And now there are Godly buses? 1

A group of churches has banded together to counter the atheist bus adverts with their own banners which read ‘There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.’ Fair enough, though the definite nature of the proclamation does leave it open to referral to the Advertising Standards Authority- at least the atheists hedged their bets by saying there probably isn’t a god.

And the photo used in the article looks like a photoshop. Is someone winding us (and the Daily Mail) up?


Courtesy of Kalyr and the bus slogan generator.

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08:23 Blog: You Want To Take Your Shirt Off tinyurl.com/d7wak6 #

09:23 Blog: Bye bye T-shirt Hell tinyurl.com/aus6qk #

09:23 Blog: David Attenborough is not God- he’s far cooler than that tinyurl.com/cn6vsk #

09:31 This week’s film is either The Wrestler @ 6.50 or Valkyrie @ 6.40 both @ amc. Vote for your choice. #

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12:04 @MagicDan85 Did you sign anything binding? That’s why they send the hot ones. #

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David Attenborough is not God- he’s far cooler than that

David Attenborough gets hate mail for not crediting God in any of his programmes.

Telling [the Radio Times] that he was asked why he did not give “credit” to God, Attenborough added: “They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator.”

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00:51 On Two Wheels- To Do- Bogle Roll tinyurl.com/aqahyo #

02:23 Blog: cc all your emails to Jacqui Smith day tinyurl.com/d38n9x #

08:24 A short "day", then I’ll try to sleep through the afternoon. #

10:40 I have a whole load of Dogs D’Amour on iTunes. Where’dthat come from? And thank you whoever put it there. #

13:15 On Two Wheels- The Cyclists’ Touring Club tinyurl.com/dycpmf #

13:40 Beddy byes #

18:40 God botherers got me out of bed. I wasn’t sleeping well anyway, but that’s uncalled for. #

20:41 After all these years I’m still getting hits for Alyson Hannigan’s feet, with a bonus "Alyson Hannigan erotic" today as well. #

22:25 Left out on the table I sit at "The Invention of Pornography". It’s like they knew I was due. #

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NaNoWriMo first draft – Big Night Out

Notes This is actually a partial chapter. The longer version will have reunions with all the other guests.

The best clubs are in the buildings that would otherwise be most carbon negative. They bought back what they fed the grid to power their sound systems. The one we were in was powered by a barrage on the Irwell. And hosted by that demi god Clint Boon.

God, I’ve missed him.

That old staple of fading the music down whilst the crowd sings serves the low energy club night well. A version of I Am The Resurrection that’s practically choral has me in tears. I’m a bit pathetic about that kind of thing, so I try to hide from Sally. That doesn’t work, and she soon has me wrapped in the biggest hug her little frame can manage. “This was a bad idea.”

“No, this was a great idea. I’m just a big softie.” I kiss her, “Let’s go and see who else has turned up.”

Amongst the people who weren’t surprised that I was still alive, though he had not expected me to be back in Manchester, was Mark. He’s one of the organisers of this night. He put us, and a bunch of other people, on the guest list.

The music of the post apocalypse isn’t the grinding techno or overwrought Rock we were threatened with. After all the turmoil people want something familiar. For tonight the Boon army is wishing itself back back to the nineties and early noughties, with tunes from the sixties to the eighties thrown in for good measure. There are nights for other tribes as well, maybe there’s even one for the grinding techno and overwrought Rock fraternity.

The club is packed. It smells of drains and sweat and spilt beer. Weirdly, the smoking ban still holds. The majority don’t want their clothes to stink because of the minority’s disgusting habit and the club has a policy which reflects this.

Mark’s at one end of the bar, pretending not to be keeping an eye on the staff. With the crowd he doesn’t see us until we’re almost on top of him. Before I know it I’m trapped in a bear hug. I don’t remember Mark being so affectionate, but then I used to see him at least once a week, maybe he’s just missed me. “The war hero returns!” he holds me out at arms’ length, “You’ve lost weight. Did they starve you?”

