Saturday, 18 September 2021

Philosophy in a Nut Shell/Bag

Whilst imbibing Ale, according to strict recommended guidelines, (not a drop less, not a drop more) in my local Tavern, 'The Frolicking Mustelid', Tipton (where else?), I was accosted by the local inebriate and impresario, Pissed Pete, he of rubicund and florid countenance/demeanour. Pickled Pete spake thusly: “Flaxen, you are renowned hereabouts, in these environs and locally, as a savant without peer. Mayhap you are able to address a question of major import, a query that has engaged the best minds for over 2 millennium. Flaxen, are you up to the task"?  I replaced the foaming mug of Ale, 'Ole Scrote Blaster', upon the care worn table of a million drunken spills and squinted wistfully, as if in a reverie or lost in a dream of enchantment and regarded my interrogator, with a wistful eye (just the left one). Pete belched, and the wind of a thousand furies assailed my olfactory system with disdain. The 'Plastered One', regarded me with sanguineous, rheumy eyes and continued. “Flaxen, what is the best definition of 'Philosophy', and if you will, how does it differ from Science' and Theology”? I pursed my lips as if in deep contemplation and responded as follows:

'Philosophy', in ancient Greek can be interpreted as 'Love of Knowledge'. Mayhap this is not a definition that would satisfy the modern mind, as it lacks intellectual rigour, but it sufficed for those pesky Hellenes of yore. The ancients did not distinguish between 'philosophy' and 'science' as we do today. All knowledge, regardless of how it was obtained, was considered under the hefty mantel of philosophy. The Ancient Greeks were not great fans, with some exceptions, of the scientific method as we understand it today. Deep thought, on its own, was the premier method for unlocking nature's secrets. They paid scant attention to what we call Empirical Data and its acquisition.   

This post, is exclusively and unashamedly devoted to Western Philosophy. Eastern Philosophy, throughout the ages, although of academic interest, has/had a tendency toward the esoteric and mystical, often adding a hefty dose of mythical elements masquerading as true, enlightened wisdom. This not to say that the Western variety is exclusively rational. For instance, check out the writings of Plato and Kant to name but two. Rational Western philosophers, are not always rational and irrational philosophers are not always irrational; tis extremely difficult to be consistent, all the time. And indeed, Western savants have oft been happy to sprinkle, or sometimes drench their work with theology. Alfred North Whitehead and Schopenhauer acknowledged their debt to Hinduism. While, Aquinas' philosophical system is only comprehensible within a Christian context. Even the great founder of modern Western philosophical thought, Descartes, added theology to his works. That said, too much of a generalisation tends to over simplification and the risk of lapsing into unintelligibility and lack of clarity. Arse.

Western philosophy, at its best, makes a distinction between knowledge that can be accessed by the Scientific Method and knowledge that can obtained by thought alone. I wont delve into the distinction between these distinct modes of knowledge acquisition as I have covered this ground in previous posts- if you are a true seeker of wisdom, then all will be revealed. 

Philosophic discourse, is eminently suited to such conundrums as: what is courage (Laches?); how can we live a moral existence?; what is the mind, can it be separated from matter?; does life have a purpose or are we adrift in an insouciant Universe? This is just a meagre selection of topics amenable to the Philosophic method, whatever that might be..... The answer to these questions cannot be resolved in the lab. Even the most powerful electron microscope will shed no light, or electrons, on the topics under scrutiny. Most of these enquiries are open ended, and therefore there is no precise, definite answer. In contrast, logical analysis and the quest for knowledge (Epistemology) can provide definitive solutions that defy dispute and remain forever true. And it here that we discern an overlap with the domain we identify as Science.  

Imagine a Venn diagram consisting of the spheres of Philosophy and Science. This would reveal a degree of correspondence between these two domains. The overlap would not be great, but the relationship is clearly significant. There are those who would argue that there should be an additional sphere; the sphere of Theology. I find it difficult to imagine any degree of interaction with our neatly arrayed spheres of  Philosophy and Science. Theology, consists of  a series of dogmatic beliefs and doctrine. The answers to life's mysteries are already known with a certainty that revolts the modern mind and remains in stark contrast to the temper of rational thought. Faith, provides solace to those who believe, but faith does reveal true knowledge. On the basis of faith all is possible. Religious certainty provides comforting fairly tales for those seeking assurance in a chaotic world. Theology, as a topic, remains outside the acquisition of knowledge and is best confined to the realm of psychology and sociology. 

A simple definition defies analysis and belittles the enormity of the task. I favour a series of phrases that interact to build a coherent framework. Each phrase should interlock into this framework and each phrase should be internally consistent as well as exhibiting consistency with each other. This is deceptively difficult to achieve in theory and practice as we run the risk of becoming bogged down in a morass of detail. Conversely, the definition may appear too simplistic, rendering it devoid of real meaning and content.

And therefore, finally.     

Definition:  Philosophy is universally defined as the study of the wisdom or knowledge about the general problems, facts, and situations connected with human existence, values, reasons, and general reality.

My Personal Definition:  Speculations on humanity, the 'self', existence, matter and the universe. An understanding, recognition of what constitutes knowledge and how true knowledge is to be distinguished from irrational beliefs. And finally, an understanding of the limitations of knowledge acquisition.

NB: With reference to knowledge, I have taken care not to include, definite knowledge, as determined by empiricism, as this strictly remains with the domain of science, not philosophy. 

As an exercise, I challenge my readers to propose a definition of philosophy, that makes sense to them. Perhaps, if get enough people to participate it could form the basis of a mass-debate. 


 


     

 

 

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Side Effect of Scant Consequence?



 I have to confess, to date, I've been free of significant side effects of my medication regimen. Even the classic problem of constipation, following opiate medication, troubles me, not at all.

Recently I was prescribed a new medication to add to the list: Amitriptyline. Amitriptyline belongs to a class of drug termed, tricyclic antidepressants and is prescribed for a variety of ailments. For instance, in low dosage it helps with sleep disturbance and promotes nocturnal rest. It is also used as a prophylactic in the prevention of severe migraines. At higher dosage it is prescribed as an antidepressant generally where other antidepressants have proved ineffective. In addition, it is used for the curtailment of nerve pain and has been shown to be effective as a treatment for children after significant head trauma, and as an adjunct in ADHD therapy. Thus, it seems Amitriptyline is a panacea for all that ails us; a drug for all seasons.

Like all medications, Amitriptyline has a number of known side effects. The majority of these  associated problems are relatively minor, such as: dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, and weight gain. On rare occasions more serious issues have been reported, specifically blurred vision, tremor, heart palpitations (tachycardia), dizziness, etc.......

This brings me to my sad story, to relate: I had been taking the medication for about a week (75mg/day). Twas a gorgeous Spring day and I was pottering about in my 'Man Shed/Emporium' engaged in a little light woodwork. At about 2pm in the afternoon I espied a dog wandering about on the property. The dog seemed friendly so I approached and checked the collar for an identification tag. There was none so I attached a piece of string to the collar in preparation to hawk said pooch to my immediate neighbours in hope of finding the owner. As I was leading the dog off the property my daughter approached and asked what I was up to. I explained the situation and afterward she looked as if I had gone stark raving mad. It transpires that I had placed a leash on my daughter's dog, Rocco. For context: my daughter, and the hound, had been living with us for the past two years! Of course, my daughter found the whole situation absolutely hilarious. I found the situation mildly disturbing. In all other respects I felt completely normal. And no, I hadn't been drinking or partaking of non-prescription medication. Curiouser and curiouser (not a real word -go tell it to the Caroll).  

