Things Come Together

Book review of The Antichrist by Frederick Nietzsche and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

The Antichrist is Nietzsche’s last major work before he went totally bonkers and wrote no more.  It is one of his shortest, strongest and most passionate books, and it has a single purpose: to destroy Christianity.

His main objection is that Read More

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Friendship and slavery

I am not good at making friends.  The main reason for this is that I do not like many other people and I find I have little in common with the rest of the human race.  Those friends I do have tend to be quite eccentric, tolerant people. The average person cannot put up with me for long, and I am also impatient with others.

It’s difficult to be friends with locals here.  Their main topic of conversation is Read More

Uptick in Crime

There’s recently been an increase in crime here.

This used to be one of the safest cities in Africa.  Perhaps it still is.  However, various factors are leading to the breakdown of old certainties.  Let us first look at the nature of crime here, then examine underlying causes.

But wait – should we not first consider why this place was so orderly to begin with?  Because that demands some explanation.  This is Africa, after all.  So let’s start there.

I am not a criminologist so I don’t really understand the details, but religion certainly plays a major role.  The people here are about evenly split between Read More

The Four Chinese Balls

A while ago Xi Jinping was effectively made President for Life.  The Chinese Communist Party got rid of this institution after Mao died because he lasted long past his use-by date, but now it’s back.  Because Xi Jinping knows better than everyone else what they should do, because he’s more specialer.

There were 2,958 in favour and two votes against.

Two.

From this we may conclude that Read More

What Xi Jinping ought to have said

At the last big Chinese Communist Party shindig Xi Jinping was appointed President for Life and gave a tremendously important speech.  It was just what you’d expect – those naughty Taiwanese better behave themselves, I’ll crack down on corruption, China is awesome, all those other countries are stupid little girly countries who probably don’t even have system of writing yet, etc., etc.

Here’s the speech he should have given: Read More

Too old for war

A few years ago me and my mate were talking about conscription and we realized that we’re now too old to go to war.  That glory and horror of mankind throughout history has somehow passed us by.

It could be that, as Pinker says, the world is more peaceful now.  Or that we lived through a rare, quiet bubble.  Or maybe mechanized warfare needs fewer men than before.

Whatever the case, we got off scott free.  No one invaded Australia the whole time we were young and living there.

My grandfather fought in Papua New Guinea.  My father was conscripted for Vietnam but Australia pulled out of the war before he had to go.  The closest I came was Read More

Give yourself a universal basic income

Socialism is a bit like an egg falling from the Tower of Pisa.  The academics and politicians and Guardian writers who pontificate about how wonderful it is, and how much kinder than capitalism, and how logically sound, are like the clear, fragrant air it sails through safely during its long descent.  Reality is the ground.

Take its latest incarnation, the Read More

Goals fallen by the wayside

Men plan, and God laughs.

I’ve abandoned two of my goals as no longer suiting my present or future needs.  These are (a) travel and adventure, and (b) learning a language.

All of a sudden – and this happened almost overnight – I’d completely had enough of travel.  I no longer want to explore new places or discover exotic cultures.  A lot those places are smelly and fly-ridden, and so are the cultures.  After eleven years overseas I’ve just had enough.

I don’t want to return to Australia.  I just want to find a nice, comfortable place (by my low standards) and settle down there.  Get into a routine.  Focus on my other goals like Read More

Natural Born Fascists

The more I travel around our little blue planet and get to know the nature and predispositions of its various inhabitants, the more I find to complain about.  I err towards an aristocratic view of humans.  There are a few at the top who are intelligent, noble and capable of greatness, while the rest, I’m afraid, are rabble.

Yes, I know most people, including myself, fall somewhere in the middle.  Stop ruining.

Of the throng, the characteristics I most despise are Read More

Comments Will Close

I’m about to crawl back into the boa constrictor-invested, WiFi-deprived jungle.  And ya know what that means: a thousand flowers shall no longer bloom in the Soviet comments.

From tomorrow you need to be logged in and have a previously approved response in order to comment.

Enjoy yourselves out here in civilization, think of me sometimes, and be good to your mother.

-Nikolai

The Western Canon

One of my goals is to read the Western Canon in order to better understand our world and to be less ignorant.

