Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

MMXI becomes MMXII

In General Mish-Mash, Mixed Up Mish-Mash (Confusion) on December 31, 2011 at 9:39 pm

There are only a few hours of 2011 remaining.

Reflection is the natural state of mind. Many will find it hasn’t been a great year, for some it may have been their own personal annus horribilis, and for others the year that is dying may have been one of worthy of wild celebration.

One thing I know for sure … there are millions who had years not as good as mine.

This last day of the year is a  landmark time for starting anew, wiping the slate clean, forgiving if not forgetting.

I can’t tell the story of MMXI – it is MMIXed, mixed up, confused, and needing straightening out. I think I have the hints, the clues and signposts sorted … but care is needed.

Content is easily be misinterpreted. A friendly smile can disarm needed caution, a shiv in the rib can be needed to shift focus, attention or divert tragedy. How often is there blurring between what is needed and what is wanted (maybe we all need a debutante and a Ruthie in her honky tonk lagoon – one knows what you need the other knows what you want).

Anyway, looking at content alone distorts meaning – or at least makes distortion more likely.

Something that goes a long way to explaining the cyber-bullying phenomena. We have created a medium where content is king but where it is also truncated, minimised, distant, and immediate.

Anyway … that is another rant.

The relevance here is that it seems the signposts upon which I can rely – must rely – are those that are erected by effort, thought, deliberation.

Content with effort, thought, and deliberation need not be lengthy – editing is a difficult task. Hence Blaise Pascal:

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.

Which really is the premise of my new blog:

365 Short Memories

Each post a memory (or, at least, the result of Mnemosyne weaving her magic) … but expressing it is restrained to 50 words. Exactly 50 words – no more, no less.

Now as MMXI becomes MMXII … and before we are all messed up, mashed up, MIXed up, and maxed up.

Happy New Year!!!

And in the words of Lord Tennyson:

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

’twas the night before Christmas …

In General Mish-Mash on December 24, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Oh! What an idyll.

For many there is plenty stirring on the night before Christmas. And many more could only hope they had the energy or the freedom to be stirred – or to stir.

The paedestrian necessity of one word following another prevents adequacy in describing garbled, mixed up feelings, mish- mashed thinking, and contrary spirit – all happening at the very same moment.

Sacred gratitudes and burning guilt get delivered with overwhelming good fortune, abundant and sublime beauty presses joyful tears, innocence & naivety raise hopes & spirits.

Deep, disturbing sorrow follows fathomless want & need, seething anger lit by treachery.

I cannot limit myself to 140 characters – that seems more inadequate than being restricted by a chronology, though it may well be far more effective. (It does seem something of an anachronism to be “tweeting” a Christmas message.)

I cannot issue a blanket “season greetings” or “Merry Christmas” to cover all my friends, family, and contacts. I just can’t. Each one of you is unique, special, requiring of a singular thought, even if only  a sigh of satisfaction and a breath of thanks – for you have changed my world in some precious way.

And there are many in the world, the many who none of us have met, the many who make up the majority, the many for whom being special and unique is dominated by cruel and unrelenting suffering.

How is it that I can be the host of such contradiction –  elevated & blessed, damned & despairing. Maybe we are all carriers and contradiction truly is the motor of history.

In a few hours time it will be Christmas Day. It is now – the night before Christmas when all through my house, I hope something is stirring.

For me … I hope it is forgiveness that is stirring.

What about you?

Merry Christmas, friends.

Speeding towards infinity … or is that irrelevance?

In General Mish-Mash, Mixed Up Mish-Mash (Confusion) on December 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm

The universal speed record may have been broken!  No, not the land speed record, nor the water speed record, nor airspeed.

But THE record for speed!

The one that is constant. The speed that defines. The irrevocable, the upper limit of all possibilities.

And it may have been shattered – “Faster than light” particles spark science drama.

The World's Abuzz!!

Even bigger news than the buzz caused by Roger Bannister’s effort at the Iffley Road Track on 6th May 1954. 4 minutes!!

This may turn our world on its head. Mind you, that might not be a bad thing. Sounds like a turn for the better – especially for those of us for whom everything is relative and – relatively speaking – wrong – the wrong size, shape, time, and place.

Paying homage to relativity is getting a bit tiresome … and it is often very, very, bloody difficult. Even for relatively (mmmm!) simple things like …

Like when you’re sitting on a train, the train starts to move but you could swear you are still still! It’s the adjacent train that’s moving, isn’t it? And in any case if are you moving (or stationary) it is relative to what?

Oh, you “know” you’re stationary. Stopped. Fixed to the spot.


You’re sitting in a train on the surface of the Earth which is moving at around 236,000 metres/second in an Easterly direction.

Your train is moving – westerly (from Central Station to Penrith) – so you think!  Are you really? How do you work that out? How do you account for your easterly roll in that calculation.

No matter how hard it all seems, there are solutions … whether you have to called on rotational physics or fluid dynamics, or Einstein’s theories of relativity, answers can be worked out  … it’s all in the physics and, there are finite degrees of freedom. The metrics are discrete! Do the math.

Well there were solutions, the metrics were discrete, until now. Until news about particle motion faster than the speed of light!! (Yeah, I know it is still just speculation but … sheesh!, let me have my fun.)

Physically discrete, calculable, tangible phenomena of the world of science become blurred, indistinct. They shift into hazy, shady, mysterious and poetic realms.

It is as it should be! Worlds collide and merge. Fact is stranger than fiction. Science more imaginative than art, art adopts the technological.

Voila!! Square pegs now fit into round holes.

Dimensions shift. Our linear approach is disrupted. Our simplistic models need discarding … or at least augmenting.

Even to our emotional worlds we apply pragmatic cause-effect formulae. They undermine our very being, our value, our humanity.

Damn!!  That sentence is straight line logic, irreversible cause followed by effect. But we have this one track sensibility, don’t we, we depend on it in many ways … and now with one swift kick.

A kick at a speed faster than the speed of light!!

The immutable is muted, boundaries broken, straight-jackets loosened – the insane CAN run the asylum. Particles are emitted and collide with unprecedented force … exploding into new models, new dimensions – the rigid order of Cartesian pairs & triples cast aside for more chaotic models. The birth of a deep and moving structure  where the chaos and predictable patterns are one and the same – beauty is both simple and complex.

This stuff can do your head in!!

But look at connectedness in the modern world. What could be more chaotic, structured, and patterned than the networks we immerse ourselves in … are we immersed? or really just sitting and watching it unfold around us, doing our best to keep from being swallowed up.

What could be more damaging to your head and your heart than to be part of something but disconnected from it – that is incongruence. Constructively damaging, of course.

Embedded within networks but also distant from them.

A context, a moment of incongruence when you are awash with simultaneous senses of insignificance and feeling that your presence is significant.

Slouching towards infinity and irrelevance.

Slouching faster than the speed of light.