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Archive for December, 2008

Storm

Just discovered this guy. Love it. I can’t say how many times I’ve been is this kind of situation and didn’t handle it with nearly so lovely a verse. But before you read on proper credit should be given to the author. Tim Minchin. I’ll have to get a DVD. Thanks to my friends on Facebook and YouTube for making me aware of this.

Storm

Tim Minchin

In a north london top floor flat,

All white walls, white carpet, white cat.

Rice paper partition, Modern art And Ambition


The host’s a physician,

Lovely bloke,

Has his own practice,

His girlfriend’s an actress -

An old mate of ours from home,

And they’re always gret fun,

So to dinner we’ve come -


The fifth guest is an unknown,

The hosts have just thrown us

together for a favour.

The girl’s just arrived from Australia,

And she’s moved to North London,

And she’s a sister of someone.

Or has – some connection.


As we make introductions,

I’m struck my her beauty,

She’s irrefutably fair,

With dark eyes and dark hair.

But as she shits, I admit:

I’m a little bit wary,


As i notice the tip,

Of the wing of a fairy,

Tattooed on that popular area,

Just above the derrière,

And when she says “I’m Sagittarius!”


I confess, a pigeonhole starts to form,

And is immediately filled with pigeon,

When she says her name is *Storm*


Conversation is initially bright and light-hearted,

But it’s not long before Storm gets started.


You can’t know anything.

Knowledge is merely opinion.


She opines over her Cabernet Sauvignon

Vis-`a-vis, Some unhippily empirical comment made by me.

Not a good start I think, We’re only on pre-dinner drinks,

And across the room my wife widens her eyes,

Silently begging me “Be nice!”


A matrimonial warning, Not worth ignoring.

So,


I resist the urge to ask Storm,

Whether knowledge is so loose weave,

Of a morning, when deciding whether to leave,

Her apartment by the front door,

Or the window on the second floor.


The food is delicious,

And Storm whilst avoiding all meat,

Happily sits and eats,

As the good doctor slightly pissedly

holds court on some anachronistic aspect of medical history.


When Storm suddenly insists:

But the human body is a mystery

Science just falls in a hole

When it tries to explain the nature of the soul.


My hostess throws me a glance,

She, like my wife, knows there’s a chance,

I’ll be off on one of my rare, but fun, rants.

But I shan’t, My lips are sealed,

I just want to enjoy the meal.


And although Storm is starting to get my goat,

I have no intention of rocking the boat,

Although it’s becoming a bit of a wrestle,

Because, like her meteorological namesake,

Storm has no such concerns for our vessel.


Pharmaceutical companies is an enemy,

They promote drug dependency,

At the cost of the natural remedies,

That are all our bodies need,

They’re immoral and driven by greed,

Why take drugs when herbs can solve it?

Why do chemicals when

Homeopathic solvents can resolve it?

I think it’s time we all return to live,

With natural medical alternatives.


And try as I like,

A small crack appears in my diplomacy dyke.


By definition, (I begin)

Alternative medicine, (I continue)

Hs either not been proved to work,

Or been proved, not to work.

Do you know what they call

‘Alternative Medicine’

That’s been proved to work?


– Medicine


So you don’t believe in any natural remedies?

On the contrary, Storm, actually,

Before we came to tea,

I took a natural remedy,

Derived from the bark of a willow tree.

It’s a painkiller, virtually side-effect free.

It’s got a, a weird name,

Darling, what was it again?

Maspirin?

Baspirin? Oh, yeah -

Aspirin!

Which I paid about a buck for,

Down at the local drugstore.


The debate briefly abates,

As my hosts collect plates.

But as they return with dessert,

Storm pertly asserts,

Shakespeare said it first:

There are more things in

Heaven and Earth,

Than exist in your philosophy

Science is just how we’re trained, to look at reality,

It doesn’t explain, Love or spirituality.

How does Science explain

Psychics, auras, the afterlife,

The power of prayer?


I’m becoming aware,

That I’m staring,

I’m like a rabbit suddenly trapped,

In the blinding headlights of vacuous crap.

Maybe it’s the Hamlet,

She just misquothed,

Or the fifth glass of wine I just quaffed.

But my diplomacy dyke groans,

And the arsehole held back by its stones.

Could be held back no more.


Look up, Storm, So I don’t need to bore ya,

But there’s no such thing as an aura,

Reading auras is like reading minds,

Or tea leaves, or star-signs,

Or meridian lines.

