Thursday 23rd of September 2021

the hardening of shit...


























Any cow in a paddock would be able to tell you that it takes only a few hours for a cowpat to dry hard… This observation would be appreciated by a certain Mr Lavoisier, but he would demand accurate measurement of time, of weather conditions and place.


Apparently ultimate scientific accuracy is what did him in… A “journalist" called Marat had invented a stupid pseudo-scientific machine that did bugger all with no precision at all… He presented his plans to the well-known noble Lavoisier to get a pat on the back. Some historians see this as a turning point. Rejected by Lavoisier, Marat vowed red hot revenge and the French revolution came about. Lavoisier was guillotined by Marat’s mob and Marat was assassinated by a brave woman while Marat was taking his medicinal bath. She was guillotined for doing a good deed. Marat was a rotten journalist. This was a simplistic view of the French Revolution by Gustaphian.


The picture is famous. Jacques-Louis David, the master of the Brush and supporter of the revolution, till Napoleon came along, did his best to record the damage. Marat? dead... Then Jacques-Louis David painted the Emperor until he became persona non-grata for not painting Napoleon often enough and David had to seek asylum in Belgium...


Sciences need precision. The Covid-19 political management in NewwSouthhhWhailes has been overwhelmed by the uncertainty of biological reactivity because politics is about trying to be as accurately “responsible” as possible. If you can’t stop laughing here, you will be shot. So far, the authorities have been painting a picture that will never be finished, because nature is not about responsibility, but about rorting the place by seizing opportunities and stealing proteins… That's the true nature of politics.


After being imposed severe reluctant lockdowns as per decree 179.5A of section 6B in the Fascist Health manual, we are slowly being prepared to live with Covid-19-21-22-etc amongst us. We are discovering that zero tolerance to Covid-19 by the government — especially ScoMo’s in Kanbra, eager to relaunch the capitalist economy by burning more fossil fuel — is not working and is impossible to achieve because of a limo driver (nothing to do with him but the media was eager to find a culprit)… So, from severe pandemic confinements we are about to be wheeled out to a picnic in the park, like the mental patients in a Pink Panther asylum on a sunny day. Remember? Inspector Clouseau trying to rescue his former boss from drowning? Many restriction will be lifted when we reach the magic numbers from 70 to 80 per cent vaccinations of the populace. 


It’s a bit vague, but we, old people, are also vague in our recollection of ration colouring books. By then we will have had enough time to get our two shots of AZ (what’s this, an entire alphabet soup?), sometimes three if we forget we had the second jab at the local pub. Though we might catch the disease, we won’t die from it. But if we die from it, it will be recorded as something else, because of course when one is old, not all our bits are in full working condition. 


Meanwhile we still have have to wait at home until we reach the magic numbers possibly just before Christmas if we believe the latest charts — and see nobody without a blue mask or the more effective KN95 from Bunnings. 


So we have picnics on Zoom. The amount of alcohol we consume on these virtual outings is moderately twice or thrice what we would usually get pissed on, because we don’t have to drive. The battery in the car is depleting as our glasses get refilled… We’re rotten bad but there is no-one to see us enjoy ourselves silly. Pity.


The politics of sciences have shifted the focus of our life, as we quietly engage the fourth gear of the third age. And we’ve seen nothing yet. Our real concern is for the young people whose life have been disrupted. We have to believe they are adaptable. Overall they’re not as susceptible as we oldies are to the disease. They might get sick for a couple of weeks on average, counting those who recover in two days and those who struggle for month after catching Covid-19. And most young people nowadays are responsible and follow government orders, unlike us when we were at Woodstock...


