Friday, June 22, 2007


This looks interesting.

Good luck to him. Before anyone asks, no, it's not me. I don't have 'teams working around the clock'. There's just me.

If he succeeds, he'll make my job (and life) much easier. I doubt he'll stop war and other terrible things with this proof though. Goverments like to kill people, and if they can say 'Oh, it's okay, they don't really die' then things are likely to get worse, not better.

It's a grave responsibility (pun intended) and I hope it doesn't turn into a media circus.

There'll always be sceptics, you can be sure of that. I can hear their knives being sharpened now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More fixing for the unbroken.

The UK's children are fast approaching the status of feral, and our government believes it's because they're all mentally ill.

Not because this same government have made children immune to any form of discipline (and no, discipline and abuse are definitely not the same thing).

Not because no adult dare even shout at one of these mini-miscreants without risking arrest and ending up on the sex offender's register. It's happened. It's not even uncommon. Interfering in one child's rightful pummelling of another can get you into serious trouble in the UK.

No, it's because our children are all bonkers. Rather like the mental stress and confusion experienced by undisciplined dogs, in fact. Any member of any group-focused species needs to know where it stands in the heirarchy. From top dog down, each member of the group knows who must be obeyed and who can be given orders. Lose that, and the group loses coherence. Our government's solution, as always, is to throw money at the problem. I wish I was enough of a problem that they'd throw some at me.

Deprive a dog of that information - who's boss in the household - and the dog will be confused and probably turn vicious.

Humans aren't all that different in that respect. The last few decades have proved that.

There's one line in the article that gives away much of what's wrong with the world:

"The emphasis must change from social class to social skills, self esteem and resilience if we are to give the next generation the chance they deserve."

This 'deserve' part is what irks me. It reinforces the culture of 'I am important, I must be respected even though I'm a spoilt, repellent little oik, I deserve... I deserve... I deserve...'

Nobody 'deserves' anything. If you work for something, it's yours, and well earned. You don't get it simply by existing. You work for it. You don't get food, water, clothing in real life unless you get off your bloody arses and earn it.

That's what we should be teaching children. The world isn't yours on a plate just because you've done it the honour of being born. You want things, you earn them. That's how you get on in life.

That's how you move up the heirarchy from base cur to top dog.

I'm glad I'm not a schoolteacher. I'd last five minutes before some whining PC cretin found a reason to have me fired, arrested or both.

Probably before I reached the classroom.

It's a dog's ex-life.

I was under the impression this had already been stopped in Europe, but it seems not.

Cruella deVille, take note - you don't need 101. Apparently all you need is 42. Unless you want matching accessories.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The brain block.

Contraception is turning us into a nation of morons.

It works like this:

Reducing the rate of childbirth in an overcrowded world is a logical and sensible step to take. So, logical and sensible people agree, and use contraception. Idiots don't.

Therefore, while the logical and sensible people produce few or no children, idiots continue to breed like a swarm of flies who have settled in a Viagra production facility.

The intelligent dwindle. The thinking-challenged thrive. Many of them become politicians and continue their policies to deprive the nation of thought. The unthinking will vote for who they're told to vote for, and will while away their pointless lives watching reality TV.

The future is bleak. Anyone with any intelligence will not want to subject a child to that. So the intelligent dwindle further. The neuronically deficient won't care because they don't know how.

I have seen the future, and it makes no sense. The only good thing about it is that I won't be there.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Homogeneity looms.

When I was at school, we moved from junior school up to either grammar or secondary school based on the eleven-plus exam. It was called that because you took the exam when you were eleven or over.

Later, grammar and secondary schools merged: you still took the exam but went to the same school anyway. The exam determined which class you went into. That was the beginning of things like 'no child left behind' and other ridiculous anti-intelligence legislation.

Now, it seems, the logical conclusion is upon us. No child is to take any kind of exam until they are sixteen. There will be no differentiation, no nurturing of future Einsteins, no diversion of those who just can't do academia into more applied (and incidentally, often more profitable) lines of work.

True homogeneity awaits. IQ tests will go next, along with organisations like MENSA, which will be deemed elitist. The future is bland. The world anthem will be 'I am the Walrus', with its prophetic opening 'I am he as you are he as you are me. . .'

John Lennon saw it coming. Soon we will indeed be the eggmen.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Scottish Hotel.

All hotels in Scotland are exactly like this. You have been warned.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sun sign results.

