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The present: so Marty McFly goes back thirty years to 1987 – and has to convince the Doc he is from the future.

“Okay, so who’s the President in 2017?”

“Errr – forget it.”

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I was very sad to hear of Tony’s PASSING – but glad to have finally “known” him for a short time, via his Facebook channel.

Here is the story. In 1959, I fell in love with his record, “Amore Mio” – here it IS…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKd-8c_M2cE

Below the piece, on YouTube, I wrote…

It took me FIFTY YEARS of searching, before I managed to acquire this lovely piece from the squeeze-box maestro.

Why? Well, the projectionist at my local Saturday Morning Cinema Club must’ve liked the track – he played it every WEEK, in the breaks between the C.F.F. films, cartoons and “Look At Life” shorts.

He even told me what the record was – but as a seven-year-old British kid, in 1959, I didn’t own a record player. And by the time I did, the company that released the record in Blighty, Top Rank, had gone bust – and taken their back-catalogue with them.

So for DECADES, I checked record-collectors’ shops, junk shops, jumble sales – you name it – and ZIP.

But when, a couple of years ago, I finally succumbed to the lure of the Interweb and purchased this computer – I was able to WIDEN my search. I eventually tracked a copy down to a shop in Wisconsin, USA.

But even THEN, the story was not over. Thanks to a sit-in at my local airport – Bangkok – the mail got piled up. LITERALLY. So much so, that a DVD someone sent me got BROKE – which is HARD TO DO!

Thus it was lucky that the posting of the 50-year-old record to me got DELAYED – thanks to American banks, who RIP PEOPLE OFF when it comes to changing foreign banknotes – which caused me to have to find some DOLLARS, before the shop would send it.

And so it’s THANKS to those greedy U.S. banks that I finally HAVE this disc IN ONE PIECE – which YOU can now listen to. Enjoy!

And here is a NEW version he posted on YouTube, just a couple of months ago…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPNtNkJmf7g

I love you, Tony.

Cornelius on… Pessimism

Earlier in these ramblings, I added Optimism to my belief system.

Well – now comes the flipside.

Given that all our senses and technology can detect is in this existence – The Continuum – I optimistically suggested there must either be a SERIES of Continua or at least, Something Else OUTSIDE the Continuum. Right?

But perhaps not.

Suppose this existence is like a CAROUSEL. And we are the child who climbs up onto the wooden horse and enjoys the ride. Up and down and round and round we go.

Then we detect the ride slowing – and when it has stopped (or at least, slowed down enough so we dare dismount) we go on our way, never giving a thought to the mechanism that DROVE the ride.

The large electric motor, the rheostat that allowed the ride operator to smoothly run its speed up and down, the camshafts that lifted our steeds up and down…

Those things are OUTSIDE the experience. We care not about them.

But when that carousel is our Continuum, we SHOULD care.

However – and this is where the Pessimism comes in – care or not, WILL all be revealed to us when we exit This Place?

Believers in religions say yes – but of course, they have no more clue than anyone else. Blind faith is not fact.

What IS a fact is that whether that which is outside our Continuum (be it more Continua or Something Else) exists or not – we may never be privy to it.

After we have taken our last breath, our synapses will whither and our engrams decay. And our consciousnesses – In This Place – will cease to be. More facts.

Meaning for us to CONTINUE, those consciousnesses will have to be “whipped out” of our mortal bodies at the moment of death, otherwise while there may BE Something Else – we will never know what it is.

And who do we complain to if that happens?

Pessimism.

Sorry.

The mid-Seventies. So I was walking down Argyle street (just one foot in front of the other – nothing fancy) and as I passed the large door at the side of the Palladium’s stage, which they used to unload major pieces of scenery, I noticed that for once, it was OPEN. I stopped and wandered in.

Everyone had apparently retired for lunch. The place was DESERTED.

Realising I would never get the chance again, I strode out to Centre Spot and turned to face the auditorium.

