I’ve gone out for a stake.


Sorry I can’t answer the phone.I’ve gone out for a stake.
Sorry I am not here.They gave me too many injections and I’m not back yet
Sorry I can’t take your call.I am planning to shoot myself tonight but if I don’t I’ll write you an email tomorrow.I have no gun anyway
Sorry I am not in.I’ve been arrested for writing draughty verses.Is it a crime now?
Sorry we are off to the pub to get arrested for drunk driving so we can spend the New Year in jail…. it saves money for us but not the taxpayer
Please stop phoning,,my head is ringing…… how do I take the call?
Sorry ,I am out right now as I’d love to fear your voice again.Please growl back later.
Fancy you ringing,I love your rude message and return it redoubled in strength.
Yes,you did love her but it was a wrong time ago and besides she is a dead wretch.
This is a telephone answering service.If you are human try meeting face to face.
Honesty can get very wounding so please take care about leaving messages after the tone beeps.
Silence and telephones are incompatible.So take your wick and wonk off.
Why are you phoning?I saw you today.Please do not leave a message as I am feeling moody and mean like a film star
He said he was going out for a bark.Can I fake a message?
He said he was ill but not that he was dead.Men!
He said he’s had enough but not of what. if you get the gist of it

Please do not sleep on my head

Please wear a frown in bed,especially when harried for more than than ten years.
Please keep your head bevelled.
Please do not sleep on my head.
Please keep your stare on all night and every right.
Please use the bathroom for writhing in.
Please have clean sex everyday, especially on Sundays.
Please change your underwear gaily.
Please ask before playing on my nerves
Please  get smashed before your mother comes to stay
Please wash your aunts every night, especially in summer time.
Please feed the bat on schedule.
Please keep the hog off the bed
Please take your anti-riot pills handy and do finish the coarse and smooth out the mirrors
Please keep your cuneiform safe and bound.
Please wear a cat when out of doors.
Please carry your loves  everywhere in winter.
Please take your trews off before entering.
Please be a delight at all times.
Please play chess alone as you are too clever for me
Please do not let your roes glow.
Please remember you are not abreast.
Please nip envy in the blood.
Please use your body as I would.
Please do not get into a double bind unless over the age of consent.
Gregory Bateson.I’ve never heard of him!
What is a double bind anyway?

So you are gone who once declared your love

So you are gone  who once declared your love
For that phantasm conjured in your mind;
For onto me you brought down from above
A torment bitter and   sharp words unkind.

Used to  friendship from within your books

You did not understand that I was real
Irritation grew as you did look;
You threw your poisoned  arrows  at my heel.

What once you loved then you began to hate
If not perfect then intolerable I must be
And then you cursed me with this  sorry fate.
Our child was born and him you’ll never see.

Illegitimate and born in desert grey.
I carried him alone from death’s dark way

Is it science?




The example Feynman gives comes from the most rudimentary source, a “first grade science textbook” which “begins in an unfortunate manner to teach science”: it shows its student a picture of a “windable toy dog,” then a picture of a real dog, then a motorbike. In each case the student is asked “What makes it move?” The answer, Feynman tells us “was in the teacher’s edition of the book… ‘energy makes it move.’” Few students would have intuited such an abstract concept, unless they had previously learned the word, which is all the lesson teaches them. The answer, Feynman points out, might as well have been “’God makes it move,’ or ‘Spirit makes it move,’ or, ‘Movability makes it move.’”

Instead, a good science lesson “should think about what an ordinary human being would answer.” Engaging with the concept of energy in ordinary language enables the student to explain it, and this, Feynman says, constitutes a test for “whether you have taught an idea or you have only taught a definition. Test it this way”:

Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own language. Without using the word “energy,” tell me what you know now about the dog’s motion.

Feynman’s insistence on ordinary language recalls the statement attributed to Einstein about not really understanding something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. The method, Feynman says, guards against learning “a mystic formula for answering questions,” and Oxenham describes it as “a valuable way of testing ourselves on whether we have really learned something, or whether we just think we have learned something.”

It is equally useful for testing the claims of others. If someone cannot explain something in plain English, then we should question whether they really do themselves understand what they profess…. In the words of Feynman, “It is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudoscience.”


