Marble penises and good government

This morning 51% of America awoke in a modern, moderate, sensible, educated, peaceful and healthy democracy.

So did the other 49%, except they hated it.

I’ve spent a long time wondering what causes such hatred, and I think it comes down to a combination of marble and penises.

I realise that’s an odd statement, so I’ll explain.

When I was a kid I lived in a bizarre household. I actually think most households are bizarre when you look at them close-up, but I was discouraged from staring at strangers ever since my older brother saw his first ever black man on a bus, and asked my mum, in a loud, clear voice: “why is that man so dirty?”.

It was the 70s, but still.

Fortunately my brother was only 2 years old, so the man just grinned and laughed it off, and there was no long-term damage other than my mother refusing to go on busses from that day onwards. But that story has been drummed into me since I was old enough to be drummed upon. Those lovingly applied, highly rhythmic beatings quickly taught me to stop staring at strangers, let alone make comments; and the rhythmic beatings also made me appreciative of the 7-4 time signature (but not enough to ever want to be in Sting’s band: he’s a cock).

So instead of looking at other people I just looked at my family, and came to some conclusions: they were fucking weird. Believe me folks, I know. I’ve done the research. These are findings.

One of the strange things about them is their ongoing experiment with milk. In ye olden days most people had milk delivered by a man (who is now unemployed because people find it more convenient to drive 1.5 miles to a supermarket to hear other people’s children being yelled at in the next aisle, then queue for 45 minutes to use a “serve yourself” machine that works at best 1 in every 450 times. Are you sure just collecting it from your doorstep and giving that man a job is less convenient?)

But for my whole life my parents had a couple of pints delivered each morning. And for that entire 42 years they’ve left the milk on the warm doorstep until at least 3pm, when they’ve decided to bring it indoors and store it in the most logical place: on the window-sill, in a beam of sunlight. I was 14 before I saw a cup of tea I didn’t have to chew on. It’s a miracle my dad made it to 77: he was playing fast-and-loose with food-poisoning for as long as I can remember.

Deliberately placing your milk in the best location for it to poison you is a strange decision, although I wouldn’t blame my mum for attempting to murder any one of us. We were bastards to her, and are responsible for 2 of her 3 nervous breakdowns. I’d like to say it was an accident, but nobody accidentally leaves a snake-skin on their mum’s ironing board or steals her car when she parks it outside Tesco.

We also:

  • Waited until she was on holiday, then wrote “hello mum” on approximately 5,000 small slips of paper and hid them all over the house – inside pans, under mattresses, in shoes, and even, imaginatively, peeling back a bit of wallpaper, sliding a note behind it, and pasting it back – she didn’t find that one until she redecorated 5 years later.
  • Recorded 5 minutes of silence on a cassette tape (it was the 70s, but still), followed by an official-sounding voice saying THIS CAR WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN TEN SECONDS. We then placed this in the car stereo, pressed play, and turned off the engine. When she turned the engine on it started playing silence… until she was half-way home, when it suddenly made its announcement. She nearly died.
  • Made her one of those “pass the ring along the bendy wire” games that you need a steady hand to play. You know the type: you sometimes see them at school science days. She has Parkinson’s disease. How we laughed as she chased us around the house in slow-motion, trying to kick the shit out of us.
  • Built an earwig farm in our bedroom. An earwig farm is just what it sounds like: we kept dozens of earwigs. Slight construction problem: the farm was made from Lego, and the earwigs escaped en masse every single night. Didn’t stop us, we just went out and found some more.

But the oddest thing my parents did was to put carpet on the bathroom floor.

It was the 70s, but still.

When I think back to it now, I realise that having a carpet in your bathroom is, quite frankly, the biggest snub to basic hygiene that I can imagine. Because my household included three males, and at every moment of the last 40 years at least one of those males was either drunk or potty training.

Even stone-cold sober I have my doubts about my ability to piss straight. Every man reading this will agree, and every woman reading this will agree and be furious about it. But I have to defend myself: my penis is a stupendously poor instrument for urinating through. Or for anything else, for that matter.

“It’s not impossible. I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home”

Women, a group of people who are never wrong, often complain about men’s inability to hit a 3 square foot bowl, right between their feet, only 9 inches away.

But to be honest, that’s a bit unfair, because women have it easy. They don’t have to piss via this strange, gently squirming object that looks like the chestburster putting a sweater on. When liquid comes out of a lady, it doesn’t have to negotiate a ring of skin that could be in any position, and is designed purely to bounce your stream of fluid off so you end up pissing like a watering can.

And women are, let’s face it, damn near in the bowl to start with.

If you leave the foreskin hanging in the stream, it causes… let’s call it “turbulence”. Every drop goes in a different direction, it varies wildly in speed and flow, and it’s impossible to prevent dribbling. If you pull back the foreskin the head of the penis is tightened, your tinkle-hole is pulled into unpredictable shapes, and your piss comes out at the speed of light and in a strange, star-shaped stream that starts as narrow as a pin-head, but is over a mile wide by the time it gets to the bowl.

