Musings Warning! Here be rude words! Go away if you are prudish or under 18!

If you can talk, you can breathe – NOT NECESSARILY!

December 8th, 2014

If you think someone is not respiratory distress just because they can talk, you are wrong.

Recent events in New York have put the spotlight on three myths that I shall attempt to dispel here:

Myth 1: Strangleholds are a safe way of subduing someone
Strangleholds (more commonly, but less accurately, called chokeholds) are techniques used in martial arts and by security forces to subdue an opponent. The aim is to restrict bloodflow to the brain, thus causing hypoxia which leads to unconsciousness. Since a properly applied stranglehold does not restrict the airway (which a chokehold does), if the pressure is released soon enough, the victim will regain consciousness. If not, the victim will suffer brain damage or death from hypoxia.

Myth 2: Police and security forces are experts in the techniques of subduing
I have taught martial arts to individual police officers and I have attended seminars on hand-to-hand combat aimed specifically at security forces and designed by experienced police officers who are also expert practitioners of grappling arts.

In my experience, the average police officer is no more competent in applying martial arts techniques than the average martial arts dilettante. How could they be if they only attend seminars every few months?

In my opinion, giving a police or security officer occasional training in techniques which, if applied incorrectly, can lead to brain damage or death, is deluded at best. This would be akin to sending someone on bi-annual tennis seminars and then expecting them to perform convincingly at Wimbledon.

Myth 3: If you can talk, you can breathe
Unfortunately, there are police officers, security officers and even martial artists who subscribe to this myth. The fact that someone is breathing does not mean they are not going into respiratory failure, which is when not enough oxygen is passing from your lungs to your bloodstream. What’s more, the fact that someone is able to exhale (which a chest compression or injury would encourage), does not mean they are able to inhale again easily. You only need to be able to exhale to be able to say: “I can’t breathe.”

When someone is in distress, they are unlikely to be able to give a medically accurate description of what is distressing them, even if they had the knowledge to do so. Which of the following is someone more likely to say when going into respiratory failure? “I appear to be experiencing respiratory difficulty!” or “I can’t breathe!”

Respiratory distress can, furthermore, be caused by panic, rather than physical trauma, but the result (inadequate levels of oxygen in the blood) is the same, as anyone who has ever passed out from a panic attack can tell you.

Because a properly applied stranglehold does not restrict the airway, the victim is able to breathe and thus able to talk. Respiratory distress does not occur (unless triggered by panic), nor does respiratory failure, since the victim continues to breathe. In this case, the fact that the victim is talking does indeed mean that they are breathing; however, breathing during a strangehold does not mean the victim is not going to suffer injury or death. Being able to breathe does not mean you are not at imminent risk of respiratory failure or hypoxia.

Strangleholds are sophisticated techniques which require dedicated training and practice over extended periods of time to be able to apply safely. I would not be surprised to find that most people (including security forces) who learn such techniques practise them only on compliant and cooperative training partners. I would exclude from that remark serious practitioners of grappling martial arts, such as Jiu Jitsu, who regularly practise against uncooperative opponents. Anything other than expertise in subduing an uncooperative opponent can result in misapplying the technique, resulting in choking or compressing the chest of the opponent (either by the subduer ending up on top of the opponent, or an overweight opponent ending up lying on their side), who then says: “I CAN’T BREATHE!”

Anyone who claims not to be able to breathe should be given immediate assistance and first-aid, rather than be further subdued!


Comment on article "No indictment in NYPD in-custody death"

A comment, presumably made by a police officer, on the news that there would be no indictment in the case of the death of Eric Garner. Click image for source.

Why am I an atheist?

February 4th, 2013

I am sometimes asked: “Why are you an atheist?”

I was raised Catholic, and so the myth of Santa Claus was an important part of my childhood. “Santy”, as he is known to children in Ireland, was more important to me than Jesus or God simply because once a year he had a tangible effect on my young life and I was presented (literally) with evidence of his existence.

But when I was nine, I overheard some older kids saying that Santy wasn’t real, so I put this thesis to my parents and they confessed that Santy was just a story adults tell children. I immediately accepted this reality, firstly, because the very people who had told me Santy was real were now telling me he was not and, secondly, because it dawned on me that nothing was going to change as a result of this new weltanschaüng: life would go on and once a year the presents would still arrive.

The next day I told my best friends, who were actually just two kids I hung around with and another kid who liked to bully us. Their reaction was not as philosophical as mine. They ridiculed me. “So where do the presents come from then?” the bully challenged me in a condescending tone. Before I could answer, I was ostracised from the group. They were not willing to have their weltanschaüng challenged by one of their peers. I was an a-santyist and therefore I was tainted.

