Archive | April, 2015

ENCIRCLING SQUARES…

30 Apr

ENCIRCLING SQUARES…

christianity photo: Jesus Jesus.jpg
“You’re nowt but an old square!”

The words rang out offensively because I knew they were wrong. There’s nothing square about me! I’m the king of circular people, the emperor of the round.

“You’re just a Christian!” concluded the voice.

Now that one started to hurt until I thought about it.

What is a Christian? Is it someone who believes in the life and work and promises (as reported years after the event) of Christ, who probably never existed in any form except that of a hippie-hermit of the first century? Is it someone who reads the Bible (a truly evil book if ever there was one … I love my wife and I wouldn’t ever dream of treating her like some passages of the Old Testament suggest I should …) And on top of that I can see a wonderful amount of truth in the observations various highly intelligent people have made when they’ve peered into telescopes and find it absurdly easy dismissing that same Old Testament (and the new one, too) as a load of old supernatural tosh.

“No I’m not!” I protested.

Then I thought about it.

I started hearing voices. In my head! Not the insane sort that might tell a psychopath to plunge a knife into a virgin’s heart but the sort that emerge as memories sneak to the surface. You know what I mean … things like “she was a good Christian soul\” of my maiden aunt who died before she ought to have died and would do anything for anyone. Or “he’s the sort who gives Christian folk a good name” even though I knew he never went anywhere near a church and didn’t believe a word of the gobbledegook he might have heard inside one had he changed his ways and prayed…

He never prayed to Christ or Christ’s dad but he was the sort of bloke who gives Christian folk a good name…

A bit of a contradiction, that!

Then it struck me that the damned church has borrowed features that mankind ought to be most proud of – kindness, generosity, caring, helping and so on – and claimed them for itself! So if you do any of those things, they say, you’re a good Christian soul.

The implication is that only Christians can display the kind of benevolence and generosity of spirit that has nothing to do with the vicious range of punishments their good book has lined up for what they see as any kind of sexual transgression, like being gay or fancying the woman next door even though she’s married to old Fred, who doesn’t give a toss about her. And in that same book the precursor to Christianity, Judaism, had other little delights even for the innocent, like mutilating little boys’ willies in order to gain more control over their teenage moments alone when they might feel the urge to masturbate. (They say the reason for snipping away at the sensitive fore-skin is a matter of hygiene, but there is such a thing as soap and water). No, that book is all heart and misogyny – and totally concerned with control!

So what is it about calling the kind of people humanity should be proud to include in its midst “good Christian souls”?

I try to be a decent human being. I really do. That’s why I reckon the Old Testament is a truly evil work of misogynist men. And misogyny isn’t decent or worthy or any of the things mankind should aspire to. Men, rather than hate and mistreat women, should hope to become as good as them, as worthy as them.

So am I a Christian soul or not? They say my ideals are based on fundamental Christian values, but I despise that faith and the brake it has put on human progress in the past and still does in some backward societies – it’s why they’re backward, for goodness’ sake!

“You’re nowt but an old square!”

Okay. I’ll take that, then.

© Peter Rogerson 30.04.15

SQUARING CIRCLES

29 Apr

SQUARING CIRCLES

universe photo: Universe Hubble165x165.jpg
I’ve been thinking.

It doesn’t happen very often because I normally find myself fantasising in a loony sort of way. But today, for a change, I’ve been thinking.

And what’s attracted my attention is the religious thing. The creation debate. There where and what and why of things. Is there a god or isn’t there a god, and if there isn’t where in Hades/Heaven did everything come from?

In the past I’ve accused primitive man for daring to fill in his huge gaps of knowledge by inventing his deities as sort of cosy explanations for what he couldn’t possibly understand. I’ve said he might have looked at the river and wondered what made it flow (not knowing a deal about gravity) and invented a river god. And then, quite contented with that particular creation and being fond of woodland he went on to invent all manner of sylvan deities that controlled the nature around him. And the stars and the moon. Even the sun. Gods proliferated. And they explained everything. Most satisfactory!

I know there aren’t any river or sylvan gods. If they were there I’d have met them and nodded a familiar greeting at them, tried to get them to explain gravity to me…

So I’ve turned to what cleverer men than me have decided and tried to make squares out of circles. In a manner of speaking, that is, the circles being what I see and the squares being what they say actually is.