Either way you have startlingly little control. The penis is designed to direct piss away from the body, not to direct piss into a toilet. Frankly the penis doesn’t care where it ends up. It’s a bit like the baggage handlers at Manchester Airport, but less smelly.

I say the penis is “designed”, but of course the penis isn’t designed at all, and I think this, combined with marble tiles, is what makes Republicans so angry (sorry, I may have drifted away from my point a bit).

My only explanation for the existence of a carpet in my parents’ bathroom is that it hid the rogue splashes, whereas they just linger on the tiles, forming small pools of ammonia where earwigs can easily die. I’m moderately confident that in my parents’ youth, carpets in bathrooms were the norm, and all those carpets soaked up the urine into a dark, gnarly ring around the toilet plinth. So back then Republican men wouldn’t be confronted with facts. Just unzip, stare at the wall (and NOT at your cock, in case it turns you gay – I never said they were rational, did I). Then piddle wildly on the rug without any consequence, and zip up and walk away. Nobody’s beliefs need to be challenged by that. Nobody has to think about the inadequacy of God’s perfect design.

But fast forward to the 80s, and we see the beginnings of the domination of the marble bathroom floor, which coincides neatly with the rise of religious fervour in the USA, and with the crisis of capitalism.

Tiled bathrooms mean the carpet no longer soaks up the piddle – it’s now splashed back onto your white, wealthy ankles, or left in standing pools around your bathroom. So you have to look down, take a bit of control, and be confronted with the evidence. It’s there in your own hand, and, if you’re not careful, trickling down your leg a bit: errant micturition and stinky puddles of piss! It’s just too much evidence for feeble minds to take. You can’t avoid the conclusion that… deep breath… there is no God!

Let’s face it, what kind of supreme being could design a penis? The whole male genital area is a farce, and it drives Republicans insane to know their beliefs are utter poppycock. Excuse the pun.

So what do they do when confronted with this problem?

  1. shout louder and louder about how ace God is in the hope that noise and enthusiasm will make it all true
  2. get mad at gay people because they hate having to look at their own penis, and don’t understand anybody who actually does that for fun
  3. get a Colombian immigrant to clean up the tiles and wash their trousers
  4. become very jealous of how good ladies are at piddling

This explains everything you need to know about the modern Republican party:

  1. they’re so religious and anti-science that if you exchange the word “God” for the word “Allah”, you could mistake them for the Taliban
  2. they dispise and fear homosexuality in equal measure
  3. they hold the poor and minorities in contempt, except as people who can be called upon to clean up their mess
  4. they have a dysfunctional relationship with vaginas.

Ah, vaginas. How I’ve missed talking about you.

There’s been a lot of talk in recent weeks about vaginas and breasts. Being British, we’ve been obsessed with breasts, because, well, they’re funnier and there are twice as many of them (four times if you include John McCririck). But in America it’s different: vaginas have performed a very important role in the non-election of Mitt Romney.

We’ll come back to cunts later, but first…

Titter ye not.

Britain: the land where breasts are unavoidable. It turns out that in the UK, norks form an integral part of the news gathering and dissemination industry. Several of our most popular newspapers are simply unable to tell us about Quantitive Easing unless they accompany the discussion with topless photos of Stacy from Gravesend, who has strong views on the EU, a fine set of heaving funbags, and a pout that looks like it was sliced from the corpse of Frankie Howerd.

This, apparently, is essential. I’m sure we’ve all seen those woodcuts of tarts with big tits adorning Shakespeare’s First Folio. Nobody would take him seriously unless they could turn the page and have a quick wank. What light from yonder window breaks? It’s your mum, coming in to catch you spaffing on your tummy.

Some of those feminist types, concerned that this constant bombardment of facile bints in our daily news might be having a deleterious effect on our national psyche, have demanded No more page 3. But what would our nation be without the right to demean women and detract from real issues?

Better. That’s what our nation would be.

On the other side of the Atlantic they’ve been much more obsessed with vaginas. A startling number of so-called “social conservative” Republicans have got into a rare old tizzy over women’s dew-speckled love-caverns. They (the Republicans, not the cunts… I know, they’re interchangeable terms) include the lovely Todd Aiken, a man who prides himself in a 100% record of never colliding with facts, and who believes that women’s wombs somehow “shut down” when a “legitimate rape” is committed.

And then there’s Richard Mourdock, a man so vile even Rupert refuses to share a spelling with him. Mourdock delights in the belief that God intends rape to happen. It happens, and everything that happens is God’s will, so God must want rape. Presumably God also intended Richard Mourdock to be kicked out of office, because thankfully, that happened too.

