Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions, an uncommonplace-book from the Armpit of Diogenes, binge-thinker jottings since 2008 .

Thursday 31 December 2015

My Guiding Thought

since I left school in 1959 :
Why should people who have no control over their own lives
have control of mine ?

Some things I learned in 2015 :

1. Clive of India's pet tortoise
died 232 years after he did.

2. St Nicholas was the patron saint
of repentant thieves.

3. American president Andrew Garfield
could write Latin with one hand
and Greek with the other, at the same time.

4. There is an online dictionary for
kidspeak acronyms and internet slang.

5. Younbg whisky (and presumably whiskey)
sent out into space to mature
becomes more complex in taste
than the terrestrial stuff.

6. Higher Beings don't snore -
apart from dogs.

7. God has no feet -
not even of clay.
This is why he/it is so insanely

Wednesday 30 December 2015


Before the European Common Market became the European Union
there were lakes and mountains of surplus produce:
wine-lakes, butter-mountains.
Now, the world over,
as people work longer and longer hours,
there is an entertainment mountain.

Tuesday 29 December 2015


a splendid bronze dog the size of a Molossian Hound from Albania
appeared on the decking of the café-bar on the market square.

The neck, however, is uncaninely long...

Married people with kids

are wont to tell us how rewarding children are,
but do not mention that conversations
within the offsprings' hearing
are self-censored for many years,
thus demonstrating that the family
is an inherently dishonest entity.

Monday 28 December 2015

Mozart also knew

that many Monos are much worse than Minos :
monotheism, compulsory monogamy,
monoglossia, monomania, monoculture,
carbon monoxide, global monoXmas,
monolithic, monocracy,
monads (which are nomads),
monarchs, monotony...

Sunday 27 December 2015

One of the unintended consequences

of Women's Liberation (fragmentary and minimal though it is)
has been that marriage as a union of two complementary,
mutually-supporting and uncompeting  partners
has given way to a contract between two apparently-autonomous,
and competing individuals who get together for 'love'
which is usually 75% need+lust in variable proportions.
Monogamous sex usually fades fairly quickly
(thus creating the prostitution-industry), and so there is no glue
other than offspring to hold a marriage together.
Children are poorly equipped to be glue.

Friday 25 December 2015

My death will arrive like a highly-polished hearse

whether I'm expecting it or not.
My pallor will be transported with no wreath
to the unmarked grave I have reserved
and I hope that the only mourner will be
mourning life undeserved
rather than death.

You wouldn't think, from what I have just written,
that I am a very happy person, playful as a kitten !

Thursday 24 December 2015

Not little red spermatozoa

but my saffron crop of 2015 :
6 stamens from 2 flowers !

click to enlarge

The lake below my house, December 2015.
click to enlarge

and click here to see a short slide-show
of more photos from, of and around my house in December 2015.

My recent photos of the little mediæval French village can be seen here.

Other religions' celebrations

can and could be merry and festive,
even Saturnalian, outrageous -
but rarely moronic-dumb-
greedy-infantile and curiously de-ritualised,
as the minor mediæval Christian
holy day and feast-day has become.

Note:  The USA (a very large country) consumes 6.3 billion kilowatts of electricity on Christmas lights alone - nearly half as much again as Ethiopia (a medium-sized country with about a third of the population of the US) uses in a year.

Stupid Logic

"If economic growth generates more money,
and poverty is a lack of money,
then economic growth diminishes poverty."

This is no more than a sick joke of the "trickling down of wealth" variety.
Consider the river Jordan (Hallelujah!) 
which is no more than a trickle, and often just an ooze,
by the time it enters the poor and desiccated
country of the same name from the land grabbed by the Jews.

If only...

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Film criticism.

Last night we watched a Bulgarian movie - with English subtitles - which we thought excellent :
both funny and tragic,
which was about :
1. Backgammon.
2. Being an ordinary dissident in a totalitarian country.
3. Escaping from that country.
4. Being a refugee in a horrible Italian refugee camp.
5. Suffering from amnesia after a bad motorway crash in which one's parents have died.
6. Male bonding and Backgammon.

Today I read two American comments on Rotten Tomatoes,
neither of which seemed intelligent to me :

1. Neither the sweeping European vistas nor the masterful Serbian actor Miki Manojlović can save this Bulgarian road movie from its treacly sentimentality.

2.  It's lovable in a way that's sometimes goofy, sometimes sad, always optimistic.

If you download movies via a torrent p2p client such as Vuze, you can type the name of the movie in the search-box, or type into your browser's address-strip this magnet link:

Or I can send you the torrent file by e-mail for suitable thinking-person's-festive viewing.

A Thrillion

is an amount to make you gasp.
A killion is the number of people
eliminated every year by a government.
A stillion is the number of items
which go missing every day in the post.

Just as 'Arse'

in England
got bowdlerised
to Bum (via bottom)
has become Pee
and Shit
is now called Poo*
(not Pooh)
- but baboons
are not Babies
nor even Boonies
within the crazy human zoo.

*Poop in the USA.

Monday 21 December 2015

A Solsticial Thought

The female first name Holly is now not so rare, I think,
as the male first name Guy.
The latter is the old spelling of gui = mistletoe*,
whose berries look like drops of sperm
just as those of the holly look like drops of blood.

