Dingo the Dissident

THE BLOG OF DISQUIET : Qweir Notions in the Armpit of Diogenes by DINGO the DISSIDENT binge-thinker since February 2008.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Fashions in speaking.

 It is well-known (amongst certain cultural historians and phoneticists at least)

that the modern pronunciations of French, Danish and English (at least)

were the result of speech impediments or mannerisms at royal courts, and, in the case of English, also of the importation of Dutch- and then German-speaking rulers and their courtiers and soldiers.

In modern times the speech of female, white Americans has altered very noticeably.  As women more and more assert their rights and grievances, their speech has become more nasal, more penetrating, faster, and (inevitably) less clear.   It sounds like souped-up Barbie-speak, and may yet evolve into Chipmunk

Hillary Clinton is a comparatively mild example, but I find that more than half a minute of her shrieky delivery makes me turn off the radio to avoid a headache.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Water, rocks, trees and animals

were replaced by anthropic gods,
who were by accident of history
squashed by the jealous Jewish God,
who slowly and unwillingly morphed
into Truth and Wisdom,
which were torn by barbed-wire,
corrupted by unfairness, greed, 
ideals, hate and prejudice -
which were consumed by fire.

I just thought you would 'like to know'

 that more than 10% of the 320 land mammals known to have lived in Australia in 1788 are now extinct.  Read more >

Ireland, of course, lost furry fauna (and most of its forests) before 1788 : wolves, bears, elks, wild pigs, beavers...so let us not scapegoat white Australians.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

When the Chinese,

a little before the Spaniards,Portuguese,
and other European 'gangster scum' went to Africa,
they didn't go as greedy, bloodthirsty pirates seeking slaves
but with dignity of state in large (unwieldy and expensive)
ships loaded with porcelain and tea and silks
to offer as gift-sweeteners for trade-deals or tributes
from the darker people that they found
(whom Europeans were wont to label 'beasts'
and lesser breeds without The Law)
- and never dreamed of sending priests.

Things are a little different this time round.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

World Government

This world is governed by a vast obese baby
who ages surprisingly, intolerably slowly
whose oozing rash we must lick happily
whose farts we must inhale
whose shit we must devour al dente
whose piss we swim through doggedly
whose sweat lubricates our brains
whose blood oils our machinery
whose feet crush us like acorns
whose hands manipulate us like puppets
whose eyes watch every one of us
whose ears record our ear-worms
whose genitals arouse us irresistibly
whose screaming mouth gives us
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
day-in, day-out and all night long
whose horns impale us
whose beard entangles us
whose perpetual infection
we happily endure
but decline to cure.

Monday, 1 March 2021

[Thanks, Almina]


It doesn't seem so long ago
that I received at least three
personal letters a week from the postman
who drove down my muddy, rutty lane.
I had boxes of them, with carbon copies
of my replies. I typed all my letters because
handwriting has been a problem for me
ever since I was forced to use my right hand,
and consequently (in those days of metal nibs
dipped into ink) dropped blots amongst
my spidery, uneven script.

Then came ball-point pens, which teachers
and other cultural snobs resisted.

The great thing about e-mail is that I can choose
the font and size (Bookman Old Style 16 point),
add pictures as attachments
or within the text.  But my desk is still covered
with scrappy little notes I sometimes cannot read
because my writing never improved after the age of eight
when I was quite inappropriately
sent to a snobby school where I too often had to do
text-copying (with fountain-pen) as punishment.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

The banality

of suffering, revenge,
of cruelty, of spirit,
of humanity.

And beauty,
cataracts, tranquillity
defying our banality.

Women's Liberation -

like European Enlightenment -
would be a good idea -
if they can get it together.
But there's not much time.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Women cope better than men

with a lot of time on their own;
perhaps they're 'hard-wired'
for abandonment.

And maybe men are 'hard-wired'
for gang-rape, which is why they don't know
what to do when alone for long periods -
except drink and/or wank...
or kill themselves.

from Sociology wihout Evidence, the Qweir Handbook.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Maybe "The Meek"

mentioned by Jesus
are really the easy-going, happily laid-back
who don't write Last Wills and Testaments
and have no more wish to inherit the dearth
than to become as rich as Croesus.