Not content with pardoning violent criminals who help themselves to your womb, a significant number of Republicans also want to force women to be prodded and poked on an industrial basis, employing the very doctors they don’t want to be available to the poor, to do “trans-vaginal” testing of pregnant women. To you and me, that’s shoving a pipe up you for absolutely no medical advantage. Just because they can. Just because they’re men and you’re not. Just to show you who’s in charge.

And these people rant about small government… apart from when it helps them to demean and control women, blacks, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, the disabled, the poor, the mentally ill, the unarmed, the uninsured, leftists, centrists, socialists, Atheists, Muslims, Sikhs, nations who need relieving of their stock of oil or, frankly, anybody who just looks a bit funny.

I’m a bit of a lefty, in a thoughtful, sensible “steady-on-now, let’s not go too far” kinda way. I’m unapologetic about it, at least as far as any Englishman can be anything without apologising slightly: if you punched me in the face I’d bumble that I’m sorry for all the inconvenience I’d caused your fist.

But I don’t hate government, not even the current British government of right-wing ideologs and spineless toadying fuckwits. I don’t hate them, any more than I hate vaginas or tiles. In my opinion this idiotic cabal of Etonian gobshites are a dismal failure who had one economic idea (cutting our way to growth), which has been tried literally 176 times worldwide since 1980 and never worked. But I don’t hate them. I just think they’re idiots.

Likewise I don’t hate their supporters. I find it confusing, that’s all: confusing that anybody could vote for a party which is hell-bent on dismantling the NHS which we own and have paid for; and who can’t recognise that private companies are often utter scoundrels who pillage our national assets then fuck off to Belize with the takings. But I don’t hate people for voting that way. I’m sure Belize is very nice, if you need a warm, sunny place to hide your £300 million.

But the idea that you can hold such visceral, groundless and – let’s face it – reckless hatred for your government… well, it baffles me. Especially as the government is, in every sense, the nation. Obama is one man, and maybe you like him and maybe you don’t. But underneath him are about 40 million anonymous Americans, some of them Democrats and some Republicans, some with vaginas, some with penises… probably a few with both (let’s hope they don’t live in Alabama!). Possibly a few of those people still have carpets in their bathrooms, and I hope its preserving their faith as much as its dismantling their immune system.

But all of them are simply working to keep the nation on the rails. Do you hate all of those people? All those firemen and teachers and soldiers and social workers? Of course not. So how can you hate your government.

So that’s it: my theory, which I hope you enjoyed. It’s a theory about penises and marble tiles. And if you didn’t like it, try this theory: Republicans have, at some point piddled on their tiles, slipped in the dribblings, and banged all the logic and compassion out of their heads. I simply hope that they do it again sometime soon, and invent a Flux Capacitor so they can all go back to 1955, and feel right at home.

Frankly, Back to the Future might just as well have been their election slogan….

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It’s all kicking off in monkey-land

I’m mostly monkey.

But so are you. In fact, you’re not even mostly monkey – you’re mostly banana. A significant part of you is yeast, and I’m not just talking about that embarrassing itch (to quote the mighty Belle and Sebastian, “there are potions you can take to hide your shame from all those prying eyes”).

I say this not to promote one the greatest bands you’ve never heard of, but to tell you why I’m slightly apologetic about all this “women are whores” business. You’ve probably never heard of that either, so I’ll give you the run-down.

  1. @katy_red wrote a blog about things men shouldn’t do/be, which included a peroration about the horrors of “going Dutch”. Men, she said, should always pay for dates.
  2. In a reply on the Honey and Cream blog I made a crass, not very funny joke about women who demand payment for a date being – and in my defence I didn’t use the word – prostitutes.
  3. I then posted a very silly, utterly pointless, and deliberately irritating mock-apology, and assumed it was all done with, and we could move on with our lives.
  4. And now @girlonthenet has added her own take on it, which is smart and incisive and means there’s a chance it could rumble on, and everyone will start to feel slightly peeved. This is the internet – nobody wants smart and incisive, we just want trolls and tits.

First of all, you’re right: all of this is a pointless, narcissistic storm in a teacup; why should a bunch of intelligent people spend so much time having little squabbles like this, and then treating them to a Levison-style enquiry? I should just leave it alone and go back to my forthcoming treatise on what the fuck has gone wrong with everything in the world.

But it bothers me that people might think I actually believe that women who insist men pay for the date are tantamount to whores.

And that’s where the monkey comes in. You see, I’m mostly a monkey. A few thousand generations of rutting hominids later I can put on my own shoes if you give me a few goes, and if I’m accompanied by a responsible adult I can often be trusted to fetch a coffee.

But underneath all of that I’m still an ape. We all are, although not many have got a back as hairy as mine, so maybe I’m more ape-like than, say, Duncan Goodhew.

Before we were monkeys we were something else, and before that something else again, going right back to being lizards and fish and fruit and yeast. It’s all still in you, so next time you fancy a banana, remember that’s a very mild form of cannibalism. You can’t deny it, folks: it’s science.

