Monday, February 28, 2005

Please tell me it's April the first...

RSJS writes:

Kill a gay foetus for Jesus!

The Seventh New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

That Morthos Stare writes:

'Oops, sorry Vicar!'

Funniest three consecutive words in the English language, closely followed by the four-parter 'Oh, that's my wife.'

Humour, they say, is the spice of life... Or is that danger? Whatever the case, those people who we consider to without a sense of humour are often thought of as rum chaps (or dolls), fit only for placing in the corner of a room when the potplant Aunt Edith bought you died.

Which is why it amazes me just how many humourless people exist, or just how boring conversations can be. What happened to the comedy?

We at the Neo-Catholic Church, if we believe in anything, believe in the power of narrative, the force that creates stories. Now you can argue all day long, if you so desire, as to whether narrative is an objective force, one that forces us into roles and creates situatons for us to react to, or whether narrative is subjective and thus is the result of humans placing a pattern upon the world... You know, I believe I once wrote a treatise on that kind of material. Selectivity... I'm sure it was really good stuff, but bugger if I can remember what the point of it was.

Believing, as we do in a thing called 'Narrative' we also believe that it is our divine, sometimes devilish, always corrupting, place to make the narrative as funny as possible.

Funny narratives don't make the world entirely supercilious; you can have humour in tragedy and the fun can be introduced into romance (and no, not just by the eight-and-an-half amusing positions of the human sexing).

It (this task of humourising narrative) does, however, mean that taking the events of the world seriously is a fairly unusual task.

Take, for example, the middle-class. No, please, take the middle-class and launch it into the sun or something. But if we must keep those creatures then let us realise that far too often they look upon the world with a narrative of absolute seriousness, which they think to be, weirdly enough, the objective standard of narrative.

Seriousness is a terrible disease and I hope to fund a cure, using some of the monies Brother Morthos 'obtained' from the Reserve Bank last Wednesday (for those asking awkward questions I was on the Nile, supping with a Queen called Harold, at the time). It is broadly rigid and has not the flexiblility even a good pun has. It requires you to think it fairly straight lines and never experience the excitement of a sudden twist or a non-sequiter.

It, above all things, requires you to adopt a fairly straight forward account of terms and frames of reference, and once you adopt these they tend to force you to keep with them ad nauseam, forcing you further and further down the hole that is the serious pit of despair, anger and, finally, the joining of a right-wing political party and the anger that the young are wasting your tax dollar on 'their shallow entertainments.' Yes, 'Procul Harum' were a great act, but that does not mean that the young shouldn't enjoy their 'Boomkat.'

Of course, the best recurrent line of use is the rejoinder 'And don't they have it in the Navy,' freely modified to suit the conversation.

Oh well, that's me done, officier. Anything else you want to ask?

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

In the lobby of the theatre my brother and I sat against a pillar waiting for the movie to start. A twenty-seven year old teacher and a twenty-six year old employment relations consultant, we sat wearing black band t-shirts, ripped jeans and self-modified military pants respectively, watching the knees of passersby. My brother turned to me: “You know, I always figured that there would be a certain point in my life when I stopped sitting on the floor at movie theatres.”

“In the past, people got married and got a job and had kids, but now there’s a new ten years that people are using to try and find out what kind of life they want to lead.”
-Zack Braff

It has different names in different countries: Canada calls them Boomerang Kids; Germany has Nesthocker, or Nest Squatters; in America they’re Twixters; England calls them KIPPERS, for Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings; the French have named it Tanguy Syndrome, after a popular film highlighting the new trend. Twenty-somethings who haven’t grown up yet. Some sociologists say this new kidult stage is a positive one, allowing young people to be free of responsibilities for long enough to make some decisions about their lives, giving them more of a direction than, say, their parents. Other social scientists see it as a negative, pointing out that whatever piece of socio-cultural machinery that allows (or makes) kids turn into adults has been broken in the last generation.

Tom Smith, a social-surveyor from the US National Opinion Research Center, interviewed in a recent issue of Time magazine about this trend says “In another ten or twenty years we’re not going to be talking about this as a delay. We’re going to be talking about this as a normal trajectory.”

Seemed pretty natural to me a few years back (and by a few, I mean something like eight, which becomes “a few” when you’re not willing to admit how long you’ve been alive...) when I proactively resented the idea of being an adult.

There I was; nineteen or thereabouts, surrounded by beautiful aesthetes, drinking coke but getting drunk on name dropping poets and musicians I had never heard of, completely ignoring the idea that one day there might be such a thing as having to get up for work.

However, the trade off of leaving secondary education was that the social circle I had been a part of for my high school years were seeing each other less and less frequently. In school we had all lived within reasonable distance of each other, with the local movie theatre forming a convenient nexus between our houses. Hanging out on a Friday could be (and frequently was) organised as easily as getting on the phone an hour before the start of any movie that appealed, with various “wackiness”, “zaniness” and/or other youthful shenanigannery taking place after the watching thereof.

A year or two down the track, and between political activism, punk-gigs, poetry-readings, pub crawling and other social activities beginning with “p” we were all scattering, the way you do when you have little in common except going to the same school.

Being the obsessive type who worries about stupid things (thank god I grew out of that one, right? Right? Hello, is anyone there? Come on, I can hear you breathing...) I worried that if we didn’t hang out in casual violent-video-and-potato-chips youthful-type ways any more, we could become that most detested sign of upper-middle-class-waspism: Dinner-At-X’s-House-Every-Second-Thursday-I’ll-Bring-The-Potato-Salad.

What could be less Rock & Roll than that, for god’s sake? What sort of shining revolutionaries would we be if we engaged in that sort of carryon? The people who did that were all middle aged; they weren’t alternative icons of the counter culture. I mean, good lord, people talked about good wines and holidays they’d had at these dinners – with nary even a single mention of the structuralist relevance of the works of Henry Rollins in the context of post-colonial Marxism. Savages.

I was ranting to my brother about my fear of this dystopian future, when he replied with something completely unexpected: “Yeah, I hope so.”

See, my brother had figured out something that I hadn’t: if the only thing that connected us was “we went to school together” then, unless a new connection (to whit “potato salad every second Thursday”) was formed, then the disintegration of our social unit would continue unabated to it’s logical nadir.

I guess that’s when I realised that being an adult, while it was selling out and betraying all of your punk/socialist/alternative/whatever-the-hell-the-kids-were-doing-at-the-time principles, may not have been a bad thing per se.

Of course, wisdom gained or not, I don’t really see too many people from school anymore...

However, there do seem to have been a lot of dinner parties recently. And my “couple” friends, I notice, have been spending a lot of time with my other “couple” friends doing “couple” things.