“Lots of marching around the South of France. The food was fine and plentiful.” Most of the time. But I leave that observation out of the conversation.

Good host that he is, Mark turns to Sally. “You must be Sally. I didn’t know Keith that well, but I’m sorry to hear what happened.” They hug, a lot less physical than mine. “Have you been here long?”

“A few songs. I wanted to have a look around.”

“It’s incredible what you can do with an old industrial unit. Come on up to the Very Important Prick room and see who else is already here.”

NaNoWriMo first draft – Christian Soldiers

Notes I know Sachs’ accent is poor. I’ll fix it when I write this stuff up properly.

Sachs was my first deserter.

He’d walked into town the night before and handed himself in at the Mayor’s office. It took a lot of guts to do that. After the actions of the lost army its members were as likely to be killed on the spot as allowed to live.

Few in the town liked to admit to knowing anything but perfunctory English, so they had called on me to debrief Sachs. Officials would be sent to escort him into custody, possibly protective depending upon how cooperative he was, but they could take weeks to arrive. It would look good if the town could send back some intelligence on its own initiative.

There were two cliched farmers at the door, cradling shotguns, sucking on their Gaulloise and scowling at me as I approached. My rough French got me past them and into the quiet building, where there was no-one to meet me. There are offices on the ground floor. I tried a few handles and they were all locked so I went up a flight of stairs to the function room and Mayor’s office. The office door was open, the jolly official sitting at his desk. He smiled and waved me in.

Sachs was sitting in one of the leather chairs across the desk from the mayor, tucking into a breakfast of bread and cheese. I must have done a double take and looked around for more security, because the mayor shook his head and waved me in again. I took the other leather chair and studied Sachs.

He was unshaven, with perhaps a week’s growth of beard, and looked like he’d slept in his clothes for the last few nights. He noticed me and stopped eating. He extended a hand, “Pleased to meet you, sir.”

I shook the grimy hand. He had a firm grip, but didn’t try to test mine. Formality over, he went back to eating.

My French was good enough that I understood enough of the Mayor’s explanation. “Monsieur Sachs, I think, wants to get away from his army and tells us all about it. We thought it better if a native English speaker interrogated him.” I nodded understanding. “You understand you cannot blog this?”

“I understand. I shall save it for my memoirs.”

The Mayor chortled and passed a dictaphone and tapes across the desk. “Would you like some coffee?”

Against my better judgement I said yes. It was nasty and bitter, like too many I’d tasted recently. I pretended to be engrossed in cueing up the recorder so I don’t have to drink any more. “I’m ready to begin when you are.” Sachs says around his breakfast.

“When you sign up to serve you are pledging your life to your country. And you expect your country to not waste your life or risk it for anything trivial. Really, too often, you’re just following those orders without questioning them because you’ve decided that your leaders can’t possibly be wrong.” Sachs had finished the bread and cheese, and two mugs of the awful coffee, and now he had the energy to tell his tale.

“I’ve been unhappy with orders since before the President died. It got worse after the mad woman took over, when she started talking about how we were doing God’s work. That got the Jesus freaks all fired up They’ve been going on about it being a christian army for years. If mostly you’re fighting the ragheads…. er, I mean the muslims, it comes natural to react against them. But it was all other religions that were wrong, and all anyone who wasn’t their type of christian too.

“Now I was raised christian, but I was brought up to let people be. Other folks find God their own way, or don’t even need to. But the fundies in the army can’t live and let live.”

“Let me tell you what happened just before the break out. The orders had come down and we were all thinking about them. Most of the guys, me too, were confused. Some of us were going to follow the orders because they were orders. Some were too scared not too. The true believers were full up for it, and shouted down anyone else’s doubts. And then there were the others. The ones who said no and refused to follow the orders.”

Sachs took a look at his coffee, drank the dregs, grimaced and carried on. “There were them, and there were ten Muslims on the base. Well, some of them were Nation of Islam, I’m not sure how they count, but it didn’t make a difference. And there were thirty or so Jews. They… They disappeared, just before the break out. I heard they were crucified. That was the fundies trying to be ironic, I guess. It was supposed to be an example to the rest of us. Something to scare us into carrying on with the madness. It inspired some guys to cut out before the event, or start planning to escape as soon as possible. I was one of the ones who got out as soon as they could.”