Dogs don't like doors.

I don't like doors or locks.
I am a dog.

Dogs don't mind seat-belts.
I am not a dog.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

A correspondent asks

me, out of the blue, if I play chess.
I reply:

I can think logistically
but I can’t think strategically,
so I’m hopeless at chess
(though I like the horse and the turret).
I'm no good at draughts, but not so bad
at an African game
involving cups and pebbles or seeds.
I didn't mind coming last in
the once-a-year egg-and-spoon race, 

which probably nobody plays any more, 
not even sport-retards like me.
Scrabble is fun (I still have my old board
with wooden tiles) so long as I play
with someone like me who
wants to make words and is not fixated
on winning - and, of course, not on-line.
If, in another fun game, my opponent, poor soul, 
would prefer me to slide down a snake 
and not climb up any ladders - well,
it's up to the die or the dice, but I'd happily cheat
to help him/her to win.  I'm a Born Loser
(downwardly-mobile, hence
an unintentional survivor)
and lack that horrible hominid attribute
competitiveness for competitiveness' sake.

Jesus' message to Judæa

(one that is not taught in
school or Sunday-school)
Verily, it is better to be oppressed
than to rule.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

In the past hundred years, and more,

and especially now,
the USA has deported
more "huddled poor"
(mostly non-Europeans)
from its 'teeming shore'
than it has accepted.

Monday, 22 February 2021

One of our many

'original' sins
is rule-
making and imposing,
and the creation
of institutions
(from marriage to banks)
which has led
to the destructive
of everything.

Moving House

in San Francisco, at one mile an hour.

Sunday, 21 February 2021


is declarative
and not necessarily
'written by the victors',
but, rather, by those who can write
and can write the best narrative.

How can anyone enjoy

good mental health
in a society based upon crude wealth
which seems to function
but is not only obviously sick
but also defines good mental health ?

Saturday, 20 February 2021

If we ever are improved

it is by what befalls us,
rather than what we do
or we intend.

On Monday the government
is vaccinating people,
on Tuesday it is shooting them,
on Wednesday there's no more water,
On Thursday bombs fall -
that's how our little
devastated world will end.

If your day

has not been weird
perhaps you haven't
had a day,
says the sage who mumbles
into his beard
that there is either nothing
or too much to say.

Friday, 19 February 2021

The defective glue

of any hierarchical society
is mass-hypocrisy
from which hermits
are the only refugees.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

What Countries Call Themselves.

 For a long time, the title United States of America
has greatly annoyed me.  It would annoy me even
if it were called The United States of North America -
for, the North American nation which we call Mexico
is in fact the United States of Mexico.  So the USA
should call itself the United Anglophone States
of North America
, including both Texas and Florida.

The United Kingdom sounds as if it belongs to no continent,
and indeed many people within it think so, but it is
the United Kingdom of Great Britain  (England +Wales and Scotland),
with or without 'autonomous' Northern Ireland.  It does not include
the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands (which the French
quite exactly call les Iles anglo-normandes).
Its name may soon have to change.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has disappeared,
leaving its core: the Russian Federation of 'autonomous' statelets and regions
and cities all known as Subjects -  such as Tatarstan,
Tuva, Karelia, Komi, Chukotka, Udmurt, Magadan..., ).

Malaysia (you may be surprised to learn)
is a Federal Constitutional Monarchy
comprising thirteen states (including the Sultanate
of Brunei) and three federal territories.

Greenland (which has a rather fine flag - see below) is not a country
but an 'Autonomous Territory'  (Kalaalit Nunaat)
within the Kingdom of Denmark*
(which once also embraced Norway, South Sweden and Iceland).

Venezuela is The Bolivarian Republic -
but I won't go on...

(*note that the first nation-state flag, white on red, was Danish.)


Wednesday, 17 February 2021

My New Monopoly-board.

doesn't have hotels or railway-stations
but shopping-malls and private airports.
The streets are different, too:
  Corruption Boulevard
  Back-hander Crescent
  Offshore Avenue
  Hedge-fund Heights
  Dirty Tricks Drive
  Bribery Road
  False-accounting Gardens
  Money-laundering Mansions...

