Happy Halloween! I do hope you are going to be watching some scary films or doing something else to celebrate. If you have children you better be dressing them up and taking them out trick or treating. It's fun people. Oh and the Mail has a tendency to publish stories about its evilness so it must be good. Oh and Express columnists don't like it either. It just keeps getting better and better. It is also a good excuse to make things and do some fun cooking. Significant Other has carved a pumpkin and we are going to cook a nice dinner.
We went to a friend’s house on Friday evening for dinner and a scary film and they had decorated the house for the occasion. I say again, it's fun.
Do we not need some fun in our lives currently run by Politicians who cut everything and joyspoilers who say things like “Trick or treating is just an American thing, we shouldn't do it”. No you are getting it mixed up with the Iraq war. Stop it. Oh and it's not a very good argument either. “Well we didn't do it in my day. It's a very new thing.” I did it a couple of times when I was little and that was a very long time ago.
Sometimes people make some rather interesting leaps of logic. In an interview with Dorset magazine local artist and stone balancer Adrian Gray says people have made some rather interesting suggestions about how he does what he does, which is balancing a stone on another stone,
Anyway some of the suggestions include glue, blu tack and velcro. They are not just balanced then? Oh no. In fact in an interview with our awful local paper's weekend magazine he said that some one even asked him if he was working in an area of low gravity. It seems that this distortion of the rules of the universe was more likely than some well balanced stones.
This desire to believe/make up incredibly unlikely, physics defying things over perfectly sensible, rational explanations never ceases to amaze me about our species. I know that sciencey types are criticised for taking the mystery out of things but knowing what makes a rainbow doesn't make it any less beautiful. I know, to some extent, how Mount Fuji was formed and how the white stuff on the top was made but that doesn't mean that pictures of it don't take my breath away (haven’t quite got round to seeing it in real life yet). It is a joy to behold. I can look at the evolutionary path of my cats and they are still cute. Significant Other may have a common ancestor with the chimpanzee but she is still pretty and attractive.
Knowledge doesn't make things less mysterious (despite the insistence of the Insane Clown Posse), it helps us to see all the things that we don't know. When I read a book it tells me a very small amount of information and shows so much more that I don't know. The more I learn the more I realise that I don't know and how much more there is to find out about. Why make up more stuff? To quote from Tim Minchin's excellent poem Storm “Isn’t this enough? Just this world? Just this beautiful, complex Wonderfully unfathomable natural world? How does it so fail to hold our attention That we have to diminish it with the invention Of cheap, man-made Myths and Monsters?”
You see it all over society, odd leaps such as “Big Pharma is not always as honest as it could be so therefore is bad and that means that all Alt. Med. Treatments must work!” I'm sorry? “What is that light in the sky? There are plenty of things it could be like a Chinese lantern or something but it is definitely a UFO”
Our press are very good at these sorts of logical side steps. It's an easy, space filling story for them. Man see UFO, man see ghost etc. Why bother finding out the truth when this is really an inconsequential story and they didn't bother finding out the truth about anything else they had written.
Take this story in the Sun from September, “Ghost spotted in Cumbrian Pub”. A CCTV camera picked up what could, to a stupid person, be a ghost. The Sun is kind enough to have added the video footage to the website so that you can clearly see that it is a fly on the lens of the camera. An out of focus fly I grant you because the camera is focused on the room a long why behind but definitely a fly. You can see its wings move for fucks sake. Do they consult anyone who might tell them this? No, no they don’t but they do ask a “Medium” who, strangely enough thinks it's a ghost.
Or maybe take at look at this picture that the Sun published (sorry to have to make you visit the Sun’s website to see it but they have copyrighted it and I can’t find it online). Is it a ghost? No, it's Anakin Skywalker from the Phantom Menace. Photo-shopped a bit but it’s definitely him.
There is a point to this slightly bad tempered rambling.
Most news outlets have covered a completely ridiculous story this week. “Has Belfast film-maker found time travel evidence?” asks the BBC website. No, no he hasn't. Now would you mind reporting the news?
Ok, maybe a bit more depth. A man was watching the extras on his Charlie Chaplin box set) that is an exciting life) and saw some footage from the Première of 1928’s The Circus. I'll let him explain what happened next, “As I sat back to watch it I realised in the first 30 seconds there's A lady strolling by with her hand up to her ear which looked quite familiar in today's society. So I wound it back and watched it again, zoomed it in and slowed it down and got other people in to check it out. Everybody had the same reaction - it looks like she's talking on a mobile phone." Well that much is true, it does sort of look like she could be on a mobile, if it wasn't 1928, but it is so she isn't. Does he leave it there? Umm, no. "My initial reaction was that's a mobile phone, they weren't around then, my only explanation - and I'm pretty open-minded about the sci-fi element of things - it was kind of like wow that's somebody that's went back in time." Two things here, 1, learn to speak properly and 2, how is that proof of time travel? She looks like she is on the phone. It's not that she is centre shot waving her Iphone about. And then he says the classic credulous line, “A mystery like this one, bottom line I don't think we're ever going to find out” No sir you are wrong. Just because you don't have the intellectual rigour to work it out doesn't mean that others shouldn't of can’t. Hearing aid, scratching face, not wanting to be filmed, pick one!
Ok, I'm being hard on this fucktard, he is allowed to think that if he likes and he can even tell his friends about it if he wants but why all the coverage? Just put “Time Travel Charlie Chaplin Mobile Phone” into Google and see how many hits you get. How many of them offer an explanation for this nonsense? Very few. Most of them just print his remarkable leap of logic. Surely we deserve a bit better than some blokes opinion reported as news.
Sorry, I've rambled on again. I wasn't going to do this I seem to remember saying. An award now I think.
The Award For Just Trying Really Hard To Moan About Stuff That Really Doesn't Matter Of The Week or The Mountain Out Of A Molehill Award,
Have you survived clock-o-gedden? Well as you are reading this I suppose you have. If you read yesterdays Daily Express you would have thought it was the end of the world. “Britain in gloom as clocks go back” was the headline. The opening line of the article is “Britons face a day of chaos tomorrow as the clocks go back an hour”. It's a Sunday, who cares! Calm down Express “writing” person.
“A third of us will oversleep” again I say, so, it’s Sunday. They continue, “20% will wake up to a cold house after forgetting to change the central heating timer.” says the next line, that's an odd statistic. Oh hang on; what's that in the next paragraph? “Research by energy company Npower....” ahhh, it makes a bit more sense now, it's a bad and pointless PR survey piece but with an exciting Daily Express doom-leaden twist. I'll ignore the rest of it then.
If you want a bit more on Bad PR, try the Michael Marshall's blogposts for the Merseyside Skeptics.
As I mentioned it earlier, here is the whole of Tim Minchin's Storm.
Maybe no “Diana Watch” next week as we are off to Kent but we'll see. Have a great week.