And then I GOT IT.

For years, I had heard celebs raving about doing the Palladium – and I was finally able to separate the TRUTH from the usual showbiz gush.

I understood WHY they loved it – it’s the ARCHITECTURE.

Thing is, most large theatres are NARROW and go BACK a long way, the reason being the limitations regarding the upper galleries. If you make the Room WIDE, you need PILLARS to hold them up. Then you get those awful “restricted view” seats.

But the Palladium’s designer used steel cantilevers (cutting-edge in the Edwardian era) and so it has two galleries of MAJOR width – and some DEPTH. Meaning both galleries hold nearly as many people as the stalls.

Furthermore, the Room does not go BACK too far. And all three seating sections are CURVED.

The whole conspires to create the effect that you could reach out from Centre Spot and shake hands with every member of the audience.

And THAT is why all those celebs adored playing the Palladium. Despite holding well over two thousand people – it has the INTIMACY of a two-hundred-seater.

Which gave me further pause, as it dawned on me I was standing on the EXACT same spot which, during its heyday (1945-70) had been occupied by LEGENDS from BOTH sides of the Pond and Europe.

Harry Houdini, Dickie Henderson, Gracie Fields, Billy Bennett, Sophie Tucker, Burns & Allen, Jackie Coogan, Ivor Novello, the Crazy Gang, Jack Benny, Paul Robeson, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ramon Navarro, Cab Calloway, Ethel Barrymore, Josephine Baker, Fats Waller, Tom Mix, Max Miller, Vera Lynn, Arthur Lucan (Old Mother Riley) Kitty McShane, Elisabeth Welch, Tessie O’Shea, Jewel & Warris, Gracie Fields, Betty Hutton, Dinah Shore, the Andrews Sisters, Carmen Miranda, Martha Raye, Laurel and Hardy, Danny Kaye, Kathryn Grayson, Eleanor Powell, Harpo and Chico Marx, Benny Goodman, Dorothy Lamour, Frank Sinatra, Abbott and Costello, Nat King Cole, Donald O’Connor, Hoagy Carmichael, Judy Garland, Jimmy Durante, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Gypsy Rose Lee, Max Bygraves, Julie Andrews, Alma Cogan, Harry Secombe, Terry-Thomas, Sammy Davis Jr, Tommy Steele, Billy Cotton, Charlie Drake, Cilla Black, Norman Wisdom, Des O’Connor, Frankie Howerd, Ken Dodd, Tommy Steele, Ronnie Corbett, Arthur Askey, Shirley Bassey, Cliff Richard, the Shadows, the Rolling Stones and of course…

The Beatles.

My abiding memory of the place is those years spent watching Sunday Night At The London Palladium, hosted by Tommy Trinder, Bruce Forsyth, Norman Vaughan and latterly, Jimmy Tarbuck. Me and literally HALF THE COUNTRY. TV execs would sell their MOTHERS for ratings like that today.

This question comes up a lot – and is right down there with “Why don’t psychics win lotteries?” and “How come 24-hour shops have locks on their doors?”

But let’s treat it like a sensible question…

Animals can be divided into two groups. Group A includes dogs, cats, dolphins and monkeys. Group B includes chickens, pigs, lambs and cows.

Group A animals are highly intelligent (different from, but on a par with – HUMAN CHILDREN) and possess SELF-AWARENESS (a.k.a. consciousness, sentience) – and we breed them primarily as COMPANIONS.

While Group B are NOT (you can call a cow Daisy and a chicken Henrietta, but they will not bond with you) – and we breed them primarily as FOOD.

You want more? Okay…

Veggies and Vegans (live long and prosper) refuse to eat animal meat, sometimes avoiding ALL animal products (leather, milk, etc.) And if the scientists ever manage to produce “cloned” meat in sufficient quantity and at an affordable price (they are trying, as I type) I will be MORE than happy to join them.

But remember, while we may one day be able to stop humans from eating animals – we will NEVER stop OTHER ANIMALS from doing the same.