I have never experienced this type of 'dissociation/dislocation from reality' before and I'm on my guard for similar episodes. Naturally I have ascribed this 'strange phenomenon' to the Amitriptyline. Of course, I could be wrong. I did consider stop taking the drug, but I do feel I'm getting some benefit from the medication. I've decided to continue, unabated, but not without increased vigilance. I'll keep note of any similar episodes and my family will also monitor my behaviour for anything odd or outside the normal, for me at least. I'm scheduled for a consult with my G.P. in just over two weeks and I'll certainly raise the matter with the good Dr Mugumbo.

My question/quest: Do any of my readership take said drug, and if so, have they experienced any side effects similar to mine? I would be grateful for any input that might shine a little light on my, rather disturbing experience.        

Monday, 6 September 2021

Flaxen Talking Bollocks


I'm sure that in the middle of the night you have contemplated the thorny problem of why the body's most sensitive organ, the testicles, are outside the protective carapace of the male chassis? Anyone who has received a football to the bollocks will testify to evolution's folly for not contemplating internal stowage. Only a mature male can experience the nagging, dragging, agonising pain that will inevitably transpire following contact with a hard unyielding object; transsexuals, take note. Upon impact there is the inevitable two second delay as the neural signal travels from the organ of contact/impact to the brain. The finale is a paroxysmal wave of agony experienced by the soma, (O deep joy). You might conclude that males would be better served by sequestering these sensitive glands deep inside the body cavity. The fact that this profoundly delicate male organ swings unfettered and free, awaiting the exquisite vicissitudes of life's slings and arrows, seems but a cruel joke of biology. Indeed, tis the most cogent argument for an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent deity being of the female persuasion. 

The testicles are enclosed in their own 'protective', yielding bag of skin. The rugeform and elastic scrotum encapsulates this valuable organic package and keeps it sequestered from the somatic mass of the main organism. It is has not gone without notice that the scrotal sac waxes and wains according to the ambient temperature. Its inherent properties of malleability, pliability, extensibility and thermal compliance are responsible for the propensity for extreme contraction and augmentation. 

The relationship between temperature and scrotal volume has been exhaustively researched, by myself, during a time when I eschewed medication. This involved placing said sac in water of varying thermal content. Fortuitously, the water itself also serves as a measure of volume due to the ancient principle of Archimedean water displacement. Overflow was conveniently collected in a strategically placed scientific grade measuring cylinder. The result confuted and confounded expectations, and belied simple analysis. And thus, it transpired that the correlation was not an equal, direct, correspondent, comparable, proportionate relationship. To my chagrin and vexation, my data revealed a binomial, sigmoidal relationship. This is counter to intuitive expectations. However, on reflection and further research, the result was found to be in perfect accord with the general properties of elastic materials as illustrated by Charles Law.  

Science Stuff

After the above preamble tis pertinent to address the fundamental question/quest as stated, cogently and with veritable aplomb, in the first paragraph of this esteemed post.   

Testicles have two main roles in the physiology of mammals. Firstly, they are responsible for the male hormone, testosterone, that defines masculinity, in all its manifold aspects. Formation and excretion of testosterone is not exclusive to the male gender and lesser amounts are secreted by the female of the species (don't ask). Secondly, the testes are the seat of sperm production. The development of male spermatozoa is a complex and interesting topic in itself. The average healthy male 'manufactures' 50-200 million spermatozoa per day and the average ejaculate contains, on average, 7 billion of the little, wriggling buggers.

In my professional capacity as a geneticist I have had the privilege to research and develop a diagnostic laboratory technique for sperm analysis. Specifically, the methodology was aimed at detecting genetically abnormal spermatozoa in the ejaculate of men carrying a known genetic anomaly. I posted a whimsical side swipe of the experience, here:  The Flaxen Saxon Chronicles: Search results for consummate professional

My interest in matters 'Scrotal' is not confined to my professional proclivities. Indeed, I'm an esteemed inventor of note and have used my talents, as an innovator, to combine my prodigious practical proficiency with my passion for the science of Bollockology, to engineer a mechanical device for the measurement of scrotal movement following a thermal insult. The Scrotometer (pat pending) and its practical deployment can be accessed using the following link:  The Flaxen Saxon Chronicles: Search results for scrotometer

For some reason, if you click on the links provided, the relevant posts will appear when you scroll down the page.  

Some say that I'm in line to receive the Nobel Prize for being a Smart Arse (Arse).


     

  

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Latest Status Update


I retired three years ago and moved to rural New Zealand. About two years ago my old boss offered two days work a week on a series of six month contracts. To be honest, the commute has been gruelling, entailing three hours of travel by public transport- O deep joy. My current contract runs out in November and I had already decided that this was going to be the end of my employment. For the past two weeks I have been off work due to the latest COVID lockdown infesting NZ.  

On Monday evening, whilst contemplating my fate, I had an epiphany. I seriously asked myself the following question: do I need to work at this stage of my life? Of course not. I'm getting too old for 16 hour Mondays and sitting on cramped trains for hours next to an accountant from Carterton. 

As if on cue my boss phoned to discuss my status. I explained that I don't want to continue regardless of contractual obligations. I'm done. Work no more. My boss is an old friend from way back when we both worked together in England. He is sympathetic and understands my current medical status. And so after discussing the situation with the family and explaining my intention to the section leader, I irrevocably decided to resign and hand in my resignation without notice. 

As for the future. As my regulars know, I set up an archery business with my son (Saxon Archery). I envisaged the enterprise as an extension of my passion without any pretence of turning a profit. Obviously I didn't take into account my son's drive and business acumen. Although he has a demanding full time job he has managed to market the brand with deft ability. His effort and hard work have paid dividends  and orders have started to flood in. We have reached the break even stage and with further determination, and effort, we are on course to earn a modest profit. 

My break from the daily grind will allow me to devote quality time for the business. At the moment I deal with selection, packaging and despatch. With more time on the my hands I hope to takeover some of the technical and marketing aspects of the business. The aim is shift some of the burden from my overworked but highly talented son.

I'm going to leave it there. There are several posts in the pipeline and September will prove to be a time of bounty. My intuitive creativity is bursting through the dura pouring forth unto an unsuspecting blank tableau. Arse.                          

Friday, 27 August 2021

What's in a Name?

                                                                  Go whiteys! 

I've commented many times on this blog concerning the toxicity of society's emerging 'woke culture' driven by a few left wing-nuts obsessing over censoring/cauterising the best we have in our Western culture. Time and time again, the 'wokey pokey' brigade are shown to be divorced from reality and the aspirations and opinions of the reasonable majority. The masses are starting to revolt and are expressing disaffection with forced attempts of societal engineering by 'voting with their feet'. In other words, withholding their endorsement (gelt) and expressing frank disdain. Just look at instances where companies think they are tapping into the buying population's minds (read=pockets) by producing excruciating and cringe worthy adverts supposedly pandering unto the 'woke mindset'. Ill thought out campaigns of this ilk have seriously backfired in nearly all occasions resulting in a serious loss in revenue. Check out the debacle at Gillette after airing a series of bewildering 'woke ads' for the Gillette razor. The ads were blatantly insulting to men, particularly white men, and strayed into other world lands. Who can forget where the father is teaching his trans son how to shave. The backlash was swift and severe ultimately costing the company 12 billion dollars in lost revenue, overall. Advertising execs with their lattes and pony tails are so blinkered, arrogant and out of touch with the population they are trying, so unsuccessfully, to influence it borders on the insane. 

