Sunday, 22 May 2022

David Icke

 This is a post I put forth several years ago concerning this captivating and often annoying gentleman.

My readership has certainly evolved over time. Folks that were with me at the beginning have long gone to pastures new. And so I've acquired new 'followers'. Indeed, my blog has changed over the years and my earlier fixation and blogging style is no more. What remains is something very different........

Anyway, I've resurrected this post for my current readers for their perusal and delectation.  

David Icke in repose


Let me introduce you to the entity called David Icke. In the 1970s David was a professional football player resplendent in the English football league (c’mon the baggies). When his career ended due to an auto-immune condition (rheumatoid arthritis) he became a sports commentator on the tele. He was articulate, opinionated, popular and obviously intelligent. In 1990 he had an epiphany while in a Ryde bookstore on the Isle of Wight. Apparently, a voice commanded him to go to the ‘Psychic Section’ and it was there that he espied a book written by a psychic living in Brighton. He felt compelled to visit the psychic and during the interview, she told him he was about to become an important recipient of supernatural and psychic messages. From that moment the ‘scales fell from his eyes’ and a worldwide conspiracy became evident…… Subsequently, he popped up on a popular talk show, ‘The Terry Wobegone Show’. He appeared in a turquoise tracksuit and calmly announced he was the son of god and the world was about to end. The audience did not seem to be overly impressed and greeted the revelation with howls of derision and laughter. Overnight he went from a respected television personality to a full-blown fruit loop and a bona fide swivel-eyed, looney. Although his views have evolved over the intervening years, as described graphically in his 20 or so books, there are a few consistent themes. In the following paragraph, I’ll outline a few of his ideas: read and weep.

He believes that aliens from another galaxy came to earth several thousand years ago. He calls these aliens, Archons and they are depicted as tall reptile-like creatures. The Archons manipulated human DNA to produce human/alien hybrids. These hybrids have become the leaders of the world and are in collusion to manipulate and control world events. Apparently, the goal of the lizard hybrids is to cause worldwide strife and discontent which releases negative energy. The Archons, residing in their ‘other galaxy’ home are able to feed and gain sustenance from this energy. Also, the moon is hollow and contains reptile aliens, probably on holiday from their home galaxy. They use the moon as a base to broadcast mind-controlling beams in order to manipulate the way, we humans, think and behave. The Queen, the Clintons, the Bush family and apparently Justine Beiber are part human/lizard alien. We don’t observe their natural form as they are able to shapeshift through the dimensions.

So why am I bothering to write about a man who is clearly delusional? David Icke interests me for several reasons: firstly, I honestly believe that he is sincere and earnest in his beliefs. I do not think he is a charlatan or conman in the American tel-evangelist mould. Of course, I may be wrong and it is possible the whole, ‘lizard alien’ conspiracy is a means to fleece the gullible. I suggest my readers listen to the man in action on YouTube in order that they may form their own opinion (refer to the link below). Secondly, David Icke has seemingly/seamlessly tapped into the modern preoccupation with ‘new age’ sensibilities and other-world consciousness. A hash of pseudo-scientific, Eastern spiritual and other associated nonsense. From this wobbly edifice, he speaks to packed auditoriums throughout the world holding forth for eight or 10 hours to an enthralled and captivated audience.

There is no doubt that David Icke has charisma- a quality difficult to define but you know it when you see it. How otherwise is he able to keep people seated and presumably listening for such long periods? I’ve listened to a few of his monologues and I was struck by the way he introduces and delivers his fantastical/phantasmal material without a shred of evidence or coherent progression. He talks a lot about energy and like a lot of ‘New Age folk,’ he appears to have no idea of what energy actually is.  
  
I don’t think Mr Icke is mad in any conventional sense. Although, I suspect, like me, he doesn’t always take his medication, prescribed or otherwise. When he holds forth on topics not related to lizard folk and a hollow moon he makes a lot of sense. I watched a video of Icke discussing the transgender movement and I found myself in agreement with many of the points he raised. He also makes some very salient points about the world we live in, none of which are particularly controversial or new. A lot of his non-delusional material is actually commonplace and mundane: it is the delivery which makes it appear novel and supposedly interesting. His ideas concerning the control of society by powerful and rich oligarchies would ring true if espoused 2,000 years ago: truly there is nothing new under the sun. Again, I suggest my readers listen to him in action- it is difficult to paraphrase all of his opinions and ideas, mainly because he holds forth on everything and at great length. His mind must be a tumult of ideas and competing voices- reminds me of someone I know. I must admit to a grudging respect for Icke. Whatever his motivation for doing what he does, he clearly is imbued with astonishing energy (whatever that is) and a singularity of purpose which is frankly admirable. I cannot dislike a man for doing what he thinks is right, although, I disagree with much of what he has to say.

I would be interested in what my readers think of David Icke: Is he a charlatan?; a man of vision?; a true prophet of our times?; or madder than mad Jack MacMad on a particularly mad day? Let me know what you think of this rather strange and driven, man. 

.



 

Friday, 20 May 2022

National 'Anglicise NZ Day'

I'm back after a fever driven hiatus.......



                                    Mr Naguwau-Magumbo being very Rude

It has not been well publicised but today is officially recognised as: 'Anglicise New Zealand Day'. This day was initiated on the 20th of May 1832. It was inaugurated, by the then Governor of New Zealand, Sir Wolfram Vanderpump (Earl of Tipton). The proceedings were held outside the Guildhall, Russell, at Noon. Apparently, it transpired that the day was unseasonably warm and the apparel reflected the rather moist conditions. Local dignitaries were present, including the then-incumbent mayor of the capital city of Russell. Twas none other than the Right Worshipful, Enoch Dimmoch-Saxmundham (b1784 - d 1856). Apparently, the ceremony ran smoothly, until the local Maori Chieftain, and his companions decided to intervene and make their presence known. An impromptu Haka transpired and the intimidated local folk complained and thus the honour guard present was ordered to present arms and give a volley of their Brown Bess muskets. According to standard military protocol, of the day, survivors of the tirade were dispatched with the bayonet. Luckily the unsavoury event propagated by the duskies did not ruin the proceedings and the event continued unabated.

Later that day, after sundry announcements, the event concluded with a cream tea and savoury dainties; cucumber sandwiches were not included. Finality was provided by the Lady Mayoress with a spirited solo rendition of the 'Maid of Verona' in E Sharp Major, with a minimum of vibrato.   

Tis my express wish to keep these quaint ceremonies current and up to date and consequently, have written to the current Mayor of Nelson and surrounding environs, Mr Ngu Nagawatu-Mugumbo, if it would be permissible, and in keeping with this auspicious historical day, to change the local township, Kakipoopoo, to Flaxen Town. I am expecting a favourable response. Arse bucket, akimbo.      

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Bugger!

I suppose tis inevitable, the dreaded COVID has insinuated into the Flaxen Saxon Estate. We are all sick at the moment and I'm suffering severely. It will take a week or so before I'm on the mend and therefore I will take a little time off this 'blogging game'. To be honest, I'm not up to composition and my mind is a fog.

Anyway, normal service will be resumed when I'm feeling okay. 

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Crecy II

Oops, me head has just fallen orrrrrf, again! 

And, as promised we continue with the second episode of this epic tale. 