These people aren’t plying a skill,

They’re either lying, or mentally ill.

Same goes for people who claim

To hear God’s demands,

Spiritual healers who think

They’ve got magic hands.

By the way, why do we think it’s okay,

For people to pretend they can talk to the dead?

Isn’t that totally fucked in the head?

Lying to some crying woman whose child has died,

And telling me you’re in touch with the other side?

I think that’s fundamentally sick.

Do I need to clairify here,

That there’s no such thing as a psychic?


What are we – fucking two?

Do we actually think that

Horton heard a Who?

Do we still believe that Santa brings us gifts,

That Michael Jackson didn’t have facelifts?

Or are you still so stunned

by circus tricks,

That we think te dead would,

Wanna talk to pricks like John Edward?


Storm, to her credit,

Despite my derision

Keeps firing off cliches

With startling precision

Like a sniper using

Bollocks for ammunition.


You’re so sure of your position,

But you’re just close-minded,

I think you’ll find tat

Your FAITH in science and tests,

Is just as blind as the

faith of any fundamentalists,


Wow, that’s a good point,

Let me think for a bit.

Oh wait, my mistake,

That’s absolute bullshit.

Science adjusts its views

Based on what’s observed.

Faith is the denial of observation,

so that belief can be preserved.


If you show me that, say,

Homeopathy works,

I will change my mind,

I will spin on a fucking dime.

I’ll be as embarassed as hell,

Yet I will run through the streets yelling,

It’s a MIRACLE!

Take pysics and bin it!

Water has memory!

And whilst its memory

Of a long lost drop of onion juice is infinite,

It somehow forgets all the poo it’s had in it.


You show me that it works,

And how it works,

and when I’ve recovered,

from the shock,

I will take a compass and carve

‘Fancy That’,

On the side of my cock.


Everyone’s just staring now,

But I’m pretty pissed and I’ve dug this far down.

So I figure.. In for a penny, in for a pound!


Life is full of mystery, yeah,

but,

there are answers out there.

And they won’t be found,

By people sitting around,

Looking serious,

And saying: Isn’t life mysterious,

Let’s sit here and hope,

Let’s call up the fucking Pope,

Let’s go on Oprah,

And Interview Deepak Chopra.


If you must watch telly,

you should watch Scooby-Doo,

That show was so cool!

Because every time

There was a church with a ghoul,

Or a ghost in a school,

They looked beneath the mask.

And what was inside?

The fucking janitor,

or the dude who ran the water slide!

Because,

throughout history,

every mystery

ever solved,

Has turned out to be -

Not Magic!


Does the idea that

there might be knowledge frighten you?

Does the idea that

one afternoon on Wiki-fucking-pedia

Might enlighten you,

Frighten you?

Does the notion that there might not be a supernatural,

so blow your hippy noodle,

that you’d rather just stand in the fog of your

Inability to google?


Isn’t this enough?

Just,

this world?


Just,

Beautiful, Complex, Wonderfully Unfathomable,

Natural World?


How does it so fail to hold our attention

That we have to diminish it

with the invention

of cheap man-made

myths and monsters?

If you’re so into your Shakespeare,

Lend me your ear

To gild refined gold,

To paint the lily,

To throw perfume on the violet,

Is just fucking silly

Or something like that.

Or what about Satchmo?

I see trees of green,

Red roses too…


And fine, if you wish to,

Glorify Krishna and Vishnu,

In a post-colonial,

Condescending,

Bottled-up-and-labeled

kind of way,

Whatever, That’s okay.


But, here’s what gives me a hard-on,

I’m a tiny, insignificant

Ignorant bit of carbon.

I have one life,

And it is short and unimportant,

But thanks to recent scientific advances…


I get to live twice as long,

As my great-great-great-great

uncleses and auntses.


Twice as long!

To live this life of mine,

Twice as long,

To love this wife of mine.

Twice as many years,

Of friends, of wine,

Of sharing curries and getting shitty,

At good looking hippies,

With fairies on their spines,

And butterflies on their titties.


And if perchance, I have offended,

Think but this, and all is mended,


We’d as well be ten minutes back in time

For all the chance you’ll change your mind.

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Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Welcome to the culture war. I’ve started noticing more and more that friends won’t say Christmas in reference to December 24/25th. I’ve also noticed that these friends don’t claim to be Christian. So I guess this makes some sense. But. It is Christmas and yes it is a Christian holiday but it wasn’t always a Christian holiday. Then there’s the work ‘holiday’ which we will get to later.

