Saturday, 29 September 2012

Something's Missing

A cursory glance and all one sees is an attractive middle-aged woman in a bikini enjoying a swim. One might not even notice it without the indelicacy of looking more closely at her body but this woman has no belly button! Her name is Patricia Heaton and from what I can gather from the internet, she has had a 'tummy-tuck'. Although why she would want one that removes her belly-button I don't know. After all, it rather draws attention to the fact that she has had some sort of surgical procedure - they don't disappear spontaneously. So its absence is sure to set people talking. Then again, perhaps that's what people in show business want. Many have done more extreme things to their bodies precisely for that purpose.

However, it gets me thinking of something quite different: Eve. Did Eve - from the Garden of Eden story - have a belly button? She was not born but created from Adam's rib. Neither she nor Adam were born in the usual way - neither grew in utero and so neither were connected to a placenta via an umbilical cord. Therefore, no belly button.

This may seem a rather trivial point to raise but it has been a contentious topic in the creation debate. It has even given rise to something called the omphalos hypothesis. (Omphalos being Greek for 'belly button'.) If Adam and Eve had belly buttons then they had to be created with them. If created with them then they were created with a false history. However, that would, in effect, make God a deceiver. That is simply not on as that goes against at least one of the basic qualities of being God: being truthful. Apparently, there are creationists that believe that Adam and Eve had no belly buttons and that the trees in the Garden of Eden had no growth rings! These people hold to a doctrine called omphalism which holds that the universe was created with apparent history.

And yet the belly button is such an insignificant thing - until that is, it isn't there.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Where did all the bird's come from?

On the way to work one morning, I walked under the roundabout as usual and was confronted by a host of origami birds laid out on the floor. This certainly made a change from the stranded pigeon that one sometimes finds down there.

I wondered if it was part of an art project or something. (I was once stopped by a man in town who asked me to take his photo. He was stopping 100 people and getting each of them to do this as part of an art project.) So, I looked for a sign saying why the birds were there but there wasn't one. All I could do was take some photos.

What was interesting was other people's reactions. I stopped for a couple of minutes and looked at this presumed installation from different angles. I was also careful not to tread on any. Other people just took no notice. Admittedly, they didn't kick them about - at least not while I was there. However, they were much more disorganised in the evening when I went home and they were gone the next day.

(I also wondered if this might be part of a psychology experiment into people's reactions to unexpected objects. I looked for somebody with a clipboard making observations but couldn't see anybody.)

Monday, 17 September 2012

BarCode - 10

Here's another barcode saying 'Marginalia55'. This is a Dutch Post KIX. I've seen similar things stuck to letters in the UK. Next time I do, I must carefully compare the two.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Removing a monarchy

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries many of the world's monarchies were removed. By "the world's", one is essentially meaning "Europe's". That is where most of the highly sophisticated monarchies seem to have been located. Now relatively few are left; continually and carefully changing so as to remain in place.

The way monarchs were previously deposed was somewhat blood-thirsty. One would hope that such an approach would not be adopted in future. So how might one get rid of a monarchy humanely and permanently?

One way would be to hold a referendum each time a monarch dies, not on whether to continue with a monarchy but on whether to accept the incoming heir to the throne as the next sovereign. If the will of the people is to accept this person so be it. If the will of the people is not to accept this person then the monarchy should be held in abeyance and an interim presidency held until the unwanted heir dies. At that point, it should be put to the people whether they are willing to accept the next heir to the throne as monarch. If it is their will, so be it; if not, the period of interim presidency continues. This might be allowed to go on for up to three successions perhaps. If three heirs are rejected by the people then the monarchy might then be deemed to have been abolished.

This offers a gradual transition from monarchy to presidency allowing people the opportunity to sample what a presidency is like and to change their minds when a potential monarch becomes available. It also allows people an opportunity to make their feelings about an heir to the throne felt. The current like-it or lump-it approach is surely outdated in an age when people should be exercising their own freewill.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Funny Photos

One of the best collections of funny pictures that I have come across on the web can be found at George Takai's Facebook page.

Check it out. Beware: You could be there for a long time and may even hurt yourself laughing.