Panetta - US Announces First Strike Cyber War Excuse in Anticipation of Getting Caught Doing it ThemselvesPosted by alanborky at 04:52, 13 Oct 2012
Panetta symbolically addressing business leaders aboard former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid cited Pearl Harbour and 911 and observed US intelligence were aware "foreign actors" were targeting control of precisely those infrastructure utilities and transport systems Industry's utterly dependent upon.
He failed to add both Pearl Harbour and 911 occurred in the context of a long history of covert US Military-Industrial commercial interference in other parts of the world.
Or that in the eyes of Iran Russia and China the "foreign actors" were of course the US themselves.
His speech occurred at precisely the same time the British Government's announced its intentions to compel British schoolchildren to make celebratory visits to the battlefields of World War I a time when members of the young British working class unquestioningly went to their death for King and Country rather than WW II when its widely recognised the working class started to wake up ask why go to war at all.
It also occurred at precisely the same time the first drone attack occurred on Israel.
God forbid president Obama should ever have to experience what countless Middle Eastern parents've had to experience as a result of US drones but at a time when UK minister William Hague's observed it's never been easier to commit cyber crime and Iran's already demonstrated it's possible to hijack US drones it's looking more and more like a real life horror movie's unfolding before our very eyes where eventually highly driven individuals will not only be able to wage home made biological war down the garden centre because someone's pissed them off or crash Amazon because their signed copy of Star Wars as Envisaged by Stan Lee failed to arrive but also hijack a police drone to take out his neighbour's family because their dog wouldn't stop yapping in the middle of last night's 24 hour Star Trekathon.
A weird little one this and a newie for me.
I've mentioned elsewhere we've got this cat that's a violent junkie for ham and not that boiled pig bollocks crap that looks like slices of pink spew. She's a real connoisseur.
Anyway this afternoon I notice she's curled up zonked out on the pillow she's newly colonised a few feet away from the fridge so I slice and butter one of these buns I regularly make from parmesan and dried tomato flour all the time checking she's still asleep until it finally comes to the moment when I have to smuggle the packet with the ham in it from the back of the top shelf and slip it surreptitiously under my plate so I can use it out o' sight but to my amazement her ears don't even stand up when I accidentally squeak the vinyl.
So I close the fridge door and she's still unconscious.
I start carefully moving forward all the time checking over various objects placed between us she's still dead to the world.
But as I pass the dining chair directly between us I lose sight of her for a moment until I look back and suddenly she's feebly struggling to lift herself up on two wobbling legs as if she has no strength in them from never having been fed for a million years gazing up at me with pitiful sorrow filled eyes emitting the most heart rending of weak mewks and I'm thinkin' to meself bli'me that's a new one normally she'd just tear me throat out.
Then I notice what's REALLY new.
There's two versions of her.
One fast asleep and this other version that looks as real as the sleeping one except it can't be because it's try'n'o climb out and sit up in the middle of the other one.
Anyone who wonders whether their beloved long dead Tiddles'll be there when they finally get to Heaven might reasonably take this as evidence that's indeed a possibility.
But while it was true there were moments sitting in the livingroom with Julie and me Mum when I actually revelled in the sheer peculiarness of me thoroughly enjoying South bastarding Pacific there were also others when the noisy colourful pageant unfolding on the box over in the corner fascinated me in the way it’d fascinate a being from another reality accidentally tuning into broadcasts made by unknown life forms living in an unknown dimension under unknown physical laws.
Likewise whenever I noticed Julie swaying on the floor between switching remote controls or me Mum on the couch earnestly screwing up her brow to concentrate on dog-eared Agatha Christie there’d be moments when they’d both be the same old Julie and me Mum they always were but others when they’d become as strange and unreal as Nelly twatting Forbush trapped in the perpetual loop of washing men out her hair Julie was currently keeping her in sometimes more so because whereas Nelly’s existence was essentially that of a flickering patch of two dimensional light which could be stopped or started sped up or reversed or endlessly repeated on demand Julie and me Mum’d seem three dimensional in the static empty shelled way cheap laser generated holograms do when it’s unclear what if anything’s their point and while the check list in my head continued affirming they were exactly the same people I’d so often felt and demonstrated affection for this new dark alien Alan me felt nothing whatsoever for them to the degree if someone’d suddenly broken in and begun torturing or even dismembering them I wouldn’t’ve been in the least surprised if all I’d’ve experienced was intense scientific curiosity to observe how they were put together.
Yet instead of becoming distressed everything I’d ever thought of as me was gradually being replaced by this new cold blooded almost inhuman version of me I actually felt intensely attracted to the sense of unlimited freedom I was seemingly being offered especially my intriguing new hitherto unsuspected potential for being able to get up and go without so much as a moment’s reflection out the front door leaving behind me forever everything I’d ever known or loved nor was it exactly a deterrent I was also being perpetually bombarded by the sense if I did finally go down that particular avenue vast new vistas filled with infinite possibilities’d immediately begin opening up before me .
But that was before all these incessantly probing almost imperceptible pulsations-cum-scintillations started pounding away on the walls of the blissfully empty alien citadel which only moments before’d been the mind of the new dark me or more accurately I finally allowed myself to start noticing them because the moment I did it instantly became obvious I’d been try’n’o keep whatever the hell they represented out my head for such a long time part of me now felt intellectually intrigued enough to even ponder investigating them further though another much more belligerent and downright hysterical part of me was vehement I wouldn’t be doing any such thing.
But by this stage I still thought I was doing okay until Julie now asked “Y’alright…look like you might be having another panic attack…?” at which point I became aware my extraordinary state of inordinately deep relaxation and sheer physical quiescence’d been replaced by lower legs now crossed so tightly they were in danger of snapping each other in half quivering balled up white knuckled fists gouging moulds in my thighs even deeper than the ones my elbows were gouging in my ribs and deeply painful jaw muscles warping and spasming so much they were becoming all but detached from the bone yet somehow I still managed to express the clenched teethed response “Not panic…same ballgame…different…stadium…”
And it wasn’t a panic attack because panic attacks made you feel this distressing inexplicable thunderstruck sense you were dying right then and there on the spot only you didn’t know why or even how and ever since I’d had my first one at nineteen after reading an article in the Observer magazine about traditional African women having their clitorises hacked off and their vaginas laced up like old leather rugby balls I’d been having them virtually every day of my life ever since sometimes seemingly hundreds a day on which such occasions our Adrian’d have to accompany me on any of my book trawls to explain to staff I wasn’t rolling about on the floor doing a Norman Wisdom impression but doing my best to pick out potential purchases under extremely trying circumstances.
In some ways though whatever this pulsations-cum-scintillations business was it was far worse than panic attacks because it reminded me if anything of this stuff which used to happen to me as a kid when I’d have to take very great care whenever I found myself round cracks in walls or less frequently pavements nor was it every crack that affected me in this way only certain ones though I was never quite able to determine what it was about those particular cracks which enabled them to affect me in that way.
For instance the walls of the tiny backroom bedroom I had when I was eleven had lots of cracks in them but only four of them and one in particular seemed to exert this strange hypnotic tugging sensation on me until I couldn’t any longer avert my gaze at which point it’d seem to become this huge swirling dizzying vortex that’d hold me entranced all night and leave me feeling a burnt out nervous wreck in school the next day.