And we sadly cry about the mess we've made in Afghanistan. 20 years… We had hopes then but our governments were bullshitting and kept on bullshitting us while bombing the place in one of the “forever wars” with no end. Tautology? Did we run out of bombs? Anyway, We’ve let devils in charge despite the claim by the Taliban of being kinder than before. The Taliban lies. That’s a given. We lied about what we did there as well, though some good people helped create a new freedom for the new generations of some Afghan people. And this is sad. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do anymore, because over 20 years we did not do enough. We can still try to get as many people out of there as possible. In a hurry. But our ScoMo government is weary, slow and suspicious — basically blaming the poor people who helped us for their own predicament — demanding these people who will get massacred next week to provide proofs in triplicate of their bona fide… This is a dangerous place. We fucked up. The Afghan situation is like a revolution in reverse in which eliminating freedom is the goal, while murdering those who don’t want their freedom to think, sing and dance, to vanish. Especially women. 


The French revolution was a dangerous time with arbitrary death penalty and host to many other unspoken terrible act. This was a horrid way to create equality-freedom-fraternity between people, 250 years ago. It seems like yesterday for the French who are still fighting the ever screwing Covid-restrictions… Presently in Afghanistan, we're observing a return to the religious Middle-Ages or the inquisition, where freedom to chose, the second most important gift from nature, is being destroyed by old-men-from-god who believe in their given right to impose a ridiculous joyless morality upon their bearded selves, and enslave women. We can only hope that this time, the Taliban will be more reasonable than they were in 2001. No more inshallah here. Sharia is not a human way to live.


Let’s hope we can write in 20 years time that the Taliban in 2021 was a kinder outfit that recognised people’s freedom to choose, from the onset. The future will be a dark alley otherwise.



The Death of Marat is the 1793 painting by Jacques-Louis David of the murdered French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat. It is one of the most famous images of the French Revolution. David was the leading French painter and a member of the revolutionary Committee of General Security. The painting shows Marat, the radical "journalist" lying dead in his bath on 13 July 1793, after being murdered by Charlotte Corday. Jean-Paul Marat was a political theorist, physician and scientist. He was a vigorous defender of the sans-culottes, and published his views in pamphlets, placards and newspapers. His periodical L'Ami du peuple (Friend of the People) made him a strong link with the radical Jacobin group that came to power after June 1793.


His journalism was full of fierce tone, advocacy of basic human rights for the poorest members of society, and support for the leaders and institutions of the revolution. Responsibility for massacres has been attributed to him, given his position of authority before the time of the massacres. Some political academics argue that the collective mad murderous mentality resulted from circumstances and not from the will of any particular individual, like Marat. Obviously Corday disagreed with these academics of the 20th century. "He did not publish any papers after this".


Painted in the months after Marat's murder, the painting has been seen as the first modernist painting, for taking real politics as its inspiration… The original is in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium. A replica created by the artist's studio is on display at the Louvre.



Science moves in mysterious ways. We can observe we are about to stuff up planet with CO2…


Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (26 August 1743 – 8 May 1794),[4] was a French nobleman and chemist who was central to the 18th-century revolution in chemistry and who had a large influence on the history of biology as well. Lavoisier's great accomplishments changed the qualitative chemistry to a quantitative one. 


Lavoisier is noted for his discovery of the role oxygen plays in combustion. He recognised and named oxygen (1778) and hydrogen (1783). Lavoisier helped devise the metric system, wrote the first extensive list of elements, and reformed chemical nomenclature. He predicted the existence of silicon (1787) and discovered that, although matter may change its form or shape, its mass always remains the same:


Nothing is gained, nothing is lost, everything transforms….


Lavoisier was a powerful member of aristocratic councils, and an administrator of the Ferme générale — one of the most hated components of the "Ancien Régime" because of the profits it took at the expense of the state, the secrecy of the terms of its contracts, and the violence of its armed agents.  We recognise this in our modern politics as rorts, (secret) contracts in confidence and now the police imposition of lockdowns while awaiting our summer picnic...


Lavoisier's activities enabled him to fund his scientific research. He was charged with tax fraud and selling adulterated tobacco by the revolutionaries, and he was guillotined. A loss to sciences. 


One is never sure the future we are snuffing out with our moral bombings… Same with the Taliban elimination of freedom. The future shall be an escape for some, for others the dark ages are coming back.




