The important thing about modern western civilization is successful lying. Not only to others but yourself. We spend all day being bombarded with lies so outrageous that we become immune to recognising them: this pill will make you thin, this dress will make you gorgeous, that car will get you laid, Iraq/Iran/Israel/ The Disney Corporation is your enemy, Crocs are so comfortable people will forgive you for looking like a moron, that Presidential candidate is completely different from the others and will represent your best interests and these sunglasses will protect your eyes whilst making you look cool and not at all like some half-bug-half-human from a ‘B’ horror movie.

If tasty food full of sauces and decadent pastries make you fat why do the French have one of the lowest obesity rates in the western world? If those sunglasses make you look so cool why wasn’t anyone wearing them 5yrs ago? Fashion is not new technology. If that Presidential candidate is so much your bitch- who gave them the money to run their campaign? Was it you? Didn’t think so… tight-arse.

But the first point (about the French) is true: they consume lots of all the food you shouldn’t eat, they have no worries over “low fat” options and what do you get? Not Texas, surprisingly. You get a country that is in shape despite having the same affinity for gymnasiums as the Bhurka- wearing women of Iran do for the beach. The French do have the advantage of having none of their food created in labs. This is, after all, the country where a terrorist organisation bombed a McDonalds not because they were anti- American but because they thought the food was offensive to the French Culinary Tradition. These are my kinda terrorists: clear thinkers. Why hate a group of people you’ve never met? Hating bad food. That is smart!

The difference between the French and the rest of us is the size of our TVs. The French spend less time working and worrying about acquiring material possessions and more time hanging out with family and friends, having tasty meals and remembering that their boss is just another arsehole who can go jump because, quite frankly, the whole of London will not freeze to death if his company’s line of pullovers arrive a day late. More is the pity, she thinks, as the English are notoriously dour.

So, you’re overweight because you work too hard.

If a comment like that would, as in my case, result in everyone you know falling down in fits of paralytic laughter there is another excuse. That is: more than 50% of you is not even “you”. You see, you are not just a product of your own DNA but a super-organism made of streams of bacteria that have sweet f-a (the technical term) to do with human genetics. You have a kilo of bacteria working for you in your gut, alone. There are 100 trillion cells of “not you” and only a few trillion that are.

This is why you are overweight: it’s not you, it’s them,  and it may be time to break up. The bad news is you need this bacteria to survive. Without it you die. This will guarantee thinness- if that’s what you’re into.

It also explains why people who use anti-bacterial soap always look a little anaemic.

http://independent.com/news/2007/oct/25/eating-french/

http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2004/10/65252

Enjoy a lower cost of living- because you’re not!
Guaranteed no suicidal tendencies if you fail a year!
No sports and, hence, no jocks to deal with.
Smell more, care less.
Discount clothes from ‘Zombies r Us’

A wide range of extra curricular activities…

Enrolment in the “Thriller Re-Enactments’ and the Neverland Ranch
Weekend ‘extras’ trips to Hollywood.
Scare-O-grams

Free eulogy with every enrolment. Urn of your choice with “don’t discriminate, hire post-cremate” sticker and complimentary dustbuster for those awkward family moments…

33 places already gone… apply soon.

how to lose more friends and alienate more people

This is a further reaction to all the touchy- feely crap on facebook that drives me up the frikkin wall. It’s worse than mutated sea-bass instead of sharks. Here is an alternative to the “If you have an ‘i’ in your name you are the best kisser” stuff that makes me want to hurl.

K- You beat up the aged.
E- You pop drugs and then get kindergarten kids to take your urine tests for you.
V- You like to eat babies.
I- You are self- centred.
N- You pick your nose and then eat the contents.
– You look stupid when you dance.
M- You do not wash your hands after masturbating.
A- You secretly film people when you have sex with them.
R- You have rabies.
S- You have misshapen genitalia.
H- You like it up the bum.
A- You secretly film people when you have sex with them.
L- You do shit to alienate people.
L- You do shit to alienate people.

