Sunday, December 30, 2012

Water, Always Water

There are stories of catastrophic floods in myths everywhere. So, did they (the floods) really happen? Very likely, given the several Ice Ages that feature in the earth's history. What I mean to say is that when there's lots of ice, as there is in any old Ice Age, and it all melts when the Ice Age ends, there's always lots of water left that has no-where to go but into the seas, whose levels consequently rise, and you get floods that, if they're big enough, wash away whole civilisations.

You can, then, safely assume the great floods, that myths all over the world tell of, really happened. And, because the ice sheets of just the last Ice Age covered all of North America, northern Europe and northern Asia, they would, when they melted, have caused catastrophic floods, that likely washed away whole civilisations.

As I said *last time*, there's still an Ice Age, but it's at the North Pole and South Pole (Antarctica). Given the one-mile-deep sheet of ice that covers Antarctica, which is almost twice the size of Australia, you don't have to think too hard to understand how big the floods would be if all this ice melted. And it would all melt, and quickly, were Antarctica to woosh a few thousand miles north.

The prospect of Antarctica wooshing north isn't far-fetched, since it may well have wooshed into where it now is, from north within the last few thousand years. Think of the ancient world-maps I told you of last time, that show Antarctica. Since our modern civilisation didn't know Antarctica existed until 200 years ago, these maps must have been made when Antarctica was last ice-free.

According to the experts, Antarctica was last ice-free several million years ago. Are you, then, to believe that these old maps, thought to be only a few thousand years sold, are actually a few million years old? Perhaps, though, the civilisation that made these old maps, already had the technology to map Antarctica despite the ice, just as our modern civilisation has done.

The answer, whatever it is, doesn't take away the likelihood that several thousand years ago - when the Human was supposed only to have begun farming - there was already a civilisation with the technology and know-how to map the entire earth and build the Great Pyramid of Giza.

I'm still not finished..........

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wooshing

If you've read all of what *I've said so far* about Isaac Asimov's and Robert Silverberg's “Nightfall”, and what it may indicate about the history of the Human, you'll now know that the Great Pyramid of Giza, and also ancient maps showing Antarctica, bespeak a technologically advanced civilisation that vanished from earth more than 12,000 years ago.

I'll today talk a little of the last Ice Age, when ice sheets covered North America, northern Europe and Asia. This Ice Age began 60,000 years ago, and was for all intents and purposes over about 11,500 years ago. There is, by the way, an Ice Age still, but it's at the North Pole and South Pole (Antarctica).

No-one knows exactly why the Ice Ages (there have been several) happened. Experts think changes in the earth's orbit or tilt, the most likely cause. But, how about massive and sudden shifts in the earth's crust? so that if you had lived thousands of years ago in a place with weather as nice as yours now is, you one day experienced yourself, and everything around you, wooshing to a different place. Soon you were amid mounds of ice and snow, that covered your house and garden too, as well as everywhere else as far as you could see.

Once you got over the immediate shock, you would have had an inkling that everything had inexplicably shifted to a polar region. You would have been somewhat comforted when you saw that your wife and children and your little friends had all shifted with you. But still.

A huge and quite sudden shifting of a continental land mass most likely explains Antarctica appearing in maps many thousands of years old, despite that our modern civilisation didn't even know about Antarctica until 200 years ago, because it was hidden by the one-mile-deep ice sheet on top of it.

These old maps can only have been made when Antarctica was still ice-free – hundreds of thousands, nay millions, of years ago. But, what if Antarctica was once where it was nice and warm and had no ice? Then it shifted thousands of miles south. Because it would have taken hundreds of years for the ice to pile up to its current the one-mile thickness, it was before this when the ancient mappers mapped Antarctica.

Since your teachers in school would have told you nothing of this, you are likely now in a state of disorientation, and in need of time to recover. Hence it'll have to be next time when I talk more.  

Ice and Maps

As I said *last time*, the Great Pyramid of Giza, that may have been built as long as 12,500 years ago, is an edifice bespeaking builders of such engineering genius, they could only have been from a technologically advanced civilisation, whose technology was at least the equal of ours today, because it's doubtful the Great Pyramid could be built today.

Why, then, is this civilisation not known about? Is it because it was destroyed as apocalyptically as was the planet-wide civilisation in Isaac Asimov's and Robert Silverberg's “Nightfall”?

There are world maps thousands of years old that show Antarctica, despite Antarctica not being known about until 200 years ago. Your teachers in school no doubt told you Antarctica is covered by ice two miles thick, so this was why it wasn't known about until 200 years ago. And your teachers were right. They wouldn't, though, have told you about the ancient maps showing Antarctica.

These ancient maps showing Antarctica must have been made before it was covered with all that ice, else how could the mappers have known Antarctica was there? Since it's thought by many that Antarctica didn't become covered with ice until about 12,000 years ago, these ancient maps must have been made more than 12,000 years ago. And because these maps show the contours of the world's continents amazingly accurately, the mappers must have been of a technologically advanced civilisation. Was it the same one that built the Great Pyramid of Giza?

More to come...........

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Crawling From the Ruins

Apropos Isaac Asimov's and Robert Silverberg's “Nightfall”, I *spoke last time* about how odd it is that the Human has vastly more brainpower than the Ape – a surprise, given the Human and the Ape became separate species 200,000 years ago or less. And, while you may think 200,000 years an awfully long time, evolutionists think it piffling. 

Since no other animal species has more brainpower than the Ape, the brain-power of the Human is an anomaly. Because evolutionary change is so slow, the Human, in order to evolve his  anomalously powerful brain, would have to have lived in a technologically advanced civilisation for many millions of years.

That the Human only 10,000 years ago began living in a civilisation with a technology sufficient only to carry out farming, and has only been around as a Human for 200,000 years or less, simply isn't believable because it was too fast. More believable is the Vatican's assertion that when the Human first evolved 200,000 years ago, God stepped in and gave him a soul and the all-powerful brain so he could think, feel and and act as a Human. But your Men of Science will have none of this.

Your Men of Science will also have none of the assertion that we of today are the descendants of those who crawled from the ruins of a world-wide technologically advanced civilisation that, many thousands of years ago, collapsed as apocalyptically as did the planet-wide civilisation in “Nightfall”.

Is there proof this happened? Well, not conclusive proof necessarily, but clues are everywhere. One such is the Great Pyramid of Giza. Your teachers in school doubtless told you that 4,500 years ago the Egyptians built it so the Pharaoh, Khufu, might rest in it for eternity.  However, the Great Pyramid is so huge and embodies such engineering genius, it's doubtful anyone could build it today. It seems, then, doubtful the Egyptians of 4,500 years ago could build it either.

Actually, there's good reason to think the Great Pyramid was built, not 4,500 years ago, but 12,500 years ago. And it's clear the builders had an advanced knowledge of the movements of the planets, and also knew things like the exact size of the earth's circumference and the length of its radius. So it's clear the builders were of a technologically advanced society. 

Who were they? And what became of their society? Stay tuned.........

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Of Apes and Men

You'll know *from last time* that, in discussing Isaac Asimov's and Robert Silverberg's “Nightfall”, I began speaking of how your teachers at school likely told you how the Human on this planet (earth) came to be.

Only in the last 10,000 years did the Human, by taking up farming, begin to separate himself definitively from the Ape because the Ape didn't have the brainpower to farm. And it's only in the last 100 years that the Human was able to come up with electricity, the Ford motor car, the 747 jet aeroplane, the laptop computer, the atomic bomb, the cell-phone, and the digital TV. But this required brainpower far greater than the Human needed to survive only 10,000 years ago.

So the question is: when did the Human develop this extraordinary brainpower? Did he already have it 200,000 years ago when he first appeared, and was living as primitively as the Ape? If the Human did already have this extraordinary brainpower, how did it evolve? You see, when your teachers in school told you about evolution, they would have told you that evolution in any species is only in response to external changes that threaten the survival of that species.

Hence the brainpower of your average Ape of today is no greater than the brainpower of your average Ape of 200,000 years ago because evolving more brainpower wasn't necessary for the Ape to survive as an Ape. For all you know, there's the occasional very clever Ape that could, under the right conditions, compose music on the order of Ludwig van's Glorious Ninth, or easily learn trigonometry (a random mutation). But that very clever Ape is no more likely spread his genes than any one of the overwhelming majority of ordinary run-of-the-mill Apes, that can do no more than swing from trees and eat bananas.

If the female Ape is anything like the female Human, she's infinitely more attracted to the male Ape that only swings from trees and eats bananas, than to the male Ape that can compose music like Ludwig van's Glorious Ninth, or who likes trigonometry. Hence the very clever male Ape won't likely spread his genes. The future Ape, then, will continue to be as....well..... Ape-like, as he has always been.

I'll continue this next time.......

Monday, December 24, 2012

From Hunter To Farmer

I spoke *last time* about Isaac Asimov's and Robert Silverberg's “Nightfall”. It's about a planet whose civilisation is catastrophically destroyed every few thousand years. Each time this happens, the surviving denizens must crawl out from the rubble and start again.

Where did Asimov get this idea from - the idea that a planet-wide civilisation every now and again catastrophically destroys itself, or becomes catastrophically destroyed through influences beyond its control. Was he (Asimov) thinking of our earthly human civilisation?

***

Your teachers, when you were in school, no doubt told you about how humans came to be, about how today's humans (of which you are one) descended from apes. Your teachers would also have told you that today's human hasn't been around that long – 200,000 years at most, but possibly as little as 100,000 years. Before that, there was just the ancestor of the human, the ape.