As previously noted, the English host was well-rested and had partaken of a sumptuous repast. This aspect of the battle often goes without comment. However, a well-rested man with his hunger appeased is a man ready to undertake mayhem and death. At the battle of Trebia (December 218 BC, Second Punic War), Hannibal ensured that his men were warmed by the fire and had eaten a hot meal. In contrast, the Roman army was cold and there was no provision to feed the men. After fording the freezing river Trebia the men were in a wretched state and proved to be easy pickings for the well-deployed Carthaginian army. Back to the battle in hand........  

At 4pm (26th August 1346) the French host, marching from the south, arrived on the scene. As the army was tired, hungry and disorganised after the day's march, King Phillipe's advisors suggested that the army rest overnight before commencing battle on the morrow. Sound council, no doubt, but the fates dictated otherwise. The king's marshals tried to exercise command but the proud haughty knights felt disdain for the pitifully small English army and would brook no delay. They surged forward followed by the men at arms, on foot. In the van, the Genoese crossbowmen formed up and at 300 paces released a flurry of bolts. The distance was too great and the English were unscathed. As the crossbowmen reloaded the English bowmen advanced, took station, and replied with a volley of arrows. The arrows were devastatingly accurate and sowed death and confusion in the Genoese ranks. This was their first encounter with English archery, and it was none to their liking. In the initial engagement, both mercenary leaders were slain. And then, as if ordained by Lord Thunnor himself, the heavens opened and hailed stone and iron unto the serried ranks of the discombobulated crossbowmen. It seems this was the first major battle, in European history, where primitive artillery unleashed its portent of doom. The arrival of these primitive noisemakers proved decisive and the crossbowmen began to retreat to the rear. The impatient/impudent French knights were not pleased with this development and the king's brother, the Comte d'Alencon, spurred his division to cut down his erstwhile allies. There followed a brief but vicious fight between the knights and mercenary bowmen. The English took advantage of this impromptu melee and poured arrows into the French and Genoese with veritable abandon. The storm of arrows caused great distress amongst the knights and, in particular, their mounts were sorely wounded.

Once he had dispensed with his allies, the doughty d'Alencon (silly Comte) continued to lead his division toward the English line of knights. Other divisions followed and began to advance, uphill. It is said that the archers held their 'fire' until the French knights were very close and only then released a deadly volley of arrows. As before the English archers were accurate and lethal, and again, the horses suffered greatly. By the time the French knights reached the English line, all momentum had been lost and the English men at arms struck down the French with poleaxes and swords. In the fray, the Comte was slain and the first wave was utterly destroyed. The French continued their ill-omened onslaughts sending wave after wave of knights to their doom as the English archers continued with their deadly arrow storm. The forward impetus of the knights was curtailed as the horses had to negotiate a battlefield littered with their dead and dying compatriots. The power of the 'knightly charge' was consequently dissipated making them easy pickings for the archers, English knights and foot soldiers. Waves of French knights continued until the light of the day was gone and it was clear to all that the French had lost the battle. The French king fought bravely and during the battle had two horses killed under him. Finally, he had to be dissuaded from certain death and was escorted from the field of carnage by his trusted/trusty advisors.  

At one stage of the battle, the blind king of Bohemia asked to be led into the fight in order that he may swing his sword at the English. His horse was tethered to his accompanying companions and thusly was led off to his predictable and inevitable doom. This bizarre episode illustrates the power and influence the 'Code of Chivary' had on this class of men. They were steeped in the Code from birth and trained exclusively for war and the exercise of their interpretation of honour and gallantry. 

The killing did not stop with the failing of light and the English archers and foot soldiers descended upon the dying and incapacitated, and with their long knives, propelled them to Valhalla with gusto.  

The battle of Crecy was a great victory for the English and the French were introduced to the deadly power of the English/Welsh longbow. And so began the '100 years war' between the two nations. The flower of French chivalry fell that day with 1,300 knights, and thousands of foot soldiers killed. The English lost no more than a hundred men. The French nobility was unsettled by the victory and its implications. Hitherto knights were invincible armoured warriors bestriding the medieval battlefield like colossi (steady Flaxen: too much waxing lyrical). Until now, the 'rules' of the game dictated that knights could and should only be killed by other knights. Or more likely taken hostage for ransom by their knightly counterparts. On that day, knights learned that a simple yeoman with a 'stick' and a clutch of arrows could defeat the Lordly; unprecedented and unsettling. Of course, the lesson was not lost upon Edward and the English nobility. The dynamics of medieval warfare had changed. 

When King Edward heard of the great slaughter he was much disheartened as he had been robbed of a significant source of revenue. Apparently, he was genuinely saddened at the death of King John describing him as the 'crown of chivalry'. As a mark of honour, Edward appropriated the dead King's crest, three ostrich feathers, and to this day it remains the emblem of the Prince of Wales. 

And so ends the 'Saga of the Battle of Crecy'. If prompted, I could continue with this refrain and post further articles relating to the '100 years war'. Gentle readers, let me know in the comments your thoughts.   



   


  

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Battle of Crecy Part I 1346



    Bugger, me Head has just fallen orwfff.

I initially envisioned this post as a one-off stand-alone. However, the gods of brevity decided otherwise. Tis always more difficult to be concise than verbose and my florid blogging style helps not at all. And tis always a challenge to decide what is relevant, germane and important in order to maintain credibility, and coherence and render the topic intelligible. So thusly, I have had to render/rend this topic into two parts. My first post will be an introduction, whilst the second will deal with the battle itself. I'm hoping to follow up this introductory post, with the second, in just a couple of days. May Woden steady my writing hand, and shit.    

When attempting to describe the 'Battle of Crecy' we are faced with the problem that the battle has accrued a certain mystique, at least in English speaking countries.  No doubt the English longbowmen played an important, nay major, part in the victory. However, there were other salient factors at play, notably the differences in professionalism displayed by the respective armies. I also suspect the French army acted precipitously due to the 'smell of blood in the water'. The French outnumbered their foe by over three to one and therefore expected an easy victory on that sultry August afternoon in 1346.      

The battle of Crecy between the English and French marked a serious escalation of armed conflict between these nations which had been simmering away since 1337.  The battle's outcome resolved nothing, and intermittent warfare, of varied intensity, would grind on until 1453.

The battle has been enshrouded in mythology in part due to the pivotal role of the English longbowmen in the battle's outcome. Furthermore, it seems, to some folk at least, as if the battle came out of historic nowhere as if there was no antecedent or prior bellicose interaction between these two proud nations. This is but naive fiction. In fact, the English and French had quite a long history of engaged warfare up to this point. But, as it came to pass, twas the battle of Crecy that really introduced the French to the battlefield prowess, and power, of the simple 'stick of Yew'. The Genoese mercenaries, serving with the French, had never sampled the sting of the yard shaft before this battle and they seemed mightily impressed and unwilling to undergo the experience again. But for the lure of high pay, men will do anything. Gallic tarts at 10 groats a brace, ain't cheap.   

