Archive for July, 2007

You don’t need them when you’re gone

July 17th, 2007

If you are a regular reader of this ballog, then you have probably figured out by now that I consider myself agnostic when it comes to God(s) and religion. When it comes to the afterlife, I am equally agnostic. I neither know nor care what there might be after death, because if there is nothing, I won’t ever find out and if there is something, then I’ll find out soon enough.

But I would imagine there is one point on which theists and atheists* would agree with me: you don’t need your organs after you die.

The BBC have reported today that the Chief Medical Officer of the UK is expected to recommend to the government that instead of carrying a card saying they want to be considered a donor, people should carry a card saying they don’t want to be considered a donor. I have never lost anyone close, but it’s got to be hard when you have just lost someone and a doctor thrusts a release form in your face asking you to hand over your deceased loved one’s organs. It’s got to be hard on the doctor too.

I’ll tell you whom it’s hardest on though… the person who is about to become deceased if they don’t get an organ.

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Hell hath no fury

July 11th, 2007

It seems a Catholic primary school in Australia has rejected a young boy’s application to become a student because the boy’s surname is Hell (BBC article here).

The parents, practising Catholics, are understandably miffed.

“The child’s surname jars with the school’s religious teachings,” explained Headmaster The Reverend Dr. Beelzebub Kiddiefiddler*.

According to the boy’s father, Hell is an Austrian surname which means “bright”. Coincidentally, Lucipher is a Greek name which means “Bearer of Light”. It’s a beautiful name when you think about it.

* Disclaimer: I made that bit up. To my knowledge there is no headmaster named The Reverend Dr. Beelzebub Kiddiefiddler, but in some cases I’m sure it would be entirely appropriate.

U.S. judge tells hung Black jury to resume

July 11th, 2007

U.S. judge tells hung Black jury to resume

I’m not sure a jury consisting entirely of black people is fair when the defendant is white, but a jury consisting entirely of hung black people? Surely both unfair and hard to arrange. Unless jury selection took place during a porno film festival in LA.

Musing #16

July 9th, 2007

What’s it like to be in the presence of absence?

My very first time

July 6th, 2007

Today I lost my virginity.

That’s right, I tried an oyster for the very first time and I’m not talking metaphorically, the way Sir Laurence Olivier was in Spartacus. I ate an actual oyster. Based on the look of them, I’m fairly certain oysters weren’t introduced to the human diet until after the drinking game was invented in 8,014 BC in what is now Armenia.

Anyway, I’m sure all you oyster virgins out there are keen to know how it was. Well, unless you are into slimey, slightly chewy bags of sea-water that look like huge gobs of phlegm presented in a shell that in turn looks like a huge, fungally-infected toe-nail, then they are highly over-rated.

Shopping: The male / female divide explained

July 5th, 2007

Have you ever wondered why the typical woman loves shopping and the typical man doesn’t?

I’m a typical male when it comes to shopping. Generally, I am on a mission. I know what I want to buy before I leave the house. I know where I can get it. I go get it and I return triumphant about fifteen minutes after I left.

The typical woman, however, can go shopping for days on end without any apparent objective. For her, the means is the end. She even enjoys that most mystifying of activities: window shopping.

Now my understanding is that both physiologically and psychologically, the human race hasn’t changed much since our ancestors were hunter/gatherers, so when I am trying to understand any particular aspect of human behaviour I hold it up against the mirror that is our ancestry and see how it reflects.

It is believed our male ancestors did most of the hunting and the females did most of the gathering.

Now hunting is a combination of planning and opportunity. The hunter knows the habits of his prey and knows which prey he is after. He knows where the prey can be found. He chooses a location and plans an approach. Thereafter, however, he must take the first prey that comes along. He does not think: “That particular antelope is not bad, but if I wander over behind those trees, I might find a plumper one.”

No. He is all too aware that this might be his only chance to bring home meat today, so he grasps the opportunity there and then.

The female gatherer also knows where her objective is to be found. She knows the best spots in the forest for picking berries and the trees that bear the sweetest fruit. However, there isn’t the same urgency in her gathering as there is in the male’s hunting. After all, if she doesn’t like these particular berries, she can look around for better ones and still come back. Those berries aren’t going anywhere. The only time she might feel the pressure of time is when there is a small crop of very juicy berries and a lot of women going about their gathering.

