A Human Menagerie · The Secret Of Systems

Ships That Go Bump In The Night.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/tag/uss-fitzgerald/
The small hours are boring when you’ve done it for ten years. Source: Navy Live

It is the middle of the night and all is quiet. Routine on a naval ship is the normality; the routine in the small hours of the night is even more crucial, because that’s the time when people are at their least aware. It’s nature: humans are better asleep in the depths of the night. Standing around in the dark is simply not as interesting as standing around during the daytime. Even at sea, there are things to see in the daylight, like a seagull. At least there is something; when it’s dark, it’s just one fug of nothingness. The blackness becomes boring for the rating standing lookout on the bridge of the USS Porter.

Continue reading “Ships That Go Bump In The Night.”

A Human Menagerie · The Comfort Zone

The Unthinking Biochemist.

I was in conversation with a wannabe biochemist a few days ago. I say ‘wannabe’ because the gentleman in question is a retired electrical engineer. Well, you can imagine he knows a lot about electrons and a lot less about biochemistry.

That doesn’t stop him from believing in things – and the nature of belief is that it is unexplored and thus the belief is unfounded. In common parlance this is called an illusion. Continue reading “The Unthinking Biochemist.”

A Human Menagerie · The Comfort Zone

Marking Exams In Holland.

My friend Hendrik and I were chatting, and he mentioned that his university had cut the time he would have to mark his exams. He said that they were only allowing him two weeks instead of three to hand in the results.

Naturally, being me, I asked him if three years ago, they’d told him that he’d only have three weeks to mark the exams instead of four?

All Hendrik could say was “how can you know that?”

Continue reading “Marking Exams In Holland.”

A Human Menagerie · Modern Times

Jack The Ripper’s Boss Letter.

Dear Boss,
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck.

Yours truly
Jack the Ripper

Continue reading “Jack The Ripper’s Boss Letter.”

A Human Menagerie · Art

Auguste Rodin: The Citizens Of Calais.

majestic in appearance, for all the solemnity of the occasion.
Nothing in this man’s stature speaks of doubt.

The tale of the six citizens of Calais dates back to the time when the English king, Edward the Third had besieged the port of Calais during the Hundred Years War between England and France. A war that essentially saw the French wrest control of most of Northern France from the English Crown. At the time, in 1347, the city of Calais was still under the English crown. An English Crown that was of French, that is to say, Norman blood. European politics in the fourteenth century was complicated, and it hasn’t got any better since.

Continue reading “Auguste Rodin: The Citizens Of Calais.”

A Human Menagerie

Noah Revisited.

Noah worked really hard on building the ark, well, he did if you believe the story you were told as a child. Whatever, believe the story or not, he had a problem: he didn't have anything to do!
Noah in the Ark, sending the dove to find land. Mosaic in Basilica di San Marco, Venice, 12th C.

Noah worked really hard on building the ark, well, he did if you believe the story you were told as a child. Whatever, believe the story or not, it still has a meaning for our lives today. Because once Noah climbed off his boat and set foot on land, he had a problem: he didn’t have anything to do!

Continue reading “Noah Revisited.”