Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Ten Things That Won't Change In My Lifetime

As much as I detest the way top ten lists have obliterated online writing, a potentially exciting new media completely trashed, sometimes it is the correct form for an article. 

This is my list of ten things that won't change in my lifetime.

1. Every morning, for the rest of my life, I will wake to news of murder inspired by one god or another. This won't change in the lifetime of the gods.

2. Jazz won't be popular.

3. I will be told that stuff I was once told was bad for me is now good for me, and that stuff I was once told is good for me is now bad for me.

4. Not one economist will apologise for misleading the public by making inaccurate predictions. Not one.

5. People will spend more time staring at screens than they will making love or eating.

6. I will choose to date girls who are nuts.

7. Background music in cafes and restaurants will be too loud to converse over without shouting. 

8. Celebrity, no matter how it is achieved, will be worshipped.

9. Love will bloom on moonlit nights.

10. Middle aged men will be overwhelmed by the feeling that nothing they can do will make the world a better place for the generation to come, yet they will continue to try.


Friday, 26 June 2015

The Decent, Peaceful Religious Majority

I recently wrote a piece stating that I'm not surprised when religious people do crazy things. Why would I be? It's been happening for centuries. 

I was told that the majority of religious people are decent and peace loving. I don't care too much about that decent, peaceful majority. It's the minority who do the crazy, violent, terrifying things. The minority need to be stopped, and if religion is putting the crazy shit into the heads of the minority the majority have a duty to work out why. Until the majority work out why their religion makes people do crazy things that majority is tacitly supporting the crazy minority, they add weight to the crazy inside the heads of the minority.

A clear thinking person would abandon all organised religion. It leads to violence and segregation, it has for centuries, this isn't news. Failing the reason to quit the god habit the majority need to take responsibility for the loaded weapon their faith obviously is. Yes it is. History proves that.

Yesterday three religion inspired crazy people killed other people for their god, in three different countries, apparently for different religious reasons, if the words religious and reason can be used accurately together. I find myself feeling furious when people tell me that most religious people are decent and peace loving, that the violent, crazy people have misinterpreted the holy book. Don't blame religion? Why not? The killers themselves tell us they are doing it for religion. One blew himself up in a place of worship that holds different views about who should have inherited power over the caliphate centuries ago. That's about religion, for religion, caused by religion. If the book is so often misinterpreted get a clearer book. If holy books cause so much violence stop calling them holy. If indoctrinating children before they can understand what you're doing to them causes a minority to do crazy things, then please, oh please, cease indoctrinating the children.

I'm not surprised when religious people do crazy things, and I'm not surprised when other religious people hide behind the voodoo that prevents religion being analysed honestly, I'm not surprised that this shit is still happening in 2015, looks like it will keep happening forever, because the decent, peaceful majority won't put an end to it. 

Yes, you.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Tram Scenes #2

The guy sitting beside me on this tram smells like a soiled sports sock spewed up the Taco Tuesday special in his pocket, with extra guacamole, three Tuesdays ago.


Sunday, 21 June 2015

You Probably Don't Remember, Very Short Science Fiction #3

You may not remember the insanity that followed the introduction of cheap and effective teleportation. Insanity was the only accurate description,people and objects appearing and disappearing all over the galaxy, like everyone and everything was looking for a lost earring, then looking somewhere else. 

Everyone had a telebooth, every business and every home, until the constant stream of comings and goings drove everyone to the edge of insanity. It settled down soon enough, but everything had changed. Suddenly we could all live as you do now, anywhere we liked. You probably don't remember how expensive land was before the telebooth. It is difficult to imagine. Many great fortunes were lost almost overnight. Anyone who based their wealth on city real estate was suddenly as poor as the rest of us, the only land with any value proved to be as it is now, good farming land. Now that food can be sent instantly to any point in the galaxy farming has become the only genuine wealth. You probably don't know that this is a return to the economic system of the past, on Earth, a couple of thousand years ago. 

You probably don't remember the concept of supply and demand either, you've never known a shortage of supply, you can have anything you want from anywhere, instantly, now there is only demand. 

You probably don't know what travel is. You probably don't know that patience was once the essence of a man. You probably don't know what anticipation is. You'll probably never understand why I walk up to a mountain stream to go fishing, but that's the best explanation I've got.


