Sunday, 23 July 2017

B is for......

Brazil one of my top 5 favourite countries. Despite this, 'B' was a difficult choice. I could tell a dozen stories about experiences on various trips to Belgium, or maybe an anecdote about a highly enjoyable time in the Bahamas. Then there was the less enjoyable but interesting experiences in Bahrain where all the Saudi sheikhs go for a piss up and 'cabaret' because their own country doesn't allow alcohol and strippers. The runner up would have been an unscheduled stop in Barbados when the engines failed but Brazil makes them all pale into insignificance.

I only visited Brazil twice and the experiences were quite different. The places were as diverse as the people. This diversity wasn't apparent on the first visit. The port of Paranagua (at the time) could easily have been one of the banana boat ports of Central America I had visited, in that the terrain and facilities - or lack of - were the same. There were subtle differences though and most noticeable were the smiles per square mile. In Paranagua the warmth of the people was palpable.

In order to understand my experience in Paranagua, you need to know the circumstances. In 'Sea-Daze' the events culminating in the visit to Paranagua begin in Millwall docks and are related in full. This is just part of the story......

The crew on this ship were stereotypical of the view many shore-siders had about seamen. Amoral, belligerent, rum-sots. Drunken brawls were common amongst themselves and such a mixed crew exacerbated divisions. It seemed like they took the most ill-disciplined scum-bags from every pool in the country and stuck them on this one ship. There was one Geordie, one Jock, one Taff, one Scouser, etc., I represented Prescott Street Pool (London). By the time we reached Brazil it felt we had a cargo of dynamite on board a ship of heavy smokers. We hadn't been ashore since getting arrested in Oman (told in 'O is for....') and hadn't seen an available woman since Lisbon, some 3 months earlier.

When we tied up alongside in Paranagua my eyes lit up. After the nightmare of the Persian Gulf and a strange enlightenment in Cape Town, this looked to be more familiar ground. The terrain reminded me of many banana ports I had visited in Central America. In many visits to this type of port I had never had a negative experience yet I had doubts. The volatility of this crew was far in excess of any others I had sailed with. Alarm bells rang inside my head when I saw there was another ship in port.

Being on watch I managed to get ashore before the rest of the deck crew and I walked past the other ship noting it was registered in Greece. It could have been worse I suppose, I didn't know any crew member who had a specific dislike of Greek people. There was only one bar in the small town/village as it was (I understand it has been developed over the last 30 years) and on entering, my heart sank. There were a dozen or so Greek crew members in the bar and they were quite vocal.

Part of me wanted to warn the Greeks there were a bunch of arseholes headed this way in an hour or so, but the other part wanted to believe our crew capable of behaving in a civilised manner. Yeah, reading that back it was a stretch. Weeks at sea and a number of unfortunate events on the passage would have strained any crew, this bunch didn't need an excuse. As soon as they walked in I could feel the tension. Surprisingly, for almost an hour all was well. I was sat with a steward and the deck boy who also saw the warning signs. We sat at a table well away from the middle of the bar. The Greeks had quietened down a little when our crew walked in and I began to think it might not kick off after all, which was just around the time it did.

A Greek seaman accidentally knocked the beer out of the hands of one of our crew and grinned sheepishly. I guess by his silence he didn't know any English, it wouldn't have mattered. If he had bumped into anybody else there wouldn't have been a problem, but it was the Scouser and he could start a fight in an empty room. A master of misinterpretation it's likely he took the Greek's sheepish grin to be mockery. Who knows? What I do know is it resulted in a chain reaction that started a mass brawl. The three of us sat at our 'out-of-the-way' table and watched the spectacle unfold with interested bewilderment. It was like a saloon brawl in a wild west movie. At one point the three of us quickly lifted our beers just as one of the Greeks was thrown head first over our table.

When the whole of the Paranagua Police Force entered the bar - all six of them - it was like a tap was turned off. The fighting ceased instantly..... except for one guy. He was a Geordie and a big lad. The police saw he was the only one still throwing punches and homed in. It took all six of them to subdue him and they hauled him out of the door. There was no more trouble after that, perhaps because the ladies distracted the combatants or maybe it was just out of everybody's system. Several of the Greeks left but those who remained ended up being treated like long lost friends. It was the nature of seamen, argue and fight with a person then buy them a drink and sing with them.

[When in the middle of an ocean, a thousand miles from any land, and a hurricane hits...... It is easy to criticise the behaviour described above as loutish and disrespectful, indeed there were many times I was ashamed of some of my fellow countrymen, but in mitigation the psychological impact of life on board a ship should not be overlooked]

Later that night we were all on board discussing the possible fate of the Geordie guy. Nobody was optimistic about his prospects. We were still talking about it when he walked in, swearing and cursing. When I found out what the Brazilian police had done to him I literally laughed out loud. The evening had ended on a good note having made friends with the Greek guys and this was the icing on the cake. The police had bundled the Geordie into a car and drove him a few miles into the jungle where they dumped him. He had to walk a dirt road back to the ship in darkness. It was an apt punishment made all the better by the fact the guy hated creepy-crawlies and imagined all sorts of snakes and spiders lurking in the surrounding jungle.

The Greek ship sailed the next day and it was maybe a little coincidental that for the rest of the three weeks we were in port, no other ships came in. It meant we had both grabs working for us but I wondered if it was because the authorities just wanted to get us out of there as soon as possible. As stated though, there was no more trouble and in the six months I spent on that ship, those three weeks were by far and away the most harmonious.

I could go into the fun times we had with the 'good-time girls' and indeed there were some hilarious antics (told in Sea-Daze) but one thing in particular stole a piece of my heart that will forever remain with those wonderful people. For all our faults, most seamen were notoriously generous and after almost two weeks in port we ran out of money. One of the crew who still had a little money left was ashore and the girls told him to fetch us. We had spent a lot of money in the two weeks but for the last week everything was free.

It was rare indeed to receive such reciprocal generosity. I always (perhaps unfairly) summarised my experience with the people of Brazil thus: If you have lots they will take but if you have nothing they will give. Of course this was a small town/village and there are one or two other places I have experienced similar, just not to that level. It wouldn't have happened in the next Brazilian port, Santos, a major city.

When we arrived in Santos it wasn't Carnival but you would have been excused for thinking it was. The place was like a beehive of activity compared to the sedate pace of life a few hundred miles to the south. It was World Cup fever and every shop and bar had a television on 24/7, when Brazil were playing, everything stopped. Crowds of people who didn't own their own televisions* crammed shops and bars, over-spilling onto the streets. Each goal celebrated with incredible enthusiasm, each victory celebrated until dawn and beyond. The atmosphere was electric.

*An assumption, they probably did have their own televisions but just wanted to join in with the party atmosphere, I would have done.

We were only there four days but none of us wanted to leave. It was in Santos I became aware of the diversity of ancestry among the people. Brazil was a melting pot of races and nations. Nobody would look out of place and it gave a psychological homely feeling. Like most other countries Brazil does have its problems and as a result I label one of those countries I love to visit but wouldn't want to live there. For me it will always be good memories of hugely positive experiences.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Coffee Break: Answers

Oops, forgot to schedule the answers on Monday but I'm sure you knew them already. Just in case here they are.....