I must stress that this does not constitute a scientific investigation. One sample is of no consequence, other than to provide an indication of whether the subject is worth pursuing.

The questions were to be answered yes or no, but some did not lend themselves to an easy yes/no decision. If there were three options, I’d have ticked ‘undecided’ in several places. For the purpose of this test I settled on one or the other but that variability must be considered while examining the results.

Flippancy aside, when I work out the straightforward yes/no answers on those tests, the results look like this:

Aries 1

Taurus 6

Gemini 7

Cancer 5

Leo 7

Virgo 8

Libra 7

Scorpio 8

Sagittarius 6

Capricorn 5

Aquarius 3

Pisces 8

Some tests score one point for each ‘yes’, some score one point for each ‘no’. The lower the score, the nearer you are to the ‘typical’ personality of that sign.

I had a fair match with Aquarius, but by far the best match was with Aries, my own sign. All the rest scored 5 or above: no better than half-me. So for me, the tests worked out.

Now, this is a sample set of one (me) and I knew which test related to which sign when I took it. So I can make no scientific claims at all based on this one result. The ideal would be to jumble up the questions on one big sheet, attach them to ‘yes/no/don’t know’ tick boxes, and get a range of people to take the test. Once you’ve worked out the results, you then ask those people their sign, and see whether it matches with the one your test results say they should be. Since many of the questions are repeated, the sheet wouldn’t need 120 questions but it’s still likely to have around 100, so it has to be tick-box or nobody will do it. Those vague questions have to go, along with those that assume a characteristic then ask if you like having it.

I’d envisage a questionnaire which people could fill in in a few minutes. Their sign should not appear on the sheet, but should be recorded separately. Whoever’s recording the signs and which set of answers each relates to should take no part in the analysis.

Another member of the team then works out which sign is the closest match for each questionnaire, and once that’s done the real signs are revealed. A result better than whatever could be obtained by randomly ticking boxes would indicate that the sun-sign influence is real.

However, as Southern Writer pointed out at the start of all this, sun sign is only a small part of the astrology whole. There are many other factors that could influence the results, so this questionnaire idea might not give a particularly accurate picture. Although it would, if properly constructed, provide an interesting study. What this needs someone who really knows how to put together a long questionnaire without it getting too boring to fill in.

I’d be very interested to hear from anyone else who’s tried something like this.

12. Pisces.

Do you struggle to reach decisions?


Does your imagination ever run riot?

I have an active imagination, and sometimes it can fool me. Usually I can bring it under control fairly easily. I wouldn’t say it could run riot.

Do you wish you could be more tidy and organised?

Who says I’m not? Well, okay, I’m not. I have to give this one a yes.

Do you worry about your loved ones?

Not usually. If they’re in trouble, I’ll hear about it.

Are you sensitive to difficult atmospheres?

I can usually tell if there’s trouble brewing, so yes.

Do you have a low opinion of yourself?

No. I have a very low opinion of those who have low opinions of themselves. If they don’t think they’re worth my time, then why would I? What’s the point of being alive if you don’t think it’s worthwhile?

Do you sometimes wish you could run away from everything?

No, but sometimes I wish things would run away from me. Sometimes they do.

Are you anguished when you think you’ve hurt someone’s feelings?

Depends if I intended to do it. My favourite line of all time is by Jimmy Stewart in ‘Shenandoah’, where he tells someone “Well, I might as well tell you now, I can’t think of a darned thing you’re likely to say that I’d be interested in hearing”. I’m still waiting for my chance to use that one. If I hurt someone’s feelings unintentionally, I’d apologise then forget it. If I’m not likely to see them again, I’d probably skip the apology. Anguished? Never.

Do you associate certain pieces of music or smells with certain people or events in your life?

Can’t say that I do. It’s a no.

Do you procrastinate over things that scare you?

I procrastinate over things I don’t really want to do. Also, if that to-do list gets too long, the whole list gets ignored for a while until I work around to whittling a few things off it. Things that scare me don’t feature on my procrastination list. Those things, few that they are, are best dealt with quickly.

I’m a very poor match for a Pisces, it seems, so there’s nothing fishy about me.

That’s all of them. Tomorrow I’ll reveal how it came out.

11. Aquarius.

Do you have a fear of being one of the crowd?

No fear at all. I’ll never be one of the crowd. I couldn’t bear it.

Would you break a rule or law if you didn’t agree with it?