Your teachers would also have told you that the early humans lived in Africa, in a manner not much different from actual apes ie. apes not lucky enough to have evolved into humans. The early humans, who spent most of each day just hunting down other animals to eat, began getting bored, and developed itchy feet. So they trekked off to all corners of the earth.

They may, though, in their new domains of Europe and Asia and whatnot, have continued just to hunt and to be as bored as they were in Africa, for it wasn't until 10,000 years ago that they began farming, which, when you think about it, is even more boring than hunting. Anyway, one thing led to another, and today, a mere 10,000 years after the first human farmers, you have cell-phones, digital TVs and whatnot. Suspiciously quick, don't you think?

I, as did the early humans, am, too, becoming bored. I'll have to continue this next time.........

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When Night Falls

With the nights becoming longer as the winter solstice nears, I've been thinking of a science fiction novel I read some twenty years ago, “Nightfall”, by Robert Silverberg, who had based it on a short story of the same name by Isaac Asimov.

The story is set on a planet that is bathed always in sunlight because it has two or three (I don't remember how many exactly) suns, positioned in such a way that there's no corner of this planet that's ever dark, despite that it revolves on its axis, like earth.

Therefore the peoples of this planet (the name of which I also don't remember) know not what night is. The very idea of night, with its black sky and twinkling stars, is something this planet's denizens can't even imagine, except the most clever ones, like some of its scientists.

The denizens (except the clever ones, like some of the scientists) are unaware that every few thousand years the positions of the suns become aligned in such a way that half the planet as it revolves becomes dark (Nightfall) for a few hours.

The scientists have calculated that the end of the last several thousand years of uninterrupted sunlight is nigh. Nightfall is suddenly to descend on the planet's peoples. How will they react? A pertinent question, because there are stories, credible stories, that when the previous Nightfall descended those many thousand years ago, the people panicked. They went on a rampage - burning libraries, demolishing buildings, that sort of thing. All the recorded knowledge and structure of their society was destroyed. The civilisation collapsed.

Is this about again to happen? I won't say more, in case you decide to read “Nightfall”.

My summary is no doubt extremely imperfect because, as I said earlier, it's twenty or so years since I read “Nightfall”, and my power of recall isn't what it once upon a time was. However, what I sketched out above will do for what I'll talk of in my next posting.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What Comes Around.......

“A Man of Parts”, David Lodge's novel about the life of HG Wells, that I 've begun reading, begins in 1944, when HG Wells was terminally ill and living alone in wartime London, intrepidly ignoring the bombs and V1 rockets.

He does, though, get visits from the likes of Anthony, his son with Rebecca West, and from Rebecca herself, who, despite her long ago divorce from HG, still loves him in a way. In the extract below, Rebecca is travelling home from visiting HG. Among what they had talked about was Anthony's wish to divorce his wife, Kitty, because he'd met Someone Else who he liked better:
Travelling from Marylebone to High Wycombe in a stuffy first-class railway compartment, in the company of three elderly businessmen with bowler hats, peeping at her from time to time over their evening newspapers, Rebecca is overwhelmed by dread. The sense of a curse working itself out in delinquent fathers over several generations.

Her father had deserted his family when she was eight, going off to South Africa on some vague business venture and disappearing without trace, leaving his wife to bring up Rebecca and her two sisters on barely adequate means. Then she herself had to bring up Anthony on her own – admittedly with more generous financial support from his father, but HG kept his distance and his freedom – and now Anthony is planning to leave Kitty to bring up his children on her own. And what was the reward for the mothers whose lives were pinched and frustrated by the responsibility thrust upon them? They became the object of their children's displaced resentment, that was their reward.

She never gave up hope that her beloved Daddy would somehow return to the family with an honourable explanation for his absence, like the father in The Railway Children (how she had wept over the ending of that book!), until she was thirteen, when they heard that he had died. Later she learned from her mother that he had been an incorrigible philanderer, seducing their own housemaids and resorting to prostitutes.

She recognises in retrospect that she was a difficult disruptive child and adolescent, always quarrelling with her sisters and criticising her mother; Anthony was the same when he was growing up – hero-worshipping his absent father and blaming her for all the miserable experiences of his schooldays. She can so easily imagine little Caroline and Edmund [Anthony's and Kitty's children] in years to come repeating the same mistake, adoring Anthony and inflicting the same undeserved punishment on Kitty, as she struggles to bring them up, run the farm and, if she is lucky, find a little time for her art.

The feminism Rebecca campaigned for all her adult life has liberated women sexually – the bolder spirits among them anyway – but it has not redressed this fundamental imbalance in the relations between men and women: the female instinct to nurture their offspring and the male instinct to spend their seed promiscuously.

HG is simply a more intelligent and more successful version of her father. Even Henry [Rebecca's current husband] has disappointed her in this respect. Unfailingly kind and protective, admiring and supportive of her work (gamely escorting her around Yugoslavia in dirty trains and flea-infested hotels when she was researching Black Lamb and Grey Falcon), possessing impeccable manners, and enough money to allow her to live in some style, he is in every respect the perfect spouse, except that he is prone to infatuations with pretty young women, and he hasn't made love to her since 1937.

Lying beside him in bed one night she cried out in the dark: 'Why don't you make love to me any more?' But he was asleep, or pretended to be, and said nothing. She has had other lovers herself, of course, since then, though none at present. She reflects despondently that her sexual life may have come to an end.
Living as we do in today's enlightened times, we can read Rebecca's musings only in aghast, as we reflect on the fact that the lot of Rebecca was once upon a time the lot of so many other women too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Being Boring

This morning, while continuing to read Ian McEwan's “Sweet Tooth, I came across a passage that......like........spoke to me.

Serena is visiting her mother and father over Christmas, as also is her sister, Lucy, with her (Lucy's) boyfriend, Luke. One evening after supper Serena joins Lucy and Luke for a stroll outside.
.....I wanted to tell Lucy about him [Tom]. I would have loved a sisterly session. We occasionally managed one, but set between us now was Luke's giant form and he was doing that inexcusable thing that men who liked cannabis tended to do, which was to go on about it – some famous stuff from a village in Thailand, the terrifying near-bust one night, the view across a certain holy lake at sunset under the influence, a hilarious misunderstanding in a bus station and other stultifying anecdotes. What was wrong with our generation? Our parents had the war to be boring about. We had this.

After a while we girls fell completely silent while Luke, in elated urgent terms, plunged deeper into the misapprehension that he was interesting, that we were enthralled. And almost immediately I had a contrary insight. I saw it clearly. Of course. Lucy and Luke were waiting for me to leave so they could be alone. That's what I would have wanted, if it had been Tom and me. Luke was deliberately and systematically boring me to drive me away. It was insensitive of me not to have noticed. Poor fellow, he was having to overreach himself and it was not a good performance, hopelessly overdone. No one in real life could be as boring as this. But in his round-about way he was only trying to be kind......
Was, though, Luke being deliberately boring, or was he just naturally boring? I, for what it's worth, have always found the Anecdote, regardless of what it's about, to be stultifyingly boring. And it's almost always a man who is the teller of the Anecdote. Why is this, I always stop to wonder. 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Songs of San Francisco

The other day I received an e-mail from a friend in which was a hyperlink to an on-line video he'd just made about his recent visit to San Francisco. It turned out to be a nice enough video that showed a montage of what one should see when in San Francisco.

The video had as musical background the *immortal 1960's song* about San Francisco by Scott McKenzie. How perfect, I thought. However, the video being more than 12 minutes, and Scott McKenzie's song being only 3 minutes, the song was of necessity repeated four and more times on the video. 

As much as I love this Scott McKenzie song, I found hearing it over and over a little trying at the end. Since there are many other songs about San Francisco, why couldn't my friend have added some of these others to the video. It would have been the better for this.

Hence I e-mailed my friend and suggested the following songs for his consideration should he ever wish to amend his video:

*I Left My Heart in San Francisco* – Tony Bennett

*San Franciscan Nights* – Eric Burdon and the Animals

*Let's Go to San Francisco* - The Flower Pot Men

*Streets of San Francisco* – Sanford Clark

*'Frisco Blues* – John Lee Hooker

*San Francisco* – Jeanette MacDonald

While you listen, do you not feel it would be Heaven not only to visit San Francisco, but to live there too? Hence native San Franciscans might feel they do in fact live in Heaven, and so skip out to work each morning with smiles on their faces and music in their hearts. When next I'm there I'll check this out.

I got an e-mail back from my friend who thanked me for the songs. I sensed, though, that he felt I was casting aspersions on his video, on which he'd obviously spent much time. So, while it doesn't seem likely he'll be heeding my advice any time soon, I do live in hope that someday he will.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Maths or Literature?

I've begun reading Ian McEwan's “Sweet Tooth”. I'm finding it a veritable page-turner, no doubt because the prose is so elegant, and the tone so ironic and witty, reflecting a luminous intelligence that Ian McEwan obviously possesses.

Set in the Britain of circa 1972, “Sweet Tooth” is written from the first-person viewpoint of Serena Frome, a twenty-something woman, who, after graduating from the University with a Maths degree, has joined MI5 as a very junior functionary.

Despite that Serena's degree was in Maths, her big love has always been reading novels, that she gobbles up at a rate of four or five a week. It might be thought, then, that Serena would have studied English literature at the University. However, her Mother had insisted she study Maths because it would be more useful afterwards.

