Monday, September 10, 2007


A while back, I got statcounter. Not so much because I'm vain, but because I wanted to know whether Mrs Zen was reading my blog. (It's a side-effect that I know who else is reading it hoping to see their name mentioned.)

Sometimes I feel a little sad that people are asking google how to get laid, and even sadder that they wind up here looking for answers. I have no idea how you can get laid, by the way. If I did, I'd be getting laid, not writing bloggetry. But, bereft of inspiration, I'm going to talk about some of the things that have led people to my blog in the past couple of days.

First up, a viewer from Iowa asks "how to care for an orange sided skink".

Well, the best way is to put it in a rainforest and leave it the fuck alone. It's my understanding -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that Iowa lacks rainforests.

Now I've had pets. I understand that it's speciesist to keep a pet, but frankly, what's a cat going to do if it's not a pet? Feral cats are not tolerated in Australia, because of the enormous menace they pose to the native wildlife. So if we didn't keep them as pets, they would not exist here.

Anyway, cats have grown to be parasitic on humans. You can call it "living in symbiosis" if you like, but the truth is that cats prey on us. They have adapted to living with us, having us feed them. (Lizards, in the main, haven't.)

But we don't keep cats in cages. Most of us have a catflap or some other mechanism to allow the cat in and out of the house. So they're not even under house arrest.

I don't know whether a lizard knows or cares that it is caged if you keep it in a terrarium, but it seems oddly unnatural and out of place. It's not so bad as keeping a bird in a cage. That's just inhuman.

A Belfast seeker says "Billy McKenzie kills himself". He did and it's a great pity. It's difficult for the thinking person to realise the absurdity of life and continue living, so I'm sympathetic to those who choose not to. Life can seem sometimes harsh; so much injustice, so much pain, so many fuckwits. It's a wonder any of us can continue. On the other hand, there is always novelty. You've never actually done everything, even if you think you have. I think that's as good a reason as any to live.

But it's quite a small reason.

A man in Tunis says "girls sexy". Yes, they mostly are. I particularly enjoy leering at them in the supermarket. Don't tell the radical feminists. I'm sure they believe I should pursue the grocery-shopping function with my head bowed, entirely unaware of other people's sexiness.

But it's about the only time I get out, apart from the school run. And I find something intensely alluring about the checkout chicks' bored smiles, their too-tight uniforms and hopefulness. I assume that they are hopeful. They are mostly young, so they have reason for it. Older women lack that air, because they have mostly had it crushed out of them. They are sexy in other ways.

A person in Canberra searches for "whatever". What luck! This is the web's premier source of whatever. It has the finest whatever that will ever be shrugged your way. Sometimes I astound myself with the whateverness. Yes, that is a fucking word, you nits.

Someone in Aldershot wants to know about "doctor who stuff in woolworths". Sadly, I have to report that Woolworths is a grocer, although it does carry a few DVDs and toys. It's weird that rather than concentrate on doing what it does very well, the modern large retailer wants to do what everyone else does. So Maccas, rather than being great at hamburgers, has an ever expanding menu, making it a burger joint, a cafe, a salad bar, a curry house, a sandwich shop and various other food-related emporia. Clearly, it's all about money; Maccas hates that anyone else makes even a cent from food. Starbucks goes even further. It opens fifteen shops on every street, so that when you are thinking "I could do with a coffee", you do not happen upon a place doing nice Italian-style coffees, but on an industrialised coffee dispensary. If they had their way -- and likely they will -- Maccas and Starbucks would be the only places you could buy takeout food.

We all know that artisan food is better. Artisan everything is better, mostly. But the artisan outlet is new, a risk. Humans are risk averse. It comes from having evolved in a dangerous environment. You don't eat the new berry when you know the old one isn't poisonous; you don't enter new caves if the old ones are warm enough, even if you suspect the new are better appointed.

A Finn wants to know why we're "confronted by wrongness". Well, I have a theory about that. People are not much concerned by right and wrong. They prefer comfort. A comfortable untruth is much more readily accepted than a difficult truth.

It's true, for instance, or almost certainly so, that we were not created by a god but simply happened by the chance assembly of atoms. It doesn't make you feel very special. And your life is entirely pointless, a drip in the ocean of time, serving only as a minute fraction of the dance of atoms that makes up the universe. And even those atoms don't amount to much.

But believing Jesus loves you is that much warmer. So I think we are sometimes confronted by wrongness because wrongness is a blanket over harsh truths.

Someone in Michigan is researching the "end of Iran", which I wrote about recently. It's quite alarming how few voices there are in American politics that consider attacking Iran a bad idea. I fear that its destruction is a done deal. The reasons are quite obscure. But let's get one thing clear: it's not about regime change. Iran is (slowly) transitioning into a modern democracy. Bombing it will likely relegate the place to chaos, and in the process firm up support for radicals. Dude, anyone who still thinks that that wasn't the aim in Iraq, and wouldn't be the aim in Iran is too gullible to survive in this world.