There are lists available here and there, all hotly disputed.   I have selected from these and added to it several eastern works which have had a significant impact upon our history and culture.

So, here is what I’ve got. I have probably omitted Read More

The Thirteen Taboos

Each time and place has its taboos. In ancient Greece you could not question the existence of the gods. In the Roman Empire, criticizing the emperor was an efficient way of bringing oneself to a sticky end. In Medieval Europe you could say nothing against the Church. In Victorian England, sex talk was right out. In the United States of the early 20th Century you could not speak against American involvement in the Great War once this had commenced, nor could you advocate interracial marriage. A little after that, openly advocating Communism would get you shit-canned pretty quick, too.

The threats leveled at free-thinkers have varied, ranging from social ostracization at the lower end all the way up to burning at the stake and other imaginative disincentives. Today in the Western world, breaking taboos is punished by Read More

The Sensible Left

Public debate works best when there are two or more compelling sides in the tussle, with each putting forward its strongest arguments and thoughtfully countering the opposition.  In this way we can best examine these cases and decide the most appropriate path.  Often we reach a conclusion that is somewhere in the middle.

The problem with current political and cultural discussion is that Read More

Why are the clever Chinese so stupid?

I’m fascinated by stupidity. Not low intelligence, which is fairly innocent, but rather the habit of clever people to do and think dumb things. Today we consider this in terms of an entire people.

The average IQ in China is supposed to be around 105, which sounds about right, especially for the Han. Chinese who defect to civilization mostly prosper and stay out of trouble. However, they are not without their enduring stupidities. These come in two main flavours.

The first is Read More

The importance of money

When I was a wee lad in Grade Nine our class had to fill in some sort of questionnaire that would tell us what job would suit us when we grew up.  Oh yeah, ‘aptitude test’!  Through lack of use I am gradually forgetting English.  The teacher said we were very lucky to be undertaking the test because normally it cost heaps to do one at a private employment agency.

Which takes us almost neatly to:

There was one question about how much money I wanted, and at that moment, for the first time in my fifteen years upon our baffling planet, I pondered the question.  How much money did I want?  Did I aim to be rich?

I decided Read More

Turning a corner

Today things are good.

Objectively nothing has changed.  I’m still harassed constantly by begging children and lunatic customers.  There are no romantic prospects within sight.  My handlebar broke so I had to get that fixed instead of going to the gym.  Bloody thing had rusted through from the inside.  Further, it was a tough day at work with a performance evaluation to top it off.  And I ran out of eggs this morning.  My day never goes well if I have not had eggs.

But Read More

We Wuz Spacemen

Book review of Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith.

Anyone remember space exploration? I don’t mean bobbing around like Bondi turds in low-Earth orbit as we do these days. That’s barely a step up from powered flight. I mean exploring deep space, going so far out that we can look back and see the whole world at once. So far away that we can block out the planet with our thumb. Remember that? We used to do that.

I was born several years after the last occasion any man traveled so far from our briny home. In my eighties childhood, so soon after our spacefaring achievements, it still seemed certain that we would be on Mars and Pluto and into other solar systems in the near future. My lifetime was going to be amazing, my teachers said, one in which I might well end up Read More

Bro-scientists required: how’s my routine?

While I’m in civilization and comments are open, I need to crowd-source some help with my gym routine.

Notes before we start: I do cardio elsewhere.  I lift either 1 set of 10 reps, 2 sets of 6 reps, 3 x 5 or 4 x 4 pretty much randomly.  I up the weight as soon as I have achieved any of these.

Warm-up: 5 minutes skipping or bike.

Monday and Thursday: upper body.

Push: any three of overhead press, bench press, pushups and dips; a couple of isolation lifts.

Pull: rows, pull ups; some isolation work like curls and chinups.

Any more ideas for variations, keeping in mind I already mix up barbell and dumbbell lifts?  I really need more varied compound pull lifts but I can’t find any.

Tuesday and Friday: lower body and core.

Squats, lunges, sometimes calves.  Two or three ab exercises.  Bridge.

Any other compound lifts for legs?  My lower back can’t handle dead lifts.

Stretch.

I tend to spend only 30 mins in the gym at a time as I run out of exercises and the targeted muscle group is too tired to do much more anyway.

Any suggestions or links appreciated.  And what about those cord pulling things?  Are they any good?