Game of Drones: A farce of fire and fury. Episode 1

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Scene one. A lavish ocean-side mansion at an idyllic retreat. On a nearby golf course, a fat man with a fake tan and ridiculous hair slices another shot into a sand bunker.

“Perfect shot!” beams King Windbottom, who is now several shots over par and losing badly.

“This is my best ever performance,” he declares. “I may even break the course record today.”

With the threat from the north escalating and his administration in crisis, King Windbottom wrestles with difficult decisions on a daily basis.

“Hmm, a nine iron or a seven? I’m sure I can make the green from here.”

His opponent and the caddies look sceptical.

“Oh look, a fire-dragon!” says Windbottom.

The others dutifully look away, as he kicks his ball out of the bunker. They exchange glances but pretend to not notice.

A messenger brings the latest news regarding the ‘mad king of the north’, king Wrong-un.

“He claims to have fire-dragons, sire. With long range capabilities. He says he will attack our forward outpost and sink all our boats.”

King Windbottom suddenly begins to sob uncontrollably. The others stare at their shoes. An assistant quickly steps forward, with pictures of kittens and inspirational affirmations:

YOU ARE THE GREATEST LIVING PERSON!

ALL PEOPLE LOVE AND ADMIRE YOU!

EVERY WOMAN WANTS TO BE WITH YOU!

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The future is here, almost

albert_einstein_medNew year’s eve is often a time of reflection and even regret, as well as anticipation and hope for the year to come. But we can only live in the present, so as a great sage once said:

“Be not afraid for the future or regretful of the past, for the past was once the future, and the future will soon be the present, until it quickly becomes the past, again. In this way there is no past, present or future. Or something.”

Wise words indeed and ones we can all easily choose to ignore.

We lost many wonderful people in 2016, including some personal heroes like David Bowie. I suspect we also lost a bit of faith in human nature, with the UK’s Brexit debacle and the US presidential election demonstrating once again how the masses can be manipulated by ruthless sociopaths and morally bankrupt media organisations to vote against their own best interests. We now live in a post-truth world we are told, although I’m not sure if that is true or not.

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Curve balls and cockroaches

metamorphosis_medLife has a tendency to string you along for a while, giving the impression that it’s all rather predictable. Then one day you wake up and find you’ve turned into a giant insect and wham! The world is suddenly a very different place.

Of course not everyone has an experience quite as extreme as Kafka’s unfortunate protagonist Gregor, in his story The Metamorphosis. For most of us those unexpected events that you didn’t see coming may be relatively common, although still life changing. You lose your job, get in a traffic accident or break up with a partner and suddenly the sense of stability is gone and all bets are off. It reminds you of just how fragile a construction our lives can be and how a single decision or chance event, somewhere back in time, can potentially ripple through the universe like a personal tsunami, overturning your plans and hopes like so many little boats.
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Me, me, me!

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There was a survey a while back that showed that a quarter of the American population believe that the sun revolves around the Earth, and not the other way round. This was of course the mainstream view until our old chum Nicky Copernicus upset the apple-cart with his heliocentric model, published in the 16th century. At last the Earth was put in its rightful place, although not everyone was thrilled with this particular advance in human knowledge. There were certainly some major grumblings from the Catholic church. Still, at least Mr C managed to avoid the fate of his defender and fellow astronomy clever-clogs, friar Giordano Bruno, who apparently was just too much of a rebel for the church and had his chestnuts roasted on an open fire, along with the rest of him.

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Calling all weirdos

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Are you a bit weird? How would you know for sure? How does one even define such a term?

The OED defines it thus:

Weirdo: A person whose dress or behaviour seems strange or eccentric.”

Okay, so we have a working definition, which is a start. But things may not be quite so simple. Because you see there are so many other categories that seem to impinge on this one: oddballs, eccentrics, characters, visionaries, freaks, outsiders, introverts, writers..

It’s a fine line between eccentric and bonkers, between visionary genius and delusional crackpot. Stay just on the right side of it, and you might find yourself lauded, loved and sung about (although maybe not in your lifetime). Wander across that imaginary line too far though and you might find yourself mocked, attacked or even taking up residence in a locked room with heavily padded walls and terrible room service.

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Seven steps to fame, fortune and misery

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In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”
Andy Warhol

In these days of instant fame, social media superstars and startup billionaires, there’s never been so many opportunities to suck at life and be really miserable. Here is the handy halfbananas guide to leveraging your personal brand for maximum impact in the smediaverse and beyond.

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Kick the bucket-list

desert ship_medThe concept of making a to-do list of amazing experiences and must-see places has become something of a cliche in recent years. There was even a movie called The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, although I’ve not seen it (it’s not on my list).

If you’re not climbing the Matterhorn for charity dressed as a penguin, or piloting your own fantastical steam-punk ship/house to the Burning Man festival, you’re not really thinking big enough, man. Run an ultra-marathon across the desert, take ayahuasca with an Amazon shaman, or unicycle to the South Pole to raise awareness for world albino-hamster day. But don’t just sit there!
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