The cause of the battle and the subsequent long term struggle between the warring nations lies within the complex political and familial relationships (Nobility, of course) between France and England during the Medieval period. From what I can uncover, the turbulent interactions between these nations oft revolved around the convoluted relationships between the respective nation's royal 'houses' and their various dynastic ambitions. To do justice to these 'political machinations' would require several, separate articles. A task, in which, I have no interest or technical competence to attempt. Suffice to say, at the time of the battle, a large part of Western France and its nobles and common folk owed allegiance to the king of England. Two hundred years prior to the battle, a marriage alliance resulted in the English king becoming the duke of French Aquitaine. In return, England supposedly became the nominal vassal of the French king. Clearly, this situation pleased no one and tensions between the two nations was intense and manifested in armed combat, of various degrees of intensity up and until, Crecy. In the Middle Ages, the degrees of hostility were decreed by economics; a poor state undertook war poorly unless large scale appropriation of wealth occurred. This explains why much of Medieval warfare was messy and low key. Of course, the Crusades proved very lucrative and changed European society, forever, and to some degree, kick-started our early modern era (discuss).

As is often the case, the death of a leader provided the pretext for a major war. On the death of Charles IV, the French nobles declared Phillipe de Valois, Charles' cousin, as the future king of France. The English found the candidate less than ideal and had their own 'ruler in the wings' ready to encompass the royal French mantel. Enter war, stage left.......... That is enough politics.

And so it came to pass that in the July of 1346 king Edward invaded northern France and began to ravage the land as he moved south. The French responded and Phillipe with an army estimated at 60,000 marched north to engage the English. After crossing the River Somme, Edward picked his position to fight near the town of Crecy. He chose a ridge to disperse and emplace his men and abutted his right flank on the River Maye. The English army, in total, consisted of no more than 13,000.  

As an interlude, it will be mildly informative to review and inspect the composition of the respective armies. At this stage of the 14th century, it appeared that Medieval society, in Europe, was entering a stage of transition, if not upheaval and this was reflected in the armies about to engage. The French army was classically feudal. It had a large contingent of mounted knights. These knights received no pay for the fight but considered their presence as an obligation to the king in return for land. Although these knights were tough and formidable fighters they were also ill-disciplined, haughty, independently minded and not easily controlled. The accompanying French infantry was a levee en mass and poorly trained. Not much was expected of this variously armed rabble and the serious fighting would be the province of the knights. A hint of professionalism was afforded by a contingent of mercenary Genoese crossbowmen.

The English army facing the French, although superficially similar to the Gallic host, was in fact organised in a radically different way and unlike the French army was no longer feudal- what a wonderful time to be alive. Regardless of status, high and low alike were paid for their service. Therefore the English army was more akin to a mercenary host and served at the king's wage. This distinction would manifest in discipline and the ability to act in a coordinated way under the direction of the lead knights, generally battle-tested higher nobility.

Edward split his force into three divisions. The vanguard was placed under the nominal control of the king's son, known as the 'Black Prince'. The rear echelon was placed under the command of the Earl of Northampton, a highly experienced warrior, while the king took charge of the central reserve in a vantage point to watch the battle unfurl. From this position Edward could reinforce his other divisions, as he saw fit, and in response to developments on the battlefield. The baggage and wagon train was placed in the rear to act as a barrier. The lines of foot soldiers were interspersed with wedges of doughty English and Welsh longbowmen. In total, the 'arrow chuckers' made up about 50 % of the English army, some 7,000 men. Before the French arrived at the scene the English had time to rest and enjoy a hot meal. 

The scene is thus set for the epic battle about to unfold. The next thrilling instalment will detail the actual battle and barring any unforeseen personal issues, will unfurl within the next couple of days.  


 

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Tempus Fugit

 


Is time travel possible? In films and books, the answer is yes. Numerous fictional representations depict folk either going back in time or into the future. The classic scenario involves a character going back to alter history. The plot often involves the elimination of someone who will, in the future, cause great harm. Would there have been a Second World War if someone had killed Hitler when he was ten? But interfering in the past would raise a number of paradoxes that are not easily resolved. I'll return to this interesting phenomenon later.

If I was of a facile disposition I would mention that in fact, we all travel in time at the rate of 1 second per second. Time is inexorable and, seems to us at least, to move only forward. But that explanation will satisfy no one and in fact, is rather glib and even trite. There is a way to look into the past without violating known universal laws and that is through astronomy. Every time we interrogate the cosmos we see stellar objects as they were, and from our perspective, as they looked in the past. For instance, the nearest star to our system lies 4.3 light-years away. Therefore it takes light 4.3 years to reach us from this relatively close star. If it exploded or ceased to be, we would not be able to register the event for 4.3 years. An example closer to home: our sun is 93 million miles away, and even though the speed of light is a blistering 186,000 miles per second it still takes just over 8 minutes to reach us. I suspect my readership is already aware of this quaint consequence and thus remains unmoved and perhaps, indifferent.

Einstein's breakthrough theories at the beginning of the last century radically altered our perception of how the natural world operates, at the macro level at least. Newton's systematic explanations were overthrown. Although Newton knew that gravity acted over a distance and was aware that this force was related and proportional to mass, he confessed he had no idea how it worked or how the force was transmitted/propagated through space. We had to await the genius of Einstein to understand that time and space are intertwined and that gravity could be explained, simply at least, as mass warping space- the greater the mass the greater the 'deformation' of space. Also, his insight that light has a constant speed, regardless of context, and that it represents the ultimate speed limit in the universe would result in weird time dilation effects. This post is not a review of Einstein's Special and General relativity, so I won't delve any deeper - perhaps in the future? Einstein predicted that time is relative and alters according to velocity and is dependent upon the 'participant's' perspective. At light speed, although the photons/waves take a finite time to reach us from objects in the universe, light 'perceives' reality rather differently. Imagine, if we could ride a photon and we didn't fall off, we would not experience time at all; everywhere and anywhere (unnecessary tautology) would be arrived at immediately. This is hard to conceptualise, but Einstein predicted time dilation based on theory alone, without any practical and experimental validation. Consequent experimentation has shown this to be correct. For instance, orbiting satellites travelling at 17,000 mph experience time slightly less than us mere terrestrial beings. The difference is not great, just a few milliseconds, but it has been verified on numerous occasions. To really observe significant time dilation we would have to travel extremely fast indeed and close to the speed of light. Of course, it is impossible for anything with mass to travel at the speed of light. However, if say you could travel from the Earth at 99.9% light speed and come back to Earth after 50 years, according to the terrestrial viewpoint, everyone on Earth would have aged by 50 years. However, from the traveller's perspective, the journey would have only taken 2.24 years and consequently, he would have aged accordingly.  Some physicists consider that time does not exist, in any 'real' sense at all, and is no more than an illusion, although admittedly a stubbornly persistent illusion.

