Category Archives: Culture

Martian Shock Therapy…

Thematic Semantics: Point A—

Flap you b@#$%&?!

Rod Hull

taster of london with nick 05Since its inception, I’ve found myself plodding along at a far steadier pace than I had intended— especially after a lay off as long I had; but I’m pretty sure I’m enjoying myself upon more than just similar lines. As such I’m more than willing to play more. If one is able to do after all— it’s criminal not to; so do, is what I’m doing.

I had intended to weave a little Welles into my thoughts— but it’s far too important a thing to have lost, wasted in ridiculous so soon without a little context to grease the tracks first— besides, if I keep it up, I’ll have exceeded half of all the probabilities I’d originally set myself, and in the hood of all likeliness— I’ll be lucky to fill the other.

Although, that being said, I do have the odd treat up my sleeve— it’s not as if I have it planned as much as it’s more a case of learning to fly again by jumping out of a plane with someone with a parachute beside me asking, with some urgency I might add, ‘why aren’t you flapping?’

So, from the springboard of planes and parachutes, it’s quite possible to take monkeys, aliens, world-domination and even woman around a peculiar semantic merry-go-round; such are the contextual marvels of alternative thought. But like all good things, we must start at point A. And for the next few days I’ll be following a thematic-chain which will no doubt lead me right back to here, past through and perhaps over some of these most inevitable of categories.

The reason for my desired launchpad is owing to the quasi-obssession I’ve had for many years with the first 45 minutes of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. It has a tendency to collapse in on itself during the second half which is hardly a crime as there have been many very good works falling short of greatness owing to a lack of lustre in their final third— but for three quarters of an hour we are treated to one of the greatest voices there’s ever been narrating away with his life, very much in the balance— we even get to hear him say whoosh— which makes the fee for the CD alone, worth an admission.

If I had Richard Burton’s voice for a day, I would make my million and retire— so long as my ‘million’ was pounds and not just trilbies for a secret army of chimps; which would be quite ridiculous. There’s not a scenario I can imagine where I’d actually be able to keep an army of chimps secret. And it’s not through a lack of trying.

Anywise, the Martians have this great war-cry. Actually, it’s the only thing they do say, which is probably why they’re so angry and destructive in the first place: it’s a cry for help, an out-shout for a better vocabulary: we want your planet and your dictionary. It certainly resonates far stronger with me, than some nonsense about the proliferation of their species.

But instead they caught a cold. But not before crying ooohlaaa! a few times, which is actually pretty creepy as it is. However, if you isolate it; run it through a few filters, transpose it a little then play it a little louder than is really necessary, it becomes positively disturbing. And what is especially alarming is if you allow your computer to cry it out whenever it feels like it.

Half a dozen times a day I used to hear it and every time I’d get one of those wtf moments— you’d expect after a while that the nerves would take a bit of a shredding, but it actually became quite therapeutic, particularly when it provided an excuse to leak sentences…

And with that, we’ll just have to see where it takes us.

We will peck them to death to-morrow, my dear…

H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

The fewer the thoughts, the greater they weigh. It’s the nature of remembering & the autistic brain…

Moments aren’t for defining; they are to be put to song—

Instrumentals…

IMG_2445I was just lying there, stewing somewhat— having had a Shanghai of a day, cat in toe by my face most of it, swinging-low. She kept me working from the cave today but anywise.

I was flicking through some menus and films thinking; but at the same time, weighing things over and over quite involuntarily— things that weigh more, the fewer of them you have.

One of them was an idea I had some time ago for a clock, that would no doubt cause its owner endless torment with the perverse manner in which it kept time. But it’s in their nature: it just so happens to be what they do— because they’re secretive. It’s also the nature of remembrance, that the only function it serves is to remind us of other things— which is why, as we grow older— we tell each other stories in the hope they will remind us of other stories.

It’s as fitting an analogy as I am prepared to make to the autistic brain today, short of explaining the mechanisms of the clock. Remembrance is not an uncomplicated process. It’s a voluntary act dependant on a series of involuntary recalls. There may be a degree of summons, but like the cat this morning, there is a powerlessness to affect what happens next.

