From this story.

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Discussion (91)¬

  1. Alastair says:

    I was amused by HRH Prince Charles on TV last night talking about oppression of Christians when UK law would prevent him from marrying a Catholic.

  2. Shaughn says:

    Let them christians be grateful to their persecutors, for it is written St Matthew 5:10 :

    “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

  3. pete says:

    Persecution? Religionists wet dream.

  4. Modern day Christians suffer from -Crucifixation n. which is a state of mental duress inside a Fundamentalist’s brain that admires blood, suffering, agony, drinking the blood of god and eating his body and they usually wish to be crucified and/or martyred themselves. See: “M” for Martyr in or War on Christmas in the ABCs of Christmas.

  5. Suffolk Blue says:

    Brilliant! 🙂

  6. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    Persecuting Christians is fun
    Like the inbreeds do in Pakistunn
    Not for religion or treason
    But vengeance, or trivial reason
    Islam is as primitive as when it begun.

  7. W.+Corvi says:

    But it’s TRUE! I mean, remember the crusades, when those Muslims came up into Europe and Britain, and executed so many christians? Or something like that. Maybe I messed up a few details, but you get the picture.

  8. Poor+Richard says:

    Hang in there, persecutors–there is still much work to be done.

    – Dick

  9. hotrats says:

    NBH: spot on!

    Walter: a reply in the previous thread. Which makes me think perhaps we should have a word for that, as it happens quite often. Unconsidered trifles? Dog-ends? Or is there a blogspeak term already?

  10. Persecution? They need another Bloody Mary to show them what real persecution looks like.
    Ain’t English history amusing?

  11. Empiricist says:

    Uh, Mo’, there is a cure for “gay” and we’ve had it for about two millennia, it’s called “religion”.
    Sure, not all religions were always formed by, for and about miserable, fun-killing sexual perverts (celibacy is a perversion, shagging is normal) (in species with presently living members; extinct species may have seen celibacy as normal which would neatly explain their extinctness) but the three most quarrelsome, nasty, vicious, horrible, misogynistic, demented, lunatic, insane, intolerant, anti-human, inhumane, nut-job, insular, isolationist, hate-fuelled, bellicose, warmongering, jingoistic, xenophobic (I never understood this, she’s cute and funny and quite clever), paranoid, generally insane and grotesquely unreasonable are.
    And it is difficult to be happy, gay and blithe when one is being beaten down by the hammer of dread Authority.
    The USAlien fun-dies are totally correct, their version of Mr. Carpenter’s little hybrid bastard *is* and always has been a cure for being gay, but only in one narrow sense of the word.
    Still, it should make Mo’ and Jessy happy to know this.
    Even if us agreeing with them confuses the poor darlings.

    DH, English history is a lot quieter, nicer, prettier and less sanguine than some others. Not that it was entirely without its less savoury bits but there are some histories that make the worst of England’s seem tame, polite and humane by comparison.
    That does not, of course, excuse the unhappier episodes in England or greater UKland, but it does show that on balance the English do tend to be rather less enthusiastic than some foreigners in the whole slaughtering and mayhem genres.
    Though they can be little buggers when they get riled. If you wish to see this just have the EU ban tea, beer or “Eastenders”.
    For real fun, go for all three at once.

  12. Empiricist says:

    My local supermarket, last week, was trying to sell aisles full of “Halloween” tat, “Xmas” “gifts” and their usual season-free goodies, like mince pies.
    So it looks like the “war on Christmas” is over and Christmas has “won” at least in as much as it has absorbed yet another pagan festival and extended itself back by another month.
    Any year soon we’ll have the commercial war to offer us “Christmas cheer” beginning before Easter has even started.
    Ten months of jingles and faked-up jollity. Won’t that be fun?

    And Mo’s right yet again. I read the story Author cited, the report is biased and from a biased group. That does not necessarily make it wrong but it does call to question its bona fides, and its honesty. That a pampered prat like Chookie would accept it at face value is not entirely a surprise, he’s always been a bit of an intellectual light-weight. His mental peers are more poppies and cabbages than reasoning beings and he can easily be outwitted by a slug.
    Why his swallowing propaganda is considered to be “news” by any standard is a deep mystery.

    Still, it does provide a platform for mockery, satire and political witticisms and that’s always a good thing.

  13. Mord_Sith says:

    Empiricist, why exactly praytell is Celibacy a perversion?

    Don’t get me wrong, people’s reasons for practicing it may be skewed, but if you don’t feel like knockin’ boots with someone else, why is that more of a perversion than any other kind of sexual ‘deviancy’?

    On Christmas, I refuse to acknowledge Christmas until the end of November as anything more than shallow hucksters trying to ply a few more bills from my wallet.

  14. Empiricist says:

    My friend, Mord_Sith, not having sex is not a perversion. It is, as you say, a simple choice like not having coffee or sleeping with your favourite alligator. Forced celibacy in the name of a totally unreal and imaginary big daddy in the sky is perverted.
    Were it not, priests would be able to sustain it with ease. One can sustain a simple choice forever, living with the consequences of a law imposed from without by scroteless, tiny willied centenarians who are themselves well past the ability to perform if they ever had it is unnatural even for a social species.
    Shagging, or even hugging, kissing or the holding of her hand is beautiful. Denying yourself the simple touch of a beloved is just wrong. Insisting on it for no sane reason is evil. And perverse.