Guy, as in 'good guy, bad
guy' has, however, nothing to do with mistletoe,
but is a corruption of the French 'gars' = lad.

*Latin viscum, from which we get the word viscous.

V in Latin and W in Germanic often became GU or hard G in French,
Thus Vespa (wasp) became Guêpe, and the Ward- words in Germanic
became Gard- in French (Garder, Gardien, etc).

A brilliant new word :

(Well, it's from 2004, so not really
really new  – and strictly speaking, it should be

According to the Urban Dictionary,

Someone who finds intelligence 
the most sexually-attractive feature in others.

Sunday 20 December 2015

The beautiful hands

click photo to enlarge

of a man who has never washed during the whole of his life,
smokes goat-droppings from a sturdy piece of plumbing
and is something of an Iranian national treasure.
The modern Diogenes in the "axis of evil"
- of course !

photo by Iranian News Agency

Saturday 19 December 2015

When I was a little boy

in the nineteen-forties
I learned to read quite quickly,
and fell in love with
(not the Grecian general
but a close relative of
Little Black Sambo).
Nobody noticed,
not even I.

(click to enlarge)

Thursday 17 December 2015

My two favourite movie-quotations

come from a fine parody called
Lost and Found in Armenia :

- "Who doesn't like sheep ?"

- "One should never underestimate Canadians"

What if...

our much-vaunted Consciousness
were merely an over-developed - mutant -
defence-system ?

Wednesday 16 December 2015


As games were corrupted into sports
fun was transmuted into stress -
as in all the many other enjoyable areas of life
except (so far) the smoking of marijuana.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

I wonder...

...if the very recent ruins in Syria
will be as beautiful as these ?
The best of Man is his ruins.

The church of St Simeon Stylites, near Aleppo, Syria.          (click to enlarge)

Monday 14 December 2015

Taking up a new interest when you get older

is a good way (we are told)
of preventing dementia -
and it seems reasonable
to create new synaptic paths within the brain.
Easier and more useful than taking up ballroom dancing,
or the history of the Moors in Spain,
or learning Portuguese or to ride and groom a horse,
however, would be to take up shoplifting
- on a simple, modest scale of course.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Throughout the ages,

paternalistic censors infantilised the reading public
by insisting that literature constituted a serious risk to its health.
Now (mainly in the USA) young (student) readers are infantilising themselves
by insisting that they and their peers should be shielded from the harm caused by distressing texts -
such as Ovid's Metamorphoses.

read more >>>

Saturday 12 December 2015

Friday 11 December 2015

In ancient Greece

the only philosopher not to rely on slaves and a slave economy
was Diogenes. To this day, academic philosophy is a luxury
jealously guarded by intellectual élites,
who, like all élites (Diogenes would have agreed)
are both contemptuous and contemptibly dependent
on an underclass or underclasses somewhere in the world.

click to enlarge                      

He did not, however, live in a barrel
but in a very large ceramic container
as seen in the right-hand picture.

Thursday 10 December 2015


is a word much bandied about
on the 'British' island of England plus
two contiguous colonies. 
I am not just anthroposceptic
but anglophobic as well.

Wednesday 9 December 2015



Compared with death,

life is a kind of concentration-camp
wherein the most important thing
is to have and to hold on to
a sense of humour.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Changing climate ?

In Northern Ireland
I ate December blackberries
as in 1972 and 1994.

If it's Christians against Muslims

it is important to remember
that the most revolutionary
and least-observed
tenet of Christianity is
'turn the other cheek'.

We are not allowed to forget

about the concentration camps
in Europe
which lasted 10 years at most.
We are not encouraged to remember
those many, many, and equally unspeakable
which lasted 200 years
in the United States of America.

Monday 7 December 2015

Proper and Improper Names

The Czech word for 'German' - němec comes from

němci - "mumbling, murmuring people"
(from Slavic *němъ – "mumbling, mute, incomprehensible, or stupid").
The same word (német) passed into Hungarian.

The alternative English word for  'ass' - donkey
- comes from Duncan, a popular Scottish forename
which means dark-skinned important person or warrior
of the Mesolithic (dark-skinned, not-tall) genetic type
 which is to this day to be found in Ireland.
The Scotti were people from Ireland who colonised Alba
(Scotland); the ancient alb-element, meaning snow, white,
or a high place which attracted snow, gives us Alp,
Albany, Albion, Albania. 

Ireland (Latin Hibernia - Winterland) is named after
an obscure early earth-goddess Éire.

The Rus element of 'Russia' (Rossiya) comes from Ruotsi,
the Finnish word for Sweden, because of the Swedish Vikings
who lightly colonised the gold/amber corridor through Western Russia
and Ukraine to Constantinople or Byzantium
(which they called Miklagard = Great City).
The Finnish word for 'Russia', however, is Venäjä - I don't know why -
and for 'Germany' is (unsurprisingly when you think of the geography) Saksa.

The English word Slav, like the French word slave
seems to have been borrowed from Medieval Latin sclavus or slavus,
itself a borrowing - and from Byzantine Greek σκλάβος (sklábos) 'slave'
into which the Emperors of the East turned some Bulgarians
(who, amazingly, gave the words bugger and buggery to English
and Bougre to French. Modern Bulgaria was a place of many Bogomils
or Cathar-Albigensians.)  The Nazis must have liked this consonance.
Not all Nazis were German-speakers. There are no more
'Hellenic' Greeks than there are ancient Roman Romanians.

