Pumpkin Soup! 🎃

If you’re a reader of this blog, you’ll know that (surprisingly) pumpkin triffids have been taking over my greenhouse and happily cohabiting with nasturtiums and nicotianas. Two pumpkins developed (I was watching the male and female flowers eagerly as there’s a window of only a few hours for the bees 🐝 to get busy with them) and today I took the biggest one in, for Hallowe’en! 👻 I think I’ll leave the other one for Christmas.

Male yellow pumpkin flower
Closing female pumpkin flower with seed pod bulge
Holding the pumpkin in my hand
Small pumpkin growing on the vine

My two objectives were to make pumpkin soup and a lantern. First step was cutting it in two, about 1/3 of the way from the top.

Pumpkin cut in two on a wooden table

Now comes the scraping. I cut around the seeds and spoon them out first, chopping and squeezing the pulp to extract them. Some to eat (cos they’re great for the digestive tract apparently for humans and dogs too!) and some to keep to sow next year. I spread them out on kitchen paper, push more on top, turn it over and do that a couple of times till they start falling out cos they’re dry! Then I wrap them up in a clean sheet, put a plastic band round the wee packet and date it.

Pumpkin seeds drying on kitchen paper
Package of pumpkin seeds on table

Frequent readers—and anyone who doesn’t confine their news input to Big Pharma funded mainstream media and their antisocial media shills—will know that we’re in the middle of a global technofascist takeover and that food and seed shortages are a major weapon in the disaster capitalist armoury. If you haven’t been paying attention, you probably have just decided that I’m a “conspiracy theorist”. Bless.

Then comes the fun of carving the evil Hallowe’en face! If you’re a young thing born in the UK this century who goes about saying “Trick or Treat!” as if you’re an American, you may not know that tomorrow is All Saints Day, so tonight is the Eve of All Hallows: Hallowe’en. (Yes, that is where JKR got it from.) So the old idea was that evil things pranced about before they all got chased off by all the sanctity tomorrow. The even older idea, at least in Celtic countries, is that on Samhain, the night of this old Quarter Day (that marks the triumph of the Dark until Beltane or May Day) the veil between the worlds is thin.

Carved pumpkin with electric light inside, on table

In some Latin countries the Day of the Dead/ El Día de los Muertos/ O Dia dos Mortos combines all of these ideas. Anyway, now for the soup! Basically I just chopped up all the pulp and blended it with spinach and cherry tomatoes, then added a home-grown chilli pepper, onions and a slice of ginger, a touch of turmeric and a twist of black pepper.

Added together it’s turned a nice light green. Hopefully it tastes better than it looks!

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Points of Light

The good news today that the unfounded charge against a brave Scotswoman (for the crime of defending female safe space and children’s bodily integrity) has been dropped, is very welcome. Tempered as it is with the bad news that another brave woman in England has experienced so much harassment (in the same struggle) that she has resigned her academic post.

In the past year, I’ve been successful in reminding an ancient Scottish institute of higher learning of 3 Acts of Parliament that together guarantee access—without let or hindrance—to staff, students and guests, masked or unmasked. Yes, I was victimised for it, but I stood my ground. Together with a brave young man, who suffered institutional pressure and a week’s ban from classes (even online!) I was successful in the same endeavour with an amalgamated college in the same city. Just recently I had to take a very strong line with an outdoor activities education centre and remind them that the Nuremberg Code opposes coercion of medical procedures, including testing.

Today I watched a musical YouTube video about the 1960’s US Civil Rights Sit Down Demand, a jarring juxtaposition of jaunty music, photos and video footage of brave young Black men and women being beaten up and arrested for the crime of trying to have a coffee at a racially-segregated lunch counter. It struck me that most of my fellow White people would imagine that we’d have been shoulder-to-shoulder with the Black protesters. I doubt that very much.

My doubt is based on present-day realities. Another brave woman, Whitney Webb, currently living under South American fascism, has been meticulously publicising the nefarious material and personal links of the pharmaceutical industry to Silicon Valley and the military industrial complex, since the first reports of that racist origin story (now officially discredited) about that wet market in Wuhan. Anyone who was paying attention at that time could smell the fraud.

My first blogpost on Covid-1984 (as Spiro Skouras names it) was in early March 2020 and publicised medical experts warning against Covid exceptionalism. Since then I’ve written 42 more on that topic. The latest on the crossover between the peaked (mostly still asleep) and the awoken (mostly already peaked). Spiro, like many independent journalists investigating the official, lucrative, narrative, has been banned from various platforms and suffered financial repercussions. Meanwhile establishment rags like the Guardian (well-named if you’re a reader of Plato) are funded to the hilt by the same “philanthropic” foundation that funds the BBC, Reuters, the WHO and all the “fact checkers”.

