Thought for the day: "Solutions are not the answer" - Richard Nixon

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


The Meaning of Life

Hmm, as ever I have been indefensibly slack at posting here, my only excuse being that I had better things to...oh no, hold on; that's cobblers. Actually I had nothing better to do and have no excuse, but hey, here I am now. The topic of the evening's symposium is 'The Meaning of Life', since I have just returned from a speaking competition on that very topic. As I spent an embarrassing amount of time composing my entry, I may as well get two for the price of one, and post it here too..

The question, Mr. Speaker, of the meaning of life,
Has, over the years, been the cause of much strife.
And to die without knowing would seem to me tragic,
Not to mention a bunch of similar adjec.

And so Mr. Speaker, in the course of this speech
The meaning of life, I’ll endeavour to reach
I’ll consider a spectrum of different views,
And see if we can’t come up with good news

For some the answer lies with a supreme being,
All powerful, all loving, all singing all dancing and all seeing.
Put your faith in the Lord, and all will be well,
Or if you’d rather not, then off with you to hell

Still many prefer not to choose God above,
Some would say that the meaning of life is, well, Love
To find someone, settle down, and generally be mushy,
If only in practice, it were ever so cushy

If not Love, perhaps pleasure: lust, food and money,
Acquire all of those, and life would be sunny,
And yet if we just eat, spend and shag our way through it
Can we honestly say of life, that that’s all there is to it?

Well that’s three, and so far, it is patently clear,
We not finding a great deal of consensus here
I’ll proceed with the viewpoints, but I must confess doubt,
As to whether it’s likely that we’ll figure it out

So if not God, love or pleasure, then how about knowledge?
Get yourself educated, spend ten years at college,
Learn all there is to know; be a card carrying boffin,
Though you probably won’t be done, by the time you’re in your coffin

Another idea is that life’s about Charity
Work for our fellow man, that they might achieve parity,
But for those who do that, and nothing beside,
It’s much harder toil, that most of us could abide,

And then there's celebrity: popularity and fame,
Stand out from the crowd; be a recognised name.
Be in all the papers, have your scandals laid bare;
Hmm. On second thoughts, maybe, we don't want to go there

Perhaps the answer may be a judicious combination,
All meanings are good, if taken in moderation
But how much of which, what meaning to place first,
What one might think the best, could to others be the worst

And then Mr. Speaker, there are those people who,
Think the meaning of life is good ol’ forty-two
To this whole long debate, those guys probably wish
We could kiss goodbye, and say; "so long, and thanks for all the fish".

And so far, we’ve assumed that there’s an answer to find,
That there *must* be a meaning to all of life’s grind,
And so, for any nihilists listening to this mess,
I should acknowledge the possibility, that it may be meaningless

It might seem Mr. Speaker that no end is in sight
The question, and this speech, could go on all night
But step back a moment, for it may be the case
That asking it at all, is one giant wild goose chase

Does it matter one bit, if our views aren’t the same?
Can’t we use different rules, when we’re playing life’s game?
In fact Mr. Speaker can we all not agree?
That the meaning of life is whatever you wish it to be

Sunday, November 07, 2004


The Week

Well it has indeed been a bit of a week: civilisation is going to hell in a handcart (again), lazyliberal the slightly elder submitted his PhD (huzzah), and various friends seemed to take various steps towards sorting out their entangled or unexistent love lives (hallelujah!). At the same time I taught my first class and yet strangely lived to tell the tale, not to mention dealing with other matters that I shall not mention here in order, as it my wont, to attempt to portray myself as having a vague air of mystery...

None of that is the subject of this evening's symposium however, not least because this evening's symposium has no subject aside from 'things to do when it's 2am and you aren't quite up for sleeping’. It has to be said that of the many thoughts I have had in my life, those that have taken place at 2am have historically been the worst. It was at this kind of time that at various junctures I decided to try vegetarianism, embrace God, develop a backbone, and take up exercise. Happily under the cold light of day most such silly tendencies melted, although I did once stretch so far on one of then as to deny myself Cornish pasties for a month (handy hint: this wasn't due to embracing one of the more obscure sects of fundamentalist Christianity). Anyhow you can't be too careful, hence this effort to type for many minutes without actually engaging my brain. Pretty successful so far methinks.