It’s not a bad thing; it’s the new dynamic. Sure, it’s not very rock and roll, but frankly, neither am I. I work hard at my job, and very much enjoy meeting my friends for coffee at the end of the week, not in spite of, but because of, the reasonable certainty that I’ll be home well before dark to watch my stories and go to bed with something to read. Certainly, my “stories” consist of professional wrestling, and I’m usually curling up with that week’s purchases from the comic shop, so my life may not be an unassailable stronghold of maturity, but you know, there’s a new paradigm.

Personally, I think that feeling like a grown up has to do with expectations. I had my first mid-life crisis when I turned eighteen, because I had a clear mental picture of what an eighteen year old should look like, and I didn’t bear any resemblance to it. The crises followed every birthday for the next six years or so.

However, for the last few years, I’ve been a teacher. Over and above being a real job, it is a real job that sort of reinforces the ‘adulthood’ thing by having fifteen year olds call me sir every couple of minutes. (And trust me, it’s hard to feel youthful when you run into an ex-student you taught in fifth form and she tells you about the thesis she’s writing this year...)

Most of my friends haven’t come to grips with the idea that they’re hovering around either side of thirty (a number of times in the last few years I’ve been telling some teaching anecdote, and the person I’m talking to has paused and said “Wow, I just realised... We’re old enough to be teachers...”). However, most of them, when I think about it, don’t have a career. Oh sure, most of them have jobs (sadly, “most of them” means what it says – and let me tell you, in true crotchety old man why-don’t-they-just-go-down-the-mines-like-when-I-were-a-lad form, I’m actually getting proactively angry at my transient friends in my dotage; like an alcoholic whose buddies have called him up to go drinking at the local, I find myself needing to excise the negative elements and influences from my life...) but, off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single person I know with a career – one job that they’ll be at, or (with the exception of the computer jockeys) even one field they’ll necessarily be in, in five years.

I’ve read various experts saying that the days of having a career are over. Add to that the fact that people are getting married (hell, are settling into long term relationships) and/or having kids much later in life than they did a generation ago (my mother was married with two kids by the time she was my age) and we don’t look a lot like our parents did.

Which I guess is why all of this rejuvinalia stuff is happening. You expect to be at a certain place by the time you’re, say, in your late twenties, but these expectations come from the closest available model – your parents, who were probably working at the same job they have to this day and/or looking after you by this time in their lives. Of course these expectations are not met, so we feel ill at ease calling ourselves adults.

Hell, I don’t know. I guess I’m on the front line of a new stage of social evolution, but, as with most people at the coal face of history, I have other problems to occupy my time, mostly related to being hungry and wondering what’s on TV tonight. All I know is that I get called sir by a pack of kids who see me as a mature figure of responsibility and adulthood, then I come home to a room plastered with Christina Aguilera posters and channel surf until I hit Spongebob Squarepants or something with monkeys in it.

Which strikes me as what being a grown-up should be like.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Apathy Jack writes:

One of my kids is assembling a scrapbook of letters for my ex student who, at the age of fifteen, has just given birth. She’s asked me to contribute something. I sat up last night writing to her, but, in the light of day, have decided to start over. Here is the original...

According to Mark 13:20 no flesh shall be spared during the birth pains. I certainly hope this was not the case with you, and trust that you are recovered and resting comfortably.

How is the child? Macroencephalitic?

Now for the teacher voice part of the letter:

What are you going to be doing with your life? Of course your short term plans probably involve living with whichever parent you can currently stomach (try to make it your mother if you can – she may be insane, but your father is insane and a drug dealer) and DPBing your way into cigarette money.

That’s fine for now, but I am thinking long term. You are too intelligent to become a full-time teenaged mother. I’d recommend some manner of correspondence school if it wasn’t so expensive and if I thought for a New York minute you’d actually do it. Bugger it - there will be no preaching here; I know that you won’t bloody listen.

You should come and visit me. My classes are cakewalks this year, so anytime is good to pop in. I want to yell at you in my most sanctimonious teacher voice. I want to see your little girl. But most of all I want to see you to make sure you’re okay, and I want to see you because I’m fond of you. I know it’s been a couple of years, but I still worry...

I’m still working on some of the ones who stayed behind when you left. Some of them are getting there.

I’m sorry I couldn’t do more to help you.

Tell your sister I say hi.

RSJS writes:

Guess I owe Garth George an apology.

He won’t get one, the crusty old walrus, but he actually speaks sense today. Dammit… I had prattled on earlier about the crotch-biter who objected to hearing Maori over the Tannoy at Foodtown and had chosen instead to shop at New World. I wrote 3 vitriolic pages that dissolved into a howling comparison of the monocultural dick-whacker to my favourite female body part. So I filed it under “angry gibberish” and went off to hunt cheese. And to day, I and my cheese find Garth also objecting to Slaphead the Insensitive’s objections to the native tongue licking his lobes through the supermarket speakers. Why, he’s quite nasty about these people. To quote:

As for the supermarket announcements, those who object are beneath contempt. This country has two official languages - English and Maori - and anyone who takes exception to hearing mellifluous Maori, in any setting, deserves to go deaf.

Okay, so he doesn’t go far enough to comparing these felching cow-rapists to aforementioned appendages, but it’s a start. Now if he’d just stop being a cartoon buffoon out of a Victorian period piece with a fob watch and a florid complexion, I’d even rescind my plea for the dog-piss brain-soak death prayer. Eventually.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hitlog Follies, Part 2 of Many

Josh writes:

Thanks to Jellybean's sterling efforts to keep brows low, we are listed on Google when searching for dangling labia, alongside anthropological information on labia stretching in African tribes, advice pages on cunnilingus, and a site devoted to instances of male and female exhibitionism in early Celtic masonry called Satan in the Groin.

First of all, let me just say: Best. Title. Ever.

Also, an interesting read. I particularly like the fresco depicting demons sodomising sinners into the gates of Hell -- they don't make religion like that these days. Hentai, but not religion. I'm almost certain there's a moral there somewhere.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Internet is Lies

Josh writes:

Much like alcohol is the cause of and solution to all of life's problems, the Internet is both the source of and antidote for all of the misinformation in the world. I will pay good money to anyone who writes an e-mail application that includes a button which, when clicked, scans the content of a time-wasting urban myth spam e-mail and automatically sends a reply containing the URL of the Snopes article debunking it (optionally with a friendly advisory message along the lines of "check Snopes before you send, you life-sapping cockmonkey -- of course a duck's quack fucking echoes").

Ideally, such an application could be used for sending automated replies to news websites as well. I was disappointed to see this Herald column from a few weeks ago start with the latest (bullshit) spam meme -- I mean, I expect it from the Sideswipe column (where the only time they ever said "yes, it's a fake" also happened to be the only time it actually wasn't), but this one was not scraped off the back page, and yet it even includes the claim "this is for real".