A rule, maybe. A law, probably not. Since the question says ‘rule or law’, and I’d answer yes to rule, then my answer must be yes.

Is it sometimes difficult to fit in with other people?

No, I just keep out of their way. If this means – do I find it difficult to drag myself into those ludicrous situations often covered by the umbrella term ‘sociable’, then yes. Not so much 'difficult' though. More 'don't care to'.

Have you ever been told you’re contrary or an extremist?

I’ve never been called an extremist, and none of the other signs’ tests asked this. Are all extremists Aquarians? I have been called contrary, or words to that effect, so I’ll say yes.

Do you have set beliefs and opinions?

No, I am open to new information at all times. As long as it makes sense.

Do your opinions sometimes provoke controversy with others?

Pretty much all the time.

Do you consider yourself to be independent?

I am independent. There’s no need to consider it.

Do you sometimes wish you weren’t so tactless?

Here’s the presupposition question. I’m not tactless. I’m straightforward. Only those oversensitive idiots without the capacity of rational thought would refer to me as tactless. Since I’m not, I can hardly wish I wasn’t, so no.

Do you need plenty of time to yourself?

Yes. I have much more interesting things to do than spend time in idle conversation.

Do you pride yourself on being rational and logical?

This same question came up under Capricorn, and my answer is still yes, even though the phrasing of the question lacks logic.

My score for Aquarius came closer than any other to a match, but not as close as Aries, my actual sign. I must have elements of the Aquarius character too.

Only one left, and it’s the fishy one. I’m keen on fish as a food but wouldn’t want to be one. We’ll see…

Monday, June 04, 2007

Death by ignorance.

I saw a cyclist escape death today, even though he didn’t deserve to.

Face all a-smile, head nodding, he shot straight out of a side road into the path of a car. Oblivious to the horns and shouts, he continued on his merry way with Death pedalling close behind.

From each of his ears there dangled a thin white wire. No doubt engrossed in the power output of a tiny, battery-operated music centre at his waist, he heard nothing of the world around him. Motorists can be fined for talking on a mobile phone while driving, but apparently it’s just fine and dandy to ride a bicycle while distracted and deafened by an MP3 player. When this cyclist finally dies, the motorist that flattens him will get the blame.

I can’t understand why people want to eradicate one of their senses to this extent. Riding buses, I see people plug these devices into their ears for the half-hour duration of the ride. I see people walking along the street wearing them – I also see people walking the street while talking on the phone, which is just as baffling.

I have a mobile phone (cell phone, for the Americans) but it’s not for casual conversation. It’s for those times when you have to phone someone and there’s not one to be found. Since everyone is assumed to own one of these things, public call boxes have dwindled to the point were they should be listed as an endangered species.

I also have an MP3 player, but mostly I use it for its digital recording facility. I have been known to put a song or two on there, a little Captain Beefheart or AFT, but rarely use it to listen. Music sounds better through real speakers and doesn’t obliterate all other sounds when heard that way.

Currently it’s not specifically illegal to drive while wearing one of these headsets, although the general ‘driving without due care and attention’ should cover it. If I’m driving, I need all my senses clear. The UK is a small island with a lot of cars, most of which are under the control of idiots.

I ride the bus often: as long as I’m going somewhere with a bus route, it costs the same as taking the car and I don’t have to park the thing when I arrive. On those trips, I like to see the world go by. I see things I can’t look at while driving, but with my attention freed from the road ahead I can spend the time observing. And thinking. Filling my ears with music would put a stop to that. Besides, listening to music all the time would get boring.

Is that why people do it? Are they so devoid of thinking capability that they have to use phones and music to occupy their minds? Are they so idle now that thinking is just too much trouble?

Or is it a fear of life?

Sensory deprivation used to be a form of torture. It won’t work on these people. They like it. Catching a glimpse of the real world terrifies them. On the bus, they spend the entire trip staring at the back of the seat they’re facing. All the world’s sounds are removed by their MP3’s and phones. What will this lead to? A device that covers your eyes and ears so you can watch a movie while travelling, so none of the real-world nastiness can sneak in?

Something like this, perhaps?

Yes, oblivion is only a credit card away. Shame about all that nature stuff. I wonder if there’s anyone left who can tell an oak from a birch?

If you can, write it down. It’s dying knowledge.

10. Capricorn

Are you very careful with your money?

I’m more careful with mine than I would be with yours. The answer, really, is ‘sometimes’. These questions require a yes/no answer so I’ll go with no.