    On the “Holiday Season”, I don’t celebrate it, ever. No reason to. I do like the local Christmas Market, some of the foods are rare and wondrous but the rest of the festivities are not for me.
    If yours, enjoy them and have a very beautiful Christmas.
    Whenever yours does begin.

    On persecution, I have never felt it. I was commanded, when a child, to enter the dark, dread portals of churches and to comport myself as though one of the sad, ill things who gave credit to their lies. I am bound by the laws of my society to give precedence to those lies over the reason I favour and the workings of Science, lest I commit blasphemy or worse. But none of this is oppression. I am lucky. Lucky to live when and where I do.
    In ISISATLand I would not be so accepted.
    Wisely, I have no thought to ever being found there.
    However wrong and ignorant I may be I am not suicidal.

  15. Empiricist says:

    I may be wrong and wrong-headed, Mord_Sith, but to me the only deviancy in sex is doing harm. Hurting may not be wrong, some of us like being hurt to some limited extent, but harm is evil.
    Just an opinion, a feeling, a reasoned stance found through years of observation of people and other lives. Harm is bad.
    Outside doing harm, do whatever fuck you and your partners prefer.
    Even none should that be more to your liking.

  16. Jobrag says:

    There was I thinking that Sunni and Shia were doing a good job of persecuting each other, or is Muslim on Muslim persecution not counted, bit like African on Asian hatred isn’t racism.

  17. Mary2 says:

    So many Christians; so few lions.

    Author, very funny. That made me laugh out loud.

  18. micamb says:

    A word in Nassar’s poem has triggered me to reveal my worst predjudice. He is probably right but for long I have thought that the problem with Muslims is that they repress intelligent or innovative women.So removing these traits from the genepool.

  19. hotrats says:

    Mord Sith:

    why exactly praytell is Celibacy a perversion?

    Active heterosexuality with variable admixtures of autosexuality being the statistical norm, anything else is strictly speaking a perversion, but that should not in itself carry any connotation of immorality, deliberate deviancy or unnatural behaviour. Sexual satisfaction is a combination of orientation and individual choice within that orientation. To exercise choice not to have sex is fine, but to be oriented away from any sexual expression is more problematic.

    To go through life without exercising the sex drive at all is to say the least somewhat unusual, especially given the intensity of the hormones during adolescence, and the genetic imperative that drives the pleasure.

    In fact suppressing it altogether may be impossible; boys who never masturbate can dream themselves all the way to ejaculation, even while wearing the boxing gloves; and the 11th century German nun, Hildegarde of Bingen, had ecstatic visions whose content she interpreted as spiritual, while the descriptions she gives are of unmistakably, even embarrasingly vivid sexual imagery. (To her credit, she was among the first to argue that sex is normal and desirable rather than intrinsically sinful, and she is seen by many as the first explicit feminist in history).

    Empiricist is following the admirable tradition of the French philosophers Anatole France, (1844-1924) who wrote, “Of all the sexual aberrations, chastity is the strangest.”

    and his contemporary Remy de Gourmont (1858-1915) who went even further; “Chastity is the most unnatural of the sexual perversions.”

    the second of which was quoted, with attribution, by a character in Aldous Huxley’s novel Eyeless in Gaza, which is the only place you are now likely to find it in print.

  20. Herman says:

    To Shaun:
    Indeed, but remember: atheists like you and me, will follow and be persecuted by mozlims, because we are among all the infidels to be killed!

    Do not forget that!
    And islam is not even a religion in my mind, but a 7th century barbaric cult.

  21. Chiefy says:

    micamb, that gave me a thought. Not that Muslims are the only group that suppresses women, but some of them are particularly good at it. If they are successful in preventing creative, intelligent women from passing on their genes within a relatively isolated population, does that make them counter-evolutionaries?

  22. Mary2 says:

    I think you folks are wrong about some Muslim cultures preventing intelligent women from passing on their genes. Some certainly prevent women from expressing their intelligence and utilising their talents but, as motherhood is the only option open to them, they are perhaps even more likely to pass on their genes than career-women in other countries who, statistically, will have less children.

    Hotrats and co, I’m not sure you are correct with suggesting that celibacy is a ‘perversion’ and then using evolutionary psychology to back that up. In other social species there is a distinct evolutionary advantage to having some members of the group refraining from breeding as those without children play an important role in assisting with the raising of the group’s children. This behaviour has been noted amongst elephants where ‘aunties’ are integral to the success of rearing other’s offspring. I am aware that human sexuality is far more complex than that of most species – as far as I know we and dolphins are the only ones to have sex for non-procreative purposes – but, if we are looking at evolutionary causes, I think the ‘breed at all costs’ idea is too simple to explain social behaviour.

  23. Empiricist says:

    Mary2, I dislike correcting you but have you metthe Bonobos?
    They are sort of chimpy-humans and they shag far more frequently and freely than any human culture shakes hands.
    It is not reproductive, nor, so far as I’ve seen, particularly erotic or pleasurable, it is just bonk-and-go, where “go” seems to usually mean bonk the next nearest bonobo. Incest and paedophilia are allegedly rampant among them.
    How they manage not to suffer cardiac failures by the herd-load is a biological mystery.
    Maybe it’s all the exercise they get?
    Which would suggest something about the facilities that should be available in gymnasia, no?