My problem is none of it rings absolutely true. They say that if you look at the way the galaxies are flying apart and zooming from a particular point in the misty long ago of things there must have been a big bang that kick-started all that frenetic movement. A singularity that exploded, and within that singularity was all the matter in the Universe. That’s an awful lot of matter to occupy something as small as what a singularity sounds it might be.

They play hissing noises on their expensive stereos, their expressions enraptured, and say that’s the sound of the Big Bang still there all around us.

The Big Bang that started everything.

But what made it? The Big Bang was the effect, but what was the cause?

And what was around before that big bang? Was there anything? Or maybe were there other big bangs? Loads of them going back and back through a timeless universe? Or are there other universes with their own big bangs and sometimes stuff spills between ours and them? Is that where ghosts come from? Or aliens? Or nightmares?

They don’t know. They can’t say. Or won’t.

The ancients said it was God. A creator. A mighty force that, to put it simply, waved his magic wand. And when cynics asked where that God came from they couldn’t answer. Not properly. What was there before God? Er … dunno.

What was there before the Big Bang. Er … dunno!

Then I think about the Universe, the way it’s held together by forces of this or that. Where did those forces come from? Gravity? What is it? Everything’s held in a perfect equilibrium by something we can’t understand and certainly can’t explain, unless we point out that apples fall out of trees and a bright bloke called Isaac Newton noticed it. And even brighter blokes can doodle equations on blackboards and prove all sorts of stuff, like e=mc² and not one of us can properly explain what it means, just that we ought not think of travelling faster than the speed of light, because we never will.

If we do our mass will become infinite, which means we’ll become sub-microscopic, and we’d end up being most uncomfortable. Or something like that.

I think I understand that bit until it crosses my mind that I don’t.

I dared say we’re still in the stone-age if we can imagine being looked at from the perspective of the future. There will be even brighter folks there, science-fiction geniuses with huge heads supporting huger brows. We build up theories only for time and a few imaginative blokes/blokesses to knock them down one shiny lovely future day.

Like primitive man and his lovely watery deities. He had his theories and time has knocked them down. We’ve got our theories and I’m prepared to bet that time will knock them down as well. Unless, that is, we find a way of squaring circles.

So where does that bring us?

I guess it’s time for God to enter….

Not an old man with a beard and cruel heart but something, a force, maybe even a teensy weensy little particle, but a power (maybe even an intelligence – who can say?) who would be perfectly happy should we call him/her/it God.

© Peter Rogerson 29.04.15

THISTLEDOWN THE GRAVY.

28 Apr

THISTLEDOWN THE GRAVY.

roast beef dinner photo: Roast Beef 800px-Sunday_roast_-_roast_beef_1.jpg  There was a light mist swirling between the trees in Thistledown Copse. Fairy Gobsmack was slowed by it as wisps and wasps fought with each other to greet a dawn that wasn’t coming.

In fact, they fought with each other to greet a dawn that couldn’t come. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Willow Witch’s watch had stopped, and she hadn’t noticed, and everyone in the Copse knew that Willow Witch controlled most of what happened just about everywhere.

So the light mist swirling between the trees in Thistledown Copse were swirling in darkness. And not just any old darkness, when there might be a hint of starlight or a smudge of moonlight or the tell tale mischief of the odd glow-worm’s private parts. No, this was total, eye-watering darkness.

“It might always be like this,” moaned Fairy Gobsmack, seeing the truth for what it was and feeling suddenly depressed, which was out of character for one as eternally filled with joy as she was.

“I’ve got some roast beef,” grinned Willow Witch, “a nice plate full of roast beef with a decent sized Yorkshire pudding plump in the middle of it, and some roast taters too.”

“That’s plain greed,” Fairy Gobsmack told her, “and there’s one thing I can’t abide and that’s a dark night and greedy witches in it. In fact, I doubt there’s anything worse under the known sky, so there!”

“It’s only dark because my watch stopped,” scoffed the Witch, sounding as cruel as everyone knew her to be.

“Then start it again!” snapped the Fairy. “Go on! Give it its tick-tock back!”

“I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t,” curdled Willow Witch. “You see, it’s a sundial watch and there’s no sun. So it’s stopped. What I need is the dawn…”

“Which won’t come on account of your watch being stopped,” sighed Fairy Gobsmack. “It’s just one gigantic circle of misfortune.”

“True,” smirked the Witch. “I’ll tell you what. Give me some gravy and I’ll set my watch going…”

“Without sunlight?”

“I’m a witch, if you hadn’t noticed, and I can do anything with or without sunlight. So how about some gravy to go with my nice plate of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and roast taters?”