“I dropped to the back of a patrol one day. We were in a forest and our commanders thought there were hostiles close by. I took the risk of that. I had some civvies with me and a few days rations. I dumped all the rest of my kit but my sidearm and ran. I avoided contact with anyone for as long as possible, using the forest tracks to head in the opposite direction to my unit Then I stole a car and drove west. It’s chaos out there. I wasn’t stopped at all on the road. When I got here I figured I was far enough away from the fighting to be safe. That’s why I gave myself up.”

“We’ll need to know everything about your unit. Where they were when you left them. Where they were headed. How many soldiers and what equipment. All of that stuff.” I pointed out.

“I’ll tell you as much as I can.”

The proper lyrics for Covered in Punk, which I misremembered earlier

Hey-oh Hey-oh Hey-oh Hey-oh
Oh look at me, I’m covered in punk,
Covered in new wave, covered in you.
Oh look at me, I’m covered in punk, all over the radio, over you.
Oh look at me, you’ve covered your face, covered in the moment,
Covered in lace.
Oh see me now, I’m bucking like a broncho,
Eat your candy, eat your candy.

Look at me, I scream like a banshee, God send the drag queen, god send the drag queen.
Can you see me covered in showbiz, swimming in rubbish, swimming with the big fish.
Do you see me coming like a comet, go like a rocket in your socket.
Look at me, I’m looking at you, look at me I’m saying I do.

It’s my obsession, what’s your confession?
I’m covered in punk, I’m covered in you,
I’m covered in all the things you do.
I’m covered in punk, I’m sticking like glue,
I’m covered in everything we do.

Hey-oh (covered in it) Hey-oh

Oh look at me, I’m covered in punk,
Covered in the moment, covered in you.
Oh look at me, I’m covered in the front page,
Headlines screaming it’s just a phase.
Oh look at this, we kissed the graffiti.
Covered in paint, covered in paint.
Oh look at you, you’re bucking like a broncho,
Eat my candy, eat my candy.

See me now, scratching your surface,
Taking my chances, blowing my screen test.
Look at me not minding my language,
Doing you damage, doing you damage.
Oh I can see you come like a rocket, go like a comet in my pocket.
Look at me, I’m looking at you, Look at me, i’m saying I do.

It’s my obsession, what’s your confession?
Chorus x2
(covered in it)
It’s my obsession, what’s your confession? x2
Chorus x2

Portobella – Covered in Punk

NaNoWriMo first draft- The Battle of Longsight Market

Note A very rough chapter, this one. It’s my attempt to work out what happened to Paris on the page. To hit 50,000 I should be averaging 1,666 words a day. So far I’m nearer to 1,200. I’ll see if I can raise that, and carry on until I run out of ideas. What I’m producing is far less a novel than very detailed notes for a novel I may one day write.

There used to be shops here, and a church. And the market of course. Now there are trees, saplings really, where the shops used to be and a memorial in the middle of the market place. It’s built from material salvaged from the wrecked buildings, the names of the dead listed on a brass plaque that’s still shiny.

Well, all but three of the dead. The sheet that I picked up in the revolutionary bookshop names the “original martyrs” of the battle, the first to die. I’ve read similar claims on equally badly laid out sheets of paper about other memorials.

“That’s white boy shit, that is.” the asian teenager who’s walked over to see what I’m doing opines, “You don’t believe none of that shit do you?”

“I’ve seen this said about other people.”

That wasn’t quite the right answer. He’s eyeing me suspiciously now. “You one of those memorial freaks? Or you here to recruit?”

“I’m here to find out what happened. I’ve been away a while. But I have seen a few of these memorials in other cities.”

“Well, maybe you don’t look like one of them white jihadi wannabes. Tell you, only the white boys really interested any more We drove the rest of them out. The ones the Yanks didn’t kill.”

