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""jean-jacques rousseau defined civilisation as when people build fences. a very perceptive observation. and it's true - all civilisation is the product of a fenced in lack of freedom. the australian aborigines are the exception though. they managed to maintain a fenceless civilisation until the seventeenth century. they were dyed-in-the-wool free... when the british came and built fences to pen in their cattle, the aborigines couldn't fathom it. and, ignorant of the principle at work, they were classified as dangerous and anti-social and were driven away, to the outback. so i want you to be careful. the people who build high, strong fences are the ones who survive the best. you deny that reality only at the risk of being driven into the wilderness yourself..."""
- from 'kafka on the shore' by haruki murakami
w a r n i n g ! discontinue all mobile phone use! you are in breach of international copyright law! - www.magnus-opus.com/index1.html
my apologies for bringing matters scrotal into this but i've been toying with the idea for some years now of getting a vasectomy. i have no desire at all to procreate nor do i remember a single moment in my life when i have felt differently. when i was a child of course i naturally assumed that when i grew up (18 being 'grown up' -how little i knew) i would get married and then have children. "that's just what people do", i thought and indeed it was, in fact still is.. but i can think of little worse than having a child merely because you're expected to want to, or indeed you expect yourself to want to. from personal experience i know that way too many people have children either for the wrong reasons or without being at all prepared for the enormity of what it means to do so. these people aren't doing themselves any favours, they're not doing me any favours and they certainly aren't doing the children concerned any favours. at all. sometimes i think we should teach a class in schools called 'how not to have children'. but of course then politics and religion get involved because it's in both their interests to keep the babies a-comin'. i've got friends who've had children and most of them are exactly the kind of people that should have, more than likely making good parents and bringing up non-morons, of which we can never have too many. i however, am not one of these people, and thus 'the snip' beckons...
an (un)kindred spirit? your one stop shop for 'mis', 'dis' and flat out 'un' information... beware the grue... - http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
more internet connection blues. my broadband connection went down for the second time last week. yet again providers wanadoo have dragged their heels in the process of reestablishing my link to the www, their frankly staggeringly inept customer service for some reason bringing to mind the image of a sheep trying to operate a lawnmower: it seems bound to end in tears. last time it took over a fucking month to get sorted. for some reason they subscribe to the popular idea that it's ok to talk to india when you have a problem, that is to an indian call centre where they process your problem differently and have difficulty speaking the language with any degree of clarity. and before any bleeding heart tree huggers get started calling me a racist, it is not racism and fuck you if you think it is. my prejudice is merely against anyone (and i'll repeat this and underline it) anyone that cannot do their job to my satisfaction, particularly if the incompetent execution of their duties will royally fuck with my life...
...i've finally been reconnected, somewhat mysteriously, with no explanation, which leads me to the conclusion that someone hadn't pulled a switch or pressed a button like they were supposed to - "o, i turned him off accidentally, silly me!" (subtext: "because i'm so stupid that i have a problem with simple concepts such as 'off' and 'on'... and 'up' and 'down'... in fact i have trouble spelling my own name... and my mother's a fat cow"). disconnection for two weeks with no explanation has pushed me to the very brink. one more iota of a problem and i'm jumping ship, leaving wanadoo to drown in their own excrement.
fresh from her holiday in the dominican republic, hostess elisabeth's seemingly perpetually tanned mother comes to visit, blessing us with the gift of a fridge magnet. a fridge magnet containing a photograph. a photograph of her on holiday. smiling. hugging a dolphin.
the internet: "a popup-choked, moron-laden porno pipe" - rotten.com
a dream: i'm trapped in a large room in a building that's rapidly flooding. for some reason i'm in charge of lots of cats and kittens. all of the animals are in carryable 'cat boxes' (with wire grates on the front of them through which you can see inside) but there are far too many of them to carry all at once. there is a hole in the roof through which i can escape once the water has risen to the ceiling but as the water rises it's filling the cat boxes, threatening to drown the cats. i raise them on to higher levels: tables, shelves etc. as quickly as i can but i'm always too late to stop a few of the boxes completely filling up with water and i have to lift them up individually and pour out the water through the front grate to save the cat inside. it seems that every moment i remember one i've left submerged too long and have to desperately try to rescue it, pouring out the water, watching the cat cough and splutter, nearly having been drowned, but of course as i'm doing this the water is still rising and there's another that's been underwater too long and another and another and all the time the water is rising higher and higher.
it would appear that mr. roast has had something of a culinary rebirth. when we all lived together at pentonville mountain he seemed to exist purely on a diet of crab sticks (with no actual crab in them -we checked the packet), something he called rather vaguely 'pink sauce' (which to me sounds like some kind of filthy euphemism) and (talking of filthy euphemism) cheesy baps. he calmly announced to us all last week that he now eats only salads and drinks only soya milk. i'm not sure whether to congratulate him or be appalled.
"reality's just the accumulation of ominous prophecies come to life."