The worst crack ever though was this one in an antique tile on the wall behind my existentialist beatnik teacher Miss Stirk’s desk when I was seven because I’d keep retreating to the back of the class to get away from it and she’d keep dragging me back to the front and even when I discovered if I slightly misaligned my chair with my table this seemed to diminish the crack’s power Miss Stirk in spite of having chunky black Michael Caine style National Health glasses had eyes like a hawk and’d immediately spring from behind her desk and abruptly shove me back in line with the table sending me back to square one before gently but shrilly scolding me “What’s wrong with you Alan? I thought you understood a disciplined posture helps maintain a disciplined mind…”
“I do Miss” I’d respond almost blacking out as my head whirled like a top but how could I explain to her what only two other kids in the class seemed able to see namely whenever I sat directly opposite that tile a sort of vorticial filament’d emerge from the crack and begin sinuously working its way across the classroom gradually insinuating itself down my throat to fasten itself round one of my back teeth before yanking first my jaw then my head then my body what felt like several agonizing feet apart effectively turning me inside out to stretch what felt like my entire innards upwards and downwards across the room in an enormous arcing funnel bringing the tip to a needle sharp point which it’d then attempt to draw through the crack to the unknown world on the other side where something perpetually lay in wait for me something like a lot of other stuff I’d thought I was long over and done with until I now suddenly realised even my latest panic attacks’d been showing signs of developing along the same lines because I’d find myself imploring family members or friends gripping my hands or arms tightly “Don’t let go o’ me! Don’t let go! Whatever you do don’t let them take me!” only on coming out the attacks to wonder don’t let bleedin’ WHO take me? Take me the bleedin’ WHERE?
Which’s probably why when some of these pulsations-cum-scintillations spooking the living crap out me finally started accessing the periphery of my field of attention but only turned out to be innocuous seeming ‘stills’ of various scenes and places extracted from the video of this morning’s events I was initially almost disappointed making it only all the more mystifying why even the briefest momentary glimpses of such theoretically anodyne images should fill some part of me with such raging dread I’d immediately begin hysterically try’n’o wall them back out my mind by deploying any and every apparently random video I could dredge up until I gradually began noticing they weren’t quite so random as I’d initially supposed having in common as they did the fact they’d all been recorded at any time and in any part of Liverpool I’d ever visited which seemingly had absolutely no connection whatsoever with whatever I’d been doing this morning wherever I’d been doing it.
And at first using these other videos in this way actually seemed to work until innumerable tiny unsuspected indirect connections inevitably started triggering off chains of other videos ultimately resulting in me now being confronted not just by stills but actual footage from this morning’s video a development so strangely alarming I now started incorporating in my overall avoidance and distraction strategy the parallel activity of manically fastening my attention on such fascinating little South bastarding Pacific speculations as which contemporary brands of shampoo Nelly twatting Forbush might’ve preferred if she taken up time travel or whether a modern remake of the film’d now have her washing men out her hair because she’d turned lesbian or who’d play Nelly in a contemporary all guy version.
But of course that didn’t work for very long either hence the spasm of anguish I now experienced at realising any last vestige of the wonderful unearthly sense of serenity and detachment which remained to me was now being eaten up before my very eyes by such peculiarly panic inducing chains of videos as me in my pram being wheeled past the huge pair of ‘living breathing’ stone lions outside Saint George’s Hall triggering off a video of me as an eighteen year old arriving at Lime Street Station in the early hours of the morning long after the station’d closed as a result of being trapped in the middle of nowhere on a snowbound train with my Art Teacher Pip for several hunger and thirst filled hours during a day when her face’d suddenly seemed to explode and become the entire light filled universe triggering off yet another video of me aged four making remarkably sophisticated drawings on the pavement with a piece of plaster when something arriving from somewhere very very far away hurtled into me with the force of an exploding bomb filling me with the sense I somehow knew and understood EVERYTHING causing me to stagger to my feet and collapse through the door of the newly opened overwhelmingly hot spicy soup smelling Asian corner shop I’d been inexplicably avoiding investigating only for my hearing to be hurt by this enormously loud brassy sounding K-TCHING and me to find myself not only incapable of crossing its strangely shocking but hypnotically compelling swirling black and white tessellated floor but entranced by the sight of a wringing wet clearly deeply distressed highly neurotic adult on the somehow very remote far side of the shop who something seemed to warn me I was either doomed to become or grow up to be like triggering off in turn a terrifying flash of another such shop from this morning’s video immediately making me switch my attention back to Julie and me Mum in the livingroom and the now not quite so charming warbling of Nelly twatting Forbush leaving me even more intensely aware than ever my near airless lungs were rattling against my ribs like empty paper bags copious quantities of stress induced chemicals were gushing down my front and back restoring me to my former wringing wet state and my elbows and heels were digging into the arms of the chair and the fabric of the carpet in a desperate attempt to resist being overwhelmed by the relentlessly rising tsunami of indescribable energy I felt was determined to sweep me to my doom in the room next door.
But as Julie lay there on her stomach as near the fire as possible indulging her fetish for heat while transcribing Nelly Forbush in her writing pad and me Mum’s eyelids and bobbing head and tilting book filled hands grew heavier and heavier it now became all too clear in my mind the earlier doorstep revelation business and the ever increasing army of pulsations-cum-scintillations pounding at the walls of my mind with the destructiveness now of sledgehammers were designed to force me to acknowledge something extremely specific about this morning’s events which of course not only infuriated me but made me only all the more equally determined I’d be doing no such thing explaining to myself though this wasn’t about me avoiding anything because there wasn’t anything to avoid but about me refusing to be bullied into weakly surrendering any last vestige of my blissfully superhuman serenity remaining to me before finally reverting to my normal everyday nerdy neurotic self.
Yet because something if not a veritable legion of somethings was equally determined I WAS go’n’o remember I felt obliged to continue pretending the snow globe flurries of snapshots snatches and full blown sections of video assailing me from every direction were entirely random and meaningless strenuously disregarding the fact I was doing my dismal best to suppress anything even remotely related to the supposedly irrelevant events of this morning.
But as the opposing pressures both within and without me mounted ever higher making me feel as if both my mind and my body might burst apart and every video I’d ever recorded was now seemingly conspiring to make my heart both jump and stop while simultaneously berating me with the information every event in my entire life’d supposedly come about solely as part of a design to ensure I didn’t miss an appointment I’d apparently made before I was born with something which’d apparently been waiting both a third of a century and all of Eternity for me to finally rendezvous with it I found myself mentally shrieking this’s insane as Nellie learned the Jap Zeros’d killed Joe and she might’ve lost Emile too because what’d really been killed was the wall I’d erected to keep the Leaning Tower of London Road out my head and what really might’ve been lost was my fucking sanity.
As I stood there stooped over almost double under the weight of drenched clothing gazing down with raw bleary eyes at countless twirling cataracts of icy rain cascading from my face onto shoes so ruined I knew I’d never wear them again my mob as usual seemed to be finding it immensely difficult to overcome their notorious inertia for answering the door.
Then suddenly there was a brilliant flash and to my intense shock something unseen seemed to be standing beside me wordlessly communicating the mindboggling information something monumental’d just been done to me as a result of which the world’d never be the same again and for a moment I actually experienced an upwelling of something akin to elated pride until it occurred to me pride about what? At which point it suddenly dawned on me if I allowed the informational influx to continue it was inevitable I’d find out hence filled with panic stricken dread I now became seized by the idea I must at all costs prevent that happening and blessedly our Julie now abruptly opened the door and gave me such a look of intensely sustained curiosity I found myself momentarily unable to move off the spot until I suddenly recalled what I’d been in the process of try’n’o avoid at which point I immediately scurried to sanctuary in the hall observing to Julie the image’d just flashed in my mind my head was on fire and the way she was kept staring at me like that was genuinely making me wonder whether it really was. I even found myself tentatively patting about the top of my head just in case.