Actually, a lot of people do deny it. I should, at this point, explain that I’m dating a lovely girl who is a student of disability rights, and she’s going to go mental about the term I’m going to use (and possibly about the use of the word “mental”). But anyone who denies evolution is either a Republican presidential candidate or a fucking retard.

I said retard. Now I’ve got another apology to write.

But you know I’m right: people who think a self-created creator said “alakazam” one morning 6000 years ago and – ping! – as if by magic,there’s the universe with every species fixed and unchanging, as though pickled in aspic? Those people are mentally subnormal in a way that hasn’t yet been classified appropriately by medical authorities. So in the absence of a better term, I think “fucking retard” is perfectly appropriate.

I’m in so much trouble.

The thing is, I’m a great believer in science. I think people with contempt for science are, by and large, utterly deluded, and overlook absolutely overwhelming evidence that science is, by its very nature, a method of finding truth. If the truth annoys you and your magical, invisible friend in the sky, that’s not science’s fault: science doesn’t have a doctrine except for “I want evidence”. Individual scientists might have an axe to grind, or a theory to promote: as human beings, not all scientists are bereft of self-aggrandisement or corruption. And science as an “industry” has made mistakes, although there are sound reasons for that (Richard Feynman, as always, said it better than anyone else).

But – and this is the important thing – rationality’s mistakes have always been resolved by more rationality. Whereas religion’s mistakes are never made any better by more religion. That just compounds the problem.

So as a sciency type of nerd, I naturally resort to a sciency explanation for human behaviour: a mixture of biology, physics, evolution and anthropology.

And this is why I think it’s entirely natural for men to have an urge to pay for dates, and for women to have an urge to sit back and let us do it. Many of our actions are just sophisticated elaborations on the actions of ancient ancestors. As a cave-man, the thing that would make me attractive to a mate is the ability to feed her. I would walk casually in through the cave entrance with a dead boar over my shoulder, throw it next to the fire, and lie back to be gratuitously, moistly “thanked” by a horde of hungry and nubile Raquel Welshes.

That’s me, paying for the date.

Men, you see, are hunters. And women are gatherers. So while my “sophisticated elaboration” has turned hunting for meat into handing my Visa card to the waitress, women’s “sophisticated elaboration” has turned gathering nuts and berries into collecting shoes.

Dammit, that’s another apology I’ll have to write.

It’s written into our DNA: paying for a date makes me feel like a “man” (whatever that is) in the same ape-like, laughable way that winning a fight in a pub car park does. It may not impress women as much as we want it to, but men are driven to act like this by primal urges that we simply cannot control.

Similarly, women want to be dominated… come back feminists, don’t be like that! I mean it. I’m talking in a totally general way, and about a primordial, anthropological set of behaviours that can be explained by our ancient ancestors struggling to survive on the Serengeti. It made evolutionary sense for females to seek out a man who was strong and powerful, and who could lead the tribe and provide food and protection for the young. That’s why female gorillas compete to be impregnated by the silverback – he’s the biggest, strongest, most dominant male.

Hence, women want a dominant man.

Hence, women want to be dominated sexually.

It’s just a fact. You like to be thrown across the bed by a big strapping fella, who then leaps on, holds you down, and refuses to respect you for half an hour. A man’s sex face is, by and large, a “sophisticated elaboration” on bearing his teeth and growing and looking fearsome. It’s dominant behaviour.

I’m obviously using “sophisticated elaboration” for comic effect in this instance. My sex face looks like I’m trying to have a particularly troublesome beer-shit after running a marathon.

But the fact that we’re all beasts isn’t necessarily something we need to be proud of or happy about, and it’s certainly not a fact that sits comfortably alongside estimable modern innovations like feminism and equality. Truth is, we’ve only been modern man for a few millenia, and that’s barely the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. Our primal urges aren’t hiding below the surface, they’re bursting through all over the place, and make all of us look stupid sometimes.

All of which is intended to say that if I buy dinner, I don’t necessarily think that makes you a hooker (although a blowjob-of-gratitude would be nice). It simply means that deep inside me is an urge to provide. And deep inside you is an urge to find a provider.

But a good definition of the word “civilisation” is the ability to overcome primitive urges. Otherwise we’d all be constantly murdering strangers and sexual rivals, and honestly m’lud, I haven’t done that in ages. In other words, just because most of me is a monkey, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t occasionally offer to cough up for a round on a date. We’re struggling to leave behind all that ape-man nonsense, and preremptory demands that we give in to our baser instincts don’t help.

Go Dutch. If it’s good enough for the Dutch, it’s good enough for us.

Pointless birthdays

Did you know the Earth is weightless?

Yeah, I know: it sounds like I’ve been on the crazy pills again, and you’re probably saying “if you think that, mate, have a go at picking it up”. But it’s true! Weight is a measurement of the influence of gravity on an object, and because the main thing that causes gravity around here is Earth, it becomes impossible to weigh it.