“These three were the real deal?”

“Yeah. My bro knew him,” he taps the top name on the list, “says he was a right tosser even before he got fundamentalist. Most of us just want to get on with our lives, make some money, get laid. Our parents don’t like it much, grandparents are worse. But we’re integrating, know what I mean? And people like this, they get some stupid idea about God and want to hold us all back Blow people up and shit and get Police all over us and the white folk calling us all paki and raghead and terrorist, when we’ve done nothing to deserve it”

It’s a weird thing about the memorials, I always get someone coming up to me and telling me the Truth about the local radicals who were assassinated. If the wind were blowing another way I might have got one who told me the three really were martyrs, that the local true believers are just marking time before striking again at the infidels they live amongst. Probably it’s because I’m white, but I like to think it’s because the crazies are in the minority, but I’ve talked to more people like the guy I’m listening to now than the other type. Like him, I want to believe that no idiot’s going to strap a bomb to himself and go off in a crowded place. No-one in their right mind wants any of the remaining western governments thinking “Maybe the Americans had a point.” I’m intrigued, and a little worried, by this talk of white guys coming round and talking about sacrifice and jihad. It’s so hard to tell agents provocateurs from ordinary idiots. If I meet and identify anyone who falls into the latter group I have some photos on my laptops of just what jihad does to a child’s body.

I could be in line for a long lecture from my new friend, that I’d rather not listen to. “This used to be a market. I bought fish from a stall here.”

“It’s all moved now. All the shops are in the old supermarkets over there.” I stare in the direction he’s pointing and nod understanding. In reality I already know this, my bike is locked up outside one of the market halls after all.


The Battle of Longsight Market was the Battle of Paris on a smaller scale. A three way fight where two of the sides had firearms and one had whatever it could get its hands on. It started several months before the first rock was thrown, on the other side of the Atlantic.

There is too little karma in the world, so whoever came up with the idea of stretching the Bush Doctrine to include the use of covert hit squads on individuals in sovereign nations probably isn’t suffering anywhere near as much as they deserve. The reasoning went that there were extremists everywhere, hiding in plain sight in muslim communities and flaunting their radical credentials. These were in countries that couldn’t readily be invaded. Old Europe may not have been the greatest allies in the War On Terror, but the USA couldn’t rightly threaten them the way they could with smaller, darker nations. So they had to be more sneaky and inventive.

They turned to the many flourishing private security companies, for deniability’s sake, presented a list of people they were certain were wannabe terrorists and offered on the head of each one. As with everything Blackwater et al touched, it rapidly became about the profits and within weeks there were multiple teams wandering around Europe tracking down extremists and terminating with extreme prejudice. They managed to correctly target extremists oe time out of three and weren’t all that fussed about collateral.

The team operating in Manchester were right with their first hit. In fact their use of the bomb makers own materials to take them out was inspired. The inspiration was lost on the woman who lived next door, who was also killed in the blast.

Their second hit was on an outspoken, but otherwise innocent, local student. He and his family died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a heater that had obviously been tampered with. The local community had an idea what was going on and had the luxury of being able to jump to the conclusion without the need for evidence that held the Police up. After all, everybody knew what had happened in Paris, Hamburg, Berlin and elsewhere.

And the culprits were easy enough to spot- big swaggering Americans with oversized jackets that likely hid weapons and body armour. They hadn’t been recruited from the top of the covert infiltration class, no matter how good their other skills were. Walking around as a group, dressed as they were, in the middle of the local market just drew attention. Attention became antagonism and then violence, to which they responded with firepower.

By the time the Police got to the market five people were dead, and many more injured The hitmen were holed up in a pound shop that the youth of Longsight were threatening to torch. The first officer on the scene wasn’t even a real policeman. The asian Community Support Officer was known to most of the stone throwers and respected enough that they heeded his calls to back off whilst and take the injured to safety. Then, however, he tried to do the same for the assassins. Trapped, scared and out of their depth, they panicked and shot him Which started the whole process off again. In the end Police marksmen found themselves being stoned by rioters and having to shoot the assassins who were firing into the angry mob.

