Ever wonder what goes through the mind of that guy on the front page who you haven't seen on film at all? No not Rob, Mike - aka Ratman. Well, no one really knows what he's thinking these days, but we are fortunate enough to have chronicled a collection of philisophical rantings circa 2002!

So enjoy, if you dare...

Giants and Cyclops

You may not have noticed but right now you are standing on the shoulders of a Cyclops. Don't look down but there he is.

Have you ever heard the term "Standing on the shoulders of giants"? It refers to how mankind is a result of and reliant on the acheivements of his forebears - those who came before us. Our civilisation as it is today could not have been if it werent for Einstein, Newton, the guy who sliced bread, the caveperson who invented the wheel and the chimp who fell out of his tree.

These are the Giants we balance on. Of course, I didnt say giant before did I? I said Cyclops, but thats only because todays modern society is focused on one thing - power, money and advancement of the self. No that's not three things, its one thing.

So, picture it if you will; You, yourself and...well you get the idea. Standing atop a huge Cyclops, its claws full of money. The Cyclops is in turn standing atop another Cyclops. Beneath that Cyclops is a Giant, yep a Giant, and you are all balanced atop each others shoulders.

Look further down. Below that Giant is another Giant. Below that? Yep you guessed it, another Giant. Eventually the Giants come to an end and it may be seen that the bottom giant is standing on the shoulders of an ordinary sized person. There is a chain of these people, all standing atop each others shoulders with the Giants balanced up on top. The people are kings, inventors, explorers, anyone who ever discovered, invented or forgot something thousands of years ago.

At the bottom is an ape. The original ape who, one fateful day, slipped and fell off his branch and discovered a whole new world. I dont know how this incredible monkey manages to hold up all those people, let alone all those Giants and Cyclops.

Come to think of it, you're standing on top of all this, shouldnt you get off and give the poor bugger a break?

Collective Stupidity

This is my theory. It is a true theory, in fact it is plainly obvious everywhere you go. You may not like it, but here it is.

"A person is intelligent. A group of people is not. In fact, the intelligence of the people in a room is inversely proportional to the amount of people in the room."

Basically you can have a perfectly intelligent conversation with any person you meet but as soon as more people turn up, each person present is immediately more stupid. The larger the group, the thicker the people until you reach the point of mindless mobs raging through streets or soccer fields.

You can see this phenomenon anywhere, at the game, on the street, at a board meeting, at political summits, wars, cafes and pubs. Heard of mob mentality? Its wrong, mobs dont have minds because of the sheer amount of brains in one place each crowding the thought of the next.

Ever wonder why Einstein lived alone?

Things Do Stuff

I have about three mottoes. The chiefest of these is this:

"Things do stuff."

I say it all the time. If you said this to someone, anyone, they're likely to look at you crooked, ignore you, lock you up, or any of a strange assortment of things. Basically - it doesnt sound very sane, does it?

Think about it for a second though. Things really do do stuff dont they? Things are always doing stuff, they never stop. So it may sound crazy but its true. But wait there's more...

If you asked a scientist, a physicist, a quantum mechanics specialist what the world was and how it works, at the most basic levels, what do you think he would tell you?

All any decent physicist could tell you for sure about your universe is that "things do stuff". It's true. That is the greatest extent to which we understand atomics, sub-atomics, photons, all of that. All we really know is that things do stuff.

So what might sound like a slightly non-sane thing to be saying at any point in time is actually the definition of our entire universe in three simple words. Now you know why I like it so much. So much for a degree in physics, eh?

Taking the Lord's name in vain

Some of you will already know what im getting at. Put your hand up if you know what this sentence means. Stand up if you know what it really means. People would have you believe that it means you shouldn't say things like "Oh God!" and "Jesus Christ", in a cursing sense of course. That's wrong, a far more accurate term for that sort of thing is blasphemy, even though thats not quite right either. Really there's no name for it and you're just calling on said deity - go figure.