But I suppose I shouldn't head orf to bed without at least a token stab at something substantive. Second thoughts screw that; let's just do a quick search of Yahoo news and find the silliest story possible for me to make some cheap gags about. Chinese officials are apparently working to improve the state of the cities public conveniences before the 2008 Olympics by hosting the fourth world toilet summit, with workshops on such topics as "Toilet Management and Hygiene", "Energy-Saving Measures" and, my personal favourite, "The Humanised Toilet". The delegates, from more than 15 countries, will also have a chance to do a little field research, with a full afternoon's tour of the city's toilets and related facilities. Well there really isn't much I can add to that is there?

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Goodbye civilisation, it's been nice knowing you


Ahem, now I've got that out of my system. Needless to say Tuesday nights result did not meet with great approbation on my part. Although I had become resigned to it in the preceding weeks by the night itself I actually believed that Kerry had a good chance, at least of winning the vote of the people if not of the Supreme Court afterwards...However it was not to be, with the end result that the world is even more shafted than ever. I am sure that I will return to this topic in some detail in the future...

Aside from the goings on across the pond it's been a fairly good if busy week. Went on a school trip to Parliament on Wednesday; after far far too little sleep the election night before. Had a good trip: tour round the Lords in the morning then, stopped by Lincoln's Inn in the afternoon to see how the other half lives (the answer apparently is 'quite nicely thank you'. Tomorrow I have my first solo class at school - teaching Year 7's about the joys of Buddhism, a subject which I know very little about, and which my pupils will know even less about by this time tomorrow...

I was observing an interesting lesson today though: year 8s were writing their 'life plans', laying out both the past and the expected future. You'll get an idea of some of the sort of school I'm at when I'll tell you that two pupils in particular caught me eye: the first wrote "Age 12: got my fourth pony" - the second "mid 20s: work my way up the property ladder". Hmmmmmmmm.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Congratulations Mr. President Re-Elect

I read today that a Sri-Lankan businessman has already taken out a full page advert congratulating President Bush on his re-election. Some might say this is a little premature, although others of us might simply raise our eyes heavenwards and mutter 'well I'm sure Jeb's done that already anyway'.

In theory electoral wonks, a crowd of which I am happy to be a fully paid up member, still have a good 24 hours in which to happily bang on about the swing states, the Nader question, and whether Maryland will excercise it's prerogative of one of only two states able to split it's electoral votes. Despite all this statistical obessionary though, and despite the apparent closeness of the race, it's hard not to feel that it can only really go one way: that whatever the actual vote there will be some kind of electoral shenanigans or Supreme court stitch up to mean another four years of Bush. At least then he can't run for another term, and I like to think American isn't quite crazy enough to change that rule, but then of course we may come back to the small matter of his younger brother...


you are tiberius
Tiberius was the second emperor of Rome. His
mother wanted it more than he was. He had to
leave his wife to marry Julia, the daughter of
Augustus. He never really cared much for
politics. Later on in life, he moved to the
island of Capri, turning it into an island of
depravity and sex.

What Julio-Claudian Roman Emperor are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

My inner child is ten years old today

My inner child is ten years old!

The adult world is pretty irrelevant to me. Whether
I'm off on my bicycle (or pony) exploring, lost
in a good book, or giggling with my best
friend, I live in a world apart, one full of
adventure and wonder and other stuff adults
don't understand.

How Old is Your Inner Child?
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No animals were harmed during the making of this blog. Apart from any cats kicked by the author whilst frustrated at his inability to work out this bloody hmtl gunk.

With the exception of the author, this blog does not contain any nuts.

As a firm believer in the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, the author would like it to be known that if anything whatsoever in this blog happens to offend somebody, he is happy not only to retract it but also to deny ever having written it.

This blog can help weight loss only as part of a calorie controlled diet.

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