But Julie now quizzically tilted her head to one side and emitted such a gleefully fiendish musical titter I wondered out aloud what the joke I was missing out on was hence she now explained from the moment she’d opened the door I’d seemed somehow different to her and when I didn’t as I ALWAYS did immediately ask whether Sarah’d called or even simply headed straight for the phone this only seemed to confirm her suspicions. “You sure you’re alright?”
“I don’t actually know” I said and now told her what’d happened on the doorstep and how she’d interrupted the proceedings just before the delivery of the denouement but when she now pulled a mock apologetic face I assured her her arriving on cue like that was literally the equivalent of the Cavalry arriving to save the day at the end of all those black and white cowboy films the BBC used to force feed us as kids on Sunday afternoons because I’d had this distinct sense whatever it was I’d been about to learn it was most definitely something I didn’t wan’o know.
But as far as she was concerned me not wanting to learn or know ANYTHING was merely all the more proof there really was something different about me and I had to confess it was something which bugged me too especially since if I didn’t know whatever it I was try’n’o avoid finding out why was I behaving like I secretly did? Then there was the business about the phone and Sarah calling she’d pointed out. What was that all about?
But when Julie now informed me Sarah’d actually already called twice this morning both our naturally very expressive eyebrows simultaneously rose far higher than even they normally did when I now heard myself admitting at that precise moment I was intensely aware for the first time since I’d met Sarah I felt so completely detached and remote from her I actually felt utterly indifferent whether she’d called or not.
In fact I continued something seemed to be feeding me the warning such detachment persisted in for too long’d eventually become irrevocably permanent and leave me forever after incapable of caring whether Sarah lived or died and the peculiar thing was even though my heart seemed to jump in my chest as if it’d just received a violent electrical jolt at the thought I could ever even feel that way about ANYONE never mind Sarah I nevertheless felt so terrifically intrigued by such a development somewhere deep inside me I could feel this sort of cold chuckle to the effect maybe some day the joke’d actually be on Sarah and she’d be the one who’d simply end up never hearing from me again rather than the other way round as from time to time she liked to warn me’d happened with people in her past.
“Ooh! That IS cold!” said Julie genuinely shocked.
“Isn’t it?” and I continued how something’d now just suddenly wordlessly conveyed to me the idea the mental and emotionless states I was currently undergoing were the result of me apparently being under the influence of certain supposedly high level mystical states which apparently confer on the recipient an intermittent sense of perfect serenity at being released from all human responsibilities and obligations together with an irresistible urge to indulge in ceaseless contemplation of certain somethings or others I couldn’t quite find the words for.
But that as I pointed out was where whatever was pumping me full of all this ‘info’ lost me because if the urge to do all this contemplating was so bleedin’ irresistible then why the hell was I now suddenly aware for the first time in my life of a very pronounced resistance in me to having a rock which was how I normally ‘contemplated’ or ‘meditated’ as I sometimes styled it a practise which’d developed out of this peculiar ‘binary’ pulse thing I’d come into the world with which’d literally compelled me the moment I was born to curl up in a beetroot coloured rugby ball shape and begin rocking backwards and forwards for hours on end causing my crib to bash into all the other babies setting them off wailing like sirens finally forcing the demented nurses to turn a blind eye to the rules and put chocks under me which may even’ve played a part in why I’ve continued rocking right up to the present day resulting in every poor bastarding cot pram bed couch and these days armchair I’ve ever occupied being quite literally rocked to bits.
And Julie knowing this had to admit “Now that really is weird!” adding “You might start feeling a little bit more normal if you remember you’d've normally asked me Dad to make you a cup of tea by now and it also might help if you think about changing your clothes and drying your hair” things which until she’d pointed them out I hadn’t even noticed myself failing to do.
And that’s when it suddenly hit me with the utmost clarity from the very first moment Julie’d let me in some part of ‘me’ too well concealed to be directly observable’d been pulling every trick in the book to distract my attention from anything even remotely likely to put the idea in my head of having a rock yet instead of immediately becoming all fired up to defy this seemingly traitorous aspect of ’myself’ I now merely remained in my new remote inordinately phlegmatic verging on the docile frame of mind observing with detached dispassionate curiosity how I now didn’t order the first of an endless sequence of cups of tea churned out on an industrial scale for me by me endlessly obliging Dad and didn’t change into me favourite slob-mode uniform and didn’t once question the fact how deeply out of character I was behaving.
In fact other than being mildly intrigued I was completely unarsed by how thoroughly pleased with itself the ‘traitorous’ part of ‘me’ seemed to be with how easily it’d manipulated me into accepting the ‘new order’ which no doubt’d appear unnecessarily harsh if not downright heartless to anyone without the capacity to understand the ‘higher’ though in the end they’d eventually all see it was for the best.
However I was momentarily jolted out that state of mind when I now observed myself not only joining our Julie and me Mum in the living-room a part of the house hardly ever visited by me during the day but witnessing myself never much of a watcher of TV at the best of times following with great interest whatever point Julie was up to in that particular day’s batch of her innumerable daily reruns of her beloved South Pacific video.
And if anything proved something really rather odd WAS going on with me then that right there was it because nothing on God’s Earth should’ve had me more tearing out me hair by the handfuls than the thought of having to sit through yet more run throughs of Nellie twatting Forbush and South bastarding Pacific!
Yet there I was fully conscious of the sheer unparalleled egregiousness of me the world’s greatest hater of musicals sitting in the company of Julie the all-time hater of Match of the Day blithely watching Nellie Forbush wash men out our hair without so much as a flitter being knocked out me. Even my normally highly animated hands remained strewn docilely in my lap instead of turning me bald and worse I was experiencing this strange sensation that was making the corners of my mouth turn up almost as if I was actually enjoying the bloody thing and when a scene came on screen which screamed at me to deliver a killer zinger I now merely heard myself observe “Ooh I never realised before just how extraordinarily clever and skilful these things actually are” causing both Julie and me Mum to slowly rotate their heads Exorcist style and stare at me in stunned and thoroughly suspicious silence as though they simply hadn’t been able to believe their ears sustaining the eerie atmosphere so long in fact it should’ve been embarrassing though I now merely blithely continued “The music the words the acting the choreography the direction the way they all dovetail into each other…everything…even the way the cameraman frames the shots so the light and space create or contribute to the comic or romantic ambience or atmosphere of each scene…everything’s put at the service of everything else…”
Me Mum’s eventual response was merely to lower her deeply arched eyebrow then shrug and turn back to Nelly only for her eyes to start glazing over again inspiring her to once again pluck from the floor below her the tired looking Agatha Christie paperback which she'd tried to escape into so many times before and Julie to continue regarding me somewhat warily out the corner of squinted eyes as though expecting me any moment now to reveal I was playing some horrible practical joke on her though I now merely wittered on “I was go’n’o say they’re done with such precision and elegance these things they’re almost like classily made high end very expensive Swiss watches but they’re actually far more organic than that…much more like actual living breathing things…” encouraging her to begin enthusiastically regaling me with how this’d been precisely why her light opera company’d decided to do the thing in the first place with her in the role of Nelly and the amazing thing was I actually seemed to mean every word so much so in fact I actually felt a peculiar gratitude to the ‘traitorous’ part of me for initiating me into the world of musicals by way of keeping me away from rocking at which point the idea suddenly popped in my head maybe the ‘traitorous’ part of me wasn’t really responsible for me sitting through South bastarding Pacific at all maybe something else was and the ‘traitorous’ part of me’d merely made the best of a bad job by encouraging my fascination with the film by way of maintaining its overall strategy I must be kept away from rocking at all costs.