– You look stupid when you dance.
A- You secretly film people when you have sex with them.
B- You are Bulimic but, thank God, also thin.
C- People call you names behind your back.
D- You have syphilis and you smell bad.
E- You pop drugs and then get kindergarten kids to take your urine tests for you.
F- People genuinely care about you.
G- You are more gullible than people with an ‘F’ in their name.
H- You like it up the bum.
I- You are self- centred.
J- You are adopted.
K- You beat up the aged.
L- You do shit to alienate people.
M- You do not wash your hands after masturbating.
N- You pick your nose and then eat the contents.
O- You only care about money, really.
P- Your parents never loved you.
Q- What the fuck do you have a ‘Q’ in your name for? Cunt!
R- You have rabies.
S- You have misshapen genitalia.
T- You dress badly, no matter what your friends say to your face.
U- You call that a hair style? Fuck off!
V- You are Dutch, German or Afrikaans and no-one likes you, not even your dog.
W- You are a computer engineer.
X- You are from Lichtenstein and your father was a goat.
Z- You are still a virgin and it shall always be thus.

I grew up in apartheid South Africa. The government had kept us in fear of terrorist attacks (which were real but overstated) for so long we had become numb to it. It did not figure in everyday thinking.

When I lived in the UK in the 80’s it was still under threat of terrorist attack by the IRA. No-one really thought about it much or considered it a threat to their daily lives. In both countries there was a lack of public litter-bins, especially in crowded areas as they are an easy hiding place for bombs. Both countries had looped announcements in airports (and in the UK, on the tubes) warning of suspicious packages.

So why oh why is it so scary now? More people are not dying in terrorist attacks in the first world. A UK government document admits that terrorist attacks are down since 1982. With the exception of the 9/11 attacks in the USA which were easily preventable at multiple points- had there been an iota of competence in any single US agency from the Executive government through the CIA, FBI, air control or Republicans for Oprah; loss of life in acts of terrorism (1st world) are down.

Admittedly the new breed of terrorist seems willing to give their life for a cause, something unthinkable in an era where everyone is a sell-out for money (hey there P. Diddy, 50 cent, Rolling Stones, Limp Bizkit) but this would make you or I no less dead than if they were not. I do not make these claims without the numbers**, this will be my most researched piece ever.

I have picked the UK to look at for two reasons: (1) it has fairly reliable statistics and (2) I have lived there (twice) so I have a frame of personal reference (and the hypothermia to prove it).

Any week we are bombarded with terrorism, bird flu, AIDS, mad cow disease, serial killers, an out of control youth and grannies with automatic weapons*. Usually all on Sky News, every half hour. My, but their female Anchor is pretty…

So, what is going to kill you? What should the newspapers be reporting to you and what should the government be doing to protect you? Is it a virus with a grudge? Is it an uncle after an inheritance? Your employer working you to hard? Is it a bird? a plane..? Sue Perlman?***

The most likely culprit in your death, it turns out, is you. I added up cancer (genes, your diet, sunbathing, living near Chernobyl), smoking deaths (idiot), accidental deaths (idiot), liver disease (alcohol, idiot) and suicide (depression, idiot) to find that just under 50% of people who will shift the mortal coil in the UK will have done it to themselves.

I have not, since never meeting anyone who had a car accident that was their fault, even added vehicular deaths to ones that are your own fault. I am not even including heart disease, allowing all you fat bastards clemency, and instead blaming that on stress and your employer.

In fact, the three things most likely to kill you are cancer (153,000), smoking (114,000) and heart disease (70,000). All, barring from your genes screwing with you, easily preventable or postponable by adopting a vaguely healthy lifestyle. So, when the government tells us that we are lazy, fat and smoke too much do we welcome the information? Do we thank them? Do we bollocks! We vote for someone else. When television tells us the same thing do we listen attentively? Take notes and change our lives? Our response: “Screw the bastards! Don’t tell me how to live my life!” We change the channel.

Personally, I have no fear of death (not the same for pain, not a fan of pain). I don’t believe in an afterlife and always have tried to live my life to the fullest. And whereas I will prolong my life as much as I can I still go out in the sun, jump off bridges with rubber bands tied to my feet, eat bad foods when I want and drink when I please, in between I also eat healthy food when available, play fun sports as excercise and get laid whenever possible to keep my blood pressure down.