A lot of blood, a lot of names on the plaque.

Tweets today

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15:00 Save the World: Towards more efficient solar power tinyurl.com/6hr5yl #

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There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life

That’s one of the slogans proposed for the Atheist Bus camapign, a counter to increasing religious advertising on buses. I’d love to see a few of these on Manchester buses. The increasing number of King’s Church adverts have been annoying me lately. Even as an atheist I’m insulted by their slogan “Making Jesus famous”. The sheer arrogance of believing they can improve the profile of the most famous imaginary Jewish person ever tells you all you need to know about what King’s Church is really about. It’s about feeding the ego of whoever runs King’s Church, not spreading any of the more positive aspects of Christian teaching or helping in any way the vulnerable people who will most likely respond to the ads.

No future for you

God save the queen her fascist regime
It made you a moron a potential h bomb!

God save the queen she ain’t no human being
There is no future in england’s dreaming

Don’t be told what you want don’t be told what you need
There’s no future no future no future for you

God save the queen we mean it man (God save window leen)
We love our queen God saves (God save… human beings)

God save the queen cos tourists are money
And our figurehead is not what she seems
Oh God save history God save your mad parade
Oh lord God have mercy all crimes are paid

When there’s no future how can there be sin
We’re the flowers in the dustbin
We’re the poison in your human machine
We’re the future your future

God save the queen we mean it man
There is no future in england’s dreaming

No future for you no future for me
No future no future for you

God Save The Queen – Sex Pistols

Fiction – Source

The robot crashed through the shopping centre’s domed roof. It couldn’t have made a more spectacular, or deadly, entrance if it had planned. Shattered glass and twisted steel flew outward to cut and impale shoppers on two levels. The dying machine crashed into the fountain below the glass ceiling, reducing it to rubble. One flailing arm connected with a golden dolphin statue and sent it flying.

Mike Taylor had turned at the crash and screaming. It was the gilded sea mammal, tumbling end over end toward him, that caught his attention. He watched it, working out its trajectory. It might not hit him, but it would land close by. He grabbed the girl he had been talking to about gym membership and pulled her aside.

The statue bounced once on the tiled floor then hit one end of the display they had been stood by. The rest of the structure swung round and swatted Mike and the girl into the cover of an escalator. There was a rumble and everything went dark.

He was shaken back into conciousness by the girl, trapped under him. He rolled off her and slapped at the dust caked on his sleeve. “Sorry.”

“I think you saved my life. So, y’know….”

Beyond the cover of the escalator the floor was covered in rubble and the air full of dust. There was a crash and a rumble and a denser cloud of dust obscured the short distance across to the nearest shop front. “That’s happened a couple of times,” the girl said, “I think there’s something big moving around out there.”

“Like what? Like vehicles?”

There was a smaller clump and a shuffling sound of something pushing through rubble. “Like something with feet.” the girl replied.

Mike ducked around the edge of the escalator, but could see nothing through the dust. Then there was another scrape and something obscured the light coming through the hole in the roof. Something large and ovoid moved towards him. Three arms extended and red laser light danced through the clouds. A dot danced across the floor toward him. “Shit.” He ducked back in just before it reached him. “What the hell is that?”

“Let’s get the fuck out of here.”

“I’m with you on that. Mike.”

She didn’t understand for a moment. “Oh. Sally.”

They edged away from the sounds of movement, trying to use the escalator as cover. “I don’t want to join a gym. You just looked so bored.”

“If I was on commission I’d be offended. Fire exit.” Sally pointed out a sign glowing green through the dust. “Do you think we can make it?”

There was another crash, an impact so heavy it knocked them both of their feet. Blue and purple light flickered from the wreckage and then something bounced across the floor to rest beside them. It was torn metal shell,the crown of an ovoid robot. There was the clatter of metal tumbling over, then silence.

Mike and Sally looked at each other, each willing the other to be the first to say something. He offered his hand and she took it, going with him as he stood and turned.