It seems that significant time travel to the future is a theoretical possibility, but it is a one-way ticket. Time travel into the past violates the laws of physics, as we currently know them, and as intimated earlier would create strange and wonderful absurdities. This can be expressed using the 'Grandfather Paradox': consider that you could travel back in time and murder your grandfather before he sired your father. Accordingly, if the father did not exist then neither could the time traveller and therefore you could not have killed your grandfather (refer to diagram). There are those who reconcile the 'Ultimate Paradox' by positing alternative future narratives. So, if you killed your grandfather, there would be a bifurcation of reality where your grandfather continued to live and an alternate reality where his death would result in your nonexistence. Indeed, a select group of philosophers consider taking this thought process even further and consider that every action we undertake in the real world results in the formation of a host of, noninteracting alternative futures. This is not easy to conceptualise and raises many issues that are difficult to resolve from our interpretation of how the Universe works. There could be other explanations, but it has to be acknowledged that perhaps our minds are just not up to tackling this problem. Evolution has moulded our brain to cope with the everyday vicissitudes of life and is not designed to pontificate on the Ultimate Questions of our existence. The late, great Stephen Hawking believed that time travel to the past was an impossibility, and I'm not going to disagree with this towering intellectual giant. This has not stopped speculation on possible ways to return to the past. One consideration promotes the idea of 'Wormholes' in the fabric of the universe, which connect alternative possibilities in both time and space. The problem is we have found no evidence to date to suggest that wormholes exist. There are pundits who consider that entering a black hole would whisk the traveller magically back in time. I'm sure my readers can see the problems with this so-called, solution.

So, as far as we can tell, travel to the future is a possibility, given the right conditions. A return to the past is not so favoured by Natural Law, although I do believe there are equations that predict its possibility. If only we could get hold of 'exotic matter' that doesn't seem to exist. Quite a conundrum.

Anyway, enough of these bollocks, my next post will concern the battle of Crecy.



Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Love and the Single Man

                                                      O Shit! It's Disco Flaxen



This is well off my 'beaten track' when it comes to posts. However, tis a topic that I find fascinating and is highly relevant to the modern Western world and young men in particular. Read and weep, especially if you are a young male.

The Dating/Mating Game

Due to the 'Biological Imperative' animals are doomed to pursue the opposite sex. Not only is sex pleasurable it is important for the continuation of the species (no shit: Flaxen stating the bleeding obvious).

In my dating heyday (c1975), the best way to meet a member of the opposite sex was to hit the 'Disco', usually at the local pub on a Saturday night. Go back with me to those halcyon days: A young Flaxen, long blond hair flowing, all dressed up in flared 'Loon Pants', crushed velvet jacket and a rounded collar shirt. The atmosphere was dank, dark, loud and interspersed with strobe lights. Both sexes sported long hair, and in such circumstances gender recognition was difficult; mistakes were made. So, in order to cut down on a 'misdiagnosis', when approaching a potential mate, my opening line was: "Are you a guy or a chick". Times were much simpler in those days.....

Cut to modern times. Discos are no more and online dating apps, such as Tinder and Bumble, reign supreme. I'm going to argue that online dating is great for all women, irrespective of looks, but extremely bad for the majority of men.

The overwhelming majority of men (the rest are lying) state that the most important characteristic they seek in a potential mate is 'good looks'. This is perhaps of no surprise and the empirical data supports this. As for women, when asked in surveys what is the most important characteristic desired in a potential mate, personality ranks supreme. Physical attractiveness actually scores 4th on a list of desirable traits. A positive of online dating apps, from a statistical perspective, is that they are a rich mine for data. And from data gleaned from dating apps it seems, when it comes to actual dating preferences, women go for 'looks' every time. Everything else is secondary. The next best thing is height. Women overwhelmingly prefer men 6 foot and over, with 6 foot 2 to 3 being perceived as ideal. Furthermore, height overrules good looks when a man is very short. Regardless, a good-looking man is doomed in the online dating world if he is 5 foot 4, for instance.

It seems, from the hard data (Tinder), 80% of women 'swipe right' on the 20% of men judged the most attractive. Also, for Tinder, for every woman, signed up, there are three men. On these two data points alone, it appears that, for the majority of men, online dating is a very poor strategy for attracting a mate. For lower-tier men, that is in the four and sub-four region (consider an attractive scale from 1 to 10), there is virtually no chance of attaining a match. As for the top tier men, say in the top 10%, when it comes to online dating, they can do no wrong and all women, irrespective of their own attractiveness, will swipe right. Now men being men, the top tier will have casual sex with most women, even in the lower categories. All women will ultimately desire a high tier man for the exalted status of 'long term partner'. This is where men show their true colours. While they are quite happy to sleep with 'ugly women' they have no desire to enter into a long-term relationship with such. When high tier men decide to enter a relationship they will do so with a woman of at least equal attractiveness, a condition called 'assortive mating'. In the same way, ugly men tend to have relationships with ugly women; desperation, when it comes to sex, knows no bounds/boundaries.

All this behaviour can be explained from an evolutionary perspective. This is where, my training, as a biologist kicks in. Men and women are 'programmed' to pursue different reproductive strategies. For men, dispersing the seed wide and far makes sense. Men are able to produce many children with different women if so favoured; the 'quality' of the women concerned is not paramount- for men, evolution demands quantity. Women are in a contrary position. Their eggs represent a scarce and precious resource. If pregnant, they are indisposed for 9 months and after the birth, they have to invest at least 15 years in their offspring. Children (modern children), are expensive financially but also in terms of 'energy, resource investment'. Therefore, a women's best strategy is to secure a 'high tier' man. An attractive man is oft endowed with a plethora of other desirable genetic factors. For high tier women, on the attractiveness scale, obtaining a top tier man who is willing to support their offspring is achievable. In contrast, consider, the options befitting low tier women. For them, they can reproduce with a high-status man but are unlikely to achieve investment stability. Therefore, it behoves these women to share their genes with these men, even if they can't get them to invest. So, their second-best strategy is to mate with a 'Chad' and thereafter seek a lower-tier man to provide long-term investment. As an example, look at the percentage of single mothers on dating apps. This is often the best way a lower-tier man can achieve sex, even at the cost of raising another man's child- this is, for a man, of poor genetic stock, not ideal from an evolutionary perspective. But what choice do they have?

There is so much more I would like to say on this topic, but the need to not exceed the magic '1000' word limit prevents this. Anyway, I am intrigued to discover what my readership thinks. Also, I'm fascinated as to other folk's dating experiences- let me know in the comments.

My final thought: As for most things in life. Do not listen, or at least give much credence, to what a person says, look at their actions. This especially applies to women when it comes to the fraught game of dating. WHAT! women tell lies- who would have thought it?


     





Sunday, 10 April 2022

Flaxen in Contemplative Mood

Atheism is the most misunderstood doctrine. People are confused. So to set the record straight let us determine what atheism is and what it is not. Atheism is a lack of belief in deities. Thus it is not a positive belief. The atheist, as such, therefore does not have to defend his position or offer evidence for his stance. The onus of argument and proof rests solely with the theist. In the same way, a non-believer in pixies is not required to posit evidence for non-belief in pixies. If you believe in pixies it is incumbent on said individual to provide rational evidence for their belief. Otherwise, their belief exists outside rational scrutiny
and therefore is not worthy of sensible consideration.

There is a lot of baggage when it comes to being an atheist. People make assumptions. Atheists are amoral, immoral, communists or nihilistic. It is true that all of the preceding characteristics are not incompatible with atheism, but this is not the point. There are atheists who are communists, philanderers and full of despair, as are Christians. The point being that when someone tells you that they are an atheist all you can discern is that they are a non-believer in gods. Nothing else is discerned. Atheists don’t have to agree on anything else, whether in politics, morality or philosophical stance. Their only common accord is atheism.