Do your joints get stiff, especially in cold, wet weather?

No, and I think that has more to do with age than birthday myself.

Do people accuse you of being sceptical?

I’ve been accused of this, and I’ve been accused of the opposite. It depends who I’m talking to. Another fifty-fifty question, but I suppose the answer is yes, since I have been accused of this. People don’t like it when their haunting turns out to be a mouse in the wall cavity.

Are you an inveterate worrier?

Double-take time. I thought it said ‘invertebrate’, as in British politician. No, I don’t worry too much, and never for very long. There are better ways to spend time.

Is your cup always half-empty rather than half-full?

Why do people ask this? Why don’t they just say ‘are you a miserable sod who looks on the dark side of everything?’ I’m not. It’s a no.

Are you easily embarrassed by emotional displays?

Not unless they’re directed at me. I am easily annoyed by emotional displays, and move away if possible. I think this is a no.

Do you pride yourself on being logical and practical?

I’m going to say yes even though this question assumes I’m logical before asking if I take pride in it, which is, of course, illogical.

Do you always think you could do better?

Everything can be done better. If that wasn’t true, we might as well stop trying. It’s a yes.

Do you believe we should all take responsibility for ourselves?

Absolutely. I’m fed up of hearing ‘someone else’s fault’ from those who just can’t be bothered to run their own lives.

Were you very serious as a child?

It was some time ago. As I remember, compared to the giggling throng, I was relatively serious. Not all the time, I hasten to add. I wasn’t poring over microscopes and stuck indoors reading books. However, I wasn’t able to switch off my brain and let my inner lunatic take over, as many seemed to do.

As I progress through these tests, there seem to be more and more questions where yes/no does not apply, and more of those that assume a trait before asking if I’m proud of it. It could be just that I’m noticing them more, or that they’re starting to grate.

Anyhow, I didn’t match too well with Capricorn either. Two more to go.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

9. Sagittarius.

Since I didn’t post one yesterday, I’ll do two again today to catch up.

Do you wish you were less clumsy and cack-handed?

If someone asked me this I’d deliver a decidedly non-clumsy, very accurate slap. This is the third (I think) question to presuppose a characteristic before asking. It’s rather like the old ‘Have you stopped beating your wife?’ spoof.

Do you sometimes confuse frankness with tactlessness?

There’s a difference?

Have you ever exaggerated a story to make it sound better?

No. Scientists are fitted with explosive devices in the neck which are triggered by exaggeration. If only…

Are you looking for more meaning in your life?

No, I think there’s enough to deal with without having some higher purpose added to my to-do list.

Do you enjoy being active?

I’m active but I don’t always enjoy it. I’ll give that a no, since it’s another question that assumes the characteristic first.

Are you adaptable?

Isn’t everyone? Working in a fluid subject like science means you have to be able to assimilate new ideas. Closed minds make pedagogues, not scientists.

Do you try to be philosophical when things go wrong?

No, I try to fix it. If I can’t, I dispose of it.

Are you always looking to the future?

Hmmm…no. The future doesn’t look so great. Besides, I have enough to do now. I’ll deal with tomorrow when it arrives.

Are you always keen to learn something new?

Yes, but then it’s my job, so that might not count.

Do you have good judgement?

Definitely. I’m always right.

I’m not Sagittarius, which is good because it’s far too long and fiddly a name to remember. It's the only one I had to check the spelling for.

8. Scorpio.

Do you take life very seriously?

No, because if you take modern life seriously you either end up deranged or a politician, which is worse.

Do you bottle up your feelings?

I don’t think I can be accused of this. I’m willing to let people know when I don’t like them.

Is it essential for you to have an emotional investment in what you’re doing?

Not at all. An intellectual interest is important, but not an emotional one.

Are you very persistent?

Well, I’m on number 8 and still haven’t given up. That must count for something. Very persistent though – no.

Do you usually make a decision and then stick to it?


Do people accuse you of being secretive or uncommunicative?

I’m not secretive, I just can’t be bothered explaining things sometimes. I’ll say no.

Do you pride yourself on being strong-willed?

There’s the presupposition question again – asking if I pride myself on something before determining whether it applies to me. Anyway, I’ll give this a yes.

Are you superstitious?

