Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

"I wanted to have you as my English teacher again this year."
"And I wanted you back. But stop your whinging: You've got a good teacher. He's working out well, isn't he?"
"Yeah. He gave the class this big speech today, where he said 'I can't force you to learn, I can't put a gun to your head and make you learn' - It was straight up."
"That's where me and him differ."
"I know. You would have said 'I can force you to learn', and you would have gotten a gun from somewhere."
"Yeah, not that his way's not without merit..."

So, not all bad then, as weeks go...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

I remember the brouchure they showed me when I was considering becoming a teacher: "Long holidays; knock off mid-afternoon; hot and cold running strikes; never put in a full day's work so long as you live!"

That's certainly what I had in mind this afternoon when I had last period off: Headed out the door at half past two, bus fare in hand.

An hour and a half later, I actually left school, sneaking out the back way to avoid the violence-prone parent camped out the front again whom I've managed to annoy, having to circle round to a nearby cashflow machine because I've given my bus fare to a student who had no way home.

I've watched Goodbye Mr Chips from start to finish, dammit, and all four seasons of Welcome Back Kotter - even after Gabe Kaplan left, and I don't remember this happening in any of it...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Conspired North

That Morthos Stare writes:

Reuters, AAP

This just in; the Northern Hemisphere is awash in conspiracies. Our man on the spot, Mr. Matthew Dentith, has the news.

"Good evening. I'm sitting here in Marylebone shaken to my very core by the revelations that the streets of London have revealed over the last week. Conspiracies, long rumoured to the blood and bone of American politics, have crossed the oceanic divide and made themselves known to the otherwise peaceful and long-term pacifist Britons.

A flower store or something more sinister?"Nearby in the heart of Mayfair, London's notorious Bavariantown, the Illuminati, long rumoured to be the wetdream of the VRWC and a bogeyperson to the Left, have not just arisen unholy from the grave but have started opening shops to peddle their delicious and subversive thought-crimes. This reporter was able to take this shaky phonecam picture near the American Embassy before being shoved along by a police officer armed only with a sub-machine gun. That the Illuminati have reappeared on a sound economic basis can only mean that Britain's long-standing policy of keeping Europe divided has fallen into disarray. The European Economic Consortium, better known as the anagram 'EU,' goes from strength to strength and the UK, always with the hating of 'Johnny Foreigner,' has had to contract out to the natural enemy of freedom, democracy and clean underwear, the Bavarian Illuminati.

You'd be wrong to think that such structures only exist in Prague..."Further proof comes to use from one Mr. James Hall, whose efforts in photographic journalism have not gone unnoticed. This structure, currently being built in Cheswick, appears to be a triangular structure built into a wall that towers above the township. Could this be an Illuminati temple? This reporter says 'Yes' wholeheartedly. The structure, probably made from the ground down bones of babies and OAPs, will likely be illuminated at night by one hundred torches made from the fats of royal personnages rendered down by the factories owned by Tory fatcats. Sensationalism, one might argue, but other sinister moves in the United Kingdom only prove this reporter's fears.

What other body parts are being traded in the CBD?"Harley Street has long been the medical centre of the Western world, with the very best of the surgical world having their exclusive cosmetic practices upon its hallowed streets. This reporter, however, has uncovered the sinister practices of these upper-middle class quacks whose nightly practices would leave a Cthulhu worshipper feeling dirty. Yes, somewhere within the bounds of Zone One a trade in human hearts is taking place. Where these important muscles are being sourced from can only be the lower classes, once oppressed by Thatcher herself. The Cockney spirit, weakened by years of economic repression and the realisation that foreigners, like this very reporter, are taking away their livelihood, are now sacrificing themselves in the hope that the monies earnt from this foul trade will be enough to shift their families to the safety of Milton Keynes or Swansea. Government officials deny any knowledge of this organ trade, insisting that the signs have been misread. I ask you; what does 'Heart Hospital Deliveries' signify to you.

"The UK. No longer the land of the free and the brave; it's very spirit is threatened by malign forces. This is Matthew Dentith, the last free-thinking individual in the bounds of the United Kingdom, signing off this special report."