And the moment I allowed for that possibility I now realised I’d only been pretending to be oblivious to all these innumerable incessantly probing almost imperceptible pulsations-cum-scintillations pounding on the trembling walls of the blissfully empty citadel which only moments ago’d passed for my mind.
Well if my previous antics’d seemed to disturb the girls an eerie pin drop perfect silence now abruptly replaced their chirpy industrious burblings as they became deer trapped in oncoming headlights their pupils whizzing back and forth across dinner plate sized eyes in the hope of catching evidence out the corner of their eyes anyone but them was expected to deal with the bedraggled human sweat fountain who’d had the nerve to abandon his jackhammer incessant bout of extended pocket perversion to broach the apparently highly controversial issue of whether or not the books in the window were for sale.
Apparently not daring to move or even so much as breathe it seemed for a moment they might remain permanently frozen to the spot in startled statue-like poses eternally recording whatever they’d been doing the moment my voice’d spoken all of its own accord until much to their clear relief their apparent ringleader a diminutive and buxom brunette ceased her deeply suspicious eyeing up and down of me to abruptly assert in dry cracked but surprisingly vehement tones "Er you'll have to speak to Keith" whereupon she almost panickingly bellowed his name at the top of her lungs at which point I became intensely aware the space round me or perhaps it was the air seemed to be pulling its impossible solidifying trick from earlier on and was somehow both slowly AND rapidly rising up behind me as if to bar my way out before then all but coiling round me intensifying the abiding but originally background-level neurotic suspicion I’d been nursing in the back of my mind even before I set out the whole deranged Bennett Sex book search’d simply been a device to get an unwittingly doomed man to attend his own death a recollection like the devastating deja vues I’d momentarily experienced on first noticing the Sandwich Shop’s floor tiles and hearing Keith’s name mentioned which now seemed to accelerate still more my increasing awareness a strange caustic almost physically concentrated fear or dread unlike anything I’d ever experienced before’d been working its way up from my innards to my chest and was now in the process of establishing its burning acrid presence at the back of my throat something I was extremely grateful to be distracted from by my sudden realisation right at the back of the shop just behind the alternately gleaming glistening stainless steel hot water urn were a number of apparently old-fashioned honey-glazed grey speckled stone steps leading up to what I can only describe as a sort of gleaming white-tiled door-less doorway from where now emerged the turtle like inquisitive head of a deranged-looking scruffy medieval wizard type a man in his early forties with wildly unkempt greying light brown shoulder length unwashed hair and an even wilder-looking nicotine-stained walrus moustache veiling the lower half of his face causing the boa constrictor-like solidified space air or energy effect to rise up and wrap itself round me all the more tightly and the strange new type of fear or dread to cause countless tiny salival jets in my tongue cheeks roof of mouth and throat to initiate a series of deeply unnerving cascades of strange dark unknown ‘combustible’ chemicals down my increasingly metallic tube like oesophagus making the searingly painful skin particularly on my forearms feel as if it was catching fire and ‘napalm’ to scorch through my bloodstream even as the back of my paradoxically desert-dry brass flavoured throat seemed to expand both outwards and inwards drawing into it some unknown part of me sending it plummeting down the infinitely descending tunnel which my oesophagus seemed to’ve become.
Mercifully though the swivelling walrus-moustachioed head which’d popped its turtle-like neck out the entrance of its white tiled ‘shell’ now distracted my imploding attention by chirpily inquiring "Ye’ what is it Caroline?"
"Er Keith THIS bloke's interested in THOSE books in the window" she hurriedly blurted try’n’o keep her face pointed at me while using the corner of her eyes to flash supposedly unnoticeable semaphore at him her whole tone and furtive head-jerking flustered manner conveying the impression I’d just inquired about the black-market stash of child and bestial porn they housed in the back but without using the appropriate password making the suddenly enormously alarmed looking Keith’s head judder as if he’d received a violent electric shock until sufficiently recovering his composure to now slowly rotate his head 45 degrees towards me in the manner of ‘The Exorcist’ he scrutinised me with a wariness verging on the hostile out the corner of eyes so slitted it was a wonder he could see anything causing me to gulp and for some reason dare not to blink as I became all but buried under a peculiar guilt for having seriously pissed SOMEONE or some THING off by inadvertently stumbling in on something I wasn't supposed to.
Continuing to regard me out the corner of Fu Manchu eyes over a Charlie Chan moustache his inclined shoulder turned away from me in a somehow aggressive pose Keith mumblingly inquired of me “Ye’?” before rising to his full wiry bony bodied height and almost balletically stepping out into the open only to immediately assume a sort of Monty Pythonesque style medieval dungeoneer's crouch and scurry down the honey glazed steps towards me simultaneously wiping his greasy hands and fingers on the grubby apron tied round his waist but whereas before he’d been light-hearted if not downright upbeat his mood now seemed almost to instantly blacken as he half-growled half-hissed "Er wha’ is it y’u wan’o know?" scanning me in a newfound furtive and shifty manner putting me in mind of an extremely bandy-legged spider circling its web-trapped prey just before pouncing.
I started try’n’o answer but even at the best of times I can speak very quickly very loudly very shrilly and when I’m feeling particularly stressed or excitable these characteristics only seem to become all the more exaggerated a matter not improved by other tendencies such as simultaneously holding forth on several often only vaguely related subjects resulting in what must at times sound like incomprehensible helium-pitched gibberish to anyone unused to my way of talking which’s probably why Keith now abruptly held up the leathery palm of a hand clearly not afraid of hard work and without uttering a word somehow very pronouncedly COMMANDED me in a manner admittedly more fly munching Renfield than Dracula to come to him causing the solidified space/air/energy effect to come back to life and close round me still more tightly yet in spite of being utterly determined nothing in the world was getting me away from that door I’d taken so long to attain I now found to my horror I was somehow effortlessly gliding across the floor without moving my legs and whilst it was just possible one of those suspiciously urine tinged looking pools of liquid on the floor I suddenly realised everyone might think were mine might’ve cause me to slip surely that was something I’d’ve noticed?
And of course the strange cloud of fear or dread I seemed permanently enveloped in immediately became even more oppressively strange which in turn triggered the factory already pumping jets of weird dark unknown burning chemicals down my corrosively metallic ash tasting oesophagus into now somehow percolating them up into the regions immediately between and behind my eyes nose and ears in the form of squirts of bubbly heat seemingly melting or liquefying the contents of my skull and sending the results cascading down the painfully unbearable infinitely expanding hollow chasm both my body and the world seemed to be merging to become.
Fortunately though my attention now once again became distracted by the realisation Caroline and the other girls’d become so frenzied by what was going on between me and Keith that rather than take their eyes off us anymore they simply started grabbing the first things that came to hand shoving them in a bag and tossing them over the counter at the bemused customers like so many German stick grenades.