No. Didn’t expect me to say that, did you? I believe in what I can see, touch and hear. Spirits are not superstition. Superstition is going into a panic because a black cat walks across your path. A normal cat, not a panther. Panic in that instance would be understandable. Superstition is not walking on the cracks in the pavement – a major feat in many UK towns, and as far as I can determine, utterly pointless.

Do you enjoy getting involved in intrigue?

I’m not sure what they mean by ‘intrigue’. I suspect it has to do with gossip-generating activities, and I prefer to avoid those. I’ll say no.

Do you have a slightly obsessive streak?

Slightly obsessive? Isn’t that a bit like saying slightly dead? You’re either obsessive or you’re not. I’m going to say not.

For a quiz requiring yes/no responses, some of the questions are badly worded. It’s hard to definitely say yes or no in some cases. Anyway, I’m not a Scorpio which is a pity because I quite like the symbol.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A twisted hoax.

The Dutch reality-TV kidney donor show was revealed as a hoax - at the end of the programme.
I still say it's sick - and apparently it had a huge audience of sickos watching it. I wonder how many were disappointed to find the woman wasn't dying after all?

The kidney patients were real.

Friday, June 01, 2007

7. Libra

Is it easy for you to make up your mind?

Yes. Although I will change my mind if presented with compelling evidence.

Are you good at saving money?

I save it, but I can’t say for sure I’m good at it. It doesn’t stay long. I’ll call that a no.

Are you happiest when you’re by yourself?

Happiest? Well, I’m happy enough by myself but I haven’t thought to examine which situation makes me happiest. I’ll say yes, but it’s an uncertain one.

Can you eat anything you want without putting on weight?

No. I hate people who can. They should be forced to wear lead weights.

Can you leave the house without checking to see what you look like?

I already know I’m me so why would I need to check? Yes, I can leave the house without checking to see if it’s really me going out.

Do you enjoy having rows?

Ah. Well. Yes.

Are you immune to a pretty or handsome face?

Mostly. An attractive salesgirl will hold my attention longer than some smarmy reptile in a suit. Her chances of selling me something I don’t really want are not good though.

Are you indifferent to what people think of you?

Absolutely. If such things concerned me I’d have serious trouble doing what I do. Any paranormal investigator who isn’t immune to a little name-calling won’t last too long.

Do you enjoy being on the go from morning to night?

Not really. I have a liking for a coffee break now and then.

Do you frequently lose your temper?

Here we go with the damn temper thing again. Is this woman getting at me or what? So what if I might throw a rage once in a while? It helps to keep the circulation going. It’s good for me.

Okay, I didn’t match with Libra. I’ll leave it at one for today because I have something else to do.

The no-head crowd.

Browsing through the reports listed on the Paranormal Database, I was struck by the number of headless ghosts reported there. There's one exception - a bodiless head in Aberaeron, Wales - but on the whole there are far more bodies than heads around.

Now, being beheaded is about as traumatic a way to die as I can imagine. It would be the most sudden of sudden deaths, and the spirit could be forgiven for being mightily confused when it finds itself dropped into an afterlife for which it has had no time to prepare. Therefore, beheadings are likely to produce ghosts. But why no head? There's nothing to suggest that the spirit-head is lost when the physical head goes.

In thinking about this, I tried to put myself in the situation of someone who died without preparation. Someone who lost their physical presence and found themselves in a new form, a form with which they were wholly unfamiliar.

In that situation, I'd try to appear to someone else to ask what the hell was going on. Close your eyes and try it. Imagine you have no physical form and you have to reconstruct yourself from scratch. You're inexperienced so you'll try to form this image around yourself.

What's the hardest part to visualise? You can't see your back, but you can extrapolate a general back-shape from those you've seen in the past. One thing you can't extrapolate from others is your own face.

The hardest part of such a manifestation is the head. It's the one thing you can't see without a mirror, the most difficult and detailed part to reproduce.

Maybe headless ghosts have heads, but just can't work out how to make them appear. With practice, they'll learn to do it - but the range of intelligence in humans is, I'm certain, reflected in the dead. If you're a dope now, you won't become a great thinker when you die. So some will never learn how to manifest a whole image. Some never work out how to manifest at all.

I don't think we can assume that every headless ghost represents a beheading. It's hard to tell who it is, with no head, so assuming it's some famous historical figure who ended their lives eight inches shorter is, perhaps, presumptuous.

It might equally be their gormless brother or sister, a ghost who does, in fact, have a head, but one which has never been contaminated by intelligence.

If that's the case, it might be a blessing we can't see their faces.