Technically speaking, an ounce of feathers is lighter than an ounce of gold. This is due to gold being weighed in Troy ounces which are 480 grains compared to the avoirdupois ounce which is 437.5 grains.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Something Strange About The Boy

From the moment they cut the cord Joel was considered 'special' in certain ways. He had 'abilities' of which he was unaware. The adults knew there was something different about the boy. Joel's paternal grandmother bought him a pack of Tarot cards. Before long he was giving readings to an assortment of aunts, and eventually a few uncles. Joel seemed to have a lot of aunts and uncles.

The adults took the readings far more seriously than Joel himself, he just thought it a party trick and never really believed any of what he said. In general he rarely even remembered what he had told during a reading. It was as though it was Joel's alter ego performing the readings and he wasn't privy to that information. The readings were rattled off in a bored monotone, Joel had better things to do at that age. Perhaps that was why he didn't remember them. It wasn't just the cards that led to the special label though. Joel was particularly fond of myths and legends. He always believed them to be true, just distorted over a period of time, similarly to Chinese whispers.

His favourite place to play was among the dunes of a sandy beach, where he could gaze longingly out over the sea. At low tide Joel and his friends would scour the water-line to see what the parting tide left behind. Mermaids purses, cuttlefish-bones, a huge variety of seaweeds, and driftwood of all shapes and sizes. Some small, others whole tree-trunks. There was always something even if it was just the fine powdery sand. He watched it through sunlight as he let it slip between his fingers.

Sand through a microscope

Like his friends, Joel loved slap-stick on the television. There was just the one television though and Joel didn't really get to choose what to watch. His father certainly had no time for the 'custard pie in the face' antics which Joel found particularly funny. It irked a little that the custard seemed to be more like cream, or shaving foam, and it wasn't even a pie, more a flan. This was typical of Joel's train of thought and as with the myths and legends he wanted to know what it was all about. Joel looked up 'Flaneurs' and found they originated in Belgium and were hecklers, the pies were indeed custard and they ate them if they found no reason to throw them at a speaker. "Why do I even need to know these things?!"

By 14 years old Joel hated reading Tarot cards for people, why did they take it so seriously? The last straw was when he overheard two 'aunts' for whom his mother insisted he do readings.
"Everything he said was right" said one.
"Yes" agreed the other "There is something strange about the boy"

Strange and weird became adjectives Joel was all too familiar with as a kid, it was something that would never go away.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Coffee Break #1

Here are a selection of challenges, trivia, and something to listen to. Answers to puzzles will be posted on Monday.

So let's sharpen you up with the age old question 'what is heaviest an ounce of gold or an ounce of feathers?' I suppose many of you will think you know but do you really know?

Below is my own version of sudoku. Just fill in the missing colours making sure lines and blocks of nine do not contain the same colour twice.

Now have a go at my Crossword which is a mixture of clues some cryptic some straight forward,


7. Introduced the west to arabic numerals and the golden ratio (9)
8. A mixture of finely divided solids with enough liquid to produce a pasty mass (5)
10. Strike-breaker joins a poet that covers a sword (8)
11. It's in the eye of the beholder (6)
12. Letter from Tibet and Greece (4)
13. Never look a gift horse in the mouth for example (8)
15. Country known for inventing the neck-tie (7)
17. A town and county of Ireland (7)
20. Illicit inhabitant seen in French toilets (8)
22. Hardly a stroll in the park (4)
25. Anna _____ English novelist best known for Black Beauty (6)
26. Drag it on (8)
27. An arachnid's legs worth of singers (5)
28. Dramatic soliloquy (9)


1. Sounds like this grassy area is familiar to singers and road-workers alike (5)
2. From the middle to the tip can be only a minor flaw (6)
3. One rodent rising with anorak or without; Region of New Zealand (8)
4. The first was Plato's school of Philosophy just north of Athens (7)
5. One could spoil the whole barrel (3-6)
6. Is quick to anger and likely to cry (9)
9. A punt could help (4)
14. How often do you hear this? (9)
16. Roused from sleep (8)
18. Virtual reality or living dead (8)
19. Number 36 in the Periodic Table (7)
21. These bells could cost you (4)
23. For the love of a narcissist (6)
24. Baden Powell started this movement (5)


Tautological Pleonasms

After a while on a blog / Twitter there is a tendency to repeat oneself. I've done it a fair bit but in my defence I'm not the only one. At least I don't repeat myself in the same sentence like these, like these:-

'It looks like a busy weekend on the ferries, particularly Saturday and Sunday - Peter Powell

'It was a sudden and unexpected surprise' - BBC correspondent

'I've said I've never broken the drug laws of my country, and that is the absolute truth' - Bill Clinton

'It's like deja vu all over again' - Yogi Berra

'I never make predictions, especially about the future' - Samuel Goldwyn

The confusion for many is whether the above are examples of tautology or pleonasms. There appears to be a grey area between the two. Tautology to my mind is repetition in different words. A pleonasm is 'redundancy' or unnecessary use of words already implied. Peter Powell's quote could still fall into either category. Bill Clinton's comment 'absolute truth' is clearly tautology whereas I consider Samuel Goldwyn's gem as a pleonasm, as is Yogi Berra's.

The BBC correspondent gives us a different perspective. In general pleonasms and tautology are to be avoided when writing, yet in common speech they abound. As with the BBC correspondent (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt), repetition is often used for emphasis. There are other words used unnecessarily, oddly enough more common in writing than speech. 'But', 'that' and 'which' are the main culprits. When writing I try to limit the number of times I use these. Try omitting these words when you write and see if your sentence still makes sense.

He didn't know that it was gone
He didn't know it was gone

I started to get bored with semantics, at the end of the day who cares what it's called, just stop it! So the devil in me thought of how to repeat myself without actually doing so, there are some curious examples of how to achieve this.

The bandage was wound around the wound.

Your invalid insurance is invalid.

The dump was so full it had to refuse more refuse.

After a number of injections my arm got number.

The farm was used to produce produce.

That's all well and good but if you want to get really silly you could take it to the next level with this:-

If one doctor doctors another doctor, does the doctor who doctors the doctor doctor the doctor the way the doctor he is doctoring doctors? Or does he doctor the doctor the way the doctor who doctors doctors?

Wednesday, 12 July 2017


We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon - Franklin D. Roosevelt

In my time at sea, I spent many an hour on lookout watching horizons. Staring dreamily, I would let my mind wander and there were moments when it seemed to expand. It was almost as though I had an aura proliferating from my body mingling, combining, intertwining..... harmonising, with all the eye can see. Scale was lost as I became the sky and the sky me. It was an odd but reassuring feeling, one of belonging, almost importance. I, little ole me, was part of this magnificent machination. My pneuma roamed free and I no longer felt alone. How could I feel lonely when I was part of this?

This was particularly true at night when darkness filtered out unnecessary visual distractions and put emphasis on celestial bodies dotted around the sky. The onset of night was a treat in itself, never are night and day so beautiful as when they meet to hand over the reins, they compliment each other. I have watched the sun rise from the top of a mountain, A six hour drive, a two hour trek, and a four hour climb in darkness, for a few seconds of pure liquid gold as the sun rewarded my efforts and signalled a new day. Dawn on a mountain is special but for dusk I preferred an open ocean.