But even if you do not change your unhealthy, binge-drinking, fast-food eating, chainsmoking sedentary television-slave life your chances of dying are still infinitessimally small.

Of the things making the news and making people scared: in 2006 0 people died in terror attacks in the UK (worst year 2005: 37 people), in 2004 9 people died of the human version of mad cow disease (worst year2000: 28), in 2002 234 people died of AIDS related illness, 513 people were murdered and exactly 0 people died of avian flu. By the way, of the 513 people murdered most were killed by someone they new well, not by strangers. Isn’tthat nice? I think the personal touch counts.

A better way to put this, so you understand how hysterical this crap is:

60,208,545 or 99.99994% of Britons did not die of super-flu’.
60,209,266 or 99.99961% of Britons did not die of AIDS
60,209,472 Britons did not die of mad cow disease in 2000, it’s worst year
All Britons did not die of terrorist attacks in 2006
All Britons did not die of avian-flu ever.

Okay, maybe you think that’s a little unfair, playing with the numbers like that. Try it like this: You, living in Britain,

had a 0.00006% chance of dying in a terrorist attack in 2005, the worst year.
had a 0.00005% chance of catching human BSE (mad cow disease).
had a 0.05442% chance of dying of pneumonia (didn’t see that in the news).
had a 0.25477% chance of dying of cancer (or that one, much).

All right, you still think that’s unfair. How about comparing the total amount of people who died in 2005 with how they died: 512993 deaths (in 2005, but the figures don’t change much between then & 2002, where the figures all come from).

If you died in 2005 there was a 29.9% chance that you died of cancer.
If you died in 2005 there was a 22.2% chance that you died because you smoke.
If you died in 2005 there was a 0.67% chance that you died in a car accident (not your fault).
If you died in 2005 there was a 0.05% chance that you died of an AIDS related illness.
If you died in 2005 there was a 0.01% chance that you died in the London bombings or of BSE.

Time was when we lived our lives. You are not going to die today. I say this with the certainty of a person who knows by saying this to you, living in Britain, my percentage correct will be higher than I ever scored on any exam ever:

99.997666%.

You don’t get odds like that in any betting anywhere else. Ever. Stop being scared. Have a cup of tea. You’re going to live. So don’t run that credit card bill up too high.

* I made that up.

** Some are from different years, could not get 2006 stats for everything in time available. I have a life, you know.

*** phonetic joke, not very good.

reference materials: as if you care…
ref#1: (pop.deaths) http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=6
ref#2: (smoking) http://www.ash.org.uk/html/factsheets/html/fact02.html
ref#3: (cancer) http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/mortality/
ref#4: (superflu) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4293765.stm
ref#5: (aids) http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=654
ref#6: (all) http://www.anxietyculture.com/stats.htm
ref#7: (statistics of war) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2006/07/the_statistics_of_war.html
ref#8: (road deaths eu) http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/facts/UK/index26.aspx?ComponentId=7101&SourcePageId=14975
ref#9: (air) http://www.airsafe.com/
ref#10: (terror) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4661059.stm
ref#11: (mad_cow) http://www.igreens.org.uk/human_mad_cow_deaths.htm
ref#12: (heart disease) http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/health/2000/heart_disease/default.stm

Favourites

February 4, 2007

With Valentines day not too far away I think all of you single folks and those who can’t stand it being legislated when you should be romantic will appreciate this…

Cupid’s Last Stand | animation | sharp | witty |

And since I’m happily linking away here are my favourite four sites on the web (at the moment), not including this one:

Dictum… | web-page | philosophy | wit | humour | interactive | blatant self-promotion |

The little girl… | animation | brilliant storytelling |

Cows with guns… | animation | audio | wit | humour |

Liveplasma music & cinema | information resource | interactive |

more at my kind of updated website at: midnightjester.co.za

Self-help books

January 20, 2007

The plethora of self-help books for the misguided that plague the shelves of my otherwise rather pleasant, proficient and airy local book store have driven me to provide some opposition to these “celebrations of the mentally incapable, for the benefit of the psychologically feeble, as transcribed by the mentally unable.”These are books that openly boast that they are compiled specifically for ‘idiots’, ‘dummies’ and, had I stayed in the section and continued to pay attention, probably for ‘porn stars’, ‘television producers’, ‘pop and sports stars’, ‘Chicken McNuggets’ and ‘parliamentarians.’ Listed here in decreasing order of intelligence. They prey on people at their most confused and vulnerable, much like orange robed Hare-Krishnas at international airports.