Cosmetic surgery gone wrong or an indication of unlicensed genetic transplantion?Editor's note: Mr. Matthew Dentith's libellous attacks on Harley Street Medicos is thought to spring from his discovery of what one of these said cosmetic surgery's did to the late-great Alvin Stardust. The fine minds at Brainstab would like to disassociate themselves from these remarks and simply point out that the ravages of time are unfriendly to all men.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Headline Watch

Josh writes:

Nigerians 'planted drug in my gnomes' -- not bad, the Herald. Not bad.

Yeah, that's all -- it's Friday afternoon for Christ's sake.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Of Teacups, and the Storms Therein

Josh writes:

Oh, for -- what did I just say?

Just when you thought the Danish comics thing was the most blatantly manufactured bit of "outrage" around, along comes the NZ media to whip up a bit of bovver over the "Bloody Mary" episode.

It's one fucking episode of a fucking cartoon. An episode that is primarily concerned with taking the piss out of Alcoholics Anonymous, in which the Mary statue thing is just a side-plot. An episode from a cartoon that has featured (just off the top of my head) Cartman trading in aborted foetuses, Paris Hilton sticking a pineapple up her vagina, and Mr. Garrison inventing a vehicle that works by repeatedly shoving dildos in and out of every orifice, which is then seen being sold to old ladies and children. An episode that has been cannily brought forward by CanWest to A) cash in on the controversy while it's hot and B) make sure it dies away quickly.

In response, the Herald has rushed out a column from Master Curmudgeon Garth George (brought forward from his usual Thursday slot) to stir things up a bit more. It doesn't seem to be up on the Herald's website yet, but his basic argument is that the South Park episode is much worse than the Danish cartoons, because... um... the images are moving? And it's aimed at lots of people. And Catholics really love and revere Mary (as opposed to Muslims, who just think Mohammed's kind of nice).

What does this teach us?

  1. CanWest are not stupid
  2. Those segments of the Catholic Church protesting it are stupid (or possibly involved in some sort of dirty conspiracy, as hinted at by Señor Estupido here).
But seriously: panties. With the unbunching. Now, please.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I walk with disaster, prefer to be plastered

Apathy Jack writes:

Student 1 "I don't fucking understand this shitty work."
Student 2 "Why do you have to add swear words into every sentence you say?"
Me "I'm pretty sure it's because she's got Tourette's Syndrome to go along with her Munchausen's Syndrome."
Student 1 "I've told you: Stop diagnosing me with things that I don't know what they are!"

So, let's have a quick scan of the "negatives" column for today, shall we?

The assault just outside the school gates by an enraged parent would probably count; My ex-student twisting on the end of some manner of clerical error that is jepordising her entry into tertiary study; Having to walk a student out of school because she was not physically safe come the end of the day; Oh, and the fact that I had to have the following conversation about the miscarriage of one of my seventeen year olds:

"I'm sad about that."
"I'm not."
"Well, yeah, I'm happy you're not pregnant, but I'm sad that you got pregnant, and I'm sad it ended up the way it did."


"Positives" column:

A long and in-depth discussion with a student about his dreams of becoming a published author. Who knows if there is a chance, but the English teacher in me like this ambition; The fact that I palmed Cruddy off onto my new goth; I was talking to one of the other teachers about one of the students she looks after (I'm not the only one who has projects) - outlining my plan to shoehorn him into some extra credits. "Thank goodness you're his English teacher," she said. Truth be told, ever since we got a couple of good ones last year, my reputation as the only one who gives a damn, and/or being the local miracle worker is no longer entirely deserved. Still, it lingers, and I'm not complaining; The latest timetable culling went well - I've shed just enough that I no longer have any sitting on the floor, but I've kept the list of damaged students I've decided to work with this year - most of them, anyway; The fact that the above, when all piled on top of each other in one day, meant that I only had twenty minutes of free time to plan two full lessons: the printers and photocopiers were all broken again, so I had no access to the resources I had planned on using.

I sat at my desk, jotted down three lines of notes to jog my memory come the periods, and had eighteen minutes to relax and unwind.

I love that I've been doing this long enough to do that.

Hey, that's more in the positive column than in the negative.

Good day.