  24. Chiefy says:

    Honor killing is an effective way of preventing women from reproducing. Although I’m sure that they don’t efficiently target those women who are more intelligent or creative, so as a method of dumbing down the population, it fails. That’s why eugenics doesn’t work in human populations. We’re too hard to control.

  25. Chiefy says:

    “Which would suggest something about the facilities that should be available in gymnasia, no?”
    Empiricist, I’ve begun to rethink my support for naked exercising.

  26. Mord_Sith says:

    Re: Celibacy – Understood Empiricist, I can hardly figure you as wrong-headed for that, to each their own so to speak.

    Hotrats – Then I’m the oddest of the bunch, whether by genetic fluke, social screw-up, or who bloody well knows what I have near-zero drive, I believe the term is Asexual but it isn’t exactly something I’ve confirmed medically.

    Re: Christmas, don’t get me wrong, I’m no cross wielding maniac, but it’s an important day for the folks, I just shuffle along and use it as an excuse to show them that I appreciate them but that’s literally it, no sense being a wet blanket even if you don’t care for the history of the event.

  27. Mary2 says:

    Empiricist, Feel free to correct me all you like: always happy to be corrected whem I’m wrong. There is nothing worse than an opinionated person who thinks they are always right – and I am very opinionated! You are correct; I forgot the Bonobos however that doesn’t affect my point. The Bonobos get social benefits from sex that other species get from mutual grooming and some species also get evolutionary benefits from having a percentage of child-free members. I’m not suggesting that something as complex as human sexuality can be reduced to evolution or genetics – in fact, the opposite. I’m merely saying that you can just as easily argue evolutionary benefits FOR asexuality and homosexuality as you can against.

  28. Shaughn says:

    @ Chiefy “If [muslims] are successful in preventing creative, intelligent women from passing on their genes within a relatively isolated population, does that make them counter-evolutionaries?”

    Not necessarily, I think, but the use of eunuchs as civil servants in court probably does so.

  29. micamb says:

    Thank you for responding to my suggestion for why Muslin countries produce neither admirable states or anything.
    The female suppression idea seems wrong; so what then? We know plenty of hard-working Muslims but is it possible that at higher levels the nonconformist work-ethic,
    of Scotland say, is suppressed. This leaves producers striving not to feed robber-barons.
    Like in the Soviet Union.

  30. plainsuch says:

    Iraq and Iran were secular democracies before the oil money really started flowing into the hands of theocratic oligarchies. The House of Saud probably sees it as God’s will, giving them the funds for their Wahabi Caliphate.

  31. plainsuch says:

    I think intelligent humans fall under the Anna Karina principle. Genetics plus nutrition plus nurturing plus education plus an environment that complements your talents plus the opportunity to use those talents. Getting everything right is like rolling 6 dice and getting all 6’s for a total of 36. Once in a while somebody does roll 36 and then the rest of us with totals down around 18 are sufficiently bright to learn and copy what they did.

  32. Jerry+www says:

    There is no easier way in America to start an argument about the war on christians than to post signs in your business that say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. However, before doing this it might be a good idea to be sure your fire insurance policy is up to date.

  33. blackflag1961 says:

    Muslim invasions of Europe are nothing new. See the Battle of Toulouse (721BCE), The Battle of Tours-Poitiers (732) and the siege of Vienna (1529). Their wars of conquest in Europe were no different to the activities of Isis today. Mass murder, mass rape, forced conversions. It is only due to the skill and bravery of European commanders that we are not all still stuck with a medieval mindset.

  34. Shaughn says:

    … that some of us are not still stuck with a medieval mindset, that is.

  35. Empiricist says:

    Jerry www, I was under the impression that “Happy Holidays” was the correct and less provocative USAlien greeting and salutation? At least among TV companies and the makers of TV programmes for mass consumption, most notably “news” programmes. Am I wrong? I would be happy to be corrected.
    Anyone here live in USAlia?
    Not “America” as that includes Canada and all the happy little southern countries. I vaguely recall that those places still refer to “Merry (or Happy) Christmas” though some do it in foreign languages.

  36. two cents' worth says:

    In the US, the recommended holiday greeting depends on the community. To my mind, depending on when you say it, “Happy Holidays” includes Thanksgiving (Nov. 27 this year), Christmas (or Hannukkah, or Yule, or Kwanzaa, etc.) and New Year’s Day. People who follow the tradition of sending Christmas cards, but don’t celebrate Christmas themselves (or are sending cards to people who don’t celebrate Christmas) tend to send cards that say “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” (Although “Season’s Greetings” appears on cards, people don’t say it when they greet each other.)

    I think most people in the US take “Happy Holidays” as a polite and inoffensive greeting. Heck, Bing Crosby, a Roman Catholic, is famous for singing “Happy Holiday” (no “s”) back in 1942 ( The movie in which he sang it (Holiday Inn) is often shown on television in December.

    That said, in communities that are practically homogeneously Christian, people wish each other “Merry Christmas.” (“Happy Christmas” is the UK version; I don’t know about the versions used in other Anglophone countries.) I think that people in the US who complain about being wished “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” live (or lived) in a homogeneously Christian community, and take “Happy Holidays” as an unpleasant reminder that the US is now more heterogeneous than ever before.

