Monthly Archives: April 2013

Big Brother XXIII: Live From Mars



I just read this: BBC Coverage of Mars One Mission


Imagine that!  Looking for volunteers for a one way ticket to Mars to star in a reality TV show!  That’s just brilliant, and mental at the same time.

It’s true.  Here’s the link to the company website: Mars One

Can we really just send people off into space like that these days, with no hope of return?  It is essentially a suicide mission isn’t it?  It’s not like the days of Columbus and Magellan, as the BBC article would suggest; wouldn’t human rights prevail? And say we sent them out there and after a few weeks, the viewing figures dropped.  What then?  Would they be abandoned? Who would pay to send supplies out if the show was a flop?  What laws would cover this?  What laws would cover any actions whilst on the planet?  Would Mars be sponsored by the popular chocolare bar?

I’m proud to say I’ve never watched Big Brother, but I’d watch this!  Assuming the Big Brother model is followed, sending a load of brain-dead celebrity-wannabes to Mars, for ever, sounds like a really good idea.

Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap vi...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously there’d be a high attrition rate, as they keep nipping outside to top up their tan, forgetting the high levels of radiation and low levels of breathable air.  It would be fun to watch though.

Perhaps for the celebrity edition of the show they could send the entire cast of The Only Way is Essex and Geordie Shores.  Again, I’d be guaranteed to tune in.

And how long before they hit on the idea of sending criminals?  Mars could be the new Australia!

As well as criminals, could we send politicians?  And sports presenters?  And any one associated with Sky News?

Oh, and drivers that think they own the road.

And door to door salesmen, or anyone involved with PPI claims.

And religious nuts.

In fact, sod it, it would be easier if everyone stayed here and I went to Mars alone!

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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Cojones Generales


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Jahooolah The Ant-Man

My friend Jahooolah can talk to ants.

Being a trans-dimensional being (hence all the “o”s in his name) he has powers that we cannot understand.  I’ve known Jahooolah for years.  I think that’s where Xooox got my name from.

Jahooolah first told me about his ability to communicate with ants some years ago. For some reason it only works with ants.  He told me that ants were also trans-dimensional beings, who accidentally got stuck on this planet millennia ago, just as they often got stuck in amber, once they’d arrived.  Jahooolah claims they were always clumsy creatures in the past, and that is why they have such a regimented society now.  It’s a form of over-compensation, he claims.

Fertilised meat eater ant queen beginning to d...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, we were sitting in my garden and he struck up a conversation with the ants living by the tree.  He told them how they should live their lives in order to be more fruitful beings.  I’m not sure why he felt the need to get involved.  The ants seemed to be doing well, as things go.

He told them they should follow a set of rules to live their lives by otherwise, he’d get me to pour a kettle of boiling water all over their nest.  He told them they could call me Shitan the Kettle-Bringer.  Jahooolah was into heavy metal back then, so it was all repressed anger, fire and brimstone with him.

But anyway, they listened.  They took his advice and they built their nest big and strong and lived in harmony.  He left me a load of monitoring equipment so I could watch what was going on while he wasn’t here.  It was fascinating stuff.

Some years later he visited again.  He’d been reading his science journals and had a hankering for some experimentation.  He tried artificial insemination on one of the ant queens and it worked!

Of course, he just buggered off again leaving the ant colony to it’s own devices.  A bunch of them started to view his artificial progeny as something special.  They’d follow him about and believed he was their link to Jahooolah himself.

Some of the ants didn’t like the upstart, so they got rid of him.

It really kicked off then!  All kinds of ant factions started up, all with their own theories of Jahooolah’s progeny, and what he meant.  I wanted to tell them that Jahooolah had just been trying something new; experimenting for the sake of experimentation, but they couldn’t understand me as I didn’t have Jahooolah’s powers of ant communication.  They saw it as Shitan the Kettle Bringer trying to interfere.

Ant queens from different colonies all came up with their own interpretations, and all for the purpose of vying for power.  Those that could convince the most ants to follow them and their crackpot theories gained power over the wider colony.