The main narrative of today's post concentrates on New Zealand's sports governing body decision to seriously consider 'removing' the informal, unofficial name for the nation's football team, 'The All Whites'. This affectionate moniker is long standing and is in accord with Kiwi tradition where national sport teams have been colourised and branded with the likes of: 'Black Sticks' (Hockey); 'Black Caps' (Cricket); 'Silver Ferns' (Netball); 'All Blacks' (Rugby); and of course, the infamous and irrepressible/irascible 'Taupe Ferrets' (National Ferret wobbling Team).  

The NZ Football Chief, Andrew Pregnell, stated that discussions were ongoing with a view to change the name of the nation's footy team. He was quoted as saying: "we are on a journey around cultural inclusivity."  The implication, of course, is that the current name can be seen as excluding non-white ethnic groups. What a sensitive bunch of snowflakes we have become. When the name 'All Whites' was first introduced forty years ago it was seen as a slight whimsy to contrast with the more popular and more famous 'All Black' rugby team. Only a moron, or more to the point someone with a political agenda, could seriously impute racist connotations to this rather bland nickname.  

But let us expand the nature of the debate for the sake of consistency and inclusivity. Notable for its absence from the discussion is the mention or inclusion (what happened to inclusivity?) of the iconic, NZ rugby team, 'All Blacks'. Surely, this is racist, highly inflammatory and deeply offensive to melanin depleted folk. Mayhap we should raise a petition demanding a change in the derogatory appellation? I'm sure the good folk of New Zealand will prove highly receptive to a proposed name change.  After all, what's in a name?  

Let me know in the comments your suggested alternative designations. To get the ball rolling, I'll add a couple of suggestions of my own: 'The Fluffy Pink Bunny Rabbits'; 'The 18 decillion varieties of colours'. You can see the fans in the stands, shouting- "Go 18 followed by 33 zeros". And my personal favourite. 'The frolicking ferrets of indeterminate hue'. Go ferrets.    










    

 

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Bugger!


O bugger. And so New Zealand joins the 'Merry Go Round' that is COVID. A single individual from Aus is responsible for the whole country being forced into lockdown with all its implications. For the past week we have wallowed at level 4 and the Auckland region will remain thusly for the next 7 days while the remainder of the country is so blessed until Friday, with the option for an extension.

This is NZ's second COVID wave after the prompt implementation of control measures (level 4 implemented 25th May 2020) which effectively eradicated the virus, give or take a couple of cases. This all changed just over week ago after a visitor from Australia was shown to be positive for the highly contagious delta variant. COVID started to disseminate in the Auckland community and to date (24th August) 148 people have tested positive. With alarmist predictions suggesting that this outbreak might culminate with a 1000 cases, the country, once again, is in the grip of draconian measures. It appears that the majority of Kiwis are in accord with the swift government action however, there have been dissenting opinions. Many business owners and in particular, restaurants/cafes, are struggling with this second lockdown with the attendant loss in revenue. And of course, the average New Zealander, denied work, and in spite of government subsidies, will experience varying degrees of hardship.      

The main criticism levelled at the government concerns the 'open borders' policy with Australia, especially after the recent outbreak of the delta variant in New South Wales. Of course, economic factors determined our exchange with our closest neighbour. This has to be balanced against current losses within the economy estimated to run into billions of groats, er dollars. To be fair, hindsight is a delightful distraction of absolutely no help in our current dilemma. 

On a sobering note, it appears that supermarkets are starting to run out of beer. What a cruel virus, indeed. It robs us of our health and the best anodyne for treatment. How can folk believe in a benevolent deity under such heinous restraints? Makes my heart bleed.   

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Oscar Wild

 


Let's be honest, the Oscars this year were a travesty and completely pointless. And yes, I'm well aware that I'm a little late in my critical appraisal, as the Oscars were screened in April- did anyone notice?

Not only the Oscars, but other 'Entertainment Extravaganzas', such as the Golden Globes, are starting to merge into a political rally for the far left. Privileged, often white actors, seize their opportunity onstage to rail against the establishment and white male societal dominance. What formally used to be light entertainment has now become a rallying event for the 'Woke Brigade'. The only glimmer of hope was last year's Golden Globe awards hosted by the irrepressible Ricky Gervaise. He pulled no punches and gave the self absorbed, self important celebs, a right royal roasting. His caustic invective caused verbal ripples and consternation among the stars. They were none too pleased to have their egos viciously pricked; he was relentless and totally merciless. And the viewing public loved it. Sadly, as Mr Gervoise predicted, it is unlikely that he will be allowed to run rampant at an awards ceremony, ever again, which is a bloody shame.

Gone are the days when award ceremonies were perceived as entertainment watched by the masses. Over recent years the 'events' have become an arena for highly paid, so called stars, to berate the audience for a host of perceived ills in society. Folks at home are not impressed and expressed their disenchantment by tuning out. They argue: what right have a bunch of 'lovies' to lecture the public? Why should we listen to a gaggle/rabble of millionaires who have found fame and fortune on the basis of good looks and luck. How are they qualified to berate the populous concerning complex issues of which they have absolutely no understanding? As Mr Gervoise so wisely expostulated: “why don't you shut the fuck up and get pissed”. Wise words indeed.

Disaffection with this year's Oscars was palpable. In 2015, the Oscars pulled in over 37 million viewing punters. This in itself was a major decline from the 1990s, when the Oscars were watched by 58 million. This year not so much. Only 9.5 million folk could be bothered to tune in. Some of the smarter celebs are seeing the 'way of the wind' and express disdain with the proceedings by not showing up to the debacle. Sir Anthony Hopkins, although receiving the Oscar for, 'Actor in a Leading Role' category, for his performance in 'The Father' couldn't be arsed to show up. Apparently, Sir Anthony's agent stated that his esteemed client was fast asleep at home.

The ceremonies have trailed away from their prime directive and are no more than a sounding board and a finger wagging exercise for a bunch of twats totally out of tune with the viewing public that they are supposed to serve. Award events have become increasingly irrelevant over recent years and deserve to wither away as befits their futile status. Will anyone notice? Gone are the days when celebs could command public awe and unjustified adoration. Our critical age has revealed their true worth. No one gives a shit. So called celebs and screen stars need to adapt to their new found, lowly status and take on board a good dose of well deserved humility, if they can. Arse.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

O Dear, Auntie Beeb is Donald Ducked,

 O How The Mighty Have Fallen! And Woe To The Woke

The BBC, the once mighty bastion of Britain's televisual greatness is sadly no more. The deplorable decline has occurred over a relatively short time span, and no longer is the BBC the byword, or the benchmark, for superb and quality telecasting.

A recent BBC report has noted a decline in the number of British households willing to relinquish the princely sum of £159 per year for the mandatory license fee. Apparently, 700,000 disillusioned viewers, have decided to withdraw their 'paid membership' this year. As the license fee is mandated in law, could it be that non-paying miscreants are at risk of  falling foul of the law? This is not an easy question to answer in our wondrous, modern technological age. In times past the tele was the sole (visual) entertainment medium to be enjoyed from the comfort of home. These days the choice is staggering and no longer are we a slave to flaccid terrestrial tele. Therefore, the licencing legislation has changed to reflect this nonchalant, non-dependence on analogue tele and has embraced the digital world with alacrity and gusto. Thus, if you livestream a Netflix programme and watch during the process you require a licence, but if you record and watch later, no licence is required. It matters not a jot whether you have a tele, any electronic device is deemed sufficient to incur the fee. 