I am still an a-santyist, but why? Firstly, because the claim that there is a person who travels the entire world in a single night, riding a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, giving presents to all the good boys and girls, is so astoundingly contrary to how nature is observed to behave that only a child who had been indoctrinated with this idea since before it could speak would believe it. Or perhaps an adult who had never been told by the people who mattered that it wasn’t true. Secondly, because there is no evidence for such a claim.

I have no evidence that Santy does not exist, nor would any sane person expect me to present evidence for his non-existence in order for me to justify my lack of belief in Santy.

I imagine that no matter how religious someone is, they will find the above account of how and why I stopped believing in Santy perfectly reasonable.

Now read that account again and replace “Santy” with “Odin” (the Norse god on whom the Santy myth may be based).

Does it seem reasonable to you that I should be atheist in relation to Odin? The stories about him are astoundingly contrary to how nature is observed to behave and there is no evidence for them.

Santy and Odin: I put them in the same category, along with unicorns, elves and mermaids.

Now read my account again and replace “Santy” with “Quetzalcoatl”. Does it seem reasonable to you that I should be atheist in relation to Quetzalcoatl?

Now read it again and replace “Santy” with your god. Now do you understand why I place him/her/it in the same category as Santy, Odin and Quetzalcoatl?

When a religious person triumphally challenges me by asking: “If there is no God, who made the universe?” (usually in a tone reminiscent of “Checkmate!”), what I hear is: “If there is no Santy, where do the presents come from then?”

Be religious if you want to. I don’t care. I only care if your beliefs constrain the lives of people who don’t share them. But let’s not pretend that your belief in flying horses, elephant headed gods, parthenogenesis or talking snakes is a more reasonable stance than my lack of belief in them.

I have the same questions in my head about life and the universe as any religious person but the difference is that when cannot find an answer, I don’t go making one up that involves talking snakes.

Astoundingly contrary to how nature is observed to behave. No evidence.

Here is a video I made earlier. Enjoy it. It has dots.

Racism in Ireland: Part 2

December 25th, 2011

I have not posted anything here lately and I was thinking about de-commissioning this blog when I received a very direct and open comment on my post “Racism in Ireland“.

It is rare to see such passion and honesty expressed, so in addition to approving the comment against the original post, I thought I would reproduce it here:

You are a filthy mongrel, you are not irish, it is a matter of blood, not culture or belief.
Maybe you should blame your whore of a mother for why she fucked some subhuman indian nigger.

You mentioned too names, they are DISGUSTING examples of the perverse suicide cult of liberalism in this day and age. Filthy nigger animals travel to ireland, impregnate dumb whores with bastard children, and then fuck off somewhere else.

Anyways, get a clue, liberalism is not reality.

Prose worthy of any of the great Irish writers.

I would say, however, that my father is not an “indian nigger”. He is a Sri Lankan nigger, as I am a half Sri Lankan nigger. Although I would further say I prefer the epithets “blackie” and “nig-nog”, both of which were applied to me by some of my compatriots until, oddly enough, I learned the ability to kick someone in the coccyx and have it emerge through one or the other of their nostrils (the real art is in choosing which nostril).

What’s more, my father did not “fuck off somewhere else”, but is still living in Ireland.

Unfortunately, the commenter forgot to leave his name. Which is a shame. I am sure many Irish people would love to know who among them is capable of such deep reflection, courage and lyrical expression.

I hope the commenter will be submitting a DNA sample to the DNA Ancestry Project, so that the scientific world can marvel at such a rate example of pure Irish descendency.

Happy Christmas.

Holy Father, Batman!

August 19th, 2011

Thousands of fans have gathered in Madrid to see the Pope live in concert.

As I drove along the motorway today, all the overpasses were lined with groupies and adorned with banners colourfully declaring their love for the President of the Vatican.

And I have to say it pissed me off.

It pissed me off because these people conveniently forget, or choose to ignore, that this man presides over an organisation that aided and abetted child rapists across the world, not least in my own country.

To me, rape is as serious a crime as murder and I consider the rape of a child even more serious than the rape of an adult, because an adult has some chance of fighting back and has the psychological mechanisms in place to seek help afterwards. The child rapist is the most cowardly of the spineless. He seeks out the most helpless victims, victims usually in his care or at least within his sphere of influence and he seeks to destroy their lives before they have even properly begun.

So what should we think of the person who knowingly shields a child rapist from justice? In my mind, that person is even more culpable, because it could be argued that child rapists are incapable of supressing their urges and it is likely that they were victims of child rape themselves.

Those who shield child rapists, do so coldly and for selfish reasons. In the case of the Catholic Church, it is done to protect the reputation of the Catholic Church, which the Vatican considers more important than the welfare of the children in its care. Regardless of what it might recently have been saying about contrition, the Vatican still considers criticism of Catholic Church over child rape to be more reprehensible than child rape itself, criticism which the Vatican considers “excessive“.