    The US has always had a significant number of Spanish speakers, and that number is growing. “Feliz Navidad” (“Happy Christmas”) is a song that was written in 1970; ever since then, it has been included in the rotation when Christmas pop music is played on mainstream radio stations. From what I’ve found via Google, “Felices Fiestas” is the Spanish version of “Happy Holidays.” I don’t know if the “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” debate is as big of a deal among Spanish speakers as it is among (at least some) English speakers (stereotypically, the Rush Limbaugh audience).

  37. two cents' worth says:

    Speaking of Christmas in the US, a Thomas the Tank Engine video with a storyline involving the transportation of Christmas presents and food for the feast was re-done for the US market so that it mentions Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. As far as I know, no one in the US has complained that the change is an example of the persecution of Christians. However, the change struck me as odd, because, in the US, we don’t exchange gifts at Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day is a national holiday.

    Who or what is Thomas the Tank Engine, you ask? See

  38. Mary2 says:

    Plainsuch, I like your rolling dice example.

    Blackflag, a quibble: there was no such thing as Muslims in 700BCE. Muhammed didn’t get the word of the angels until the 7th century CE. Perhaps you meant CE? 🙂 Interesting info, by the way. I enjoyed googling these battles. I had no idea the Muslims in Spain were so early or got so far.

    Two Cents, we say Merry Christmas in Aust which has always struck me as interesting given that ‘merry’ is so archaic in every other context. No one here says ‘merry anything-else’; we use ‘happy (New Year, Easter, ANZAC Day)’. In fact, to call someone merry tends to mean they have had a little bit too much alcohol.

  39. Jerry+www says:

    Empiricist, just to clarify a bit, when someone says “Happy Holidays” to a born again or otherwise hard core christian here in the U.S.A. (or Los Angeles, anyway) it’s like waving a proverbial red flag in front of a bull, or that’s what it would be like if they weren’t actually color blind.
    Live long and perspire,

  40. Empiricist says:

    Jerry www and hotrats, thank you lots for the information. I’m more the “merry Christmas” type anyway. It sounds more festive, seasonal and fun and it has the weight of tradition behind it. I doubt I would apologise if it should offend a “rabid atheist” (if there are any of these wandering about in the wild). Does the more christmassy greeting actually annoy anyone? I’d hate to offend accidentally, it’s far more fun when it is deliberate.

    Merry Mary2, in general “merry” is now considered archaic and near-obsolete in the Gods’ Country, the One True Homeland, too and it tends only to be used, as in Oz, when meaning slightly alcoholled. It’s a shame, for it is such a euphonious and cute little word. As with “gay”, which I enjoy using in its original sense partly to irk the various movements, some of us would like to reclaim “merry”. Partly to justify all those cards.

    Mary2, do you actually greet each other with “Happy ANZAC Day”? I would have thought that to be a more solemn occasion, in the mould of Remembrance or Armistice Days back in the Old Country. Am I erring? There is the consideration, exemplified in many New Orleans funerals among other wake-like events, that we should be celebrating the lives and joys of the lost on occasions like these, but I’m not sure how acceptable such a thought would be.
    The thought of a “gunfire breakfast” toast does sound quite appealing, though having it for breakfast is a little strange.
    I’ve been Wiki-ing.

    A question, if I may, Mary2, has there ever been a thought that “Australia” is a particularly colonial name for a country and a drive to give your nation a name of its very own? Or would that cost too much in re-branding all of the flags, paperwork, TV stations, passports and other paraphernalia of nationality?
    For my part, I quite like the idea of “Tenara”. The demonym would be “Tenaran”.

  41. blackflag1961 says:

    Shaughn & Mary,
    I stand corrected!

  42. Holms says:

    This Australian has heards of no such sentiment, not a single muttering that the name ‘Australia’ is not our own. Should the matter come up for referendum, I would expect it to utterly fail, and would vote against such a change myself. Not because of the expense of rebranding everything, but because the change is simply not warranted.

  43. Holms says:

    Hm. ’44 comments’ it says up top, but then ‘Discussion (42)’ when clicked. Are some comments – including mine that has yet to appear – held for moderation?

  44. Author says:

    Sorry, Holms. Your comments were published immediately without going into moderation, but this website is aggressively cached and sometimes it’s necessary to do a ‘hard refresh’ in your browser to see the latest.

  45. oldebabe says:

    Author is right on with this cartoon. ISTM that generally most people of every religion seem to (or perhaps need to) feel personally offended at every opportunity when they, their opinions, and their beliefs aren’t receive the kind of attention that they seem to expect. In fact it has been my experience as a non-religious person that they will even make up instances in order to get offended. And perhaps will vie with one another to see who should be considered more abused and offended. It’s sad funny…

  46. Robert,+not+Bob says:

    Oldebabe, well put. Taking offense is a tactic often used in many other areas of life, often defensibly by people in the wrong.

  47. Mary2 says:

    Empiricist, All public holidays (bank holidays I believe is the UK term) are considered sacred in Aust. Most of the time we don’t remember what we are supposed to be actually celebrating but just enjoy the day off. ANZAC Day is a little more serious than most with many people attending a ‘dawn service’ i.e. parade of oldies with medals and laying of wreathes but then the rest of the day is put to the same use as any other holiday – copious amounts of BBQ and beer. The last decade or so has seen the growth of a US-style, flag-waving nationalism which is generally considered a bit odd by the majority.