The Slavic word for Slav comes from slovo = 'word'
- indicating those who spoke an understandable (Slavonic) language
and not Hungarian, Finnish, Romanian, Vlach, Albanian, Greek
or babbling barbarian German. 

Sunday 6 December 2015

My mother used to complain

that I had no ambition.
But I wanted only to be happy and wise.
I have been at least half-successful.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Friday 4 December 2015

Thursday 3 December 2015

Bombing Syria

When life is already intolerable
a few more bombs make no difference.


is incommunicable, communication-free
- if not, it would become mere data, mere chatter,
like philosophy.

Unfortunately, even fewer people are interested in wisdom
(even less in its acquisition) than in philosophy.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

A Nice Neologism

which I learned today :


which is the re-use of something old
and inexpensive as a fashion statement.

Minced Words

in English
come mostly from the 18th century:
zounds! (God's Wounds)
drat! (God Rot)
bloody (By Our Lady) -
but more recently, in America,
where Motherfucker! is nor uncommon
shoot! has bizarrely replaced shit! in certain circles.
Other languages, especially Italian,
have not been tempted into
such childishness - e.g.
Santo Cazzo Madre di Cristo!
Culo di Dio!

But even in Italy, in our time,
Political Correctness' slimy unction
performs the same sad and silly function.

Tuesday 1 December 2015


is the unremitting war on awareness,
whose 'reality' is chains
around brains.

Monday 30 November 2015

Hot Tip for Sensualists

Boys, Dudes and Gentlemen-
Don't wash your hands
after chopping the chilli.
Pull down your pants
and wipe them on your willy.
Girls, women, ladies can (of course) do the same
though their (just as sensitive)
much smaller willy doesn't quite rhyme.

Sunday 29 November 2015

My friend wanted to live with a tramp

 - a homo-hobo -
but of course they don't go about in pairs.
I was the next best thing, suitably queer
in various ways.
We live at least twelve miles apart
for at least half of the year.

Saturday 28 November 2015

In France

the crime of giving shelter
to a refugee who has not applied for asylum
can earn a punishment
of 5 years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros.

The only film I ever saw in the Grand cinema, Downpatrick,

not long before it closed, was Letter to Brezhnev.

That must have been in 1986.
There is not a single photo on the Web of this modest, late, degenerate
art-deco building, now disappeared - of course - until now,
I have just discovered this rather glum photo of a rather sad building.

Those which I visited during boyhood in Belfast
(always for afternoon showings of 'fifties trash) have also disappeared:
The Alhambra, Apollo, Princess, Regal, Ambassador, Majestic,
(later Gaumont), Curzon, Avenue*, Ritz, Imperial, Royal, Strand (which lasted longest), Rex, Astoria, Mayfair (some foreign, X-rated films; later became the News and Cartoon Cinema), Hippodrome (formerly a music-hall, latterly The Odeon)
The Picturedrome, and even, for a depressing while, The Grand Opera House
before it was restored to its original Victorian glory.

It's a very common story -
but, by contrast, in a village of 2,000 people in the south-west of France
an hotel was bought over thirty years ago and turned into a cinema
where (in the last eleven years) I have seen splendid films from France (of course),
Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Iran, Italy, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Russia, Germany, Japan, Afghanistan, Argentina, Spain, Mauretania, Mali, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Canada, Scotland, England...and even (Southern) Ireland.

The first 'real' film I saw was, of course, in London:  Bergman's Virgin Spring.
I have seen almost no trite Hollywood movies since then.
(Though the other night
I watched Thelma and Louise with great delight - and subtitles for the hard of hearing.)

*The Picture House, Royal Avenue:
"The first Belfast cinema proper, with no connection to the music halls, The Picture House was located on Royal Avenue. Always the first cinema to utilise new technology, The Picture House showed Jolsen’s The Jazz Singer in 1929, which was Belfast’s first commercially produced talkie. Taken over by the Odeon group, it became the Avenue, the home of long-running blockbusters. Blown apart by a huge bomb in 1974, the Avenue attempted to come back to prominence, but ended up showing soft porn and putting on bingo. This historic venue was put out of its misery in 1982."

The tiny Tudor cinema, in Comber, some 20 km from Belfast
now hosts special screenings for special groups.

Their treat is 'Casablanca'

Friday 27 November 2015

"The lies...

...that have been distributed are so many and so persistent that,
arguably, fiction is the only way to tell the truth.”      
             - John le Carré
Best-selling fiction may be the best way to tell some of  'the truth',
but it is also an excellent vehicle for lies and propaganda. 
Truth and Untruth are only apparently separate - and
evidently unhelpful - categories.

Thursday 26 November 2015

The planet's rich (for example: us)

are amazed at how difficult it is
to enter Angola, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea or Sudan -
but, for most of the world, two of the countries
most difficult to enter
are the UK and the USA.

read more >>>

Wednesday 25 November 2015

The pathos of bathos.