Still, otherwise intelligent and well-intentioned people, despite the obvious doublethink (vaccines that don’t immunise, failed pharma companies suddenly performing medical and financial miracles, deaths soaring after vaccination, the coffins following the needles as they steadily prick down the age groups) do not want to see the connections. Even mentioning “4th Industrial Revolution” last year was conspiracy theory; this year it’s supposedly our only salvation from ecocide.

White liberal people conveniently ignore the fact that it wasn’t just a few Redneck misfits who were racist; it was the vast majority of respectable White church-going pillars of the establishment. Secular racism had the backing of a racist reading of the Bible and a racist pseudoscience of phrenology. The Civil Rights movement was considered by these self-satisfied people to be against God and against Nature. The same people who tut at footage of Black people being kicked in the head in coffee shops would gladly lock up their friends and relatives who are unvaccinated and throw away the key.

But still there are points of light. Despite the ignorance, the daily cringing fear (of who or what, exactly?) that causes people to muzzle up with unhygienic cloth masks before going into shops, despite the inertia and lethargy in the face of 5G towers and cancer, jabs and strokes, DNRs and Midazolam, some people are making a difference.

There’s a scene at the end of HP and the Half-Blood Prince that, depending on your mood, you might find either mawkish or moving. In the face of tragedy and looming menace, one woman, and then another and then another, followed by the rest, including the men, hold up their faintly illuminated wands. Combined, the glow dispels the skull and serpent of the Dark Mark above.

Our elders are dead. Our youth are dying. The next generation, if it is ever born, is already cursed. This isn’t “like Thalidomide”. This is, already, the new Thalidomide. All the safeguards laid down to protect mothers, to protect the life in their womb, were skipped. For money. Money and power. And from this weekend in Glasgow, disaster will wear a new mask, a green one, and will hiss and whisper in the language of depopulation as the only hope…for the global elite who are already arranging our replacement.

Hold up your hand. Let your light, feeble as it may seem to you, shine. Let our points of light merge. That glow will defeat the darkness.

Starry storm clouds

Thanks to Andrea Stöckel for releasing her image Starry Storm Clouds into the Public Domain.

Bloody Nature and the Goodness of God

Reading my SARX articles on St Francis and on the modern animal liberation movement, the journalist and history of animal rights author Jon Hochschartner asked me a question:

How do you reconcile the existence of God with animal suffering, specifically wild animal suffering not caused by humans?

This is my response:

Firstly, I must say that it’s a question that has never bothered me. I don’t think that’s because I’m callous to the suffering of wild animals that is not caused by human beings but rather that, because it’s part and parcel of Nature, it doesn’t seem to me to be a moral problem. I also don’t see either human suffering or animal suffering caused by humans to be a theological problem. Suffering caused by humans is certainly a moral problem but the first and fundamental gift to humanity, after existence itself, is free will. Therefore, the alternative to suffering is lack of autonomy. God, the Architect of the Universe, could of course have decided to create us as puppets without any free will but that wasn’t the plan.

Although it may not be originally a Christian idea, the Neoplatonic notion of the Pleroma, that I first encountered in Arthur O. Lovejoy’s The Great Chain of Being, tackles this problem head-on. Lovejoy’s answer is that, in Plotinus’ account of creation through the Demiurge, it is an expression of the Divine, according to the Divine Will, and must necessarily express all possibilities – otherwise creation would be lacking. This is because, in the ancient Greek sensibility, fullness is better than lack: it is more perfect for something to be actualised than not to be actualised. So then everything has to be. Aristotle sometimes uses this sensibility to argue for something necessarily in being rather than simply in potential – and it is this binary of being and potential, of fullness and lack, that is the basis for his theory of Forms.

The concept of pleroma does occur in the New Testament, especially in the letters of Saint Paul, who of course was a Greek scholar, as his learned discourse to the Athenians (which is often criticised by fundamentalist Christians) shows. Saint Paul doesn’t apply this concept to creation directly but he does apply it to both Christ and the Church, including to believers:

(I quote from the Jerusalem Bible)

COLOSSIANS

1:15 “He is the image of the unseen God and the first-born of all creation,

1:16 for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers – all things were created through him and for him.

1:17 Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity. Now the Church is his body, he is its head.

1:18 As he is the Beginning, he was first to be born from the dead, so that he should be first in every way;

1:19 because God wanted all perfection to be found in him

1:20 and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when he made peace by his death on the cross.”

1 CORINTHIANS 10:26 “for the earth and everything that is in it belong to the Lord.”

EPHESIANS

3:16 “Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong,

3:17 so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love,

3:18 you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth;

3:19 until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.”