Of the few people I know who have ever flirted dangerously with ownership of one of these books none denies that the handing over of a sum of money, representing as it did even a minute of their working lives, for one of these travesties of the publishing community was, by far, their lowest point.

These books are capable of causing great harm not only to those of us with intelligence who find ourselves, in desperate moments, allowing our egoes to be destroyed by this pornography. They are actually most dangerous in the hands of those who do not realise that the books are, quite simply, beyond their level of understanding.

In famous circles the less-than great Jeffrey Archer was seen procuring the first edition print of ‘The Idiots Guide to Writing.’ in late 1975 for just a penny less than a pound. An act that was doomed to cause widespread suffering in the English speaking world as the ‘Idiot’s Guide’ was unquestionably aimed far above his head.

The ‘parliamentarians guide to comprehendable short memos,’ released only three months later would have been much more Mr. Archer’s style and would not have resulted in the British government having to jail him on trumped-up charges. These charges fabricated to stop the nation all consuming their own feet in protest should he be allowed to release another novel.

More recently another political figure by the name of George W. Bush was seen in late 2000 carrying ‘The Middle East for Dummies’ into a White House meeting. A book that could, possibly, have done a lot of good in the hands of a person of the calibre of a daytime talk-show host or school janitor but was quite patently too advanced for the alcoholic, Texan, ex-‘Oil Farmer’.

These are books that are insulting to most of the human population yet dangerous in the hands of those who do not realise that upgrading of their intelligence to ‘idiot’ or ‘dummy’ would require the expansion of their vocabulary to over 55 words, abstinence from ‘Baywatch’ reruns and at least six months of intensive eloctroshock therapy.

Other innocents recently harmed by these books are: George Michael seen purchasing ‘the porn star’s guide to positive publicity’; Freddie Flintoff with ‘The Dummies Guide to winning the Ashes’; Michael Jackson, in 1996, seen buying the audio book of ‘The Idiot’s guide to Reliving Your Childhood’ and, in the same genre and the ‘mother of all self-help tat’ (so worth a mention in context), Jacob Zuma** (our next Winnie Mandela***) with ‘How to win friends and influence people.’

My response to this self-help invasion, my small stand against an invading tide of feckless hot air, my Alamo, My Rourke’s Drift, my crumbling gesture as I hear of Jeffrey Archer’s new book deal, will be a series of ‘not how to’ articles.

Written by someone who refuses bluntly to read up on imminent tasks no matter how complex, dangerous, intricate, difficult, embarrasingly public or obtuse. One who trusts to improvisation and innovation and that “things probably don’t hurt when you’re dead.”

In this series I intend to cover, “how not to climb a mountain”, “how not to ride an ostrich”, “how not to sink yourself and a ‘rowing eight’ on the Thames River in the middle of winter” and “how not to time a fourteen day video recorder to record Gillmore Girls for your intemperate other half”. Amongst others.

That way others may learn from my fortitude, courage, pain and outright ineptitude without having to endure the suspect vagaries that are the result of the self-help book.

* Cricket. If you don’t know, don’t find out. Cricket can be addictive and unlike cocaine and crystal meth a fix takes up to 5 days.

** Jacob Zuma is a less than charming, intelligent gentleman currently ‘absolutely not running to be the next President of South Africa’. You have been warned.

*** Winnie Mandela was the last militant idiot who struck fear into every paranoid white person in South Africa as a “Possible Next President” and thought she could run against the tide of the old-school moderates in the ANC. She is now living somewhere in the wilderness shielded by 3 bodyguards and 5279 criminally large hats.