You all know, who read me here,
that I'm not a prostitute -
just a once-mildly-promiscuous queer -
who has known grown men to shoot
(that is to say ejaculate)
the moment they got their willies out
into the world of twist and shout.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

If ever we could,

we can no longer
dial M for Orpheus -
musical memento vitæ
in the coffin of consciousness.
In the New World Disorder
where sleep gets rarer and rarer
we can only dial
M for Mordor.

Monday 23 November 2015


To be Washed in the Blood of the Lamb
would be like being washed in jam.
Isn't religion a ludicrous scam ?

Sunday 22 November 2015

I used to hitch-hike a lot,

but now I'm too
old and odd.
I don't like the other kind of lifts
(which might be elevators to you
and now have mew-sick
as they take you up to God)
- particularly those in ho.arse-spittles.
I climb the stairs
like the staff all do.
No transmittals,
a bit of exercise -
and faster, too.

Friday 20 November 2015

A State of Emergency

is permission from a "democratic" society
with "Western Values" of "justice" and "liberty"
to its police (secret and public) to harass a defined section of the population.

In Northern Ireland it was invoked to oppress Catholics still further
in the name of "security" - the "security" of a colonial semi-statelet which had never known democracy except, most of the time, at the parish-pump level.
It failed.

In France (a country which has never known equality or fraternity,
and liberty only during the course of the 20th century)
it retrospectively justifies, in the view of supporters of "The Caliphate"
(none of whom have read Rumi or al-Ma'arri),
whatever panic-inducing shootings they plan and carry out
in whatever grand temple of obscene consumerism they choose.

The colonial powers bring it all on themselves, stupidly, continually, continuously.
The French learned nothing from the vicious Algerian war of liberation, just as the Americans learned nothing from Viêt-Nam, and – way back – the British learned nothing from the Irish war of independence, which was repeated, with Partition (in itself a Crime against Humanity),
horrors a thousandfold in the Indian sub-continent.

Note: Bombs are 'out', because of increased "vigilance".
Guns are 'in', because they are widely available on the European, as on the North American
Block one rat-hole, and another one appears.

Thursday 19 November 2015

With apologies to the Weasel Community.

Yet another 'weasel-word' has been invented:
Such a creature does not exist
says Alice.

Note: the handsome weasel is one of the huge number of creatures
never to have reached Ireland.


People occupy a spectrum

which runs from sensibility
to the insensibility of those
who think that seeing is only sight
and that lighting is only light.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Diogenes' Achievement* ?

*an Achievement is the technical term for a coat-of-arms
consisting of an escutcheon, supporters etc.
The Latin motto reads: So that all may see.


Love is less the lion's tooth* -
more a stain of piss upon a sheet
- that spreads - like sappy, spotty youth -
and soon or later
in defeat
fades in the prick's

*Yeats: Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks at the Dancers

Tuesday 17 November 2015

The Essence

of Existence
is Solitude.
Non-existence stretches companionably
inside the atom's
busy beatitude.

Monday 16 November 2015

Yesterday I received TWO (2) visitors.

By the fertile balls of Zeus!
It's hard to be a hermit
and recluse
even in the waterlogged
winter countryside of [m]Ireland...

In 'The Land of the Free' (2)

the free are nowhere to be seen.
In the Home of the Brave
the Achievement Directorate supervises you
from your cosy buggy to your cold, cold grave.

Sunday 15 November 2015

"Social Security" in Blunderland.

Today I received
my tax-free Winter Fuel Payment
of £200 (€280, $310)
available to all 'British'* Pensioners
including millionaires (to whom
of course it is the average posh restaurant tip
- at any rate, a piddl-
ing amount.

I have already bought my winter coal
(shipped to Northern Ireland from Colombia),
so I think I'll spend at least some of the WFP
on a few bottles of excellent Chilean Malbec
from the wine section of my local Lidl.

*'British' means anyone resident in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
even if a Waha'bbite born in Saudi Arabia, an Albanian 'economic migrant', or (like me) an Irish passport-holder living in the above-mentioned tight, tiny, statelet-colony.

Luxury is brittle

and easily smashed.
Carthage 146 BCE
Constantinople 1204
Versailles 1789
Petrograd 1917
Paris 1940, 2015

Travail, Famille, Patrie*

Flowers from an unknown garden
left by a nameless person
on the grave of an unpublished poet :

apprehension is both fear and shape
of recognition - then comes the rape.

Justice, Fairness, Truth :
ideas fall apart -  become
prized pieces on a shelf,
the glassy frontier of the Self.

What you know
and what you want to know
can (of course) be very different.
Then there's the immortal drain
of what you need
(or think you need) to know
- which you will never ascertain.

Life is a dandelion-seed.
Life is a keeper at the zoo.

*This triadic motto replaced the more vacuous Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité
in Marshal Pétain's rump État Français from 1940 to 1942, when the Nazis occupied the whole country.

Saturday 14 November 2015

Belfast and Paris are the only two cities I can claim to know -

Belfast much-bombed*, Paris yet to be much-bombed.

is a snide term for 'historical perspective'
encountered particularly
(but less and less) in Ireland.

It can now gain a new lease of life in France,
whose colonial land-grabs
and associated vicious anti-'Arab',
anti-Berber, anti-Hamitic, anti-Muslim
anti-environmental activities
from Morocco to Syria, and especially in Algeria
(a whole country simply confiscated from its native peoples
and 'planted' with the French unemployed - as north-eastern
Ireland was 'planted' with restive lowland Scots)
took or destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands
of the dispossessed, despised and utterly rejected.