Now that I think about it, this magical application could save time by simply parsing all web pages you browse to, and any sentence it identifies as a statement of fact can be highlighted with a label that says FILTHY LIE, since it always seems to turn out that every interesting little factoid you come across is actually bollocks. I was well pissed off to find out that the old one about QWERTY keyboards being designed to avoid keys jamming by slowing down typists wasn't quite true.*

We could call it the DBM button. Not a reference to Dog Biting Men (a site containing nought but the finest of hand-crafted Truths); rather a nod to an old Philosophy lecturer of mine who had the annoying habit of contradicting every little factoid that would come up in class with his up-to-the-minute scientific knowledge. At the time it never occurred to me to try mentioning contradictory facts each class to see if the guy was genuinely well-informed or just contrary. Maybe it's better that I didn't -- Apathy Jack already knows of one guy who gave his lecturer an embolism; I'd hate to have added to his neuroses by being number two.

* Of course, the "fact" that the myth isn't true could turn out to be untrue itself, and we're back where we started. I'm still not sure whether glass is a fluid or not.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Sixth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

That Morthos Stare writes:

Today I wish to talk to you about writers and other artistic idealists.

I hope they rot in the fiery depthes of the hells they call home.

Tell me, have you ever heard someone of artistic intent moan incessantly about the fact that they have to write, that they need to write? Usually they are indolently smoking a fag and engaged in cleaning their rooms when they mention this; sometimes, to be truly perverse, they write about it and then show said writing to the world.

All so that we can appreciate their tortured existence.

Well, no more. The Neo-Catholic Church is currently cleansing itself of writers and other artistic idealists. We have no need of their angst, their whinging, their overt-gothness.

Bugger off, all of you.

Authors we like. Authors are writer-esque people who actually get the job done. Often they were writers who, one felictious (of fallacious (or fellatio-esque)) day, realised that it's all about putting a manuscript in an envelope, and by jove, if they couldn't do that then they'd stop whining and go off and get a job as a tax accountant.

(Which, I might add, most failed authors do.)

The Neo-Catholic Church likes people who do things. We mostly like them to keep the fuck away from us, but we still think they are admirable (if kept at a certain distance).

But we can no longer tolerant artistic types who waffle incessantly on needing to write (but hardly ever doing so).

It's not a need, people, it's a want. Needs are things you have to; wants are things you would like to do, and this is why you hardly ever do them. Because you don't have to.

Bah, 'tis a subject that makes His Wholiness quite irrate.

I'm off to give pleasure to a duck.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Hey, Asshole! Link to Me!

Josh writes:

The Thing
Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
I am what is commonly referred to as a fidget. At work I have a specially fashioned fidgeting implement, made of an oversized paperclip and a hair pin someone left in my office. I call it The Thing. Whenever my left hand isn't otherwise occupied, I'll be twiddling it between my fingers in defiance of the tendonitis brought on by three years working a cash register as a student.

This little tic extends into non-tactile areas as well. I am, for instance, unable to go a week without fiddling with this blog in some way -- re-organising the sidebar, adding functions, signing up to blogging services and so on. And now we have a links section.

Selected by the Brain Stab contributors via a mostly democratic process, they are subject to change in accordance with our mercurial dispositions. The first batch consists of blogs belonging to people we know, quality sites everyone should be visting at least once a week, and barely redeemable shit. You can sort out which is which for yourselves.

Obviously, this exercise is for the most part a naked ploy to get people linking back to us when they see our URL showing up as a referrer in their hitlogs. It's so much easier on Livejournal: Just purge yourself of all dignity, beg to be put on others' Friends lists, put up with tantrums and bitching over who you put on yours and away you go. Grown-up blogs require you to do your link whoring with a little more subtlety; being not so much a link whore as a link high-priced-call-girl. So make with the reciprocating, assholes -- just no kissing on the lips.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Fragments and thoughts from the last few days...

Apathy Jack writes:

“I have hypochondria.”
“No, you have hyperactivity.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right... Hey, is that what ADHD stands for?”
“Yes, something something hyperactivity something. Are you even taking your medication?”


Staff meeting:

Form Teacher: “That little punk has lapsed back into his wagging in the second week of school – I want him out! I want him out of this school!”
Me: “Uh... His son was born yesterday.”
Form Teacher: “What?”
Me: “His son was born yesterday. You reckon we could cut him a week of slack?”

It’s an odd gray area to hear someone mention “the kid” and not know if they’re talking about the seventeen year old mother, the fifteen year old father, or the new born.


I’ve been keeping an eye on the cyclone in the Islands. See, one of my kids has gone back to Samoa this year.

A truly sweet girl, she is one of my favorites, and is almost single-handedly responsible for the weakening in my resolve to never have kids.

Sure, cyclones are bad news regardless, but every time I hear a weather report, her face flashes through my mind, and I now know why parents don’t let their daughters go out after dark.


I think I forgot to mention the new record we set. Old record for staff up and quitting on us was (a somewhat amateurish, in hindsight) six weeks.

My department being the biggest tumour in the middle of a pretty sick looking school, we started the year two English teachers short. Miraculously, we managed to find what looked like a halfway decent one. The afternoon before lessons started, the Principal rang him up and offered him the job.

He turned up the next day and taught his lessons. Three thirty, the bell rang, he walked down to the Principal’s office and resigned.

Give or take a few minutes; twenty-four and a half hours from being offered the job to running for the hills.

In my way, I’m proud of my little school...


To explain the above disjointed ramblings: NCEA has been in the news for the last few days. Finally, I could “blog” (which, speaking as an English teacher, isn’t even a noun, let alone an adjective – just for future reference) something I’m actually qualified to talk about for once. People seem to like my teaching stories, so surely the proles are slavering to hear my insider’s take on the current controversy.

But that hasn’t been taking up my time; the above things have.

Today I was harpooned (my school’s brutally honest nomenclature for asking you to cover someone else’s work) into a lunchtime duty. This meant that after I had spent the first half of lunch helping one of my students with an assessment, I got to leave my oversized biscuit untouched in my bag and rush off to play warden to detainees picking up rubbish.

And that’s the important stuff.

Sure, all of the NCEA stuff is awkward and damaging and embarrassing, and it raises a lot of questions: Is the NCEA system unworkable? Was it a mistake? Will it be revamped? Dropped altogether? Will heads roll for this, or will the mess be swept under the carpet just for the problems to occur again ad infinitum?

Doesn’t matter. Not to me, anyway.

