Art · Modern Times

Vincent Van Gogh: Enclosing Reality On Canvas

Modern Art.

van Gogh saw the peasants life as nasty, brutal and short. For them it may have been, but I assure you that at times, it was truly lovely.
Peasants toiling in Drenthe, in the Eastern part of the Netherlands. I discuss the sky in this painting in my next post on van Gogh.

The Monochrome Intellectual, Part 2.

Vincent van Goch wanted to depict the way he saw life before the onset of industrialization. His passion was for graphic depiction using mainly oil paint on canvas. His early years as a painter were spent in areas that still go largely unnoticed by tourists. Drenthe, a province in the East of the Netherlands provided him with views as dismal as his own feelings. Dark browns and heavy charcoal sketches depict a life that he saw as being full of sorrow and toil. Now it may well have been true that these peasants had little enjoyment of life.

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Emotional Intelligence · Reality

Reverse Engineering The Insult.

Why Those Who Fling Mud Show They’re Dumb And Not You.

Frauds and their Behaviour, Part 1

Posting on a forum this evening I got the following message which, given the participant’s former behaviour, was aimed at me.

Now I’ve got him, banged to rights. One up, got one over, made it big. Won the day. Yup. When you’ve won you know it. Not because of what they do, because no few times you never see them with their tails between their legs. In fact it’s not even likely that they even know they’re beat at all. Yet you’ve learned something and they haven’t.

Now let’s backtrack a little. What on earth am I on about? What is going on here? As ever in this series of insights, the reasoning is subtle. The poster is being insulting. Well, that’s normal on a forum where the rules are that you should be polite and to the point. Only, well, the problem is that they aren’t being insulting, are they? Because they don’t think they’re being insulting, they think they’re being clever. Or something like that.

When Insults Prove You’re Right.

I’ve met insulting people before. I joined a little site that was for preppers. The kind of guys who are preparing for the end of the world or the end of the US economy or something of that sort. Well, having been there I know something about all that. I have been in Europe without any money, without any work and without a roof over my head. Several times over. So prepping comes kinda natural to me. Times when I had twenty euros for food for three weeks can – in the respect of my former life – seem luxurious. There were times I have had that sort of money to feed a family for the same sort of time. Thank God for our vegetable gardens and the hedgerows.

Now the guy running this little forum for preppers was a real charlatan. Distant, uncommunicative and authoritarian. The quintessential know-it-all. Now, I had posted something controversial that I happened to understand from personal experience. So this big guy with gristle in his head turns and starts insulting me. Calling me “as dumb as a sack of hammers”. Well, that’s fine by me. Anyway, I quite like hammers. Whilst they’re not the brightest things on the planet, they do still have their uses.

After all, at the behest of my daughter we made our own charcoal, set up a pit-forge and made our own kitchen knives. Not quite from scratch, good enough to show my kids just how hard metal-smithing really is. They willingly helped grow our own food, making just about anything from scratch … as close to prepping as is comfortable. That is to say, with all the creature comforts afforded even at the bottom of civilized society. Like an egg when a cake is needed and the hens aren’t laying.

So why did he insult me, someone who really can do all this prepping biz?

Because Insult Has A Sting In Its Tail.

Okay, so there are things I can do. There are things I know I can do easily, and there are people who think that they can do all this too. Only when someone like that meets the likes of me, there’s a problem. Just because they think they can do it doesn’t mean that they can in real life. Their disconnect now becomes very real – and just like poor Vincent van Gogh this is unpleasant. I guess it’s better than poor Bernd the Bassist who didn’t even have the remotest intimation that he couldn’t play jazz. There are a lot of them too. So my hurler of insults is at least one step ahead of Bernd. He still has to go through the dark night of the soul – as the Alchemists call it – where he has to evaluate every value he has in his life. Don’t worry about me, I’ve done it, and like most women, it’s called having a family. I’m still alive, and a little wiser for it too. Because like all insights, all this has to do with what isn’t going on.



How can I know what isn’t happening. After all, there’s no evidence for it, is there? Nope. And there ain’t no muddy footprints either. Actually, it’s quite simple really. All you have to do is stack everything up and take a step backwards. That’s when you have the perspective to see the gaps. And so it is with insults. Because that last insult was enough for me to form the picture, and see the holes.

Because when someone hurls an insult, they aren’t being helpful, are they?

Come again?

They’re just flinging mud. Insults after all, have no more meaning than a Facebook like. They are made of thin air. Because they aren’t doing anything useful. They aren’t being helpful, they aren’t telling me where I’ve gotten it all wrong, and they ain’t putting me right.

Now as ever with reverse-psychology you have to ask “what should they have done”? You have the clues. It should be pretty easy now. They should be doing something useful. The only problem is that this isn’t as easy as it sounds. They might have asked a daft question to provoke a thought – I do that and get myself trashed for it. It does tell me who the bright guys are though, and that is worth way more than insults from the dumb ones. The point about it not being easy is that they aren’t afraid of showing their own weakness.

The most important question is why they insult people rather than help them. It’s because they don’t have the level of imagination to deal with the situation. They only have what I term “inside the box” thinking. They don’t have the imagination to ask open-ended questions and get results that they don’t like. Again this is important: these people do not like being insulted! Their limited reasoning means that insulting others is perfectly reasonable behaviour on a forum because the other is speaking nonsense. Nonsense in the terms of this short essay means something that they don’t understand.

That is quite a different thing from being something that I don’t understand. And that is why I can say I won the argument, not them.




The Real History Of The Telephone.

Inside Out and Upside Down

This morning, I was speaking to Brian on the phone. At the same time a carpenter was using his machinery. Noisily. Brian noted that the telephone transmitted the sound perfectly, yet human voice less well. Now, Brian may be an engineer, he doesn’t know the real history of the Telephone. 

Actually, I replied, the phonelines were developed to transmit the noise of hammer-drills and other equipment. This meant that testing could be undertaken remotely.

And this is how it all happened …

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Modern Times · Reality

<h1>Code Is Poetry.</h1>

<h2>The Reasons Why Computer Code Cannot Be Poetry.</h2>

The Monochrome Intellectual, Part 1.


With my recent change to the WordPress platform in the last month, I have been involved in some work with computer code. I am fairly proficient at html and css – and can mangle php with the best of them. If there is one thing that is true, it is that computer code can mean one thing and one thing only. If you make one mistake, as I did earlier this evening, you wind up with

“unexpected } line 83″

or somesuch.

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