Meanwhile I continued effortlessly gliding towards Keith feeling so stressed and tense and bent out of shape I felt like a dried out twig about to snap in two until I now became embarrassed to realise my stomach and bowels were making such loud churning glooping and squishing noises I must’ve sounded like the guy who devised the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory effects tipping everyone off everyone in the shop I was about to blow either spewing up my guts or shitting my pants if not both at the same time leaving me in little doubt whatever emerged would flow just as copiously and freely as the probably urine ‘tinged’ ‘sweat’ cascading from my ‘bollocks’ down my legs out over my shoes.
And of course to the part of me concerned with matters of saving public face and preserving personal dignity the whole thing was a complete nightmare hence I now found myself continuously switching my efforts back and forth between one moment try’n’o suppress my gag reflex the next reclenching my pert young glistening sweat-drenched buttock muscles tight enough to crack walnuts until suddenly blessedly I realised I no longer had to worry anymore about losing control of the contents of my stomach and bowels or even losing face because my lungs which’d been pounding so long on the walls of my ribcage for air that wasn’t there now ceased their pointless sucking activity and simply stopped working in unison apparently with my no longer beating heart a deeply unnerving experience made all the more extraordinarily fascinating by the bizarre perception this wasn't just because they seemed to’ve failed but because Time inside my body’d somehow simply come to a dead stop.
Similarly the floor now seemed to either shrunk and become a miniature black and white-tiled swimming pool or I’d now somehow grown gigantic and was viewing it from somewhere very high up all of which convinced me my death had to be imminent thus the need I felt to pick out somewhere clean or more accurately cleanish for the splat which was surely about to come except instead of dying I was suddenly shocked to realise that as well as Keith the girls the customers and me there was now someone or something ELSE in the shop with us a complete other PRESENCE call it God Elvis the ghost of Sergeant Bilko call it whatever the hell you like!
I called it The Something because it was unlike anything I’d ever known before and even as it loomed to the fore of my consciousness the indescribable strangeness of its presence became so unbearable it seemed to somehow make everything take on an intensely luminous white hot vividness while simultaneously causing everything I took for reality all but recede or fade out of existence an experience that seemed to last both less than a moment and an eternity of eternities long enough anyway for The Something to leave me in no doubt not only’d it always been there behind and beneath everything but both the whole day’s events and my life’d been devised to bring me to this very moment.
Then just as suddenly as it’d made itself known it was gone completely excising itself from my field of awareness leaving me convinced the one thing I feared most in the world INSANITY’d finally overcome me because while Weirdness and me’d been joined at the hip from the day I was born I’d always told myself that STUFF’d merely been “products of one of the most highly developed overactive imaginations in an eight year old I’ve ever encountered” as a genial old psychiatrist once reassured my beloved 2nd Year Tiber Street Juniors teacher Miss Singleton after my accounts of various run-ins with ‘talking’ inanimate objects’d set her worrying I might be schizophrenic.
And I had to be insane because PARDON ME but didn’t GOD just appear in the middle of an otherwise completely unremarkable sandwich shop and yet apart from me nobody else noticed a BLEEDIN’ thing?
Yet even as I desperately struggled to devise other more logical RATIONAL explanations a somehow very odd thought suddenly occurred to me if I took any of what happened in the wrong way I’d become extremely vulnerable in precisely that same way which mustn’t under any circumstances be allowed to happen this immediately followed by another somehow very odd ‘thought’ making me feel almost as if I were an actor being prompted by someone that what must’ve REALLY happened was I’d obviously blacked out but for such a very VERY brief period it must’ve both escaped my attention and left me still on my feet an explanation sufficiently adequate to make me momentarily forget the matter until it suddenly occurred to me maybe the increasingly sober if not downright sombre-looking Keith might’ve actually noticed something too except before I could get a word out he COMMANDED me to stop again diverting my attention this time by the almost unbearably acrid fumes of stale male sweat now suddenly overwhelming my senses causing my eyes to water and my nose to pull back away into my face and setting me worrying whether my notorious facial expressiveness might be conveying to him the impression I thought he never washed hence try’n’o change the subject away from whether or not there WAS a smell and the smell WAS him I instead garbled "Well what I'm really looking for is…STUFF by John Bennett" carefully avoiding all mention of SEX in case it made me look like a pervert. Or a virgin.
Anyway that’s when I noticed he was doing something something so unusual I initially couldn’t put my finger on quite what. It wasn’t the way his jerky almost jagged body movements were gradually being replaced by an incredible softness and stillness nor was it the way his wiry torso and bony arms were filling out to take on a larger more muscular look nor was it the way his hands were serenely resting on the counter palms up in the manner of a yoga devotee It was the way he seemed to be looking at me THROUGH his eyes rather than OUT them and though I’d seen some remarkably strange things courtesy of other people’s eyes in my time this was a new one on me especially since he was clearly aware he was doing it.
Anyway he now startled the living crap out of me by asking "Is it that you are interested in The Work?" because suddenly he was using a whole new almost foreign-sounding tinged voice and vocabulary with characteristics hinting at Russian French German Indian and countless other exotic influences conveying the flavour of a man who’d spent many years abroad seeking knowledge facing all kinds of trials and tribulations never having an easy time of it always struggling for everything rarely succumbing to self-pity instinctively eschewing familiar paths for the danger of what travellers of earlier times termed Terra Incognita evoking in my mind a rapid succession of video shots featuring dark sweltering barely frequented forests vast oddly coloured sparkling lakes rarely visited by men treacherous windblown precipitously high icy paths and endless forbidding mountains each of which had contributed to his gradual transmutation into something far more deep and vast than he appeared or perhaps even suspected and leaving me wondering with a huge gulp could this really be the same bargain-basement Rasputin I’d first met only moments ago?
Anyway he continued "Then Bennett is not so useful these days" information I’d’ve been extremely surprised to hear if a peculiar sense I’d just missed something hadn’t made me rewind the video concerned back a few seconds finally allowing the penny to drop. SHIT he's just used the Sufic term THE WORK so that business with the eyes must mean he’s using some kind of Sufic mind control power on me until like a sun exploding in my brain it suddenly hit me SHIII-IIIT I’m talkin’ to a fucking SUFI!
And not knowing what else to do I started wittering on about how I'd only recently begun to realize my own Nothingness another Sufi term but to my surprise Keith’s eyes now suddenly lost their unusual intensely aware probing quality taking on a particularly alarmed look seemingly due to a sudden concern how my esoterically-phrased mystical ramblings might be affecting his customers.
Even still he continued "Yes it is possible to become a student of a school where one can learn about such matters. This fortunately happens to be a member of such a school" information that deep froze my brain and blood because for more than two years now I'd been continuously applying to join the school of the Sufi Teacher Idries Shah without even once receiving so much as the briefest reply yet as Keith's tone and manner of the last few minutes clearly implied I was now being invited to join just such a school in of all places a sandwich shop.
But then it occurred to me how all the books in the window were only concerned with what I viewed as one of Sufism’s offshoots The Fourth Way hence I now sought clarification "Your school is it a Sufi school?” only to watch in astonishment as a horizontal row of tiny jets of flame leapt into life in his eyes running from the corner of one eye to disappear behind the iris then reappear to reach the other corner then repeat the trick with the other eye making Keith look distinctly devilish before he replied with a cheeky playful mischievous but also fiendishly warm smile "No it's a Gurdjieff-Ouspensky school” adding with the intensity of the seasoned hard-seller “But it is a REAL school" only to immediately back off when he saw this approach was losing me creating a vacuum I now hurriedly filled by telling him about my attempts to join Idries Shah’s Sufi school.