To restore the silly 19th century 96-metre spire

of the ugly and vainglorious
cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris
(partially destroyed by fire in 2019)
around 1,000 oak trees between 150 and 200 years old
will be required.

Thus was Europe deforested.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

An obsolete word.

(as obsolete as yesterday)
and generosity (especially of spirit)
are rare enough in times of plenty.
But when plenty depletes,
loving-kindness and generosity
shrink to some rare 
- sometimes heroic - instances
(an attic here, a cellar there)
from which optimists extrapolate
(quite hypocritically) a false generality
of what we smugly call basic humanity.
But 'basic humanity' is 'get the bastards',
'an eye for an eye', and 'sauve qui peut'.
Wolves and dogs are obviously kinder
and more loving than us - without
even a shred of sentimentality.



air-freighted from the Dominican Republic cost $7 each.
Those sent by boat from the Ivory Coast cost under $3.
Mangoes by air from Peru are $4...

Who cares a damn about climate-change ?

Monday, 15 February 2021


Aggression and violence need to be justified,
as well as supported and financed,

and so 'maidens in distress'
were invented - or distressed - to justify
the the seeking out and killing
of a purely fictional dragon.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

“There’s no revolution in the world

that has happened for an ideological reason –
they have all happened for practical reasons, without exception,
including the [French] revolution of 1789, and the Russian Revolution.”

- Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of France's socialist party La France Insoumise.

Ha! ha! ha!

There will be elections this year

for the democratic but fairly powerless
European Parliament...

Saturday, 13 February 2021


is a Monster.
Wilderness is perfect.

I have always loved Ogres,
but not Buggers.

Friday, 12 February 2021

From ants to elephants,

all species alter landscape
-some more than others.
Us more than others
for tens of thousands of years.

We didn't advance into agriculture.
We had wiped out our prey,
laid waste the generous landscape,
and so were forced to adapt
to the meanness and labour
of animal husbandry and horticulture.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

I have always considered myself sort-of-intellectual.

But, unfortunately,
to be an intellectual
you have to have a memory.
Few things stick in my vague mind -
a few facts or factoids,
a lot of ideas,
some high- and low-lights,
some feelings.

I comfort myself with the thought
that many intellectuals are silly,
if not actually stupid, such as
those geniuses who investigate
the beginning, and the end!
of the universe[s].

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Diogenes would certainly have agreed with me

that all education -
however useful to the educated 
- is indoctrination.

The greater its usefulness
the greater the indoctrination.

Plato's Academy and
Aristotle's Lyceum
provide excellent examples,
yet were probably less indoctrinating
than most educators since.

Whether rich or poor,

humans will not change their behaviour
to mitigate climate-change.
They won't even boycott Amazon.

Monday, 8 February 2021

"From the Beginning of Time."

 But time began only this morning.

There was nothing before -
only Fiction, Bad Memory,
Myth, Legend..

Good old Heracl[e]itus !

'Thinking is a sacred disease, and sight is deceptive.'
(but some diseases last only a few days, while others destroy you slowly)

'Time is a game played beautifully by children.'
(when they are not being educated, beaten or otherwise abused) 

more of Heraclitus' maxims >

Sunday, 7 February 2021

There's no comfort

like self-comfort.

- if only by sniffing your armpits
or underwear.

And hermits luxuriate
in solitude.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

What's wrong with my judgement, my brain ?

(One should not judge a book by its Penguin Modern Classics cover.)

I decided - for the third time - to tackle James Joyce's Ulysses,
in the hope that my near-senility would reveal its genius.

But - again - I found it juvenile, painfully smart-ass,
pretentious, and overlaid (if not overladen) with
a not-very-pleasant kind of matey heterosexuality.

In that kind of writing, Henry Miller is better
funnier, more in-your-face - but not so allusive.
(Come to think of it, I'm not so keen on the Odyssey, either -
another Adventure Book for Boys!)

Fantastically literate, but with nothing underneath
that I could discern : literary forms without content
(Plato's shadows).

As for originality, Flann O'Brien's hilarious,
existentialist, surreal Third Policeman is far more readable,
far less contrived. 