This introductive preamble is but a prelude for the main thrust of this post: 'The Sad Decline of this Once Mighty Monolith.'  Historically, BBC programming was the envy of the world. Lavishly funded, and independent from advertising revenue, the BBC could concentrate on expensive but superlative productions. In 'The Golden Age' a whole slew of top quality series, documentaries, drama and comedy held the British viewing population, enthralled. How can we forget such masterpieces, as: Monty Python; Planet Earth; I Claudius; Yes Minister and Doctor Who. Quality programming is never going to come cheap and in theory, every household in the UK, is required to own a licence, paid annually and in perpetuity.  

Of course, public disillusionment in the BBC does not have a single cause and there are undoubtedly several factors involved. In this post I will comment on the two key components, that in my opinion, have played a major part in the BBC's precipitous decline in popularity. Most obviously, choice. There are a slew of digital services available, for a fee. Netflix, is one of the most popular streaming services and in the UK, the Standard Plan works out as £10 per month- a saving of £39 per year in comparison to the good old, Beeb. Now this might not be a huge saving and let's be honest, there's a lot of shit on Netflix. But at least there is no element of coercion to subscribe and you get to choose what you want to watch.

We live in an increasingly, cynical and weary/wary world. The internet makes 'bamboozlement' of the public by the controlling elites a fraught endeavour, indeed. The British Brainwashing Corporation is living in some sort of alternative universe and seems to think that its major role is to control and influence how the British public thinks and acts. We see 'repurposing' of classics, such as A Christmas Carol, where the Cratchit family is mixed race. Viewers find this sort of manipulative 'wokeness', irritating, jarring and frankly sinister. There are many such examples of the 'woke agenda' being rammed down the viewing public's throat. Humour is many things, but at least it ought to be genuinely funny. The BBC's repeated attempt at so-called woke humour illustrates the problem with stark abandon. A whole comedy genre based on the premise: 'White middle-class males, bad' is not only unfunny to its core (canned laughter notwithstanding), it is also deeply offensive to a huge swathe of viewing public and dare I say, racist. It is seen for what it is: a toxic vehicle for the dissemination of extreme, left wing ideology.   

The majority of the British public don't want to be subjected to 'woke madness' and certainly don't want to be exposed to Marxist ideology, differently wrapped. You might be asking: but Flaxen, of the flowing mane, of spun gold, with a hint of silver thread, what care you? You buggered off 20 years ago to live the life of idle/idyll, in Nuzzyland. This is all true. However, I lived my formative years in the UK when the BBC was at its peak, producing programmes, such as, Monty Python; Planet Earth; I Claudius; Yes Minister and Doctor Who....... Sadly, the like of which, will never be seen, again.

                                                            Flaxen rests his case. Arse. 



Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Waiting for the Pharmacy to Open

 Tis time for a little, light hearted, chortling. My recent outpourings have become a little serious. And what better way to unwind and relax the chuckle muscles than indulging in a rollicking good and humorous read.....  

The following books are part of the new 'Ladybird Book' series with an emphasis on real life problems impinging on the denizens of this woeful affliction/affectation, called life. The Editors felt that the series had grown old, dated and stale and deemed it necessary to inject a modern perspective in order to ensure that the famed collection remained relevant in a chaotic and uncertain social milieu/melee. Read on and weep.



It would have to happen, eventually. Looting, or as it termed in our wonderful, New Age, 'Undocumented Shopping Without Remuneration', has arrived. Indeed, if there is an element of 'burning stuff', mayhap, the appellation, 'Combustion Enthusiast' could be added, without prejudice? Thus it seems, Looting has become mainstream and Middle Class. Arse, double, Arse.





Unfortunately, this has turned out to be a rather thick book with many inclusions. Too many Cunts, not enough time. Should be called the thick book of thick cunts.




I'm sure most folk have their favourite hangover stories. 

The only one that really stands out was the time, I woke, at 4am in the morning, totally naked, lying on a park bench with a Chinaman sucking my toes.......Of course, this story might be apocryphal depending on status sobrietus (not a real word). Are we allowed to call Orientals, Chinamen, these days? Are we allowed to call Chinamen, Chinamen, these days? Gets confusing: so many words in the English language that we can no longer use. I remember what my old dad used to call them and it wasn't pesky and wily. Nuff said.

 



When I were a lad of about 11, the 'one girl' in our class was called by the unassuming name, Leslie Green. She was very smart and precocious and as positive traits seem to associate, was very pretty. She was always the first to put her hand up in class and as evidenced by the number of gold stars awarded, she was also the smartest. I'm sure you can't do this sort of thing these days, but back in 1966 my class had a board prominently displaying pupil's names and next to the names a series of gold stars were accrued, indicating individual acts of scholarly excellence. I remember, very distinctly, seeing a total of 37 stars next to her name. If you are wondering: the flaxen haired one was exalted with 2. This might appear to be a conundrum to my readership who have come to see myself as an intellectual giant amongst men (more god than man, mayhap?). All I can say is, that intellectually, I took a little time to mature. In retrospect I like to call this period in my life as, 'getting covered in the mud, blood and snot resurgence'. However, there was one pupil deemed even less promising- David Manning. Poor, 'one star' David (no pun intended). I often wonder what became of him. Let me say this: if there was ever a profession requiring extreme proficiency in the stuffing of plastic gonks up nostrils, then David would no doubt be the top exponent of the craft. 


And finally, and somewhat inevitably..........

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Twirlies



Today, I received the New Zealand, 'Gold Card'. Therefore, I'm officially a pensioner, senior citizen, golden ager, super annuitant, retired gentleman, and old fartus maximus. Delete according to temperament. With 'Gold Card' in hand I'm entitled to travel the by-ways of the realm for nowt/free/gratis.   

To be honest, I prefer the term, 'Twirley'. Apparently, in the UK, pensioners have earned the name because they have a tendency to appear at bus stops outside their allotted time for free travel. It seems the old and befuddled get confused and conflate time, according to their wont. 

To prevent commuters being inconvenienced by hordes of rheumy eyed incontinent folk, there is an injunction that defers their free bus travel to none peak commuter hours. A sound policy, no doubt. No one wants to sit next to some old twat smelling of piss and rubbing liniment. Therefore, those Oldsters who are unable to follow temporal rules, are justly rebuked with the injunction: "You are too early" (Twirley), and consequently are forced to wait a more propitious time. Hordes of confused grampas are doomed to roam the streets bemoaning/bewailing the fact that in their day you could buy a brace of ferrets for tuppence a pound, etc. We certainly live in strange times.

   

 



 

Monday, 5 July 2021

Did Jesus Really Exist?

                                                                      Jesus?

Was Jesus a person of history? Did he exist? This might seem a silly question. Surely, 1 billion followers can't be wrong. The four Gospels and the letters of Paul mention Jesus and define him as real man who lived during the time of the Roman Emperor, Tiberius. Is there any valid reason to question the veracity of these 'learned tomes'? 

I need to state that I have no vested interest in whether Jesus existed or not. Either way, it would not change my world view. As an atheist it doesn't matter to me. However, I can understand that to committed Christians the answer to this question is of critical and vital importance. Furthermore, whether atheist or Christian, there is no escaping the fact that Jesus, and more importantly the way he was interpreted and expanded by later Christians, has had an enormous impact on Western, and therefore world history. The development of Western culture and society over the last fourteen hundred years has been driven and heavily influenced by Christian thought and zeal. But this is not Jesus' fault.  