Taking the 'Lord's' name in vain would be if you said "Ha! I'm God! Worship me!" or words to that effect. Basically if you claimed to be (a) God (or any of his parts as it were).

Some people just aren't smart. Of course if you, my humble reader happens to be an exponent of such christian religeousness, don't blame this site. Blame me, and everyone else who can think for themselves. If you continue reading this column you will no doubt build up a thorough idea of my opinion of sheep religion.

Cheating in Video Games

Why, oh why, do people think that cheating at computer games is 'fun' or has any value? For pity's sake what could you ever hope to gain from cheat codes? Sure, ok, it can be fun to make the birds in AOE explode, it makes it easier if you have all the guns in Doom or Quake but do you really gain anything?

No.

Remember what it feels like to finally clock a game you've always played? Or even just to pass the level you never passed before? There is a real sense of acheivement you get when you accomplish things in a game unaided. You also improve your skills at the game. I think we can all agree that playing something challenging and exciting is much more fun than slaughtering a million guards with no effort whatsoever. I don't mind if you resort to cheats as a fun aspect of the game AFTER you have exhausted all the other possibilities. Before then though, it just not worth it.

Not enough hours in the day...

I was thinking the other day about how people are always complaining that they need another hour in the day. I felt the same way myself. Sometimes there's just not enough time to get it all done, right? Well this put me in mind of a documentary I saw once...

They showed this experiment where they would effectively seal people away from the sun and let them run on their own natural sleep cycle. Apparently the sun resets our cycle every morning when it rises so we are brought back into line with the 24 hr system. Left to our own devices however we develop a cycle of around about 25 hours, give or take - There goes our missing hour. Coincidence? Not today.

"You know when you cut Onions, right?"

A friend of mine recently came up with a theory. For some reason it actually made sense and I was quite shocked when I heard about it. Both because it made sense, and because it was this particular mate of mine had thought of it.

We are all familiar with the phenomenon where people chopping onions spontaneously burst into tears. My mate postulated that all onions are psychic. Wrap your head around that for a minute.

Psychic Onions.

So psychic that when you chop one up it is capable of broadcasting it's pain, it's sadness, it's heartache and suffering. Hit by this emotional barrage what person wouldn't cry? Amazing eh? The secrets of the universe revealed.

Talkshow Censorship

Recently I was unfortunate enough to be present while Sally Jessy Raphael was on. Bugger. Whenever someone swore they would bleep out the swear word. I assume you are familiar with the idea. "What the BLEEP did you say you did with my half-brother's wife's sister's mailman's chimpanzee?" Is there anyone who doesnt know what they are saying under those bleeps? How could it be any more obvious? Half the time they miss half the word anyway; "F-Bleep-ck you!"

More curious was the realisation that not only were they bleeping out the swear words, they would fuzz-out the swearer's mouth at the same time! To what purpose I must wonder? For lip-readers perhaps? Of course, some people may be afraid that their children might hear the words and copy them. Maybe someone has kids talented enough to figure out how the words might sound by mimicing the mouth movement (unlikely as this is). Fine. Why then did the show display an AO icon? AO, ie no kids. If only adults are watching in the first place, why do they need to bleep out the swear words?

I've said it before and ill say it again: There's something seriously wrong with America.

Shoe Squeaks

No shit, there I was.
Walking home in the middle of the night.
Have you ever noticed how quiet the streets are at night, or early in the morning?
You know, when no-one is around to make any noise.
That's what this night was like. Silent.
Make that Dark and silent.
No, it was dark, silent, and Wet.

Silent except of course for strange, squeaking noise.
I could hear it every couple of steps.
Squeak...thump...squeak...thump...squeak...
Disturbing the perfect silence of the night.

Of corrs it dusnt tak sum1 of my calibar of geenius Long 2 find out wat it cood b.

