Rants and Observations

Apr. 19, 2018

Interesting, but hardly inspiring

I cannot remember why I bought this book second hand. Morbid curiosity perhaps. Finally, I read it. The mercenaries described were involved in Africa and latterly elsewhere.  They seem to be cynical, usually sociopathic misfits, keen to kill.

On reflection, that description fits those involved in most military forces throughout history. If soldiers don’t start out that way, the training turns them, especially when they are young and full of testosterone and hormones. It worked on me for a while. The mercenaries seem to be stuck in a particularly murderous groove.

The book describes the background and reasons for the conflicts adequately enough, but rather briefly as there are many stories to relate. The description of the cynical involvement of the UK, French and US governments behind the scenes is further evidence of the bankruptcy of these nations foreign policy, if it were needed.

The writing is mainly a recounting of facts and interviews, not aspiring to any literary merit and not having any.

The book is worth reading if you are interested in the mess that was and still is post-colonial Africa. It adds horror and further detail to what you may have read already.

Mar. 24, 2018

Man Booker Prizes are no recommendation.
Julian Barnes- The Sense of an Ending.

The black edges to the pages of the paperback were oddly intriguing. Was it a Victorian death cult novel?

The opening, about four somewhat pretentious London schoolboys in the 60s, made me laugh a little. It caused me to compare my own memories of more serious rebellion and different pretentions.
The lives of the three main characters, quickly became mundane and boring. The narrator's over reaction to his dull girlfriend's tediousness and dumping him seemed ridiculous. I asked myself, 'Why write about such uninteresting folk and why am I still reading this?'
As the book was short and well written, I pressed on. The narrator turned out to be mean spirited as well as a sad failure. The twist at the end was a surprise, but hardly riveting.

You have to wonder about why such light-weight books win prizes. The 'Luvvies', who control the traditional publishing industry, are more motivated with impressing other luvvies than the inherent merit of the books they churn out. 


Mar. 7, 2018

A riposte to a friend’s article claiming high powered cars and their special tires are a waste of money on rough roads.

Reducing high powered cars to tire flexibility is like distilling love to pheromones, a sense of touch or the pituitary gland. There is a point to it, but it can never capture the thrill, the excitement, the joyful ecstasy. That blasts through all obstacles with a throaty roar.

Since reading the less than exciting discourse on tire walls, I tried looking on my silver monster with analytical eyes. Failure was utterly complete. Cars have nothing to do with brand badges. Most are transport, others just raw power.

Seeking tire wall insights, I dawdled along bumpy roads, dallied behind tractors towing trailers of produce and footled behind tardy locals. Not for long. The lust overcame me. My heart raced. My hands grasped the wheel. With the newfound sports button, I forced the pedal into the floor.

The kick in the back, the intimidating rage of the engine, the surge of adrenaline came back in an instant. Oncoming traffic. Press harder. Jerk in, in front of six cars at the last moment as he swerves in fear. Guy on the phone meanders about the road and nearly ditches himself, as from nowhere the Beast thunders past, flashing lights and blaring horn.

A new lesson, speed bumps and potholes are only obstacles at under 80 Kph. At 120, they add to flight and smooth passage. To hell with the tire walls. They can be replaced.

On the narrow part of the main highway, traffic dawdles behind a tanker. 120, 140, 160,180, 195. Some idiot on the phone wobbles into the Beast’s path, then nearly spins out of control. Cut in quick before the oncoming truck hits. The Mack swerves. We bellow bye, with turbo screaming and maniacal laughter.

Speeding along a country lane, a dog leaps at us, kids run out into the road. The ceramic disc brakes stop us on a screeching dime. Who says the Beast can’t be tamed? Trust the Beast. If the world fails you, all-around airbags might cushion the plunge from the precipice. If not, what a way to go, not with a whimper but in a tumbling ball of fire and crunching metal.

Pure fantasy of course.


Mar. 5, 2018

Veganism and Vegetarianism are the ultimate denial of what we are. 

When you cut your hair, it is a death sentence for those cells separated from your body. The same applies to any bodily excrescence.

It is worse than that, as every part of our surface and much of our interior is a universe to benign, symbiotic or harmful micro creatures. They too are slaughtered by the million by acts of cutting, shampooing, shaving or washing. We are walking reefs. Our entity comprises billions of tiny living cells.

Our bodies’ every apparently harmless movement in our environment massacres the lives of others. They are crushed by our footsteps or squashed by our resting hands.

More dramatic ethnic cleansing is conducted in constructing and cleaning our dwellings, producing our garments and growing our food, any kind of food.

We compete with other species for scarce resources. Anything we consume is denied to other creatures. We kill them by our continued existence.

Vegans and other snowflakes are merely in denial of our true natures. We have evolved with teeth adapted for tearing meat, as well as others for masticating grains.

Teetotalers are also rebelling against our true nature too. We have evolved enzymes and digestive systems to cope with alcohol.

It is insane to destroy our environment with plastic waste or in other ways. Yet pretending to be superior by being vegan or embracing other food or drink fads is blowing in the wind.

I wrote a short story based on the idea that there are two ways forward. “Save the planet 1” published in the book Doom, Gloom and Despair”. We meeds accept our role as competing against other creatures.  Suicide is the alternative.

Of course, ending our existence results in the death of the creatures that make up our being. Over time, it saves billions more lives.

What percentage of Olympians and other champions are vegans? Are there any?

Mar. 5, 2018