Old and decrepit existentialist



fleeting footsteps of time...

It was only 421 years ago that Shakespeare was at the height of his creativity. And it seems it was yesterday that his servant put the garbage out. We're so old we can't even remember the exact number of Christmases we have survived. If we add the past of Shakespeare's time to the present date, the planet will be spinning around the sun in the year 2442 or such. Amazing? No? Yet we scientifically estimate that by 2100, the planet would have experienced a major climate change. What will the climate be in 2442? Hell...


Uncertain times. Covid times. Green times. Warming times. Atomic bomb times... for the present it's bin night again...





Bin night.

I wheel the bins into the lane.


I’m thinking: “Didn’t I do this last night?”

Bin night. Again. Already.

I did this last night.

No. That was apparently a week ago. The weight and clink-clink of the recycling bin (Dan Murphy opening hours!) tells me that. Even if my sense of time denies it.

Something strange and discombobulating has happened to time during this latest lockdown. Like it’s become circular or somehow compressed. Years seem like months like weeks like days like hours like minutes.

We are talking about Christmas already. We just had Christmas.


This year and last have scudded by. Dissolved into one another. The clocks really ought to have stopped to acknowledge the stasis we find ourselves in, only to restart when all of this is over. Because it will end, right? But no – time marches on in its other dimension.


Is it because our days are all the same now? Because the rigid routine of lockdown (wake, exercise, work, cook, read, watch This Life and sport, sleep, wake, repeat) minimises the potential for surprise in all but our more vivid than ever inner lives? Which is, after all, the intended consequence of lockdown.

Monotony definitely grows wings on time.

It seems fair that we should be refunded the time we have somehow or other lost in lockdown. I’ve always hated the idea of “spending” time (I’d prefer to invest it) or “killing time” as my dad used to say when we had to wait because we were early to the cinema or school or something – especially the airport (always the airport, and usually by hours).

The discomforting truth is that it’s time that ultimately kills us. It will always win. Trying to kill time, to wish it gone, is just a chilly reminder of that.

Now time has at once sped up and warped, as if snaring our circadian rhythms in one of Dali’s melting clocks. Dali’s most famous work featuring those clocks is probably The Persistence of Memory (1931). Right now, the full surreal intent of that work is captivating me, as I lose myself in a timeless vortex of vivid moments from as far past as childhood.


This is happening in lockdown to a lot of people I know. They are also meandering down distant memorial laneways and byways inhabited by long-dead relatives and childhood journeys, old pets, former family homes and other kids, not seen for decades, from school days.

The other day while out walking in the sunshine with my dogs my mind wandered decades back to my year 9 school camp. It was the late 1970s and I’d successfully forgotten it. But there we were, bare chested and running cross country through the mud and freezing sleet (it was that kind of boys’ school), smoking rollies behind the austere dorm and, later, lying in our sleeping bags after lights out while a kid who later died from heroin read aloud by torchlight from a biography of Jimi Hendrix.

And a day or so later (but who can be sure any more?) there, inexplicably in my mind, was the green carpet in the front room of the home we left 50-something years ago, with its white pebble render on the external walls and the silver birch tree, forever shedding its bark, in the middle of the lawn. I last drove past the place 35 years ago.

Is it any wonder the mind is taking these memorial trips into decades past when, we are all, having pared back so many extraneous “unnecessary” joys, in the words of Pink Floyd, “ticking away the moments that make up a dull day”?

And, so, last week – or was it yesterday? – I went into the lane to bring the bins in. Again. So soon.

A man was holding a little boy. The kid was pointing as a bin up the lane was emptied into the garbage truck.

And I was transported, vividly, to that moment 20 years ago when I watched through the back window of a disappearing taxi as my partner cradled our infant son (a man stuck in lockdown in another city today) who clapped his hands with excitement at the wonder of the garbage truck in our quiet Canberra street. I felt what I felt back then.

Let the clocks melt.


Read more:


Are we "running out of time" to make sense of our mild insanity? Should we not worry?


Read from top.