Certainly, any decisions made will have a huge impact on my professional life (read: my life), but the Ministry will decide what it wants to do without asking me. Then it will tell me to do abide by its decision, and I’ll do so as best I can, just like happened when they introduced NCEA. So it doesn’t matter what I think of all the headlines.

What matters is that after I got rid of my detainees I spent what was my only fifteen minutes of free time today playing tag with a member of my old form class and making fun of her for being short.

She’s a bit messed up, and I haven’t had a chance to touch base with her so far this year. That’s what this was – a game, but also a reminder that there’s someone who she can come to when she needs someone to come to.

Sure, somebody’s got to rail against Ministry stupidity, and I may very well come up with a rant on this before too long, but for now, I have kids to worry about.

I have read the aforementioned article and have Aargh to spare.

RSJS writes:

Once upon a time, when toothsome nectar flowed through the streams and rivers of New Zealand (none of this neologistic Aotearoa nonsense back then), when birds drank dew and farted rainbows and nary a cloud dotted the sky, Garth George grew into the man he once was, in a realm armpit-deep in egalitarian peoples of all races and ethnicities. Sadly, since political correctness arrived to shit into his pristine wilderness with a festering, splattering sphincter positioned between the buttocks of special interests and zombie politicians, Garth has been huddling under an umbrella under this torrential and chunky downpour, wondering where the Halcyon days of yore went. Because this pigfucker must have spent his youth severely abusing the Halcyon, washed down with some triple-distilled moonshine brewed up in the animal-sexin’ shed where he had “date night” with Flossy and a baked-bean tin full of aforementioned rocketfuel. He’s now a blind shell of a man, spitting bile at the world that is no longer shiny and clean. .

Now, I’m not too enamoured with society at the moment, but nor do I believe that before the eighties when “Political Correctness” became a phrase, then a punchline, then an insult, then a type of computer, that we were in Garth’s egalitarian paradise. Now being a white middle-class college boy I never experienced troubles in the seventies but by fuck I know it was there. Sam the Bald Egalitarian? Bullshit. There was poverty, there was discrimination and the casual racism that I grew up immersed in, and god help any poor guy who liked cock… What the PC movement did was try to end discrimination against all the people Garth probably considers to be subhuman, unChristian vermin. His utopia was one in which Aryans ruled and cock-gobbling jungle-bunnies knew their place, far and away from wifeykins with her silly notions of the vote. “Ha hah,” he’d say as she tried to convince him women could vote “That’s a good one, I’ll tell the lads. Now go shit me out another strapping rugby player woman, I feel a burning need to spawn a litter of thugs to prove I’m virile. And none of that “daughter” nonsense neither, try that communist shit again and you can both starve on Vulture Rock as god intended”. Frankly, that sort of codswallop about the world being better before it became politically correct translates almost word-for-word to “God I loved it in the days of the Raj when we could shoot the darkies with impunity and bash queers all the livelong day with not so much as a clip round the earhole from Constable Stabby, gor blimey”. What a closed-minded curmudgeonly clitoris that pockmarked mutant is. Wah wah the world isn’t like it was when I was permanently whacked on prescription medications while bowels-deep in a Captain Cooker. The government doesn’t represent the needs of me, a Grandpa Simpson caricature. I swear, bristle-face is one “Maaaaaaaatlooock” away from copyright infringement. And another of his beefs is that prison is nice to people, giving them a better quality of living than they had on the outside and it doesn’t torture their scaly hides enough. I want more torture and prison beatings, cries Garth. Bread and water, sodomy, violence. The rack, the Iron Maiden, the thumbscrews for hitchhikers and the choke-apple for cock-smokers, the red hot pokers for women found showing their faces outside their burqas… His disregard or even complete ignorance of homosexuality is indicated by the suggestion prisons should have same-sex guards to stop liaisons ‘tween staff and con, for he cannot imagine such couplings between godless heathens of the same gender presumably as he cannot imagine fornication outside of wedlock and god knows the queens and greasy diesel bull-dykes will never be allowed to marry, not on his watch…

I have a dream. When this artificially-hip cancer-tumour of a man, liverspotted of pate and vitriolic of vein, meets Clarence. Clarence will be the prisoner who went to jail due to the police’s crackdown (on Mister Georgie-porgie pie-eating twat’s insistence) on what even Garth calls “petty” offences (i.e. graffiti, or glue-sniffing, jaywalking, not being Garth, chewing gum, breathing loudly, liking Liza Minelli… but not running people over in mobility scooters as why Garth is a pillar of the community and should be allowed to mow down pedestrians blah blah huff puff gah). In prison he (Clarence, DO try to keep up) was fed stale bread and toilet water and made to lift pointy rocks all day with a bent spoon and enjoy Commandant Spanky’s pustulous cock all night. He is released bitter and shoulder-bechipped, supremely muscled, and with a sick, self-loathing penchant for yodelling buggery. Transformed from a harmless tagger into the Hulk, he stumbles upon Garth and clefts him in twain with a mighty butt-fuck extravaganza of faecal lubricant and fainting. Garth’s prized sphincter becomes Clarence’s new cock-ring and the poor old geezer is left in a pool of sundry bodily fluids from both parties, his Pekinese Yipyip lapping at his cooling intestines and pissing into his severed femoral artery so he finally chokes out his bilious last with dog-urine in his heart and hate in his thoughts at a prison system that allows monsters to roam free. His final scrabbling gestures will be an attempt to write a letter to the editor about rehabilitation but by then it is too late as his gristly blood-pump will have shoved the last of Yipyip’s pee up to his skull and he will be another 80kg of landfill for the PD monkeys to bury.

From this day forth I will pray that Garth will die with a head full of dog piss for his sins, fuck him and good night.

See, ranting is easy.

Running out of "Aargh!"

Josh writes:

Turns out I just can't rant. I try sometimes, I really do, but I always get halfway through and run out of "Aargh!" and end up deleting the nascent post before it even sees the light of day. It just never seems worth it, y'know?

I mean, look at this:

The Government can tell us as often and as loudly as it likes that crime figures are down, but anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear knows instinctively that is just not true and that any statistics put forward to justify the contention have somehow been tweaked to make them look good.

Garth George says: "Facts are for girls!"

This level of anti-intellectualism pisses me off more than any other social phenomenon I can think of, and it's all over the place: anti-GE protestors who don't know a damn thing about GE other than that Sam Neill told them it's bad; creationists asking who these biologists are to be telling them what to think about biology; anyone who uses the phrase "so-called experts". If I were an imagination-poor journalist, I'd declare it an epidemic. And then stab myself in the tonsils.*

So, I start with a good head of "what the hell is wrong with you people?" steam, but fairly quickly find myself editing it down to nothing to remove as much of the "people are soooo stuuuupid" teen angst as possible, and realising my life would be better spent not devoting any time to telling twats that they're twats. And then I bugger off and do something else, leaving a small pinprick in the blogosphere where a stream of vitriol was supposed to be.