Just to make it clear, there is no such thing as excessive criticism of the rape of a child or the aiding and abetting of a child rapist.

If you agree that the rape of a child is as serious as the murder of a child, then consider this: if the Vatican had colluded in the protection of terrorists in the way that it has colluded in the shielding of child rapists, then Ratzinger would either be wearing an orange jumpsuit today and living in a shipping container, or he would have been shot in the head* in his bedroom by special forces and his body dumped at sea (with all the appropriate funereal niceties, of course).

And yet, he still swans about the world, being feted by political leaders, his visits paid out of the taxes of people who cannot afford to host this very rich man, and his presence applauded by thousands of the deluded.

I am now off to the bathroom to throw up.

* I must emphasise that I neither propose nor condone acts of violence against the Pope or anyone else. I am simply drawing a comparison between the leniency with which the aiders and abetters of child rapists have been treated and the treatment meted out to the aiders and abetters of terrorists (many of whom were merely suspected of aiding terrorists).

Time is an illusion

July 17th, 2011

There are many who believe that time is an illusion, that it is nothing more than the brain’s way of making sense of events.

According to this theory, everything is actually happening concurrently. Past, present and future are nothing more than perspectives, lenses through which we perceive events which would otherwise seem chaotic.

Nowhere is this theory held in higher esteem than at the newsroom of Raidió Teilifís Éireann, where the events of the distant past take place in the present:

“The Arctic’s dwindling population of polar bears all descend from a single mama brown bear which lived 20,000 to 50,000 years ago in present-day Ireland…”

So there you have it. If you are living in Ireland, or planning to visit, watch out for that ancient brown bear living in present-day Ireland.

I think this is why they filmed “Primeval” in Ireland, because of the temporal coincidence of past and present.

The criminalisation of pregnant women

June 25th, 2011

No fifteen-year-old chooses to become a cocaine-addict.

When a fifteen-year-old becomes addicted to drugs and gets pregnant, she is in desperate need of help, especially when she wants to carry the foetus to term.

When a fifteen-year-old becomes addicted to drugs and gets pregnant and loses the baby, she is in desperate need of help and consolation, not judgement or punishment.

But punishment in the form of life in prison is what the state of Mississippi has in mind for her.

Religious fanatics of all stripes, throughout history, have had one thing in common, regardless of the nature of their religion: they have a burning desire to punish other people – and if they cannot find something for which to punish people, they will make something up.

Such people are filled with a self-hatred that they cannot face, so they turn it on other people. Such people feel glee when they think of other people being punished for eternity. Such people cannot wait for eternity to come, however, so they also take glee in punishing people temporally also.

When you are not particularly religious and you hate yourself, you walk into a school and shoot it up. But when you are religious, you find new ways to inflict hurt on others and call it “punishment”.

Hate-filled, pathetic examples of how low on its belly the human race can crawl. The Taliban are not restricted to Afghanistan, it seems.

Couple those haters with ambitious prosecutors who seek to convict as many as possible for… whatever… and you have the story of the criminalisation of pregnant women.

Congratulations on your promotion, Mr. Al-Zawahri

June 16th, 2011

Congratulations on your promotion, Mr. Al-Zawahri.

Now this is the room you’ll be living in for the rest of your life. Make sure you bring a spare pair of undies and some porno DVDs.

Musing #51

June 13th, 2011

When people type “LOL”, are they actually laughing out loud, or is it just another overused , meaningless expression like “awesome”?

I’m fairly certain people rarely roll on the floor when they laugh. I have seen it a couple of times, and done it a couple of times myself, but I cannot imagine that it is actually as common as the frequency of the expression “ROFL” would suggest.

However, I would love to see the keyboard that allows you to type “ROFL” while actually ROFLing.

Wearing a hoe’s uniform

May 8th, 2011

“Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.”

Those are the words of Canadian police constable Michael Sanguinetti, as reported by the BBC.

Constable Sanguinetti has since been reprimanded and has apologised. I hope he apologised for his poor and offensive choice of words, rather than his message, because his message was not entirely wrong.

All right, before every woman who reads this starts reaching for a pair of genital shears, allow me to make my position clear.

Firstly, I believe the constable should have said: “From a purely practical, though not moral, perspective women should avoid dressing in a way that is highly sexually provocative if they want to mitigate the risk of  being victimised. However, a victim of an assault should always be treated as a victim and with sensitivity.”

Should women have the right to “dress like sluts”? I believe  they should, assuming they adhere to any local bye-laws and establishment dress codes.