But it does have a mass: 5,212,000,000,000,000 tons. Think that’s big? Naah. It’s tiny. Look how big some things are.

But Earth is still growing, so give it a chance. Dust and tiny cosmic debris lands on Earth all the time, adding a few million tons to the weight every year, and slowing it down. Rick Waller probably had quite an influence on our speed too, like keeping an anchor in the boot of your car. But most of the time you’d never spot the changes to our planet. In fact, you’d probably be amazed how much stuff happens to our planet that you don’t notice.

For example, last year there was a massive earthquake off the coast of Japan. Lots of people in Japan noticed, because it got quite damp underfoot, the buildings kept toppling over, and they all glowed red with radioactivity for a while. But over here in the UK you only knew about it if you watched the news. The actual quake was undetectable to us.

But it was so powerful it tilted our entire planet on its axis by 17 cm, and added about half a second to the time it takes us to orbit the Sun.

Think of all those earthquakes down the centuries, millenia and eras. Several per year, many of them much larger than the Japanese quake. Think of all those half seconds added to our orbit. Is a year now the same as a year was when the mammoth roamed the planet? Undoubtedly not!

So why bother celebrating birthdays? What are we even measuring? Yesterday marked the point when I’d been around the sun 42 times. Whoop-de-do. It looks the same from every angle as far as I’m concerned, so what’s the big deal? I’ve been round IKEA more than 42 times, and it seemed to take longer too, so why don’t I get a card for that?

(Not that I got many cards. It’s one of the things that the internet is killing off. I got a few texts and emails, and somebody threw virtual livestock at me on Facebook, but real-life, physical cards seem to be teetering on the brink of extinction, along with handwriting and newspapers.)

The whole “age” thing is meaningless, and that’s not just because I feel narked about only getting one card, dammit. I really feel that it’s utterly pointless to count birthdays after the age of 12. I used to think it was worth counting up until 65, so you knew when to retire. But the retirement age seems to be accelerating away from me faster than I’m aging, and I’m pretty convinced my fate is to work until I keel over dead, and have my pay docked if I stop generating income for the International Entirety Corporation one second before my heart stops splashing in my chest.

To me, the effect of every birthday since I got into double figures has been as undetectable as the Japanese earthquake on Earth. Sure, it changed stuff, but in such a tiny, unnoticeable way that it might as well have happened to somebody else on the other side of the planet.

I’m sure at one point in my life, age mattered. It wasn’t just years we counted, it was months, and in some cases the days. The fact I was a weekend older than Wayne Perry meant it was OK for me to steal his egg sandwiches on the school bus. Whereas these days, a 10, 15 or 20 year difference between me and my friends doesn’t mean a damn thing (although I do miss those egg sandwiches).

When you’re a kid you assume birthdays will be a rite of passage. I remember being wildly excited to reach 13, because it meant I was a now a teenager. But I hated being a teenager, just like every other teenager does, so that was a pointless birthday.

I mistakenly assumed being 16 meant I was a man, but it didn’t: it just meant I could legally buy cigarettes and watch The Transformers: The Movie. But I’ve never smoked, and The Transformers was a terrible movie the first time around. So that was a pointless birthday too, and I wished it had never happened, if it happened at all. I don’t remember anything about it, and I probably spent it like I spent Wednesday the 9th August 1986.

(I have absolutely no idea what I did on Wednesday 9th August 1986. It was just a day, like every other day is, and neither that date nor my 16th birthday mean anything to me.)

I was sure I’d become a man at 18, but I didn’t: I remained a specky geek with skin that made me look like I had the plague, and a magical superpower that made me invisible to women. At least they couldn’t see my festering face, so it wasn’t all bad.

At 25 I started to overhear parents in shops tell their errant brats to “behave or that man will shout”, and it after failing to see which man they were talking about it eventually dawned that it was me; and that consequently I might be drifting into adulthood, and becoming a tool for parents to scold their kids. It gave me a false sense of my own importance, and I experimented with giving people advice, like I knew a damn thing about life. I quickly gave up my career as an oracle because I still felt like a teenager. So what was the point of the previous dozen birthdays, each of which had drifted past without a trace?

I’d been promised 30 would bring big changes, but in all honesty it felt like being 29, but very slightly later. And 29 felt like 28, 28 like 27, and so on, back to the time I slithered out of my mum.

When I was 35 I was asked for ID while buying a bottle of whiskey in Tesco, and it occurred to me that literally the entire previous 20 years may as well have not happened. I grew a beard so at least there would be some evidence of a physical change over a couple of decades.

I forgot my 40th birthday, literally. I got a text message in the evening, and suddenly realised it was 11 June, and I was at a milestone. I wasn’t excited, or scared, or freaked out. I probably did what I’m going to do after I’ve written this: have a cup of tea and make dinner. Not much happened in my 40th year, at least not much that changed me. My dad jossed it during that year, but that wasn’t a thing that happened to me – it happened to him. So that doesn’t count, does it? Oh, and I had cancer. But inside I felt the same as I always did, but with fewer kidneys.