Good thing I do a decent line in talking complete shit, then.

* The only "epidemic" I have approved of recently was the meningitis one a while back, because it meant people kept saying "meningicoccus", which sounds like "minge cock arse" if you say it fast and that's comedy fucking gold.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

How To Be Alone

Apathy Jack writes:

In his essay ‘Why Bother?’ Jonathan Franzen says of depression:

“Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. But the realism is merely a mask for depression’s actual essence, which is an overwhelming estrangement from humanity. The more persuaded you are of your unique access to the rottenness, the more afraid you become of engaging with the world; and the less you engage with the world, the more perfidiously happy-faced the rest of humanity seems for continuing to engage with it.”

So according to Franzen, I’m depressed.

Of course, how seriously can you take the opinion of a shocking literary pedant who believes the fact that not everyone reads 25 books a year is a harbinger of the downfall of society?

Actually, being a shocking literary pedant who believes the fact that not everyone reads 25 books a year is a harbinger of the downfall of society myself, self-interest dictates that I say you, the adoring public, should take the opinions of such people as gospel.

Not that I’m too happy to have anything in common with Jonathan Franzen, of course.

Oh well, at least I don’t write lengthy diatribes where I come across as being insufferably precious, socially dysfunctional and having a martyr complex.

Aw crap.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Fifth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

That Morthos Stare writes:

Yes, I have taken to reading up the screen rather than down.

Sorry, you probably have no idea who I am or what I speak of, but that is the point of this whistle-stop tour of the seedier parts of the Diocese.

Oh, yes, I will have the extra large option, thank you.

Anyway, enough distraction... Ooh, I didn't know they made those here? Mind if I try one? Well, same to you buddy.

Ah maps, both good and saucy. Did I mention seedy? Not to say that the Diocese has much by the way of less-than-seedy parts on its cheaply-produced visual aids. All of its parts are classified 'Naughty.' So much so that Mr. Ransome has replaced all maps of the Diocese with an A4 page featuring Verdana 64 point script of the word 'Naughty!?!'

Mmm... Nice girlfriend; shame about the ape holding on to her shoulder. Sorry? Oh, you were listening.

Yep; reading up the screen. It's one of those strange traditions we have in Western Society (TM) that we read from right to left... Sorry, you're right, left to right and from top to bottom. So now I read from bottom to top. It passes the time and makes you think about the dissimilarity between the kinds of visual information we present to the laid public.

It's a bit weird; you start off having no idea how things started, although sometimes you get a hint if the text has multiple pages. And you'd be surprised how often written materials have boring beginnings/endings.

Ah, yes. Thank you. Flannels in the corner? Thanks.

Yet reading bottom to up seems like a pleasant fix to common neck and back problems; go from a painful posture to a pleasant one over the course of a document.

It is somewhat informative of human nature that almost all (fortunately) documents only make sense in one direction.

Oh, you going? Want to exchange numbers?

Unpleasant harpy.


Another reason to love Amanda Palmer from the Dresden Dolls

Apathy Jack writes:

taken from her online journal...

“I learned [Avril Lavigne classic] Together on the piano. We could never cover it. We can get away with covering Britney, but Avril would just not be acceptable. It's like the difference between admitting you like porn (which is cool) and admitting you make child porn (which is not cool).”

Friday, February 11, 2005

RSJS writes:

" was not possible to do deep throat safely, that it was a dangerous act that could only be done under hypnosis... emergency rooms were filled with women victims of throat rape, not to mention the ones who hadnt even made it that far and had died in the act."

Today's happy phrase is: "Throat Rape".

Chimp Justice!

Josh writes:

Chimps' Sense of Justice Found Similar to Humans'

I smell a TV series -- Chimp Justice! We follow Officer Bongo, walking his beat, stamping out the inequitable distribution of grapes and cucumbers. He's a hard chimp, a chimp who cares, damnit, cares about this shitty town and the innocent citizens who brachiate through it every day. A chimp who harbours a terrible secret about his past in the circus -- a secret that could destroy him. With the Chief breathing down his neck and a price on his head courtesy of the local crime boss, every day is a struggle just to stay sane while dealing out... Chimp Justice!

Episode 1 sees him chasing down a gang of capuchin gun runners, while trying to deal with his partner, who has been hitting the bananas hard -- damn hard -- after his wife left him to join a bonobo free love commune:

"Look at you man -- you're strung out! I need you with me on this!"

"Just gimme a fooking banana!"

"I have no bananas... on this day."

All that setup for one Eddie Izzard reference. Sad, really.

Hitlog Follies, Part 1 of Lots

Josh writes:

OK, you know how there is no God? Yeah, well the latest proof of that showed up in our hitlogs this morning:

sex donkey cock buried in pussy fuck

And that's not the worst part -- here's the full search URL: donkey cock buried in pussy fuck&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&start=550&sa=N

See that "&start=550" bit? That means that the person was at page 55 of the search results (assuming the usual ten results per page). Someone waded through 55 pages of links to donkey porn before they came to us.

That's actually kind of sweet.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

You can't take my music to crash cars to...

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Coming up on time to teach poetry again. So my first move is to the cupboard containing my collections of Poe, Dickinson, Yeats and Ginsberg. My second move is to reach over these tomes to the Johnny Cash CD that I keep at the back of the cupboard.

I can't really explain my hated for almost all works of poetry, especially when you juxtapose it with my obsession with song lyrics - an obsession that sees me teaching the lyrics to A Boy Named Sue to my Year 9s before I expose them to Frost or Eliot.

I guess words have more power when put over some manner of faux-tribal beat that syncs with the human heartbeat and promotes alpha waves in the brain or some such scientific explanation. All I know is that William Carlos Williams' Little Red Wheelbarrow is pointless enough to make me angry, but Avril Lavigne's Nobody's Home is so catchy and (manipulatively) emotive that I forgive her for rhyming 'home' with 'home'.

With very few exceptions, none of the great works of poetry speak to me, but I can be blown away by randomly heard lyrics.

When Lou from Naquadah, sounding lost and helpless, intones: Breathing takes everything that I've got I know what she means. Okay, that line is not the most staggeringly complex piece of poetry since Byron, but it summed up exactly how I was feeling when first listened to the song Backlash.

Now, the song and the things depicted therein have nothing to do with the sort of circumstances that made me feel that way - my issues and malfunctions bear no resemblance to those that inspired the lyrics (Naquadah being a New Zealand band, I can say that with the relative security that comes from having a passing acquaintanceship with the songwriter) and hell, the rest of the song, while being a damn fine piece of music, lyrically means nothing to me.