I’m reminded of an early Latin text— one of the earliest and funniest extant, as it were— written in or around the first century, so I wasn’t around at the time to comment as to the prevalence of what it describes. The truth is, I care only to recall but bits of it, and one of them concerns a water clock in a dining room, with a trumpeter, whose only function was to announce the time, so at any time, the clocks owner would know precisely how much of his life he had lost. Make a note, because I’ll be returning to this observation another time.

In turn, I was reminded of several observations made by friends over the years: that by and large I keep my thoughts about my person, and they are at times saddened I do not, cannot or wiln’t share them. I’ve been criticised for it a number of times; my thoughts it seems, are worth more than dust or my company— and regardless of the humour involved in such comments, they always leave me bound to a curiosity I either do not or cannot explain. You could argue then, that by doing so, you make a case for saying you can measure whatever life you’ve had, you’ve lost— by the measure of whatever life you’ve failed to share.

Rough notes as they are, capsulise the multiple ironies therein: life lost incorporates everything; it’s an imperious semantic field from which, not even thought can escape. It is for all intents and purposes infinite, but yet there was once a man with a leaky pot and a trumpet attempting to measure it; to share the thought: that I don’t readily share my thoughts is awkward to validate in as far as you must do one to do the other— and in order to remember it, I had to think of other things— while lying there— stewing somewhat.

It’s funny; it can take as long as an hour to capture the essence of a moment in order to share it. It’s not something I find displeasing— it just reinforces, on a personal note— how powerful the implications are of such generosity. Most people will never work it out; because it’s not in their nature; they are unfortunately, not enough like clocks.

So the next time you ask yourself, where it was you think that you last saw your glasses and are startled by the response— be sure to take another note, that it’s time to re-examine the events leading up to it. If however the response is along the lines of, I don’t know where they are but I heard them land a moment before catching a satisfied glimmer, only to see them perched exactly where you left them.

Ask yourself this:

What then was it you think, that you heard land?

*tick*

The Hopefuel Range & the not unseens…

The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for…

Allan K. Chalmers

hopeI prefer to think in terms of the not-so-grand essentials that work just as well. We cannot put a quart in a pint glass after all, because abstractions of such can never agree and invariably come back to the same thing: something to hope for.

Reinhold Niebuhr wrote:

“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime. Therefore, we are saved by hope.”

Which is pretty gloomy stuff, but goes on to state that:

“Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith.”

Which is more or less exactly the same thing— all the while making a non-essential argument about ‘grand things’. It is however, more than likely that he’s saying— it can be no more separated from patience than from the form itself. You see, there will always be a little something along the way to chew.

Like the devil said to Noah, it’s bound to clear up.

A lack patience is the reason liquor was created; made in mind for those who wanted a hundred beers but only a small pocket to carry them in. It is the original vendible distilled— sometimes many, many times— in order to promote a little optimism in its users’ lives. There should however, be more— something that doesn’t consider one’s innards to be comestible.

The Hope Springs flavoured Waters range would be a step in the right direction, particularly for those with a more delicate sense of taste; preferring a cool and smooth beverage as opposed to something that thinks of you as foodwhich is why there should be a Hope-I-don’t-Bloat range of dietary snacks; or perhaps an educational device: The Hope-I-Float swimming trainer; an invaluable tool for first time paddlers.

But there should at least be something for those of us who are concerned that our child or childs will fall for the wrong ‘sort’: the I Hope they don’t Elope parental handbook, would deal with that, providing the reader with all those woes, a tender examination of possible solutions— and if all those fail; a how-to-guide composed of violent recriminatory advice entitled: Acrimony before Matrimony.

Personally, I’d prefer to see something on the lines of:

Hope on a Rope

It would be less retentive than water, with fewer calories than food; you’re less likely to get drunk and drown because you’ve forgotten your arm-bands; and no one’s father is going to shoot you. Instead, you can just lather up and rinse and drip-dry, safe in the knowledge that you need never hope you smell well, again. Or simply, wear your hope and make it real— we wear our hearts from time to time do we not?

Porro fides est rerum sperandarum substantia, demonstratio eorum quae non videntur—

Which is probably the most elegant of all definitions: the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen…

Hebrew 11:1

It certainly has a better ring to it than Pope-soap.

