Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.

I love this summation by the author:

Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there, may give him hope for a still higher destiny in the distant future. But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it; and I have given the evidence to the best of my ability. We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system – with all these exalted powers – Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.

I think we can guess the author of these lines.

Thanks to http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/darwinselection.html

Who cares anymore?

If 2013 was the year of coming out, let’s make 2014 the year we just are. When being gay stops being front-page and starts being “so-what?”.

I read these sentences in the Sunday Times editorial by Katie Glass on the 2nd of February

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Magazine/Regulars/article1366055.ece

and found myself agreeing with her. She talks of the ‘celebrigay’ smashing the ‘glass closets’ as feeling very old-fashioned.

Some more quotes:

…the most powerful thing we can offer young people isn’t gay role models but role models who are gay.

…I want who I’m sleeping with to be the least interesting thing about me there is.

p.s. Although there is perhaps some case to be made for ‘celebrigays’ making it easier for people in still-homophobic societies/occupations.

LOTR: A conversation.

1: Hey guys, we’ve got this epic quest ahead of us.

2: Yeah, better start packing, it’ll be a long walk.

1: Walk? Can’t we just call the eagles and get it boxed off this afternoon, like, pronto?

2: Nah, we’ll walk.

1: You DO know if we walk there’ll be mountains to climb, rivers to cross, forests to brave, caves to dare.. not the mention the Trolls, and Black Riders, and Goblins, and Orcs, and Goblins, and Uruk-Hai, and Stone Giants, and Wargs, and Crebain, and Mamukil, and Azog, and Bolg, and the Balrog, and Shelob, and Morgoth, and the Witch-King, and Nazgul, and Khamul, and Gothmog, and Ungoliant….
Let’s just call the eagles, hey?

2: Nah, we’ll walk.

Book queue

I’m loving Wool by Howey, Hugh at the moment, 400 more pages to go and then these are the books I have acquired that are lying about waiting to be read:

  1. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Hadfield, Chris.
  2. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Joyce, Rachel.
  3. The Particle at the End of the Universe by Carroll, Sean.
  4. The Black Swan: The impact of the highly improbable by Taleb, Nassim Nicholas.
  5. Philosophy: The Classics by Warburton, Nigel.
  6. Another Bloody Love Letter by Loyd, Anthony.
  7. Harvest of Time by Reynolds, Alastair.
  8. Grammar for Grown-ups by Fry, Katharine & Kirton, Rowena.
  9. The Inside Track: Paddocks, pit stops and tales of life in the fast lane by Humphrey, Jake.

Breaking Bad – haiku

Crystal blue chemistry-
A lesson in ethics
Better call Saul

I have a dream

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

*thanks to http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm for the transcribed text

My next residence.

I think I’d rather like living in an Old People’s Home.

I’d really enjoy being sat in front of the telly with my legs up, all warmly wrapped in a blanket and left alone in the corner to shout at the telly.

And I’d be bloody good at it!

People would come and go, administers would administer to me. Nurses would nurse, cleaners would clean, visitors would visit, patients would paish… but nobody would interrupt me, oh no. No no no. Because they would all know what happened the last time someone disturbed me!

I reckon I’d be called ‘Sniper’, because of the way I’d cheat at Monopoly and Risk. Or maybe ‘The Balanced One’; not because I’d kept all my marbles (that may well not be the case) but because of the way I’d carry exactly balanced change in my left and right pockets.

Or maybe just ‘Squelch’.. and newbies would ask “Why is he called that?” and someone would say “Sshhhh!! There’s a story behind that son…. but do you have the stomach for it? DO YOU HAVE THE STOMACH FOR IT??” and just leave it there.

I’d be on the very latest experimental drugs, just like everyone in the ’60s…

Am I old enough to go there now?

Let Us Think About Fear

-An excerpt from John Pilger’s anthology ‘Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance’ (Published Verso 2007)

This from April 2003

Let Us Think About Fear
(April 2003)
‘If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.’
-George W. Bush
Baghdad has fallen. The city has been taken by the troops who were bringing it freedom. Its hospitals are wailingly overcrowded with burnt and maimed civilians, many of them children, and all of them victims of the computerized missiles, shells and bombs launched by the city’s liberators. The statues of Saddam Hussein have been overturned. Meanwhile, in the Pentagon at a press conference, Mr. Rumsfeld is suggesting that the next country to be liberated may be Syria.

Makes you wonder.

I will choose a path that’s clear; I will choose Freewill.

There are those who think that life is nothing left to chance,
A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance.

A planet of playthings,
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive.
“The stars aren’t aligned
Or the gods are malign”-
Blame is better to give than receive.

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Freewill.

There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,
The cards were stacked against them- they weren’t born in lotus-land.

All preordained-
A prisoner in chains-
A victim of venomous fate.
Kicked in the face,
You can’t pray for a place
In heaven’s unearthly estate.

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Freewill.

Each of us-
A cell of awareness-
Imperfect and incomplete.
Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet.

Rush (Freewill)

“That’s the way we’ve always done it!”

An imaginary conversation.

Man-”Hey guys, you know those square wheels that you use?”
Committee Member A- “Mmmm-hmmmm?”
Man- “Do they have to be, square?”
Committee Member B- “That’s the way we’ve always done ‘em!”
Man- “How about we knock some of the edges off, make them, smoother like?”
Committee Member A- “What good will that do?”
Man- “Well, they would move faster, more would get done..”
Committee Member A- “More? We’re so busy as is”
Committee Member B- “They would move too fast; we like them the way they are now, and..”
Committee Member C- “We can control them better now.”
Man- “Well, obviously we’d have to devise some way of slowing the wheels….”
Committee Member B- “So you want to speed them up so you can slow them down?”
Committee Member A- “Make up your mind, Man”
Man- “ermm, we could go slow anyway, and it would be smoother I reckon”
Committee Member A- “Smoother?”
Committee Member C- “What? No Bumpity-bump? Customers would never go for that!”
Committee Member B-”No Bumpity-bump! Huh!!”

Note: It was fun coming up with justification for square wheels.

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