Stan cleans his mobile phone and meets his match





Stan was annoyed that since the days were getting brighter and longer, the dust on the furniture was becoming more evident..Not that his wife Mary was a tyrant but she was out at work whereas he was free from his purgatory working with gamblers and homeless drug users but had to keep the home clean instead
Of course he had been pleased to be working to improve society ,but enough was enough.He already was helping two people on a voluntary basis at his church, Still Mary was labouring in the lecture hall. explaining how linear algebra might help folk to lead better and more virtuous lives ,especially if they were going into Parliament or the higher reaches of the Civil Service which aided government ministers dealing with strange confusions in the Economy ,and indeed in the entire world.
He picked up his microfibre dusting rag cut from an old towel and started to dust the TV set.After that he sprayed Dettox onto the keyboards of all their laptops,ipads,phones and remote controls.Then he dried them with an old tea towel made of cotton and linen.
Suddenly he heard the back door opening.In ran his beauteous mistress Annie wearing a green and red tracksuit and purple trainers with pink spots on.
Shall I make some lovely coffee,she asked positively.
I have not done much housework yet,Stan cried in alarm.
Let me see,she responded with the ripe interest of the retired and bored.
My, this remote control is very,very clean.
She put it in front of her eyes and glared myopically at it.
All her mind power was concentrated on this one object, which was at this moment in  time her whole world;usually myopia is a bad move as it impedes a wider balanced view of life.
You have done brilliantly with this but you do need a break from this tedious and arduous work,she enthused laconically.
Oh, OK then,Stan answered gently.
She poured coffee into two Portmeirion pottery mugs and took them into the conservatory where she admired his potted plants and his herbs.
What’s this here, she called.It wasn’t here last week,
It’s cannabis,he informed her unwilfully.
Are you a user now she enquired tactlessly.
No,I am keeping it for a friend.Stan lied truthfully
That’s what they all say,she riposted jocosely.
Well,I don’t know how to use it.I believe you smoke it so does it have to be dried?
I guess so,she said like a cowboy from a  desert in Alabama on a diet of coke and french fries.
Well,I am not going test it,he said pensively.I don’t even smoke a pipe any more.I suck my thumb instead.It’s free,he continued and needs no licence
Would you like to suck my toes,she asked him lovingly.
After all,the Duchess of York had hers sucked and I am her equal in some ways .
Sucking toes has so far not been part of my repertoire and neither
has whipping women and smacking them either.I prefer to suck their lips and caress their cheeks.
Which cheeks? she asked suspiciously, as if she was an examiner in an oral examination for a law degree.
Sorry,dear..I am happy to caress any part of your warm voluptuous flesh but I need to get on with the housework.
Just ignore it,she ordered him. rudely.I’ll help you after we have been to bed
I didn’t know we were going to bed, he said in a very puzzled tone of voice
Well,you do now,she giggled un-furtively
And so does Emile who is already on the landing from where he can see the mirror opposite the bed.What a naughty boy he is,but what would you do in his position?
I thought so.Ask a missionary at once.You have to believe me… or turn pale with horror at this evil couple.


Words are a net to catch the world but the smallest fish drop straight through it



Before we learned to talk we communicated with our mothers and later the family by gestures,cries and body movements.In fact inside the womb, we swam like fish .Then we begin to babble as if we learn the music of our tongue before we learn the individual words.Eventually, we get caught in the web of words and assume without thinking that everything important can be expressed this way.However, when we are with people we still rely al ot on body language and the tones and musicality of the voice itself.An ugly man with a beautiful voice can become very attractive to women.for example.

But later we may come to realise many aspects of life cannot be expressed easily in words.As humans evolved they developed different kinds of language.Poetry and science describe aspects of the world and of the people speaking these languages.Music is one form which does not use words

One  might almost say that with printing and later mass literacy we moved from an oral,bodily centred ,sensuous language to a more abstract less personal way of communication.

However, there are many forms of writing and much more can be expressed this way than most of us know… but when we come to the edge of the world of language .. we realise that the sacred,the ineffable,the holy may be beyond the powers of even the best poets.Yet they can point us there,Music and art may give a more vivid enchantment which we recognise but of which we find it hard to speak.

Words are a net to catch the world but the smallest fish drop straight through it

Grief will connect us all again

You cannot   sail the river deep  of grief
Though it flows on its course to the sea
It flows under the ground,under dark leaves

How can  any friend never see?
Anguish cannot hide  totally
How can a  new life now ever be?