How can morality exist if there is no god? A world without God will surely lead to anarchic and immoral chaos. But surely a moral code can exist without a belief in god. We know it is wrong to kill, steal and covet your neighbour’s wife. These basic tenets are necessary for any well-ordered and civilised society. Indeed, you could argue that atheistic morality is superior as it is justified by the merit of doing good and is not tinged and influenced supposedly by rewards or punishment in a mythical hell or heaven.

Surely let us enjoy this life. Feast, drink wine and make love to your wife. Arse…..

Do not pass by my epitaph, traveller.
But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.
There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon,
No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.
All we who are dead below
Have become bones and ashes, but nothing else.
I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveller,
Lest even while dead I seem talkative to you.”

Friday, 8 April 2022

Trilobites: In Life and Death


                       Ubiquitous 300 Million Years Ago: Don't Tell the Creationists

When Charles Darwin was asked by someone with a religious inclination what wonders, of the world, cast light on the working of God's mind, he replied: "An inordinate fondness for ferrets beetles".  Sadly, this is not something Darwin was wont to say- but he should have. Regardless, this answer would have been more appropriate, in my opinion, if it had been applied to the phenomenon that was trilobites.

This post is dedicated and inspired by this innovative, in the evolutionary sense, class of animals, collectively known as trilobites. Sadly, they are now extinct but in their heyday, they were the most dominant and prolific animal in the primordial sea some 500 million years ago. Over the weekend I attended the local 'fair'. Twas an eclectic mix of food outlets, stalls, entertainment and rides for the kids. One stall, in particular, caught my eye. The owner returned my errant ocular appendage and therefore I was able to espy a delectable collection of fossils, various. One, in particular, had caught my eye. Luckily it had landed atop this ancient artefact thus facilitating its recovery. The object in focus was none other than a species of trilobite called, Elrathia kingii. These represent the most common species of fossil trilobite found in shale sediments throughout the world. Hundreds of million years ago this animal was 'swimming' in the shallow seas of the Paleozoic period. And now it was about to be purchased by a slightly mad, but very pert, exiled Englishman.

Trilobites were the first arthropods to evolve upon the Earth and eventually would give rise to crustacea, spiders and insects. They evolved a series of features that were hitherto unique in nature and were incredibly successful, giving rise to over 20,000 species that dominated the oceans for 270 million years. Distribution was ubiquitous throughout the world and it would take four sequential mass extinction events before their demise 250 million years ago in the late Permian. 

Until the evolution of trilobites, the seas were dominated by a plethora of soft-bodied sponge-like creatures. Five hundred million years ago, trilobites burst upon the scene and rapidly filled a whole variety of ecological niches. As previously noted, they were responsible for the evolution of a number of novel features, including the first compound eye, made of calcite, and the presence of a hard chitinous outer shell. The transition and the introduction of a hard exoskeleton were likely to have reflected the evolutionary pressure afforded by predatory sea creatures. Obviously, under such circumstances, the presence of a protective outer shell would have been highly advantageous and likely to be responsible for trilobites' successful radiation throughout the world. The first fossils appear in the Lower Cambrian and are a testament to the ease of fossilisation afforded by a hard outer shell. In fact, the Cambrian epoch was a very fruitful time for the evolution of large numbers of separate species; a period recognised as 'The Cambrian Explosion'. 

Trilobites are known/renowned for their adaptation to a succession of marine environments and could be found swimming freely or crawling on, or within, fertile ocean sediments. Morphology was also varied although they maintained the tripartite structure of their ancestors. Some trilobites were just a few millimetres in extent while others were over 20 centimetres. The varied forms produced exotic looking animals with extended eyestalks, spikes and extra ridges. Also, they evolved the ability to roll up into a 'ball' another adaptive response to the presence of predators. Judging by the presence of trilobite fossils found clustered together it has been surmised that these creatures enjoyed a rich and complex social existence. Their mode of living was as varied as their morphology. And thus, predatory, plankton-eating and sediment grazing species existed together and flourished in warm and cold waters with equal aplomb.  

Even this remarkable, diverse and adaptive creature eventually succumbed to the vicissitudes and vagaries of 'Mother Nature'. However, it took at least four distinct mass extinction events over many million years and epochs before this most resilient of organisms became truly extinct. Surely, this is a lesson for mankind. We may pride ourselves on being the top species inhabiting this fragile planet but Homo sapiens has existed as a distinct species for probably less than 500,000 years. This is a mere blip in the time scale of life's presence upon this Earth. Nature cares nought for our hubris and overweening sense of superiority. Forces that we can scarcely comprehend and control are always queuing to wreak havoc and therefore change the course of evolutionary history, in ways unfathomable to man. It takes but one large asteroid (not haemorrhoid- although their impact on an individual's life can be devastating) to crash upon our fragile Earth, or a perverse extra stellar event or the eruption of a terrestrial hyper-volcano, to set off a disastrous train of events resulting in man's termination of tenure on this planet. An insouciant Earth will give not a jot or a scintilla of pity for our passing. No doubt the Earth will recover, be it in a million or a billion years and the inexorable march of natural selection and evolution will continue in its course, anew. Mayhap, a new 'dominant' species shall emerge. And remember, it doesn't have to be smart, or even sentient, it just needs to be successful in the great game of survival. Imagine far off in the future the Earth 'ruled' by an overbearing squishy mat of gelatinous goo, called Bertram (steady Flaxen). Uncomprehending, but ultimately, triumphant, for a time, at least.




Wednesday, 30 March 2022

No Shrine Shall Mark His Abode of Final Rest

                                                  What a naughty boy den?

The Great Ghengis Khan (d. 1227) is a fascinating character from history. A man who founded the greatest contiguous empire in history and was responsible for the deaths of about 40,000,000. A 2003 genetic study established that 0.5% of the world's male population are descended from this man. Mayhap he acted with foresight and therefore was keen to replace the folk he murdered. Or it could be a consequence of a surfeit of wives/concubines and between merciless sweeps across Eurasia, he could be found in his bed-chamber. He is revered by the Mongol nation today and statues, of the Khan, riding atop his gallant steed, 'Shagger' can be seen adorning the windswept tundra throughout the Mongolian steppe.

I started one of my famous 'Trilogy in Fours Parts'  regarding the abstruse (nay, unfathomable) Huns and as the 'series' develops I will be specifically writing about 'Atilla the Hun' and his ambivalent relationship with the Roman Empire. I mention this here because, like Atilla and his hordes, Ghengis and his tribesmen were horse archers. As I develop my theme about Atilla in future posts, I will raise the issue of how Western rulers coped with the horse archer's mode of warfare, or to be exact, why they struggled to counter this, for them, an alien approach to war. That'll do for now. My readership will have to wait, no doubt with keen anticipation and bated breath for the continuation of the 'Atilla Saga'- but only if I can be bothered.

Today, I would like to consider the final resting place of the 'Great Khan'. Like many famous men throughout history, Ghengis' burial has accrued legends. And in contradiction to what you may find on YouTube, his final place of eternal repose remains a mystery, wrapped in a conundrum and seeped in a cauldron of enigma juice (lightly seared).