Sunsets anywhere can be awe-inspiring but I was more fascinated with a somewhat less spectacular phenomenon I've only seen at sea. It was a small green flash as the sun dipped below the horizon. A goodnight wink from the sun as twilight finally succumbed to darkness.

We steamed through the nights, unerringly heading for the elusive horizon, like a donkey chasing a carrot on a stick. It never occurred to me back then the horizon was unattainable, just something we followed to get to a destination. The horizon isn't a constant, it is like a rainbow's end. You can never get there. Instead of chasing the pot of gold we should concentrate more on the journey, that alone determines who we are. On many a dark stormy night with thick black clouds blocking the celestial beacons, the horizon was invisible. It was then a case of lowering sights and concentrating on maintaining direction.

Stormy nights could be disconcerting but thick fog was eerie. Sound and depth of vision are mysterious as they chop and change in a heartbeat. Every sense is alive, alert to danger. The hairs on your neck stand on end as your eyes become useless and you strain every other sensory organ to compensate. You can't see an end to the fog and start to believe it will be with you always. Then without warning it lifts, clarity ensues, and your horizons broaden once more.

A is for.......

Algeria has little in the way of good memories for me. I had a lot of problems there as a young reckless seaman. I went to Algeria on two occasions with quite different experiences. If I can say one thing about Algeria it wouldn't be 'boring'.

My first visit was on a gas tanker and it was to the port of Arzew. At that time we weren't allowed ashore because some months earlier two seamen had failed to return from ashore. They were never seen again and were suspected to be buried somewhere in the desert. Seamen did occasionally 'jump ship' but never in such an inhospitable location.

So, nothing of note then? Well there was one peculiar thing we did that I feel is noteworthy. We had a snowball fight. Can you imagine shirtless seamen in 100 degree heat running around throwing snowballs at each other, it was pretty good fun. So how was this done?

loading in Arzew, Algeria

It was due to the cargo of methane we had on board. The pipes were frozen and up to 6 inches of snow collected around them. It wasn't perfect snowball snow but it did the job. A couple of years later I went back to Algeria on another ship. I wouldn't have been so annoyed at not getting ashore when in Arzew if I had been to the next port first.

Annaba was a whole different ball-game and unfortunately nobody told me the rules. It was a couple of years later and this time on a chemical tanker with a cargo of sulphuric acid. The problems in Annaba began immediately. With no facilities in Annaba itself to accommodate our cargo, a convoy of road tankers were organised, we would fill them directly from the ship and they would do a 40 mile round trip. It was hard to tell how many were used but I estimated four.

This unsatisfactory method of discharging cargo meant our stay in Annaba would be almost a week instead of just one day. Despite this I was in quite high spirits, being ashore in any foreign land was a privilege, an unsolicited adventure of sorts, and finally I would touch terra firma in Algeria. If I had known then.........

Algeria had disappointed so far but in Annaba shore leave was allowed. I actually managed one run ashore without getting arrested. It was nothing spectacular but I was just glad to get off the ship. The group I was with, went to various hotels to drink. We were drinking bottles of wine and became quite drunk but were in good spirits. Things changed a little when the next bottle was opened and an insect (cockroach?) was floating on the top.

After such a find, a different tactic was employed the next day. We decided to get semi-drunk on board then go ashore and drink cola. It was then I found myself in trouble. As if being warned by some divine source, mayhem occurred just as we were about to go ashore.

One of the road tankers came back but the driver had forgotten to close a valve. As the ship pumped the cargo into the tank it shot out the other end spilling sulphuric acid all over the quay. The mistake was noticed and the valve shut quickly as the acid fizzed angrily on the sandy quay (this was 25 years ago they may have concreted the quay by now, I don't know).

Not having studied chemistry, the Algerian dock workers thought it a good idea to hose the acid away. A cloud of vapour suddenly engulfed the whole area as the water and acid reacted violently. Seeing the cloud coming our way carried by the breeze, we covered our faces and ran through it to get ashore.

A few days later when washing my jeans, they came out of the machine with small holes all over them, as if they had been shot by a shotgun.

Ignoring the omens we went ashore but I only made it as far as the dock gate. By the gates was a police building where visiting seamen had to get their passes stamped before going into the town. Having drunk a lot of beer on board the ship, I felt the urge to pee. The pass stamping process was slow and my 'urge' became a 'must do and now'. Hand firmly clamped on genitalia, I hopped from one foot to another as I asked the Algerian police where the toilet was. They ignored me.

Unable to hold myself any longer, I dashed out of the building and looked around desperately. With no other choice than piss my pants, I nipped round the side of the police building to relieve myself. I didn't even see the Algerian flag flapping high above on the roof of the building, not that it would have had any significance anyway. It's just a bloody flag. Unaware I had been seen, I went back into the building and without further ado had my passed stamped.

I left the building but only went 20 yards before the police came running after me. They dragged me back to the side of the building and pointed at the tell-tale wet patch. I was given a mop and bucket and it didn't take Einstein to figure out what the police wanted me to do, even with the language barrier. The irony was the Algerians didn't speak English and I didn't speak Arabic, but unknown to me I could have communicated via French which was the second language in Algeria. I knew enough from school.

It was a ridiculous exercise as I mopped up the sandstone wall of the building and the puddle on the loose sand below. Afterwards I was taken inside the building and dumped in a cell. The cell was completely bare. It was about 10' long, 6' wide, with a high ceiling. Opposite the door was a barred glassless window too high up to reach. It was the only source of light and ventilation. The heat inside the cell was intense and I took off his T-shirt.

On the floor under the window a gutter ran the width of the cell. Holes at each end connected to other cells either side. I looked at the cell walls and took a coin from my pocket. Scraping at the sandstone with the coin, it crumbled. I estimated I could dig my way out of the cell in a few hours. At that point I was still a little drunk and unconcerned about my predicament, I was just mad for missing out on a run ashore.

By now Algeria had certainly made an impression on me, but not a good one. It did however provide me with a tale to tell and something to look back at and laugh about. Okay I was wrong to piss against the police station wall but what choice did I have, what would you have done, just pissed your pants?

The alcohol and heat of the cell were getting the better off me and as I sat on the hard sandstone floor, I dozed off.  The cell door opening woke me up and the ship's Chief Steward stood in the doorway. The news wasn't good.
"They haven't decided what to do with you yet" he said hesitantly.
"How long?" I asked rolling my eyes.
"Six months, maybe"

Apparently the Algerians didn't just see my pissing against the wall as a need to answer the call of nature, the flag on top of the building led them to believe I was deliberately insulting their country.
"We're doing what we can" the Chief Steward assured me.
"Well do it faster!" up until then I had been just mildly pissed off but now I was fuming.

The Chief Steward went away and I tried to go back to sleep. It was then I saw water flush down the guttering and a turd sailed through my cell and out the other end. Jeez! Soon after a guard opened the door and passed me some mush in a tin bowl and a mug of water. I looked at the food which looked like some kind of rice dish. As I looked closer I saw it was alive with weevils. I decided to go on a diet, though I drank the water.