However, when the noise and weight are building in my head, pressing down, I can put that song on, and just for a few moments as I listen, think "Yeah! Yeah that's it! Exactly!" - and with understanding comes catharsis. In the smallest of doses, sure, but there nonetheless.

I remember when I first heard the resigned sadness, the depressed sense of inevitability in The Mercy Cage's Needle Marks (& scars) when lead singer M almost whispers It's the same old scene this year; Checking in for minor repairs. It reminded me of too many of my friends.

And, from the same song, my breath still quickens just slightly when I hear the line that exhorts:

Keep breathing




Hell, if ever I doubt the emotive power of music, I only need to think of the song I Speak Corruption. Sung by my friend Kat (you've got to love the New Zealand music scene, really, don't you? Alright, it's not the biggest creative pond to go swimming in, but it is kind of cool being able to be friends with the people in your favourite bands). Kat is one of the loveliest people I know - her mere presence is enough to cheer me right up. However, when I listen to this one song (downloadable here) I disconnect from the image of my positive and loving friend and, over the course of three minutes, become incredibly depressed.

Analysing it, I think it might be the slight gap between the first and second lines of the song:

I see you dying softly slow and tender

I like it.

But it's not only the personal resonance, it's also the intensity: In the Clutch song Rock N Roll Outlaw, when Neil Fallon sings Well you can rock it like Sir Sisyphus, But even in its genesis, It's really quite ridiculous, 'Lectric hobo, So now you know, Not to clock the Weeble Wobble hot rod gang, Revelator big bang you can tell he really, really means it. What "it" is in this context is anyone's guess, but boy is Fallon taking it seriously.

Clutch is also the perfect example of another reason that I love music so much; the grand, sweeping and totally meaningless rock song.

Listen to their song I Have The Body Of John Wilkes Booth; about a man on a fishing trip, who happens upon a lead box containing the body of the famous assassin and tries to sell it to the highest bidder because everybody's got to make a living somehow.

Sure, it lacks the mania of Animal Farm (Planes drop from the sky, people disappear and bullets fly, little grey men are coming our way, tastes just like chicken they say) or the paranoia of Escape From The Prison Planet (One man asked me for a dollar, I asked him "What's it for?", he said "I have seen them" I said "Okay it's yours") and hey, it may be a completely pointless work of fiction which pays far more attention to the state of fishing than to the discovery of Booth's body, but that's part of the charm. In four minutes you get a dose of pointless, funny intensity and madness, which is what Rock and Roll is built for.

Of course part of it is my love for words. Someone who can do clever things with words is always worth listening to. I've given Clutch too much time already, so I'€™ll limit myself to mentioning that they remain the only band in my experience to have a song with not one, but two rhymes for 'austrolopthicus'.

Sadly, more and more these days, in order to find the real gold in wordplay we need to leave the world of guitar music (if I hear A Simple Plan telling me that no one knows what it's like to feel alienated when they're a teenager one more time I'm flying to the States just to kick them to death) and go to hip and/or hop music.

Eminem does the cleverest rhymes I've ever heard, either through being stylistically clever (rhyming As we move toward a/ New World Order) or being deceptively simple almost to the point of stupidity (Since birth I've been cursed with this curse to just curse). And you have to admit that the rap tradition of self-aggrandisement hasn't been done much better than when Ludacris warned people to Watch out for my medallion, My diamonds are reckless, Feels like there's a midget hanging from my necklace...

I don't know why these lyrics should impress me more than, say, Shakespeare or Pound. I guess it's something to do with the feeling and emotion. I have been known to appreciate the odd piece of poetry that I've read, but every (and I mean every single) time I've heard a poet reading their own work, they sound so very self important. That's a pity, because there's really no reason they shouldn't be able to convey their emotions (when they're meant to be conveyed aloud, that is) as well as your average musician. Sadly, most just come across as expecting the audience to be moved, without actually giving them any impetus.

Impetus. Now there was a good Clutch song.

Hmm... Even when I try to talk about poetry, it always comes back to lyrics.

Nope, I'd say I'm pretty much beyond help as far as this "poetry" thing goes.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Fourth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

That Morthos Stare writes:

A distraction from the day's festivities. I want to tell the great unwashed public a little something about friendship.

I have shunned, for a little while now, the usual mores and requirements of civilised society. I can do this because if there are only a few utility monsters, like myself, then the world finds us charming and we can get away with ediquitte murder. Still, that is a matter for another time...

And that time is now!

Sorry, dizzy spell.

One benefit to my nature is my almost blase approach to friendship. I do not feel obliged to friends perhaps in the way that society dictates I should. I like my friends and when I think of them, sometimes rarely, sometimes often, I think of them fondly and want to be with them. I do not, however, feel that I have to maintain friendships.

It's a weird phrase, 'maintain friendships;' I suspect that most of you will both find my disdain of this maintenance both good and bad.

The bad first, because the bad is the most obvious; we do not like to maintain such things because such maintenance indicates a level of work that denigrates the notion of friendship. A friendship that needs this kind of maintenance is no real friendship; it is pure obligation and nothnig more. The friendship is kept alive via esoteric, quasi-erotic rituals designed to make you forget that you have moved on, matured or killed one of their family members (or vice versa).

The bad is obvious and it is unfortunate just how often it is true... Especially of you.

The good notion of maintenance is that friendships should not become stagnant and thus be of need of constant work. This is, of course, not true. I'm not denying the terrors of stagnation, but I am wondering why we feel that a friendship needs work to avoid. Surely the maintenance cost just indicates that the bad notion has arrived and you're not willing to admit to it just yet.

Happiness is a strange form of apathy mixed with contentment.

I have a few really good friends. I am happy with the number; I have some of my very best friends safely ensconced in foreign climes and there are some people, two couples to be precise, who have kept me sane over the last few years, and to them I owe a great debt I can never repay. One of these sets of people I see weekly, the other I see twice a year and speak to just over double that.

Yet I am as close to the other as I am to the former.

Friendship is a bond, possibly one with filligie and naughty lingerie. When I feel its call I obey it. Yes, I regret not hearing it more often, but then again, perhaps it would not mean as much if I did.


Well, that's serious. I was going to give a talk on why underwear is oppressive and I find myself waxing lyrical on platonic-bonding.

I really shouldn't drink tea.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Welcome Back...

Apathy Jack writes:

The famous story was that the targets got hauled across the field and set in rows and sophomores stood holding bows and sharp arrows waiting for the gym teacher to signal the moment to shoot. And one time a dog wandered onto the field and before the gym teacher could call it away one of the kids just shot it. And then everyone was running to help the dog and the kid shot another kid and he just kept on shooting until he got tackled. He said he wasn’t a disturbed person. He said he was just a plain normal person that sometimes had to kill people with arrows.