"Hello sir, I've come to visit."
"Dammit! You still have a tresspass order out on you! You could be arrested if anyone catches you!"
"Well they won't catch me if you stop yelling so loud about me being here..."

I am Worthless

Josh writes:

Remember that link that went around a while ago where you put your salary in and it shows you that you're in the 99.99999th percentile of salaries worldwide, you greedy capitalist bastard?

I can't be bothered hunting down the link, but here's the antidote. Plug in your salary* and watch it tick up as you sit on your arse staring at a screen. For extra soul-destroying goodness, you can compare yourself to a number of high-paid CEOs, celebrities and public figures.

Oh, the fun to be had. Start it going just before you go for a bathroom break and see how much you just got paid for taking a shit! And then compare that to how much Paris Hilton makes while taking a shit! Then drink yourself into an early grave!

* It's all done in $US, but I just stuck my salary in in $NZ -- I figure cost of living considerations make them more or less the same.

Friday, February 17, 2006

"Sad" rhymes with "bad"

Josh writes:

Remember back in 6th Form (for those of you who went to school when there was a 6th Form) when you had to do poetry? Without exception, people took one of two approaches: either copy out some song lyrics and hope that your English teacher wasn't cool enough to recognise them, or churn out the most god awful teen angst shite your hormone-addled brain was capable of exuding. (Because at the age of sixteen, poetry was god awful teen angst shite as far as you were aware. My impression has yet to change.)

Even at the time I recall being faintly horrified at reading the efforts chosen for inclusion in the yearbook -- here were a bunch of people who I knew to be happy, upbeat individuals writing death and gloom and blackness as though they were war orphans with terminal cancer who drank black nail polish and eyeliner. Myself included. While I can't bring myself to reproduce the linguistic discharge I smeared onto the pages of our school publication (and I'd point out to those who may have a copy of said yearbook themselves that I can delete comments without a trace), I will admit to employing Teen Angst Staple #29: Repeating the same line in several different languages 'cause it's exo'ic.

My point is that I can claim extenuating circumstances: I was a gangly teenager with no more experience of the world than your average mayfly and therefore incapable of projecting anything resembling actual significance or profundity. Madonna, on the other hand, is in her mid 40s and has experienced more than most of us will fit into five lifetimes, most of it on camera.

So what's her fucking excuse for this?

London; it's a hell of a town!

That Morthos Stare writes:

Firs there was porn. And, lo, we thought with our genitals and we found it to be good.

Then there was Pirate Porn. We hoisted the jolly roger and bade maidens to seek out our mizzen masts.

Now, from the reprobates who help keep Americans overweight comes...

Pirate. Fetish. Machine.

Say it with me.

Pirate. Fetish. Machine.

High Holburn; it will never be the same again. Arrh!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentine's Day

That Morthos Stare writes:

Being a horrible troll of a human being I don't often get Valentine's Day cards; I think the count is about nine over the course of twenty-eight years (and some of those don't count because of the circumstances). Still, until today I had never received an anonymous card.

Anonymity in re Valentine's Day has always struck me as not-even-vaguely silly. Now I know exactly who sent this card. It falls into the 'bloody obvious' category for two reasons; a certain reference in it and the fact that, being new to the UK I know exactly who has my address (since only the local bank really knows I exist). So I ask, what is the point of the anonymity? Is it meant to foster attention? Make me think idle thoughts of love? Engage my rumpy-pumpy mechanism? Am I spelling 'anonymity' correctly? Probably not. Sorry, side-tracked. If the sender of my Valentine wishes to remain hidden then why send it? If she wishes to be revealed why not sign it?

Oh, I get it. It's obfuscation. If I decide to ignore the Valentine then she never need admit to it. If I decide to follow it then I'm still regquired to make the first move. Clever. Irritating. Still, endearing, although I belong to the 'Women should make the first move' society. Actually, this might count.

Talking about clever; I want to plug my Blogger profile because I had forgotten that I wrote this and I still find it funny:

Morthos (Brother Morthos to his friends) is a leading proponent of Intelligent Design Theory. He is the author of 'The Identity of the Designer Revealed: The Elder Things,' 'The False Designer: Cthulhu' and the educational pamphlet 'The Mystery Of What Happened to the Designer Solved: The Shuggoth.' He has been variously described; most people agree that he is the last of a dying breed of glorified dandies, fit only to commit high treason in this season's most fashionable colours.