My new shoes were squeaking, no actually just one of my new shoes. Which leaves to wonder if it would be more or less annoying if both had been squeaking. In either case it was just one, but it pissed me off (as many things do).

You see one of my many sides likes to make only so much noise, to put things back in exactly the same position as they were found, to wipe off fingerprints... You get the picture. Thankfully I wasnt burgling a house tonight, I was only walking home.

I discovered that if I walked slowly, I could stop my shoe making the noise it did. My walk home takes long enough as it is - being 7kms long and all - so this was obviously not good enough. So I tried walking backwards and funnily enough this put an end to the noise completely. This was only really any use if I was content to walk home backwards. Some days I would have tolerated this and done it for the novelty value but today I just wanted to get home. In the end I just bit the bullet and tolerated the squeak as best I could. Funny how life does that to you isnt it? It puts a problem in your way and no matter what you try to do about it, makes it stick.

Damn Microsoft!

Indeed "Damn Microsoft!" is another favourite saying of mine. This is because just about everything, in some small way, can be linked back to Microsoft. Thats right, everything is Microsoft's fault.

Remember the case of the squeaky shoe? Damn Microsoft for that shoe because the chances are that Microsoft products were used to design that shoe and how can you expect something decent to come of that? Think about it. What is wrong in your life right now? I bet you can link it to them. Wether directly or indirectly, somehow it's their fault.

If you have trouble blaming Microsoft for something, just send me an email and I'll explain exactly how Bill Gates and his company have ruined your life.

Cleft Lip

Have you ever known anyone with a cleft lip? I had a strange thought the other day. It's about whistling. You know how to whistle right? Basically you force air out of a small gap between your lips or teeth and this makes a noise. My question is this: Can someone with a cleft lip whistle with his mouth closed?

Think about it, he's got a perfectly good gap there already, if he blows air through it, will it whistle? Which raises the question, does basic breathing automatically whistle if you have a cleft lip?

Strange.

Equity & Equality

My next issue is one which could be applied to a number of different situations but for this example I will use The Disabled. Thats right, disabled people. They're different from us arent they? They've got bits missing, or that dont work properly, whatever. It's not strictly PC but that's okay, 'cos it's still true. They however would, have it that they are the same as fully fit or 'abled' people. That they are worth the same respect and treatment. That we shouldnt talk down to them or otherwise mistreat them in any way.

Fair enough. I myself would, if I were ever disabled, still maintain that I was worth more than the average human.

Why then do we have disabled parking spaces? Why wheelchair access buildings? Why paraplegic toilets and all the rest of the special advantages given to 'differently abled individuals'? If they are the same as the rest of us, why do they require these things? If they want to be treated the same, why do they draw attention to their differences?

I dont say all this to offend anyone, just to make a point. It's unfair.

Look at a car park for instance. Let us, for the moment, make peace with the fact that there are wheelchair-marked parking spaces. Look at where they are. Look around the whole yard if you need to. All the special spaces are right next to the doors. It would make more sense to me that if disabled people were the same as the hoi-polloi we should have the special spaces sprinkled evenly around the lot so as to be completely fair to everybody. But no. The so-called disadvantaged are given yet another 'perk'.

Try applying this principle to other situations you see and decide for yourself.

Fear of God

Time for another one about sheep-religion. I know you've been looking forward to it! Har har.

Today it's about the phrase: "We're all decent God-fearing people here, Mister."

It doesnt matter the exact wording here, the important part is "God-Fearing". Some of you will have clicked by now. Only christians use this term and if they are decent christians as they say, then why need they fear the wrath of god?

It's as simple as that.

Sports Protection

I'm sure you've all seen american athletes playing Grid Iron, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, etcetera. And I'm sure you've noticed that the guys playing these sports are all heavily armored. You know, chest and back plates, helmets, cups/jockstraps, whatever they can get away with. "Sure," I hear you say, "those are rough sports". But I'm from New Zealand and that sort of thing just doesn't slide here. Only a pussy armors himself up before a game in this country.