It might be comparing chalk with cheese, but Joyce's
Czech/German/Jewish contemporary Kafka
was 'all content', profound, and anything but a show-off.

So why is this book so revered by the Literati, the Irish
and, above all, by Americans ?  Is it, like Proust
(whom I also three times found claustrophobic,  unreadable even in French) 
on a (deep and high) level that I'll never reach ?
Or was Joyce just lucky to have been pitied
by the unfortunate Sylvia Beach ?

We call them Care Homes.

The French, who love acronyms
and are a little less hypocritical,
call them EHPAD
- which almost means
Establishment for the Hiding of People in Appalling Distress:
Etablissement d'hébergement pour personnes âgées dépendantes.

Friday, 5 February 2021


is the furniture of my mind.
Some is too heavy,
some is uncomfortable,
some will collapse if sat on,
some is cluttered with other thoughts,
and none seems to go
with the social-ideological wallpaper.

On the Definite Article.

There is a war of difference
between Truth and The Truth.
But not everybody knows
that they can be foes.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Super-sapient Sentient I am not -

 but I venture to suggest that
'The Secret of Happiness'
is Playfulness -
which of course involves
a continuous sense of humour,
and is brainwashed out of us
by the time we are ten,
or is regimented into Sport,
which involves no sense of humour.

Dogs, when permitted, are playful and happy
and have a sense of humour,
unless, of course, it is beaten, bored
or starved out of them.

(A Sense of Humour, of course,
is not the telling of jokes :
I have always thought that people who tell jokes
tend to lack a sense of humour,)

Yet another thing that few people know :

The Irish Republican Army, admired by Lenin,
lent money to the USSR...

In 1920, a secret loan deal was reached
between the proclaimed 
Irish Republic and the Soviet Union. 

Russian crown jewels were given to the Irish Republic
n exchange for $20,000, the equivalent of over $250,000 today.
The jewels were not returned for another three decades.

[from Wikipedia]

The Irish Free State, alas! was largely taken over
by the Catholic Church, and Socialism (let alone Marxism)
was largely excluded until Ireland had to (and was glad to) join
the European Economic Community (now European Union) in 1972.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Picture of the Week.

 'Banana Split' : a bus in Euston Station, London.

photo by Mark Wilkins on FlickR

The advertisement 'celebrates' Chiquitas, a near-monopoly
and inglorious successor to the notorious United Fruit Company
of Florida, whose record of cruel exploitation in South and Central America
can be read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiquita_Brands_International

Men like to

sermonise and lecture
(usually more lengthily than I in this blog).
Women, however, (usually) don't like to nag.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Telephonophobia :

a 'condition' that I 'suffer from'
and which is not yet fashionable
but soon will be.

An Orwellian American Euphemism.

A prison is not a Correctional Facility,
but a dysfunctional dump for the poor and disadvantaged.

*footnote: Loyal readers will remember that I spent three months in an old, overcrowded gaol in 1973.
Since I was not disadvantaged, it was an eye-opening and useful experience.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Young Mr Yeats feels his belly rumble at Thoor Ballylee*.

I will arise and go now into the scullery,
and a small omelette cook there of magic mushrooms made.
Nine wines have I to choose from, and fresh stream-water free,
and a simple board with plate and damask laid...


Saturday, 30 January 2021

A leaf

whose tree is now
paper flushed down a WC
is pressed between
my cerebral hemispheres
invisible to the doctor
or the undertaker.

One good thing about Covid

is that one no longer has
to pretend to be sociable.


Friday, 29 January 2021

"I'm good"

 means No (I discovered today) in current American.
But "I'm bad" or "I'm not good" seem not to mean Yes.
In French Oui means Heard.. and in Irish 
there's no special word (adverb, particle, suffix, prefix or interjection) at all.
The word often pronounced (and in place-names transliterated)
 big (beag) in Irish...means small.

Irish pub: The Wee (small) House,

Being a half-pint pansy
I have rarely "been good" for a pint in a pub - or a hole in the wall.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

There is a theory

(to which I must confess I'm drawn)
that pale people are obsessed
by skin-colour and 'race'
because they are projecting
their resentment of the beauty
of skins which are not wan.


is one of the less-recognised addictions -
more so since the arrival of Covid-19.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

It took me a lifetime

to learn that if I like the look
of someone, she or he
will not automatically
like the look of me.