Do I find sluttiness attractive in a woman? Yes, I do, because I have the brain and hormones of the male of my species and at some primitive level I am going to respond positively to a woman who effectively advertises that she is sexually available.

If I were on the dating scene, would I try to chat up a woman dressed in a slutty way? I doubt it. I like a woman to be sexy, but I value elegance and taste very highly.

When teaching martial arts, I teach my students to behave in such a way that minimises the risk of ever needing to defend themselves. I emphasise that skill in avoiding trouble is far better than skill in getting out of trouble.

So I try to make my students, particularly the young adults, aware of the kinds of behaviour that could get them into trouble. After that, it is up to them to decide how they should behave.

Here are some examples of the kind of advice I give them.


  • Do not get drunk when you are out and about. Most street violence is perpetrated by young men on young men when one side or the other is intoxicated.
  • Do not be quick to take offence when another man spills your pint, looks at your girlfriend, bumps into you, etc.
  • Be quick to apologise to another man if you spill his pint, look at his girlfriend, bump into him, etc.
  • Do not try to stare other men down.


  • Do not get drunk when out and about.
  • Do not walk home alone at night, particularly through isolated, unlit areas.
  • Try not to park your car far from the entrance to any building you are visiting.
  • Try to park your car under or near a lamp-post.
  • Always reverse into a parking space, so that if you are being pursued on returning to your car, you can pull away quickly.
  • Always have your car key in your hand and ready before you get to your car, rather than fumbling through your handbag at the car door.

Do men and women have the right to violate these guidelines I set down? Of course they do. One female student of mine complained that she was worried about the dark lane she walked down in order to get to her house and wanted to know what to do if she were attacked there. I observed that it was unusual to have to use a dark lane to get to a house and that lanes are usually shortcuts. She then admitted that there was a longer way to her front door, but that the lane to her back door was more convenient. I politely told her to shut the fuck up and start using the front door.

Did she have the moral right to be able to walk down that dark lane and expect not to be attacked by the tiny minority of men who might be inclined to do so? Of course she did.

Was it unreasonable of her to desire a certain level of behaviour from men? Of course not.

Would she have been responsible for the consequences had she been attacked? From a moral point of view, not at all, but from the practical point of view of risk mitigation, absolutely.

Years ago I dated a young woman who was very feisty and always insisted on fighting for her rights. This was a good attitude in general, but sometimes she took it to ridiculous levels. For example, I often observed that she did not keep an eye on the traffic when on a pedestrian crossing. Her response was that she had the right to cross the road safely and that it was the responsibility of the drivers to drive safely. This attitude served her well until the day she was knocked down. Morally she had the right to be safe on a pedestrian crossing. Practically, it was her damned fault.

In relation to the BBC article mentioned above, a friend recently said: “Are men not capable of controlling themselves? Do they not know right from wrong?”

This point of view is naive in that it expects that because there exists the moral right to expect good behaviour from men, that women can behave however they like and not expect there to be consequences on occasion. Again I emphasise that I am speaking in terms of risk mitigation and not moral rights.

The fact is that a minority of men will see a woman dressed in a sexually provocative way and not think less of her as a woman. Such men are unlikely to approach a woman dressed so. However, I suspect the majority will not see past the sexual advertisement and see only a sex object. Some of those men will be disgusted and will not approach. Most, I suspect, will be highly aroused and are likely to approach the woman, expecting easy sex, but then will insult her verbally if she does not deliver the advertised sexual goods.

The tiny minority of those men will see only a sex object that they are entitled to, and are prepared to inflict violence on the woman if she does not deliver the advertised sex.

Those men exist.

Ladies, grow the fuck up and accept that reality. And stop throwing out the crude generalisation that men should not behave that way. Men do not behave that way. The tiny, fucked-up minority of men behave that way.

A short analogy: If a woman dressed like a slut to go to a job interview at anything other than a porno production company, whose fault would it be if she did not get the job based solely on the fact that she exercised her right to dress like a slut on that occasion? The right to act a certain way does not immunise you from its consequences.

But a man who assaults a woman never, ever, has an excuse and the victim of an assault is always a victim, regardless of what they were wearing at the time.

I leave you now with American comedian Dave Chapelle, on the subject of women dressing like “hoes” (that’s prostitutes and not garden tools):

How to feel like a man

May 6th, 2011

There is nothing quite like taking pieces off a car and then putting them back on again to make a man feel like a man.


Having put it all back together I can now crack open a beer, watch The Dirty Dozen and not talk about my feelings while basking in the idea that my self-esteem is based entirely on my performance reviews at work.

By the way, all that effort was just to change a light bulb. It’s one of the drawbacks of owning a very compact car. I even managed to get oil on my hands, despite not working near the engine.

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