Post ends.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Josh writes:

So Dick Cheney shot some dude in the face -- that's fucking awesome.

Not a big surprise, though -- if anyone was going to, it'd have been Cheney. Bush strikes me as more the sort to accidentally blow his own thumb off while cleaning a rifle, and Rumsfeld never touches weapons, master of unarmed fighting styles that he is.

Mind you, I just got back from the Third Annual Great Auckland Central Hero Debate, and having heard Dame Catherine Tizard use the phrase "cocks in frocks", I'm fairly certain surprise is a concept that no longer applies to me.

Making fun of midgets: Still funny

Apathy Jack writes:

“Mister, have I written enough here?”
“That should be enough.”
“It looks a little short.”
“Yeah, but so do you.”
“Good point. I’m finished.”

Friday, February 10, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

“Sir, what do guys want for Valentine’s Day?”
“Except for that.”
“Actually, that’s all I could think of...”


“Remember when my boyfriend got me that romantic poem?”
“He got it from his English teacher.”
“What’s your point?”
“You owe me a poem for my boyfriend. I'll need it before Valentine’s day.”
“I... Wait... You’ll have it by Monday...”

Lesser Known Moments of Hesitation: Cenobites and Your Reading Pleasures!

That Morthos Stare writes:

The greatest moment of hesitation in horror cinema must belong to Dr. Channard in 'Hellraiser 2: Hellbound' (to give it it's full title... Wait, that might be 'Clive Barker Presents... "Hellraiser 2: Hellbound"' or possibly even 'Clive Barker Presents... "Hellraiser 2: Hellbound" A Tony Randel Film' or even 'Clive Barker Presents... "Hellraiser 2: Hellbound" A Tony Randal Film starring Ashley Laurence.'

This could go on for days.

We know that this is, if not the greatest, one of the more major moments of hesitation in horror cinema because Dr. Channard, after unwillingly being turned into a Cenobite, utters the immortal line 'To think I hesitated.' That he then wages war upon Pinhead and Company (because he is no longer holding back now that he is a changed man) just goes to prove my point. Now I don't wish to spoil the film for you (but I will; neither Pinhead nor Channard win) but it strikes me that amongst the great moments of hesitation there must be examples of lesser known affairs. Moments of hesitation that are just as important as that of Dr. Channard's but hardly celebrated.

Thus inspired I turned to the history books and dragged out one of the more important but-little-known facts of hesitation relating to our erstwhile leader, Josh, of Company Brain Stab. For whilst it's a well known fact that Josh, along with all the members of the 'Brain Stab' Unintelligensia, is a lazy, apathetic bastard whose only motivating factor is the daily dolloping of fizzy caffeine that runs through his system this fact is so well known that no one really pays attention to it. Thus many exciting moments of Josh's hesitation are missed out upon because no one ever thought to think of them. Or, indeed, die the writer of this piece bother to think of parsing his sentences properly. No worry. Take, for example, this example of Josh setting up 'Brain Stab,' which I mention because it's the titular example which is, in itself, an example of the kind of thing I am, or at least planning to be, talking about.

'Clive Barker Presents... "Hellraiser 2: Hellbound" A Tony Randal Film starring Ashley Laurence with Wardrobe Consultancy provided by Clare Hastings.'

Sorry, got a little lost there. It is little known that every matter of importance in re 'Brain Stab' is always decided upon when I am not in Auckland. 'Brain Stab' was set up whilst I was in Egypt and it finally changed colour and opened its doors to the filthy outsiders at almost the very minute it was guaranteed I was in Blighty (and not, as rumoured, hiding under Josh's desk dressed only in a gimp mask). Yet this fact is also unremarked upon, mainly because it makes a great deal of sense. You see, Josh hesitated upon the setting up of 'Brain Stab' in its original blue incarnation entirely because his old mucker wasn't in situ but rather escaping the clutches of a tour guide under the Black Pyramid.