I’m 42 now, and wonder if it’ll ever change. Will I always feel 17, even when I’m looking at a wizened husk in the mirror, and ordering a bath-chair online? I used to assume I’d feel grown-up when I moved out of the ancestral manse, or started a business, or was no longer scared of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. But all of those things happened half a lifetime ago, and I still feel like a superannuated teenager.

I’m starting to think Groucho was right: a man isn’t as old as he feels, he’s as old as the woman he feels.

A very sweary Olympics

Duck! I’m about to splash testosterone all over your screen.

Don’t worry too much: I’ve been splashing it around since I was 12 years old, often several times a day. It wipes off.

But here comes a big splash of testosterone all over your face: the Bugatti Veyron is one of the greatest achievements mankind has ever made. It’s a “Concorde moment”, one of those occasions that brings to mind Browning:

a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?

The Veyron is that heaven. It’s that sepulchral over-reach. Like Concorde, it’s something we didn’t need, but made anyway. Bugatti didn’t make a car that was as good as it needed to be. They didn’t make one which was slightly better than it needed to be. They made one miles better. To be exact, 14,163,479 miles better than it needs to be, which by coincidence is the average distance from Earth to Mars.

But Browning be damned: we’re not going to Mars. And we should be! It’s mankind’s next big leap, and looking back at the 1960s you can clearly see the massive benefit to the economy generated by the space programme. But where are the political giants today? Where are the men (or women) who will say “We will go to Mars this decade because it is almost insurmountable”? There are none. We’re led by midgets. In fact we’re not even led: our leaders, such as they are, don’t attempt to give us direction, they just listen to uneducated, disconnected mob mentality (that’s you and me, folks) and then shape their policies to appear as though they’re doing what we want them to.

Is this what you wanted? Look around. You asked for this, and now look. It’s a result of what we want, not what we need. We need to do something insurmountable. The history of man is the history of surmounting insurmountable hurdles, and it always benefits us.

But the first political question about Mars is this: how can you justify spending the estimated $100 billion it would cost to land a man there?

And my answer to that is: we do it all the time. Look at the Fucking Olympics (that’s their official title in my household). The Fucking Olympics is costing £14 billion, and that’s just the stuff that’s been admitted in public. It will cost more. Once you add the cost of policing, security, lost income from travel chaos, lost homes from scurrulous landlords and lost dignity from Boris Johnson, the total cost will probably be £20 billion.

Spent on, let’s face it, running about.

The cost of the next three Fucking Olympic Games would put a man on Mars. The Mars project would create 20 million jobs and cause a great leap forward in our technological (and spiritual) lives. It would draw the planet together in a profound way which anybody under the age of about 55 simply cannot grasp, because the last time anything remotely similar happened was 1969.

Whereas the Fucking Olympics is a school sports day with pretensions of greatness. The constituent parts happen week in, week out, and nobody gives a shit. Really: when did you last tune in to watch the archery? Or yachting? Or even “exciting” things like the 100 metres? All we’ve got for our £14-£20 billion is a way for “democratically” elected dictators to wank out a massive, pointless vanity project; and for approximately 200 people who run, jump and skip really well, to run, jump and skip really well in a shiny stadium.

Do you know who Neil Armstrong is? Yes.

Do you know who Andreas Thorkildsen is? No. And you never will. Even if you Google him right now, the information will vanish from your brain within 60 seconds, because it’s fucking useless, just like everything about the Fucking Olympics.

We’re currently on day 5 of a 70 day programme of “running around with a torch”, which is intended to make me feel excited. But it doesn’t, because I can replicate it perfectly by jogging to the shop carrying a candle. And all it’s promoting is yet more running about.

The Fucking Olympics is already fucking annoying me. So in future, here’s my plan:

  • All Fucking Olympics to be held in Greece. Why constantly build new stadiums at vast expense and for no conceivable purpose? Really? If you give a flying, frisbeeing fuck about the 4×400 women’s relay, pop over to Athens and watch it there. I’ll agree that the Olympics should be held outside of Greece when the Baseball World Series is held in Swaziland.
  • All Fucking Olympic athletes to be chosen at random. You know Mrs Winkelstien down the road? Yeah, she’s doing the pole-vault this year, dicky hip or not. Come on, you know that would be more fun to watch, and at least the Chinese wouldn’t always win.
  • No more spending on Fucking Olympics until it can be shown to benefit mankind. Even if it’s just with a new form of velcro (which is what most people assume is the only benefit of the space program, the fools)
  • And every news channel must stop banging on about the Fucking Olympics, because – shock – it’s NOT FUCKING NEWS! Today they stopped reporting about the collapse of the entire world’s economy to tell us that the World’s Gayest Firelighter had been carried from Ilfracombe to Woolacombe – and they even had reporters on the spot to find out if local children cared (they didn’t, they just liked being on telly). When we’re all living in a cave, scratching out a meagre existence by making soup from the bones of our fallen relatives, we can look back on this as the moment we should have spotted how fucked up we were.