 The twig trembles.
The bird has flown.
The twig is still.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

The 'Carbon Footprint'

of people who breed
is potentially, exponentially vast.
Get sterilised fast !

Monday, 25 January 2021

It doesn't bode well...

As societies become more complex
people become more infantile.

A culture which thinks that this
is a poem hasn't much of a future.

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Let us admire the Cock-eyed Squid

which has one large eye for looking up
and one small eye for looking down.


and the Odd Bobtail Squid, which shoots out
luminescent snot to confuse its predators.
Quite a clown!

Heteroteuthis dispar

Friday, 22 January 2021

Confused Cascading Thought

before falling asleep in Caylus.

Tombes, alas!
is not French for falls.

Waterfall, Caylus

just as flies, indeed,
is not English
for vols.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

"Wordplay, playfulness, and humour

are the harbingers of truth. 
When you eliminate the possibility of playfulness, 
you remove the possibility of learning
- which leads to banality, brutality, and destruction."

- composed by Artificial Intelligence !
(But the rest is not so good...

However, the Church of the Divine A.I. could join with the Church of the Other Kind of A.I. and breed a wonderfully-hybrid Master Race.)

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Work Ethic:

Quirk Ethic -
contentment's opposite

though many work contentedly
without the ethic.


Mid-January. Frost.
Snowdrops have not yet appeared,
but I found a cowslip in full bloom.

Monday, 18 January 2021

After Vladimir Vysotsky.

 Gloss on the final refrain of  his song  "Охоты на волков"
(The Wolf-hunt)
                             which of course is not about a wolf-hunt.

I abandoned obedience
and got out of their cage
and rejoiced at the shrieks of the sheeple.

I'll keep going, keep going, going on, going on -
but yesterday was better than today.
Tomorrow they will catch me
tomorrow they will kill me.
They'll look for my body and see nothing.
They'll look at my body and see nothing...

Listen to his  'Unruly Horses' - yet another of my favourite songs - on my YouTube Channel.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Another of my favourite songs.

The Hurdy-gurdy Man  from Schubert's bleak song-cycle Winterreise.

Der Leiermann

1. with hurdy-gurdy accompaniment.

2. the original piano version with Thomas Quasthoff accompanied by Daniel Barenboim.

There are also beautiful interpretations by Fischer-Dieskau, and with Hans Hotter and Gerald Moore,
together with the German text by Wilhelm Müller.

Here is my singable translation:

In the wretched village 
a hurdy-gurdy-man,
who with frozen fingers 
plays the best he can.

Barefoot on the ice he
stumbles here and there;
and his little coin-cup
stays forlornly bare.
Nothing on his feet, he
staggers through the cold.
No one puts a farthing
in his battered bowl.

No-one cares to listen
or give him a glance.
Now the dogs are growling;
he has not a chance,

but he keeps on grinding,
doesn't seem to care,
churning out his music
in the chilly air.

Otherworldly relic,
will I go with you ?
Will your hurdy-gurdy
accompany me, too ?

It took me most of a morning to translate these simple lines!

Contrast and compare:
                                         Those, like me,  who were around and interested in the British and Irish Folksong revival of the 1950s and 1960s (thank you Lonnie Donegan!) may remember Cyril Tawney's The Oggie-Man, about the demise of a man who sold a kind of savoury pasty...

Saturday, 16 January 2021

One of my favourite songs

is  Raoui, راوي  by the Algerian singer Souad Massi.


This my gloss on the lyrics:


Speak, storyteller, tell us a story.
Make it as long as War and Peace.
Tell us about people gone before,
men of infamy, women of glory.
Tell us about the Thousand Nights and a Night,
A thousand and one ever-falling leaves -
Sinbad and Odysseus on their stormy Sea of Stories,
Sheherazade, Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves,

Start your story, start your story,
Take us away from our misery,
Let it briefly stop being the main part
Of our story. Tell your story, tell your story,
There's a story in everyone's heart.
Tell your story, tell your story,
There's a terrible story in everyone's heart.
Tell your story, tell your story,
There's a wonderful story in everyone's heart.