Yes, Josh hesitated. And well he might, for Morthos is the voice of arrogance masquerading as reason and had Morthos been present in the moments of 'Brain Stabs' creation he would have suggested, probably, that it be called 'Our Big Wank-off' and insisted that 'No Fat Chicks... Ever!' be not only its motto but also a guiding principle. There would also have been an insistence that every post end with the sentence fragment 'just like a chocolate milkshake up the arse, only crunchy!' Not because it is funny more because I like people adhering to standards I don't keep.

So, anyway, Josh hesitated. For your benefit, however, the likely lads, RSJS (improbably named Jellybean) and Jack (who insists he isn't a 'Babylon 5' reference even though I've seen him lust after my Victorian suit) forcibly broke both his arms and forced him to click on the Blogspot webpage with his nose.

'To think you hesitated,' I said upon my return. 'Bloody right you should have hesitated.' I think it was then that I truncheoned his red wrangler and set about deflowering his cuddly toys. 'Have you betrayed us?' I ranted. I could see in his eyes that he knew the madness was coming. 'Have you betrayed... me!' I shouted, all the louder.

When next I saw Joshua things were different. Perhaps it was the look in his eye or the way he handled the scapel; never before had the emasculation hurt so much or taken so long. I don't think he hesitated that time, although I did, when I joined the Vienna Boys Choir, once more.

But that's a different moment of hesitation altogether, just like a chocolate milkshake up the arse, only crunchy.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sort of like iron.

RSJS writes:

Fucking theme week, isn't it? How ironic I've misplaced the shite I wrote for it. Which isn't actually hesitation, it's incompetent boobery. I'm sure I'll find it but then be hesitant to post it outside the bounds of theme week so my lesser-known moment of hesitation is next week, and forever after. Except it's not lesser known now all you melon farmers know about it. I must therefore eat your brains and devour my secrets. Stand up and prepare for head-gobbling.

...oh for the love of Allah PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON.

Apathy Jack writes:

“Mister, did you ever have any teachers like you when you were at school?”
“What do you mean ‘like me’?”
“Did you have any teachers who ranted and raved and thought they were going to hell for the sins of their students?”
“No, I didn’t. Maybe that would have helped...”

Dear The World,

Josh writes:

OK, I want you to do me a favour: Stick your hand down your pants there, grab on to those panties and just unbunch the crap out of them. Really, go nuts -- don't worry, I'll turn away, but I'm not turning back until everything's back in order down there. Done yet? No, don't worry, take as long as you need.

I mean, for gosh sakes, Nancy -- they're fucking cartoons, half of which have been in circulation for months. What pisses me off more than anything is that most of the people involved on both sides seem to be frothing with outrage purely because they've been told to. It really goes without saying that blowing shit up and burning shit down for such a crappy reason is just all kinds of dumb, but an impressive level of assclownery has also been attained by those publications (both online and in the real world) that have been publishing the cartoons themselves, invariably with one of two attitudes:

"Here are those offensive cartoons that the world's worked up about -- boy, I sure hope I don't offend anyone. I hope people don't flock to my website/paper and lavish attention upon me because of this..."

"Ooh, look at me -- I'm a Warrior in the Great War of Cultures. Take that, enemies of Free Speech! I know you're out there. Somewhere."

Can we not just drop the "The West" vs. "Muslims" crap for once and all go back to laughing at Asians? (OK, I know Engrish humour is well past its use by date, but come on -- "It delivers the feeling of being stoked to you as the Santa Claus does"? Comedy. Fucking. Gold.)

Anyway, Hewligan says much the same thing over at Mutopia, only he's more encompassing in his scorn and isn't trying so hard to sound like Dr. Cox from Scrubs. Give him a try if this didn't get through to you.



Wednesday, February 08, 2006

No. Don’t. Stop.

Apathy Jack writes:

So, this guy has ignited some debate on the issue of when-is-it-too-late-to-say-no?

Of course, it is never too late to say no.

I know at least one person who has decided, mid-coitus, that she’d rather be elsewhere, so put a stop to things. That sounds reasonable to me – certainly, I imagine the guy in question felt quite hard done by, but he knew the rules.