“I’m condemned to wander the copse for ever and ever in the darkness of the darkest ever night, for I have no gravy, not to eat myself and certainly not to spare,” groaned the Fairy. “Ask God. He created everything. You’ve read he did in the Good Book. He’ll give you some gravy if that’s what you want. Then it’ll all be over for once and all.”

“Bah! God! He’s nothing but superstition, a silly concept devised to put us women in our places, and I don’t believe in any such superstition, for they don’t exist!” snapped the Witch.

And as her voice faded into an echo of itself she popped out of being, as did the Fairy Gobsmack and Thistledown Copse and every magical thing and being everywhere.

And the sun came suddenly out as a ferocious voice barked “let there be light”…

© Peter Rogerson 28.04.15

MY GOD, WHO MADE US…

27 Apr

MY GOD, WHO MADE US…

legs photo: seamed hosiery 196258496231932296_j1JA9JBG_b.jpg  A sudden sonorous voice in the abyss thundered with barely coherent words, almost distorted to meaningless, such was its volume:

“WHAT IS THAT?”

Silence, then a whisper. Clear but close to silence.

And the whispered reply was confused.

“It’s my wife,” it said. “My lovely, pure and innocent wife the apple of my eye and the greatest of beauties…”

“AND WHAT ARE THOSE?” The roar burst a few eardrums way down in the abyss as the sudden voice persisted.

“What?” The whisper was confused by the very ferocity of the thundering voice, and anyway daren’t look anywhere except into the blind depth of the abyss.

“THOSE???”

A hand appeared from the darkness and an extended finger pointed. It wavered slightly as those impelled by a nervous burst of anger might waver.

“THOSE!!!”

“You mean her legs… my wife’s legs …?”

“THOSE!!!”

“They’re … sir, they’re her legs … her beautiful, useful, wonderful legs…” The whisper retreated to an eventual silence.

“AND YOU’RE LOOKING AT THEM?”

“I think they’re…. they’re…”

“THEY’RE WHAT?”

“Attractive … lovely … beautiful…”

The voice from that abyss made an ingesting, crunching sort of sound, as if it had just swallowed its own teeth.

“AS I SAID, YOU’RE LOOKING AT THEM!”

“She needs them, sir, for walking, for kneeling, for being alive, and anyway I rather like looking at such perfection….”

“BUT YOU’RE ABLE TO SEE THEM!”

“Of course. They’re there….”

“THEN COVER THEM UP, MORTAL! TAKE THE SIGHT OF SUCH EVIL APPENDAGES AWAY FROM YOUR EYES SO THAT YOU’RE NO LONGER TEMPTED… YOU MUST NEVER BE TEMPTED BY THE EVIL…” The voice slithered up and down an octave for a moment, “…OF SINFUL LEGS!” it concluded.

The whisper took a step back. Then:

“You have me at a disadvantage,” it said, “who are you to issue such peculiar orders?”

“I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD AND I CREATED THOSE LEGS!”

The whisper seemed to relent, then: “Oh, you again! Bugger off before I call the police … who are you to tell me that I can’t catch the odd glimpse of my own wife’s lovely legs … I’ll even stare if you like … I find them almost addictively beautiful and if, as you suggested, you created them then you should be inordinately proud of your work and not find anything sinful about it…”

“YOU FOOL!” roared from the abyss, “YOU MONUMENTAL FOOL WITH A BRAIN SO WEAKENED BY PERVERSION THAT YOU CAN BE BEGUILED BY THE SIN IN THOSE LEGS, AND BE TURNED BY THEM TOWARDS THE WORST OF ALL TRANSGRESSIONS!!”

“And what is that?” asked the whisper, almost nervously, afraid of what the reply might be.

“YOU MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO THE WORST OF ALL WICKEDNESS!” shouted the resonant abyss, “YOU MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO REPRODUCE!!!”

“Oh,” sighed the whisper, “We’ve already done that, lots of times … meet the kids…”

And a million tribes of children popped, like bubbles, into existence and called “mummy, daddy”… as the abyss grew light as a new day.

© Peter Rogerson 27.04.15

THE VISITORS

25 Apr

THE VISITORS

 
SPACESHIP photo: Spaceship Spaceship.jpg  It was demon hour and Cris whelped like a loony. She was terrified of Marlong and his temper when the devils crawled through his brain and painted the world puce. But then, she loved Marlong. Everyone loved Marlong because loonies were scared not to. It wasn’t that he was gloating – he never gloated – just prowled around his puce universe screaming for the saints to go away.