The Biblical cliché comes to mind:
Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind -
maybe 150 years later.  This is

*The number of dead in the thirty years of low-level
terrorism/thuggery in Northern Ireland was about the same
as that killed in one day in New York in 2001.

(I have just been reading both Camus' L'étranger
- in which the five-times-shot victim of the semi-Aspergerish
Meursault's circumstantial, semi-accidental crime
is never named, is just 'The Arab' -
and Kamel Daoud's 'whatabout' and undeservedly
prizewinning riposte
called Meursault, contre-enquête,
which, it seems to me, has as much relevance
to 'terrorist outrages' in Paris as has the
proxy-war in Syria,
France's former 'protectorate'.)

When people tell you

that they are being honest,
it usually means that they are just
flashing and flaunting opinions.

Strange :

how human life uniquely
is a constant reminder of death.

Friday 13 November 2015

"A motor-car

is a third testicle for the modern man."
- 'Rimdelaire' (=anonymous)

                                                    And for the modern woman...?

"If I want to attract a man
I wear a special perfume called
Brand-New Porsche Interior."
- Rita Rudner

Octave Mirbeau (1848-1917)

Thursday 12 November 2015


is rarely a lasting glue.
Nor should it be.
It's just a keeper at a zoo.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

In 'The Land of the Free'

a girl called Fire
must rise every morning at five o'clock
in order to catch the 6.15 bus to school.
She has no choice.
She has no voice.
She is subject to the iron rule
of spirit-dousing mass conformism
which is the opposite of liberty.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Diogenes was much too playful

- and much too serious
- to have mere friends.

An Immortal Truth.

Pour vivre heureux vivons cachés.
Happiness depends on invisibility.

- Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian (1755-1794)

click for another aspect

Pour vivre malheureux, vivons  à découvert.

Monday 9 November 2015

The latest American non-word

that I have come across is
 Just take out the VO and you get a more comfortable word.
Add a couple of letters and you get ENDEAVORMENTIA
to expand your mind.

Square peg in round hole.

We live in a world of curves, spirals, fractals
- and make a hell of a lot of rectilinear things.

Sunday 8 November 2015

My saffron crop

from just two crocuses (click to enlarge)

Feelings are first.

Language comes later
to pervert them.
Life then becomes
a wordy epitaph.

Food for Thought

70% of American same-sex couples have met through the internet.
In the 1950s they hardly met at all.
95% of Danish Jews escaped deportation to death-camps in 1943,
thanks to a German Naval Attaché in Copenhagen.

Saturday 7 November 2015

If I had a 'smart' phone

- such as people [i.e. zombies] now spend every other
waking moment consulting -
a fully-waterproof one to read while
I took my annual (soon to be biennial
like the pretentious Venice festival)
shower - yesterday - I would have learned that
'a study' concludes that the religious
are meaner than the non- or ir-religious.
[yawn - pass me the LSZ...]

The New Infant Islamic Empire

(or Khalifat) is merely doing what the British and the French did
when they seized large chunks of the world by force of arms,
assassination and 'gunboat diplomacy'.  It isa pity
but no surprise that the Western Powers
are so marvellous at crude hypocrisy
and so blind to history.

The most horrible disease

afflicting humankind is
Acute Self-importance Syndrome.

Our Politicians

love Hard-working People
- such as slaves ?
or just wage-slaves ?

Friday 6 November 2015

Going out of the front door today,

I saw a Praying Mantis sitting on the gate.

(click to enlarge)

Just Bad Apples.

If you go to a psychiatrist
don't forget Radovan Karadžić.

If you go to an eye-specialist
don't forget Bashar al-Assad.

And if you just visit your nearest physician
remember Josef Mengele.

Thursday 5 November 2015

My English friend asked me about burning peat in his stove.

There is no peat now generally sold for burning in England.  Here is my reply.

Don’t – if it is in the form of compressed briquettes from Ireland (or Scotland ?).  In any case, peat isn't suitable for an enclosed stove as it will either burn away too quickly or not produce any heat.

As with commercial plant compost, peat briquettes are the result of scraping peat by heavy machinery off low-lying flat moorland (i.e. the Great Bog of Allen in central Ireland) and are the result of ecological and archaeological destruction.

Because of Ireland's lack of coal, the Irish pioneered peat-fired power stations after independence in 1922. During the later ‘economic war’ with Britain and, subsequently, World War II, coal could not be imported from Wales.   Three peat-fired power-stations are still in operation in county Offaly.

Malcolm and I both occasionally (and separately) burn hand-dug peat - from county Monaghan and offered door-to-door from a man in a van. 

It has to be dug with great effort with very special spades  (about which whole learned books have been published), then thrown up onto the moorland, stacked in little piles,

then collected and put into a big turf-stack [turf is Irish-English for peat - compare with French tourbe] to dry, then covered with a tarpaulin or corrugated iron - or whatever is available.  It is not cheap now (obviously) and doesn’t give off great heat – but does give off a lovely smell, and burns slowly, so it is possible to keep an open fire in overnight.  It was the main source of fuel in rural Ireland until the 1980s. 