Scholars surmise that the most likely location of the tomb is in the sacred region of Burkhan Khaldun in Mongolia. Fantastic myths became prevalent soon after Ghengis' death. For instance, there is a story that the several thousand slaves who toiled in constructing the tomb were slain by their guards. In turn, the soldiers were killed by a second contingent. To make sure, anyone encountered by the burial party, on the way, was killed leaving a bloody wake. You would think that anyone wishing to locate the tomb just had to follow the trail of corpses or even the smell. This was Ghengis' last wish to maintain the location of the tomb a secret. Of course, the rampant implementation of death could go on forever. Perhaps the final survivors were killed only after returning to their base. Just as in life, his death was steeped in blood. As legends go, this is eminently plausible and in keeping with Ghengis' savage nature. If the Khan was buried according to the custom, of the time, he would have been interred in a wooden structure about 20 feet below the ground. A degree of opulence would be expected to follow the 'Great Khan' in his afterlife, together with sacrificed horses, wives and servants. It is said that after the burial a thousand horses ran rampant across the site erasing all signs of the location. Another tale relates that a river was diverted to submerge the area in keeping and reminiscent of the burial of 'Alaric the Toff/Sloth' (apparently he was a dapper fellow but indolent), he of sacker of Rome fame/renown. In the 'Travels of Marco Polo' (13th century), the peregrineous (not a real word) eyetie, related that the place of burial was unknown to the Mongols of the day.

Modern scientists and engineers have employed an array of expensive technology in an effort to unearth the 'mauselium' and it is thought that the grave belongs to the sacred region, as fortold, about 240 square miles in extent. In keeping with the inhabitant's sensibilities, the researchers/searchers use non-invasive imagery together with roaming drones in order to locate ground anomalies consistent with historic soil disturbance. In 2004 the palace of Ghengis was found in this area strongly suggesting that the tomb is within the vicinity. The government keeps a strict watch on the region and limits, not only access to the area, but also research activity. This policy continues to hamper the search and it is considered likely that Ghengis Khan's final resting place will remain forever a secret, unless it doesn't.




Sunday, 20 March 2022

Uplifting Poetry Corner: My Arse

 Poetry, bloody Poetry. To be honest I have tried to write poetry of an uplifting variety. Something that will elevate the chronic condition of life and provide a glimmer of hope. Sadly, every effort results in the same depressing despond. Never mind, say I, tis a clear indication of the human condition and my response. Bugger! 

A psychiatrist writes: Flaxen Saxon has many deep and unresolved issues stemming from a highly dysfunctional childhood and early family life. His psychological tumult finds expression in his brooding, nihilistic prose and poetry. This offers but a temporary respite and can no way lead to a permanent resolution of Saxon’s deep-seated and profound psychological problems.

A Flaxen Saxon replies: Fuck off Dr Fell. You only see the portion of
                                                       my psyche which I deign to reveal.

I do not like you Dr Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell.
But this I know and know full well,
I do not like you, Dr Fell. 

Now for more pretentious, self-indulgent and cathartic poetry. If you ain't slashing your wrists after this one, then you are already dead.
  
    
Night and day become as one,
Unrestrained grey endlessly trudges on.
Scant sense, no pleasure, no pain,
Humdrum certainty in a coarse domain.
 Murky shallows, indifferent response,
Ill-defined colours of no consequence.
Toneless flows of clammy pallor,
Clumsy devices of scant veneer.
Boundless detachment and callous regard,
Pitiful retort and emotional retard.
Wilted riposte to arguments feeble,
All are damned, all is ignoble.
This day was like the last,
Stretching tedium into infinite past.
The future is but the same,
Quietly driven calmly insane.
Lengthening shadows on a windswept shore,
No sense of time in a place that is amoral.
Pity the life that remains restrained,
Pity the life that is all but drained.
Dragged slowly into eternal sloth,
On a lamed charger decked in a ragged cloth.
Limpid stance in an entropic domain,
A fool to the end and fools remain.
    

Friday, 18 March 2022

White Dog


                         The New Additions to the Family: 'Little Man' and 'Alfie'

My readers are well aware of the dusky canine that occasionally stalks the author. Most of the time he skulks in an eldritch realm far from my ken. But there are times when he deigns to enter my realm. He is a cunning shadow that lurks in the dark of the room or is wont to whisper in my dreams. And yet it is within his power to lope and caper by my side, if he so desires. O dark beast you test me! Note to self: Need more dog food.

This post is not about the flaxen-haired one, but this interesting tale/tail concerns my long-suffering wife, aptly named, Mrs Flaxen Saxon.

For the past 20 years, we have harboured fluffy white dogs of the Maltese variety. We started off with 'Chloe' whom we bought at the local pet shop when she was 4 months old. Twas mutual love at first sight and beloved Chloe became my wife's constant companion even unto the shitter. Not long after we acquired a Maltese pup whom we named Loki. A while later we gathered unto our breast a third dog, the result of the lawful union of our Chloe and Loki. Mandy is the hound that appears on the front page of the blog. Nature eventually took its course and poor Chloe died of old age about 6 years ago. Soon after my wife began seeing fleeting images of a small white dog around the house. If she looked directly at the image, it would disappear. We ascribed the 'sightings' to the underlying psychological trauma associated with the loss of Chloe- my wife and Chloe were incredibly close and Mrs Saxon found it very difficult to adjust to our dog's death. Over the following years, the phantasm become less, and eventually became no more.

In February of last year, Loki was euthanised due to kidney failure and four months later, Mandy died. Of course, we were both upset but it is just another part of life's rich tapestry. And as life continues on and revolves on the carousel of existence we obtained two further Maltese dogs a year ago. A father and son (puppy) team. Well, that would be the end of the story except recently my good wife is experiencing a reinstatement of her ghostly companion. Very similar to the previous manifestation; a fleeting white flash or soulful eyes peering down our long hallway.

I'm not well versed in human psychology although I did write a dissertation on the notion of Freud's concept of 'Reppresion' as an undergraduate. Clearly, my wife is experiencing a 'psychological trauma' that is being resolved by the apparition. I'm a rationalist and always seek to find a natural and logical explanation of so-called psychic phenomena. This series of events is no exception. I suspect as my wife heals the externalisation and projection of a figment of the mind will become less and thus finally peter out.......



Thursday, 17 March 2022

Pugio



I thought I would have a 'change of pace' for this post and leave theology and science for another day. I haven't been particularly productive of late as my health has been indifferent. There is a bright spot, however. Two weeks ago I had an appointment with my doctor concerning the seizure I suffered in late November of last year. At the time my driving licence was revoked and as I live in a rural area devoid of public transport this has proved to be a major pain. Anyway, the doc reckons, after reviewing the variety of results from a battery of tests, that my subsequent risk of having a further seizure is low and therefore my licence will be reinstated in late May. Good news indeed.

So today I'm dealing with an element of ancient military equipment that has seen scant regard from modern historical pundits. Several years ago I produced a post about the famous/infamous Roman sword, the gladius. Together with the scutum and the pilum, the gladius completed the triad of military equipment that became synonymous with the military power and fighting prowess of the Roman legion. In addition to these weapons, the Roman legionnaire sported a secondary sidearm, the pugio, or Roman dagger.

Like the gladius, the pugio is thought to have originated from the Iberian peninsular and adapted for Roman military use during the Spanish campaign in the Second Punic War. Also, like the early gladius, the pugio excelled as a stabbing weapon and possibly reflected the fighting characteristics of Rome's enemies of the later era of the Republic. The main enemies from this period were the Greeks and Carthaginians. These 'civilised' opponents relied heavily on armour for defence and an effective stabbing weapon was required to pierce metal and leather breastplates. Interestingly, the gladius changed its geometry in later years when the Romans were confronted by Celtic and Germanic folks who were mostly devoid of armour. The modified gladius become a more effective slashing weapon.