A character in Adelaide asks whether "evolution explains unhappiness". Whenever I consider evolution, I think about dogs. Dogs are not, so far as I know, ever unhappy unless they are physically discomfited. They don't sit around going "blah blah it's a dog's life". Kick them in the guts and they're unhappy though. Not that I make a habit of kicking dogs in the guts.

There are all sorts of theories about why we evolved intelligence, but I have to say that they all miss the point. Evolution is entirely random, so there is no why things evolve, only why the things that evolved were kept. Of course, the questioner wants to know whether there is an evolutionary explanation -- a selection benefit to unhappiness (because in a basic sense, evolution explains every trait). Intelligence seems to be a clear benefit, although introspection is a clear minus.

Is the ability to be unhappy something that benefits us? I suppose it might be. In the wild, we were for a long time foragers at the margin, and getting too comfortable would likely have been suicidal. Although hunter-gatherers ate better than agriculturalists (they had a much more varied diet), their food sources must surely have been unpredictable.

However, they are not likely to have had much personal property or hierarchy, so the kind of unhappiness that is based in envy must have been rare.

Well, I don't know. Personally, I have not been unhappy recently. Since I started suffering from melancholy, it has been impossible. You can only be unhappy if you have some expectation of contentment.

Someone in Sydney wants to know about "leopard trees". Just recently, we lost our camera. It was time to buy a new one anyway, so I bought Mrs Z a new one. She's the photographer in this family. I rarely ever bother. But I found the old camera, so now we have one each. So I will take a picture of the leopard trees in my front yard some time. They are truly beautiful, and they bring a touch of joy into my life whenever I sit in my front room and look out at them. They house parrots when they flower, which is wonderful. The parrots are a tremendous sight, flashing in and out of the branches, bickering over whatever parrots bicker about.

Australia does not have many beautiful things. Its reputation for beauty is based in scale and barrenness on the whole. There's so much of it, and so much of that wilderness, that you are bound to find some beauty from time to time. Some gums are beautiful though. Sometimes, you'll be walking a forest path and come across a tree that takes your breath away, it is so perfect.

A guy in Brazil -- and it would have to be a guy -- wants to know about "virgin mary rape cunt". Should I be worried that that leads to my blog? I think only if he actually had enclosed the whole thing in quotes.

Lonely of Illinois asks "am i boring". This is, I have to tell you, the commonest route to my blog! Young men the world over are asking themselves whether they are boring.

Boys, let me put your mind at ease. You are boring. But here's the thing. "Interesting" people make me spew. I saw a bit of Parky the other night and it featured Keith Allen. Now he's "interesting". But what a tard! I spent the whole of his interview wanting to punch his smug face.

You think you're boring because you're introspective. Think of it as being deep and you'll like yourselves more. If you can convince women of the same, you will get laid much more than the "interesting" guys, who are getting a lot less sex than you think.

On the same tip, an AOL customer asks "how not have a boring". My suggestion is twofold. First, be random. Really fucking surprise others and yourself by not being completely predictable. Be loving to those you hate. Give a gift to someone who is mean and doesn't deserve it. Punch that turd who annoys you instead of allowing him to get away with it. Miss work and stay at home, masturbating to schoolgirl porn until you're raw. Make a friend/your wife/yourself a gourmet dinner that you didn't even know you were capable of. IOW, be who you're not for a while. (If you already do these things, substitute things you do not do.) Second, stop caring. There is nothing more boring than caring about being boring or being bored. Most things are much more interesting than you credit. Tiny changes can be fascinating, if you are willing to be fascinated.

The Sydney guy who says "boring nothing to talk about" though just needs to find friends who share his interests. If you don't have interests, take up drugs. They were specially invented for people with no life, and they are good for you.

Finally, a dude in Morocco wants to know about "sex worlde poker". But if I knew where that was, my friend, I'd be there doing that and not here doing this.


At 9:16 pm, Blogger Basscadet said...

Someone in Michigan is researching the "end of Iran"

"Bush visits Michigan - and learns about Google".

At 12:42 am, Blogger Grapes 2.0 said...

Masterpiece, dude.

Penultimate point: The Pet Shop Boys put it best. Nobody is boring, you can be being boring.

At 2:18 am, Blogger Miz UV said...

Zen, only you could do this. Beautiful.

At 3:40 am, Blogger Teacake said...


At 1:04 pm, Blogger Father Luke said...


At 9:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

OH. MY. GAWD. A reasonably interesting post absent self-pity. Way to go Zen, "hold that thought" and you'll have people reading your blog who aren't looking for "virgin mary cunt". Maybe. Well, I mean people who aren't nutters, you know.


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