Start telling while forgetting that we have grown up,
Imagine us as children trusting,
Not knowing what is and what is not crime.
Tell us everything, everything, but keep us
'Once upon a time'.

Here is the (somewhat different)  original text

which of course I cannot read, being a 'blind translator' :

يا راوي حكي حكاية
مادابك تكون رواية
حكي لي على ناس الزمان
حكي لي على ألف ليلة وليلة
وعلى لنجة بنت الغولة
وعلى ولد السلطان

حانجيتك مانجيتك
دنا بعيد من هادي دنيا
حاجيتك ماجيتك
كل واحد منا في قلبه حكاية

حكي وانسى بلي احنا كبار
في بالك رانا صغار
حكي لنا على الجنة حكي لنا على النار
على طير عمره ما طار
فهمنا معانى الدنيا

يا راوي حكي كما حكوا لك
ما تزيد ما نقص من عندك
كاين نشفوا على بالك
حكي لنسينا في هاد زمان
خلينا في كان يا ما كان


Friday, 15 January 2021

The backward forwards.

Nation States are like Backward Children
mainly because politicians
are backward and backward-looking -
which is one reason why they keep talking
about going forward.

Come to think of it : human beings
(compared with dogs and bonobos)
are a 'backward' species.

Can 'evolution' be retrograde ?

Thursday, 14 January 2021

You might think

that the epithet a pain in the neck
was a bowdlerisation of a pain in the ass/arse/butt.
This is not the case; it refers to the crick
liable to afflict the neck when listening to
and gazing at (seemingly for ages)
boring, long-winded orators
on platforms or on stages.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Not many people know

 that the Empress Maria Theresa
of 18th-century Austria-Hungary was
pyrophobic after a bad experience
when she was a kid.

She imposed strict laws on the building and upkeep of hay-barns,
and decreed that all tobacco-pipes
be furnished with a lid:

This is a (probably unsmokable) modern variation:

The problem with The Future

 is that it has a murky past.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

In 1990

millions of brainwashed fools like me
thought the world might just get a bit better for most.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Every time you pass an animal of any kind

(a dog, a cat, a rat
a slug, a snake, a bird, a wasp, a spider..)
close your eyes,


Porcelain 'shepherdesses' from Dresden
do not, of course, represent keepers of sheep,
but well-dressed courtesans (high-class sex-workers)
who, like the figurines, did not come cheap.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

The only things that keep me (cravenly) going

despite my anthropophobia
and our world-stifling sleaze
(often referred to as Our Common Humanity)
are Breakfast, Dinner, Sleep,
My Cherished Plants, my admiration
of Rats - and (of course) Trees.

[No, not masturbation !
Though it's sweet for a bit
when enhanced by

*a neat new word for the wictionary

Saturday, 9 January 2021

"Condemnation in Denmark

of children's TV series featuring a man with an uncontrollable penis."

       John Willy-man.

Men's 'dangly-bits' are funny not only to children
but still to me. 
Which is why I could never "take sex seriously"
and used it mainly as an opportunity for fun and games
with the very few like-minded men that I was able,
with much effort, to find - in Paris, or London,
or Northern Ireland. 
I guess I never left the infantile stage of sexuality,
which, along with an infantile perception
of human social reality as a miasma,
doubtless has contributed to
my social and emotional inadequacy.

"Hero of the Planet" - Time magazine.

Generally, I consider all of us 'a waste of space'
simply by existing, and everything we do is harmful
in some way or other.  But last year the younger brother
of my only friend in the later days of my
rough schooling died - of Alzheimer's disease,
and I discovered how, although he bred three children,
he (a modern opposite of old Diogenes)
was as near as any human can get to being benign.
Others who come to mind are Diane Fossey, Jane Goodall...

but Peter Pritchard (whose fascination with snakes
I remember from 65 years ago) devoted his life to turtles,
finding them, saving them, protecting them, discovering
new species which were named after him, initiating 
projects for their protection from Guyana to Vietnam.
    “His life was gentle; and the elements
    so mixed in him, that Nature might stand up
    and say to all the world,

Dr Pritchard in his early twenties (above)
and in his sixties (below)

Friday, 8 January 2021

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Under the extravagant, totalitarian régime

of consumer-capitalism
anyone, any beast, any plant,
any thing that is not exploitable
is surplus to requirements, disposable.

see https://aeon.co/essays

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Those of us who ever considered the question

of how best to live,
have nearly all come across the Essays
of Michel de Montaigne, and admired
his judicious and rational integrity
both in what he wrote and in how he acted
in different official and clandestine capacities
in a time of plagues and civil war.

