Posts Tagged ‘erasmus


The march of time

     I was enjoying the traditional delights of an English summertime, the other day. I believe “topping up the tan” is the parlance. After I had felt that I had received my optimum melanin level, I bade Mr & Mrs Loompah a fond farewell & vacated the Oranj-o-Tinge, that being the name of my local U.V. emporium. With a slight spring in my step, veins pumping with vitamins of the D variety, my eardrums were assaulted with the tuneless tinkling associated with one of the village’s Crème glacée vendors. The clunky Oranges and Lemons revealed the wagon to belong to Mr. Softee. Had the tones of Yankee Doodle Dandy filled my pinna, it would have signalled his Nemesis, Mr. Whippy. For many a year now, the interlocutors have been circling the square in their Pied-Piperesque sirening of the youth of the parish.

     If you have any other tunes of the cream of ice wagon, that fill your far flung end of the empire, or indeed, could suggest some appropriate humorous tunes please feel free to let me know.
     This moment, with the smell of vanilla mingling with the odour of freshly cut grass, I had a brief Proustesque moment, as I wondered how these tunes had evolved over the years. On the one hand Oranges & Lemons suggests the citrus delights of the summer; whilst Yankee Doodle Dandy reminds me of macaroni cheese. However, this brief reverie was quickly curtailed as my left plate of meat sank into a freshly laid conclusion of a local canine’s digestive tract. Curse Mr. Darbyshire and his uncouth hound – I shall see him on the Heath at some dawn in the not too distant future.

     Still with thoughts of evolution foremost in my mind, I began to muse upon the career of Mr.C.Darwin. Of course, he had an eccentric ancestor’s blood coursing through his Victorian veins. I am, of course, referring to his erstwhile grandfather Erasmus. A curious fish was Mr. Darwin senior, a scientific gentleman, who had the peculiar habit of composing his theories in verse!

“ The Giant-power from earth’s remotest caves

Lifts with strong arm her dark reluctant waves;

Each cavern’d rock and hidden den explores,

Drags her dark coals, and digs her shining ores.

Next, in close cells of ribbed oak confined,

Gale after gale, he crowds the struggling wind:

The imprison’d storms through brazen nostrils roar,

Fan the white flame, and fuse the sparkling ore.

Here high in air the rising stream he pours

To clay-built cisterns, or to lead-lined towers;

Fresh through a thousand pipes the wave distils,

And thirsty cities drink the exuberant rills.

There the vast mill-stone with inebriate whirl

On trembling floors his forceful fingers twirl,

Whose flinty teeth the golden harvests grind,

Feast without blood! and nourish human-kind.”

     Imagine, our very own Stephen Hawking composing his latest musings, in the manner of the Bard.    

One is not amused

One is not amused

The first meeting between an Orangutang and a Queen of the Empire developed as follows. On meeting Queen Victoria in 1842, Jenny the Orangutang (for that was her name) was reported in the Times of London to have described the monarch in questions as. “frightfully, painfully and disagreeably human.” The very next morning, the Zoo-keeper, Mr. J. Morris, found Jenny’s cage with the bars bent asunder; the cage bare apart from a slightly bruised banana, and a solitary bowler hat. Several astute commentators were later to make a connection between this mystery and the subsequent murders of Mademoiselle L’espanaye and her daughter in the Rue Morgue, Paris, later that year. On this line, I read with some interest, recently, the it is thought that Neanderthal man are now thought to be gingers – and they’re extinct.

The perils of foreign journalism

The perils of foreign journalism

     With this grotesque image, fresh in my mind, I began to think about, down which stream the flow of evolution would take us next. Now that many of us, across the Empire are living in metropolises, overwhelming conurbations of the modern age, bringing with them fear, alienation & schizophrenia. A lump at the rear of the cranium, still yearns for the humble communities of village life (bar Mr. P. McGooghan, obviously.) Now, many of us, with the steam-powered Babbage Engine, are free to create our virtual villages with VisageTome, MyVacuum and the like, of a much more Amish-size. It could, and has been argued, that many of the friends that we invite, into our hermetic villages, are not really friends at all. So, it has always been the case in the pastoral village. Yet, this is a more modern village, with no strict hierarchy and no real laws. How so, I hear you cry, does one gain kudos in such an environment free from the curtailments of property and money. At last, a vehicle for social experimentation is at out fingertips. Of course, many, indeed most merely see it as a forum to express to out community some drab commentary about their squalid little lives. To say that you are doing some paperwork (read Status not Status Quo,) is the pastoral equivalent of saying “Oi am watchin’ moi sheep fer a little bit, todoy.” Some will actually vote on such banalities. This is akin to raising your pitchfork in the village square. This non-verbal communication is even more pitiful. Reader, there is a very real opportunity, to experiment with how you can seize influence in your virtual communities, bereft of heritage and upbringing. I despair.

On a more uplifting note; of late, there is growing evidence that people are prepared to forgo the lures of property and wealth for the personal rewards of status and reputation, in providing their toil for free in such ventures as Wikipedia, Linux Fedora and Digg, to name but a few. Such individuals are prepared for the common “good.” Although, we always have to bear in mind one critique of Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man, that such philosophy can lead to the dictatorship of the majority, it is a promising sign of the future of online collaborations.

I was still pondering, the future path of evolution, when I looked down upon my fork. Dear reader, one of the prongs was slightly askew. We still await the principles of evolution to be applied to inanimate objects. What I really need is a Darwin box, in which we can place our imperfect objects, let them incubate for a week, select the “best fit” baby object, then pop it into a time dilator, to save all the pesky hanging around. This theory will need to be developed, but for now, my hedge needs trimming.


Next Week: The New Economic Theory of Noel Edmonds.


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