It takes a certain kind of self-absorbed, overly-confident man to find great entertainment sifting through their own writing and observations of the past. Stopping occasionally to muse on the genius of insight and pathos contained within.

Well, I am that man. Apart from the bit about the pathos, genius and insight which all sounds a bit gay, really. Not on with me having a “macho” day and all. I should probably put on a vest right away, open a beer and forget to wash for a week.

As it happens, a comment by my reader led me to one of my old pieces, which got me to reading more which led to this (lazy) post. My writing tends toward the less flippant these days. Perhaps it’s time to start drinking heavily again.

99.03.10 M.P.D. posted August 16th, 2006 https://midnightjester.wordpress.com/old-pieces/990310-mpd/

98.01.28 Transformers posted August 16th, 2006 https://midnightjester.wordpress.com/old-pieces/980128-transformers/

98.01.28 Relationships posted August 16th, 2006 https://midnightjester.wordpress.com/old-pieces/980128-relationships/

98.04.03 M.P.D. take 2 posted August 16th, 2006 https://midnightjester.wordpress.com/old-pieces/980403-mpd-take-2/

98.12.07 Democracy posted August 16th, 2006 https://midnightjester.wordpress.com/old-pieces/981207-democracy/

I also like this
http://dictum.wordpress.com/my-name-is-steve-and-i-live-on-the-moon/

And just to prove I’m not completely self-absorbed: one of my favourite observations of all time not made by me.

“I believe the Jews have made a contribution to the human condition out of all proportion to their numbers: I believe them to be an immense people. Not only have they supplied the world with two leaders of the stature of Jesus Christ and Karl Marx, but they have even indulged in the luxury of following neither one nor the other.”

Peter Ustinov. British Actor and raconteur.

Television

December 27, 2006

   -Roald Dahl
The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK — HE ONLY SEES!
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rate and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

one fine Day in the middle of the night, Christopher Brookmyre
Good fun, easy read, nice characters, firm cover decently resistant to coffee stains.
3/5

A history of western philosophy, Bertrand Russel
The introduction was dull, can’t speak for the rest. Cover was overly absorbent and aged pages did not create a stable, flat surface.
1/5

the complete works of lewis carroll, Lewis Carroll
The stories with the little blond girl chasing rabbits and stepping through mirrors are okay if you take plenty of drugs and like that kind of thing. The poetry is still dead funny but the tripe ‘sylvie and bruno’ is for starting barbeques with. The book is way too thick to securely support a hot cuppa but would be excellent hiding place for acid tabs.

The “crap scientific theory du jour” is that the human species could eventually split into two subspecies of the beautiful rich and the fugly poor. On the surface of it, in a capitalist society, you can get where they are coming from. But it doesn’t make it a sound theory yet “Time”, “BBC” and all our local newspapers report it verbatim.

crap-theory_42207552_evolution4.jpgThe theory: With the rich and highly educated marrying the beautiful (which I do not deny) you get a genetic run of thin, tall, pretty, rich and (supposedly) well-educated people. The rest of the ‘tat’ shag each other senseless producing ugly, dumpy, thick offspring. I don’t really care about the egotism or snobbery involved here so I won’t bother hammering on about that.

Also, no qualified scientist I, but immediately a theory hole big enough for an articulated truck, the international space station and Oprah on one of her binges to pass through simultaneously presents itself: plastic surgery. As the ability to change radically one’s appearance continues to decrease so the concept of this perfect gene pool becomes sulied and ultimately no big difference occur. Add to this that more and more surveys indicate that both spouses cheat, producing illegitimate children all over the place and the theory bubbles over the edge of the pot and douses any sort of sensible flame keeping it going.

Typical reporting: that will make a great headline, to buggery that it’s a load of old toot by an idiot with a qualification and a lust for limelight. Dr. Curry should be ashamed or at least well paid for producing it.

At least the BBC mentined in their piece who the report was commissioned for: mens satellite TV channel “Bravo”. Well known for their scientific credentials and insightful programming. These are the people who bring you “Project Runway”, “Top Chef” and “Celebrity Poker Showdown”.

ref http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6057734.stm