Green grass and cracked earthThere was a large park, a rectangle of green grass, in front of the house where I grew up. Open space. Cracked brown earth and green grass, trampled down by my young feet kicking a football with my friend, running with kites or practising our golf swings.The morning after Guy Fawkes Night, or "firecracker" night, we kids would roam the grass, looking for the husks of old firecrackers, still smelling of gunpowder.Sun and laughter, brown skin and green grass.Grass stained red with the blood of the man who had shot himself in the middle of the park one morning. We kids watched his body, waiting for it to move, as it lay in the middle of the park in a dressing gown. An ambulance drove across the park, its tyres flattening the grass where our young feet had played. After the body had been removed, a policeman washed the blood away with a bucket of water the water splashing up red from the grass, staining my memory before it ran into the
The WheelThe Buddhists say "To live a good life, have good thoughts."* * *The growing field of neuroplasticity tells us that the brain is constantly rewiring itself in response to external stimuli. The brain is constantly changing as its synapses fire.The neuroscientists sum this up with a pithy statement: "The way it fires is the way it wires."* * *In some countries, the people are told this, over and over, for entertainment:The bad guy doesn't have to persuade people to do his bidding. He doesn't have to cooperate or negotiate. That is too difficult. The bad guy is stronger than that.He gets people to do his bidding by punching and kicking them, and by shooting them.A good guy can stop a bad guy by punching and kicking him, and by shooting him.* * *In some countries, the people that live there believe they have the right to bear arms. This is another way of saying that they believe that everyone has the right to be able to kill
Don't tell meDon't tell me you don't want me to leave,Or in your mind, I am already gone,Although I stand in front of you.Don't tell me you want me back,Or in your mind, I was never with you.Open your eyes,And see me here nowAnd forever.
Not PatSome people complain and make everything someone else's fault.Not Pat.Some people are arrogant and condescending.Not Pat.Some people forget to thank those who work behind the scenes to make sure everyone else can have fun.Not Pat.Some people are too scared to live their dreams.Not Pat.Some people never get the chance to race motorbikes at the Isle of Man GP and at Bathurst.Not Pat.Some people are never fortunate enough to have a loving wife and two young sons.Not Pat.Some people are lucky enough to survive a collision between their motorbike and a 4WD.Not Pat.Some people are not meant to die.Not Pat.Especially not Pat.Not Pat.
A Thought Experiment"Thank you for being part of this trial. My name's Stephen. We spoke on the phone."We shook hands. Stephen continued."All you need to do as part of this experiment is to sit in this room and write a story on this computer. We will have an electrode attached to the back of your head which will be collecting data about your thoughts and recording it. You won't feel it at all - it won't hurt, and you won't know anything is happening. Do you have any questions?""What do you want me to write about?" I asked."Whatever you want," said Stephen."OK. And... what are you going to do with this data? With my thoughts?""Well, as you would have read in our privacy agreement, any personal data in your thoughts will be dealt with confidentially. By that, I mean, anything you yourself choose to have removed from any findings we might publish will be edited out. Is that OK?"I thought about it for a s
The Postmaster GeneralI find myself thinking about the Postmaster General. When I was a kid, a young teenager, one of my many summer jobs was being a postman. I was part of the small army of teenage recruits that helped the post office to cope with the inflated workload of Christmas mail. Where I worked was just one of the small suburban post offices that used to dot the town. I think it later became a suburban branch of a bank, if I remember correctly, which in turn became a shop of some sort, as services retreated from suburbia and became consolidated in larger centres.We teenage postmen needed only one qualification for the job; we needed to own a bicycle. We would arrive at the post office in the morning, to be handed leather satchels of letters that had been sorted by the Real Postmen at the crack of dawn. The satchels would be strapped to the handlebars of your bike. The Real Postmen were Men, in my teenage boy's eyes.
The story of my lifeLet me introduce my oldest ancestors, at the root of my family tree. They were a pair of hydrogen atoms. I can't remember their names, to my eternal shame. They lived in the core of a star which some say was over a billion years old. Theirs was a typical romance they met, they reacted, they fused and produced offspring. Their children included a deuterium and a helium atom, but of more import to my destiny was the little gamma ray they sired.This little gamma ray, my father, had a short life, unfortunately. He was absorbed almost straight away in that ancient star's core, and gave birth to a son. Me. He named me Photon, after the Greek word for light, an act which always puzzled me, as this all happened a long time before there were any Greeks anywhere.I packed my bags and bade my farewells, keen to embark on my life. I began the journey to the surface of the star. Thi
Entrance ExamGod's sternest test for entry into His Kingdom of Heaven at the Pearly Gates (and surely also the finest of His many practical jokes) is to ask the newly arrived if they had squandered their God given ability for analytical thought while they were alive. It is with a mischievous glint in His eye that he casts His believers down into the Infernos of Hell.
The Tao of Motor RacingBook 1"Where the rubber meets the road"1.1The void is separated into existence and non-existence by the race track, for the race track is the Way, formed of the nameless Tao. The names of the race track are many. Silverstone, Imola, Nurburgring are but some of the many names of the Way, but none of them is the Way, for the Way is all things and has no name.1.2The racing lines are many. They defy labels such as Good, Better, Best, for they are all part of the Way, provided they are going in the right direction. Although the eternal Tao lies beyond categories, driving in the wrong direction destroys the fabric of Space and Time like a crack destroys the clear note of a bell.1.3The race track is the Way, but it is not the Tao, for the Tao is all things. The Yin is incomplete without the Yang, which together form the whole. If the race track is the Yang, then the race driver is the Yin. Both t
Her voiceShe had a voice like a cold slab of concrete.