They sent emisaries out across the whole garden and into neighbouring gardens.  Any that refused to believe them about Jahooolah and his progeny, were subjugated, and beaten into submission.  There were some terrible scenes with the red ants from across the way!


(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While all this was going on, and while I was watching in disbelief through the ant viewing devices he’d left me, Jahooolah had met a trans-dimensional girl and started dating, so he had no time for the ants, or for me.  Again, I tried to tell the ants that they were mistaken, that they shouldn’t place all their faith in Jahooolah; he was a bit flaky at best.  But of course, they couldn’t understand me, and lived in fear of the coming of Shitan and his kettle.

Some years passed.  Generations of ants came and went.  Then it happened; Jahooolah’s girlfriend dumped him!  He was broken up about the whole thing.  He came round to visit for the first time in years.  Bitter doesn’t even begin to describe his mood.

He stayed with me for a few weeks back then, and I nursed him back to a healthy state of mind.  He asked about the ants and I brought him up to date with all the goings on.  By this stage, I think he’d realised his mistake in getting involved in the first place, but he decided he’d do what he could to try to fix it.  He got talking to one of the ants, trying to gauge the feeling on (and under) the ground.

Jahooolah tried to talk to the ant, and lay down some more good rules to live by.  Of course, given his own recent history, there may have been a few bitter comments about women and their place in society, but I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.  Merely a reflection of his bleak state of mind.

I was hopeful that this latest intervention by Jahooolah would calm things down.  That an element of peace and cohesion would return to the various ant colonies now living in my garden.

But I was wrong.

As soon as Jahooolah was gone, things just all kicked off again! They haven’t settled down even now, some years later.  If anything, things are worse.

I keep trying to get Jahooolah to come back and sort the situation out but he’s decided it’s best not to interfere. A bit too late for that, in my opinion,  but what can I do?

The ants are ruining my garden.  I could never sell my house with it all in this state.  It used to be such a nice garden but the ants are now destroying it all, inch by inch.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not ALL Jahooolah’s fault.  The ants are power mad, and consuming everything in sight. I just can’t help but think though, that if they weren’t all at odds with each other about Jahooolah’s messages, they’d be less blind to the devastation they were causing.

I think it will soon get to the point where I have no other option than to take the kettle to the lot of them, in order to save my garden.

I guess, if there is a moral to my story, it is this: if you’re going to interfere with the well being of a species, then make sure you see it through to the end. Don’t just bugger off and leave them all to Shitan the Kettle Bringer.


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People Problem #2

The visual perception - Photography Course - L...

(Photo credit: Marco Crupi Visual Artist)

I’m 13 again. I’m sitting in Mr Wilson’s maths class.  He’s telling us about equations. Probably.  I don’t know.  I don’t recall the lesson.

What I do remember is looking around the classroom, bored.  It’s hard for a young mind to pay attention for such long spells.

Over the other side of the class, by the windows, I spy the new kid.  He’s so uncool!  He’s a definite maths geek!  Sitting there, back straight, legs crossed, paying such exquisite attention to every word from the teachers mouth.

What a freak! What a nerd! Doesn’t he know it’s not cool to look like he cares?

But hang on.  What’s this?

It hits me like a bath full of hot water; he looks like me!

The posture, the crossed legs…I sit like that! I am sitting like that right now! And I tend to pay attention in class too. Well, usually. OK, the hair’s not the same, the face is not the same. The uniform is. The black clunky shoes, the white socks; ditto.

Is that what people see when they see me? It’s so far from my vision of myself, it’s untrue, but is that who I am?

Maybe my vision of myself is not correct? Maybe I too look like the new kid, the geek, the freak, the nerd.  Could that be?

My own self image does not want to accept such a conclusion, but how could it not be true?

I’ve had an out of body experience. I’ve left my own closeted self point of view, and seen myself externally. As others see me.

Have you ever heard your voice played back on a recording?  Did you think, “that doesn’t sound like me”?  Did you hate or like the sound of your own voice played back?

I always hated my own voice played back.  It didn’t sound like me.  And I knew that to be the case as I was always there when I was talking, so of course I knew what I sounded like.  Not like it sounded on the tape, that’s for sure! That voice on the tape sounded nothing like me. It sounded awful.