I'm not the first to ask this question. There is a growing movement amongst respectable Bible scholars and historians that challenge Jesus' existence. So, what is the basis for this view and more importantly what evidence is available to support their thesis, and the counter-thesis? It might be thought that the burden of proof lies with the nonbelieving skeptic, but this is definitely not the case. As with all positive beliefs, notions and concepts, the burden of proof always resides with the individual making the assertion.

The Old Testament (OT): Contrary to what many Christians believe, there is no real evidence that predicts the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. Tis tenuous indeed to think that the references to the Messiah in the OT can be squeezed into predictions concerning the coming of a specific individual called Jesus. Therefore, we are left with the literature as listed above, supposedly written by near contemporaries but not primary eyewitnesses of Jesus' life. There is also a smattering of non-Biblical references; more on this later. The paucity of independent evidence is  raised as a point in favour of the 'Non-existence' crowd. And it cannot be denied that the non-biblical references to Jesus are scant. Compare with other important important 'near' contemporises in history. Consider the wealth of evidence, from multiple sources, both written and from statures, coins and archeology, for individuals such as Julius Caesar and Alexander 'The Great'. No one familiar with the evidence would doubt the existence of these highly influential men of history. For Jesus, though undoubtedly one of the most important men who supposedly never lived, the evidence for his existence, from non-biblical sources is clearly lacking. This is easy to explain however, as Jesus was not a famous or important figure of his time. His fame came much later and was promulgated, with undoubted zeal, by later, fervent Christians. Contrast this to Caesar who was important during his life and influenced critical world events during his existence, at that time.

The New Testament is a mix of several styles and literary genres. One of these genres is 'biography' purported to illustrate key events in Jesus' life. This is not biography that would be acceptable in any modern sense. It is chock full of inaccuracies, frank contradictions and descriptions of events that would not be considered as historically true. Thus, it has to be acknowledged the bible is as very flawed collection of books, particularly as we require hard evidence that would stand in a modern court of law.     

The main argument for Jesus' non-existence goes like this: It is noted that the life and death of Jesus closely follows the death and resurrection scenario of many mythical heroes and gods of the ancient world such as, Heracles, Adonis, Osiris and many more. These gods and demi-gods were born on the 25th December to virgin mothers, died for the sake of others and were raised from the dead. The parallels with Jesus' life are uncanny, however as an argument it suffers from several flaws. In their own time, it was recognised that these accounts of 'lives' were stories and not to be taken as having happened except amongst the highly credulous and feeble minded- often the same. Jesus was never interpreted in this way. Although there may have been debate in the ancient world whether he was fully man or a god, his historicity is never questioned. Even at that time there existed renowned scholars who were critical of the historical Jesus. Even, ancient critics of Christianity never question whether Jesus lived. His existence was taken as true.

Critics often cite the lack of contemporary, non-biblical, written evidence concerning Jesus. Surely an individual drawing large crowds in Palestine and performing astonishing miracles would have gained attention and consequently attracted attention of the literate elite. This not surprising. The tomes of the time written by Greek, and especially Roman writers, were mainly concerned with societies' elite. There is little mention of the peasantry. Palestine was a back water and the Roman's considered the Jews as a difficult and intransigent people. As for miracle workers, there seemed a glut. Palestine was awash with 'prophets' peddling their religious agenda. Miracles were common place in the ancient world and even sophisticated Romans considered miracle claims as valid. Tis really no surprise that Jesus was mostly ignored until he became a political threat. Even then he would attract scant regard. He was just one amongst a crowd of miscreants falling foul of the Romans' concept of swift and unpleasant justice. It was never a good idea to fuck with the Romans- nasty bucolic people, with all the vices concomitant with their breed.  

This brings us to the written evidence, at the time, outside the biblical narrative. There are a couple of references to Jesus outside the canon of the Gospels and Paul's missives. Josephus, the Jewish traitor and prolific writer on the Jewish predicament mentions Jesus, briefly in his acclaimed book, 'Jewish Antiquities'. The fragment is considered as a true comment, however, meddling Christens couldn't resist a little embellishment. The other comment comes from the historian, Tacitus and Pliny. Again their comments are brief and terse. That, basically, is the only evidence written by non-Christians that we have for Jesus' existence. To be honest it is amazing that he attracted any attention at all. 

Paul's writings and letters are interesting, although beware, some are undoubtedly forgeries. Paul, strangely had little interest in the historical Jesus. He was concerned with the risen Christ as a concept and there was no room in is thesis for a solid, breathing man called, Jesus. There is one redeeming feature throughout his prolific writings. He mentions that he met both Jesus' brother, James, and the Apostle Peter. The contact was fraught with doctrinal disputations. It is hard to conceive that he made up this narrative. I'm of the opinion that Paul was not that clever to deceive and produce such a compelling narrative. If Jesus' brother existed, surely he would have known his brother. 

From what I've written tis fairly obvious that I'm a believer in the historical Jesus. Christian's can relax. For me, there is one clincher when it comes to evidence. And that is the principle of 'Embarrassment'. Jesus' prime message was apocalyptic. He expected the world, as is, to come to an end, NOW. He mentions that people alive, at the time, would witness this god given/driven momentous event. Christens are oft and prone to gloss over Jesus' core message concerning the end of the current world order. The expectation was that the risen Christ would become manifest during this world shattering event. But this did not happen and followers had to consider that Jesus' utterings were couched in terms ethereal and deliberately obscure to those who could not hear or see. Mayhap devout Christians would have to wait awhile.  

This is all I want to say on this topic. It's really difficult to summarise this highly complex subject in a mere 1,000 words. I exhort my readers to read Prof. Bart Ehrman's book: 'Did Jesus exist'. A highly informative account of the issues and problems concerning the life of Jesus. He writes with verve and clarity and the book is aimed at the curious intelligent individual willing to immerse their selves in this fundamental and highly important question. I'm interested, with regard, to my readerships' comments and views on this convoluted topic as I'm aware that some of my readership are committed Christians: let me know in the comments.       

 Have you noticed? At no point did I mention a ferret called Shagger, or say Arse. Mayhap I'm on the mend: Shagger,  There is a way to go for my redemption. Arse. 

                                                                        Jesus?


Sunday, 27 June 2021

It's Never Aliens: Nothing to see here.....



And so the much awaited report has been released by the US. The document is 9 pages long and mentions 144 unidentified objects. As expected, this short report is not ground breaking and there is avid speculation as regard to the 'unclassified' portion of the report, that was not released for public consumption.

There is nothing in the report that wasn't known already. It mentions various 'explanations', including extra-terrestrial and extra-dimensional origins.

Predictably, the Pentagon has been accused of a 'cover up' and that the juiciest observations have been omitted. Also, predictably, the 'conspiracy  crowd' have gone wild with condemnation.

Here is a direct quote from the report:

'The limited amount of high-quality reporting on Unidentified Arial Phenomenon (UAP) hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature and intent of UAP.'


As expected, nary a word concerning abductions and especially 'Anal Probing'. If you have been reading my blog you will know that this topic is very close to my heart (Arse), as I have been anally probed by aliens on multiple occasions, usually after imbibing copious amounts of strong Ale. Here is a couple of examples for your viewing pleasure. I've included one personal example and a further example concerning my good friend, Mr Ipod Mugumbo (for it is he). Nuff said, for now.......

  The Flaxen Saxon Chronicles: Search results for aliens anal probing  The Flaxen Saxon Chronicles: Search results for mugumbo anal probing




Friday, 25 June 2021

Dotage

Flaxen at Bay   (window?)