    Never known of a problem with the name – after all, it does come from Terra Australus and The Great South Land. Periodically we get cries to change the flag to remove the Pommie bit in the corner and maybe, God Forbid, recognise the Indigenous inhabitants but there has been no serious movement in this direction. Even the journey towards republicanism, which 20 years ago seemed to be in favour with the majority, seems to have died a death. Pity, seems we are destined to continue to fill trashy magazines with pictures of royal babies as well as 2 bit celebrities!

  48. Mary2 says:

    Robert, not Bob, I’m offended that you suggest that my taking offence could be considered less than legitimate!

  49. Empiricist says:

    Hello, holms, and welcome. Your assessment of the Australian attachment to the current name is no fun at all, though you are probably right and very sensible.
    “Tenara” would be cool should you ever change your mind.

    , “I fought and died in seventy-three world wars for you young bastards, listen to what I say and don’t you dare contradict me …”.
    We’ve all been hearing variations on that theme since childhood. (Some of us are now the ones singing that theme, unfortunately.) (When did *I* become “the elderly”? And how?).
    It isn’t only the religious who are unable to admit when wrong, most people and all politicians are very much of that kind. Scientists sometimes enjoy being wrong because it means they’ve discovered something new and potentially magical, but we’re about the only people strange enough to be happy when contradicted by the cosmos. Or when we reach the limits of our knowledge. Pretty much everyone else gets their feathers ruffled when their pet theories are upset.
    Scientists, even the greatest of them, can be grouchy, too, when it is pointed out that their life’s work is at best inexact and at worse horribly mistaken (ulcer treatment, phlogiston, Lysenkoism and many others) (“dark matter”? “dark energy”? “man made climate forcing”? “super-symmetry”? “AI”? “quantum computing”?) but sometimes they are flexible enough to bend to the inescapable evidence. This is not always true of – as you note – the religious or politicians. Less so by far is it true of those who are both or who pretend to be.

  50. white squirrel says:

    as far as I know we and dolphins are the only ones to have sex for non-procreative purposes
    and the rest –

  51. hotrats says:

    white squirrel:

    Again, bonobos.

  52. blackflag1961 says:

    Bonobos? Is ‘Bos’ his surname then?

  53. hotrats says:


    No, that would be the more prosaic ‘Hewson’. 🙂

  54. hotrats says:

    just a quick avatar test

  55. As usual I’ve very much enjoyed this round of discussion at the C&B.

    Regarding perversion, I’m reminded of my teen years when my father gave me the classic “Think and Grow Rich” primer on how to be successful. That book recommends “transmutation of the sex drive” as a key strategy for gaining wealth. (Miracles of the Internet age, here’s the whole book for you.

    My father was quite offended when I said that directing my sex drive at anything but sex (shoes? animals? making money?) seemed like perversion to me. He indignantly stated that transmuting his sex drive had been a key component of achieving our family’s comfortable middle class status. I felt sad for him, or did until I learned that he was the bastard who had me circumcised when he himself was intact.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but after his death I learned that my father, the perfect hypocrite, had only transmuted his sex drive for a brief time during his struggling years. By the time I was given that book he was having affairs outside of his marriage while preaching chastity to his children. He never achieved the wealth he aspired to, and perhaps this was why. Or maybe the transmutation of the sex drive theory is as stupid and perverse as it seemed to me, right up there with Dr. Kellogg’s theories about the dangers of masturbation. It was all of an age.

  56. Shaughn says:

    white squirrel,

    All sex is for non-procreative ‘purposes’, unless you assume that animals are conscious of the causality sex – procreation. Offspring is just a byproduct and for most mammals probably not related to some genital fun days, weeks or months before.

  57. Empiricist says:

    I sympathise, DH, but I can’t fully empathise as my very bright father would never have considered such an idiotic idea. Not that either of my parents ever mentioned sex in my hearing. I suspect I was created in petri dish in some laboratory deep underground. The usual route to coming into existence could not have occurred in that family.
    And while I appreciate the female human form in much of its lovely diversity I would never myself cheat on my lady. Never have and never will. The very idea strikes me as idiocy and evil.
    Can I ask why he sliced your willy?

    Shaughn, one could wonder why the priests have never made that cnnection, or thought of that non-connection. Maybe they assume all animals, from flea to ape are aware of the sex/baby connection and of the sky-daddy’s injunction to preserve it? That would make all animals, even insects with four legs, smarter than humans. And far more obedient and sin-free.
    So, in their world, humans are special. They are the dumbest buggers on the planet.

  58. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Hotrats, how about ‘Scrag-end’?
    So often do I have a comment to add to a conversation that I do not get around to before the commentariat has moved on to tackle the next Tuesday Tickler.
    Indeed I had been meaning to tie up the loose ends of the origins of Hallowe’en which it is a desktop job as all my writings on the subject are there.

    Perhaps more interestingly, if one revisits earlier strips they are often garnished with scrag-ends – sometimes long after the verbal feasts were thought replete. I do enjoy that and it is part of what makes the ‘Random Comic’ button such fun.

    Glad to see you have got your avatar back. Yet another thing i mean to get around to one year.