While Serena would have loved to major in English literature, she didn't subsequently regret not doing so because she saw that having to study novels to pass exams might have destroyed her love of literature. For what it's worth, I understand absolutely why she thought this. Novels shouldn't be cerebrally analysed, but savoured and experienced and enjoyed. Well, it's what I think.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Seeds and Hogs and Tractors and Water-Tanks and Chemicals

I finished reading Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres" last night. It had just too much farming in it for my taste. It seemed to go on and on and on and on about farming, so that I eventually found myself wincing each time the words "farm" and "farming" came up.

"A Thousand Acres" does have its juicy bits, though, but they are overshadowed by all the interminable passages about seeds and hogs and tractors and water-tanks and chemicals.

But, while I was reading, I reflected often that we who are city-slickers take so much for granted. Like, the water that gushes out our kitchen and bathroom taps. Where does it really come from? And, where would any of us be without the Farmer?

If, then, you're a Farmer, or a lover of Shakespeare, particularly his "King Lear" (on which this novel is loosely based), you'll likely love "A Thousand Acres". Since I'm neither, I shouldn't be surprised that I found "A Thousand Acres" not quite my cup of tea.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thoughts On "On Chesil Beach"

I recently read Ian McEwan's “On Chesil Beach” and enjoyed it hugely. Since I can't imagine anyone reading it not enjoying it hugely, I do hugely recommend it.

Set in 1962, “On Chesil Beach” tells of two young people, Edward and Florence, on their honeymoon night. If this isn't enough make you rush off to your nearest bookshop to buy it, the following thoughts I penned about it, should:
Although it's 1962, Edward tells Florence she carries on as if it's 1862. The irony is that if Edward and Florence had been born 100 years earlier, and had married in 1862, their marriage would almost certainly have survived.

While Florence, with her visceral abhorrence of sex, would have been considered in 1962 (not to speak of today) to have something wrong with her, she would have been thought normal in 1862. Then, a woman liking sex was thought a strumpet, a nymphomaniac, and worse.

The normal respectable woman of 1862 - inculcated from girlhood with the belief that marriage and everything that went with it was a patriotic duty - heroically lay back, closed her eyes and thought of England in order to make bearable those brief moments during which her husband exercised his conjugal rights.

Despite being repelled by sex, Florence was progressive enough in her views to suggest to Edward that they have an open marriage. Edward, by rejecting this idea out-of-hand, showed how old-fashioned he was.

However, people being what they are, open marriages seldom work. So, Florence's and Edward's marriage was doomed from the start. Better, then, to end it on the wedding night, rather than much later.

What was the genesis of Florence's dread of sex? Was it to do with her father? Think of the out-of-town journeys he used to take her on when she was a child - just the two of them – when they stayed at the grandest hotels.

When Florence, lying on the honeymoon bed, hears the sound of of Edward undressing, she suddenly remembers when she was twelve years old, and lying on a bunk, listening to her father undressing, and trying to blot the image out by closing her eyes and thinking of tunes she liked. Did anything else happen?

For me, the sadness of “On Chesil Beach” is not so much the collapse of the marriage after only a few hours, but that Edward and Florence couldn't have remained dear and lifelong friends. Had they been born twenty or thirty years later, they may have. 1962 was, however, a foreign country; they did things differently there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Would Chekhov Have Said About the Euro

On a blog I often look at, there was recently a discussion among the commenters about Anton Chekhov. *One commenter* wrote: ”......Chekhov said nothing directly about the euro crisis, but here’s what you do: Read Chekhov’s stories, his letters, his plays, and extrapolate from his life how we should handle the euro crisis..... “.

Thinking it might be nice for me to contribute something, I posted the following comment:
While indeed Chekhov said nothing directly about the Euro crisis because, one assumes, he was long dead before the current Euro crisis arose, there can be little doubt that had he lived today, he would have had much to say about this crisis.

Why do I say this? Well, Chekhov attended for a time a school for Greek boys in his native Russia, and he died in Germany. Hence Greece and Germany - the two countries central to the current euro crisis - would have loomed large in Chekhov's mind. He therefore would have been internationalist in his thinking and pan-European in his sensibilities, and so would have wished for a harmonious and integrated Europe whose peoples look upon themselves as Europeans rather than as Germans and Spaniards and whatnot.

Being an omnivorous and eclectic reader, Chekhov would have known that the Euro - being the first ever supra-national currency - was an experiment, and was therefore likely to fail, as most experiments do. So he would have urged that the euro be scrapped, and that the member countries go back to the currencies they had before.

Being extremely intelligent, Chekhov would have been a realist, and would have known that, because of Europe's widely differing languages and cultures and historical animosities, it will be well-nigh impossible for the member states to give up enough of their sovereign powers to form a politically federal Europe – essential for a successful common currency.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Motherhood

I'll start off today by mentioning the coming election in the land of Amerigo, situated in a parallel world called Osianna, that I've often been finding myself in of late. As I've said *previously*, this is an election for president of Amerigo. The two presidential candidates, the incumbent Bernhardt Ohama who wants to be re-elected, and his challenger Vitt Roomey who would like to be elected, are neck and neck in Amerigo's opinion polls.

While Amerigons know Bernhardt Ohama because he's been president for the last few years, they don't know much about Vitt Roomey. While he (Roomey) seems a nice man, Amerigons are seeing  a strangeness about him. He seems robotic, so much so that more and more Amerigons are asking each other: Is Vitt Roomey an actual robot? After calls for Roomey to produce his birth certificate, so to prove he's human (the Amerigon equivalent of human, that is), he did furnish one. However, many Amerigons think this certificate a fake.

Being from our own world, you may find it odd that an important public personage could be thought an actual robot. However, in Amerigo, robot technology is far in advance of ours. There, they have robots so human-like, you can't tell who's a robot and who's a human. The only hint that an apparent human may be a robot, is if the apparent human is extraordinarily handsome if a man (Roomey is extraordinarily handsome, by the way), or extraordinarily beautiful if a woman. Manufacturers who produce human-like robots, see no point in producing ugly ones, for many human Amerigons, instead of having human spouses, have robot spouses.

In Amerigo, the advantages of having a robot spouse are many - among them that you can control a robot in a way you can't control a human, and that it's generally more pleasant to make conjugal love with a handsome or beautiful robot than with a plain or ugly human. While robots can't produce babies, babies in Amerigo can easily be produced in laboratories. Hence, women in Amerigo with robot spouses, and who wish to experience the joy of motherhood, can simply be inseminated with human sperm in a laboratory. Not only that, she can also choose whether her baby will be a boy or girl, for laboratories in Amerigo can separate the X and Y chromosomes in zygotes in sperm before insemination.

The atavistic yearnings of so many Amerigon women to be mothers, whose babies will grow up to be human adults, is the only reason that so many humans still exist in Amerigo. Robot technology has meant that most jobs there can be done more cheaply and more efficiently by robots, whether human-like or non-human-like. Thus steadily growing numbers of Amerigons not only can't find work, but will never find work because robots are far more intelligent and adaptable than humans. And those humans in Amerigo who do find work, are more likely to be women, because most of those jobs in Amerigo that humans still do, are of the sort that women innately do better than men. 

So, human men in Amerigo are becoming more and more superfluous, which is why most women there now choose to have girl babies, not boys.

Could this state of affairs in Amerigo, which may also be the state of affairs in all of Osianna for all I know, be the future of our own world?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Butterfly in a Jungle

I've just returned from another short visit to the *land of Amerigo*, situated in a parallel world called Osianna that I'm inexplicably finding myself often in. I can report that the forthcoming election featuring President Bernhardt Ohama and his challenger, Vitt Roomey, is expected by Amerigons to be extremely close. In Amerigo, experts conduct opinion polls just as we do in our world, and these polls confirm that the election could go either way.

I said in my last posting that each candidate has very different ideas on where he would take Amerigons. These differences reflect an ever deepening split within Amerigon society. Unless addressed soon, the causes of this split may result in the two sides becoming so antagonistic, outright civil war could happen. Since Amerigo is militarily and economically by far the most powerful land in Osianna, a civil war in Amerigo would seriously affect all of Osianna. Hence all Osiannans living outside Amerigo are following this election as closely as are Amerigons.

But, who knows, a civil war in Amerigo, though it would happen in a parallel world, could affect us in our world. Amerigo's armed forces have bombs and related explosives of such frightening destructive power, they could destroy all Osianna, rendering it to smoking ashes, and leaving all its peoples dead.

Is there a point at which momentous events like this in a parallel world like Osianna couldn't help but spill over into our world? Think only that mysterious forces which I have control over, are sending me back and forth between our world and Amerigo. My very presence there, although in fleeting visits, affects any Amerigon I interact with, if only in a miniscule way.

For instance I might say something to an Amerigon, which could give him cause him to think differently. This would affect his subsequent actions, which in turn would affect his surroundings and the people in his life. Think of the analogy of a butterfly lapping its wings in a jungle, that causes a tornado somewhere far away. Know what I'm saying?

Amerigons I speak with wouldn't even suspect I'm from our world because I look just like most of them. When in Amerigo I'm grey-coloured (the colour of the diminishing majority of Amerigons). Otherwise I look the same as I do in our world.