And so it has come to pass (wind), Flaxen has entered the hallowed halls of: 'Oldus Fartus Maximus'. Last Tuesdaytide I received my first old age pension payment, or as the New Zealand more prosaically calls it, Superannuation- I'm officially, superannuated. Tis a landmark; a mark in the road which I have left far, far behind/beyond. 

The 'Gold Card' will soon come in my letter box allowing me to travel free on public transport, but not during rush hour. Can't have the oldies cluttering up the buses and trains smelling of peppermint and piss. Though to be fair, this appears sound, public transport is busy enough at certain times and apparently 'Old Folk' are notoriously early risers. As I'm stuck on a busy commuter train twice a week, the last thing I need is to stand two hours because the local pensioners rise at 5.00am and would like to do a spot of shopping in the Big City. Tarry a while and catch the 9.20am to Wello, instead. Early rising is one aspect of age that I haven't embraced, yet. On this particular Thursday morn I awoke at 09.15am, and am currently languishing in bed as I write this blog, at 9.50am, drinking tea and farting with gusto. I dare say I will languish under the covers until about 11.30am. I'm not  a 'Night Owl' either, invariably I'm fast asleep by 10.00pm. For some reason, and if there is no need for early arising, I can sleep for at least ten hours, sometimes more. My big brain needs rest, rest assured. 

Apparently, the Gold Card (of Doom) entitles me to discounts from stores throughout the land. Unfortunately, these stores are not the big brand monoliths spread far and wide. The stores on the list are small affairs indeed. Moreover, very few of the selected outlets are within my township. In other words: The Gold Card is bloody useless.   

I reached 65 in February, this year. For reasons, that lie deep in my tortured psyche, I didn't apply for my pension until late May. To be more exact, my son submitted the application. He had become infuriated at my procrastination and applied for me. Not as daft as it sounds as he currently works for the government department that deals with this sort of thing. I just had to supply various primary documents duly countersigned by a Justice of the Peace. My delay has meant I've missed out on a couple months of 'free money'. More fool me. As they say (who?) - "There is no fool like an old fool". Wisdom is not a necessarily a companion of age and age sometimes travels alone.

 I've met many 'Oldies' (Twats) who are willing to espouse 'wisdom', however they end up regurgitating hackneyed aphorisms, of scant regard. They look so earnest as they dispense their drivel/dribble and expect you to react as if they have just spouted the distilled sagacity of the whole Western world. If I ever start to talk to strangers in the supermarket I commend Woden to take my poor soul. Although on the upside, I can now happily piss myself in the 'Exotic Lard' aisle at the local supermarket and shout, "Arrrrrse", very loudly with impunity. What can the management do under such circumstances? I can always pull out the Gold Card as mute testament to my decrepitude and mental infirmity. I can hear them muttering: "Poor old sod, he should be in a home". Ten minutes later I'll be driven home by the local, on call, social worker. Once trapped in my presence I can randomly ramble about how, years ago, you could buy a whole pig's head for less than ten groats, etc.etc....     

As my regulars doth know, I'm semi-retired only working two days a week in the 'Big City'. My contract runs out mid-November and I've decided to call it a day. I will miss the pay and the intelligent discourse with colleagues, but it is time to go.      

The NZ pension is not particularly generous. I wonder how unprepared folks get by especially as rental property is exorbitant. In fact, the rent for a modest house would likely use the whole pension. I'm sure the government helps in these circumstances. Even so, unless you have other streams of income, you will be consigned to a life of unremitting poverty. Sadly, it appears that a lot of Kiwis are in this position. I'm okay financially as I also receive a pension from the UK. In addition, I  have savings and investments. I will not starve. I don't pay rent or a mortgage on my house. If desperate I could sell my house and land and downsize. I hope it never comes to that as our home is perfect for all our needs. We not going to be able to live the 'High Life' but we should be okay. Mrs. S has completely retired. She retired early due to health problems although she doesn't officially reach the age of retirement for a further six years.  

How will I keep busy after finally, fully retiring? This is a question I'm asked on a regular basis, and on balance, a reasonable one. Many folk appear bereft once retirement kicks in. Considering how much time and effort that goes into employment these days this is understandable, but avoidable. It seems obvious, but folk should plan ahead and introduce new hobbies and expand old interests. From my perspective, I will be fully engaged. Obviously I have my blogging activities to contend with and other writing assignments and I enjoy making things out of wood. I've appropriated/apportioned a good sixed space in the 'barn' as a workshop. This is well provisioned with benches, hand tools and power tools that I have accumulated over time. As mentioned before in this blog, I'm not particularly skilled, but I am determined and persistent. I'm currently engaged in fashioning a crossbow with a medieval mechanism. There is much to do on the property. The property is extensive and requires some maintenance. Lawns need a cutting and feeding. Even with a ride on mower this generally takes two days. Weeds need a weeding and flower beds need attending. I'm not a happy gardener but it has to be done. The business- I have started a modest 'sideshow' business with my son selling bows and archery equipment. This is doing well and takes up a surprising amount of time to organise and administer. We are only selling to NZ at the moment but hope to expand the business internationally. We have managed to secure selling rights from a European company and now act as their sole New Zealand representatives. And finally, I'm an avid reader of books. I'm very catholic in my tastes, eschewing fiction, and concentrate mainly on ancient history, military affairs, science, mathematics and theology. 

Seems I'm more busy now than when I was fully employed.                  

Toodly Pip, for now

The Reality?






        

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Tis Never Aliens.

                                                Yea, definitely Aliens.  Arse 

Everyone is  waiting, with bated breath, the much hyped report by the US government concerning UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon). Apparently, this is official speak for the old moniker, UFO.  The release, supposedly, has been driven by the 'leak' of three videos showing UAPs, on radar and other monitoring modalities as viewed by military aircraft and warships. For your edification, check out the videos on YouTube.

So what are we to make of these forthcoming revelations? There are several important aspects of UAP observations that require careful and rational interpretation. The fact that these observations were made by sober, educated, military pilots has impressed many. Previous observations of UAPs often lacked credibility due to the supposed unreliability of the reporters. The problem, previously, was that the folks giving evidence were classed as delusional. They are of course, a mixed bunch, but generally not skilled professional observers. Also, 'this sort of thing' has attracted, in the past, the usual bunch of crazies, conspiracy theorists and assorted weirdos. They appeared prone and primed to ascribe their sightings as belonging to extraterrestrial craft without a critical examination of earth bound phenomenon. And of course, there was a minority who bolstered their viewing with an abduction tale. Anal probing seemed an integral part of the scenario. For good reason most of these 'tall tales' were summarily dismissed as belonging to the lunatic fringe or a misinterpretation of a very natural and mundane aerial incident, anal probing aside. 

On first examination the videos appear astonishing. It is to be noted that the recorded images were made not by instruments relying on visual light spectra but on radar or infrared instrumentation. Thus, most of the imagery is open to distortion as a natural consequence of these modalities. So far, the US government has been circumspect in their interpretation. What they will say is this: The observations are not hoaxes and that they are not due to advanced American devices. What has impressed many is that the images appear to be travelling, in some instances, at great speed; the maneuvers are not consistent with known terrestrial craft; and in a least one instance the 'craft' appears to abruptly enter the sea or simply disappear. Heady stuff indeed. But before we shout, 'Aliens/Xenomorphs', let us take a step back......   