There was another shape in the grey light now. It had multiple limbs- eight tentacle like arms and four legs. It stood over the truncated remains of the fallen robot like a child’s drawing of Shiva as an octopus, adding a blue glow to the light from the hole in the roof. As Mike and Sally approached it tried to pull up to its full height, but staggered as two of its legs buckled. They rushed toward their saviour.
The creature was shorter than the robot had been and significantly slimmer. It had a spherical head dotted all around with what could only be eyes but no obvious nostrils or mouth. Below this there was a symbol on what could be best called the chest. It glowed a silvery blue and seemed to be circling through every crop circle ever. The tentacles had hands on the ends- two multi jointed grasping fingers and three shorter opposing ones. As Mike and Sally drew closer two of the arms unfurled and the grasping fingers wrapped around their wrists.

The grip was firm but not painful. They tried to pull away, but were held fast. As they watched, the creature split into two. Two creatures, now with two legs and four arms each. One held Mike and the other Sally. Each had a smaller version of the crop circle icon on its chest and they each reached for it and peeled it off and rapidly swiped it on to the chest of their captive. The icons burnt through their clothes and adhered to their skin with a strange and discomforting lack of sensation. The creatures released their grips and collapsed into a pile like dropped hose pipe.
Mike and Sally hadn’t let go of each other’s hand through the whole exchange. They stepped back. “Fuck.” said Mike, as eloquent as he could manage.

Something was working its way under their skin, away from where the icons had hit their chests. But that didn’t get their attention now. They stared around at the destruction, finally seeing the bodies and blood. “Oh God.” Sally stepped closer to Mike. “How many…..?”

“Sixty five that I can detect.”


“These things are doing something to us. I can sense so many things.”

“Yes, I’m getting it now. Electricity, structures, infra red.”

They turned to each other. “There’s another robot.”

Without even thinking about it they jumped up through the hole in the roof. From the vantage point they could look down on the terrified crowds and emergency vehicles in the vast car park. “There.” Another large ovoid robot stood amongst wrecked cars, tearing them to pieces. Armed Police were approaching it, even though they didn’t know what to do when they got within firing range. Mike could feel the static of an energy weapon charging up and zoomed in to see the stubby gun shape rising above the crown of the robot. He could also sense the protective energy field that had suddenly formed around Sally and himself. Information he could never previously have imagined comprehending was available to him as well, as if he had just developed a dozen more senses. “You destroy it and I’ll keep people safe.” Sally told him.

They finally let go of each others’ hands before shooting across the roof at bullet pace. It was a long way from the edge of the roof to the far car park where the robot was wreaking havoc, but they knew they could make it. Mike pushed off and formed a Superman pose, fists out in front of him, heading straight for the robot. Sally deliberately jumped shorter, so she could land between the Police and the robot.

Mike imagined a wedge forming in front of him and saw it take shape. It wasn’t quite right, he changed it to taper from a single point just before he hit the robot. The shell buckled, and a seam somewhere began to tear, but Mike didn’t break all the way through to the inner workings. He bounced back from the impact as the robot toppled over. They both rolled and came back up to fighting stances.

The stubby gun traversed and pointed at Mike. Think fast, he told himself, think mirror. The shimmering blue field formed concave in front of the weapon, reflecting most of the blast back. Hot plasma found its way through the burst seams and destroyed less hardened components inside the shell. There was the sad sound of mechanisms powering down and the robot’s three legs went limp. The body clanged to the ground, tottered for a moment then keeled over to crush a burning car.

Mike stepped back, staring at the destruction around him. He’d just jumped in as if it were any old level of a video game, no thought for his own safety, just the need to kill the boss and move on. Now that the reality of the situation was sinking in he felt exhilarated.

Sally walked backwards to meet him, watching the crescent of Police around them. “They haven’t put their guns down.”

“Can you blame them, think what we must look like. We may look human, but we just did a bunch of superhuman shit righ
t in front of them.”

“Oh, and we’re naked.”

Mike looked down. “Bloody hell, when did that happen?”