  59. Empiricists, “Can I ask why he sliced your willy?” I wish I knew. When I first started complaining about it he said something about a man he knew whose foreskin caused him problems because he’d get splits in it, and he told me that my uncle was circumcised at the age of, I think, eight to “cure” a bed wetting problem. (Man those were evil days.) But why he was so pro circumcision when he himself was intact (a fact I only learned after his death) I will never know. He’s dead now and I can’t ask him. Maybe he bought into the anti-masturbation hysteria promoted by doctors of his youth. I suspect he was well meaning. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he just wanted to take the fun out of sex for me. He was a deeply conflicted and confused man who gave every indication of functioning well. Rather reminds me of Kinsey’s father in the movie, “Kinsey”.

  60. Mary2 says:

    Shaughn, “All sex is for non-procreative ‘purposes’, unless you assume that animals are conscious of the causality sex – procreation”. I’d never thought of that. You’ve given me something to ponder …

  61. Empiricist says:

    DH, I deeply sympathise and wish that I had never asked. Sorry.

    Mary2 I tried a gunfire breakfast at supper time. It’s delicious. I’m thinking of playing with the recipe. Maybe adding mint and cinnamon and perhaps other nice smellies.
    It’s my first time with rum for more than three decades and the liquor is nowhere near as bad as I remember it being.
    Thank you for several new taste experiences. And thank all your countrymen for me if you get a chance.

  62. Empiricist, I appreciate your sympathy, but I’m over it. So no problem. A bit embarrassed at letting the topic come up again. There are too many men in my situation to make it a personal issue.

    Mary2, gunfire breakfast is a new one on me. Thanks for that. Must try it.

    Shaughn, I echo Mary2’s appreciation of your observation. Interesting thought.

  63. On a lighter note and totally O.T. I just had to share this with you all. Funny on so many different levels.

  64. And now I am seriously in love again with Katie Melua. Doctors removed a living spider from her ear. She took it home and released it in her garden. Now there is a woman worth some admiration. What a sensible, intelligent human being.
    For all my fellow sapiosexuals out there, here’s one to cheer for.

  65. hotrats says:


    Offspring is just a byproduct and for most mammals probably not related to some genital fun days, weeks or months before.

    So long since I’ve had any genital fun days, even weeks or months before.

    And I’m fairly confident that offspring is plural, like progeny; it means ‘descendants considered as a group’ so you can’t have just one.

  66. Shaughn says:

    The thought on sex without purpose is not entirely mine, I must admit. I remember someone (don’t know who anymore) emphasizing that animal nature is based upon behaviour and consequences, not on purposes. And a novelist whose main character states somewhere that in his (victorian) age most women had no idea about the connection between childbirth and their husbands’ gymnastics in bed nine months earlier.

    I’m wondering now, if there had been a worm eating from that mythical apple of knowledge in paradise, would then worms too need sexual education to have ‘purposeful’ sex to make little worms as we do now? 😀

  67. Shaughn says:

    I suppose you’re right, but in my mothertongue (please, bear with my Dunglish) the word for offspring has that same meaning, ranging from just one child (and its future offspring :P) to an infinite amount of descendants. Yet the word itself is singular having no plural.

    Funny though, a single baby is no offspring, but a twin is… isn’t it.

  68. hotrats says:


    Yet the word itself is singular having no plural.

    ‘offspring’ certainly does have a plural, indeed it usually is plural, like jury or clergy. It just doesn’t have a plural spelling, in the same way as ‘sheep’ or ‘fish’ don’t.

    I am reliably informed that in informal usage in US English, these so-called collective plurals are often used with a singular verb (e.g. the clergy is influential). When you can acceptably say ‘her offspring is…’ it’s just a short step to applying it to individuals, so only to be expected.

  69. Mord_Sith says:

    As admirable as that is DH, I don’t think I could do that, spiders and I have a truce, they don’t invade my personal space, I don’t invade theirs, and more-often than not I’ll see an adventurous little wolf spider show up and I’ll have to grit my teeth and hope it goes away before I can no longer control the urge to smash it / run for the hills until it goes away (it’s quite conflicting at times.)

    The south pacific does some funny things to people’s perspectives about lizards and bugs and just how dangerous they can be, especially the Expat variety.

  70. Shaughn says:


    I think I’m missing your point by now. Should I have written “Offspring are” which sounds odd to me (singular noun plus plural verb is unusua lin my mothertongue ), or is your point that my remark exludes single children?

  71. hotrats says:


    My point is that offspring is not a ‘singular noun’ just because it doesn’t have an ‘s’ at the end. Its use as a singular noun is pretty much confined to the USA, and in phrases like ‘the jury is out’.

    Given that, your use of ‘offspring is’ is normal for your language group, so no need to change it to ‘are’ – for you this is just a foreign preoccupation.

    My (small and uncritical) point was that as usage changes (using a singular verb with a collective noun) meaning also changes, so in the US an individual can indeed be an ‘offspring’, singular, which would be unusual outside the US.

    Outside the US its narrower meaning of ‘descendants seen as a category’ describes a collective plural noun like clergy, jury or fish, and takes a plural verb.