Although the way I talk is a bit different from how Amerigons talk, they would doubtless think I'm merely from somewhere else in Osianna. I don't know this for sure, though, for no Amerigon I've spoken with has inquired where I'm from. This is at first sight odd, but it could just be that Amerigons simply aren't interested in matters outside their own bailiwick.

I do wonder why my skin when I'm in Amerigo is grey, not green. Perhaps I'll one day find out if my visits there continue - something I can't assume, since I've no control over my crossings between here and there.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Amerigo 'Tis Of Thee

Did I say *last time* that the land in the parallel world I'm more and more finding myself in, is called Amerigo? If I didn't, I do apologise, for, yes, it's called Amerigo, as Amerigons (the people of Amerigo) write and say it in Amerigon, the language of Amerigons, a language so like English I can read and understand it.

While I can't yet speak Amerigon, Amerigons can understand the English I speak to them in. Some do remark, though, that I sound sort of funny. But then, Amerigons sound sort of funny to me. And I just know they would sound sort of funny to you too were you to hear them.

Amerigo is a vast land with many hundreds of millions of people. Economically and militarily it is the most powerful land in this entire parallel world, which Amerigons refer to as Osianna.

Despite living in the most powerful and rich land in all of Osianna, Amerigons are today not generally a happy people. A steadily growing number are becoming poor, while those few who are rich are becoming richer still.

It wasn't always like this. A mere three or four decades ago most Amerigons belonged to their middle-class, with all its benefits and comforts. However, some Amerigons (most of them the minority *”Greens”*), were poor, and some (most of them the majority ”Greys”), were rich. However, rich Amerigons then were much less rich compared to middle-class Amerigons and poor Amerigons, than they are today.

The gap between rich and non-rich Amerigons is increasing and shows no signs of abating, which is mostly why non-rich Amerigons are unhappy. The well-paying jobs, that there were so many of in the days when most Amerigons were happy, are fast disappearing, as even are the non-well-paying jobs. Hence if an Amerigon does have a job, it's likely an ill-paying one with longer and longer hours, and a job he can lose anytime.

Something else that's making Amerigons unhappy is that lots of green people who live in other lands throughout Osianna, are coming to Amerigo to live. As bad as things now are in Amerigo, they are much worse in these other lands. So many Greens are now coming to Amerigo, they'll soon outnumber the Greys, who don't like this one bit. They consider, for one thing, that these swarms of Greens are taking away the jobs that Greys want. If only they (the Greens) could be shipped back to where they came from, sigh the Greys, all would be like it once was in Amerigo, when everyone spoke Amerigon, when everyone had a good job, when everyone was happy.

This forms some of the backdrop to an election due to happen soon in Amerigo, when Amerigons will choose their next president. Will they re-choose the current president, Bernhardt Ohama, or will they opt for the challenger, Vitt Roomey? Each has very different ideas on where he would take Amerigons.

Because what happens in Amerigo affects all of Osianna, due to Amerigo's far flung power, all of Osianna's peoples are following the twists and turns of this election campaign, which, in its vituperation and disdain for the truth, resembles election campaigns here in our own world.

So caught up am I in this election campaign, I eagerly await each return to the parallel world of Osianna and the land of Amerigo. Since I've no control on my movements back and forth, I never know if any visit to Osianna will be my last. As of now, I'm going there almost daily and nightly. I can only hope this'll continue......well.......at least until the election.

Whether or not I'm granted another visit, I do have more to add to what I've talked of today. I'll do so in the next posting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Shades of Grey

*Last time*, I spoke of the notion of parallel worlds intersecting with ours. String Theory postulates eleven parallel worlds. Therefore living Beings may live in them. In fact they just could be with you in your sitting room right now, watching you watch your television, or watching you doing whatever else you do in your sitting room.

Maybe, though, they aren't watching you because, despite that they're with you, they are as unable to see you as you are unable to see them. Perhaps when you die you, the real you, will go to one of these parallel worlds where you'll meet your departed Loved Ones who live there now too. Some parallel worlds may be little different to the world you live in. So, when you die you won't notice much difference.

My interest in parallel worlds has been whetted because I have reason to think I'm now regularly going back and forth between our world and another parallel world which is quite like ours. I find myself there usually when I'm asleep in “our” world, but sometimes when I'm not.

In this other world I live in a little house, quite like mine in “our” world. The people there look very human. They walk upright on two legs and wear clothes, and all of that. They speak a language so like English I can easily understand them. The main difference, as far as I can see, between them and “us” is their skin colour. Most are grey - or, rather, most of those in the area my little house is in, are. The others, the minority, are green. But, whatever the colour, the shades range from light to dark.

I, myself, in this other world, am grey, an amorphous grey, neither light nor dark.

The town my little house is in could be a town anywhere in North America. The people there drive cars and go to work everyday, and have televisions and cell phones and all.

Amazingly, whenever I'm there it's like I've always lived there. For instance I have an inherent knowledge of this other world's history and geography and cultures. Either some part of me has actually always lived there, or someone there has programmed into my brain all my inherent knowledge about this other world, so to make me think I've always lived there. However, whenever there, I'm vaguely aware I'm a visitor from “our” world. I'm not, however, bothered by this.

Having read so far, you may be thinking this other world is merely the product of a dream or hallucination, or, more charitably, is an adumbration of incurable madness. Whatever the truth, this other world is as real to me as is “our” world - the world in which I'm writing this.

I'll speak more in a future posting............

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Saw A Face

In my previous posting (August 11, 2012) I'd said I'd never experienced a higher state of awareness. I should have said I'd never experienced an unaided higher state of awareness, for I did once swallow a little something that made me very aware that things aren't how they appear.

Sitting on my couch, I observed the solid mass of my coffee table, but when I looked closely at the grains in its wood I saw they were wriggling like snakes. I went into the bathroom and looked at my face in the mirror. I saw a face that kept changing and changing into different faces......

I felt this confirmed what scientists assert, that everything is just vibrating energy, that “matter” is merely an illusion. I had often thought about the fact that dogs can hear noises that humans can't, because the noises that humans can't hear are at vibrational frequencies outside the capacity of the human ear to hear, but are within the capacity of the doggie ear to hear. So, just because you can't hear certain sounds, doesn't mean they aren't happening.

Think of the pictures you see on your television. They are the result of electrical waves coming from thousands of miles away. However, you can't see these electrical waves until they manifest as the pictures on your television. Turn your television off, and you can no longer see the pictures.

Did the electrical waves just go away? I think not. They are still flitting around in your sitting-room where your television is, only you are now as unaware of them as the sounds your doggie can hear but you can't.

Although “matter” is merely an illusion, it doesn't feel this way if you're standing on a ladder while painting your house, and you fall and hit the ground and break your arm. It broke because the atoms of your body vibrate at the same frequency as the atoms of the ground that your body fell upon.

If the atoms your body is made of, vibrate at a frequency different from the atoms the ground is made of, your body would fall through the ground instead of hitting it. Your arm would consequently not have broken.

***

Having figured all this out a long time ago, I was gratified recently to learn of “String Theory” - written about by a Dr Brian Greene in a book called “The Elegant Universe”. String Theory postulates, among other things, that there are eleven parallel universes. So, you may live, not in a universe, but in a multiverse.

String Theory is too complex for an untutored, two-fisted, hard-drinking fellow like me, to understand fully. However, as far as I can make out, it says the basic essence of everything is strings that vibrate. Strings vibrating at a certain frequency will manifest as sentient beings (like you) and Matter (like a table).

If you were able to change the vibrational frequency of your strings, you would simply vanish from sight of the people you're with. All that would remain to remind the people you're with that they weren't hallucinating would be the clothes you had on. These would fall in a heap on the floor because the strings they're made of wouldn't have changed their vibrational frequency.

You, yourself, would now suddenly appear in a parallel universe comprising sentient beings and Matter whose strings vibrate at the frequency your own strings now vibrate at. However, you would be naked, and women in this parallel world who see you would scream in fright. So you would quickly have to get new clothes.

I hope you now readily see that String Theory and the multiverse hypothesis it suggests, easily explain paranormal phenomena like ghosts and extra-terrestrial aliens and UFOs that so many people have experienced. Paranormal phenomena, normally existing in a parallel universe, have somehow managed to alter the vibrational frequencies of their strings to what they are in our universe. When these frequencies change back to what they normally are, the ghosts, Aliens, UFOs and what have you, simply vanish from your sight.

Here's something else for you to think about. Some part of you (your soul perhaps?) when you die may continue to live in one of these parallel universes. Isn't that exciting?

Many men of science of the more enlightened kind (who therefore wouldn't include Richard Dawkins) take String Theory seriously, and believe it will one day be proved mathematically.

On that happy day, you will regard the “paranormal” as merely the “normal”.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Flying Through The Heavens

A blog I sometimes visit had an entry about expanding states of awareness. The expanded states of awareness (consciousness), including out-of-body experiences, that so many people have had, and the paranormal phenomena of ghosts and UFOs and Alien abductions, do no less than make one wonder how exactly things work in the quotidian world one takes for granted.

I would so like to have had at least one experience of an expanded state of awareness, or have had at least one sighting of a ghost or UFO, or at least once have been abducted by Extra-Terrestrial Aliens. Unfortunately, I was born with the most prosaic mind and sensibilities. Hence the exciting experiences and states of awareness I've just spoken of, are what I've only read about, or have only heard talked of.

I have, though, had experiences where I seemed to be outside myself and observing myself. But these were in unpleasant or tense situations. It was as if I could only get through them by taking a little trip outside my body, making it only my body that had to suffer the unpleasant or tense situation. The real “I”, hovering just outside, was merely a looker-on.