So that’s It. It’s It with a capital I. I want to hear no more about “amateur athletes” who get paid a fortune to do nothing but sports; or the “Fucking Olympic ideal”, which now incorporates the world’s largest McDonalds; or the “honest nobility” of millionaire yachtsmen who got trained by private schools to “represent” Great Britain, a nation whose citizens they actually would piss on if we were on fire. Piss on, and laugh.

That’s literally It. I’m off to Mars until the whole Fucking Olympics has vanished up all 5 of its Fucking Rings.

Evolution in a nutshell

It’s pretty simple.

Do you look exactly like your parents? I mean, literally identical? You may have your mum’s nose, and your dad’s ears, but you’re not a carbon copy. You are different.

What happened there, you see, is evolution. You were created by mixing two sets of genes, and the result was something pretty similar, but not exactly the same. You may have the colouring of your parents, or if they’re tall it’s quite likely you will be too. But you’re not literally identical.

It’s called mutation.

Now multiply that by a few thousand generations. Bingo. Evolution. And the earth has been here for 4.2 billion years, with life for the last 2 billion. There’s been plenty of time!

“Ah”, I hear you say, “I accept that evolution might make humans have darker skin or be taller, but it can’t change a mongoose into a squirrel”.

Let’s imagine a herd of grazing animals on the grassy plains of Africa. They’re a kind of antelope. Just as with humans, there is some small variation between individuals. Some are taller. Some are weaker. Some have better eyesight. It’s only a tiny difference, and most of the time it doesn’t count.

Then a lion attacks. The antelope with the best eyesight sees it first, and runs into some trees.

The taller one has longer legs, and can run faster, and he heads out onto the plain.

The weaker one gets eaten.

The antelope with the good eyesight hides in deep undergrowth, and meets another “good eyesight” antelope, and they have kids. This continues for many generations, with the eyesight getting better, and the animal getting smaller so it can hide in bushes. In time, you have a Dik Dik. Huge eyes, tiny body, timid.

The antelope with the long legs ran onto the plain, where there were taller trees. He met another tall antelope, and they had babies, who inherited some of the features of their parents, including being tall. The tall babies survived when a drought came, because they could reach leaves that were higher up. Over many generations, the trend was for the antelope to get bigger and bigger. Zip forward 200,000 years, and you have a giraffe.

In the meantime the lions are also going through an evolutionary arms race. Getting faster, stronger, smarter. One species pushes the other. Different environments produce different results.

It’s called Evolution, and it’s the truth.

Intelligent design.

Some people say “OK, we believe evolution happens” (because frankly, to deny it is like denying the sun exists). “But”, they say, “it’s happening because God directed it according to His intelligent design”.

And my answer to that is: the laryngeal nerve.

The laryngeal nerve is a nerve which goes from the brain to the larynx, and helps with swallowing (and in animals that can make sounds, it controls vocalisation).

It first developed in fish. It took the shortest route from the brain to the larynx. In a fish the heart is close to the brain, right up behind the gills. So the nerve travelled down from the brain, went behind the heart, and then to the larynx. Note it goes behind the heart. That was the shortest distance.

When fish evolved onto land (something the lungfish is still doing today, evolution fans) they needed to be able to move their head in new ways, so they could spot predators. So they developed more of a neck, and that meant some of the organs got pushed down into the torso. Including the heart.

The laryngeal nerve still went behind the heart, but had to take a longer route. It’s much easier to adapt something than to scrap it and start again, so that’s what evolution did: it just kept extending the nerve in each generation, tiny change by tiny change.

Every land animal, dinosaur, lizard, bird, mongoose, bear, whale, cat and human has evolved from those early fish. And in every one of us, the nerve that controls our swallowing and vocals starts at the brain, leads down the neck, wraps around our heart, and back up again to the larynx.

Even the giraffe. A 22 foot long nerve to pass a signal to the larynx, which is only 4 inches away from the brain.

Intelligent design? If that’s as good as God gets, He’s not intelligent at all. And that’s not a design. That’s the result of unplanned chaos.

The truth is, evolution is random and uncontrolled, and only has the appearance of being “designed” in the same way that the water in a puddle fits perfectly into the depression in the ground. Nobody designed the water, it just works that way because of the laws of physics and chemistry.

Similarly, nobody “designed” a Dik Dik, it’s just the best solution for the environment it’s in. Change the environment, and the animal changes too.

You are all atheists!!

I have accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal saviour.

No I haven’t, I just wanted to know what it felt like to use those words in that order. It’ll never happen again, because I believe in God about as much as you do.

Which is hardly at all.

You: No, that’s not true, I really believe in God a lot!