What you gonna do – put all animals in a series of gigantic zoos and feed them solely on fruit and veg? For a start, those whose stomachs can only handle meat will DIE. And how far down the food-chain do you wanna go?

A cubic foot of earth contains millions of creatures mostly too small for the naked eye to see – who eat each other constantly.

Then you have gazillions of fish in the oceans. These make up seventy percent of our World and contain animals ranging in size from krill to whale sharks – most of whom survive ON EACH OTHER.

You wanna try to manage THEM?

Of course, the Veggies and Vegans would argue they are wild and we are civilised – and as such, should lead by example. We have CONTROL over what WE eat.

Fair enough – in any case, this piece is not a defence of meat-eating. It is about what is OKAY to eat – and what is NOT.

So with that in mind, let us examine the details of how they are killed…

World-wide, Group B animals are “factory farmed” and generally killed “humanely” – i.e., quickly and cleanly.

But in parts of SE Asia, things are very different for Group A…

In Japan, every year, up to two thousand dolphins are herded into a cove in Taiji, where they are brutally stabbed to death. In a frenzy which turns the water RED, these creatures – including mothers and babies – get cut to pieces by the so-called “fishermen” (even a MORON knows dolphins are intelligent MAMMELS). This is said to be a “tradition” – but it only goes back to 1969. Furthermore, the methods used to slaughter the dolphins would be ILLEGAL in Japan’s animal SLAUGHTER HOUSES.

And ALL OVER SE Asia, cats are rounded up – then skinned alive for their fur – and are finally thrown, STILL alive, into boiling water.

While dogs are collected – sometimes BOUGHT from locals, for plastic buckets and the like – then transported in small, rusty cages (without food or water) on open trucks, to their fate. Which is – for those unlucky enough to survive the trip – to be tied up by their back legs and BEATEN to death with sticks, in the misbegotten belief that the more pain and terror the animal suffers, the more TENDER will be the meat.

So – do ya STILL think eating cats and dogs is okay?

First, I need to point out that NONE of the piece below is MY work. I just AGREE with it. (I NEVER plagiarise).

It was written by a Quora writer called James Madison – and I’m just PARKING it here, rather than dumping it in my computer’s files.

That way, I can FIND it easily – and YOU can enjoy it too (although it has WAY more hits on Quora than it will EVER get HERE!)