- from 'kafka on the shore' by haruki murakami
so now the little shits that live near me have gotten hold of fireworks. o great. now if there was ever a group of individuals that i think probably shouldn't be given explosives... mind you, we might get a few blown off extremities and horribly burned faces... as i do ever november 5th i'll keep an ear out for the shouted phrase: "my eyes, my eyes!"
mindfuck anyone? - www.patmedia.net/marklevinson/cool/cool_illusion.html
mr. king had another recording session recently for which he needed a chorus of ne'er-do-well sounding ruffians to join in. a singalong, or 'kingalong' if you will. i had missed the previous vocal jamboree but was eager to join in this time -though it must be pointed out that singing in front of others is not something that i'm used to, or indeed particularly equipped for. so we all arrived and were put through our paces by the estimable mr. king and things were going fine until i spotted, and then pointed out to everyone, that one of the lyrics could have a somewhat different interpretation... the line, from the song 'the farmer's toast' went like this:
have lawns i have bowers,
now of course this last line means that the lark is what wakes the farmer every morning. obvious you might say, and so it is, however to me it seemed that the farmer was singing that the lark was his morning (i.e. typified it) and then, as if caught by surprise, exclaiming"a llama!" as if one had just wandered into view... or perhaps jumped out of a cupboard at him. sadly this observation caused both myself and mr. roast to giggle uncontrollably (i believe i was crying at one point) and were unable to look at each other throughout the recording. thankfully we were able to control ourselves well enough to get through the song and move on. not sure when the session will make it to disc but i'll let you know... i have to say that llamas notwithstanding, i enjoyed the session more than i thought i would. i think something primal is triggered when people sing together like this -if only because when you're part of a larger chorus then the onus on you to be 'good' is removed. deep down, no matter who you are, no matter how little talent you posses in that area, you like to sing. go on. admit it. you do.
even mice love to sing! listen! - http://mednews.wustl.edu/news/page/normal/6040.html
an evening out to watch fireworks at canary wharf (where we had been promised by the promotional posters that we would be given free sparklers) turned into an initial disappointment when we were handed a flyer which read "for the safety of you and your family, sparklers will not be available at tonight's clydesdale bank firework display". of course it can't be left up to adults and the parents of any children to decide what's safe for themselves or their offspring. of course not. what a silly idea. sans sparklers we shuffled about in the cold and waited for the display. and very good it was too, though it did start a little badly for the sponsors. to kick things off a red flaming sign proclaiming 'clydesdale bank' was lit and flared falteringly into life, within seconds though reduced to merely reading 'desdale ban', which as far as i know means nothing to anyone. a few red faces and raised voices in the pr department the following day i think. i mean, yeah, i'll be switching my account to a company who can't even manage to set fire to their own name. highlight of the evening though was the still burning rocket remnants that rained down in the crowd, causing us to dodge and weave, catching one man who was filming the event and causing him to jump about hurriedly brushing himself down so as not to catch fire. o how we laughed.
"he used to go to the river every day to catch fish. nothing to worry about back then, he reminisced. just live each day as it came. as long as i was alive, i was something. that was just how it was. but somewhere along the way it all changed. living turned me into nothing. weird... people are born in order to live, right? but the longer i've lived, the more i've lost what's inside me - and ended up empty. and i bet the longer i live, the emptier, the more worthless, i'll become. something's wrong with this picture. life isn't supposed to turn out like this! isn't it possible to shift direction, to change where i'm headed?"
'kafka on the shore' by haruki murakami
recommended: (audio) 'orekama' -from cd 'tsutsumi'- by kodo / (comestible) hostess elisabeth's pan fried salmon with fresh pesto and jersey cream / (visual) the 'desdale ban' fireworks display / (sensorial) christmas shopping done!
reviled: (audio) the over amplified sound of any carbonated drink being poured into a glass - as used in every fucking soft drink and beer advert / (comestible) chicken tikka masala from dockmasters -canary wharf / (visual) the doors ripped off the bin room by the locals 'yoofs' / (sensorial) shower going cold half way through rinsing
and finally... i don't want to say i told you so -but i will if you push me. (come to think of it whenever anyone says 'i don't want to say i told you so', they always mean of course that that's exactly what they want to say, in fact by saying that they don't want to, then of course they already have. it's like the phrase 'with all due respect', and i think we all know what that means)...
worse off 'when they have god
on their side'
religious belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.
according to the study, belief in and worship of god are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.
the study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.
it compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as britain, with the us, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution. many conservative evangelicals in the us consider darwinism to be a social evil, believing that it inspires atheism and amorality.
many liberal christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. the benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as its "spiritual capital". but the study claims that the devotion of many in the us may actually contribute to its ills.
the paper, published in the journal of religion and society, a us academic journal, reports: "many americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, god-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world.
"in general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, std infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.
"the united states is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so."
gregory paul, the author of the study and a social scientist, used data from the international social survey programme, gallup and other research bodies to reach his conclusions.
he compared social indicators such as murder rates, abortion, suicide and teenage pregnancy.
the study concluded that the us was the world's only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. mr paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the us were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. the us also suffered from " uniquely high" adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.
mr paul said: "the study shows that england, despite the social ills it has, is actually performing a good deal better than the usa in most indicators, even though it is now a much less religious nation than america."
he said that the disparity was even greater when the us was compared with other countries, including france, japan and the scandinavian countries. these nations had been the most successful in reducing murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, he added.
mr paul delayed releasing the study until now because of hurricane katrina. he said that the evidence accumulated by a number of different studies suggested that religion might actually contribute to social ills. "i suspect that europeans are increasingly repelled by the poor societal performance of the christian states," he added.
he said that most western nations would become more religious only if the theory of evolution could be overturned and the existence of god scientifically proven. likewise, the theory of evolution would not enjoy majority support in the us unless there was a marked decline in religious belief, mr paul said.
"the non-religious, proevolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.
held fear that a godless citizenry must experience societal disaster
is therefore refuted."