Before I address the extraterrestrial scenario, a few image analysis experts have come up with explanations that are considered artefacts of the measuring devices. This is not an area I feel able to explain as my expertise lies elsewhere. I've listed some possibilities, as proposed by experts, and added a link explaining how these effects could be responsible for UAPs. I'd welcome comments from my readership concerning these possibilities, especially from those with relevant expertise/experience. 

All Right. Let's Talk About The UFO Thing | Answers With Joe - YouTube     

Bokeh effect

Parallax 

Gimble rotation

This is Flaxen's take on all this: Before we propose an extraterrestrial explanation it is prudent to explore, exhaustively,  all natural phenomenon and artefacts. This is vitally important as some folk jump to the extraterrestrial explanation before considering 'Earth Bound' explanations. A host of natural phenomena have been put forth in an effort to explain UAPs. 'Little Green Ferrets', er, I mean Men' are not required or necessary. 

So, if we can't stretch the 'artifact' explanation, what else? None, other world explanations include such banal objects, as flocks of birds; weather balloons; aircraft; the planet Venus; drones and objects, numerous. Go look. That said, I'm not suggesting that the videos of the UAPs mentioned here are any of these. Of concern, is that a foreign power(s) has progressed their technology to a capability beyond the expertise of  Western science. Supportive evidence is garnered from the consideration that these sightings are often recorded in the vicinity of military/nuclear facilities. Of course, the Russians and Chinese have denied that they are responsible- but they would say that, wouldn't they? On balance, looking at the available evidence, I would say, nay. Could be wrong though, I'm not infallible.

Here is an interesting observation: Why is it that the images observed are always blurred, as if from a lens, darkly discerned? We never observe, clear, unequivocal, sharp images. With the ubiquitous use of iPhones, there is an expectation of clearer images. The images recorded by the military are not within the visible light spectrum; this does not aid clarity.    

And then we have high definition satellites. The images recorded are crisp and can pick out an individual playing basket ball from high above our atmosphere. But, no well defined image of a UAP.  Mayhap, 'The Powers that be' are not being forthcoming. A conspiracy theorist's dream.

If we are to remain rational we must maintain an open mind and expect any explanation, even if bizarre, as long as we have overwhelming evidence. Frankly, as yet, I've not seen such evidence in support of an extraterrestrial origin. This is not to say I deny life outside our cosy, warm, terrestrial environment. I do believe in life outside our little blue world but I suspect most organisms are nothing more than heaving mats of bacteria. However, I'm open to the vision that intelligent beings are out there. This doesn't mean they have the wherewithal to travel vast interstellar distances and skid about our atmosphere, with relative impunity. If we are inclined to believe in Einstein, as I'm inclined to do so, then faster than light travel, is not possible. Therefore, we are left with 'Warp Drive'. If you can access energy, akimbo, then in theory, at least, it could work.   

As said, many times by rational folk, various: 'Tis Never Aliens'. I think this is a reasonable, default position. Until we have good evidence to the contrary, rational stasis is how we should regard the topic, at least for now. 

 And remember, extraordinary conclusions warrant

 extraordinary evidence


 
 


Friday, 11 June 2021

The Strid

                                                                   Bolton Abbey

I would like to ask my readers a question? Where and what would you consider the most dangerous stretch of water in the world? It could be the sea off seal island in South Africa; perhaps Niagara Falls; mayhap the waters off Cape Horn. I'm sure the good folk who read this blog can think of other areas of water that would qualify. And yes, the examples I have cited can be exceedingly perilous. Many, foolhardy and unlucky souls have gone to a watery grave at these sites. In the case of seal Island, the unwary have become an integral part of the food chain. However, dangerous as these places can be I would like to suggest a stretch of water called 'The Strid' as the main contender. The Strid is a small section of the river Wharfe situated in Yorkshire in North England. It flows past a ruined 12th century Abbey, called 'Bolton Abbey'. I have visited the region and walked through the Abbey. It must have been majestic in its time and still invites awe even in such a jaded old scrote as myself. I have also visited the infamous 'Strid', a stones throw away (arse). When I was there the water was not in full spate and looked curiously inviting. At this point the river narrows to just under six feet, and herein lies the problem.

Just upstream from the Strid the Wharfe is a sedate gentle river about 30 feet wide. A little downstream the river and the water contained within is forced into the narrow channel of the Strid. Although the surface of this stretch looks calm, just under the meandering stream lies a deep abyss. The water under the tranquil surface is violent and fathomless. Strong currents and eddies belie the river's calm exterior. At this point the waters flow deep and the roiling, tumultuous waters have cut deep chasms/caverns into the limestone, undermining both banks. This has resulted in the formation of numerous caves and tunnels. Due to the violence of the underlying waters these formations can not be explored by man or instrumentation. 

It is said that the son of a prominent Lady of the area died in the Strid in the 12th century and so in order that the soul of the young departed son could be prayed for, the distraught Lady donated the lands to the church. Wordsworth was so moved by the area that he penned a poem: 'The Force of Prayer'. Wordsworth included in his prose the mishap of the young fella from yore, surnamed Romilly.  I haven't included the whole poem. Here is a representative stanza. In my opinion, the poem is not Wordsworth's best work.

“And what may now forbid
That he, perhaps .for the hundredth time,
Shall bound across THE STRID?
He sprang in glee, – for what cared he
That the river was strong, and the rocks were steep?…
The Boy is in the arms of Wharf,
And strangled by a merciless force;
For never more was young Romilly seen
Till he rose a lifeless corpse.”   
  
The problem: when the river is calm it seems deceptively 'safe'. At its narrowest point it possible to leap from one side to the other. The rocky banks are slippery and slick with algae and a wrong move results in certain death. To date, no one has survived a dip in this stretch of the river. In 1998 a honeymoon couple died whilst walking along the bank. Rain upstream caused the Strid to rise over five feet in just a minute and both were swept into the yarning maul of the Strid. In 2010 a boy was lost when he slipped on the river bank. 

Although their are warning notices along the river bank, folk seem lured to the spot. Unsuspecting tourists find it difficult to comprehend that this 'babbling brook' is dangerous. It looks so benign, serene and hypnotic..... Do not tarry too long and stare deep into its limpid depths.

Bodies don't always reappear. A few may surface downstream, hours, days, months or even years later. But it seems the Strid is reluctant to release all its prizes. Many are never seen again and lurk deep within its cavernous, tortuous depths. They hang like ragged trophies with their bony hands outstretched toward a domain they will never reach.


It looks so peaceful and benign






Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Nobody Knows you are a Mustelid

He's a nutter
                                      
What's going on? Three posts in three days. Surely, the esteemed Flaxen is complying with his full medication programme.

I recently received an email criticising my prose style. The thrust of the missive suggested that my writing is too florid, too ostentatious and peppered with unnecessary embellishment. I'm guilty as charged, me Lord. Some folk take 'The Blogging World' far too seriously.  

Yes, my style is all the above. The affectation is in keeping with my blogging persona. In the real world, my prose is tight, unencumbered and sparsely fashioned. This reflects my professional writing style. In other areas of endeavour my writing is also clipped and my sentences crisp, short and devoid of ornamentation. I'd rather use the simple Anglo-Saxon word than the Latin; my blog is the exception, not the rule. 

It could be said that my 'Blogging Peculiarity' is designed to be admired rather than understood. On the internet no one knows that you are a sad old man with a tenuous grasp on sanity teetering on the brink of bleak despair and endowed with a ferret fixation. Truth can be stranger than fiction.     

The blogging world is a strange odd place, indeed. Tis an eclective market place of diverse interests and motivations. All is paraded in serried array. All can accessed at the click of a ferret, err, I mean mouse.