  72. Empiricist says:

    My friend, Mord_Sith, spiders are the loveliest, most wonderful and nicest of the arthropodal carnivores. They are good creatures and they make excellent pets. It is also a fact that every human being is within ten metres of about a million of them at all times, unless you are up a mountain, in a submarine, on the ISS or living in Antarctica.
    The great ice-world to the south is the only land on the planet that was, until humans got there, entirely free of native spiders. Today, there are some in the crannies of the human research stations. And I wouldn’t be surprised were there wild ones scrabbling about in free-fall with the astronauts.
    Spiders come in millions of species, every colour and a huge variety of sizes; yesterday, I saw one about the size of a dandruff grain near my wash-basin and there are others larger than my fist.
    So why do I like spiders so well?
    They are the most copious consumers of the filthiest, most horrible and most disgusting vermin on the planet. Spiders eat the only thing I am insanely terrified of, the only thing I fear.
    I won’t go to Ozland for fear of the local life-forms but it isn’t the lethal ones that bother me. Spiders, snakes and koalas are cuddly and wonderful and beetles can be iridescent jewels of transcendent beauty but there are living things of whom I have a deep, dark, passionate phobia.
    The local life I dislike isn’t humans. I love that species. They are almost so smart, funny, cute and cuddly as cats.

    Spiders are our friends.

    “… especially the Expat variety …” You have expat lizards and bugs? I thought you only had expat great apes, cats, dogs, crane toads, mices and (sorry, I’m about to swear most foully) rabbits?
    Oh.Yes. Weren’t the cane toads a beneficial little friend brought in to clean up some bug or snake or something? How’s that going? Did it work?
    Serious, well slightly less facetious question, do Ozlanders eat rabbit stew? If not, do you trap them and sell them to poor, hungry folk in under-privileged countries like India and UKland?
    Rabbit is nice. There’s good eating on rabbits.
    Though I must admit to liking ‘roo, too.

  73. Shaughn says:


    Thank you for clarifying!

  74. Empiricist: “spiders are the loveliest, most wonderful and nicest of the arthropodal carnivores. They are good creatures and they make excellent pets.”

    I’m starting to like you. 🙂

  75. HaggisForBrains says:

    Empiricist –

    Rabbit is nice. There’s good eating on rabbits.

    There’s only one way to eat ’em.

  76. Thomas says:

    On the topic of spiders releasing spiders into a garden or the woodlands is not a very good idea. Most spiders that have moved into houses are so well adapted to living in houses that they wouldn’t have a clue what to do if they were let out side where its all cold and wet and they have no idea what is food and how to get it. It would sort of be like “freeing” a cat by releasing it to african savanna, you releasing a handbag dog into the middle of the forests of eastern europe.

    I really dislike the idea that nature is something that is in any way morally superior to whatever they aren’t referring to when they are talking about nature. People who use the term natural/unnatural in arguement are almost inevitably talking bollocks and are some ways worst then theist because at least their bollocks is codified and they often make it quite clear what breed of cow shitted out all their bullshit.

  77. Mord_Sith says:

    I’m inferring that Expats are a breed of Lizard or verminous insect in the south pacific Empiricist.

    Regarding the loveliness of spiders, tell that to me when I was ten and one the size of my face (and highly venomous) decided to pay me a visit from behind the toilet I was perched on.

    I haven’t been down there in some time, but frankly, to me it’s a tossup which is the greater human scum, Expats or Politicians.

  78. Mary2 says:

    Empiricist, we don’t eat rabbits. My parents generation used to eat them. We have spent too many decades trying to do to them what Nazis did to Jews, Gypsys and Gays and they are probably all diseased.

    And, yes, some bright-spark introduced Cane Toads to get rid of the Cane Beetle. As the beetle lives at the top of the cane and the toad at the bottom, you can guess how well that worked.

    We do have beautiful spiders: where I live they are mainly Golden Orb spiders or St Andrews Cross spiders. Not venomous but you really don’t want to walk into the web of a golden orb – those bastards are huge and the web is incredibly strong.

  79. Empiricist says:

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you very much, Mary2, that was totally delicious. Were I not already enamoured of you and enchanted by you, I most assuredly would be, now. I can, of course, picture how well your toadying experiments worked out, I’m a writer of speculative fiction at times, but … can’t toads climb? Even a littley bit?
    I think I’m in love with your golden orb spiders. My kind of people.

    On the rabbit front, wouldn’t stewing kill the bugs? Or slicing and frying in beer? I’ve tried Foster’s, that will sterilise anything. Do you now avoid rabbits because you now what the ingredients are and you just don’t want to take chances with the mixture or is there real science behind it? If it is just fear of the risk then there are definitely poor countries that would buy almost anything. UKland among them. Have a look at what we use instead of chocolate, ice cream and other delights for examples of our lack of taste.

    Meanwhile, as thanks for the cane saga, which is utterly delightful and ever so typically human, have a Reddit:

    Have Ozlanders ever though of importing hawks, wolves, lynxes and wolverines to cure the rabbit issue? Or foxes?

  80. Empiricist says:

    I think I know what will remove cane toads … Princesses.

    But after the frenzy of kissing you’d have a plague of Princess and I’m not entirely convinced that that would be better.

    Wait. Is it frogs and Princesses? I think it could be. Bummer. Maybe it works just a little with toads? Maybe it turns toads into something else, like maybe politicians?
    Experimenting on this scale may be unwise.

  81. Empiricist says:

    … a plague of Princes. One Esse.

  82. Empiricist says:

    Amphibians as the coloured Kryptonites of Princesses, each kind causing a different enchantment to operate. I wonder what happens to axolotls?

    Would kissing Princes undo the Princess magics?

    I suspect I’ve been awake far too long.