However, in the comments section here, some chap called Justin raises the point (to paraphrase): If someone asks Man X to stop mid thrust, is it rape if he finishes the thrust? (Not, in this specific example, because of malicious intent, more, I believe the point was, due to physics.)

It certainly should be a black and white case, but when you get to that level, it does become grayer: Once you take it as read that you can stop halfway through – and we do take that as read – you then have to start talking about timeframes. Obviously sooner is better, and equally as obviously we are dealing in time-spans of seconds or less here, but, as I say, while not completely gray, not completely black and white either...

I think we need to make it very clear that it is a bad idea to let people into your bed if you don’t intend to sleep with them. Of course, as Span points out in the above link, it’s a trust thing – you don’t imagine you’re going to get raped by the guy you kindly let crash in your bed. (Certainly my student who was in this situation a while back didn’t – but the rapist got a slap on the wrist and some community service because this naivete meant it was only kinda sorta rape – a rape-esque incident - in the eyes of the law.)

Part of me wants to say “Don’t trust him the moment he’s in your bed.” But the other part of me remembers a march against rape that happened back in my Uni days. A bunch of activists and I asked if we could help out. Not only was our offer turned down, we were told that we could not walk in the march, because, as men, we were potential rapists, therefore everything that the march stood opposed to.

That lack of trust – that implicit accusation that I was the worst sort of criminal simply because I have a chromosome in common with three billion-odd other humans – still sticks in my mind all these years later.

I also remember a friend of mine who passed out on a bed at a party, and woke up to find that he was having sex. Specifically: a young woman had pulled his pants down and climbed on, not caring that he was unconscious, until the motion woke him from whatever sort of dream you have in that situation.

Again, a gray area: I know a bunch of guys who would be thrilled at such fortune, or at least would take it as good anecdote fodder. This guy, however, while not being as traumatised as some of the female rape victims I’ve known, did take it very, very seriously, and saw it as a horrible violation.

Y’know, I’m completely out of answers for this one. Thoughts?

Lesser Known Moments of Hesitation: Sloth

Apathy Jack writes:

I hesitated before doing this. So didn't get it done.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Lesser Moments of Hesitation: Um...

Josh writes:

Frankly, I got nothing. Except this:

"...so I said 'listen, assface: I don't care where you're Crown Prince of -- you'll be King of Myfootinyourassistan if you don't give the Pope back his Popestick.' But he didn't, so I totally kicked his ass and made him eat dirt and pantsed him and then he fell off the top of the Empire State Building and everyone cheered. Jesus said it was awesome."

"Did that really happen, Mr. President?"

"... Yes. Next question -- you in the front."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Lesser Moments of Hesitation: Up the Crete Without a Paddle

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Crete, May 1941. Greece has fallen to the naughty Germans, and General Freyburg (local lad made good) is the new commander for the island, taking over from General Wavell. Despite Crete being one of Churchill's pet interests for the past six months, saying that it would a crime if it fell to the Germans, Freyburg finds that Wavell has done sweet fuck all in preparing the island for battle - some of which could be excused due to the paucity of resources.

There are many things in Freybourg's favour. He is on an island - which saved Britain less than a year ago, and naval superiority. He has a good 45,000 men, and strong local support. Best of all, through Ultra intercepts, Freyburg knew the German battle plan, and was able to position his troops accordingly. For the Germans, although their troops were better, and better supplied with air superiority, they were under the misapprehension that there were only 5,000 British troops on Crete, and also suffered from that incomprehensible but common conceit that they would be welcomed as liberators.

The Germans launched Operation Mercury, their paratroop attack, on the morning May 20th, and it was a disaster. They Germans were heavily mauled and failed to take any of their objectives (the airfields), but that night and the next day a lesser moment of hesitation gave the island to the Germans. There is a phrase called "the fog of war", which refers to how messy and confusing battle is to all concerned. Communications break down, troops get isolated from their units, Generals don't know what is happening at the front line and when the enemy does something unexpected the front line troops don't know what the generals want them to do.

During the first night of the 20th, a fog of war event took place. There were some New Zealand troops overlooking Maleme airfield on a vital strategic spot called "Hill 107", they had been fighting all day, and their last attack with some of the only few tanks on Crete had failed. The defenders on the airfield had no radio. The only radio was at the command post, which was out of sight of the airfield. And out of sight of the airfield, thinking the Germans had broken through, and without any sign of reinforcements, the Command Post ordered a withdrawal from the hill.