The Irish had very wide chimneys in their traditional cottages, so most of the heat went straight up, but if you had a cooking-pot over the fire making Irish Stew (which was made over 7 days), and crouched near the fire (with your warm dog), it was fine if you were wearing several layers of clothing.  I have been in such cottages, where the half-door was also open a good deal of the day, thus encouraging the smoke, with the heat, to go up the chimney.  Rather dense griddle-bread (made with baking soda, not yeast) was also baked over turf fires.  I have eaten that, too.

Maggie Land Blanck Collection

For open-hearth cooking-recipes and more information on the harvesting and use of peat in Scotland and mainland Europe, as well as Ireland, click here.


Tuesday 3 November 2015

Some things do get better for some poor, unrepresented people.

Roma were bought and sold as slaves to the state, grandees (Boyars)
rich merchants and monasteries in Romania
from when they arrived there in the late 14th century
until the 1860s - the same time that slavery was technically abolished in the USA.

The formal Romanian word for Roma, ţigani, comes from the Greek for heretic,
and passed into German (Zigeuner) and French (Tzigane).
The English word Gypsy came from a silly idea that Roma
were descendants of the slaves who built the pyramids in Egypt -
rather than nomads fleeing famine in Rajasthan.

The informal Romanian word for Roma was 'crows' (cioroi) - from the time when
were forced to climb trees so that Hunting Gentlemen aka Sportsmen
could take pot-shots at them.
Cioroi is also an abusive term for any dark-skinned person.

Monday 2 November 2015

On artificial and human 'intelligence'.

Ryan Calo, Professor of law at Washington university, points out the difference between the thought processes of advanced robots with artificial intelligence, and those of humans.

A robot would view the image of a clown offering free hugs 
as positive and friendly
(Hugs = good; Free = good; Clown = good),
whereas people would almost certainly not be enthusiastic about hugging the clown,
because of all sorts of (especially modern) negative
and quite subtle cultural associations.

Sunday 1 November 2015

"Global Warming"

Soon there will be more
than just this one bananier
in Caylus, and my balcony
may, after my delectable decease,
overhang a grove of coffee-trees!

Caylus, SW-France, November 2015. photo by Anthony Weir

I love Marsupials !

Saturday 31 October 2015

"As the Prophet Mohammed once aptly put it,

a journey is a fragment of Hell*.
"The journey through the desert of elaboration
confronts the unwary traveller
with a whole array of fragments of hell."
 - Gottlieb Guntern - The Spirit of Creativity: Basic Mechanisms of Creative Achievements

*quoted in Bruce Chatwin, Songlines, 1988, 21

Change and Decay (mutandis, mutandis...)

The French have recently imported Hallowe'en
straight from the ritual-corrupting USA,
as a kind of harvest festival
with childish masks and silly, highly-flammable costumes,
unaware that it was once known
also as All Hallows' or All Souls' Eve,
a pre-Christian festival of the dead
moved a few hours to All Souls' Day
by the Catholic Church, and,
interestingly, moved six days forward
to Guy Fawkes' Night only by the English,
together with the apotropaic bonfires which were the centre
of the 'Celtic' rite, not the grinning lanterns carved out from
turnips/rutabagas/swedes - and now from pumpkins
no longer carried through the muddy lanes
by joyful, barefoot bumpkins.

Friday 30 October 2015

Autumn has arrived in southwestern France.

Morning mist as seen from the balcony. Click to enlarge.

from "15 things airlines don't want you to know"

Next time you’re eating lunch off or otherwise using the pull-down tray in front of you -
remember that someone has probably changed a baby on it.
- So check it - don't lick it.

Thursday 29 October 2015

From what we now know

about just some of the recently-uncovered practices of the Catholic Church
in just a handful of countries - none of them African -
there is surely a case for indicting it (in the person of the Pope, "Christ's Vicar")
for continuing Crimes Against Humanity and Nature
since the reign of Constantine, the Roman Emperor.

God said :

Solitude is divine.
Sartre said :
Hell is the otherness of people.

But does God like eating alone ?
Does s|he eat ?
If so, what ?  Comet-tails ? Asteroids ?
Galaxies ?  Or just
devils' genitals
and the heads of animals ?

Wednesday 28 October 2015

She saw god again the other day

Behind the bloody heap of thrones
Behind the house of money and decay
With grumbling sighs and wheezy groans
In a torn fur coat
Digging up bones.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Tourists and Terrorism.

Far from being the worst thing on the planet,
ISIS/Islamic State/Daesh/ الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام
 pales into insignificance compared with the terrorism
of the Syrian State under Bashar al-Assad
 and with the effect on populations and environments
of the zombi-masses of the world's tourists.

From the balcony: the trees are changing colour.

Click to enlarge

Monday 26 October 2015

Sunday 25 October 2015

Great is Death !

We are his urgent breath,
her eager pus.

we're in the thick of living,
we do not smell him
in the thin of us.

Homage to al-Ma'arri.

Saturday 24 October 2015

Far too much of far too many

"news" reports is devoted to speculation
about what is going to happen next week, or tomorrow, or in a few hours' time -
as if we were incapable of waiting patiently.
And if we are incapable of waiting patiently
"news" is meaningless.

Friday 23 October 2015

" The sin of television...