"Ah yes” he said with the cutest rakish smile his eyes just as full of mischievous as ever but only hinting at their earlier fiendishness “You want to be in the world but not of it" impressing the living crap out of me by his use of the archetypal Sufi phrase because until then I'd been half convinced I was the only other sad bastard who'd ever heard of the buggers Sarah and my mob excepted of course but then they’d only heard of them because of me!
But when he now saw how resolved I was it had to be The Sufis he quickly accepted this if a little disconsolately before suddenly tearing off a strip of sandwich bag jotting down his contact details and thrusting them in my distinctly unenthusiastic hand "Just in case" he said which I took as my cue to make the shop’s old-fashioned brass doorbell sound what I swore’d be its last ever infuriating k-tching! as far as I was concerned before stepping into the street and like a cat that’s just realised its arse’s on fire running for dear life.
Over at The Big Study I've been reading the Prof's MEN-IN-BLACK? and this was my response.
1) Prof did you know Liverpool's been called the City of Wackers or Wackland [don't be saying that figures!]
2) are you sure that was Hynek? Because if it wasn't then I've been in that 'elevator' as've a few others and it doesn't just go up and down
3) concerning the Wauwatosa case did you know in the time of say Krishna being able to walk in midair was viewed as a surefire sign of high spiritual attainment viz Yudhishitra?
4) there's a dimension in these sorts of stories which no one seems to consider enough namely Transfiguration.
Some years back two school girls went missing for several days in the UK and it was announced on the news the police were go'n'o pay a visit to the house of the father of the suspect.
That night as I was sitting in the front room of our old place I was startled to see two girls wearing what I took to be Liverpool FC shirts standing near the door looking at me. Thinking it was a bit late for some one to be visiting never mind bringing their kids out with them I went to say something and something very odd seemed to happen to the room.
It stayed exactly the same yet SOMETHING sprinkled the whole shebang with moonbeams and pixie dust transfiguring everything in it in such a way the elements of the room also somehow became the elements of a map.
The girls now looked over towards the far corner of this 'map' then back at me then vanished their meaning being or so I understood that where they'd looked was where the police'd be searching but where they'd stood was where they'd be found.
Similarly over at the Daily Grail you can read Jack Hunter's Anthropology of the Weird where he gives Evans-Pritchard's account of chasing a witch light through the night which seems to foretell the death of someone the following morning.
Evans-Pritchard seems to be dismissing the experience as supernatural when he says he never discovered the real origin of the light but he suggests it was probably a grass torch being carried by someone going for a dump in the bushes. The thing is though he quite clearly states the death "fully explained the light I had seen" suggesting to me he's talking about the same idea that SOMETHING sprinkled moon beams and pixie dust on someone going for a dump in order to transfigure it into something with a much more mystical appearance.
My point being SOMETHING once took me for a long long walk all over the place to somewhere I didn't know then instructed me to lay down some money and walk away without looking back.
Presumably the money was meant for someone but if they'd seen me would they have seen ME or would they have seen a transfigured Indrid Cold type version of me?
Ditto some of these weird beings and decidedly odd MIB types.
Were they all monsters from parallel dimensions or were some of them less extreme versions of the sort of people you hear about who apparently completely forget who they are and move to a new town and become someone else then a few years later suddenly recall this whole other life they had?
It makes a certain logistical sense if you wan'o play God (especially if you ARE God) to burn a bush without actually burning it because then you can still use it as a bush later on.
Ditto with people.
Maybe sometimes it's easier just to sprinkle some poor unsuspecting b*st*rd with moonbeams and pixie dust so they appear to be a being from another dimension than to actually tear through the interstices of Space/Time just to transplant such an extradimensional here then not only have to transplant them back but also repair the Space/Time rift.
Over at the Secret Sun I've been reading Christopher Loring Knowles' Everything In Its Right Place and this was my response.
Christopher around the mid Seventies this British TV arts program called The South Bank Show put out an edition concerned with a Welsh artist called Euan Uglow. The basic idea was they'd hired him to paint one of the nudes he was known for and were go'n'o film his progress to give the viewers some idea of the artistic process.
Unfortunately though hardly'd Uglow started than he stopped unable to explain why he couldn't carry on or even whether he'd ever be able to finish it and the host Melvin Bragg looked so visibly mad with him you couldn't help but feel Uglow'd ripped them off somehow.
At the time in my mid teens I didn't have the words to explain to myself what I was witnessing but years later I came to the conclusion based on personal experience what Uglow's problem'd been was he wasn't prepared to mechanically knock out a painting just for the cameras.
For him for it to be authentic art he had to know his 'finger' was plugged straight in the socket of THE SOURCE and the current of truth was flowing directly through him out onto the canvas.
Ditto Van Gogh. I once heard an art college lecturer pronounce Van Gogh glorified chocolate box art and the proof was his enormous popularity.
I however envisage a time when technology will be able to show presently unseen but not unfelt electromagnetic dimensions to Van Gogh's art which'll clearly show their 'wholeliness' ie that they're records of the few times in the man's life when he felt he was his real self because THE SOURCE was pouring through him bringing those paintings into existence.
What I'm getting at is what you yourself've clearly and extremely cogently pointed out all these 'skeptics' seek to 'sort out' the 'paranormal' in the same way some unwitting paedofiles become child psychologists or join child protection agencies precisely to keep near as possible to THE SOURCE of a type of energy which so powerfully stimulates them they can't bring themselves to admit they're attracted.
There's a teaching story covers the same idea. A famous poet goes to see a Sufi doctor with all these appalling symptoms. "Haven't you just supposedly finished a new work?" says the Sufi "Could you do me the honour of reciting it for me...and now recite it again...and again...and again..." and he keeps on in this vein until the poet suddenly cries out "Doctor you're a wonder I'm cured!"
The point being where Van Gogh only ever knew true sanity and happiness when he was acting as a CONDUIT for the power from THE SOURCE and Uglow couldn't function as a true artist because he couldn't access that power from THE SOURCE the poet in the story is actually connected to THE SOURCE but because he can't complete the circuit and facilitate its flow through and out of him by reciting the poem a sufficient number of times it's actual making him ill.
This's why I tease you about your oracular tendencies by way of encouraging others to express their equivalents of such capacities because ultimately it doesn't matter whether anyone else gets what each of us's onto though I agree with you a working consensus helps.
In other words this's a public spiritual health issue and we're supposed to give expression to this sort of stuff in the same way we're supposed to regularly move our bowels.
Or as the Gospel of Thomas put it "If you bring forth what's within you what you bring forth'll save you. But if you don't bring forth what's within you what you don't bring forth'll destroy you."
There was a consolation though because while I was go’n’o have to pay for a sandwich I didn’t want I’d now get to take a better look round the joint whilst avoiding the possibility of embarrassing meself by asking 'stupid' fucking questions.
