observation of enemy lines and provided a convenient jump off point during offensives and raids.

Contrary to popular belief, most men did not spend much time in the front line trench. On average, and in a typical month, men spent four days in the front line, four in support and eight days in reserve. The rest of their time was spent in barracks, miles behind the front lines. Most of the front line existence was spent in humdrum boredom. Many sectors had a 'live and let live' policy. Friend and enemy coexisted in precarious harmony. Life in the trench was hard enough without constant withering fire and sniping. This was not always the case. As a reminder that there was a war on, the enemy could shell the latrines after breakfast or deliver shrapnel for afternoon tea; such are the vicissitudes of war.  

Ouch, trench foot. Methinks unguent should be liberally applied  

Friday 10 October 2014

The Boom Time Rats

"I'm feeling in my pocket for my Viagra, but unfortunately  I can't feel my leg"

Has there ever been a more favoured generation than the 'Baby Boomers' -  leastways in the West, and parts of Asia, that is? The rest of the world, as usual, remain in the political and financial Dark Ages. Those aged 45 to 65 years have witnessed, and many have partaken, in unprecedented historical prosperity. The soldiers who fought in the Second World War and the Korean conflict returned to a society rapidly undergoing social and economic change. Although, they may have not reaped the benefits themselves, their children who matured in the 60's and 70's, did. The working classes, in particular, benefitted from national affluence. The West was 'rich' before this time, but money was concentrated in a very select few. It was during this time that money became available to people who, in previous incarnations, would have been engrained in deep poverty.  Money filtering down to the 'lower orders' helped to fuel the burgeoning consumer phenomenon that is still with us today. The difference being, that in the 60’s it was funded by real wealth, not credit.

And so the sons of coal miners and machine operators went to university. This couldn't have happened 30 years before. Dispersal of relative wealth meant democratisation in education and that education was paid for by the state (perhaps not in the US) and therefore, higher education did not remain the preserve of the wealthy few. But even with this educational revolution, only 5% of the population ventured into university. And when the newly educated left their hallowed halls they entered professions and began careers, not jobs. The upper classes still enjoyed their  parents’ privileges, as they still do, and monopolised the professions,  becoming lawyers, bankers or accountants. The public school tie still opened doors. But the newly enfranchised working and lower middle classes began to break through the previous barriers and filter into the professions closed to them just a generation before.   

Not all benefitted from societal change. But if they didn't, it was not because the opportunities did not exist or that they were being denied access. If they did not participate it was because they chose not to, or did not possess the necessary wherewithal; folk with a low IQ and the feckless still lived in the murky margins of society or went to prison. 

Those prepared to work hard and plan ahead reaped the rewards of property ownership which generated wealth at a rate unknown to their grandparents.    

The generations to follow, faltered due to reasons not within their control. Opportunities still existed but they were being chased by increasing numbers of the well educated. A degree was not a passport to the professions anymore; it had become a permit to work at McDonalds. If the opportunities were limited, ambition and expectations were not. Generations X, Y or whatever still aspired to the economical prosperity enjoyed by their parents and grandparents, even though they were burdened by massive student debt and a surplus of overqualified graduates. They wanted good, secure careers and nice houses and cars – and they wanted it now, not later. Where their parents had paired off, gone without, saved for a deposit to buy a house together and then tied the knot, the younger generation wanted to eat out every night, take foreign holidays, drive a BMW and buy a 4 bed detached home in the town they grew up in. And they wanted it all as a single person – oblivious to the fact that their parents neither expected this or achieved it outside marriage. We now have the generation of instant gratification. They want it all, they want it now, and they don’t want to have to work their arses off to pay for it!

All they see, is that their parents had it easy, oblivious to the facts. This festers into resentment, and anger.  

The younger generations increasingly expect to hold their hand out to be filled with parental gold. “Give me the deposit for a house. Pay for my holiday. Buy me a car…” they say. “You’ve got loads of money. You can afford it. What about us?”

It’s not realistic. The 'Boomers' will face increasingly eroded pensions, due to record low interest on their savings and ever decreasing investment returns. What capital is left becomes eroded by ever increasing prices. When we die, there will be little to bestow on our children and what there is will be gobbled up by death duties.

Will future generations look back and see the boomer generation as an economic anomaly to be viewed with awe or envy? The only generation which experienced wide spread prosperity not seen before, or after? Are we the charmed generation? Will our children resent what we achieved and the opportunities we had?

Probably. But then again history is written those who come after, not those who were there at the time.