Like most dedicated fighting knives, the pugio came with a double edge making it ideal for close fighting. The pugio came in various forms and sizes and varied from about 7 to 11 inches in length and 2 inches in width. Most would be considered as 'leaf shaped' in form, although this is not uniformly the case. The sheath came available in various patterns. Usually, they were comprised of iron with an internal lining of wood, to protect the edge whilst sheathed.

Although, its form is obviously suited for its role as a fighting knife it has been suggested that it was used as a general use knife for everyday mundane activities, such as scratching an itch or paring a particularly succulent piece of fruit. However, anyone familiar with knives, various, will note that the overall geometry of the knife and its relatively large size makes it unsuitable as a utility utensil. The possession of the Pugio also conveyed/conferred an air of elevated status and marked the wearer as a military man. And to support this view the hilt was often decorated and personalised with, copper, tin and even silver adornments.

Enough of this. On an unrelated note: I purchased an electric scooter, or as my lovely family refer to it- 'Pop's spakka mobile'. How very quaint. I managed to buy this item second hand, although it is only a few months old. As I'm unable to drive it gives me the option of travelling into town on my own steam. It whips along at a reasonable speed and goes for 15 km before requiring a recharge. And it's quite fun to ride. That will do for the short commute to town and make me less reliant on my family for car rides.

I need to force myself to compose, at the moment, as I'm experiencing one of my periodic, desponds or 'Black Dog'. Never mind. I have a very supportive family and with their help, I will 'come right'. So bear with me if my content for the next week or so becomes sparse and erratic in content. Whoop, whoop.    

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Ring Species


I thought I'd return to an old favourite of mine- evolution. What I find particularly annoying is the attitude of the religious fundamental brigade and their insistence that there is no concrete evidence for evolution, whatsoever. Frankly, it makes me wanna burn stuff. Why are they so insistent that there can be no evolutionary change from one species to another? They will not acknowledge that populations change, over time, in the thrall of evolutionary pressures, eventually giving rise to genetically separate species. The answer is quite simple and quite sad: adherents dismiss evolution as a mechanism of speciation because it appears contrary to scripture, or God's majesty, or not in keeping with the contradictory accounts in Genesis. Never mind that the evidence is multifarious, deep and gathered from diverse subjects, various. Never mind that the basic tenets of evolution, through natural selection, have stood the test of time since first proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859. 

 I would like to introduce a further skein of evidence. The 'fundies' are wont to insist that micro-evolution exists, but macro-evolution does not. And they understand macro-evolution as the formation of a new species from an existing one. In this regard, I will define a distinct species at its most basic: a discrete reproducing population able to produce reproductively viable offspring. There are other ways of defining a species, but this basic definition will suffice for the purpose of this post.

Today's post will take an askew glance (steady Flaxen, you are starting to wax lyrical) at 'Ring Species' as evidence for macro-evolution. This is useful for illustrating an oft-neglected part of evolution. Whilst the accepted definitions deal with discrete entities, it should be acknowledged that the path of evolution involves a continuum, of individuals, with varying degrees of 'change' from the population they are evolving from. Ultimately, at its most fundamental, evolution concerns the individual. The human mind desires discrete concepts that can be neatly placed within conceptual boxes. We abhor gradation and messy transitions expressed as a spectrum of traits. Tis tough because real biology is particularly squelchy.

For my prime example, I would like to proffer the majestic Larus gull, and its ilk, emerging, stage left...

These gulls are cited as the textbook example of a ring species. The arctic is circumscribed by land, continental and island chains. The adaptable gull has colonised these lands to the full. Individuals are able to freely reproduce with the adjacent gull populations, as to be expected. What might surprise some are that discrete populations on opposite sides of the arctic are unable to reproduce with each other and therefore fulfil our definition of distinct and separate species. However, if we track reproductive viability between adjacent populations of gulls anywhere upon the 'ring', we observe full reproductive viability. This is an oversimplification of the real situation, of course. Biology is never as succinct and 'sanitised' as depicted in the textbooks and in reality, is generally a lot messier, and dare I say- squelchy. Those of a sensitive nature may have realised that I have not been taking my prescribed medication, of late. Arse

There are other examples of ring species in the biological world but the aforementioned gull is a prime, but not uncontroversial, example of the concept under consideration. How many separate and reproductively discrete gull species are present in our sample/example? Tis difficult to say, precisely, and is dependent on a particular geographic perspective. The gulls on 'opposite sides', because of their inability to interact and exchange genetic information will continue to diverge genetically as natural selection fixates advantageous genetic traits, within the given environment. There is also the mechanism of 'genetic drift' to contend with. This refers to the fluctuation and fixation of genetic traits based upon chance genetic change. This is particularly pertinent to small breeding populations. Mayhap sparse gull populations on the smaller arctic islands could be prone to this genetic phenomenon. However, this is pure speculation on my behalf. We should never rule out the possibility that my musings are just the reverie, or fevered phantasm, of a disordered mind devoid of pharmacological induced stability.   

In this brief and simple post, I hope I have cited a concrete and ongoing example of evolution in action ultimately depicting speciation. Fundamental Christians should take note. Their sensible 'progressive' and liberal brethren have taken on board evolution as a legitimate mechanism for biological change, even though they wrongly ascribe said mechanism to their mythical, non-evidential deity. However, their scientifically unenlightened, fellow Christians, are unlikely to change as they are irrevocably wedded to a pre-enlightenment system of religious doctrine and dogma. But what more can we expect from a group who collectively consider the Earth to be no more than 6,000 years old and consider fossils, of obvious ancient origins, to have been spuriously planted at the behest of a mischievous and very naughty god.      


Monday, 28 February 2022

It's my Birthday

 

                                                               Still a twat

Today, marks my 66th year upon this earth, with all the bounty and evil which is associated with a relatively long life. Wisdom, they say, comes with age. Although I've known a few old buggers where wisdom has passed them by leaving them bereft and hanging about in intellectual limbo- mercifully they don't realise their painful and depressing predicament. Yes, I know, I'm starting to sound elitist, once again. Tis a flaw that I bear with a modicum of aplomb.

With the passing of the years, I'm starting to contemplate my own mortality. Death, as a concept does not trouble me too much. All living things, die; tis inevitable. Some folk think they can delay, the inevitable. Healthy living with a balanced diet is a plan for many, although luck is something that no prudent planning can overcome. And indeed, genes for ill or good is oft underestimated when it comes to our overall health. Also as we age our health declines. Within the past 5 years, there has been a significant decline in my health. Five years ago I was out running the streets and my medication intake was zero. Today, I'm taking two separate meds for hypertension and I'm reliant and addicted to strong pain killers.

I'll enjoy a quiet day ensconced in my shed. The bow I've been working on for the past six months is coming to completion. Tis a longbow constructed out of compressed Moso bamboo- I have high hopes for this bow and hopefully, it will draw about 45lbs at 28 inches. It is of simple and primitive construction without frills and frippery. Tonight, my wife, daughter, her partner and two fruits will join me for dinner at the local pub. A simple repast with a couple of decent pints of English Ale. Number one son will join us at the weekend and no doubt he'll treat his aged father to a couple of pints. Simple pleasures for a simple man.

