Friday, April 27, 2012

What The Luck?

Currently under a rainy deluge of biblical proportions, the UK has shown amazing reserves of contrariness by maintaining a hosepipe ban. Presumably this is not, as the media and water authorities are telling us, in order to conserve a diminished resource, but really because they’re worried about people going all prune-like and wrinkly from sheer exposure, leading to national shortages of towels, anti-wrinkle cream and Keith Richards headbands which would bring the economy to even more of a stop than the stop it’s presently at.

Never one to let such a small thing as the weather get in the way of a trip to the seaside (also a typically British attitude, it would seem), I dragged my children to the car, bundled them into their respective constraints and drove the drive to welsh Wales.

Happily, the enthusiastically named Welsh god Illtyd (which apparently translates as “Lord of Everything”) was so pleased we were making the effort to visit that he smiled beneficently on us, providing not only a free car parking space next to the pier in Penarth, but also a good few hours of rainlessness and some flavoured frozen dairy products in a carbohydrate-based cone for the reasonable price of about a quid and an ice-cream headache.

It was nice enough for me to take an impromptu picture without worrying that my phone would instantly dissolve under the sheer weight of precipitation.  This proves that, at one point, somewhere in the United Kingdom, it wasn’t raining:

Buoys day out.

So, after lunch in a Tafarn where I had a decent pint of cwrw, we refuelled our car at the gwasanaethau and then went home via the traffordd.


As if on cue, after our day was done, the heavens opened and some water rained down like a shower of combined hydrogen and oxygen. The traffic slowed and we sloshed our way home, appreciating that timing was on our side and feeling particularly lucky we had had a good day and missed the really bad weather. I was glad of the day out because, I thought, we deserved a break.

This got me thinking about the appearance of luck in our lives and our reaction to it.

Being the rationalist that I am, I don’t really believe in luck. I feel it is nothing more than a subjective interpretation of events in contextual relationship with other events that might be construed as being either “better” or “worse”. If you’re in a bad car smash, you are unlucky. But if you only break your leg you are lucky. If the ambulance crew saws your hand off trying to get you out of the car, then you’re unlucky again. If the hand was subsequently found to have life threatening gangrene that would have killed you within hours had it not been sawn off, you’re back to lucky. If the car was your pride and joy, then you’ll feel unlucky to have lost it. If it was a Citroen, then happy days, your driving torment is finally over.

It’s pointless trying to stack the odds in favour of being fortunate. No one deserves the things that happen to them.  Good or bad, they just happen. But we can fool ourselves that this isn’t the case. In fact, what goes around really does come around. If you’re a good person, then good things will happen to you. But also bad things. If you’re a bad person, bad things will definitely happen to you, as well as good things. If you’re an indifferent, morally ambiguous person, then get ready for a selection of good and bad things happening to you throughout your life.

Brace yourselves for the bad times. And the good ones.

Mind you, when I got home, I took out some ham to make the children a butty and received a vision that challenged my certainty, that threw my reductionist musings into the cold, confusing ambiguity of spiritual discombobulation.

It was a sign. A sign that, perhaps there IS an ebb and flow to the universe when it comes to positive and negative, that there IS a demarcation between good and evil, and it is not just a personal spectrum, and that people WILL receive their rewards or comeuppances according to their character and their actions.

You might be amazed that I, of all people, would resort to the supernatural for explanations of such things, but you weren’t there man! You didn’t see what I saw. You were not witness to the compelling evidence that is . . .  Yin and Yang Ham:

Hogging the picture

Seeing that could change the views of the most analytically secular of atheists. All hail the Taoist pig meat of fortune!

Anyway, unluckily for the pig,  it tasted divine.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ducking it out

At our local Water Bird Sanctuary As Long As They're Not Seagulls Centre, I made a startling discovery.

I found a Higgs boson under a rock!

Ha. No I didn't. I was messin' with ya. That would be silly. Bosons are found on merchant ships, obviously. I don't know why Higgs needs his own though. I didn't even know he was a merchant seaman.

No, the discovery I made was of a filmographic nature, involving a piece of British cinematic history.

I discovered that the terrorifying electromagnetic pulse weapon thingy in Bond James Bond's Goldeneye was named after a duck!

It's true, look:

It's a duck. With a goldeneye, golden, goldeneye,
with a goldeneye, goldeneye.
Now it turns out, you don't need much of an imagination to think up names for your weapons of imaginative destruction and your evil villains. You just need to visit a duck zoo. See:

Signs; good or bad? I'm on the fence.
"Mr Bond, I've been expecting you! I am General Smew, and this is my henchmutant. Get him Canvasback!"

There's tonnes of others.

"Widgeon, bring our guest a martini."
"Activate the groin laser, Pintail!"
"Hit him with a spade, Shoveler!"

 This post was brought to you by a man having photos on his phone and needing to do something with them.