Fuck. What ya gonna do?

Sunday 5 October 2014

Magneticism, a go, go

Mr Maxwell, in repose, Bugger, you could loose a Badger in that beard  
How can you not be fascinated by magnetism? It is a mysterious force, indeed. Of course the phenomenon of magnetism is well described and understood, up to a point. In fact we should use the word, 'electromagnetism', as electricity and magnetism are essentially the same and are mediated at the atomic level by the movement of electrons.  

The synthesis of our understanding of electromagnetism came about when James Clerk Maxwell, in the 19th century, formulated his famous equations unifying the concepts of electricity and magnetism. But for all our knowledge the fundamental question still remains. What, exactly, is magnetic force? We know that it acts in a vacuum, without a transmitting medium. Is it a wave, or is it streaming particles? Or does it exhibit wave, particle, duality, just like light? The answer seems to be neither. This aspect of magnetism has never been identified. Physicists refer to 'virtual photons' as if this concept has an actual meaning. In truth, it is just a mathematical construct and really a cipher for 'we just don't know'. You could argue that the force of gravity also fits into this category. But not quite. Since Einstein, and his theory of relativity, gravity seems to be readily explained as an artefact of mass distorting space/time.

Magnetism puzzles scientists, and lay people alike, and is unavailable to rational description. And yet it is a readily observable, every day phenomenon. There are some physicists who venture into quasi-multidimensional realms in a desperate attempt to provide an explanation. But trying to describe the rational with the irrational is an exercise in scientific futility.

In the final analysis, magnetic force defies our intuitive grasp of the world. Like other quantum phenomena it is simply weird. Maybe, one day, we will have a coherent explanation, or could it be that magnetism will always remain beyond the reach of our limited intellect? 

Friday 3 October 2014

'Torremolinos, Torremolinos'

Hurry up and invent sun screen and DDT

Tis time for the annual war band excursion to Torremolinos in Iberia. Oh me and the lads do look forward to our two weeks away. We take a leisurely longboat, stopping off at a quaint little village on the west coast of France. There is a little patisserie which serves the most delicate and melt in the mouth pastries. The filo is divine and to die for. Which is just as well considering the exchange rate between the Tipton groat and the frank- I blame the Saracens and Blackamoors myself, and their ongoing strife contributing to world wide instability in the international monetary markets. Not all bad news, because who wants to pay 40 francs for 12 sweatmeats? Being disinclined to pay we usually kill the owner and burn down the premises. Now you might think this represents the policy of folly considering we return to the same place every year. But you would be wrong. It seems that when one proprietor ascends/descends to Valhalla, another takes his place. Thus is the nature of commerce in the Dark Ages.

From there we cruise along the French and Iberian coasts, pass through the pillars of Herakles, before eventually alighting on the golden, flagon bestrewn beaches, of Torremolinos. After such an arduous/audacious journey, and after beaching the boat, we usually hit the local taverna: 'Mr Patel's Authentic West Saxon and East Jute, Pub'. Here we feast mightily on fish 'n' chips and quaff deeply on Tipton, best mead. Honestly, it's as if we haven't left home, except for the sun (and the flies). When folk, back home, ask me what it's like, I say it's hot, bloody hot.

Back to the taverna.......Usually the place is filled with doe eyed, lithe (wait to they get older), raven haired wenches. For 20 groats they will gyrate on your lap and inflame your senses and manhood. The inevitable, merciful relief, will cost a further 20 groats or a brace of rabbits.

Next day, at noon, we plunge in the turquoise, turd bedecked, seas. In truth, the locals are well advised to dig midden pits rather than squat and squeeze upon the headland overlooking our beach. Then we lie on the scorching sands to top up our vitamin D levels and to transform our livid forms into vivid purple. Some of the lads catch crabs, but nothing that can't be cured with DDT and paraffin. Then time for more Tipton mead. And so the cycle goes on, until on the final day we burn and pillage the environs. Lastly, we erect a pyre on the sands and immolate a snake hipped bar tender to Woden and Loki to appease the gods and ensure a fair wind for the passage home.

Guess which one I fancy? Tis the one with the blond locks

Next year, I think we might go to Margate. Torremolinos is attracting too many uncouth Jutes. Not only do they hog the sun beds, but they have the annoying habit of talking loudly in restaurants. And they have the cheek to call us barbarians! No wonder we are driven to express ourselves by burning, pillaging and indiscriminating smiting.     Arse, big fat Jutish arrrrse.