But after waiting what LITERALLY seemed like hours I now became convinced I was losing it again because not only did I keep suddenly finding myself somehow right back down the queue everytime I could’ve sworn I was on the verge of reaching the till but the longer things kept dragging on the more convinced I became customers I’d seen make their purchases and leave were somehow sneaking back in the queue ahead of me without any one but me seemingly noticing a thing which’s probably one of the reasons why when the infernally loud harsh brassy k-TCHING! sounded for the umpteenth bastarding time and yet another icy tornado calamitously once more robbed the shop of any last vestige of heat it’d begun to accumulate all the willpower which’d been mounting in me to finally work up the nerve to break out from the queue and make for the open door seemed to just suddenly fizzle right out leaving me feeling defeated and crushed and like I’d never know what it felt like to be warm or dry ever again.
But now I knew this Sandwich Shop business wasn’t going to be over until I finally managed to reach the till and stay there without somehow magically slipping back the other way it was inevitable I’d start try’n’o distract myself from the tyranny of the endlessly repeating harsh brassy k-TCHING! rattling the teeth in my skull by dreaming up yet more new ways to torture myself.
For instance how very remiss of me to’ve neglected going over all those possible forthcoming harrowing scenarios which’d be bound to unfold the moment I finally got to order the bastarding sandwich I didn’t want. I mean would I for instance have enough on me to actually be able to pay for it?
Well of course that’d depend on how much I actually had on me and as I bleedin’ full well knew since I'd actually come out with a tenner and hadn't done anything with it therefore logically RATIONALLY I must still have a tenner on me but unable to resist making certain I hadn’t somehow blacked out on the way and managed to spend it without actually noticing or more straightforwardly simply somehow lost it I now began surreptitiously patting the contents of each pocket only for my blood to run cold the moment I realised I couldn't find it.
Resisting the urge to start tearing my hair out in a fit of pique and terror at the thought I really might be about to make a fool of myself over it I was suddenly struck by how both sides of the queue seemed to subtly incline away from me whenever I started gushing sweat out of every pore orifice or nook and cranny in my body making me obsess for a moment if I had a body odour problem but before I had a chance to enthusiastically snatch up that particular baton and run with it I managed to sufficiently compose myself to veer my attention back towards starting on a second much more thorough survey of my pockets finding the task made all the more difficult by the fact not only did every groaning individual bone and muscle in my body feel encrusted and riddled through with needles of ice but me hands were so frozen I could barely sufficiently unclench them to begin surreptitiously insinuating my fingers slowly between the rough rippled unyielding layers of the rain and sleet thickened denim of my jeans’ paradoxically shrunken pockets hence it came as no surprise everytime I did finally manage to tease something sufficiently to the surface to be able to catch a furtive glimpse of what it might be out the lower corner of my eye it always seemed to have the soggy amorphous appearance of bundles of grey pulp.
Eventually though I managed to clandestinely extract from the brass stud decorated corner of one particularly freezing water filled pocket something I was finally able to visually confirm was indeed the tenner hence I began relaxing because YES the tenner was there and YES it was still a tenner and YES it hadn’t somehow transformed itself into a sodding sodden fiver or a crushed gold foiled wrapped chocolate coin or the mutilated remains of an old bus ticket or a piece of notepaper or what used to be an old piece of snotty tissue or simply dissolve out of existence.
But of course the moment I finally shoved it back in my pocket I immediately began worrying I might’ve accidentally shoved it to the floor instead.
The perfectly logical RATIONAL solution of course was to simply gaze down round my feet for any sign of it but it now occurred to me if I did that I’d immediately alert everyone in the queue I thought I’d dropped something of value though of course I knew full bleedin’ well most of the guys round me looked such authentic fugitives from a police lineup for bag-snatchers if I really HAD dropped the tenner they’d’ve plucked it out the air long before it had a chance of ever even beginning to fall at which point my growing nonchalance immediately disappeared the moment it suddenly occurred to me how completely fucking awful it’d be if when the time finally came to pay for the bastarding sandwich I didn’t wanted my assumption these thoughts were just me neurotically entertaining myself were replaced by a shocked awareness I actually HAD dropped the bastarding tenner.
Hence it was I now became trapped in an endlessly repeating neurotic loop of checking me pocket the note was still there shoving the damned thing straight back down then immediately worrying THIS time I might’ve REALLY pushed it to the floor and of course every desperate effort I now made to pull myself together and snap out such a ludicrous state of mind only seemed to exacerbate my ever more neurotic need to be certain.
Hence in spite of it being the middle of winter I now began sweating like a pig resulting in the tenner gradually becoming more and more sodden more and more mangled so much so I started worrying its ink might run until I pointed out to myself how it was a stone cold scientific fact paper money was specifically designed to preclude precisely this possibility until it then occurred to me this wouldn’t apply if the tenner was actually a forgery perfect in every way save for one tell-tale detail that when exposed to perspiration from the body of any poor bastarding twat called Alan Borky its ink’d run as freely as the Niagara Falls of cold glutinous sweat which now started cascading down my back into the crack between my pert and glistening arse cheeks hence I now found myself not only interminably checking the tenner was still there and still a tenner but also nerve rackingly alert for any signs of smudging. Assuming that is I’d actually be able to see them through the torrential curtain of battery acid now gushing out my brow and simultaneously burning and drowning my eyes.
But as if all that wasn't enough to be getting on with it now occurred to me even if the tenner was still there still a tenner and NOT a forgery it’d be just like me at exactly the moment when the public executioner like eyes of everyone in the joint were all fixed on me with laser beam intensity to order the one fucking sandwich in the entire world which cost more than a tenner.
Oh god what would everyone think of me? I was a cheapskate? I was poor? I was try’n’o avoid paying? I was deliberately causing a nuisance? I was deliberately holding up in the queue? I was a bunko artist? I was try’n’o pass off a homemade tenner me or one of the other mental patients at the home’d made from brown daubed toilet paper freshly plucked from the bog?
The only thing worse’d be if the girls at the till now suddenly cottoned on I was also that very same semi-precious stone robbing pervert who’d been ogling them outside while suggestively rubbing his hands and hips up and down the ever more slimy window pane before then having the nerve to actually come inside the shop and keep returning to the back of the queue to give himself more perving time pumping his hand in and out his pocket while furtively eyeing up and down the female staff at which point my sweating now abandoned its hitherto comparatively gentle flow and like the contents of a bullet riddled barrel suddenly started bursting forth in huge great torrents pshhh! from my brow pshhh! from my face pshhh! from my neck pshhh! from my spine pshhh! from my armpits and pshhh-shhh-shhh-shhh! from my bollocks arse crotch and legs bringing my already perilously weighed down soggy undercrackers to the brink of actually dissolving on my body while at the same time my heart was beating so erratically in between various explosive attempts to jackhammer its way out me ribs it genuinely felt on the verge of exploding like an overripe tomato a prospect somehow poetically counterbalanced by my correspondingly intense awareness my dry papery bagged lungs were now pumping in and out so hard in their desperation to suck in air which no longer seemed to be there they genuinely felt on the verge of collapsing or even imploding.
And yet what does soft bollocks do to alleviate his distress in the midst of all this mental and physical chaos? Why of course I suddenly chose that moment to become embarrassed at noticing how the sweat continuously gushing down onto my legs and out over my shoes’d formed two huge ever expanding lakes round my feet a deeply ironic development given how my feet were practically the only part of my body that never seemed to sweat!
Yet what really finished me off wasn’t all the gallons of slimy icy sweat I feared might be me melting away or the thought how embarrassing all the violent spastic jerks twitches and facial/body convulsions must be making me appear nor even my ever growing anxiety my inability to stop my tenner-checking hand incessantly pumping in and out my pocket might eventually result in someone calling the police station round the corner. It was the plain old-fashioned hybrid claustrophobia/agoraphobia panic attack which now resulted in the walls and ceiling of the shop seemingly starting to buckle and bend and zoom off into infinity whilst simultaneously claustrophobically closing in on me like an airless second skin somehow.