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Us And The Water, Very Short Science Fiction #2

A watched pot never boils. That's an old Earth saying, from around a thousand years ago. Unless you've been to this backwards planet at the edge of the galaxy you'll have no idea what a pot is, or why it would boil, or why anyone would watch it.

I say it's a backwards planet, but we've learned to like it this way. Unintentionally, or perhaps intentionally, we've made it this way. Over a couple of hundred years most of our equipment has failed due to poor maintenance, we've never seemed to get around to replacing it. Such things have never seemed important to us. 

So we boil water in pots. Pots are metal vessels, we place these vessels over fires that we deliberately light and control. We do this to cook our food or to make hot beverages. I know it sounds weird, why not just press a button on an autochef? Like I said, we like it this way.

You see, the water here is different to other water. It's alive. It communicates with us, in various ways. It never liked the autochef. We could sense a feeling of indignation whenever the water was pumped into the machinery. The water doesn't seem to mind being boiled at all. It seems to enjoy feeling useful, being involved with us. And we like being involved with the water. We live together here, us humans and the water. We collect the water from streams, boil it in pots, make tea, then communicate with the tea as we drink it, because the water is always up for a chat, one way or another. Then the water is part of us, or we are part of the water, or something like that.

We think it's some kind of telepathy, but we don't think about it too much, it doesn't seem to matter. The same Earth people who said that thing about watching pots boil used to write poetry about water, or use water as a way to describe other things. We figure water has always had some sort of telepathy with humans, it's just stronger here, we're more aware of it. Our entire lives are like poems. Poems unwritten, unspoken, instead lived, us and the water, beautiful and, well, poetic. 

It's true though, if you sit and watch a pot of water over the fire it never boils. The water gets to chatting, wants to know what we're doing, dinner for the family, or tea, or some warm water for bathing? Until we walk away, look elsewhere, the water remains too distracted to boil, too interested in what we're going to do together next. We laugh about it, us and the water, it's the closest we've come to conflict since we ceased using detergents. 

I wonder if the Earth water a thousand years ago was trying to get through to its human friends and would take longer to boil when someone slowed down long enough to give it some attention? Is the water here different, more telepathic, or are we different, more able to hear?

We like our backwards planet, here at the edge of the galaxy, and our water, and our fire, and our pots. We flow together, an endless stream, never the same water, never the same human, us and the water.


Friday, 19 June 2015

Gut Instinct, Very Short Science Fiction #1

Her gut instinct told her to ignore the advice of the Department of Interplanetary Cultures, that it would be more welcoming to remove her gloves before she greeted the ambassador from the planet Zimbalist Junior IV.

Before he even released his handshake grip with the female human he could feel his grandson greeting him from inside her body. She had no idea, the full import of his satisfied smile would become apparent to her in years to come.

Grandson? The mating practises of the large humanoid aquatic mammals of Zimbalist Junior IV remain a mystery. Culturally speaking, incest is a relative term.


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Religion And Craziness, No Surprise

It appears three women from the United Kingdom have abducted their children and taken them to join the alleged Islamic state. Why is anyone surprised? 

These three sisters wore special clothes because their god told them to. They were spending a small fortune to take all their children to see some special rocks where a man who rode a flying horse to heaven once allegedly said something. On such journeys it is considered quite normal to throw stones at a rock that represents the devil. All the local stones have been thrown, you have to buy stones in bags. Why is anyone surprised that these women would do something crazy? Hadn't they already proven they were completely fucking nuts by their previous behaviour?

That this lunacy is called a religion alters nothing. Nuts is nuts. Scaring children into certain behaviours with the threat of eternal torture is the work of dangerous and insane people, no matter what their magic book says. Let us not act surprised when some children who grow up with such mental torment lose the plot a little.  Let's not act as if we are surprised when people who believe crazy things do crazy things, like taking their children to a war zone. 

We also can't be surprised when people who claim allegiance to a higher authority hold no loyalty to the nation that gave them peace and wealth. Instead they are loyal to their religion, which is in effect a culture, a culture of idiocy and lunacy. That they hate the culture that gave them every chance to be content smacks of childish ingratitude. 

Mad people are mad people, no matter how they dress themselves up or what books they read. The sooner we identify religion as mental illness the sooner we can cease pretending we are surprised when religious people do crazy things.