Lets compare Grid Iron (American Football) with Rugby. Both are similar games with similar goals. In America, the entire team wear all of the aforementioned protection - at least. In NZ the only protective gear we wear is padded headgear, and thats only one or two players out of the entire team.

In America, a side is divided up into offensive and defensive teams, only one of which is on at any time. Play is divided into 'plays' each usually not lasting long, with plenty of time in between to decide what to do next and for teams to switch over if necessary. And of course there are subs if someone (heavens forbid) is injured.

In NZ a side is only as big as the game requires, ie 15 odd men not counting subs in case of injury or if a player has been overtaxed. Play is divided into halves, each half being 40 minutes long at least. Play is usually continuous unless they need to pause for a conversion for example. Most players remain on the field the entire game.

There you have it. Our men go hard for 80 minutes completely unprotected while Americans play half a game in scattered pieces wearing half their weight in plastic. If you need any more evidence just watch our netball girls play!

I've said it before and i'll say it again. There's something seriously wrong with America.

Shoehorns

Have you ever used a shoehorn? They are those oddly shaped devices created so that people could get tight shoes on to (and off of) their feet easier. Needless to say they're a bit daft and we dont usually bother with them here in NZ. If your shoes are too tight to put on without an aid, you should have bought bigger ones. It's that simple. I propose that shoehorns are completely useless. The proof for this is obvious, if they are so usefull, why doesnt everyone carry them around? Imagine if they did!

Imagine if you used a shoehorn regularly to put your shoes on and to take them off. What would you do if you were suddenly without it and in need? Would you go shoeless? This raises the question that if one did carry a shoehorn around for regular use, where would you keep it? Would your trusty companion go into your handbag with your make-up and hairbrush? Would you keep it in your pocket? If so, which? Would you hang it from your belt?

If you have any idea where to keep your shoehorn, email me and let me know!

Screech!!

For some reason recently I found myself watching Suzie's World on TV. It's one of those delightful children's after-school programs. She was talking about how the earth is always moving but we don't feel it because we are moving at the same speed. During the course of the lesson she used the car analogy. You know how when you are in a car, you can only sense its speed by referencing outside objects but you can always sense acceleration or decceleration. As you would expect this got me thinking...

Think about what it feels like when you are in a car and it brakes suddenly. No scratch that, think instead about the earth. Imagine the earth as a giant car and we're all riding it. Since it is moving at a constant speed we don't really notice. Suddenly whoever is driving stamps on the brakes.

Whoa.

Onion Theroy, pt. 2

Okay this is a complex one so accordingly I will be brief. They reckon space is curved. They reckon there are a whole lot of parallel universes to this one. So far so good. Hypothesise this...

Imagine the the multiverse is onion shaped. i.e. curved and with the layers of the onion standing for the layers of parallel universes. It works quite well to my thinking and may indeed be possible or even true. What is in the centre of the mutiversal onion? What is on the outside? Does it end at the mythical brick wall, and how would you get there?

What if someone tried to chop the onion? Puts a whole new curve on the Psychic Onion Theory doesnt it?

Ratman - Stoner?

Contrary to popular belief I do not (nor have I ever) smoke cigarettes, dope or anything else. I do not take drugs of any kind and I only drink sparingly. Understandably most people find it hard to believe that I lead so pure an existence. One of my friends has a theory which he thinks may explain all this. Coincidentally it is the same friend who came up with the original Psychic Onions Theory. His theory suggests that I was indeed a dope smoker (and by dope I mean weed, herb, pot, green, cabbage, cannabis, marijuana, leaf, etc).

It continues to say that I once smoked so much dope in one sitting that it completely erased my memories of ever having smoked dope. Thankfully I have no blank spots in my memory and have never been unconscious besides sleep since I was about three. Therefore I can safely refute this theory...

...I think.