- Cruddy, Lynda Barrie

Yeah, all in all, I’d say the first week of school has gone smoothly...

Of course, my habit of vagueness and generally using grunts and gestures to transmit instructions to students is under threat:

Me (as I languidly gesticulate at the board): “The essay can be written on either of these two. So moving on...”
Blind Student: “Which are these two?”
Me: “Oh. Right. Yeah, you’ll have to keep reminding me about that...”

Of course, three days with students and I’m already planning to go and buy the Franz Ferdinand CD, just because all of my music is depressing, and I feel the need to listen to something upbeat. I mean, have you ever seen live footage of these guys? Not for them the wankery of angst and pain – they look so goddamned happy to be rock stars.

Also, just in case you were wondering, if your way of saying hello to one of your students after the holidays is to put your hand on their head and say “Good Lord, you haven’t grown at all. That’s insane.” it turns out they whine at you.

I’ve learned something.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Event Reminder

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Caption Competition... Posted by Hello

Richard S J Scholes had his heart set on the derelict Meremere power station as a location for a photo shoot — and trespass notices did not deter him. However, the police weren't so easy to ignore. He was caught making a daring escape attempt under a barbed wire fence. It's a rare thing to be arrested while working on your art, but Richard Spartacus Jellybean Scholes is definitely unique.

His upcoming show, The Charybdis Tarot, opens in Devonport this weekend and reveals 78 manipulated photographs based on the 78 cards in a tarot deck. Richard has used about 50 friends in a collection of poses and costumes to represent the different cards. Locations ranged from a studio, to bedrooms, living rooms, garages and to an abandoned warehouse. Richard describes his work is very "angsty and gothic".

It was a long project, done over about 18 months. After using 200 rolls of film, including six rolls for one photo, Richard has decided to use digital for his next project. The Mt Roskill artist is planning to make a tarot deck from his images and have someone read his cards. Before this, Richard's photographic work was mostly journalistic, "recording, rather than using, it as an art form," he says. And he admits to being "utterly and totally petrified" about showing these pieces in public.

But for someone so nervous, and someone who calls art a hobby, he's definitely been bitten by the bug and is already planning his next show. "I wanted to get an art exhibition out of my system, but it's not working because there's another one on the way."

• The Charybdis Tarot is on display at The Depot Artspace, Main Gallery, February 5-18.

Esoterica, Misanthropy, Pies

Josh writes:

Originality: tricky bastard, isn't it? I blame modern plumbing -- if there was a bit more lead in our piping, the world would contain many more drooling simpletons, who I could then impress and enthrall with pithy banter and sardonic wit, safe in the knowledge that anyone else who might have come up with it is now chewing on furniture and arguing with the cow. But no, you think you've turned out something that makes you Witty McWitterson of the clan McWitty, and then find three dozen folks who got there before you, wrote the book, made the movie and printed the T-shirt.

For instance, I thought I was being very droll and obscure in the keywords I picked for our Blogwise entry, and for a minute it looked like we were the only site to appear under "misanthropy" -- until I realised I'd spelt it wrong. Nope: 7 sites listed for "misanthropy", 11 for "esoterica", and 33 for "pies". Fair enough on the last one -- everyone loves pies. Big, steamy pies.


Sorry, we were talking about pies?* Oh, right.

Now, while it can be dispiriting to have it hammered home that you aren't the font of innovation you thought you were, it isn't really that big a problem most of the time -- if I've made friends and influenced people with some off-the-cuff rejoinder that some guy in Mozambique also came up with last Friday, well, chances are neither of us will ever know about it. Even the global community of the Internet is still big enough that a bit of repetition is hard to spot.

Go into a smaller environment, though, and it can get to be an issue -- the next smug bollocks I hear paraphrase that Oscar Wilde quote in relation to Katherine Rich's dumping is going home minus their primary reproductive organs.

And you know what? I'll bet you someone else is penning a piece on the current ubiquity of that quote right now. I am not a beautiful, unique snowflake. I am not a beautiful, unique snowflake. I am not a beautiful, unique snowflake. I am not a beautiful, unique snowflake. I am not a beautiful, unique snowflake....

* Joke stolen from Simpsons episode 8F09 ("Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk"). Fuck you.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Wheeeeeee nekkid chicks.

RSJS writes:

As my esteemed and beady-eyed colleague has pointed out, Sandra Paterson is not down with the porn. Porn is alllllegedly connected to many if not all incidents of nasty men doing terrible things to innocent virgins with their thunderous truncheons of engorged beef (the nasty men’s truncheons, not the virgin’s truncheons. That’d be plain odd). Porn is also, alllllegedly (i.e. something a drunk guy in an anorak told me) a harmless form of recreation for those of us blessed with the personalities of boiled cabbage unable to seduce even the most vacuous of Shore girls with our tales of particularly hair-raising dice rolls in our last LARP. Did I say “our”? I meant “their”. Honest.

The argument from the woofters whose main fear in life is unauthorised funning is always “This object that we are attacking was at the scene of an incident and as such we will say it was a contributing factor if not the root cause” Teehee, “root”. And fair enough, I suppose: Guy obsesses over porn, springs a dose of surprise sex on some hapless stationery-slinger soon afterwards, then tries to fold the woman in half and cram her under his bed. Porn equals teh bad. Burn the Playboys, tape over “Anal Arsenal 4” with uplifiting sermons from that benign sweater-wearer on Sunday morning TV, blah, blah, blah.

But this is a pretty simplistic attitude. At each location where The Porn (a pretty arbitrary term, I might add) is found, other things are found. Beds, for example. Beds are what people fuck like bunnies in, so surely beds are an inspiration for granny-molestation. Wallpaper, carpeting, TVs, corn plasters, rice, spiders, all lurking in the same dwellings as the aforementioned Anne Geddes calendar or whatever is classed as obscene these days… Spiders = chocolate spiders = sodomy = hand me my raping stick, I’m off to herd up some chitlin. Anything can be the cause.

Okay, so you’re all going “How facetious, for the porn is linked to the sex unlike corn plasters unless you’re sick in the head. Are you sick in the head, young man?” Well, that’s neither here nor there. But those who maintain that porn is about the human sexing, and as such the most likely motivator behind a dose of the in-out in-out with the nice young meter maid ticketing on the wrong back alley in town are in my humble opinion, wrong. In fact, I think porn is a prophylactic.

Yes folks, overuse of porn will actually lessen the incidents of rape. Oh, yes.