... proved irresistible for them…. On their rare appearances, they would invariably sit down and watch. Karp sat directly in front of the screen. Agafia watched poking her head from behind a door. She tried to pray away her transgression immediately—whispering, blessing herself…. The old man prayed afterwards, diligently and in one fell swoop..."


Thus are we all corrupted.  But in the case of television and smartphones, why not I ?

Thursday 22 October 2015

Other people's generalisations

are always, inevitably exaggerated, odious
- whereas mine are always subtly, surely insightful :-)
All generalisations should be rigorously examined.

Wednesday 21 October 2015


I have always hated make-up.
Thus I hated circuses not only for their irreverence
to beautiful animals, but for the horrible.
deeply distressing, depressing clowns.
Yet I did not dislike Punch and Judy shows on the beach.

The word Cosmetic comes from the Greek word Kosmos,
which means 'the appearance of things'.
I think that when I was a baby,
some woman in grotesque cake
make-up might have frightened me.
And thus, eventually, I made the mistake
of drifting towards an æsthetic and hence
superficial homosexuality.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Monday 19 October 2015

'The Good Life.'

Accept nothing unquestioningly.
Especially not your teachers, your parents.
Re-think everything for yourself.

Sunday 18 October 2015

On Synæsthesia.

the commonest and most-overlooked
form of this gift is
listening to music while sipping wine
(or cognac)
and fondling one's groin.

An Excellent Epitaph.

'Never Employed
His Life he (mostly)

Saturday 17 October 2015


- a game which, like tennis, was invented in mediæval France, and,incidentally, gave its name to another originally-French game now called cricket -
became popular in the English-speaking world in the 1860s,
because it was the first sport that women could play
on the same terms as, and against, men.

It is one of the few sports that can be played while drinking,
texting and smoking (though not all at once)
or eating bread and caviar or honey. 
I have played it fewer than five times,
though it is the only sport that I have ever enjoyed.
Here is a photo of a famous criminal
who probably played it for money.

Billy the Kid (left). Click to enlarge.

Since Mr Chiqui Tiki

has come to live with me
I have come to understand
how people can believe
that idols contain spirits,
in this case, a very calming one.
Believing, thus, is seeing.

Perhaps you think it strange,
dear reader,
that I would rather kiss
a wooden idol
than a human being.

Friday 16 October 2015

Exciting new polytheistic religion coming up fast.

Asked about Albert Caraco

(nihilist-pessimist writer in the tradition of Cioran and co.)
I came to this baffling paragraph (which I have split up into lines) in the middle of his essay

On Sexual Desire and Death :

« We are too numerous, number is the source of all that is evil.
We committed our species to the sink-hole of a labyrinth,
we forgot joy and, blind and deaf, we ran after chimæras.  
Judging us guilty, our masters disliked us
and their teaching was their revenge:
they were mad and they made us mad;
they knew they were sick and they forced us to imitate them;
they poisoned us and their instruction turned the sun black,
the world into a slave-pit, love into a stinking midden, and our bodies into sewers.
Tomorrow we will challenge them
and I am sure that they will collapse of their own accord. »

I think Señor Caraco should have got himself a nice hard, fleshless Cheeky-Tiki [see previous blog] to cuddle...

Read his original essay here. Then pick up your old copy of Portnoy's Complaint
(by another Jewish author)...

Extracts from his writings are included in my friend Karl's blog here.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Suddenly I am interested in Tikis !

Tiki was 'the first man' in Māori cosmography, and squatting statues named after him, all more or less pleasingly grotesque, are found throughout Oceania (the Eastern Pacific) - from New Zealand to Hawaii and from the Marquesan and Tahitian archipelagoes to the Cook Islands and New Caledonia.

                    Here is a typical Tiki.

In September I went to a rather ramshackle, non-professional 'antiques fair' at a castle a few miles away.  Amongst the usual welter of porcelain, cutlery and knick-knacks, I saw this very cheerful and charming Tiki.

I fell in love with his toothy grin, his beautifully-striated wood, and his gorgeous buttocks - evidently worked by a master-woodcarver.  He was not at all expensive (less than 100 euros/£75).  His only 'provenance' is that he was sold as a 'Statue from Oceania' at the Drouot auction-rooms in Paris.

I bought him, knowing nothing about Tikis but the much-abused name, which is attached to squatting/seated human figures which range from a couple of centimentres high (in greenstone, nephrite - or plastic - properly known as hei-tikis) to large stone statues.
Click on the photos to get a larger picture.

He is 60 cms (2 feet)  high and carved from a beautiful piece of heavy but soft, striated wood in such a way that the buttocks are emphasised. The long thin penis in low relief is so discreet and delicate as to be almost invisible above a small (very high) anal hole.  It is less than half the length of his banana grin. His hands rest on his knees. Some toes have been knocked away in each foot, but he is otherwise fairly undamaged.  He weighs nearly 12 kgs.