But his travel diary is less well-known
and equally delightful.  In his year-long journey
(mostly on horseback) through Eastern France,
Southern Germany and Switzerland
to Rome, and via Lucca up through Southern France
back home (near Bergerac), he eagerly noted
local customs, local food (regretting that he hadn't
brought his cook with him) and the peaceful
variations of religion in the places that he passed.
Towns that were part of the Holy Roman Empire
allowed freedom of faith, whereas those ruled
by the Austrian Habsburgs were Catholic.
Some towns in Switzerland were Lutheran,
others followed Zwingli and were more puritan,
but almost nowhere were statues decapitated
or removed, nor organs smashed,
unlike Atlantic Europe north of the Pyrenees.
Some towns could not be entered, due to fear of plague.

And all the time M. de Montaigne, never writing
in the first person, commented on architecture,
vineyards, dress, behaviour, wildlife, beds and linen,
cutlery and comfort, and especially on all the spas
he visited to ease the bladder- and urethral pain
caused by the chronic kidney-stones which killed him 
(like his father) but never complaining.
He was a one-man 16th century TripAdvisor,
but very much more entertaining.

see Fausta Garavina (Paris 1983): Montaigne, Journal de Voyage (with notes and translation into Italian)

and Waters, W.G. (William George): The journal of Montaigne's travels in Italy by way of Switzerland and Germany in 1580 and 1581 [Reprint 2020] Volume: 1 (1903)

and Marvin Lowenthal (New York 1935). The Autobiography of Michel de Montaigne: Comprising the Life of the Wisest Man of his Times: his Childhood, Youth, and Prime; his Adventures in Love and Marriage, at Court, and in Office, War, Revolution, and Plague; his Travels at Home and Abroad; his Habits, Tastes, Whims, and Opinions. Composed, Prefaced, and Translated from the Essays, Letters, Travel Diary, Family Journal, etc., withholding no signal or curious detail. 

Montaigne's own vineyards (which are still producing wine) yielded up to ten thousand bottles a year.

Outrageously, there is no other English translation of his travel-diary.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Dear Mr [Elon] Musk,

How much would it cost to send
the noisy motor of my mind
on a module to the moon's dark side
while the rest of my consciousness
stays happily behind ?

Yours truly,

Monday, 4 January 2021


those who sanely come between
the mindless and the monomaniac.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

A matter of scale - never mind ethics.

In the first week of 2021
the European Union
(population 445 million)
unregretfully said goodbye to Brexit Britain,
and signed a trade deal with harshly-totalitarian China
(population almost one and a half billion),

and the newly-independent Brexitstan
(population 60 million)
signed a trade deal with totalitarian Turkey
(population 83 million).
Nobody signs trade-deals with Iran.

The Real Story.

Actually, Yahwé,
I much prefer old bearded men to young beardless women. 
Eve is off playing with her snake -
so I wonder if you'd care to abuse me a little ?
It will, I assure you, get bigger and harder.


There will come a time

when - too late - the grasping fools
realise that a wolf
is worth twenty thousand sheep,
twenty thousand sheeple.

Saturday, 2 January 2021


I have never been much interested in joining groups,
and those I have joined I tend to abandon quickly,

but if I lived in faction-torn Lebanon,
I think I might start smoking a pipe again,
and join The Pipe Club of Lebanon,
seen here on one of their outings. 

omáda ομάδα : bloc, team, squad, gang, troop

Friday, 1 January 2021

The status game.

Researchers into Black Holes and the centre of the sun
are of much less Service to Society
than those who grow food or disinfect a floor,
but nevertheless are paid at least five times more.

Today is Independence Day

in Brexitstan.