No doubt I had merely imagined myself outside my body. It's what anyone can do, and I recommend you do this when next you're in a bad situation. Your imagination can make you temporarily free.

Although wedded to the quotidian world without being able to find temporary relief from it through paranormal experiences, I do sometimes have vivid dreams at night, that stay with me a long, long time after.

One such vivid dream I had.......I dunno......about fifteen years ago or so. I was in a huge spaceship, an Alien spaceship, that had just taken off. I looked down on earth through a large window and saw it getting smaller and smaller. I knew I would never return. I would spend the rest of my life in air-conditioned comfort, flying through the heavens, gazing out at the starry immensity for evermore. I was very happy about this for I could now just let go and not worry about anything ever again.

Then I woke up. When I realised it was only a dream I was most disappointed.

In the years since, I've thought often of this dream. What did it mean? Maybe this is how it'll be when I breathe my last. My soul, the real "I", will break free of the body in which it has been a prisoner for many decades. I'll fly off into the heavens as did the spaceship in my dream. I'll just let go, and will feel a wonderful relief that I need not worry about anything ever again. I'll be totally free.

Perhaps, then, imprisonment is what earthly life is all about. Life means being in jail, the jail of the body. You wish not to leave this jail, however unpleasant it is, for fear of what lies outside it. Better the jail you know than the freedom outside you don't know.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Genius and Love

The last time I wrote about Theodore Dreiser's “The Genius” (July 4th), Eugene Witla was romantically involved with two young women, Angela Blue and Ruby Kenny, at the same time. Because, unlike with Ruby, Angela didn't yield herself to Eugene, he found this particularly titillating. As a result, Angela slowly gained the ascendancy over Ruby for Eugene's affections.

Angela was hoping Eugene would offer her his hand in marriage, for her situation was getting to be desperate. She was five years older than Eugene, nearing thirty – the age when she would be in danger of becoming forever an Old Maid.

While Eugene liked romance, he wasn't big on marriage. Angela, realising that if she was to hold on to Eugene she would have to yield herself to him, accordingly did. Then she said to him in so many words that if she couldn't be married, so to be left on the shelf as an Old Maid, she would drown herself in a lake.

Being not totally devoid of conscience, Eugene promised to marry Angela. First, though, he planned to move to New York City where there were more opportunities for him as an artist. Once established there, he would send for Angela and they would marry.

However, in New York City, Eugene met young women, like Miriam Finch and Christine Channing, who, through their sophistication and erudition, made Angela seem to him a country bumpkin.

Nonetheless, and with a heavy heart, Eugene eventually did send for Angela, and they were married. Then they moved to Paris for a short while.

Angela was the very model of a selfless wife. She took care of all the household duties, thereby freeing Eugene to devote all his time to his painting.
.....Only at night when there were no alien sights and sounds to engage his attention, when not even his art could come between them, and she could draw him into her arms and submerge his restless spirit in the tides of her love did she feel his equal – really worthy of him.

These transports which came with the darkness or with the mellow light of the little oil lamp that hung in chains from the ceiling near their wide bed, or in the faint freshness of dawn with the birds cheeping from the one tree of the little garden below – were to her at once utterly generous and profoundly selfish. She had eagerly absorbed Eugene's philosophy of self-indulgent joy where it concerned themselves – all the more readily as it coincided with her own vague ideas and her own hot impulses.

Angela had come to marriage through years of self-denial, years of bitter longing for the marriage that perhaps would never be, and out of these years she had come to the marriage bed with a cumulative and intense passion.

Without any knowledge either of the ethics or physiology of sex, except as pertained to her state as a virgin, she was vastly ignorant of marriage itself; the hearsay of girls, the unequivocal confessions of newly-married women, and the advice of her elder sister had left her almost as ignorant as before, and now she explored its mysteries with abandon, convinced that the unrestrained gratification of passion was normal and excellent........

Beginning with their life in the studio in Washington Square, and continuing with even greater fervour now in Paris, there was what might be described as a prolonged riot of indulgence between them, bearing no relation to any necessity in their natures, and certainly none to the demands which Eugene's intellectual and artistic tasks laid upon him. She was to Eugene astonishing and delightful; and yet perhaps not so much delightful as astonishing.......”

Could “Fifty Shades of Grey” do better?

Can we even wonder why “The Genius”, shortly after being published, was Banned, and could only be re-published several years afterwards?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ten Favourite Songs

The writer of a blog I sometimes visit had read a book by a psychologist that said the stuff you have in your house, and the stuff you have in your garbage bin, and the clothes you wear, and the songs you like, say everything about you.

So she (the blogger) made a list of the ten songs she likes best, and invited her readers to list their ten best songs in the “comments” section. I accordingly did this.

While I found it extremely difficult to decide on the ten songs I like best, I decided to list the ten songs that are among my favourites: Here they are, and in no particular order:

- *Windmills of Your Mind* – Dusty Springfield

- *It Was A Very Good Year* – Frank Sinatra

- *Morning Has Broken* – Cat Stevens

- *Solitaire* – Neil Sedaka

- *Long, Long Time* – Linda Ronstadt

- *Cat's In The Cradle* – Harry Chapin

- *Scarboro Fair* – Simon and Garfunkel

- *Old Man* – Neil Young

- *Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues* – Danny O'Keefe

- *Night Fever* – Bee Gees

Since, according the psychologist, the songs we like say a lot about us, what does my liking these songs say about me? I don't know. Or maybe I do, but would rather not talk about it. But I notice that most came out in the 1970s, which is odd, since I'm of the generation that thought the songs of the 1960s were the be all and end all of all that was good in popular music.

While three songs in my list (It Was a Very Good Year, Windmills of Your Mind, and Scarboro Fair) did come out in the 'sixties, only one (Scarboro Fair) was a stereotypical 'sixties song.

Because I consider that the songs of the 'seventies were better than those of the 'sixties, this is no doubt why no Beatles songs made it into my list. Not that the Beatles didn't come out with good songs and deep songs, for they did come out with many. Somehow, though, none of the Beatles' songs spoke to me as did the songs in my list, which speak to me now as much as they did then, those forty-or-so years ago.

Were I to make another list of ten other songs I like, I might well put some Beatles' songs in there, as well as some Kinks songs, and maybe some Elvis songs too.

In my list, one song (Night Fever) seems not quite to fit, for it is of the disco genre, and therefore frivolous compared to the others. But I had a weakness for the disco songs. They were a welcome break from the heaviness of the 'sixties and early 'seventies. Besides, I always particularly liked the Bee Gees.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

More on Education

Here's another comment I left on the blog posting on a blog I read often, that I wrote of last time (July 11, 2012):
Based on the comments so far, the quality of taxpayer-funded education, once excellent, would seem to have gone downhill, continues to go downhill, and will go yet further in this unhappy direction unless Something Is Done.

While it might be nice to have taxpayer-funded education that’s once again excellent, the question I ask is: excellent for what?

I suggest (and most humbly so) that there’s no longer a need for excellent taxpayer-funded education because there are no longer the jobs for excellently-educated young people to go to. Consider how it was in the 1950s and 1960s in America. There were jobs galore then, that needed educated brains, most of which had to be American-educated.

Today, on the other hand, most jobs needing educated brains have been moved overseas. Those still remaining in America can be done by brains imported already-educated.

This state of affairs isn’t because those who run corporate America - the ones who have moved these jobs overseas - are any more wicked now than they were in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s just that the technology has changed. While the American-educated brain was once the best means for corporate America’s profits, the foreign-educated brain is now the best means.

As for corporate America, the point has been made by certain knowledgeable people, that most of the big corporations are no longer really “American”. Rather, they’re global networks that design, make, buy, and sell things in wherever in the world it’s most profitable.

Hence corporate America no longer has any loyalty to America. It just needs lower taxes, fewer regulations, and less public spending, which would include less spending on education.

Since what corporate America (or corporate anywhere, for that matter) wants, it usually gets, taxpayer-funded education will likely continue in its present unhappy direction.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On Education

The writer of a blog I visit often, was bemoaning in a posting the state of public education in the State of California, where she used to teach.

She asked despairingly, “What's wrong with California Public Education?”

In a comment to the posting, I said:
Better to ask, what’s wrong with public education everywhere?

A problem is that public education hasn’t responded adequately to the huge changes in society, particularly the huge changes in the way people now earn a living.
The compulsory education of children should be only to the point where they can handle a job at the likes of a McDonald’s. So they should be able to add and subtract in order to give out the correct change, and be able to operate a cash machine or even a personal computer, and to write English well enough to compose a letter accompanying a job application.

This is because most jobs in the New Global Economy require skills no more complicated than needed to work at a McDonald’s. Consider the shop-assistants, waiters, salesmen and assorted hucksters, truck-drivers, window-washers, clerks, janitors, hot-dog stand operators etc. You don’t need rocket science to do what they do. You just need a grade 8 education or less. These jobs comprise 80% of all jobs in the New Global Economy.

So then, what about the other 20% of jobs? What about the engineers, doctors, nurses, mathematicians, computer-programmers, economists and scientists? Where will they come from?

From outside America, that's where.

Why should the American taxpayer have to pay to produce scientists, doctors, engineers and their like, when they can be imported ready-made from beyond America's shores?

Consider the current practice of America's corporations in re-locating their manufacturing plants and service operations to third-world countries whose costs of labour are minuscule compared to those at home.