  83. Empiricist says:

    DH, “starting” to like me? Dangerous tendency and the slippery slope. Some girl did that. She ended up married to me.

    Well said, Thomas, and so very true. House spiders like houses, or sewers or other safe places. They allow us to use their homes only so long as we don’t bother them. Mord_Sith obviously got on the wrong side of one. Maybe he was too noisy?

    HfB, did the nasty Hobbitses use any curry in that stew? I can’t be bothered reading the books again to find out whether The Shire knew of curry or not but rabbit stew either needs lots of nice veggies or considerable curry. Fried rabbit is good in beer. With beer. Much beer. Roasted rabbit can be used in sandwiches, cold, the next morning with a little brown sauce and pepper. There are many ways to eat the little bastards. And there is always the farm’s feral cat population.

    I’m suddenly hungry …

  84. Mord_Sith says:

    Co-operation is not about dominance Empiricist, we build the buildings they produce as their homes, as I said, I don’t invade their space if they don’t invade mine, and by that I mean, if I don’t have some cheeky wolf spider deciding he wants to start waltzing along my computer desk, not chilling out in a basement corner somewhere.

    I ain’t gonna start living the Alice Cooper dream of the black widow any time soon 😉

    Gotta point out though, the chat’s really derailed from the comic this time around.

  85. plainsuch says:


    What’s the problem with Expats? I only ask because I want to know. In my mind, until now, Expats were people wealthy enough to take their money and go live in an exotic locale. If you did not have independent means you were just a common immigrant. I humbly await enlightenment.

  86. Mord_Sith says:

    Expats, fully known as Expatriots in the south pacific are among the most hypocritical god-botherers I’ve ever met. They are the embodiment of the joke about the Lutheran / Greek Orthodox / Catholic Missionary complaint (Lutherans complain that they don’t get as much as the Greeks, The Greeks complain about not getting as much as the Catholics, the Catholics complain about everything else)

    Quite frankly their collective heads are so far up their own arses that they can almost see sunlight again, I distinctly recall one being so backwards they referred to a locally hired house cleaner as a ‘Cannibal Manservant’.

    What makes matters all the worse is they pretend like the problems around them are none of their concern, when they’re supposed to be there on some god-bothering mission.

    I hold a very special layer of loathing for expats and their self-serving kin who seem to compete with each other to see who’s the greatest jackass to the local population.

  87. Empiricist says:

    So, my friend, Mord_Sith, could we take it that you are not entirely and desperately in love with expatriated members of the community? You really are good at obscuring your true feelings and your descriptions are a little circumlocutory. Perhaps you could attempt to be a touch clearer in your explanations of your sentiments.

    You are correct that dominance usually has little part to play in the spider-human relationship. For humans this is a very good thing as they outnumber people by millions to one and probably outweigh them by a factor of tens or scores. They are happy to ignore and be ignored.
    Most critters that don’t actually live off human flesh are.
    Almost all life goes on without noticing or caring about people. People just are not so important as they consider themselves. Many of the few remaining species eat humans, parasite them or devour them if large enough and a small number are used by humans as tools.
    And then there are cats.
    Human dominance extends to a couple of species they eat and a few tools like grass-converting cattle, muscle-providing horses and dogs, the vast majority of lives continue happily, or not, treating Man and his works as changing furniture. The biblical idea that Man rules is rank idiocy. Anyone who as ever watched ephemera dance on a Summer day is aware of this.
    Humanity just doesn’t matter much.
    Though they can be fun.
    And they are one of only three species I know of whose members often think of themselves as being unfairly persecuted. The other two are dogs (sorry, honey, I was very young and irresponsible when I shared that chocolate cake with the brother and blamed you, and it is far too late to remedy it) and cats. Cats see themselves as unfairly blamed even when they are guilty. It’s part of their hereditary godhood.
    There, back on topic.
    Just in time.

  88. Holms says:

    The extermination efforts Australia mounted against the rabbit were viral: myxoma and calicivirus. They cause very nasty looking skin tumours and I would not trust the cooking pot to make them palatable, regardless of whether they becamse safe. As for more introduced species, I’m pretty sure the lesson has been belatedly learned, and that avenue is no longer pursued that I have seen.

    That said, safe rabbit is available here and there and I distantly remember it being tasty but stringy.

    Regarding Fosters, the long running joke about that brand is that it is heavily exported due to the lack of Australians that will touch that swill.

    Oh and regarding the Princess issue, there is an unexpected problem with that plan.

  89. Empiricist says:

    Holms, little buddy, I have seen that advertisement. Way back in the dim past when I had live TV feeds I saw it and wondered what sort of weak-minded lumps inhabited upside-down land. Had the idiot male kept her as a human he could have sent her out to work waitressing. That way not only could she have bought lots of beers she could have brought them to him as he relaxed.
    Real Men think ahead.

    “Stringy”, well that’s what stew is for. Roasting and basting helps with that, too, as does currying. All sorts of nasty soylent greens can be disguised as good tucker if you add enough curry.
    Maybe not christians, though.

  90. plainsuch says:

    All sorts of nasty soylent greens can be disguised as good tucker if you add enough curry.
    Maybe not christians, though.

    And there you have it. Christians are in the persecuted minority of foods that can’t be disguised as good food. It brings new meaning to the old question of whether humans are good or bad.


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