“We’re nearly there, fack you,” he grated between clenched teeth.

“Fack you too,” she replied, “it’s been long enough, sod the heavens, in this tin can.”

This tin can was the microship she and Marlong had steered across the Milky Way. They knew where they were going, it was just a facking hard job getting there, what with the time it took and the lumps of debris that might always loom unexpectedly out of the crassness of empty space. Empty space! There’s no such thing, not even between the galaxies…

“Earth, they call it,” he growled, swiping her with the back of his hand until the blood ran down her face.

“Leave facking me alone!” she screamed, and for the first time that day she squirted concentrated nitric acid into his eyes from her left tit. It served him right. Marlong was a bully, possibly the biggest bully this side of Crackerhole, and she was the butt of his worst excesses. But that nitric acid would sting and the Rover factor would have to dig out a repair or two, or Marlong would end up blind.

It had happened before and Rover hadn’t let him down yet.

“Why’d you facking do that!” screamed Marlong, weeping, “I can’t facking see! You blinded me, you whore-shaped arsehole!”

“Get Rover, see if I care, you made me bleed! Look, Marlong, and you reckon to love me…”

“I can’t see!” he howled. “And I had Earth pin-pointed! It was in the cross-hairs ready for a landing, and now I can’t see!”

“Rover!” called Cris.

The factor rolled in, squawking. “You only want me when your temper’s taken control!” it squeaked. “Let me see. Nitric bleeding acid. What are you like, eh? What fun and games you have! And here you are, ambassadors from Crackerhole tasked with spreading the word!”

“Just get me facking mended, crackhead!” roared Marlong. “I need to fracking see! We’re landing within the hour! And according to the charts there are creatures on this damned planet! Earth they call it, and earthy by nature from all accounts. I’ve even heard there’s the odd spark of intelligence amongst the amoeba!”

“Oh, there is,” smirked the factor, squirting Marlong with bicarbonate of soda until his hideous face was little more than effervescent foam.

“What do you know about it, Rover?” asked Cris, grinning as Marlong howled when his melting eyes started stinging.

“I’ve monitored them too, Miss,” hummed the factor. “I’ve seen trees and woodlands, jungles and deserts. I’ve even see monkeys. You’d like the monkeys. They’re well on their way to be facking bright!”

“Puce!” roared Marlong. “Make it puce!”

“It’s mostly green,” gabbled Rover, “it has to be. Photosynthesis, you see. Oxygen-rich atmosphere, so no good for you two. But I’ll roll out. Rover by name and rover by nature…”

“You mean … we’ve come all this facking way and won’t get to breath the fresh pure air of a virgin planet?” moaned Cris.

“Not unless you want to peg it before your time,” giggled the factor. “You know what you’re like when you get a breath of oxygen in your face. But whoa, lads, we’re landing…”

“It’s all quite wrong,” complained Marlong. “So wrong I could weep!”

“You start weeping now and that eye I repaired’ll never catch a photon again,” warned the factor. “I’ll go out and see what’s what. Leave it to Rover the rover!”

“If you have to,” sneered Marlong.

“I’ll be your eyes and ears,” grinned Rover, and he rolled into the air-lock, all on tenterhooks. The excitement in his artificial brain was bubbling over. “In the name of Crackerhole!” he added.

A door slithered open and he gaped out, straight into the face of a naked hominid with an excited willy.

“I’m Rover…” he tried to say, but the air was so luscious and the green so exciting that all he could manage was “woof woof woof, I’m God…” for no reason that he could fathom.

© Peter Rogerson 25.04.15

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

23 Apr

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

newspaper photo: newspaper Zaraki kiriban.jpg  I love analogies and here’s one.

My readers are probably mostly aware of my opinion of religion. It’s fundamentally a remnant of primitive thinking when men did their damnedest to understand the world they lived in, but with very little in the way of either observation or evidence to help them. So they created gods. After all, they reasoned, gods represent a rational explanation for the marvels they saw around them. Some societies had a fistful but slowly their number became one, and monotheism was born.

But why are they still around today? Surely we’ve expanded both observation and evidence to make deities redundant.?

Of course we have. But the words from the dawn of human thought were written down, have been translated innumerable times and are still there. And people read them and if they’re dripped slowly enough from birth into the heads of human beings, they’re hard to disbelieve. So there’s a Pope in Rome, vicars and priests, imams and other spiritual leaders everywhere, and it takes a bit of effort to be logical and see religion for what it always was: primitive man’s best attempt at making sense of the things he saw. Especially when it’s been massaged by self-interest and papal vestments.