On the second day I had another visit from the Chief Steward who told me the Chief of Police was coming to the ship to see the Captain. I was starting to go nuts, I hadn't been let out of the cell at all. Again I refused the 'meal' I was given. It wouldn't do me much good eating the slop if I couldn't keep it down. The next time the 'shit-chute' was flushed - it actually looked as though someone was at one end throwing buckets of water into the guttering - the water stopped and I was left with a turd from who knows where in my cell.

That was the last straw, the next time it flushed and cleared my cell of neighbouring cells faeces, I blocked up the hole with my T-shirt and trainers. Time went on and I'd almost forgotten about blocking the hole up until I heard yelling coming from the next cell (I guessed there were three occupants), they must have been ankle deep in piss and shit, I laughed. I still had an inane grin on my face when the cell door flew open.

Three guards came in and saw what I'd done. I looked at them. Two skinny guys and a short fat bastard in charge. They started beating me with truncheons and though I fancied my chances on taking all three out, I rolled up into the foetal position and let them have at it. It was worth it.

I was let out the next day without incident. Apparently the Chief of Police had been bribed with 1000 cigarettes and 3 litres of whisky. I know this because the Captain told me it would be deducted from my wages. Of course I was also confined to the ship for the rest of the stay in Annaba but you couldn't have dragged me ashore.

On the ship in the crew bar I saw the 'Latest Betting' board where the 'sympathetic' ship-mates had speculated on my punishment. 6/4 for 6 months hard labour, 3/1 was a 1000 lashes, and it was 100/1 I'd get my dick chopped off. Thank God for corruption!

Would I go to Algeria again? What do you think.

Monday, 26 June 2017

DIY Prophecy Guide

Move over Nostradamus, I have decided to share my self-styled DIY Prophecy Guide. I actually shared it at Christmas but the post is much older and it's starting to get a bit spooky...

When predicting apocalyptic events we need to first decide what kind of disaster to send forth. Obviously it needs to be something big with huge cost to human life, what would be the point otherwise. Despite this I would recommend wannabe soothsayers start small, just to get the feel. To give you some idea I've listed below a few areas that can be explored.

  1. War - a bit old hat now and predicting one is pretty unremarkable. 
  2. Natural Disasters - these are always good to guess, particularly earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
  3. Extra-terrestrial - meteors, solar flares, planet alignment, can all give clues
Of course there is no need to choose just one, a combination can be a clincher against doubters. Mix and match, it can be fun. For our example I am going to use a combination of Natural and Extra-terrestrial events but I'm going to keep it small - you only get one shot at predicting the end of the world. My advice to those who choose to go with the War format I would suggest looking at ethnic groups and disputed land. From there you can speculate who will side with who and predict something a little less obvious. The Middle East is a no-brainer, people have been killing each other there before they even knew about fossil fuels.

My guess would be Iran. The nuclear capability, the 'recent' revolution 1979, the wars with Iraq, and the fact the country is struggling between democracy and fundamentalism. At the moment the armed forces are controlled by religion rather than the puppet democratic 'government'. Alternately they may help Syria claim back ceded territory around the Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights. A weakened Iraq would no longer be a 'buffer' and suddenly the USA are in an awkward position as to whether they will back Israel, who certainly won't take things lying down. Especially now, as oil has been found in the Golan Heights.

The knock-on affect would be a Palestinian uprising during the crisis and the Plains of Megiddo could indeed trigger a war to end all wars. There are other places to look at, North Korea is an obvious one, yet I feel they are a long way off being a real threat to global security. Nope, if you want to predict war and unrest the Middle East is a pretty sure thing.

Natural disasters are another fail-safe area to predict. If you just look along the tectonic plate boundaries there are any number of places a disaster could occur. The most populous areas are best for obvious reasons but it's best to pick one that hasn't caused a problem for a while. New Zealand is in a unique location as the tectonic plate boundary has two different motions. In the South Island the plates rub alongside each other causing earthquakes, whereas in the North the Australian Plate subducts below the Pacific Plate which results in more volcanic activity.

After recent earthquakes in the South perhaps it indicates the North will spring to life again. The volcanoes are still very active. The most recent associated disaster was back in 1953 when a lahar took out a railway bridge at Tangiwai, and by consequence the Auckland to Wellington passenger train. Before that it was Mount Tarawera in 1886 which covered a village Pompeii style. These were devastating for New Zealand but had very little impact on the rest of the world. However Lake Taupo last exploded around 2,000 years ago and they heard the bang in China. The Romans too recorded associated phenomena from the time.

Italy is another possibility for volcanic conflagration as the African Plate collides with the European. Etna and Stromboli are constantly active which releases the pressure sufficiently to suggest a big one unlikely. What about another Vesuvius eruption though, the volcano is still active and a similar event to 79 AD could see Naples become the new Pompeii / Herculaneum. In 1631 an explosive eruption killed 4,000 people. The list of possible disaster sites are endless and you don't even have to guess. There is an even safer bet.

Sea-levels are set to continue rising so predicting major flooding is perhaps too obvious. However with a little lateral thinking you can stay one step ahead with your prophecies. Consider the tipping point, that point of no return when a bottle for example has been gently pushed over until it gains momentum and accelerates. The idea being that although the disappearance of the polar caps has been a relatively gradual process (in human timescale not geological), the end will happen very quickly indeed. I conservatively guess in another 40 years, experts say 100 or more. Timing can be crucial when predicting future events so we must use ambiguity without seeming to do so.

Monarchs are good for this. If we look at the current Royal family we can make a few more guesses. In 40 years the Queen and Prince Charles will probably have popped their clogs and William if still alive would be 73 years old. Giving the experts more credit than they deserve, let's say the total meltdown will occur after my estimate. This would mean there is a good chance Prince William's first-born will be on the throne as George VII. Then you have your time span "During the reign of George VII great floods...." and also some flexibility depending if and how long Georgie reigns for. 

Look for other clues that others may not have spotted, or that are not common knowledge. Most people know about the Canary Islands and the imminent possibility of a land-slide that could dump half a mountain into the Atlantic. The resulting 'mega-tsunami' would devastate the east coast of America. Something that is less well known however is what is going on in Greenland. It's not so much not knowing what is happening, as not fully understanding the implications.

Greenland has the second largest body of ice in the world and it is melting. Yeah big deal we knew that. If it was to melt completely sea-levels would rise 7.2 metres (24 foot). Knew that as well, sort of. The thing that is usually overlooked is something quite different. The inland area of Greenland is uniformly flat except for the middle which is depressed by the weight of ice. If this ice is no longer there then isostasy occurs as the gravitational equilibrium between crust and mantle is restored.

I imagine this too will be a gradual process up until a point is reached where the land may just 'pop-up' for the last shove. Anything could happen but I would guess a mega-tsunami is likely. Dismissing all these and countless other scenarios from around the world. I have chosen California. The area is subject to high volumes of earthquakes due to the San Andreas Fault. As with most earthquakes two plates become jammed together and pressure builds. Eventually something gives and the sudden jerk reaction on release causes a quake.

In the mid to late 1800's the buildup and periodic release of seismic pressure along the northern San Andreas fault produced a series of magnitude 6.0 or greater on the Richter scale earthquakes, leading up to the famous 1906 San Francisco 7.8 earthquake. Apparently this pressure build-up is happening again. Okay it's going to happen, but how do we determine* when?