“I really don’t know. But not only are they facing a pair of super humans, one of them is obviously horny.”

“Oh. Er……. I…..”

Sally took Mike’s hand and turned to him. “Shall we slip off to somewhere more comfortable?”

“Yes. Let’s.”

And they disappeared.

* * * * *

Some time later they sat together in a crater and watched the Earth rise.

“I don’t think anyone’s done that before.” announced Sally.

“Neal Armstrong would be pissed off if he knew what we’ve done to his footprints.”

“You understand that I don’t have sex on the Moon with just anyone. Especially not if I’ve known them for less than an hour.”

“I think today can be counted as special circumstances.”

Sally traced the symbol on her chest. It had stopped cycling and settled on one configuration when they had arrived at the lunar surface, but now it shifted and three crescents appeared on the left. A holographic screen appeared in front of them. “Each symbol represents a different function. Your tattoo seems to have different symbols to mine for some functions. I asked it some questions whilst you were asleep.”

“I was asleep?”

“You may be a super man, but you’re still a man.”

“Sorry. I’ll try harder next time.”

“Harder wasn’t the problem. Anyway, I’m getting distracted. I asked some questions.”

“About these tattoos?”

“About everything. Short story is that we’ve just become involved in a galactic war. The creatures that gave us the tattoos are under attack by a swarm of self replicating robots. They don’t know where the robots came from, but they’re eating their way around the edge of a civilisation of dozens of races. Earth is right in the path of one of the flanking arms of robots. The creatures we met were here to see if we were sufficiently advanced to fend for ourselves against robot attack. We’re not.

“Before they could report back they were attacked by a scouting party of robots. There are another hundred or so robo-corpses between Mars and where they crashed to Earth. The aliens were mortally wounded, but they can pass on their exo skeleton and weapons system to any creature they come into contact with. When they saw us holding hands they must have presumed that we melded together the same way they do and chose us to inherit their power.”

“So we’re Earth’s last, best hope?” The screen showed the locations of shattered robots, receding into space. Mike tugged the panel until it overlaid the landscape in front of him.

“Hardly. Between us we might just be able to take on a hundred or so of these robots, but there are billions of them in the main swarm, with mother ships and everything. We need to bring the rest of the planet up to near this level before the main body arrives. There are plans for the shields, weapons and flight systems stored in the tattoo that work from first principals onward.”

“And there are dead robots to scavenge from. That should help kick start things.” Mike zoomed in on the nearest robot. He could get to it in a few minutes.

“But who do we give the technology to?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, who would you trust with it? The United States would hoard the technology or use it to start another stupid war. Russia would try to get back all the former Soviet republics. China would clamp down on human rights and close its borders. And they’re just the three most powerful. The smaller countries would be worse, if anything, and the UN isn’t as powerful or independent as it ought to be.”

“France?” Mike suggested with a grin.

“Maybe. But can you imagine just how arrogant they would be about it?”

They chuckled, then subsided into quiet thought. Mike took over control of the screen to bring up the schematics Sally had told him about. They were presented as diagrams and symbols, readable in any language. “Open source.” he said in the end.


“We give the technology to everyone and let them do what they want with it. You’re right that we can’t trust any government, so we bypass them and give the technology straight to the citizens.”


“Careful seeding of the technology. There are a hundred robots. The British government already has three, and two dead aliens. We drop the rest around the world. One on the White House lawn, just to take the piss, the rest where we think they’ll be found by the right people. Then we go to universities and leave the plans where the nosiest students can find them. And finally, we release them on the internet. We’ll have to find a way to get the greater story out as well, so people will start working together to prepare a defence. Yeah, that’ll work better than trusting any politicians to get anything done.”

“You’re a geek aren’t you?”

“Afraid so.”

“I guess I can learn to live with that.”

Note This one’s really about the bit at the end. I’ve been reading Baen books again. They’re enjoyable, but one assumption annoys me. It’s taken as a matter of faith, in all the stories with a contemporary setting, that the only hope for the planet is the United States military and government. I just don’t accept that. The military is professional enough, but they’re only as good as the orders they’re given. The current US government’s leadership on terror and global warming has only managed to make the situations worse.