So here are the facts. About this time of year, somewhere close to the winter solstice, there have always been some kind of festival. It doesn’t matter what culture existed there was some kind of festival. It just happens that the the Christians conquered the western world. If the romans had prevailed we would most likely celebrate Saturnalia but they didn’t and we don’t.

If you were born and raised in the Americas or Europe you were born into western culture and you and your family adopted western traditions. Christmas is no more or less culturally important on the world than are Qing Ming or Cinco De Mayo and if you look you will find these holidays also present in western culture. I” submit that this is a result of the Greek/Roman nature of western culture. When ever the Romans would conquered an area they would adopt the gods and celebrations of the peoples they were trying to win over. It’s a seriously sneaky way to take over a people. The Catholic missionaries to Mexico found that All Saints’ Day corresponded well with an Aztec festival already being celebrated. As a result we now have Day of the Dead.

Christmas is just another one of those holidays that got incorporated and adopted by the dominate culture. In this case it was Christian culture. There shouldn’t be anything embarrassing to the non Christian in saying Merry Christmas. Christians use this time to celebrate their new life rebirth beliefs and there’s noting wrong with recognizing it. In fact those who refuse to recognize this are truly assaulting another culture in much the same way they accuse Christian culture of doing. This may indeed be fact, and this article seems to prove that point, but those wanting to break from Christian culture should not commit the same assault. Simply recognize the the history of your own culture and honor it’s significance in shaping your world and realize that anything new is going to likely be based on what has been. Don’t go denying a people their celebrations just because they aren’t yours.

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Losing My Religion

Belief in God is irrational and doesn’t make sense. Then you bring up Pascal’s Wager that if God exists “… you gain all” if he doesn’t  ”you lose nothing”. But that isn’t quite the case. I titled this “losing my religion” not losing my faith. Religion is the organization that gets established around a spiritual belief system. Religions establish codes of conduct and behavior, they hold out rewards, eternal life, for good behavior there by seeking to control your behavior. Organization of unprovable and unscientific beliefs is religion and it’s primary goal is to control behavior. 

Faith is irrational it’s a choice you make to believe in something that just can’t be shown to be true or factual. That’s fine but when a group gathers around such beliefs they unfortunately become a religion and start espousing their beliefs as truth, they often never say fact. This “truth” becomes the central principles of the religion and conditions for membership and inclusion in the group. If you happen to ever disagree with the “truth” you will loose your membership (membership is one of the rewards of faith). Next are the demands to limit your associations with those outside the “faith,” the unbelievers, the ones not ready for “truth”. If you associate with the unbeliever you must evangelize them and win them over to the love and belonging that exists among those who believe. Once you believe and are accepted for membership then you too can start the reward and punishment cycle. The worst part is the genuine, so you thought, friendships you build among the members but if you ever misstep they are very willing to punish you by withholding friendship. Religion like this is a hideous thing.

Pascal’s wager is essentially a restatement of the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle essentially states that you shouldn’t do something if something bad might happen. This idea is easily disproved because inaction is as likely to cause harm. For example if you build a nuclear power plant it could leek and cause some people to get cancer and die. On the other hand if you don’t build it energy costs could go up and someone won’t be able to afford heating and will get sick or die. Either scenario might take place, one might even be more likely than the other but neither can be proven as a result of the action or inaction. It’s simply ridiculous to live your life according to such rules.

I continue to believe in God, yes capital G, because I choose to. I fully understand it’s irrational and doesn’t make sense and doesn’t fit with my general skepticism. It truly is faith. I do however completely reject the organizations and rules built around faith in the irrational. They are generally evil without knowing they are. They think they are helping you and have the truth. You will often hear a phrase like “being free isn’t really freedom” (that’s significantly different than “freedom isn’t free”). That some how only being part of a group gets you true freedom. They will espouse ideas that being free is being alone and being outside the group makes you powerless. Groups are fine but they are not the source of authority. Groups only have power over you if you give your self to them. You made the choice to join and you can make the choice to leave. You may loose friends if you leave because for them membership has become a condition of friendship. Just because you think your group isn’t a “religion” doesn’t mean they aren’t. Think about it commit heresy and use your critical thinking to evaluate your “religion”. You might loose your religion but I bet you won’t loose your faith and you may even gain more freedom.

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