You might think, no problem, the British probably ploughed up and mined the runway to make it unuseable. Unfortunately - in a classic case of stupidity - they didn't. On the morning of the 21st, a German Junkers 52 landed and took off again from Maleme airfield - proving that it was safe to bring troops in, which the Germans started doing. But still, all was not lost for the British, if their counterattack - planned for the morning of the 22nd - went well. But it didn't. Freyburg could have used 6,000 troops in his counterattack, but he held many back including his best regiment, the 1st Battalion Welch. Why?

In the afternoon of the 21st, Freyburg received the following telegraph:

"Personal for General Freyburg

On continuation of attack Colorado [Crete], reliably reported that among operations planned for Twenty-first May is air landing two mountain battalions and attack Canea. Landing from echelon of small ships depending on situation at sea."

Not too long afterwards, Freyburg sent out the following order…

"Reliable information. Early seaborne attack in area Canea likely. New Zealand Division remains responsible coast from west to Kladiso River. Welch battalion forthwith to stiffen existing defences from Kladiso to Halepa."

See what happened? Freyburg misread the two sentences in the order to him, mentally ignoring the fullstop. The thought that "attack Canea" referred to an attack by German paratroopers from the South-West or by air missed him. All Freyburg saw was "Canea" and "Landing", and so he stretched his reserves accordingly, meaning not only that his counter attack on the 22nd was too small, but also that the Germans could bring in an endless stream of reinforcements and take Crete.

Freyburg hesitated, and lost. It was a lesser hesitation, with no impact on the outcome of the war (we won), but a cliché prover nonetheless.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Dog Abuse

Apathy Jack writes:

This was not an accident.

An old one that I just found, but it proves that big-shot actresses are alright.

See now, this sort of thing has actually been going on for a while now. I suppose that knowing that either makes me a very bad person, or the first line of defense when the dogs come for our women.

And you all called me crazy!

Theme Week: Lesser Known Moments of Hesitation

That Morthos Stare writes:

'Somewhere in the world History is happening...' It's cliches like of that kind that get a philosopher's blood boiling and a blogger smiling. 'Brainstab' isn't about history; we're not expecting an MTV-retrospective to feature 'Of course, it was Jack's early days as a vigilante thought-terrorist on 'Brainstab' that...' Nor do we expect that you are discussing our sassy-statements at the water cooler, but we hope you've taken a little note of our ways and means.

Which brings me to 'Theme Week.' As I think I've stated elsewhere I'm somewhat against change if I'm not leading it. When our fearless leader, Josh, imposed change upon us as soon as I was out of the country I had to impose myself upon it. Thus 'Theme Week.' It exists for no good reason than to massage my heavy, steroid-abusing, ego. That I've dragged my compadres and good friends into it is another matter entirely. Some say they only exist to satisfy my base desires and they would be right. Other claim that they plot forever against me and wish freedom. They would be right as well. I just call myself 'The Sti...' Bugger. Sorry. Should excise that section.

Theme Week. I set my friends a task; tell our public about a Lesser Known Moment of Hesitation. This was a compromise on my part; I had originally wanted the topic to be on something like the 'Once and Future Tea-party' or 'Aristotle's Lost Book on Comedy' but that's because I know what I would write for that. 'Theme Week,' should it work, should really not be 'I've got a good idea; let's see if the others can match it.' It's just the selection of a random title that might well produce fruit. No pre-conceptions, no hidden diatribes, just blind inspiration leading all of us astray.

In daily installments.

Thus I present to you, for this week only, a series of short educational snippets of 'Brainstab' psychology entitled 'Lesser Known Moments of Hesitation.' Each the product of its own mind, I ask that you make of them what you will.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

“I think it was my take on the world from very, very early on to think how crazy it was and then as a kid I backed off that and thought: ‘No, it can’t be that crazy, because all the adults take it seriously’. And then you get to my age and you realise that it’s worse than you thought.”