So here it is…

  • God kills 2.4 million people in his book. Satan kills 10. Who is the more evil one?
  • God says everyone has to worship him for all eternity. What kind of self-centered egomaniac demands that?
  • What happened to the three-day-old babies when the flood of Noah came? Don’t envision a worldwide flood—hold in your mind the image of a single crib with a single baby, slowly drowned by the cold, dark waters. What could that child have possibly done?
  • Do you think slavery is okay? The bible supports it. It says you can have slaves as long as you don’t gouge out their eyes or break their teeth. Yeah, that makes it moral.
  • The bible says that you are to kill those who attempt to lead you away from God. I fully admit that right now, I am trying to undermine your faith and turn you into an atheist. Kill me. Do it. I won’t even defend myself. Why aren’t you?
  • No, I will not respect your beliefs—wars, genocide, gay bashing, honor killing, genital mutilation, suppression of science, forced parenting, and other real-world harm results from your beliefs. That is to be fiercely challenged, not respected.
  • God made us in his image? What is more likely: that, or that we made him in our image? The God of the Bible is self-admittedly petty, jealous, and vengeful—just like we are. Is it not more probable that we made him in our image?
  • Original sin? You mean holding people guilty for things over which they have no control. How is that remotely just?
  • What did Satan do? He stood up for himself. He said he wasn’t going to give in to God’s demand to be worshiped. How is that a crime?
  • What happens to the billions of people who never even hear of your path to salvation? How is sending them to hell for all eternity merciful or just when they have no choice in the matter?
  • Moses tells his soldiers to rape the virgin daughters of their enemy. Do you support this?
  • Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Why are so many Christians so damn judgmental then?
  • Muslims believe theirs is the one true god too. And that they will go to heaven. And that anyone of another religion will go to hell. These are all things you believe too. How are you any different from them?
  • How do you know the bible is true? Name one thing that it says that could not have been written by uneducated desert tribesmen 2,000 years ago. The cures for polio and small pox, for example, can be written in just a few pages. Why doesn’t the bible contain anything like that?
  • Which is more likely, that Mary conceived as a virgin, or that Joseph knocked her up. Billions of people have gotten pregnant the old fashioned way—which is more likely here?
  • Genesis gives two factually different accounts of creation. The Four Gospels give two factually different accounts of Jesus’ life. How can these conflicts in basic facts both be literal truth?
  • You hold roughly the same religious beliefs as your parents and your country. So does 99% of everyone else in every other religion. What’s more likely, that yours is the one true religion, or that we all just get brainwashed into our parents belief system?
  • Some Christians argue that the New Testament made the Old Testament obsolete. Does this mean you’re willing to abandon the whole creationism farce and acknowledge that evolution is fact?
  • If your spouse told you that you had to prove your love toward him/her by killing one of your children, you’d think your spouse had gone insane. Yet this is what God told Abraham to do—and you don’t think that’s equally twisted?
  • Why do believers not regrow limbs? Surely some of our heroes coming home from war with missing body parts are true believers, from believing families, from pious communities. Why cannot a single amputee with such a strong belief regrow a limb, or have some other miracle that would in no way be explainable by science?
  • Babies are not a miracle from God. All animals make babies, some of them quite cute, and any 15 year old human can participate in the process.
  • What would it take to convince you to become a Hindu? A Muslim? A Jew? A Sikh? These religions are thoroughly unconvincing, aren’t they? I simply feel the same about your religion. How are your talking snake, pregnant virgin, blood sacrifice ritual (communion), or zombie claims (Jesus’ resurrection) any different?
  • If God is love, and Jesus taught peace, why are so many Christians warmongering gun nuts?
  • Why do communities, states, and nations with higher rates of religious belief also have worse indicators of quality of life and societal good? For example, the Deep South of the US is known to be very religious. Why does it have higher rates of crime, domestic violence, infant mortality, and other such social indicators? Same for, say, pious Central America versus Western Europe.
  • If religion is necessary for morality, then why do organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, whose members are over 95% atheist, have so few members committing crimes?
  • The bible says that it is an abomination for a man to lie with another man. The very next verse says that the penalty for doing so is death. Do you advocate the death penalty for homosexuality?
  • Why aren’t Christian funerals big parties? If you truly believe you’re all going to heaven after you die, why is it not a massive celebration? Why are Christians not all taking up base jumping and volunteer fire fighting?
  • No, damn it, Hitler was a Catholic, not an atheist. Please do your research before using that one again. But I don’t blame Catholicism for what Hitler did, any more than I blame atheism for what Stalin and Mao did. Mad men can be mad for reasons other than religion.
  • As an atheist, I’m just like you—I’m kind to others, I love my family, I continually try to be a better person. I just don’t need the threat of hell or promise of heaven to do it.
  • As an atheist, I too try to live by the Golden Rule, but I don’t need a god or an ancient text to see the wisdom of the rule. I do unto others as I’d have done to me because I know this is the right thing to do, and it makes me happy when I do.
  • As an atheist, I am amazed at the wonder of nature and the universe on their own merits. I don’t need to believe there is some sky daddy at the bottom of it to reach this conclusion.
  • As an atheist, I agree that it is not enough to just say what you’re against. That’s why I am also a Secular Humanist. Other atheists may hold different positive views, but we are more than just anti-religious.
  • As an atheist, I enjoy sex to its fullest. Particularly in my single years! As long as everyone consents (including my spouse once married, if polyamory happens to be our thing) then I don’t have to worry about the opinion of a god or his threats to my eternal disposition.
  • As an atheist, I don’t give up 10% of my income year over year, meaning I can retire 5 years earlier.
  • As an atheist, I deal with death by telling the people I love that I love them every chance I get. That way when they or I go, the one who survives can have the peace of knowing that we loved each other to the fullest.