After listening to that, I didn’t want to speak again for a while.  After seeing the new kid in the classroom, I didn’t want people to look at me for a while.

I didn’t want them to see or hear me, looking and sounding like that.

But, hang on a minute! They’ve always seen me like that.  They’ve always heard that voice.  The people who love me, the people who hate me, the people who are just there and have no strong feelings about me.  They know what I look like and sounds like, and they love / hate / ambivolate (new word…I call trademark!) me regardless!

It’s a hard lesson when we learn for the first time we’re not everything we think we are in our own minds.  When we first get that external view of ourselves played back to us.  Not everyone even gets that lesson, or has that out of body experience.

As an adult, I still know so many people yet to have this life lesson. To be able to separate themselves from their own consciousness and view themselves externally, objectively.

You see these people all the time.  They fall into two groups: those that love themselves too much, and those that loath themselves too much.

The first group, the “lovems”, are usually the most obvious.  They like to advertise their own presence as they’re so in love with their own image of themselves that surely everyone else must love them too?!  They sweep into the room, and make sure everyone knows they’re there. They demand your admiration, after all, they admire themselves, so how could you not too?

The second group, the “hatems”, are less obvious.  They hide from view whenever possible.  They loathe themselves.  They are  filled with insecurities.  How could anybody possibly like them or even love them?  They are convinced that they are ugly, uninteresting, worthless.

An objective view is hard for either of them. The lovems could not conceive that they are not all they believe that they are, that they are only human, just like everyone else.  The hatems could not conceive that they have their own good qualities, that they are completely human, just like everyone else.

And of course, there are the rest of us, in the middle, who often swing between both views, depending on the context.  I’m mostly over my childish insecurities.  I was always closer to being a hatem than a lovem.  And there are times that those feelings come back, but I know how to deal with them now. I also have delusions of grandeur from time to time. Yes even me, The Great San Jefe.  Hard to believe I know.

The key is to step outside yourself and see what others see.  To gain an objective perspective.

Too many of us go through life only looking through our own eyes.  We see what we see, not what is to be seen. We hear what we hear, not what is to be heard.  We mangle everything through our own subjective filters, until our own view bares little resemblance to reality, and find it so hard to view ourselves as others view us.

All arguments, all conflicts, all wars, are held between two parties who each believe passionately that they are right, and that it is the other that is wrong, unreasonable, mistaken.  But if both parties are right, how can there be a conflict?

Stepping outside of yourself and looking at your own motivations and actions, and how they may appear to others will usually surprise you.  Putting yourselves into the shoes of the other, and really understanding what is driving them, and reflecting back on how your actions appear to them, can hit you hard.  It’s a shock.

Externalise the view of yourself, and you can suddenly put yourself into the position of others.

Unfortunately, as a species, we don’t do this too often.

And so, People Problem #2: our default mode, and for many of us the only mode, is subjective. We lack perspective. We either consider ourselves infallible, or we underestimate our own abilities.

How much more could we achieve if we could only see all views of ourselves?

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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in The Problem With People


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Chuck Palahniuk – Lullaby

“Every generation wants to be the last. Every generation hates the next trend in music they can’t understand. We hate to give up those reins of our culture. To find our own music playing in elevators. The ballad for our revolution, turned into background music for a television commercial. To find our generation’s clothes and hair suddenly retro.”

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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Quotes From Books


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Kurt Vonnegut – Galapagos

Ghost of Kilgore Trout to the ghost of his son Leon Trout on the nature of people:

“Need I tell you that these same wonderful animals, of which you apparently still want to learn more and more, are at this very moment proud as Punch to have weapons in place, all set to go at a moment’s notice, guaranteed to kill everything?

“Need I tell you that this once beautiful and nourishing planet when viewed from the air now resembles the diseased organs of poor Roy Hepburn when exposed at his autopsy, and that the apparent cancers, growing for the sake of growth alone, and consuming all and poisoning all, are the cities of your beloved human beings?”

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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Quotes From Books


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