Thursday, 11 August 2011

Migration and Wheelie Bins - The Untold Story.

Dear Reader,

Whilst listening to the local news this morning I was somewhat bemused to hear that a provincial train line between pimplesthorpe and ducksbottom (or something similar, I forget the detail) had been disrupted by a wheelie bin on the line.

The wheelie bin is a truly global object, and as such has different labels in different countries so a picture should avoid any confusion.

Lesser Spotted Yellow Wheelie Bin - 1100ltr
I don't know if this is a global phenomenon, but in the UK trains can be disrupted by all manner of things, and quite often the description of the sentence ends with the words on the line.

A number of examples; snow, the wrong type of snow, leaves, cows, cars, sheep, caravans, dew, slippery rain, excessive heat, too many passengers, giant clowns (I kid you not) and illegal immigrants.

Now I must add to that list the wheelie bin. Having done a little research on the subject it appears that this is normally the result of some sort of vandalism, push a wheelie bin in front of a train, and oh how much fun ensues. Stick me in a room for an hour with one of these gentleman tied to a chair and we will see how much fun ensues, sorry, I digress.

What really got me about this was the news that the line was now running normally, by normally I mean running late as opposed to not at all. Apparently the wheelie bin had "moved away", this from the horses', sorry, newscasters' mouth. This is an easy mistake to make if you watch provincial news broadcasts. Oops, digressing again.

So the wheelie bin hadn't been removed from the area by diligent, long-suffering train line workers, nor had it been smashed to pieces by a train hitting it, no, it had "moved away", presumably of it's own accord.

The picture at the top of this piece tells us that wheelie bins have wheels (no shit) and therefore are mobile, although stairs would be a challenge.

Having researched this at great length (in my mind) it also appears that wheelie bins are migratory, and that their migratory habits are dictated by their colour and marking.

Taking the lesser spotted yellow wheelie bin (1100 ltr) pictured above as an example: predominant in the western hemisphere,  prefers sunnier climates, migrates South for the Winter.

It transpires that there are many species of wheelie bins, identified by colours, number of wheels, capacity, material and lid or lidless. For those who are unaware of this cornucopia of nature that exists in our backyards  I have provided a guide (not exhaustive) of some of the species resident in the UK.

Classic Black English 2 Wheeler (550 ltr)
The most common UK specimen, this is a largely static breed which enjoys interaction with humans. However   if a mating opportunity occurs, the Classic Black will grasp the moment with both wheels...

Black on Black
The male being the larger of the species. I was luck enough to get hold of an example of cross-breeding which apparently is quite rare, some Black males disapprove of this behaviour, which probably explains the nest...

Nesting Pair of Common Black and Regal Green
During the breeding season, less aggressive species such as the Regal Green and the Purple Haze will huddle together to avoid confrontation with predatory male groups of Common Blacks...

Regal Green and Purple Haze huddling for security and comfort

Rare more colourful species also exist...

Cross Gender group of Multi-Colour 350 2 wheelers
Who will mate with each other several times, their pigments mix, producing a new and unique generation. This is a rogue off-spring, a mutation, identified by the colouring. The exact reason for this has yet to be identified, however the free-love type attitude to breeding observed in the Multi-Colour 350's is thought to be to blame...

Mutation - Origin Unknown
This is not an exhaustive list. I have barely touched upon the fascinating migratory patterns of the Regal Green, and the mating rituals of the species as a whole. I think you will agree, however, that this is a truly fascinating and largely undiscovered subject which I have shared with you today.

I am merely an amateur in this field, but, dear readers, I am sure amongst you there are some who could contribute to this great science. Feel free to submit your own observations and photos through the comments button below...

More soon Dear Reader xxx

Monday, 8 August 2011

Fundamentalism and Flat Pack Furniture Assembly

Dear Reader,

Fundamentalism has been in the news a lot recently. The horrific events in Norway have brought Christian Fundamentalism to the attention of the masses and Muslim Fundamentalism has been in the headlines since the reign of Ayatollah Khomeni in Iran in the 1980's. Fundamentalism hasn't been receiving the greatest press, which on the face of it seems a little unfair. Now, I am not condoning the recent atrocities in Norway or any other horrific act committed by so called fundamentalists, just trying to understand fundamentalism a little bit more.

This doesn't sound like the most promising start to a blog post but bear with me.

So, fundamentalism in a religious sense can be defined by the following statements:
  • Their god or gods articulated their will clearly to their prophets.
  • Followers have an accurate and reliable record of those revelations.
Seems simple enough, right? Fundamentalism, assuming the above is true, has no room for grey areas, it either is or it isn't. This post isn't about tearing apart any of the above, this post is about taking those basic statements and applying them to the modern world.  Let's see how we get on.

Enter Eric, who is a fundamentalist flat pack furniture assembler. He has just gone to a major furniture retailer and made a purchase, now he has opened the box and is presented with a set of instructions. This is the word of god Ikea, articulated through the prophet Benno (an 80" cd tower).

Eric considers this to be a promising beginning to the words of Benno. Assuming the altar is pictured it is a little on the skinny but who is he to question. Benno must be a very important prophet as his name is in bigger letters that the great god Ikea's. Let's move on.

Wow, thinks Eric, there is a lot of information to process here, Benno seems to think that a picture paints a thousand words. Some words would help though. The first image must be Benno, who it seems is (or was) a carpenter. The second image is a little trickier, should one not urinate on things when you are your knees? Apparently stroking them is OK though. The third image is a little clearer. Benno is confused by the words of the great god Ikea, the telephone is obviously metaphorical. The fourth image presents many challenges of interpretation, has Benno failed some sort of test? Maybe things will become clearer later.

So this makes a little more sense, thinks Eric. Benno is to build something, and he will need these items. He is a carpenter, he will understand.

Eric thinks the great god Ikea has been quite explicit here. Twelve things need to be inserted into two long things. Ten other things interconnect with some things, OK maybe not quite as clear as first thought. Is Benno being instructed to build an altar?

Once more, this seems to be quite specific, and yet confusing at the same time. Twelve objects are inserted somewhere with the aid of a screwdriver. And then the pencils, is this some sort of test? Two pencils at the same time?

Hmmm, thinks Eric. So picture 5 is about direction. Is this the direction the altar should be facing? Or is it the direction one should be facing when one is at prayer. Picture 6 clearly involves six nails. Confusingly Benno seems to have taken on a more human form, is this significant?

Eric is becoming a little exasperated. The words of Benno are nearly complete and he really is none the wiser. What is one to make of this? The altar spoke and requested 40 things and this allowed something else to levitate above? Eventually leading to a number of arrows appearing? 

Ah, thinks Eric, so this is a clear reference to the image on the second page. Unfortunately I am still none the wiser. Eric checks the box, what is all this wood for?

However, Eric has made more than one purchase. Perhaps Ektorp (Love Seat Cover) will have the answers...

So, Eric's fundamentalist approach to words has left him without a CD tower, but on the plus side he does have a huge quantity of discarded MDF in his garage. Also he has deduced that Benno was a carpenter. The furnishing of his flat is a little sparse though.

IKEA and their rivals really need to heed the basic tenets of fundamentalism, if they did Eric might get a CD Tower.

More soon dear reader xx