Historically the seven largest quakes recorded are these:-
  1. Jan 9th 1857 - 7.9 hit Fort Tejon one person died 
  2. Feb 24th 1892 - 7.8 hit near Baja no reported deaths
  3. Apr 18th 1906 - 7.8 hit San Francisco causing an estimated 3,000 deaths
  4. Mar 26th 1872 - 7.4 hit Owen's Valley 27 reported deaths
  5. Jan 31st 1922 - 7.3 hit west of Eureka no deaths
  6. Jul 21st 1952 - 7,3 hit Kern County 12 died
  7. Jun 28th 1992 - 7.3 hit Landers 3 died more than 400 injured
Now we could cheat here, but if we are trying to con gullible people into believing the crap we write, let's at least give a little value for money. The cheat would be to look at the dates, automatically the number 2 jumps out at you. Perhaps 2022 would be a good, bad omen. Anyway unlike others we won't cheat, we will instead look to the stars for help ......well one star and a few planets.

May 2000 was another date given as a possible world-ender and this was based on planetary alignment. All the planets were the other side of the Sun to us and all sorts of crazy theories sprang up. In my opinion it did have some affect though. I believe the Moon, the planets and the Sun can all affect tectonic activity here on Earth. Of course there is no evidence to support this ........yawn. So when will this occur again? Not until May 6th 2492 I'm afraid. How about predicting that as the new end of the world for that very reason? Just think in 476 years someone from the future might find this and start worrying. Nah, could never happen.

There is another date in 2040 where the innermost planets (discounting ourselves) will all be in the same part of the sky, but that again is a little too far ahead for our purposes here. Solar Maxima are handy because they seem to encourage seismic activity..... although there is no evidence to support this. The recent solar maximum was of course in 2012, a pattern suggests the most likely date for the next maximum will be around 2022-24, but we won't know until this one ends. The average solar cycle is about 11 years but can fluctuate between 9 and 12 years, Once again though that 2022 number comes up. A sign of the times?

I've had a vision! Yeah before you go all hypocritical on me read this.....

  1. 1.
    the faculty or state of being able to see.
  2. 2the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.

I could write the summary Nostradamus style, little poetic quattrain, or I could write it scripture style as some kind of revelation, maybe I should claim alien abduction because I'm obviously not of this planet. As there are no longer witch-hunters today I needn't hide my beliefs with metaphor, I mean who would kill another person for their beliefs in this day and age ......ridiculous. So here it is.

Late in 2022 an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale will hit San Francisco, it will cause widespread damage and will be preceded by a series of smaller quakes. One of San Francisco's famous landmarks will be destroyed.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Perception 3.1

Before looking at how perceptions were formulated in others, I think it only fair I use myself as an example. Having searched for a plausible solution to the enigma of human origins for several decades, I may not in establishment terms be deemed an expert but I feel it at least qualifies me to give a reasonably informed opinion. So this is how I see it.....

For some reason we are of the opinion that life is pretty rare, maybe non-existent outside of our own little planet. To believe this is incredibly short-sighted or extremely arrogant. Life is just a series of chemical reactions producing energy, energy is life. It is going on all over the universe, at all different levels. If the universe was 'created' it wouldn't have been done so to specifically produce mankind.

Evolution may have been responsible for life on this planet but something just doesn't add up. The transition from Neanderthal to Modern Man is too severe. Scientists have been looking for the missing link for as long as I can remember, but there isn't one. With there being no signs of genocide found on Neanderthals it only leaves two options. They mysteriously died out maybe by some disease Modern Man was immune to, is one tenuous possibility, but I think they simply integrated.

I read quite recently scientists found some Neanderthal DNA in our species but cannot remember exactly the details. It just reinforced the view I've always held. The answer to the question of why we aren't more like Neanderthals if they are our ancestors, is due to neoteny. Evolution is merely adaptation. Our genes were just stronger than those of Neanderthals. Our comparative 'child-like' appearance is a by-product. An alternate argument is that Neanderthals evolved into modern man after the ice-age to adapt to the warmer climes.

The problem with that is the ice-age only finished 10,000 years ago and Neanderthals seemed to vanish 30,000 years ago. The biggest problem with the believe we evolved from Neanderthals is with brain structure. From a brain geared up to sight, sound and instinct, we were suddenly bestowed with an analytical brain, separating us from the rest of the animal kingdom. There is only one way this can be explained...... a creator.

Now before you religious folk go all cock-a-whoop with the 'I told you so's', it's not exactly the creator you have in mind. It's certainly not any creator of the universe. I doubt even we were created, we were adapted. It is safe to assume there is life outside our solar system, it's also safe to assume that since our star is merely middle-aged there will be life at a more advanced stage than our own. The crux of the matter is whether any life visited us.

When you look at gaping holes in scientific knowledge and the plethora of religions, myths, and UFO stories, it almost a certainty we have been visited. Some would question why an advanced species would visit us, just ask NASA and SETI why they're exploring space. It could be they thought they were doing us a favour interfering with our evolutionary process, genetically modifying Neanderthals (giving us fire and fruit from the Tree of Knowledge).

The adverse affects of their interference now leaves them with a moral dilemma. Interfere again and perhaps make a bad situation worse or leave us to our own devices and hope we can sort it out ourselves. Maybe they just left after they saw what self-destructive savages we are. Who knows? The point is, whether you want to call them Gods or just interstellar busy-bodies, their existence is certain.

Perhaps they interacted with us, maybe they still do to a lesser degree, but far from us praying for their forgiveness, I think they should be issuing us with a massive apology.

Okay so that is a synopsis of my overall perception, some will agree with it in part, some will disagree completely, and no doubt a few will want to kill me, but that is just my opinion. The real issue is how I formulated that opinion and that began at a very early age.

I came from a mixed family. My mother was Catholic and my father atheist. My father didn't really express views on religion, he didn't care one way or the other so wasn't put out when I was baptised or went to a Catholic primary school. By then I was already a fan of Santa so welcomed this God person into my life. I became an altar boy and had a healthy respect for the church. The priests were beyond reproach although one or two nuns who taught us were sadists.

By the time I was losing my teeth I had sort of latched on to the Tooth-Fairy being fake but went along with it for the cash (I was even known to become a little impatient and prise one or two stubborn teeth out). The news Santa wasn't real was a huge body blow (don't worry kids I found out later he was Santa) and it was shortly before I went to 'big school'. This made me question things and sparked my research.

Initially I dismissed the Bible as total twaddle. Things were just too incredible to be true. Santa visiting all the children in one night, a flood that covered the whole planet, parting the Red Sea, resurrecting people, complete bollocks! However, I wanted to be objective and I needed to look into things more before dismissing them. My research took me in many directions and something weird started to happen. The impossibilities not only became possibilities but probabilities.

One thing I noticed early on was the problem in looking at ancient events with a modern perception. It simply doesn't work, yet it is on this basis the vast majority of people formulate their opinions. This is how things get twisted and how evil people with an agenda manipulate those unable to think for themselves.

Shaggy-Dog Tale

Whilst on my travels I saw a different attitude towards animals. For instance in the Antipodes, outside of the city cats had a purpose. They were rarely fed 'because it makes them lazy' and they lived largely off what they caught. Dogs too had a purpose. It could be to round up cattle or sheep, or maybe a hunting dog.