But, you might ask, where’s the analogy here?

Bear with me.

A great deal of words have been written recently, in newspapers particularly, expressing the views of mostly magnates about how our country and, if they could manage it, the world should be run. Some of it has been down right insidious, and it’s been dripped (like gods were) into our heads for as long as we can remember. And many of us haven’t noticed the way our minds have been altered, our opinions influenced, in particular by the Murdoch dynasty.

Rupert Murdoch is a foreign national yet of all the people on the planet he probably has more influence than any other human being over what goes on in our own back yard. He once claimed, for instance, to be able to dictate who would form a government in our country. He owns the most popular press. He launched Sky television. He knows what buttons to press. And he presses them.

But there’s one thing he’s aware of more than buttons. He knows that if you say the same thing a thousand different ways, year after year, then it will become embedded in the human brain. Like religion has been. Like all the gods that have marched with mankind down many millennia, all repeating mantras of their own and all beguiling humanity, and in these later years all self-serving. After all, disband the ogre of Catholicism and you’ll have to find a new job for the Pope and his tribe of soul-soakers, and they might protest.

Murdoch’s interest, of course, isn’t that insidious. He’s got an honest enough job. No, being a magnate he wants two things: money and a dominant dynasty, with himself as its head. That way, when he dies, he knows his dreams of conquest will live on with his genes. And drip by blessed drip he’s getting it.

But he’s not alone. There are others, too, who skew facts as printed in their newspapers, who tease us with their variations on the theme of truth. And it’s easy. There’s a tendency towards xenophobia in many people. It’s self-preserving. If too many strangers come our way they may grab what we want. So we get teased by the easiest lie of them all, a half truth.

“There are 10,000 immigrants stealing our health services and homes…” and omit to report the 20,000 who went the other way at the same time….

Lies best told in halves. Minds made angry by falsehoods.

All because there’s a new god on the scene: dollars and pounds and euros…

And the freedom of the press.

© Peter Rogerson 23.04.15

SERVICE WITH A SMILE

22 Apr

SERVICE WITH A SMILE

TESCO photo Fullscreen capture 22042015 130031.bmp_zpsuvvkzccv.jpg

This morning I visited a local branch of Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain. We needed coffee for our machine and know they sell that brand there. I also fancied buying something for Dorothy because that’s the kind of thing that gives me genuine pleasure – you see, I must be a creep.

And my chief medical supplies were running low. By that I mean my rolls of Refresher sweets. (When I was a child my mother bought me a roll at a time I was recovering from a really nasty bout of flu, and I was so impressed by the speed with which wellness returned I have attributed it to those sweets. Childish, I know, but it is legal!)

Anyway, Tesco’s it had to be.

I’m the sort of guy that likes the taste, the flavour and the joy inherent in the word “BARGAIN” so we found a lovely dress for Dorothy on the “reduced by UP TO 50%” rail. Then we found the coffee and went in search of the Refreshers.

Now, for the uninitiated, the Oak Tree branch of Tesco is huge. I’ve often wondered whether I’d ever find my way out if I got lost in there. I have nightmares of being stranded in Cold Meats until my beard touches the ground….

And I wasn’t sure where my Refreshers might be.

So I asked an assistant who was refilling the shelves.

You know how people who think they’ve got a point but haven’t are only too ready to blame immigration to the UK for all their problems? Minds warped by the constant whining of some elements of the tatty press we suffer from in this country do it as a matter of course. A whole political party has sprung into being as a consequence, and we have the U.K. Independence Party, or UKIP for short.

Anyway, I asked a young and attractive female assistant (did I mention she was young and female and attractive? Well, I should have. Accuracy in all things, that’s my motto.) But don’t let’s got off at a tangent when we don’t have to.

I asked her where I might find the sweets.

She asked me (I think it was a charming Polish accent, but it may have originated elsewhere in Eastern Europe) and she was the most helpful woman I’ve met this week (excepting my wife, of course, who’s always helpful).

She directed me not just to the sweets department, not just to the right aisle (did I mention it’s a huge shop? And the aisles are many and plentiful…) No: she directed me to the very sweets I wanted, and with a smile I’d bottle if I could, and sell to Nigel Farage and his loony ilk as a brainwash…

You see, there are good people everywhere and that’s all that really matters.

© Peter Rogerson 21.04.15