 Many tikis have penises, some are sexless and some are female.  Most have their hands meeting on their belly on which the navel is prominent. Many have protruding (minatory) tongues.  All have enlarged eyes, which in pendant examples are often of mother-of-pearl or a similar shell.  Most are leaning forward.  Some in the Marquesan Islands (thought by some researchers to be the original home of the statues) have emphasised buttocks, and most in the Marquesas do not have the tattoos that are such a feature of the Aotearoan tikis, nor the threatening Caliban-Cannibal teeth that are elsewhere almost universal.  Mine has, on the other hand, a very winning toothy grin which makes me smile as I pass him on the stairs.   On balance, I think he is probably Marquesan - and if not, then Tahitian.

 click here to see a slideshow of Tikis >>>

Some statues seem to have been minatory protectors (with frightening teeth) while others represent guardians of the Underworld, or legendary or historical warrior ancestors.  The (tattooed) Marquesan islanders were extremely fierce and cannibalistic.

My cheery chappie is almost certainly modern (mid to late 20th-century ?), but classier than mere tourist tat such as is ubiquitous on the Hawaiian islands.  He now stands on my stairs as benevolent protector, blessing all who pass.


Quite unrelatedly, there is in the Marquesa island of Fatu Hiva a bay  known as the ‘Baie des Vierges’ (Bay of Virgins). This was originally named ‘Baie des Verges’ (Bay of Penises or, if you will permit, Hard Dick Harbour) by the first French settlers, in celebration of the large phallic rock formations that line it. Unsurprisingly the name was later and quickly changed by the usual loathesome Christian missionaries keen to suppress any sensual thoughts in this voluptuous and remote place.  It was in 1842 that the French took over the islands from the Spanish (though the USA claimed them in 1813, Congress never ratifying the claim) and established a settlement which was abandoned in 1859. The French returned in 1870 and later incorporated the islands (some 1200 sea-miles NE of Tahiti) into French Polynesia, still a colony of the French Republic.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Female Genital Mutilation

(the removal of clitoris and labia, and sewing up of what little remains
for fake religious reasons) is an utterly appalling thing, beside which
mere male circumcision is quite benign.
But Mass Cerebral Mutilation, performed on everyone, over many years
throughout the world, to bind and amputate and sew up the brain
in the continual, relentless, totalitarian
worship of the One True Work-Ethic Mindfuck,
is at least as bad - and no-one has the will or wherewithal
to desecrate a single shrine.

Monday 12 October 2015

Autumn colours

have not yet appeared in the forest opposite my balcony.

But on the driveway up to my house there is rich October colouring.

The gable is that of the former nun-run nursery school, now defunct.
Some people dump garden rubbish here, and worse, so this winter
my neighbour and I plan to plant four or five nice big shrubs
to delight the eye of the several locals who take their dogs
on a circular walk past here and down the drive or lane
to the artificial lake,
and along the coombe floor to the house in the first photo,
then back up to the village again.

(My house is about 150 metres farther on.)

Sunday 11 October 2015

The Childish and Depressing Optimists

never tire of telling us that our moral sensibilities have undergone progressive evolution,
and are still evolving.
But as TH Huxley pointed out more than a century ago,
sheer nastiness and the means of performing it on a massive scale have likewise evolved apace.
Even if there were something that might be described as social evolution,
the forces of bloodcurdling and gut-spraying psycho/sociopathy
would be as much a part of it as liberal and multicultural tolerance.


is perhaps the greatest gift
and like any such can become an art or craft

for life
has no meaning, just sensation
and the enjoyment and interpretation of sensation.

Saturday 10 October 2015

One of several insoluble problems

with the idea[l] of Democracy
is that it - if ever achieved - might very well be illiberal
and lacking in 'decency' (a word even more nebulous
than 'democracy'), and in general and generous good sense.
In what I would consider to be a true (and probably depressing) democracy
I would not have been allowed to pursue my life of disengagement
from 'society' at society's expense.

Friday 9 October 2015

"Immigrant Problem" - what problem ?

Village School and Medical Centre saved by refugees
- in remote, rural Lozère (France). 
Both were scheduled to close, until refugees were invited
to come and live in the little village.
In France, refugee status confers social security benefits and rights.
Thousands of French people have offered temporary lodging
(from two weeks to nine months) to refugees from Syria.


derives its meretricious prestige mainly from
the attractiveness of what it deems immoral.

Luxe, calme et volupté.

Despite my high-minded veneer
the motto of my life could be
Luxe, calme et volupté -

part of a refrain in a celebrated poem by Baudelaire
(set to music by Duparc) :
L'Invitation au Voyage :
            Là, tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,
            Luxe, calme et volupté.
There [in the the desire-dream-world] there is only order, beauty,
luxury, tranquillity and sensuality.

It is also the title of a "divisionist" Matisse painting of 1904
which looks far too crowded and heterosexual for me -
a sort of Seuratesque hybrid between Manet's Déjeuner sur l'herbe
and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
(via Cézanne's Les Grandes Baigneuses),

But I digress.
Provided that one is not tinged with vulgarity
or sleazy erotic desire,
Luxe, calme et volupté
is a triple state to which one can nobly - and even honestly - aspire.

Thursday 8 October 2015

More bizarre car-names

If the well-known Renault Trafic was designed for smuggling large quantities of drugs,
what markets were the Citroën Bipper and the Dacia Dokker aimed at ?

The debate

on whether or not to acknowledge the right to euthanasia
seems to boil down to the question of
Respect for Life (abstract, religious)
Respect for People who feel that their lives are over
or unbearable (particular, empathetic).

Of course it mirrors the debate over abortion.