Mole rat: There are over 3000 Gods currently being worshipped. You don’t worship 2999 of those. So you’re 99.93% atheist. And that’s even ignoring the old Gods that nobody follows any more, like Baal or Thor or Zeus. In Namibia there’s a God of Cabbage. Worship him too, do you?

This is the real history of the Bible.

Most of the Old Testament was based on a series of existing myths, including some Baalism and some Zoroastrianism. A few names were changed, and a whole bunch of different legends were merged to form the character of Abraham. But essentially, the Old Testament it’s an amalgam of about 20 or 30 local stories from various tribes in northern Egypt, Syria and Palestine.

At the time it was begun, only about 1 in every 100,000 people could read or write. Writing was in its infancy, and most of the Old Testament was oral history, passed from generation to generation. And you know how accurate Chinese Whispers can be. Try doing it for 1000 years, and see how much the facts get warped.

Then along came the New Testament, which was begun in the year 130 AD. Until then, as with the Old Testament, it was just oral history. The first Bible as we’d know it is called the Sinai Codex, and was written around 160AD. In it, Jesus was not the son of God. That bit was added later.

In fact, a lot was added later. In the Old Testament, it was predicted that a Messiah would be born in Jerusalem. So it became necessary to show that Jesus was born there, or the whole myth falls apart. Therefore, somewhere around the year 300, some unknown scribe decided to add that story about the Roman census, which forced Mary and Joseph to travel from Egypt to the land of their great, great, great, great, great grandparents; and the whole business with Herod killing the babies, etc.

Four small problems:

  • The Romans didn’t hold a census that year. Records exist. They had a census in Palestine in 48BC, and another in 80AD. But none in the year zero.
  • If the Romans held a census, they’d want to know where you live. Not where your great, great, great, great, great grandparents lived. It’s like having a census now and asking you to register at the address your forebears lived at in the year 1862.
  • Even if, for some insane reason, the highly organised Roman Empire decided to hold the craziest census ever, and you really did have to register where your great, great, great, great, great grandparents lived, the question remains: which set of great dot-dot-dot grandparents? You’d have 64 of them. Do you go to visit the graves of the ones in Jerusalem, or the ones in Kent? What are the rules? Has anyone in a church ever thought about this shit?!
  • Oh, and Herod was dead by the time of Jesus’ birth. He’d been dead at least 12 years. Even his wife, Doris (I’m not making that up, she really was called Doris Herod) was dead.

The insane “birth” lie is just one example of the garbage that was added to the original Bible. And a lot was removed too. The Book of Judas, for instance. Scrapped. Didn’t fit with the story the church wanted to tell.

You see, the early Christian church was simply absorbed into the Roman Empire, which used the Jesus story to consolidate power. Roman Empire > Holy Roman Empire. Bingo. Just like that. Rebranded. And to seal the deal, Jesus was given some of the same back-story as the existing Roman god, Dionysus Bacchus. Such as:

  • Virgin birth
  • Born on 25th December
  • Dad was a god, Mum was a mortal
  • Changed water into wine
  • Encouraged his followers to take Eucharist (“this bread is my body” was his catchphrase)
  • Nickname was Yeusus. Not a million miles from Jesus, is it? Even closer in Arameic, where the letter Y is pronounced J.
  • Rode into town on a donkey, welcomed by adoring crowds bearing palm leaves
  • Was known as the King of Kings, and the Lamb of God
  • Died and came back to life after 3 days

You can trust the Bible like you can trust Fox News.

And it didn’t stop in the year 300. Up until the Council of Bishops in 1650, bits were still being added. We all know you can go back and edit your CV to make you sound a bit better, but if you’re writing a history of the creator of the universe (which is what Christians claim), surely you don’t just make it up? Surely there’s some alternative source for all this new material?

So where is that source?

Well, there isn’t one. For 1650 years, it was just invented.

We’re used to thinking about the past, and for some reason 1650 AD doesn’t seem too far away from the year zero. So put it into perspective. Imagine the story of Nelson Mandella, a modern-day figure who is widely respected and has great ideas about peace and freedom and social justice.

Now imagine giving that story to a bunch of people who want to use it to preserve their power and dominate others, and telling them they can add or subtract anything they want from the story until the year 3,650.

Think it’d still be accurate?

Think the Bible is true?

I’m not saying every word in the Bible is wrong. Or that ideas about peace and justice and equality are bad. There is plenty in the Bible that is admirable, but it’s all stuff that we already believe, Jesus or no Jesus. Do you think we just went around slaughtering each other without moral consideration before the Ten Commandments? Have we stopped doing it since? Of course not.

And before I finish, a brief word on the Ten Commandments. Which ten? Somebody chose the ten. Yes, they all appear in the Bible, but they’re mixed in with over 600 other Commandments. There’s nothing that says those ten are the best ones. One of them is that it is a mortal sin (i.e. you spend the rest of eternity in Hell) if you wear mixed fibres. Leviticus 19:19. Check it out. It’s insane.