 

Two fortnights; four weeks; one month or thirty very odd days…

To a month of links and thinking differently;

And a little bit of noise—

I hope it’s been some fun…

coacheswar-crimescricketbreadsticksblogging cats baby-sitting aboutbad-teaching balloons  ettiquette  coffee furniture girl gnomes habits grammar house-sitting immigration golf knitting meltdown marshmallows lost miniamlism nail-clippings onearmed man rules procrastination phone-calls senses shit pockets sick

stuffed-cats superhero syntax

I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained…

Walt Disney

Triboelectric Knitting: the new water-boarding for kinky OAPs…

The Alternative Advent: Day 6

tiboelevtric knittingAnd I find chopsticks frankly distressing. Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects—

Haven’t yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles is no way to capture food?

Bill Bryson

Is it any way to capture food?

Of course not, but despite the indelible blow they struck for hapless babysitters in Halloween, their appeal was on the wane— until fairly recently. The information age have made them sexy again. Forget about knitting being the new ‘going out’; because that Roman-Candle just never sticks. Last week, ‘staying in’ was having a revival; before that it was black and it won’t be long before the new black is once again an absence of colour.

It is for some though, the new sex and while there are octogenarians who’d argue that this was always the case— and not just because it strengthened hand muscles and their ability to grip things— but because it catches the imagination in ways I’m only just beginning to understand.

Even I cast a few loops from time to time and rip away for a while error free. I leave plenty ‘signatures’, quite substantial some of them— but any past-time where the word ‘mistake’ is semantically questionable gets the thumbs up from me. They’ve been doing it with every single subject in English schools for a long time.

And is it really surprising it’s thought of as sexy, with stitches called the stockinette or the garter? If they’re for the flirty knitter, perhaps the ribbed stitch is arguably exclusive for her.

That said, I say not. As impressive as these double-knitted, slip-stitches look, they’re just a little bit unmanly. Instead of ‘stitch one, purl one’, why not alternate to the ever diminishing decimal places of pi: ‘stitch one, purl four, stitch one, purl five, stitch nine’ and on and on, ad infinitum?

Combine that with the geometric elements of Cavandoli macramé and you’ve got yourself some yarn-candy for the geeks. For the super geeks though, you’d need something much better…

Triboelectric Knitting

You see, some materials create more static electricity than others because of their tendency to either give up electrons and become positive in charge or attract electrons and become negative in charge.

Wool for example, just throws its electrons away willy-nilly— so it stands to reason that if you made needles that wolfed them down, you’d have the potential for potential energy. That and electric shocks for whomever was brave enough to use them.

I’d probably try a spiny, teflon-coated-copper-core, with a Styrofoam moulding to bring it flush with exposed spines, and finish it off with a non-conducting gripper, so as not to earth any of the latent charge before it had time to get frenzied; or just ask someone who knows the difference between beans to make some for me.

Add to them a miniaturised version of the pedometer to record the number of stitches stitched in a sitting and you’ve got yourself the makings of a game: equation based of course.

There would be two sums involved:

  • The duration of the session divided by the number of stitches recorded; and

  • dropped stitches divided by shocks received

And by dividing the the product of those two sums, you get your index.

Of course, the real fun would be to give a couple of these new fangled sticks to season hardened biddies who have a stitch count you can measure in the balls [of yarn] per minute, or BPMs…

And then just sit back and see what happens…

They’d do it for the status amongst the other biddies—

And respect of course. Who’d wanna mess with a juiced up granny?

Safety in Number?

It is the lone worker who makes the first advance in a subject—

And there can be only one…

IMG_5572 800The girl who read expressions lessened her eyes to fingertips; closed hers and found his lips. She found them wanting she decided, but found hers dry. The girl who read movements loosened her shirt, her neck released, showed her heart still beats and found sweetly his within her hands. And with him inside little sounds, took him down, letting go the mouth she found and crowned— herself the girl who took a look aside the skin she tried to use to hide, was left there shaking, an aching-like play-thing made believe. She was not petrified…

Pleasure.

Mootax & the mood-syntax button…

I never did very well in math—

I could never seem to persuade the teacher that I hadn’t meant my answers literally

Calvin Trillin

IMG_2343Sometimes the answers lie in what we choose not to say:

The calendar is stricken and reversed; as such, much better counting down to something I fancy. It is a solution most ordinary, but alternative enough had I not known of the palindrome. But no ordinary one: the alternative palindrome.