The captains of industry have learned that it’s cheaper, and therefore more efficient, to import goods than produce them at home. It follows that it's cheaper and therefore more efficient, to import highly trained and educated workers than to produce them in America.

Subjects like history, political science, geography, social studies, literature, foreign languages, music, painting, and other touchy-feely non-manly subjects, need no longer be taught in America's schools. You don’t, for instance, need to know where Malawi is, or who Abraham Lincoln was, to work at McDonald’s. You just need some arithmetic, a knowledge of basic sentence construction, elementary computer skills, and some psychology – the better to use in persuading customers into consuming what is unhealthy for them, or otherwise don’t need. For class reading, students need read no more than the works of Donald Trump or Lee Iaccoca.

The result would be more efficient use of schools, since they would no longer waste time and money teaching Arts and Humanities, an immersion in which also makes young people uppity. It isn't a coincidence that a high percentage of militant union leaders and political agitators have been schooled in the Arts, History, or Political Science.

Education budgets under this plan, would be a quarter of what they are now. Americans would thus pay less in taxes, and so would keep more of their hard earned money to do with as they please.

Nothing would stop any American learning the higher skills or becoming educated in the Arts and Humanities. He would simply pay for it from his own pocket. No longer would his children be forced to learn all that Shakespeare, or all that Moliere, if he doesn't want them to. If he wants them to, he himself would pay for it, not the hard-working taxpayers.

This wouldn’t mean the end of Harvard, Yale, UCLA, and the other hallowed institutions of higher learning. They would continue, but all their fees and revenues would come from the pockets of their students, or, more likely, the pockets of their parents.

Most of their students would likely be from outside America. But the entire costs of studying at an American university, regardless of nationality of the student, wouldn’t cost the hard-working American taxpayer a nickel.

Implement this education plan, and American education, and not to say the Californian, would once again be the envy of the world.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Genius

Theodore Dreiser's novel, "The Genius", first came out in 1915 or thereabouts. Its central character, Eugene Witla, when growing up, felt himself a fish out water, for his father was manufacturer of sewing machines in Alexandria, a town in Illinois. Eugene couldn't think of anything worse than being a manufacturer of sewing machines, for he had the soul of an artist.

As soon as Eugene had accumulated enough money after leaving high-school, he headed for Chicago, where he hoped to be rid of the sewing machine ambiance for ever. In Chicago he is employed in menial jobs, but at night takes art courses, where he meets the sort of people, artistic free spirits, who he feels more at home with than with the people he meets when doing menial jobs.

Eventually Eugene lands a job as an illustrator at a big Chicago newspaper. It being the late 19th century, photography was still primitive, so people still drew pictures when today they would take photos. Therefore if you could draw, there were more jobs, like in newspapers and magazines, waiting for you than today.

Eugene, in addition to liking doing drawing, also likes young women. When in Chicago he got involved with two of them - Ruby Kenny and Angela Blue. They were opposites, for Ruby, who was an artist model among other things, was a young woman of relatively easy virtue. Angela, a schoolteacher, was rather prim and proper, and so wasn't of easy virtue.

Eugene considered Ruby good to have fun with, rather than to take seriously. Angela, on the other hand, Eugene did take seriously. Angela's primness and properness inflamed Eugene's passion for her.

***

If normal, you'll probably condemn Eugene for having affairs with two women at the same time, and that he kept each of them ignorant of the other. You will call him a two-timer, a bounder, a cad, or something similar.

But, didn't Eugene's two simultaneous affairs draw attention to the fact that no one woman can supply all a man's wants? So he must go to another woman for meeting the unmet wants that the other woman can't supply? If more married men today did as Eugene did then, there'd be a lot less divorces.

***

Why did Dreiser call the central character "Eugene", rather than William, Robert, or Edward? Is it because the novel is called, "The Genius"? You will surely see that "Genius" is quite like "Eugene". I haven't noticed any literary critics talking about this.

***

I'm only a seventh of the way through "The Genius". I may write of it again another time.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Foreign Country

I today posted this comment on a blog I read often:
Having thrown out my TV long ago because the bill of fare it offered was so brain-deadening, I read with interest the *Village Voice piece* about why its the writer can’t watch TV any more.
While I largely agree with his sentiments, there is the paradox that the likes of HBO have recently produced TV dramas that are thought by those who think, to be about the best TV dramas ever.

I never watched “The Sopranos” (too violent for me), but I did watch all of “Six Feet Under” (on DVD), that I thought superb.

Having worked in corporate environments beginning in the mid 1960′s, I’m curious about “Mad Men”. From what I’ve heard of it, I think I’d find it authentic were I to watch it.

So I noted the following in the Village Voice piece: “……..Mad Men’s droll censure of that era’s sexism somehow led network execs to think it was time to bring the sexism back……”

Well, I’ll have the writer know that corporate life in the 1960′s was nothing but sexism as we define it today. Men did all the jobs that were considered to matter. Women were confined to the typing pool, and were flirted with outrageously by the men, who routinely said things to them that today would cause them (the men) to be the subjects of harassment complaints, or simply be fired.

I also remember the ubiquitous ashtrays on desks, and the pleasant reek of cigarette smoke as it curled through offices and down hallways.

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit Revisited

I'm calling today's entry "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit Revisited" rather than "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit", since I *wrote briefly* about this film six years ago and had titled the entry "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit".

I could have titled today's entry "The Man in The Gray Flannel Suit" too. Who's to stop me? It might have been cool to title it the same, but I'm just not cool. I'm a meat-and-potatoes kind of fellow, and so the opposite of cool. As a meat-and-potatoes kind of fellow, what else could I have called today's entry, but "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit Revisited".

Anyway, I watched "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit" again, last night on YouTube, and enjoyed it as I had those six years ago. I'm drawn to it because I still clearly remember the times when the film was made, and which it reflects. Those times are seeming to me more and more quaint as the years pass, for I feel more and more lost amid today's kaleidoscopic technological and cultural changes. I'm an old man who more and more finds comfort in *living in the past*.

In the times of "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit" anyone, for all intents and purposes, could get a full-time job. An average man like Tom Rath (Gregory Peck) could just be a nine-to-five man and still earn enough to own a nice house in the suburbs and support a wife and three children, who he had lots of time to dote on because, well, he only worked nine-to-five. Of course if he wanted to make it into the Big Time and become a millionaire, he would have to eat and sleep his job twenty-four hours a day, like his Big Boss, Ralph Hopkins (Frederic March).

Ralph Hopkins was a millionaire because he had chosen not to be a nine-to-five man, but a twenty-four-hour a day man. This, however, had come at a cost of the loss of love from his wife and daughter, both of whom couldn't stand him and moved out, leaving Ralph to enjoy his millions in splendid loneliness.

Being just a nine-to-five man with a safe but unexciting job, had its cost for Tom Rath too, for his wife, Betsy (Jennifer Jones) was finding him boring. What, she whined, had happened to the Tom she had first met, who had been exciting and a risk-taker, and not the cautious nine-to-five man he had since become?

It had to do with the War. Tom had been a Captain, and had killed seventeen of the Enemy bare-handed. The brutality of his experiences had done something to his risk-taking spirit after he came home. He turned into a cautious and safe and uxorious, but no longer exciting, nine-to-five-man.

A thing about the times of "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit", is that all the men of Tom's generation had fought in the War - an experience that bound them together. It was, for instance, what bound together the former officer, Tom, and his former sergeant, Caesar Gardella (Keenan Wynn), who was a humble elevator operator in the skyscraper where Tom worked at his well-paid nine-to-five white-collar job.

***

For what it's worth, my own father and uncles were of Tom Rath's generation. They, too, had been in the War - in their case in North Africa where, in the 8th Army under Monty, and enveloped in howling opaque sandstorms, driven mad by phalanxes of buzzing flies, and fried by the laser-like desert sun, they helped "....hit Rommel for six out of Africa....", then were shipped to Italy.

Hearing them talk of all this is part of my childhood memories. Even as very old men they would still talk of their experiences in the War as young men as if it were yesterday. I watched their old eyes light up as they talked.

***

In the 1950's - the time of "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit" - a man could be just a nine-to-five man and live a materially comfortable life with secure life-long employment. Today, however, you have to be an eight-to-six man, or a seven-to-six man, or perhaps a twenty-four-hour a day man, to be materially comfortable. But, you are more likely to have no job at all, or have only a ten-to-two part-time job, for there is no longer full employment.

After inflation, the per-capita wealth of the society of Tom Rath's time, was less than half what it is today. The gap between rich and poor then, wasn't nearly what it is today, so that the average man then, lived materially relatively better than today, despite that the total wealth today is more than twice what it was then.

You might do worse than think of all this of as you vicariously enter the 1950's while watching "The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit" - a film I highly recommend.

To watch it, *click here.*

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shakespeare, Shakespeare, rien que Shakespeare

Je visitais hier la librairie locale qui fait partie d'une chaîne de librairies nationale. Bien que c'est officiellement une librairie, une boutique de cadeaux est une meilleure description parce que la moitié du magasin est aujourd'hui rempli de cadeaux non-livres.

C'est sans doute la tendance dans toutes les librairies aujourd'hui, donc je ne devrais pas me plaindre. Des librairies sont essayer de survivre à cause de Amazon. Je comprends ça.