You speak soft,so sweet,quietly
I  can   sense how you suffer beneath
As the river flows on,how to be?

As the red leaves fly up , as winds seethe
They fall far away  from their home
The ground is a carpet   of grief.

The tree is a mother now forlorn
She has lost  her little children  to the storm
We can’t hear how she  patiently groans

Grief will  connect us again
As  our tears  slither  down to the rain
They will join the deep river of grief
As it flows under the ground  deep in leaves

How to beat anti-Semitism

  • rs-leonard-cohen-2c24a166-affc-4250-a4a5-a8fd0a52a730

    Leonard Cohen often wrote about dark subjects and emotions, but in conversation he was always witty and eloquent. On YouTube there is a clip of a CBC interview from the early 1960’s where the TV presenter asks the young, rising poet, “Did you ever think of changing your name? Leonard Cohen sounds so…common (read: Jewish).” He responded, “Yes, I am thinking of changing my name to September.” “Leonard September?” she asks. “No,” he replied, “September Cohen.” Laughing Lenny never missed a beat. He was a legend.


Learning stats with Stanley

Stan was teaching social statistics to a group of elderly neighbors.Since he was 109 it gave them all hope to see him demonstrating his prowess with various techniques.He was planning to do some logic and philosophy too.
Annie   his mistress was sitting by the door so she could answer the bell if any paramedics turned up for tea.
“I’m not going to calculate  the standard deviations” he murmured.”I just want you to grasp the general purpose.”
“Deviations,they’re not normal are they?” enquired his neighbor “Henry,an ex-English teacher.”So how can they be standard? It’s confusing..”
“Are you thinking of deviants?” Stan enquired calmly yet firmly
”Certainly not,at my age .I’m a bit past that!””Still , it adds a bit of excitement to the class.” he thought.
How do words in ordinary language relate to those in Statistics?”asked Henry kindly
“They are just more precisely defined in statistics.To say someone is a deviant is a rather vague term.”
“No,it’s not!My neighbor is a deviant.He  dresses entirely in yellow.”
“Well,that must be hard to do.Certainly unusual.” Stan agreed boldly.
“But in another country that might be the norm.So it’s a matter of context.
In statistics, it’s more boring.There’s a formula.It’s totally independent of context.Have you ever wondered why so many mathematicians have more than a touch of Asperger’s syndrome?”

“No,it’s not something that wanders through my mind much”replied Henry
A shudder passed through the room at hearing the word “formula“, which perhaps they considered something of a deviant!Anything with letters and numbers mixed together is certainly not welcome in many people’s minds, along with their more unusual sexual tastes, desires ,and inclinations which were kept secret even from themselves in many cases.

“Time for tea.” called Annie,hoping to divert their attention.She carried in a platter of mouse sandwiches kindly donated by the local ambulance service and some iced Victoria sponge she and Stan had made the day before while Mary was giving a lecture on doughnuts and algebraic topology.
“Just a quick word about next week.We’ll take a look at ratios and proportions and maybe see how that relates to the concept of rationality.”
“That sounds fun!” Annie called encouragingly.Henry decided to act on a deviant desire and fell onto her lap.
”Oh,dear!” she gasped loudly as the chair collapsed under her.
”Why can’t you be deviant at home?”
“My wife won’t let me!” He kindlily answered.
“And look,” Stan continued,”we’ll have to ring 999.This chair is in fragments.I thought for one day we’d be able to avoid calling them out!”
“Well,life is not controllable.” said a quiet but fierce looking lady with sharp green eyes.
”That’s what makes it tolerable“
She then greedily consumed a large piece of iced cake .
“I can stand the thinking if the cake is good” she whispered to her shy friend Amy.
”That’s rather a feeble argument,”Amy retorted.”You can’t really compare cake and statistics.”
“I’ll compare anything I like!” the green-eyed woman snarled loudly.
“You do what you like but you must keep a sense of proportion!”
“Now then,have you rung 999?” Stan queried of Annie.”Yes,here they are,and they’ve got a stretcher for the chair!”
“Well,that’s certainly unusual,even deviant“,Stan thought anxiously to himself.
”Where do they get their funding? Is there a fund for distributing money to help chairs which are not fit for purpose?

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