I’d start at one and on to 12, halt and return forth-with; or perhaps a pattern based upon the alternative kaleidoscope, which unlike the original model, wasn’t random at all, but split into 4 alternating groups descending by a day at a time— in multiples of 6. The alternative ‘primes’ method was considered for a few minutes but disregarded for being too stupid— but it was the only one that was.

I quite liked it at first: the idea of making something, except when it fell on a day that was ‘prime’ in which case, I just ignored it; and why not? I happen to be prime too also: divisible by myself and one. It’s not something I’d care to try— I saw Braveheart, all stretched out and screaming. So no.

It was even suggested I take a look at the ISO 8601 Original date system, a system designed to prevent confusion and the misplace of time in the future. After all, we wouldn’t want to confuse my date of birth as the year 26111976 would we. Although it wouldn’t surprise me, I’ve met few who’d have to think about it for a while. Anyway, ISO was over-ruled, not just because it was bollocks, but also mean to imbeciles. It was a conscience call.

In any event, we’ve all been in the situation where we’ve needed to write something to someone about something and have struggled. Perhaps the page in mind was too ‘industrial’ or ‘salty’ to have resolved or conveyed what ever the message should have read. It does put a dampener on things, especially if you end up sending a load of ‘unfs’ and ‘ucks’ anyway. Help should be at hand— perhaps in the form of:

The Mood-Syntax Button

Or Mootax for short. It would be an ideal addition to future generations of Word. Not that I can imagine having much faith in it were it so.

Already this morning, it’s tried to persuade me that, ‘I am divisible by myself and one is I not?’ And that ISO 8601, is ‘a system designed to prevent confusion and misplace the time of the future.’ Perhaps it was just being alternative; wasn’t it Agent Mulder who coined the phrase, I believe Microsoft Works?

That said, I do like the notion of the misplacement of time because of a computer error– not all that removed from yesterday is it?

In order for Mootax to work optimally, it would have to be used in conjunction with voice recognition software. A good barney on paper is nothing compared to one: au natural. The minute the fingers get involved there are too many rules; deflation ensues and that constant voice of reason’s forever telling you, ‘you can’t write that.’

So do not…

Switch on, log-in, ‘f’ and blind, cry, whinge, la, laugh, grit, snort or rabbit, ’til a voice you have no more. Convert it to text, highlight it and then select the appropriate mood. I think you’d have to have the option of selecting multiple moods for any passage, including an ‘and’ or ‘but’ variable. For example:

Soft but ‘pissy’ and ‘indifferent but sincere’ wouldn’t have the same ring to them were they both, and not at the expense of either. But that’s where the custom settings would come into play.

A simple questionnaire would suffice in order to capture a Mootax setting which could be pre-programmed and used whenever you felt like it.

I’d want the amnesia setting with the but of: a tendency to forget.

And for those who prefer to type: A pressure sensitive keyboard with an auto-correct facility included at no extra cost…

The who gives a #@%& pocket, more about cats & the dangers of hand-held fans…

A three piece discord—

And the cunning of the third person…

go to break earlyAs I enter the third day under the roof of ignominious, quasi-disharmony, I decided I ought best choose my words carefully in case my laptop is bugged. And though diligence is not something that comes naturally with a pen in hand, I feel it’s quite possible the being spied upon trope is not an over-reaction, and my house-guest has not gone shopping at all.

I actually considered writing this in the third person to induce ignoratio elenchi and befuddle my would-be observers, but not only would that’ve been far too weird, it would’ve contravened one of my personal laws. To describe my loathing of self-referential utterances in the third-person as rules, would be an affront to my very soul: rules are merely principals to be observed. Laws on the other hand: something to be obeyed. It is called illesim and it’s creepy. Salvador Dali did it once in a televised interview, but if you remember my piece on minimalism, he also once had to be rescued from a deep-sea divers suit with a pair of pliers…

Anyway, as I’ve accepted a luncheon invitation and’d found a suitable pause in my morning’s work, I thought I’d jot down some of my recent acquisitions, one of my old ones, skip the overture and play the second of three specially recorded: symphony of words:

I’ve discovered that it’s part of cats’ original sin to lure their owners into a down-pour wearing dressing-gowns only to be snubbed at the last moment; and playing with a hand-held-fan too close to close to someone’s hair can leave the blades entangled in it. The latter occurred last evening and I have been looking over my shoulder ever since, hence my spy-awareness.