Aujourd'hui quand je feuillette des livres dans une librairie, un assistant vient généralement vers moi et demande: "Pouvez-vous trouver ce que vous cherchez?" Je ça n'aime pas du tout parce que j'aime à feuilleter tranquillement. Mais, ce que peux-je faire? Les temps ont changé. C'est tous.

Quoi qu'il en soit, hier quand j'étais dans la librairie locale, je allais à la section drame pour de voir si elle avait seulement Shakespeare. Eh bien, elle n'avait pas seulement Shakespeare, mais presque seulement Shakespeare - à environ 99% Shakespeare. Je n'étais pas vraiment étonné, parce que il etait toujours comme ça dans des librairies que j'ai visité.

Quelle est la raison pour cette situation étrange? L'impérialisme culturel, évidemment.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Impérialisme Culturel?

Today's posting continues where yesterday's left off. I had said, among other things, that baseball (which the other blogger called "the national pastime") had been exported successfully to other lands. I followed this up by saying in another comment:
Although le base-ball (le passe-temps national américain) has successfully been exported to other lands - Japan, Cuba, Dominican Republic - they aren't nearly as many as the lands that le cricket (le passe-temps national anglais) has been successfully exported to - India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand, and pretty much all the other countries of the old Empire, on which the sun used never to set.

Il n'est pas surprenant que, after "futbol", le cricket is the most-followed game in the world.

Since the lands that le base-ball and le cricket were successfully exported to, are lands once occupied and ruled by the lands where le base-ball and le cricket first came from, can one conclude that le base-ball and le cricket are expressions of l'impérialisme culturel?
Au sujet de l'impérialisme culturel, did you know that Shakespeare's plays may be yet *another form of it?*

Friday, May 25, 2012

Le Football Américain

A blog I often read had a recent posting on the topic of *this short video* by John Cleese about football (American), in which he said, among other things, that it was particularly ideal for the sponsors of television commercials.

I left a comment to this posting, that said:
Cleese's is a trenchant and witty take on le football américain, to be sure.

Le football américain's suitability for advertising beer and cigarettes and Humvees on prime time television is no doubt a big factor in its popularity. But a bigger reason is that le football américain is simply an integral part of la vie américaine, as much as mother, home and apple pie.

The Battle of Guadalcanal was won on the football fields of Princeton, you might say.

Why has le football américain not been exported successfully to other lands, as has le base-ball? Perhaps, due to all that expensive padding and equipment, you have to be a man of means, or have a mother and father of means, to play it?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Rage To Live

I have this weakness for John O'Hara. It's not a weakness, though, that I admit to when with others, because his novels are maximalist and pull you slowly into their time and place, and so are not novels that you - if you're of the sort that likes to have regular colonic irrigations, and lunch regularly on pasta salad and white wine, and listen to Vivaldi - would enjoy, ie novels that have nothing unnecessary in them, that are cerebral, and cause you to think how clever the author is.

One of the main characters in "A Rage To Live" - the John O'Hara novel I'm in the middle of - is Grace Caldwell-Tate, a Pennsylvania society matron from Old Money, who is married to Sidney Tate (also from Old Money) with whom she has three children.

Despite being contentedly married, Grace, who is thirtyish and a good-looker, has a passionate affair with Roger Bannon, a rough and roguish building contractor who, before the affair began, she knew had recently beaten up a prostitute. Also, Grace, when Roger had begun showing an interest in her, told him he was the sort of man she hated and despised.

Nonetheless there was an occasion when she agreed to give him a lift in her motor car to somewhere-or-other in the vicinity because he had no other means of getting there. During the ride Roger told Grace how much he was crazy about her. Whereupon she drove the motor car to somewhere secluded, invited Roger into her arms, and before long they were Going At It in the back seat.

Not particularly outlandish for a married woman to do today, you'll be thinking. However, this was in 1917, which means that Grace and Roger were of the Victorian (or, if you insist, the Clevelandian or Harrisonian) generation, who were noted for being extremely prim and proper. Grace risked social and financial ruin should she be caught with Roger. Nonetheless she wanted to see him again after she and he had emerged from the back seat of her motor car.

So, Grace and Roger contrived to meet whenever and wherever they could, and to Go At It. They weren't caught overtly, but tongues began wagging. Roger, realising that the affair wouldn't last long, signed up to go off to war (this was the time of World War One), and the affair ended.

When Sidney Tate, Grace's husband, heard the rumours about her and Roger, he was none too pleased. So none too pleased was he that, as had Roger, he signed up to go off to war, and told Grace that after he came back, it wouldn't be to her. 

Grace told Sidney he was being silly because her thing with Roger had been purely physical, and that she and Roger would never Go At It again. It was over, finished. She loved Sidney, and only Sidney, and would always, she said. Why should he lose his home, and his children and all he held dear just on account of his hurt pride?

Sidney wasn't persuaded by Grace's entreaties, and the marriage effectively ended.

***

Had Sidney been a man of today instead of one of 1917, he likely would have stayed with Grace. However, in 1917 married men just weren't as forgiving of their wives Going At It with other men as they are today. No doubt this was because almost no married women of that time Went At It with other men. Maybe point zero zero zero of one percent did - next to nothing. So, Grace's Going At It  with Roger was an anomaly.

Even today, only fifteen percent of married women Go At It with other men while still married. So that eighty five percent Go At It only with the men they had solemnly vowed to Love, Honour and Obey.

***

As I said earlier, I'm only in the middle of "A Rage To Live", and so have much reading still to do, for it's a big novel. I'm enjoying it so much that I'm not looking forward to when I finish it.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

An e-Mail


Someone sent me today an e-mail with a link to *this article* about how robots are making human workers more and more unneeded.

My e-mail in reply said:
I don't see the exponentially increasing computerisation of our society as a negative, but as a positive. It will free people from boring and meaningless work.

There will be more need for people who can design and fix computers. Computers will also create a need for human workers in areas that haven't even been thought of.

Even so, less human workers will be needed overall in the private sector as time goes on. This can be seen already in America, for example, where the number of people working is the same today as it was in 2007.

There are no longer full-employment economies. If you take the percentage of the fully unemployed and add the partially unemployed (those who have only a part-time job) the effective rate of unemployment in most of the developed world is anything between 15% and 20% - which was the unemployment rate during the Great Depression.

You can see the effect of computer-generated automation in the stock market rise, which has comes out of companies having profit margins larger than ever because they can now do more with less (ie cut costs) thanks to computer-caused automation.

The stock market has also risen because the rich, who are the main players in the stock market, have more money to buy stocks because their tax rates are now less than they were fifty years ago.

In America, for instance, the top marginal tax rate in the 1950's was 91%. In the 1970's it was 70%. Today it's 35%. You'll see this trend in all of the other economies in the developed world.

What has all this to do with computer-caused unemployment?

Well, if the rich were taxed as they were taxed fifty years ago, or even thirty years ago, there would be lots of money to put the unemployed to work in the public sector, doing the sorts of meaningful jobs that would improve the quality of life.

There is absolutely no reason why everyone shouldn't have a full-time job if they want one.

It just needs a radical change in thinking.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nosferatu - Eine Symphonie des Grauens


I had always meant to watch "Nosferatu - Eine Symphonie des Grauens" (a symphony of horror), but somehow never did, until last night - on YouTube. I'm glad I waited this long because had I not, I wouldn't have thought to seek out the beautifully restored version of it that I watched. I can now understand why, in 1922 -  *ninety years* ago -  the "Schweizer Illustrierte Kino Woche" wrote that "Nosferatu"'s beguiling power caused those who watched it in theatres to forget they were there until the lights came on.

The premiere of "Nosferatu" was at a time when the horrors of the First World War still lived in the minds of all Germans. Millions of their soldiers had fallen, either killed or wounded. On every street corner, pedestrians were accosted by crippled former soldiers begging for alms. It was also the time when millions were dying from the Spanish Flu that was raging through Europe.

The producer of "Nosferatu", Albin Grau, said that the figure of Nosferatu helped him understand the horror story that was the First World War. In the way it sucked in and destroyed all who got near it, it was like a cosmic vampire.

The story of Nosferatu was based on Bram Stoker's "Dracula", a novel that had fascinated Albin Grau. However he hadn't found it particularly strange, for, when serving in the war, he had met a Serbian farmer who told him about his father. The father had died and been buried with no churchly sacraments. Thereafter he was seen by many, an undead being who seemed to be seeking a true and final resting place.

As a result of these sightings, the body was exhumed some months later. It was still in the coffin, but looked like it had only just died. Two preternaturally long and sharp teeth protruded from its mouth. It was decided it would be best to hammer a wooden stake into its chest, so it would pierce the heart. This was done. The undead being was seen no more.

After reading "Dracula" and hearing about the Serbian farmer's father, Albin Grau wasted no time in forming a company, Prana-Film, for the sole purpose of producing "Nosferatu". To be the film's director he chose the then up-and-coming Wilhelm Murnau, whose work on "Nosferatu" is still looked upon today as trail-blazing.

Despite most films then (in 1922) being filmed entirely on a studio set, "Nosferatu" was shot "on location" - the locations being the Carpathian mountains, and the medieval town of Arwaburg, and an old church in Wismar, and the salt silos of Lübeck.

The better to create a truly eerie atmosphere, the director and cameramen experimented with light and shadow - particularly light and shadow on the faces of the actors, so that the malevolent eyes of the Nosferatu could seem the deeper in his massive skull.