So this is a rather simple superhero origin tale with alien threat built in that’s based upon my mistrust of any government’s ability to move as fast or be as flexible as necessary. If I were to expand upon it I would spend some time examining the authorities’ reactions and efforts to get things back on their terms, show how reactionaries can hamper the hard work that needs to be done.

Get God out of politics

I don’t think, in the 21st century, we should be letting superstitions sway politics. Your religion can affect the way you behave but not the way you expect others to behave. Come Judgement Day the Flying Spaghetti Monster is going to weigh your soul based upon how much good you did, not how many people you bullied into pretending to love it.

However, we still have Bush and Blair invading Iraq because their imaginary friend told them to ignore the facts and go right ahead and act on their fantasies. Every one of the US presidential candidates has to assert that they are faithy-er than the next one and the most scary of the Republican mob puts subliminal crosses in his campaign videos.

So it’s refreshing to have the new Lib Dem leader give a straightforward answer to an irrelevant question. It’s a shame he then had to go and spoil this moment of uncommon honesty from a politician by issuing a statement that he didn’t wish to offend Christians. The sort of Chrisian who’s offended that another person doesn’t believe exactly the same things they do isn’t really a Christian. They’re just someone hiding behind a convenient shield and using it as an excuse to air all their insecurities.

Take religion out of politics, and call people’s bluff every time they try to use faith to justify their prejudices, and the world will start to be a better place.

You cheap lousy faggot

Yes, this is the uncensored version.

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won’t see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I’ve got a feeling
This year’s for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They’ve got cars big as bars
They’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It’s no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing “Galway Bay”
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You’re a bum
You’re a punk
You’re an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it’s our last

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you

Fairytale of New York – The Pogues

Hey rainmaker, come away from that man

He’s gonna step on you again, he’s gonna step on you
He’s gonna step on you again, he’s gonna step on you
You’re twistin’ my melon man, you know you talk so hip man
You’re twistin’ my melon man

Hey rainmaker, come away from that man
You know he’s gonna take away your promised land
Hey good lady he just wants what you got you know
He’ll never stop until he’s taken the lot
(Hey Hey he hey hey)

Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire
Don’t you know he can make you forget you’re a man
Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire
Don’t you know he can make you forget you’re the man
You’re a man

You’re twistin’ my melon man, you speak so hip

Hey rainmaker he got golden plans I tell you
You’ll make a stranger in your own land
Hey good lady he’s got God on his side he got a double
Tongue you never think he would lie

(Oh he lied, oooh he’s twistin’ my melon man
(Oh he lied, oooh he’s twistin’ my melon man)

Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire
Don’t you know he can make you forget you’re a man
Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire
Don’t you know he can make you forget you’re the man
You’re the man

He’s gonna step on you again, he’s gonna step on you
He’s gonna step on you again, he’s gonna step on you

Hey rainmaker, come away from that man
You know he’s gonna take away your promised land
Hey good lady he’s got God on his side he got a double
Tongue you never think he would lie

Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire
Don’t you know he can make you forget you’re a man
Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire
Don’t you know he can make you forget you’re the man
You’re the man

You’re twistin’ my melon man, you know you talk so hip man
You’re twistin’ my melon man
(Hey Hey he hey hey)

He’s gonna step on you again, he’s gonna step on you again
He’s gonna step on you again, he’s gonna step on you again

Happy Mondays – Step On

Devolution in Kentucky

The Creation Museum in Kentucky has exhibits showing dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark and claims the Grand Canyon was created by the Flood.

While the $27 million museum near Cincinnati has drawn snickers from media and condemnation from U.S. scientists, those who believe God created the heavens and the Earth in six days about 6,000 years ago say their views are finally being represented.

“What we’ve done here is to give people an opportunity to hear information that is not readily available … to challenge them that really you can believe the Bible’s history,” said Ken Ham, president of the group Answers in Genesis that founded the museum.

via BoingBoing