Personally, I can’t really see what all the fuss is about, even my sister laughed, so it must’ve been a little bit funny, even though by then the turbine had actually begun to groan. There was no permanent damage and the marvellous fro-effect was upsettingly temporary.

And lastly, otherwise I’m really going to be late, is the who gives a @#$% pocket. I’d like to call it an invention, but I believe it to be a naturally occurring phenomena, something we all have; and just like addictions or imaginary friends: we just have to acknowledge it’s there. They are simple to use and needn’t be particularly large since they aren’t designed for non-specific items, as it will soon become clear.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have been questioned unnecessarily, or had to endure the dribbling of an inferior; been put on the spot with the express intention to cause yourself embarrassment? Had to suffer the nonsensical ravings of a co-worker, family friend or house-guest?

If the answer is yes, then the who gives a @#$% pocket is like a vacuum for all these things and more. You see, for Baloney Detection Networks and Hemmingway’s bullshit detector to become something more performative, they need a Ghostbusters-like containment unit.

So the next time someone you know has been savaging your ears relentlessly for a month or more about the same old rubbish and you’ve reached the limits of all fissionable care, here’s what you say:

Wait a second, let me look in my who gives a @#$% pocket

You look, then you say: nope, the @#$%er’s empty…

You see the charm and size of your imaginary compartment is both infinitely variable and irreverent because not only is it yours and yours alone, but the @#$%er’s always empty. I discovered it quite by chance one day and have been smiling about it ever since.

Stupidity is infinitely more fascinating that intelligence. Intelligence has its limits while stupidity has none…

Claude Chabrol
 

It’s a contentious issue, but I can’t help feeling the powers that be have missed a trick with their immigration policies…

It’s bows and arrows against the lightning

They ‘aven’t seen that fire-beam yet…

Herbert George Wells, War of the Worlds

394934_10150749353871041_1787771566_nIn the Telegraph today, Douglas Carswell writes:

“For years, the debate about immigration has been dominated by “experts”.

“Complex and inaccessible data was used by remote academics. They crunched the numbers and were left to draw the conclusions. The rest of us had to take it on trust that the facts sustained what they told us.”

The Guardian’s Mary Dejevsky agrees somewhat and tells us [the] immigration debate is not just about numbers … We have to consider people’s daily experience too:

“[The] Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at University College London, found arrivals from the European economic area (EEA) since 1995 to have been even more of an asset to the UK economy than previously thought. They had, it calculated, contributed £8.8bn over the 15 years between 1995 and 2011, and if you considered only the past 10 years, the balance was even more positive.”

However Steve Doughty from The Daily Mail, read the same report and interpreted it slightly differently, claiming that :

“Immigrants from outside Europe have taken £100billion more in benefits and services than they paid back in taxes, a major study revealed yesterday.

“Over a 16-year period, the bill to the taxpayer of providing them with welfare, health and education was 14 per cent higher than the money they put in the national purse.”

This is a problem— when our source material is provided by unimpeachable sources but the conclusions drawn from it are wildly disparate, I’m afraid either the nature of the data or the conclusions must be rendered as lacking validity. At least in a usable, practicable way. Studies ought to inform, not divide in such a binary manner.

This is not a new problem. In an article in Scientific American, Patternicity: Finding Meaningful Patterns in Meaningless Noise, Michael Shermer writes about the mechanisms that allow us to see such differences; it also alows us to see bunny rabbits in fluffy clouds— the same mechanism which results in ‘complex and inaccessible data’ being summarised and presented as fact, while ignoring that:

Unfortunately, we did not evolve a Baloney Detection Network in the brain to distinguish between true and false patterns.”

It is describing a form of apophenia: the ability we have to see what we want to see; or more simply, the ability to make sense when there is none.  In fact, the irony is, I too could be doing just that, but I’ll be describing how I perceive the opinion process in another post, I just wanted to get the Baloney Detection Network out there because I love it, just as much as Hemmingway’s bullshit detector. It’s more or less the same thing.

Anyway, no amount of numbers can alter the fact that immigration is simply someone moving from one place to another. So I ask you, simply

Why not just employ nightclub doormen as immigration officials?

Have you ever tried getting into a club if your name wasn’t on the list?

It’s just a thought…