In rural communities there was rarely emotion involved like with us Brits, and if a dog turned out to be useless it had to go. There were generally three methods of disposal. You could shoot the dog which cost 25 cents for the bullet. You could get the vet to put it down but that cost $40. Alternately you could palm the animal off on some unsuspecting sucker.

I was to become that sucker in the case of one particularly useless but lovable dog. When I heard of the fate awaiting him what could I do? Very quickly the signs were not good. On the second day a neighbour knocked on my door.
"Your dog has stolen my newspaper"
"Rubbish, why would he?"

It just didn't make sense. The newspapers were delivered in plastic bags thrown onto the lawn, the neighbour lived half a mile down the road. Why would the dog go that far let alone steal a newspaper.

Just as we were about to come to blows, up trooped the dog with the newspaper in his mouth. I apologised profusely and said I would shoot the mongrel but appeased, my neighbour told me not to worry, it was after all just a newspaper. I was glad because I don't know if I could bring myself to shoot him even though it wasn't unusual where I was.

Over the next few weeks the little shit 'visited' all the neighbours and proudly left his spoils on the front door step. When the next morning I am confronted by an angry neighbour the evidence is there in front of us. He stole newspapers, cartons of milk and washing off the line. Each time the respective neighbour would relent and stop me from shooting the dog but I could see their patience was wearing thin.

The final straw came when I awoke one morning to find the neighbour's son's pet rabbit dead on the door step. I knew the angry neighbour would demand I shoot the dog on the spot. On inspecting the rabbit it didn't seem badly mauled although it was muddy. I hatched a plan.

Initially I tried washing under the tap but it just smeared so I put it in the washing machine on a cold wash (didn't want it to shrink). It came out as good as new - except a bit dead. Then I had the dilemma of whether i should peg it out on the line but thought it might leave dents in the ears or worse get spotted, so I used the hairdryer.

That night I sneaked to the neighbour's house and put it back in the hutch - they would think it died of natural causes during the night. Alarm bells should have been ringing but it didn't occur to me that not only had the dog opened the hutch, it had also closed it afterwards. Nor did I notice the hole close by.

I saw the neighbour the next day and he didn't look happy.
"What's the matter?" I asked feigning concern.
"My kid's pet rabbit died" he said "we had a funeral for it and everything, then some sick bugger dug it up and put it back in the hutch"

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Perception 3.0

Once you catch someone out in a lie, it is very difficult to believe anything else they say. Some things you know to be false aren't always a matter of deception, sometimes it is merely a flawed perception. Life is certainly strange enough for incredible things to happen but it is foolish to blindly believe everything people tell you.

From Inception and Deception we can pretty much be certain that Moses came up with the idea of monotheism. Whether he did in fact see God, E.T., or just had too much singing syrup is moot. Instead of arguing what can or cannot be proven, let's look at motive. Hammurabi introduced a code of laws in Mesopotamia - the ancestral home of Abraham's people - during his reign (1792-50 BC) which was around the time Joseph flourished in Egypt. Was Joseph and ergo his descendants, aware of Hammurabi's code of laws and was this what inspired the 10 Commandments. Of his intent with the code of laws Hammurabi states they were "to make justice visible in the land, to destroy the wicked person and the evil-doer, that the strong might not injure the weak". Leading a multitude through a desert for 4 years (yes 4, not 40) would not be without its challenges. Rules needed to be made but enforcement could be tricky.

You would think Moses could pretty much write his own ticket after the escape from Egypt, especially with the tsunami decimating the pursuing army. Unfortunately for him things weren't so simple. A lack of water made many of his followers regret leaving Egypt. Even when they found an oasis they had to battle a nomadic tribe (Amalekites) who frequented the area. Curiously a biblical account states Moses was worried his people would stone him to death if he didn't find water. Seems bloody ungrateful to me and it may have prompted the 10 Commandments (there were actually over 100 but most accounts just list the Top 10). The people clearly needed to be kept under control, if only for his own safety.

The Commandments themselves are very reasonable, basically they just say 'be nice to each other'. Taking that into consideration, what happened next seemed a little hypocritical. Moses sent spies into Canaan although the purpose is unclear. The Israelites had been absent from Canaan for a couple of centuries, if they thought the Canaanites - with whom they had failed to integrate before - were going to welcome them back with open arms they were mistaken. Not only that, given their previous position, the Israelites would expect to rule. After the death of Moses, Joshua led an army and rampaged through the land of Canaan.

Joshua led the destruction of Jericho, then moved on to Ai, a small neighboring city to the west. This time he was defeated and withdrew with thirty-six Israelite deaths. The defeat was attributed to Achan taking an 'accursed thing' from Jericho, resulting in Achan and his family and animals being stoned to death to restore God's favour. Joshua then went on to defeat Ai. The Israelites countrolled much of the land and divided it up amongst themselves. To further exacerbate the situation, the Israelites once again failed to integrate with the defeated Canaanites. Joshua stated the Israelites should 'have no fellowship with the native population, because it could lead them to be unfaithful to God'.

Fast forward 3,000 years and this war still simmers, frequently boiling over. The point to all this is perception. On an initial analysis it is pretty damning evidence that the Israelites were clearly the bad guys. Not just once either. Abraham first took his people to Canaan where he declared they would settle. It caused a few problems but they were quickly remedied when famine hit. Abraham then abandoned Canaan and moved on to Egypt.

On his return he ousted the weakened and over-extended Elamites and one might say earned the right to rule over Canaan. However, Abraham's great grandson Joseph found himself in Egypt and soon after the rest of the clan moved there. Many talk of Moses leading the children of Israel from slavery back to the promised land but it doesn't look that way to me. Abraham's descendants chose to go to Egypt and for a second time abandoned Canaan. They only became slaves when things soured a few hundred years down the line. I fail to see how they could still lay claim to the land of Canaan, and no doubt so too did the Canaanites.

Things are slightly more complicated. The Israelites were actually Sumerians and they were forced to leave their own land due to the Elamite invasion. The problem was that once the Elamites were forced back to their own territory (modern day Iran), the Sumerian refugees didn't return to their homeland. This is a problem that has persisted throughout time. History shows us many countries infiltrated by colonists or conquerors. A plethora of nations and creeds have fought for world domination. It needs to stop but how do you draw a line in the sand. At what point is the cut off.

Take New Zealand as an example. The Maoris will - with some justification - claim the white man stole their land. What is not quite so well known is the fact the Maoris weren't the first to colonise New Zealand, a tribe called the Mori Ori were and the Maoris pretty much ate them all. It seems hypocritical to say "give me back the land I stole". To a lesser degree, similar could be said about America. Once again the white man colonised land already settled by indigenous peoples, and mostly through war. I do wonder though how many indigenous tribes fought each other with a view to seizing territory.

These problems can never really be resolved until greed is eliminated. When greed and self-interest makes way for empathy and selflessness, it won't matter where the lines on a map are drawn. People need to change their perception on the true meaning of life.