There is the now-renowned scene where the Nosferatu in the wee hours has infiltrated the Hutter's home. You can see only his shadow as he creeps up the stairs and into the bedroom where the defenceless Ellen Hutter lies in her bed. You see only the huge shadow of his unnaturally long fingers with their unnaturally long nails as they reach for Ellen's neck.

One of the odder things about "Nosferatu" was the name of the lead actor, Max Schreck, for the German word "Schreck" means "terror" or "fright". Was it only a stage-name? It turned out it wasn't, and that Schreck was his real name. This, plus how convincingly Max Schreck played the vampire, caused some serious film critics to ask whether Schreck wasn't, himself, an actual vampire.

So enthusiastic was Albin Grau to make "Nosferatu" that he went ahead despite not getting the film-rights to the story. Because the plot of "Nosferatu" was so like that of "Dracula", Bram Stoker's widow successfully got a court-order that all film-copies of "Nosferatu" be destroyed. And they were, but only in Germany, for the reach of German justice didn't extend beyond Germany's borders.

There was already a film-copy of "Nosferatu" in France and one in America, which is the only reason you can still enjoy "Nosferatu", and see it for one of the masterworks of German Expressionism which it is.

***

If there aren't vampires really, what about that there are other-worldly beings that, like vampires, come out in the dead of night and disappear when dawn comes?

Think about the Nightmare, which you only get in the dead of night. However, when dawn begins to break, you need no longer  worry about the Nightmare......well......at least not for another twenty-four hours.

How about that the atmosphere in the dead of night has properties that lower your psychic defenses, making it easier for malevolent beings from a parallel world or another dimension, to invade your mind when you are asleep? But, when dawn comes, these atmospheric properties change, and these other-worldly beings have to go back from whence they came? Isn't this as plausible a cause of the Nightmare, as what the men of science tell you? 

***

If you are at least half interested in the history of cinema, you owe it to yourself to watch "Nosferatu" if you haven't yet, and particularly the wonderfully restored and re-mastered version that I last night watched, and which you can too if you *click here*.

As you watch, and you forget where you are as much as did those watchers whom the "Schweizer Illustrierte Kino Woche" wrote of those ninety years ago, ask yourself whether a silent film with its intertitles and atmospheric music, isn't superior in conveying a good story on film, to your normal sound film.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It was ninety four years ago today..........


.........that The Red Baron, le Baron rouge, left this earth for ever, after being shot down from below out of the sky like a partridge.

He was only twenty-five, but has left his footprints forever in the sands of time. He was destined for only a short life, for he courted death willingly. Less than a year before he left forever, he was seriously wounded in the head while in the sky.

Completely disoriented and having lost a good part of his vision, he managed to land his machine. He had to undergo several operations to get fragments of bone out of his head. Six weeks later, despite warnings from his doctors, he was again in the sky. However, throughout the remaining months of his stay here on earth, he suffered headaches and nausea. And, in character, he was not the same again. 

His fame lies in his shooting down of eighty enemy planes, though more likely eighty-one, since one of his kills came down on the French side, and so couldn't be confirmed by his own side, the Germans. In any case, he shot down more planes than anyone else in the Great War, la Grande Guerre.

It might be thought that because he was so adept at shooting down enemy planes, he was an aerial acrobat. Far from it. He simply had an eye for the weakest pilot in any enemy flotilla his squadron came across in the sky. Like an eagle over the savanna he swooped down on the prey he'd picked out, and that was that.

Even so, he ensured his success by ordering his colleagues to cover his sides and rear as he swooped down.

Something else about him. He didn't like war as such. He simply liked it for the sport it offered. For each plane he shot down he bought a silver cup and engraved on it the date of the victory and the type of plane. However, after his sixtieth victory he could add to his collection of cups no more because, just as Germany was running out of money, he was running out of money too.

Who was it who shot him out of the sky like a partridge? No-one knows for sure, although names were circulated about. This, though, is not what is important. What is important is the respect he had in the eyes of his opponents.

They organised a military funeral for him. Six allied officers carried his coffin. A guard of honour fired salvos as the coffin was lowered into the ground. On his gravestone, someone anonymously wrote: À notre ennemi vaillant et digne.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sleeping Dogs

I often think about how bored dogs must get. They can’t do most of the things we humans do to pass the time, like read books, surf the internet, watch television etc.

Apart from time spent going on walks with their owners, dogs can do little else to pass the time than sleep.

Come to think of it, sleeping more wouldn’t be a bad way for us humans to better pass our free time. We would dream more, and consequently multiply the chances of having interesting dreams that we could analyse, thereby understanding ourselves better.

Sleeping more, we would also have less time to make trouble for others; and those others, if they slept more, would have less time to make trouble for us.

Our society would be the more peaceful for this.

Sleeping dogs have much to teach us.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Miss Burden

I'm continuing reading William Faulkner's "Light in August", that I spoke briefly of in my posting of March 21st. I'm savouring rather than wolfing "Light in August" because you just can't wolf Faulkner.

I had never read Faulkner before, and had always promised myself to, but kept putting it off. Then the writer of a blog I regularly read said there were connections between "Light in August" and Kafka's "The Trial". This was the prompt I needed to begin reading Faulkner, and what better than with "Light in August."

Now half-way through it, I haven't yet come across anything that makes me think, "Ah, The Trial''. It must then be somewhere in the second half.

One of "Light in August"'s main characters is Joe Christmas, so far twenty or thereabouts, who had been adopted and raised by a poor and pious couple. He escaped them and drifted through many towns and many jobs.

Joe has some black ancestry, or "negro" ancestry as it was called in the nomenclature of the 1920s Deep South, the time and locale of "Light in August". However, he passes for white.

At the point in "Light in August" I'm now, Joe is living in a cabin on land owned by a fortyish spinster, Miss Burden, who comes from Old Money, and who lives alone in the main house. Joe and Miss Burden drift into an affair, and most passionate it is. This all doesn't at first sight sound very believable, but Miss Burden has volcanic feelings too long suppressed, that manifest when she and Joe are together, which they are most nights.

Joe was aware of Miss Burden's
.....imperious and fierce urgency that concealed an actual despair at frustrate and irrevocable years, which she appeared to attempt to compensate each night as if she believed that it would be the last night on earth by damming herself to the hell of her forefathers, by living not alone in sin but in filth.

She had an avidity for the forbidden wordsymbols; an insatiable appetite for the sound of them on his tongue and on her own. She revealed the terrible and impersonal curiosity of a child about forbidden subjects and objects; that rapt and tireless and detached interest of a surgeon in the physical body and its possibilities.

And by day he would see the calm coldfaced, almost manlike, almost middleaged woman who had lived for twenty years alone, without any feminine fears at all, in a lonely house in a neighborhood populated, when at all, by negroes, who spent a certain portion of each day sitting tranquilly for the eyes of both youth and age the practical advice of a combined priest and banker and trained nurse.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Growing Up Absurd (2)

In my posting called "Growing Up Absurd (1)" I asked whether most jobs today were any less absurd than the jobs of the judges, lawyers, and other officials in the legal bureaucracy in Franz Kafka's "The Trial". I cited the jobs of generals and soldiers; the jobs of men who make weapons for them; the jobs of the men in that part of the jail system dedicated to keeping drug-users and drug-sellers behind bars; and the jobs of teachers of history in schools.

Although these are "public sector" jobs, they are, apart from the teaching jobs, the sort of public sector jobs that normal men like you think are worthwhile. Normal men like you agree, do you not, that you can never have too many generals and soldiers, and guns and tanks and fighter planes, and jail guards and jails.

I'm going to turn today to jobs in the "private sector". Although, as a normal man, you'll believe as a self-evident truth that all jobs in the "private sector" are worthwhile jobs and therefore not absurd jobs, is it possible you're wrong?

Do you, by chance, work for an organisation that makes or distributes potato chips, popcorn, cheese-whizzes, nachos, fizzy pop drinks, and their like? Or perhaps you work in a hamburger joint, or are the manager of one? If so, your job is in the service of making or selling foods that make your customers unhealthy, so that your foods will kill them if they eat enough of it.

But, even if your customers don't eat enough of your foods to kill them directly, to the extent that they do eat them, they will suffer clogged arteries and high blood pressure that will lead them to expensive heart operations and imbibing expensive drugs that the taxpayer will have to pay for.

Perhaps, though, you work for an organisation entirely different, like a news organisation. Maybe you're a journalist, or an editor, or a television news-reader with expensive hair. If so, you'll surely know that the news you give out is not to educate your readers or viewers, but to distract them from what's really going on, or to frighten them so they'll keep coming back for more.

You may work in advertising, so that your job is to persuade people to buy things they don't need, or don't really want.

Or you may work on Wall Street and routinely do the sorts of things that nearly caused the world's economic system to crash not so long ago.

If you work in any of the jobs I've just talked about, your job is absurd, as absurd as the jobs of the judges and lawyers and officials in The Trial, as absurd as a job where you're paid to dig holes and then immediately fill them again.

The real difference between your job, and the jobs of men who dig holes and immediately fill them again, is that they'll know their jobs are absurd, whereas you either don't know your job is absurd, or you don't want to know. Even if you suspect your job is absurd, you must pretend it isn't, otherwise you'll be fired and your little world will collapse.

Have you wondered about all the jobs people do for nothing, the volunteer jobs that make people's lives better and make cities better places to live in? These are non-absurd jobs, but no-one wants to pay people to do them. Isn't this absurd? Nyaaah, you don't want to think about that........