I feel I have just explained men’s shopping habits and women’s approach to both normal shopping and shopping during the sales.

There is another aspect to this: why men can communicate to each other in grunts and short phrases whereas women describe everything to each other to the nth detail. Anyone remember that scene in Friends where Rachel describes her first kiss with Ross?

When our male ancestors were on the hunt, the last thing they could afford to do was make noise that would scare away the antelope, so grunts, nods and short, pithy sentences became the norm.

Our female ancestors, however, had no such pressure. Their chatter wasn’t exactly going to scare off a blueberry bush. So women developed the habit of nattering, simply because they could.

The ancestral mirror. Things seem so much clearer when viewed in it.


July 5th, 2007

For some years I worked in an office where one of my colleagues had the habit of sending you an e-mail and then walking over to tell you:

A) that he had sent you an e-mail and

B) what the e-mail was about.

This colleague’s initials were HH, so came up with the phrase H-mail. Any time HH approached my desk, I would raise my hands and join the tips of my thumbs to form  the letter H.

So now you know what to call it when a colleague does this to you.

H-Mail: (n) Verbal confirmation delivered in person by the sender of an e-mail, stating that they have sent an e-mail and detailing what the e-mail was about.

Fly, child of mine! Be free!

Fulfil your straw’s destiny!

July 5th, 2007

When you think about it, there is little appreciable difference between drinking from a straw and drinking straight from the vessel. Either way, the liquid goes from the vessel into your mouth.

Until you get to the end.

At the end, there is no sound when you drink straight from the vessel, whereas there is a wonderful slurping sound when you use a straw.

Ergo, the purpose of a straw is to make the wonderful slurping sound.

Therefore, when you use a straw, it is incumbent on you to make the wonderful slurping sound regardless of your whereabouts or social context.

Otherwise you are depriving the straw of its place in the universe.

The Looney Tune

July 5th, 2007

In reponse to wychwood’s comment on Are you a looney? I have written some lyrics to kick off the stage musical.

The Looney Tune 

Now you may think I’m crazy
And that I need to adjust
But the greatest aspect of my life
Is based entirely on trust

You can keep your kind Tooth Fairy
And old Santa Claus is lame
But belief in my transparent friend
Is really not the same

I dare you to poke fun at Him
I know you’re not afraid
But for all His famed omnipotence
He needs a little aid

He really can’t get by at all
Without a little help from me
So if I hear you slag the prophets
I’ll string you from a tree

Arbitrary rules are really not for fools
We make them as we go along
I’ll think of some ‘fore I end this song

You can’t eat meat on Fridays
Oh, wait that one’s defunct
And you can’t go bonking ladies
If you want to be a monk

It’s sinful to be naked
But the extent is quite obscure
Sometimes it’s fine to show neckline
Other times you’re just a whoooore

Don’t let your women go to school
Keep them hidden under wraps
Don’t point and go “Tut, tut” at me
This isn’t all just crap

You know I’m not alone in this
My brothers are as one
But when we’ve dealt with all of you
We’ll burn each other just for fun

You can see I have no life at all
But take no pity upon me
Cause I will spend forever more
In a place imagin’ry

In a plaaaaace i-mag-in-reeeeeeeeeeeeee!

First draft, I’ll polish it and add to it in time.

Embracing Change

July 4th, 2007

Have you ever been asked during a job interview about your ability to embrace change? I have. I think the question was along the lines of: “Can you give some examples of how you have embraced change?”

Being smart, I figured they weren’t talking about firmly clutching the coins a shop assistant gives you when you pay for a Snickers with a five pound note.

Being extra smart, I figured “Yes, I can” wasn’t a full enough answer.

However, I’m pretty sure I rolled out some meaningless, long-winded (and possibly invented) tripe about how my boss showed up one day wearing a green tie instead of a blue one and I managed to blurt out: “Nice bl… green tie, boss!”

Anyway, all that was when I still had hair. Now I’m hoping someone asks me that question again because I have the perfect, succinct answer:

“I shave my head because I’m losing my hair. If that’s not embracing change, I don’t know what is.” Shaved

Admit it! Shaved looks better than thinning!

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