God v. Devil: Technology

If what we read is true, God(s) clearly didn't want us to have technology. Adam and Eve - Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, Prometheus - Fire, are stories that categorically state mankind should under no circumstances be given knowledge (technology). On that basis, the use of any technology is a massive sin. You can't have your cake and eat it.

It's true that technology will cause our demise rather than be a salvation. Scientists dream of colonising other planets, why? I'm not sure we should look to extend ourselves beyond this planet. Everybody has to die some time and given our record to date we are hardly worth saving. I think it's about time people started getting along and enjoying the fleeting gift of life.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Toilet Humour

I don't know if you are like me but I only like to have a dump in my own toilet. When there is no other choice though, I brave the public inconveniences. However there is a protocol to be followed. For instance, if there are a line of cubicles I look to see which are 'engaged' and from the results make my selection. I am always careful to ensure I get a cubicle with those either side vacant. This saves embarrassment should there be a splash or 'thunderclap'.

If I am fortunate enough to choose a time when all the cubicles are empty I will select one in the middle (providing there are more than four). This allows the next poor unfortunate the benefit to select a cubicle away from mine. So am I weird or do others use this method? One day my theory they did was shot to pieces.

I had selected the middle cubicle of nine, having checked for fall-out from the last occupant first, and sat tentatively. The tortoise had just began to poke his head out when it happened!

Somebody else came in to use the facilities and I froze. Shouldn't be a problem, he will pick a trap near the end and I can continue. The newcomer chose the cubicle NEXT to mine. I was horrified but how could I protest to this faceless stranger. The tortoise was getting impatient and I tried to ease it out hoping it would slide gracefully into the water. Not so!

My horror turned to disbelief when a voice came from the next cubicle.

"Alright mate?"

Who the hell talks to a stranger while taking a dump? Was he insane?

"Alright" I responded cautiously, I mean I had to be polite after all.
"How are you?" the voice asked.

Now I was aghast. A simple greeting to save my embarrassment at making a splash was almost commendable, if a little weird.

"Fine thanks"
"How's the wife and kids?"

I thought of possible answers as to why this strange conversation was taking place and wondered if he had seen me enter the building and knew me. The voice wasn't familiar.

"They're fine" I replied, trying to give myself more time to think.
"Going on holiday this year?"
"Hadn't planned on it" I said, finding myself becoming drawn into the conversation.

A loud irate banging on the thin wall of the cubicle made me crap myself.... metaphorically speaking. I mean technically I had alre-, well you know what I mean. The voice that followed was louder and quite angry.

"Will you shut up! I'm on my phone"

Deception 2.4

Perhaps the biggest problem with migration is a failure to integrate. Abraham and his Sumerian clan didn't integrate with the Canaanites and once the Elamite invasion had become a distant memory, this lack of interbreeding was a source of division. It didn't help that Abraham and clan, having delivered the Canaanites from the Elamites thought themselves superior culturally. It was similar in Egypt but the boot was on the other foot.

Joseph and his brothers were put in charge of livestock as their experience was above that of the Egyptians at the time. They flourished and became very wealthy but they didn't mix with the Egyptians and became a culture within a culture. For generations the descendants of Abraham became more powerful and their numbers swelled. Times change though and so do Pharaohs. Historical accounts tell us Canaanites first appeared in Egypt towards the end of the 12th Dynasty (1800 BC), and by 1720 BC had established an independent realm in the eastern Nile Delta. Whether these were references to Abraham's descendants is unclear but their power began to wane during the 13th and 14th Dynasties, most likely due to famine and plague.

In about 1650 BC, both dynasties were invaded by the Hyksos, who formed the Fifteenth Dynasty. The Hyksos were rulers from foreign lands and their arrival coincided with the Santorini eruption, suggesting these rulers were of Aegean origin. The penultimate ruler of the Hyksos dynasty was Apepi / Apophis / Epaphus, son of Io who fled Mycenae for Egypt (see Redefining Atlantis). The Pharaoh Ahmose waged war against the Hyksos and expelled Khamudi, their last king, from Egypt around 1550 BC*.

With the departure of the Hyksos kings, the influence of Abraham's descendants dropped like a stone. They were many in number and successive Pharaohs saw them as a threat, in a short space of time they became mere slaves. One Pharaoh (I believe it to be Thutmose I) ordered the death of newborn boys from the 'Canaanite' population in order to keep their numbers down. there are conflicting dates for Thutmose I's reign with some sources giving it as 1526-13 BC, whilst others give 1506-1493 BC. Either would fit in as being around the time of the birth of Moses.

The story of how Moses was saved and grew up within the Egyptian royal household, is well documented so I see little point going over it here. Moses becomes an interest some 50 years later.

When talking of 'deception' there is an obvious negative connotation but it doesn't necessarily mean the perpetrator has ill-will. In the case of Moses there is no doubt he acted to save his people from slavery but there is also no doubt he pulled off the biggest and best deception of them all. To be fair, he was assisted in no small part by Mother Nature.

Now I'm not interested in the Burning Bush, 10 Commandments, and all that. My interest is in cold hard facts. Whether Moses had any interaction with a deity or possibly extra-terrestrial is really no concern. It is the interaction between Moses and the Pharaoh that intrigues me. The eruption of Santorini in 1650 BC paved the way for the Hyksos kings and now it would set the children of Israel free.

Archaeological evidence on Crete (halfway between Santorini and Egypt) tells us there was a tsunami in 1450 BC and 30 years ago this was the date given for the Santorini eruption. However, in the last 10 years or so this date seems to be revised to 1650 BC and 1450 BC has seemingly been forgotten. What prompted this revision is unknown to me but having to take the word of experts, I needed to find an explanation. The thing that eventually came to me was as a result of studying other volcanoes and their behaviour.

In the absence of an eruption it is my belief the 1450 BC event was a cone collapse triggered by an earthquake. The magma ebbed back after the 1650 BC eruption leaving Santorini (Atlantis) sitting on top of a hollow chamber. It may not even have needed an earthquake to cause the collapse, it may just have been a matter of time i.e. 200 years. This event in the Aegean was crucial to what was going on in Egypt. It was instrumental in the 10 plagues legend and Moses took full advantage. Incidentally, Rabbinical Judaism calculated a lifespan of Moses corresponding to 1391–1271 BC; Jerome gives 1592 BC, and James Ussher 1571 BC as his birth year. They're all wrong, his date of birth was between 1520 and 1505 BC.

Moses convinced the Pharaoh that the series of disasters were attributable to the wrath of his God. If we analyse the story, the Pharaoh wasn't fooled immediately but the persistence of Moses and the seemingly endless number of disasters eventually convinced him..... or did it? Apparently the Pharaoh allowed the children of Israel to leave then changed his mind. I think it just as likely he never assented at all and pursued the Israelites when they made off during the confusion.

The Ten Plagues

1. Water Into Blood - This is actually quite a common phenomenon and the picture shows how dramatic the effect can be. The picture is actually of the Yangtze River but similar has been observed on the Nile. The Santorini eruption was probably not guilty in this case though. The phenomenon is most commonly observed when water levels are low like in times of drought.

2. Frogs - The cause of the rivers turning red is due to algae and this may well have caused a freak number of frogs to spawn with a food source in plentiful supply. This is again a by-product of drought and not due to Santorini.