-John Cleese

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Last Night, in London

That Morthos Stare writes:

Whilst sipping on a pint of Courage's Best Bitter in the Knights Templar I discovered that the man sitting next to me was the person who wrote up the amendment in the Lords that, as of two days ago, changed the very nature of free speech in the UK. It was quite the insight into UK politics and rather emphasised the difference between history-as-what-happened and history-as-what-is-reported. The story of the anti-religious slurring leglislation will be relayed as the fault of a certain whip and the fact that Tony Blair did not vote. Some mention will be made that the Lib Dems actually voted in a bloc and certain commentators might reference Rowan Atkinson as a major force.

Virtually no one, however, will mention the envelope or the Lord who so consistently bucked the system. Yet those two facts are the important ones. None of the primary actors in this drama ever thought that the amendment would become law, especially as what they essentially did was change something from indefensible to defensible; it was really more a measure intended to so divide the Parliament that the whole debate could start over again. That it passed is a glorious thing; of that I have no doubt (although, as my source admitted, there is a very real problem now for the treatment of people's with alternative sexualities as it isn't clear that you can abuse such sexualities without abusing the person themself).

I'm not a libertarian. I'm not even a liberal, truth be told, although I'd like to be. Like a lot of left-wing academics I can see that in a fully mature society that libertarianism (once excised of the Randian connotations that it seems steeped in) is the political ideal. But, as even a lot of people on the Right will admit, human society has yet to leave the terrible twos in respect to maturity so we can expect government interference in our lives for quite some time more. Yet the new bill excites me; once it gets Royal Ascent it will now be defensible to say 'I was only being abusive, not threatening' when you critique religious practices you find distasteful. This is a very fine distinction and the problem with fine distinctions is that not many people can make them. If the British can make this dictinction work then, maybe, we might reach the tiresome threes in a few years. Maturity might well be in the reach of cour children's children's children.

Which is exciting in its own right.

Raiders of the Lost Complete Load of Crap

Josh writes:

Here's a thing: Reading through the December feedback at the consistently enlightening www.talkorigins.org, I was introduced to the Ica stones. Supposedly these Peruvian artifacts depict an ancient civilization that used telescopes for astronomy, performed heart surgery and brain transplants and hunted (and possibly domesticated) dinosaurs. The significance of these wonders is mitigated by the fact that the story of their origin gives the business with Joseph Smith and his gold plates a run for its money in the credulity-stretching stakes. Supposedly they were found in caves and river beds, but no-one will say where. Some of the people who claimed to have found them later claimed they were hoaxes, then claimed that they weren't, and then claimed that they were again, and so on. The question of why a civilization with such advanced technology made records by scratching them on rocks has yet to be addressed as far as I can tell.

The interesting thing is that the Ica stones are seized upon by both crazy lefty hippies and crazy righty fundamentalists as proof of their views (either that the world is only a few thousand years old and humans and dinosaurs co-existed or that ancient civilisations knew stuff, maaan). This is not unheard of -- see for instance other searches for "ooparts" (Out of Place Artifacts) such as the Coso Artifact -- and frankly not very surprising; at a fundamental level the two groups are more similar than they are different.

Both the hippies and the fundies reveal a general underlying distrust of or outright contempt for science, which consistently undermines their wacky theories. There are appeals to higher powers (be they deity or extra-terrestrial), belief in lost civilizations (Atlantis, Lemuira et al.), belief in the end of the world (be it environmental catastrophy or biblical Armageddon with the burning of the skies and the two-headed calves and the hamster lying down with the hamster-eating snake) -- all giving rise to the notion that in spite of the superficial differences these groups are no more than different ways of spelling "crazy".


I don't really have a punchline for this post -- how about this?

The Gas Masquerade

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Just a reminder to all you out there in Auckland: Brainstabber Jellybean’s exhibition, The Gas Masquerade (click on the flyer for a bigger version), is taking place this Saturday 4th January.

Those of you who were at his last exhibition will know how good it was, as will anyone who’s perused his website.

If you live in Auckland, you really should come along – five o’clock at the Depot Gallery on Clarence St in Devonport – easy to find.

Come on, I’ll be there, and so will Josh. We’ll be the ones in berets and black sunglasses referring to everything as “aaaaaarrrrhhhtt.”