Any references to God, Satan, or Jesus as anything other than an historical figure, are for the purpose of literary and philosophical analysis and critique only—it is not a statement of their supernatural existence any more than a movie critic referencing Darth Vader believes in The Force.

Christianity and the Bible are my focus as these were the elements of the religious indoctrination of my youth. I trust that those raised in other religions who are now freethinkers can make similar critiques of the religious elements of their upbringing.

Cornelius on… Optimism

As stated a few days ago by m’colleague Morphy, our belief system is Antitheist, basic, philosophic Buddhist, Darwinist, Humanist, Cosmicist, Continuumist, Optimist.

So now, allow me to expand on the LAST of those.

Optimists are normally seen as people with goofy grins, who believe that despite everything life throws their way – it will all be fine in the end.

But as the final part of my belief system, the word means much more.

Let us go back a stage to Continuumism. This is the belief that all we and our science can detect – ourselves, this World and beyond that, the Universe – exists in a BOX. The Continuum, if you will.

And if we are lucky, we get about eighty years in it – after which, we return to the random matter from which we came.

With me so far? Good.

But here is the problem; our science is great at answering those questions that begin with what, where, when, how and who(m) – but useless at those which begin with WHY.

Also, the further BACK you go, the more facts become replaced by theories.

The amoeba is arguably the tipping point. Science can rationalise our history AFTER it – but has little to offer but theories, BEFORE it.

Of course, this is not science’s fault. It depends on provable facts. And those are thin on the ground, before the amoeba.

Even the famous Big Bang Theory (the hypothesis, not the TV show – keep up) is mostly just based on the fact that the Universe is spreading outwards – universally.

Thus questions beginning with WHY get relegated to PHILOSOPHY. Which is unfortunate, as we have come a LONG WAY since Man began to think.

These days, most thinking people have dismissed religions as a collection of myths and superstitions MADE UP by early Man, in an attempt to answer the unanswerable questions he began asking, as soon as he developed the ABILITY.

So let us at least TRY to delve further.

First, by examining that BOX – the Continuum – a little more closely.

Despite its logicality in the later stages of its development, our Universe becomes ILLOGICAL in the earlier stages – particularly its beginning.

I mean, logically it should NOT EXIST. There should be nothingness, darkness, zip, zilch, nada.

But exist it does. I am typing – and you are reading – THIS.

Which in the case of the Continuum, renders it by definition – illogical. Right?

Yet here we are.

And since, from our personal point of view, it appears to have existed indefinitely BEFORE us – and will likely go on the same way AFTER us – we need to know WHY. While WE are not in it – what is it FOR?

It is clear we have not been here before (previous lives, like religions, being BOGUS). And once we take our last breath in This Place, our neural engrams, synapses et al will quickly wither and DIE, taking all that we were – our memories, knowledge, personality, consciousness and gym membership – WITH them.

Our brains will become MUSH.

Therefore, the BIG question is; what is OUTSIDE the box, This Place, the Continuum?

Logic says NOTHING. But then, logic says there should be nothing IN it either. And THAT is evidentially wrong.

At which point, we could seek answers from those who claim to have BEEN outside the box – people who have had a Near Death Experience.

Except that science can EXPLAIN those bright lights and tunnels they saw as merely illusions our brains concoct, when they are in crisis.

So no help there, then.

However, there is SOME hope. And this is where Optimism – as a BELIEF – comes in (and not a moment too soon).

For it offers a glimpse of what MUST BE. Which is ANOTHER existence. One that PARALLELS this one – and to which we will all RETURN, when whatever THIS is comes to an end.

And THAT, my friend, is Optimism.