Imagine Billy Hard-on, with his sticky collection of crusty magazines stuck to the underside of his mattress and a hard-drive full of Gothic Sluts pictures ripped from the Internerd by some slavering Imagewolf program. He’s all worked up into a lather over a new collection of light bondage with some raven haired and tattooed chick whose track-marks are almost invisible. And he then goes running into the woods, howling at the full moon that so nicely imitates a pock-marked arse, and he decides to have some grunt’n’shunt with a local wench whether the filthy little slut likes it or not.

Cue our hero leaping from the bushes and attempting to do something obscene to a passing milkmaid. So far, so good, cry those who would burn my Dita von Teese collection of artistic gash shots. But this is where the difference between porn and reality comes in. Billy finds that women have hair, and dangling labia, and stretch marks and sweat and odours and wrinkles and differently-sized boobs that are affected by gravity and acne and tend not to look happy when being sodomised. There is little or no relation between the eminently human person squirming in front of Billy and the airbrushed mannequims he was polishing his pole over on his PC. In fact, the gulf between porn and actual pussy is such an echoing one that if one is enthralled by the former, the latter might well be a Lovecraftian nightmare of squirming nastiness and unnameable dread… How watching a Japanese cartoon schoolgirl with a dozen tentacles tearing her downunder asunder with mighty thrusts while she mumbles demands to be split in half by a nekkid demon would make one put up with some bawling shop assistant with a nametag is beyond me. Like the link between your school teacher putting a condom on a banana while a Gray’s Anatomy illustration of a pendulous cock is on the overhead projector and the ballsack keeps being half-projected on said teacher’s shoulder, and lascivious thoughts. Sex education and actual sex are further removed than sex and lawn bowls, goddammit. Everything that people link to sex tend to have very little to do with it. The point is, the point IS, if Billy is all about the porn, confrontation with the unpolished snack–crack of your typical middle-aged Muppet would have him running for his Photoshoped net porn faster than you can say “vagina dentata”. If one likes porn, one likes porn, but that doesn’t transfer over to liking actual intermacourse which is a whole other kettle of (wait for it) fish (teehee again).

So the question is, what IS the actual trigger, the object or action that spurs on rapists and kiddie fiddlers?

Simple: They are bad people in need of a good ballacking with a sackful of bricks. It’s not the porn, it’s not the condom-banana-sundae, it’s their freakin’ decision to beat the ever-living shit out of a harmless wiener then park their dick in them. Introduce porn into this mix and you’ve got exactly he same situation, but the mad crackhead cock-monster is left wondering why the victim doesn’t moan while he prolapses her rectum with Mister Stabby.

Ah, fuck it. Hand me my porn and my raping stick.

The Third New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

That Morthos Stare writes:

Most of you, if not all, were probably not expecting me today, here and especially in this tawdry uniform. I can explain; you see I have been let off early for good behaviour.

Indeed, I have been remarkably good in recent times; in an act of perverse mismanagement the Church is currently suffering a surfeit of funds, partially because I've been gainfully employing myself but mostly because I've stopped Brother Morthos from taking any money out of the 'Shoot the Tories Into Space' Fund (which, for the numerically interested of you, is responsible for 13% of the most recent advances in mid-to-large range projectile technologies).

Employment has been interesting; in need of a little more pocket money and a reason to leave the Bunker I became the Papal Under-secretary's Under-secretary, making me simultaneously Mr. HORansome's boss and underling. Whenever he fired me I'd just sign (and then counter-sign) a new contract, type another derogatory note to the Pope (the few of you who are not mentally challenged will know that this (or that) is me (or I?)) and then use Ransome's stamp to signify it. It was then the matter of a moment to deliver said note to myself and then subsequently ask Hieronymus to send himself a note to the tune that I was notifying him that I would be watching his work all the closer. One should never call my Mother a deranged fruitbat with a brain the size of a Bismarck Herring.

Work, as you can ascertain, is 'Fun' for all concerned. Although I worry about the raft of conditional statements I have begun using...

The old days of slinking off to my bunk bed with a book of jumbo-sized elephant parts and a wagon of 'holy water' have gone the way of the gannet; now I type away for hours on end and have lustful thoughts about the women who wander in to our office asking about the services we offer (there is a sign outside which says 'Woman, come in and ask about our services!' which Hieronymus assures me was left over from the last establishment that lurked here). What it is that Ransome tells them I've yet to overhear, but it mustn't please a large section of the female populace because he gets slapped (well, more so than usual).

Hieronymus Oliphant Ransome, Papal Under-secretary and guttersnipe, who I am sure you have been asking after recently, has taken to his native gutter journalism like, well, a guttersnipe. After the incendiary remarks made about him by one of the Cardinals (who is now very much on the outside of Neo-Catholicism) Mr. Ransome has taken to writing pieces on just how ineffectual any kind of social policy is, and why your Mother, in particular, is a deranged fruitbat with a brain the size of a Bismarck Herring. Considering that the Neo-Catholic Church really espouses no particular politic either way this has come as a shock to at least one member of the clergy, who was surprised that there were still elections going on.

Hieronymus' views can be summarised as 'The world is a collection of processes, none of which have any particular assigned purpose, and thus the world is working out as the processes dictate, which is neither good nor bad;' at least this is the view he put forward in 'Drinking With Children: Gin for the Under Fives as a Social Experiment.' As far as I can gather, having had to type up most of it, his argument is that the world isn't mean to function in any particular way; it's just meant to be. If there is no purpose to existence other than to exist then you really can only pass judgement over existence if you import an idea of how things are meant to work, and that is a suspicious move (apparently). He calls the view that the world isn't working out as 'middle-class angst,' claiming that it is symptomatic of the middle-classes to be brought up believing in things working out for the best and then being shocked when the world doesn't provide it without large-scale help.

Frankly, I can't help but be bemused by it; he seems to be espousing a kind of middle-class angst about middle-class angst (and if you buy my bemusement then I'm showing some degree of middle-class angst about middle-class angst about middle-class angst; this could go on ad nauseam)...

Which is why I plan to retire from my working life and returned to the onerous responsibility of keeping Morthos away from the torture cages and puppy farms. I'll miss the steady pay check and the playful punching of the groin that my employer delivered, as well as not being able to engage in the jabbing of his kidneys on a daily basis, a regret I will just have to bear.

But it does have the immediate benefit in that I will not need to worry, unduly or at all, about the pros and cons of the modern lifestyle and the invasive nature of the media. No longer will I need to read social commentary or be made aware that certain things are just not done. Piqued self-interest always comes before the Empire's fall and I want to be holidaying elsewhere when that happens, preferably in a bunker.

Ah, there comes the local constabulary; they'll want to know what exactly I've been covering up with this policeman's helmet.

Ta ra.