3. Lice - As livestock died flies, gnats, and lice would also be on the increase.

4. Mixture of Wild Animals - This particular 'plague' has been the subject of much speculation but like much else, the exact nature of this plague is not a matter of great importance. Some say it brought carnivores to the land, scavengers perhaps. Another line of thought is the 'wild animals' were snakes, scorpions, and reptiles (the Nile crocodile is the second largest in the world).

5. Diseased Livestock - Drought and famine induced no doubt, still not impressed.

6. Boils - Even at this point there is nothing to suggest divine intervention and everything happens in a natural progression, triggered by the initial drought.

7. Thunder and Hailstorms - This is a phenomenon commonly associated with volcanic eruptions but there is no definitive time-span for these plagues so although it could be due to Santorini, it doesn't necessarily have to be.

8. Locusts - Although Egypt was having a pretty torrid time of it, so too were all the eastern Mediterranean peoples. A plague of locusts is still not rare enough to be considered the wrath of God.

9. Darkness for 3 Days - This is directly associated with volcanic eruptions and can have no other explanation. The volcanic ash from an eruption or even dust plumes from a cone collapse would darken the skies as it passed over Egypt.

10. Death of Firstborn - This seems pretty selective and of all the plagues it is the one I would question on the literal meaning. The associated volcanic ash / dust would possibly be enough to kill infants if it found its way into their lungs but would not harm an older child or adult. Was the plague referring to 'newborn' rather than 'first-born'?

The flight from Egypt was another piece of good-timing. The parting of the Red Sea was - as is now widely accepted - a reference to the Reed Sea or Sea of Reeds. This is an area of marsh on the north coast of Egypt. The waters parting were actually the sea withdrawing as it commonly does with a tsunami. This would have made the marsh passable on foot. The Egyptians saw the Israelites escaping and gave chase when the wave of the tsunami struck.

With such an amazing run of luck, perhaps it was divine intervention....... nah, Moses just got lucky, and big style.

*In Mycenae a gold face mask was unearthed and wrongly named the Mask of Agamemnon. This mask was actually the Mask of Epaphus (Apophis). It is dated to 1550 BC (Agamemnon didn't appear until 300 years later) the time the Hyksos left Egypt. The body of Epaphus was returned to his native Mycenae for burial. I cannot verify this of course but one day the historians will stop scratching their heads and finally work it out. I told them where Atlantis was 30 years ago and only now are they starting to acknowledge I was right.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

It's A Snip

Circumvent Circumcision

I'm pretty much against circumcision, particularly for western civilisation. I mean, who in their right mind would cut a bit of your child's penis off before the poor kid even knows how big it's going to be. It is my belief the practise was founded in the Middle East and was used as a method of preventing disease. If you take countries where water is at a premium and bathing difficult, it is easy to see how yeast infections and other hygiene related problems can occur. It was probably given a religious connotation later on to make it more generally adhered to.

The USA has the largest percentage for non-religious circumcisions at around 85% and it's big business. In depth studies show it is actually harmful and is more likely to cause infections than prevent them. Anyway don't take my word for it, I hired a couple of experts......

"I went to be castrated yesterday"

"Wow, harsh! I'm getting circumcised because I heard it makes sex better"

"THAT was the word I was trying to think of"

Later that day at the doctor's surgery..........

"Take your clothes off please"

"Now what?"



After recovering a little I asked the doctor what he did with the foreskins he removed. He told me they were incinerated so I asked if I could have some as I knew a guy who worked with leather. I thought he could make me a novelty item. 

A week later there had been a run on circumcisions and the doctor told me to come and pick them up. There was a sackful. It was a bit more than expected but I took them anyway. When I gave them to my leather-working friend he told me to come back in a couple of days. It was with a certain amount of excitement I went back to see what he had produced with all those little pieces of skin.

"A wallet?! Is that all, I gave you loads"

"Rub it"


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Deception 2.3

Taking Abraham's death to be around 1925 BC (I have reservations about longevity given in biblical accounts), the Near and Middle East was in turmoil. Egypt was perhaps the most stable place to be and it was also a good place to look when dating people and events. Fortunately - for our purposes - the family of Abraham would soon return there.

The Aegean migrations were taking place and by the middle of the second millennium BC agriculture was coming of age. The ancients knew all about the seasonal cycles prior to then but had little knowledge on the effects of nutrient depletion by constantly planting the same crops in the same areas. Every 5-7 years this deficiency would cause crops to fail, and that is even without a drought, plague of locusts, etc. When crops failed, problems began.

Egypt was probably less vulnerable with the Nile providing a natural irrigation and sufficient nutrients. The land of Abraham and the Canaanites however were constantly struck by these crop failures. With Abraham and Lot out of the way, Isaac was left to govern. Isaac was a much more relaxed type than his father and he had no desire to use the influence of his father to control the Canaanites. This coupled with the segregation of living outside the cities ate away at the influence Abraham and his clan held in the region.

Isaac had two sons, rough-and-ready Esau and quiet and thoughtful Jacob. They were twins but Esau was born first and favoured by Isaac. Many years pass until Isaac is old and blind. In the tradition of the time he was due to give his birthright to his eldest son Esau but became victim of a deception perpetrated by his wife Rebecca and youngest son Jacob. The biblical account details quite thoroughly how this was done, but it is not really relevant here save for the fact it gives a clear indication of how untrustworthy these people were.

If that wasn't enough, things didn't improve with Jacob either. He had 13 sons by 4 different wives. The penultimate son when youngest was Joseph and he wasn't a nice kid. When I say 'not nice', he wasn't exactly bad, just cocky and devious. Today he would perhaps be described as a spoilt brat. Joseph was his father's favourite and spy, he used to tell tales on his brothers which did nothing to endear him to them. It got to the point where they decided to kill him. A change of mind led to him being sold as a slave to passing merchants on their way to Egypt. The brothers told Isaac wild animals had killed Joseph.

The story of Joseph and his technicoloured dream-coat is well documented and I'm not about to dissect it here. The rape accusation, the dream divination, the drought in Canaan and the re-union of Joseph and his brothers. Long story short, Abraham's clan ended up back in Egypt and once again it proved to be lucrative. My only real interest in them was to establish a timeline link to Moses. This 'study' is a spin-off from Redefining Atlantis and there are strong enough links to be able to tie together timelines of people and events.  It also has to be remembered there is no indication of monotheism before Moses.

Although there is no direct link from Abraham to Moses, there is one to Joshua, allegedly Moses' right-hand man. Below is a list with approximate dates, the 'circa' dates are for the year of birth only:
  • Abraham 2020-1925 
  • Isaac 1950-1870
  • Jacob 1900-1805
  • Joseph 1825-1734
  • Ephraim 1763-1701
  • Beriah  c.1733
  • Tahan c.1702
  • Telah  c.1655
  • Laadan  c.1610
  • Ammihud  c.1590
  • Elishama  c.1570
  • Nun c.1545    
  • Joshua c.1500
The first Santorini eruption was around 1650 BC and some 'scholars' indicate this as the time of Moses but the event of 1450 BC (verified by archaeology on Crete) appears to be more from cone-collapse than another eruption (see Redefining Atlantis). It was this later event that gave rise to the legend of the 10 plagues and the Exodus from Egypt.