Thursday, January 11, 2007

The wisdom of youth meets the vitality of old age.

I doubt whether anyone would choose to hold a party on a Wednesday in the second week of January. Maybe that's why Capricorns, according to astrologers, are grounded, hard working and pretty dull. How wild can you go when everyone's skint from Christmas, still bothering with their New Year resolutions and got exams? How can that not affect your attitude to enjoyment and celebration? Anyway, today I reached the patently ridiculous age of twenty-nine. Is it just me, or does that sound so much worse than thirty? Any age with nine on the end, after nineteen, just sounds like you're lying. "Forty-nine again, Mr Mitchell?". It sounds desperate. But I'm not going to mope (although I've every right to, it being my birthday and all). Ten years ago, due to circumstances entirely of my own making, the odds on me making it this far looked pretty fucking long. In fact, I'm on course to be in much better shape at thirty than I was at twenty. So hooray for me.

The last time Everton won the league I was nine. You do the maths (it's got a fucking "s" on the end). If they win it again before I'm dead, I'll be very happy. And monkeys may well emerge from my rectum.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Guest contributor- Tommy Lee

Dude, we so totally would have won if hadn't been for that goddam referee, man. I been to Chelsea. It ain't all that. And no way on earth are you gonna tell me that was a clear goal scoring opportunity. Maybe for Pele or one of those cats, but we're talking Andriy Shevchenko here, dude. The mother couldn't hit a steer's ass with a cowbell. And I never even touched the sumbitch. Red card my ass!

Waddaya mean, different Tommy Lee? You yankin my crank??

Friday, December 29, 2006

Nature is boss.

A captive African Grey parrot has amazed researchers by displaying a huge vocabulary and the ability to contextualise words and phrases, as well as a sense of humour. When it met Jane Goodall it asked her "Got a chimp?"

This pales in comparison to the storytelling ability shown by a captive male Gorilla (mate of the more famous but less communicative Coco), who was able to describe memories of being taken from his family in the jungle, arriving in America, and how he felt about it, using sign language.

In tests to determine levels of primate intelligence, Orang Utans have been seen picking locks with screwdrivers, which they hide when a keeper comes into view. Is anything more human than deceit?

A Leatherback Turtle that had been electronically tagged was shown to have swum over 8000 miles, from South America to the coast of Cornwall, then back to lay eggs. Male Leatherbacks never leave the ocean, and simply swim around the world their entire lives.

Ravens can repeat words and use basic tools.

A Right Whale's penis is twelve feet long and prehensile. A Giraffe's is four feet long with an elbow-like joint in the middle. When Herring spawn, the sperm forms a thick layer on the surface of the water which can spread across miles of coastline like a huge yellow oil slick.

Komodo Dragons can tell when a Deer is due to give birth and will follow it around until it does, then scoff the baby. And the mother.

Some people find wildlife boring. There is a word for these people, but I decided a while ago I wasn't going to use it on here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I finally went to the Natural History Museum. It's amazing. The giant sloth skeleton alone would be worth the admission price, if it wasn't free. Easily the best thing I've seen in my life. One gripe though. In a small display called "how you can help the environment" or some shit, a list of green businesses and charities. Among them, British Airways. What, I wonder, could BA possibly be doing to offset the monumental environmental damage that their business by it's nature causes every day? It must be something pretty huge for them to compensate for causing more air pollution and ozone depletion than any other mode of transport, for encouraging the building of yet more runways over Britain's precious grasslands and marshes, for killing birds indiscriminately on every flight. To make up for all this, plus enough on top for them to be listed as a Green organisation. Wow. But further information was not forthcoming in the museum, in any of the literature I picked up, or later on either the NHM or BA's websites. Then I came outside and saw it. The Natural History Museum- primary sponsor, British Airways. Make no mistake, this is on a par with "The Sun presents A History of Feminist Art" or "The Holocaust Museum sponsored by IBM". It sticks in my craw so it does. On a similar note, have you seen "Extinct" on ITV? OMG. Can that joke of television channel not produce anything that doesn't include crap celebrities and a telephone vote? Coming soon- "A Matter of Life and Death". Who will win the jackpot and receive life saving treatment, who will be performing for the final time? Will it be Jade Goody's teenage leukemia sufferer, or Jake from Hollyoaks's AIDS patient- that's good AIDS of course.
Just you wait, it will happen.

Sorry if this post doesn't read very well. I'm knackered.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Death to false religion (and metal, obviously)

"I cannot forgive Descartes. In all his philosophy he would have been quite willing to dispense with God. But he had to make Him give a fillip to set the world in motion; beyond this, he has no further need of God."- Blaise Pascal

This is, essentially, why I despise the theory of Intelligent Design so much. Not only is it appalling non-science, horribly misleading and dangerously backward, but it also implies a very unpleasant approach to religion. God is supposed to be something you love, something you worship, not something to be used to your own dubious ends, to be crudely squeezed into other peoples learning patterns in a blunderingly primitive "God of the gaps" type way. "There are gaps in the fossil record, therefore God must exist"? If one were to feel the need to justify their religious beliefs to others (something I still don't understand), surely a statement such as "I feel God acting upon my life in such an overwhelming way I can scarcely believe it- I see him moving in every living thing and feel his love filling me with courage and comfort every day of my life- therefore God must exist" would be better? This cold reductionist approach to spirituality implies no actual belief whatsoever. When Richard Dawkins speaks of Darwin and evolution, he does so with conviction and passion and yes, love. That is a true belief, something conspicuously absent from the writings of the vaguely sinister Intelligent Design Network and their allies. If you love God, love him- stop restricting and manipulating him, and please stop this ridiculous anthropomorphism. It does nobody any favours.

