QOTD No.549

Here’s one that I saw recently. It’s from Blaise Pascal, 16th Century French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian:

All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.

It’s a rather simplistic outlook on life, but I am kinda inclined to agree. Although I’m wondering if there’s a TV in the room (and wi-fi?) because there’s more to life than just not deriving misery.
It does seem like I’m advocating a monastic lifestyle, which I’m not, but you rarely see a crying monk, do you?

Just saying.

Blaise Pascal also gave us some equally salient, but far more important quotes, pertinent to the present day, like:

Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.

and the chilling observation that:

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

Blaise Pascal knew his stuff.

Dr Doolittle

You know what? I’ve always wondered what would happen:

If I conferred with our furry friends, man to animal
Think of the amazing repartee.
If I could walk with the animals, talk with the animals
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals
And they could talk to meeeeeeeeee…… [Jazz Hands to fade]

But look no further, young Padawan, because now there’s a animal communication course that you can do. It’s in Port Elizabeth, so enough said really, but then there’s a redeeming feature in that the Facebook ad has a Boston Terrier and a telephone receiver on it, so it must be good, right?

Hopefully the animals are going to put some effort into studying too though, because that’s not how you use a phone, is it?

Enough of my questions though, because the course organisers have a couple of their own:

Have you ever considered the possibility that you and your animal have spiritual agreements to assist each other?

I’m sorry, what?

No. No, I haven’t considered that possibility. Primarily, I feel, because an agreement, you see, is something that both parties have to… er… agree to, and I’m pretty sure that I’d remember entering into some sort of mystical, mutually beneficial pact with the beagle. So no, it’s not a possibility that I have ever considered. Next question please.

Could it be that your animal has valuable information for you and because you have never thought about it, you haven’t spent much effort learning how to communicate more effectively with him or her?

To be honest, there are only a few pieces of valuable information that I’d really require. The winner of the 2:30 on Saturday at Turffontein would be good, a medium to long-term outlook on the currency markets would be even better, and the GPS coordinates for the well that little Tommy has fallen down would certainly assist the people currently out searching for little Tommy.

I digress… I find it highly unlikely that the beagle, an animal so thick that it can’t even recognise its own reflection, would be able to furnish me with any of these important details. Look, it’s very good at knowing where the kitchen is when I’m cooking or making the kids’ packed lunches, so if I ever need to know where the kitchen is, I’m sorted. But to be honest, I’m yet to find any other use for it, and it’s been three years now.
And anyway, it can already communicate: it scratches on the back door when it wants to go outside, and it scratches on the other side of the back door when it wants to come back in. It’s not exactly high level communication, but since we have no spiritual agreement to assist each other in place, it’s about as good as things are ever going to get.

Can this course teach me more? Of course it can.

Learn how you can learn to directly communicate with animals. All living creatures have the ability to think, feel, and communicate although most people have forgotten this. This course teaches how to open up to the messages that animals around us are sending all the time.

This makes your household pet sound like a spy. If the beagle is sending messages all the time, to whom is it sending them? And what do they say? And how is it sending them? And why do the recipients want to know? All of these questions will obviously be answered on the course, but if I were to learn how to tune in or intercept these messages that the beagle is allegedly sending all the time, then at best, I would feel that I was eavesdropping or intruding upon its privacy, and at worse, I would probably want to strangle the treacherous little sod.

It all depends on what it’s been saying. But either way, I see no benefit for anyone here.

In this one day course you will learn inter species communicate with each other and how you can effectively send messages to animals and hear their answers.

I can’t help that if someone is running a course on any sort of communication, they should be able to write in sentences which make sense. This one doesn’t, but what it lacks in basic English, it makes up for by promising some incredible things. Not the “effectively sending messages to animals” bit – that’s not tough to do if you’ve got a shoe on your foot some tasty tidbits to reward their good behaviour with. They soon learn what you’re telling them.

No, but hearing their answers would be amazing. Well, I say that, but the beagle is notoriously good at ignoring any command you give it, so do I really want to hear what it has to say?

Now:
Me: Hey, beagle, come here!
Beagle: [looks up, ignores instruction]

After ‘Beginner animal communication course’:
Me: Hey, beagle, come here!
Beagle: [looks up, ignores instruction] Fuck off.

Again, I see no advantage for myself or the beagle here.

The individual who can like to be presenting this course goes by the stage name ‘Animal Benefits’, and a quick look at their Facebook page yields (along with lonely dogs and depressed horses), this gem from last month:

This smacks of the nonsense spouted during the search for Vienna. And you’re going to pay money to sit in a room with this [           ]* for a whole day? Ugh. You’re the one who’s atrocious.

Look, even this light-hearted, so-called example of alleged animal communication is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to justify eating more chocolate:

[delicate female voice] “Oh, but I cannot feed it to my dog, because chocolate is bad for dogs, so I will just have to have it for myself, no matter if he thinks I am being ‘atrocious’ (yes, he used that word, ‘atrocious’)! OMNOMNOMNOM! Ha ha ha!”

To be fair, I have tried the same thing with the beagle and brandy, but at least I don’t charge idiots a fat fee to come and listen how to I do it.

If you willingly choose to pay real money to go on this course, you’re on your own. There are a million better things that you could do with your hard-earned cash and precious time.

If she locks the door once you’ve sat down, it’s been nice knowing you.

Don’t go near any wells.

 

 

* redacted for legal reasons

Cape Town from space

Astronaut Randy Bresnick shared this image of Cape Town taken from the International Space Station. He says it was this morning, but there was a lot of cloud over Cape Town this morning, so I’m guessing that it was just “a morning”. Still, decent pic:

Click through here for full size.

It’s upside down in conventional cartographical terms, so here’s a quick guide to what you’re looking at:
Robben Island bottom right.
Cape Point top right.
False Bay all across the middle.
Rooi Els and Pringle Bay top left.

You may also be able to pick out Steenbras Dam, just above Gordon’s Bay down in the bottom left corner of False Bay. Hint: Look for the light coloured sand, rather than the blue coloured water. Hmm.

Eclipse

There was a partial lunar eclipse this evening. Obviously, I took some photos.

I would have taken more photos, but the camera settings had been altered by Mrs 6000 while she was in Russia, and made little or no sense. I think I was lucky to get anything. I’m going to have to try and sort something out before I use the camera again, but a factory reset might just be the easiest route.

Partial lunar eclipses are arguably amongst the least exciting of all astronomical phenomena, but when you consider what they’re up against – stuff like comets and space stations and meteor showers –  they never really stood much of a chance.

Partial Lunar Eclipse’s big brother, Total Lunar Eclipse, has promised to pop in next July.