Hence desperate at no longer being able to breathe I now found myself making a break from the queue at precisely the moment time seemed to slow down almost to a dead stop making the very fabric of space itself seem to thicken and assume the consistency of very dense elastic glue forcing me into what almost felt like a life and death struggle with some unseen living thing determined I was never go’n’o reach that shop door even as the door itself now seemed to shrink down to the size of a postage stamp and pull away from me off into the infinite distance making me feel like I was no longer running on the spot but actually getting pushed backwards even as the black and white tessellated surface of the shop floor now appeared to fold in on itself in a series of three dimensional intertwining psychedelic swirls and whorls and my stomach experienced a catastrophic plunging sensation as the ground itself seemed to physically buckle and seethe and plummet beneath my feet as if the concrete below the tiles’d somehow turned to jelly or the tiles themselves were now the surface of a huge very badly made trampoline.
Yet in spite of reality seeming to turn itself and me inside out or perhaps because of it not to mention a seemingly indomitable cussedness not to be railroaded into something against my will I somehow managed to haphazardly stagger my way across the spiralling black and white maelstrom of the floor like a wildly tottering drunk and get near enough to the door to be able to briefly cleave to its old-fashioned gleaming brass-handle for sanctuary only for the moment I now began trying to tug it open to become electrified by the mind-blowing realisation not only were the door and the handle in some inexplicable way both alive with their own form of intelligence but the evil little bastards were gleefully resisting my every desperate attempt to prise the damned thing open and escape until gambling everything on either exerting enough physical force to actually rip the door from its hinges or give meself an apoplexy they finally yielded. Yet even then the ‘cackling’ little bastards couldn't resist playing one last final dirty trick on me by ‘exhorting’ the old fashioned brass bell at the top to let out one final extra loud and harsh Big Ben sized K-TCHING!!! just to make certain no one failed to notice the sodden semi-precious stone thieving self-abusing pervert was finally leaving their midst.
But who gave a shit because all that mattered was I finally getting’ out o’ that place yet there I was hanging in mid-air doing my very best impression of Shaggy and Scooby Doo at the moment they’re no longer running on the spot but actually about to accelerate away from Ol’ Man Masterson disguised as the Swamp Mummy from Mars exhilarated by my awareness sheer momentum was about to carry me chest first over the threshold my senses dazzled by the contrast of the Sandwich Shop’s harshly brilliant acid yellow tinged electric lighting and the now somehow unspeakably beautiful dank gloom outside ravished by the gorgeous cocktail created by the chilled street air rushing to meet and intermingle with the hot swirling savoury scented shop air enveloping me as I breathed in a huge delicious soul-expanding sigh of relief in anticipation of that last final momentous Neil Armstrong-sized step which’d complete my return to planet Earth only to hear instead of the heart-rending squeak of my new left shoe’s sole finally making contact with the wet and slippery muddy marbled surface of the Sandwich Shop’s quaintly old-fashioned black and white mosaic front step an oddly familiar voice shrilly half croak half quack "These books in the window are they for sale?" before realising to my complete and utter horror the voice was mine.
Did Neanderthals Become Extinct Because They Had a Larger Clunkier Brain or Can Small Ones Be Better than Big Ones?Posted by alanborky at 17:34, 15 Sep 2012
Over at the BBC I'm reading Paul Rincon's Conflict and 'boom-bust' explain humans' rapid evolution.
According to human origins researcher Prof Ian Tattersall "However you slice it, evolution within [the human family] has been very rapid indeed".
He points out how two million years ago our ancestors' brain size started doubling in size then a million years later started pretty much doubling in size again.
And he may even be right.
I personally am squeamish about the assumption increase in brain size equals increase in intelligence though.
And for a number of reasons.
First of all there's the anomaly Boskop Man and the Neanderthal had larger brains than us.
Then there's the memory and intelligence feats of apes like Ayumu which most humans'd do well to match.
Then there's the remarkable intelligence exhibited by creatures with even smaller brains such as crows which employ complex techniques to manufacture sophisticated tools.
Then there's the even tinier brained bee's utilization of complex mathematics.
But even more astounding's the case of people like Patient R who exhibits not only self awareness but a sense of humour in spite of missing key parts of the brain thought indispensible for precisely these capacities.
Or what about at least 120 people out there holding down jobs as tax inspectors or college lecturers while effectively having no brain at all?
Yet what really makes me question the idea increase in brain size equals increase in intelligence is the history of computing where an increase in capacity invariably results from an increase in miniaturization.
The whole idea bigger means better I suggest's basically a hang over from the Industrial Revolution and it's precisely this particular mental habit I further suggest which's stopped us from realising for a long time just how very clever our fellow creatures on the planet actually are.
It may even be the case the reason the likes of the Neanderthal went extinct's precisely BECAUSE they had a larger clunkier brain.
I've been over at the Neurocritic and the Neuroskeptic's blogs reading their takes on Naomi Wolf's "Vagina" and this's my response.
Taking one of Naomi Wolf's supposed howlers "dopamine is the ultimate feminist chemical in the female brain" and Neurocritic's response "Dopamine is not a feminist neurotransmitter, unless snails and insects have been secretly reading Betty Friedan and listening to Bikini Kill."
Apart from pointing out this's like saying because some kid coloured in the pages of a copy of Darwin's Descent it proves its contents're meaningless gibberish I personally don't "feel sorry for Ms. Wolf" as Neurocritic puts it because this's as bad an example of "shooting fish in a barrel" as when I once read someone deploring the absurdity of the phrase 'the pen is mightier than the sword'.
As I responded to that person a) taking the phrase literally's either willfully or stupidly misunderstanding it and b) if you'd ever done martial arts you'd also know the pen actually IS literally mightier than the sword because they're easier to conceal and you can kill people with one in far more ways and in a far shorter time than it takes to even begin raising a sword.
But here's another Neurocritic bon mot in response to Wolf's "Those of us who are not scientists often forget that brain chemicals are vehicles for very profound human truths" "I thought brain chemicals were vehicles that bind to receptors and trigger signal transduction molecules. Even the most reductionistic neuroscientists among us realize we are worlds away from understanding how oxytocin might explain morality".
In that case why's Neurocritic even writing blogs dissing others? Because apparently according to him until we cease being worlds away from understanding how things like oxytocin might explain things like morality we must just sit there and say nothing and let brain chemicals be vehicles which bind to receptors and trigger signal transduction molecules because to do otherwise is meaningless and pointless.
Another Neurocriticism "feminist biology apparently tells us that the vagina is the delivery system for profound female truths...So women who aren't having orgasms cannot be confident liberated feminists??"
Here he sounds like the leader of the 'Eyeless People' who tells the artist visiting them as far as they're concerned there's no such thing as sight and what the artist calls eyes're actually cysts which're automatically removed whenever their children're born.
Apparently you haven't noticed this Neurocritic but there's a complete difference between the parts of a woman and the collective sum total effect of those parts and the only persons who ever even have a remote clue to what those differences are are women.
The same applies with men. Female neuroscientists can infer all they like about us but only men have a clue what it's really like to be a man.
So all you male critics of Naomi Wolf leave her Vagina alone and stop being such complete cunts!