On an almost completely unrelated note, I've noticed that the staff at Co-op in Frodsham are always incredibly happy and friendly. I reckon they either enjoy extremely good working conditions or are partaking in a post-menopausal dalliance with Ecstasy. Either way I want in.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A contradiction in terms?

Intelligent Design is not a directly religious concept, but it has been appropriated by religious fundamentalists desperate to discredit evolutionary theory and drag their own beliefs into the realm of scientific acceptance through the back door. ID could be called a scientific theory, but only in as much as some even more hypothetical scenarios are posited in genuine scientific enquiry. It's science with an exceptionally small "s", so much so that without the aid of a telescope it looks like "cience". At heart, it is a philosophy and as such does not bear comparison to any form of evolutionary theory. Intelligent Design cannot be used to discredit evolution, or vice versa. I am not confusing ID with creationism, although the two have become inextricably and perhaps unfortunately entwined. Exponents of ID or creationism will continually point out that there are many holes in Darwinian theory. This is true. Darwin did not have the last, or first, word on evolution, but he and his contemporaries uncovered a proven and demonstrable scientific truth. We don't know everything about evolution, but we know that it happens. It is fact.

Of course there is no reason why anyone, Christian or otherwise, would need to discredit Darwin. There is no problem believing that God created the universe whilst acknowledging that we evolved over time due to a process of natural selection. The two beliefs come from entirely different schools and indeed planes of thought, and nobody with a certain and unshakable belief in God should find it threatened by human advances in self-knowledge. Conversely, it is just as disingenuous to say that there can be no God because the earth is billions of years old as it is to say that evolution cannot happen because God made the world in seven days.

I wonder if Slayer's latest album "Christ Illusion" would make a good soundtrack to Richard Dawkins' new book "The God Delusion"? Dawkins annoys me at times, he comes across as a bit too much of a crusader and tends to overlook the bigger picture in his quest to discredit any form of religious belief (to wit: his debunking of the Lourdes miracles. Why? Does he go around telling children that Santa isn't real as well?). In that sense his arguments tend toward the same basic errors as the creationists he so deplores. However, he is one of the few public figures mounting a reasoned and informed challenge to the depressing climate of theocracy pervading global current affairs, and for that is to be wholeheartedly applauded.

Why am I going on about science and religion? I don't know. It must be said that both fascinate and frustrate me. Nobody is more blinkered than a supposed scientist whose research is conducted for the sole purpose of giving credence to his already determined opinions. This is happening everywhere, and is becoming ever more prevalent with the expansion of corporate-funded research. It is the opposite of knowledge, the antithesis of discovery. It can only serve to make us less informed. But maybe that's what "they" want, depending of course on who you imagine "them" to be.

Sometimes it's better not to.

Hot Club de Paris are from Liverpool, and therefore are "cheeky" and sound like the La's and the Coral. They also sound exactly like the Futureheads, because they shout a bit. They have funny song titles and do barbershop harmonies, this makes then quirky. I quite like the album but I can't be bothered to listen to it more than twice.

Above is my application to work for every music magazine in Britain. Apart from Mojo which is the last stronghold of quality music journalism in this country. No sniggering at the back.


I'm a bit upset. I failed to get the job that I so desperately wanted. The one that's been the basis of all my "future fantasies" for the last two or three months. On the upside, I've got a Christmas job at Argos. I know that's an upside, but it sure doesn't feel like one. Working at Argos is definitely better than being on the dole, but it doesn't feel better, and it doesn't even sound better. After all my efforts to find a job I actually want to do (for the first time in my life, ever) "retail assistant" is a much more depressing title to be lumbered with than "job seeker", which at least has a note of hope to it. I should take solace in the other word that comprises my job title- "temporary".

Monday, October 16, 2006

God is like scissors

Things happen. It strikes me that one of the most peculiar conceits of the human race is a refusal to believe in random chance. This is the downfall of many, as they end up feeling wronged all the time. Waiting for Kharma to sort everything out and wondering why it never does. Everything does not happen for a reason. I'm not sure whether I believe in God or not (and if I was I wouldn't tell you), but I am certain that I believe in random chance. Is it not possible to believe in both? I suppose one could worship random chance itself, although what would be point? Random chance doesn't need your approval and I find it quite bizarre that so many people feel the need to posit a God that does. The universe does not have it in for you, no matter how shitty your luck's been. The universe does not give a fuck. I know that many of you find that concept more scary.

I'm not anti-religious by any means... I believe that everyone has the right to live and worship as they choose and all that gay stuff. I just wish people would be- how should I put this- quieter about it. What with Islamic fundamentalists and the USA (a nation that's heading toward a theocracy more totalitarian than any Muslim country) wouldn't it be nice if more political attention, time and money were devoted to people who's beliefs are, well, rational? It's been nearly 150 years since Darwin's "Origin of Species" was published, paving the way for a school of thought that is supposed to have blown the cobwebs of theocracy from man's collective eyes, leading to an age of enlightenment, questioning, re-evaluating our beliefs. Yet in so many ways the world is still run according to superstition and folklore. It's not religion itself that should have been swept aside, but this stifling, violent and wasteful fundamentalism. If you can't be trusted with God, it really is best to leave him alone.

The only sane response to these times is to bellow along to Slayer. But then that's always been the case.