COVID has finally caught up with our 'isolated' island home. Although New Zealand managed to stay disease-free for a relatively long time, it was only a matter of time before we succumbed. According to today's news just over 15,000 new cases have been reported over the past 24 hours. As expected we are experiencing a rapid rise in new infections, from the 1,500 recorded at the start of the month. It appears the government have learned a few lessons from others and we will not be entering any form of severe lockdown. Ongoing measures will be sensible and non-restrictive. As for the rest of the news, I will comment, no more........... 




                                                         ARSE AKIMBO










   

          

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Rantus Minimus

                                                White Privilege: Sounds Fair

This is a short and simple rant directed at those who deem that I should be ashamed of my accident of birth.

It appears that being a white man living comfortably in this world is somehow a crime or at least something we should apologise for. Now it is true that most folks in this world live in dire poverty and there are huge manifest injustices endured by vast swathes of people. Is the world a fair place? Manifestly, the world is not a fair place. Your standing, wealth prospects and quality of living is mostly determined by where, when and to whom you are born. Isaac Newton could only have found the comfortable leisure time to be educated and to research the way he did because of his privilege enjoyed by his position in 17th century England. Did he deserve this position? This question makes little sense. Tis better to applaud his good fortune. Not only did he have a prodigious intellect but was also endowed with the leisure time to indulge his good fortune. If he had been born 150 years prior to his birth date, the intellectual milieu of the time would have precluded scientific enquiry. Newton, although a pious man, embraced the new scientific method with gusto. The confluence of these three strands of good fortune enabled greatness and intellectual immortality. Newton, by chance, could have been born a dullard or into a family of stout, but poor yeomen. In such circumstances, scientific advancement, at least to the degree, as shown, would have had to await the occasion of solicitous good fortune in a suitably primed individual, or individuals. I've digressed a tad, but I think I've made my point. It makes no logical or moral sense to castigate an individual thusly blessed.

Continuing with the theme: Another tactic employed by the left is to place the 'guilt of the fathers' upon the heads of the extant. If my ancestor(s) had been involved in the black slave trade, what is that to me? Am I supposed to express extreme contrition at this historical turn of events? Again, the answer is a resounding no. The is no justice in the passing of the supposed sins of the 'grandfathers' to generations now present or still to come. There can be no inherited shame. Although, divine retribution effortlessly transcends the generations, the law of man, is rightly restricted to the miscreant in hand. The justice system of God, of the Old Testament, has never been adopted/adapted by nations, except in the realm of the totalitarian state. God's sense of justice (humour?) is too rich for mortal blood and is to be eschewed.

The left's obsession with 'white guilt' has been ravenously gobbled up by that wretched group, The 'woke'. If this is the cost of being awake, then I'm glad to be the recipient of moral torpor; perchance to dream, the somnolence of the just.      

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

A Thesis by any other Name.


                                                    Handsome beast isn't he?   

O Lordy, Lordy, Lardy! Where do I begin? I suspect that most have heard about the delightful, Kent Hovind. He is an American fundamentalist preacher and convicted felon. He is decidedly old school and believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old; Adam and Eve once lived upon the earth, in paradise; dinosaurs cohabitated with humans and Noah built an Ark. As to be expected he is rabidly ant-evolution. Need I say any more? I'm sure my readership has a clear idea of the man and his beliefs.

In 1990 he submitted a Doctoral dissertation and was awarded a PhD from 'Patriot Bible University', an unaccredited Bible college. The college is considered a 'Diploma Mill' and the only qualification required is a hefty 'enrolment fee'. Academic credentials and acadaemic rigour do not appear to be part of the curriculum. Generally, doctoral dissertations are available to all, but in this instance, Mr Hovind's copy (note I refrain from calling doctor) got eaten by a pack of rabid evangelical hounds (Canus nonexistancus). Furthermore, the college does not make submitted dissertations available to the academic community. Luckily, for the furtherance of mankind's intellectual development, in 2009, WikiLeaks obtained a copy for distribution to an eagerly awaiting community of savants. Kent's PhD is but one of four obtained by this man-genius. Undoubtedly, we live in wondrous times.

I have managed to secure a copy for my own edification and here is what I found........... Firstly, I am required to provide a little context. A doctoral thesis, in order to satisfy the examiners, is required to represent new areas of scholarship that add to the existing corpus of knowledge. Usually, the quality and relevance of the work are judged by three to five acaedemic experts in the field. In Mr Hovind's case, his work was reviewed by one individual, Dr Wayne Knight.

 He starts the work off by saying: Hello, my name is Kent Hovind. The thesis comprises 13 chapters with grandiose titles, such as, 'The Religion of  Evolution'. Strangely, there is no title to his work or even page numbers. It appears that the 'thesis' was printed off a dot matrix printer, the epitome of technology of the time.  

In the introduction we read: I am, without apology, a Bible-believing Christian. I have been saved for twenty-two years by the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. I believe that God’s Word is infallible and flawless in every detail. If the Bible says that something was created a certain way, then that is just the way It happened. We further note: His historical synopsis of evolution begins with Satan, the great evolutionary theorist. In this passage, we learn that it was the wicked snake of Satan who introduced Adam and Eve to evolutionary theory. I never knew that and I must thank Kent for repairing an abundant and manifest gap in my knowledge. I must have missed that chapter when perusing a book on the 'Theory of Evolution'.  What a silly sod, am I.    

This sets the tone for the so-called thesis. This is not a critical, well-researched, and analysed document. From the start, we see that Hovind has no intention of following the evidence, where ever it may take him. Everything will be subject and subsumed to scripture. There is no reasoning process here just blind obedience to biblical teaching. This is not a promising start. He further notes that he is not producing any original work. This is an odd admission for someone who is supposedly presenting a doctoral thesis. The very essence of a thesis, at this level, should be the introduction of original knowledge.

This is not a well-written piece of 'scholarship'. Tis peppered throughout with grammatical and spelling errors. There are also many errors of fact. He is prone to tangents and throughout the work, there are unsubstantiated claims against evolution. He rants and rails and has a tendency toward incoherence. We are reminded that we are not dealing with a piece of serious scholarship, more a farcical parody. Clearly, we are not dealing with an intelligent man. 

It is not possible to explain all that is wrong with Mr Hovind's work. I entreat my readers to read this masterpiece themselves. Anyone willing to read this drivel should contact me and I will forward the 'thesis' in PDF form.

I'll finish with the following quote. This is typical and summarises the timbre of the narrative. Everything is encapsulated in this short extract of drivel. This is all you really need to know about this deluded and very silly man: Hitler was an evolutionist and it was the crazy doctrine of evolution that was responsible for World War.  His historical synopsis of evolution begins with Satan, who else, the great evolutionary theorist and he alleges that the snake, masquerading as Satan, introduced Adam and Eve to evolutionary theory. Thus, evolution, ultimately lead to the 'Downfall of all humankind'.

If nothing else Mr Hovind's effort is for a good old belly laugh. I suggest my readers obtain a beer, sit in a comfy chair then wade through this work of fiction. Good luck.