Nothing on my blog can be understood in the context of serious intent, although many of the topics addressed contain serious content. My frivolity of expression is meant to be entertaining while delivering an important message (perhaps, sometimes). I'm sure many of my readers can see through the fa├žade. However, the real Flaxen Saxon will not stand up. I value, and acknowledge my creativity and eccentricity as a gift from my schizophrenic mother. And who said nothing good comes from madness? To be honest I'm quite nonconformist, odd and eccentric in real life- just ask Shagger. Although, when required I can be serious, but not for long.

The downside of my genetics is that, sometimes, I'm stalked by the melancholic 'Black Dog' of despond. It snaps at my heel, and on rare occasions, draws blood. As for the cacophony chasing through my mind, I will say this: it can be a solace and a curse. It is unceasing and cannot be tuned out or turned off. Tis something I've learned to live with. I've been informed, by professionals who should know better, that the incessant 'thought jumble' can be stopped with drugs. I've eschewed treatment as I realise that my whole being is predicated on my deviation from the norm (two standard deviations). 

Even in this piece, which is supposed to be a serious explanation of my online persona, I can't escape that persona.   

So there you have it. Perhaps not a full, annotation of my off-beat personality but tis all I'm willing to give. Otherwise, you would gain entry to my mind. This, I can't allow, for undoubtedly, frank unmitigated madness would ensue.    


Say hello to Shagger

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Jordan Peterson


   Behold the Man

Unless you have been living, sequestered in the bubble, aptly named, 'The  Bubble of Tipton', you must of heard of the phenomenon, pertinently termed, Prof. Jordan Peterson. Said Prof. became foisted upon a none sequestered/cloistered populous several years ago due to contention. Read on and weep, or applaud, depending upon your psychological and/or political status.  

Professor Jordan Peterson burst upon popular consciousness after upsetting, 'the usual suspects' during a lively debate concerning, 'Gender Issues'. Jordan is an academic at the University of Toronto. He teaches and researches in the arena of human psychology and in this regard he describes himself as a 'scientist'. In addition, he maintains a clinical psychology practice and has been active on various social media platforms, including YouTube since 2016. In particular, Peterson gained notoriety due to his stance against a particularly pernicious piece of potential Canadian legislation, that if passed, could result in prosecution for those unwilling to express an individual's preferred gender pronoun. He rightly objected due to the proposal's anti-free speech connotations. He does not support judicial interference in matters of conscience especially when it criminalises freedom of thought and speech. This is an anathema to any right thinking individual. 

Needless to say, the good Prof. expresses views counter to the madness that infects the extreme left. Since the encounter, the 'The Vocal Left' have  raged at Peterson to the point of hysteria. As always, they endeavour to deny free expression to those who do not embrace their overarching leftist narrative. This strident minority have declared Peterson to be a 'fascist' and therefore a man that should be denied a public platform. They will not countenance any viewpoint counter to their dogged dogma. They are not interested in a free exchange of ideas or healthy debate. They seek to withhold debate and a free exchange of ideas to those who do not suckle at the teat of 'leftist insanity/inanity' (steady Flaxen: take heed and ingest another blue-green pill).

Since 'the controversy' he has become an academic celebrity thrust upon the collective public consciousness and consequently basks in the intellectual limelight so afforded. He is either adored or abhorred depending upon political agenda and ideology. The 'good Prof.' is a skilled and thoughtful debater. I exhort my readership to listen to his pontifications, both in the academic classroom and in public forums. He is an engaging speaker and especially erudite in the area of human psychology. Prof. Peterson has a self proclaimed IQ of 150. If this is the case he belongs to an extremely rare intellectual elite as only 0.2% of the population are so endowed. He is not a modest man. Modesty is only a virtue in those with modest gifts. Generally I am not impressed with self professed IQ bandying. In this respect I'm not a fan of the high IQ club, MENSA. It serves little purpose and is clearly a vehicle for self aggrandisement; a mutual backslapping exercise of no import. The association does no more than bring together folks with a high IQ, other than that they have nothing in common, except an over inflated ego. As far as I'm aware, Peterson is not a member of MENSA, to his credit. His self proclaimed 'genius level IQ' is a demerit to his character, but in Peterson's case, not a serious one.  

Peterson has garnered significant media attention and coverage. As to be expected he has become the darling of the right. Indeed, he has achieved something of a 'cult' status in some quarters. At the end of the other political spectrum, predictably, Peterson has attracted extreme criticism. He has been described as 'right wing' and dangerous. A bemused Peterson denies any 'right wing' credentials and describes himself as a 'Classic British Liberal'. Personally, I think Peterson can be described as a conservative, but there is nothing in his speech or writings to support that he has 'right wing' leanings.  

His religious stance is rather confusing and paradoxical, to some. When asked if he believes in god his answer is ingenious. I don't have the space to discuss his response here, because of its complexity- mayhap in a follow up post? He professes to live his life as if god does exist, but  Peterson is not a Christian. If true, this is highly commendable.

On matters pertinent to his profession he has much to say that makes good sense and his commentary is backed up with solid scholarship. Peterson also makes forays outside his 'areas of expertise'. He is a widely read man and his views on topics sundry are always thought provoking. On matters pertaining to religion and social matters, I confess that I'm in general accord. He has much to say with regard to the ongoing 'IQ debate'. This is a highly controversial topic and some folk reckon it should be left alone without further discussion. I am not of this ilk, Peterson's views are well known and I find myself in total agreement. There are aspects of his 'philosophy' that I do not agree with. He admits he has been heavily influenced by the works of Jung. Jung was a one time student of Sigmund Freud but fell from the fold and developed a philosophy/psychology of his own. Peterson clearly admires Jung almost to point of 'Hero Worship'. In my opinion most of what Jung wrote is mystical nonsense and like much of Freud's work disregarded today. Peterson accepts a lot of Jung's principles and work without critical comment. Although I'm not a fan of Jung, I have a healthy regard for his intellect which was substantial. This is where Jordan leaves the 'World of Science' and enters into a morass of confusion and contradiction. Jung's work was not scientific in any modern accepted sense. His psychology owes much to pure philosophy than it does to psychology. Jung was fascinated with esoteric mystical writings from the East and incorporated a wad of inscrutable 'Eastern Wisdom' in his work as well as spiritualism. Although, I find myself in disagreement with Peterson's, Jungian leanings, I find his commentary on the matter, very fascinating and worthy of serious contemplation; Peterson is no fool. I know that my comment on Jung is simplicity itself, and Jung was not a simple man. His works are well worth a read although they are a difficult read. He writes like me (at least in this blog) and therefore can seem obscure if you don't read him right.

In conclusion, Peterson is a highly polarising academic and intellectual. He has been described as the leading 'Western intellectual of his generation'. A sentiment I'm in agreement with. It is easy to express numerous superlatives when considering the man and his work. Is he a modern Western hero? I will leave my readers to decide. I will say this: I greatly admire Peterson. His moral and ethical stance is difficult to fault. His scholarship is voluminous and exceeding interesting and important. Much of what he says is worthy of consideration. Even if you disagree with many of his pronouncements and written work, as I do, he is always thought provoking leaving the audience with their minds enlivened, refreshed and full of exciting novel ideas. Peterson is a debater without peer. Woe to the contender who does not prepare for the intellectual bombard of Peterson's exquisite wit and beam of intellect. I always enjoy what Peterson has to say and I admit I'm a commited fan but not an uncritical acolyte.           


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