I think also that we have to remember how artificial our ideas of animals are; how artificial our ideas of Nature are. We live in countries where “wilderness” is mostly created and often has been created by erasing the dwellings and habitats of former inhabitants, human or animal, or both. This has been extensively theorised by J. Baird Callicott, whose critique of wilderness is now less controversial than his proposed alternatives – some of which seem perilously close to UN elite neo-colonialism (see below). I do recommend the work of Lee Hall whose ideas about animal domestication I find very challenging, especially because I have a dog. Lee highlights how artificial animal domestication is, and as a vegan of years who spent decades as a vegetarian, I find this very challenging indeed because it opens my eyes to the fact that, when I go walks with my dog, he immediately wants to be with other dogs. And what he really wants to do is to form a pack and then go hunting and to mate and therefore to ensure the survival of the pack.

My brother-in-law is a dog trainer and I have benefited greatly from his advice, the core of which is that dogs think differently from human beings, and that they have a reason for their behaviour. It’s interesting to me the derision that canine behaviourists have for this idea, as basically they see dog training not as forming a bond with another rational animal but rather as “teaching your dog good manners”, as one put it to me in conversation.

Lee’s work challenges me to accept that the relationship I have, and that my family and my friends have, with my extremely cute tan terrier, Ben, is highly artificial and is, to a great extent, abusive. Ben was taken from his family, at least from his mother and siblings, at an early age. His tail was inexpertly docked in his first year, in his second he was castrated and by the time he got to me he could not live with other dogs because of his aggressive behaviour. Now, with my brother-in-law’s advice, he’s a calm and happy dog aged 11. He gets on well with other dogs and loves people. But his life is not natural and it’s full of frustrated impulses. Just this morning I stopped him from heading into a foxhole. He obviously found this confusing. It’s bad dog logic. Dogs and foxes have a mutual enmity, who am I to interfere? But the land all around, the habitat of this fox, has been devastated by recent tree felling and burning as well as house building some decades ago. There is also an almost continual presence of at least one dog and accompanying human. So to further tip the balance by letting Ben dig out and kill Reynard would be immoral. Ben is like a model prisoner who gets on extremely well with his gaolers and even likes them. Sometimes, when I’m so extremely busy, because I’m an unpaid carer with three part time jobs, he only gets out to the back garden and otherwise out for a short 15 minute walk. He accepts this. He has no choice.

So my point in this long ramble is that the problem of the suffering of wild animals is not a theological problem because the alternative is immoral. We svelte, urbanised, soft, humans have a twisted idea of morality, especially when it comes to animals, because we are so good at hiding from ourselves the abuse that we practise on animals in the name of a “kindness” which is actually selfishness. Nowhere is this more evident than in the services which are dedicated to animal welfare. I remember watching a video on social media of a dedicated (obsessive) animal shelter officer who managed to trap a female dog and her puppies who were living in a junkyard I think, feral, and bring them into the Pound. That, of course, was the end of the story. And it may have been for the female dog. The puppies, if they were lucky, would have been separated. If not, they would have been killed along with their mother. For “their own good”. That somewhat natural family could have been living, still, in the urban wilderness. Suffering no doubt but together and alive. However, the kind human being couldn’t stand seeing that and so she “rescued” them and probably killed at least some of them. It’s this same deadly kindness (allied with economy) that causes us to reject any possibility of the kind of palliative care we extend to our human kin, when one of our beloved domesticated animals is gravely ill. Instead we employ a euphemism for lethal injection, get weepy and expect sympathy. For our kindness.

We have to take responsibility for how sanitised our concept of Nature is. How we have artificially created wilderness by displacing indigenous people and the rural poor in order to make the wilderness a playground for the urban elite. How we have caused devastating ecological change in order to make the world into this playground. So we can’t be surprised about the “wrong kind of Green” that is happening right now under the marketing strategy “The Great Reset”, as detailed by journalist and activist Cory Morningstar, because the monetization of Nature is an old concept and we have all signed up to it already.

Most human interaction with Nature and with animals is now destructive and abusive. It is the height of moral hubris for us to then imagine that how animals interact with each other is morally wrong and constitutes a theological problem about the goodness of their Creator. We simply cannot imagine what Nature is because we see Nature, and animals living in Nature, through so many artificial lenses of our own construction. The best thing we can do for animals is to leave them alone. The second best thing we can do for them is to try to remedy in some way the destruction to their lives and their habitats which we have already wreaked on them. In both endeavours, we can look to God, because we are told (Matthew 5:23-24) that we cannot be in good relation with God when we are at odds with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, we cannot be in communion with God while we are at odds with our fellow creatures.

Rather than judge their Creator for the destruction and the pain that wild animals would cause each other, if they were living in a state of Nature, we should accept responsibility and seek remedy for the destruction and pain we have already caused them, because they are not.

Blue black head of a raven looking watchful against a black background

Thanks to George Hodan for releasing his image Raven into the Public Domain.

Why Won’t White Women Wake Up?

Basically because they don’t dare to.

Consider the stick that Prof. Kathleen Stock gets. She’s White, she’s English, she’s middle-aged and middle-class, she has an O.B.E., she is a former vice-president of the British Society of Aesthetics. She’s a tenured professor of Philosophy. Still, some mediocre male Art Hist. lecturer, who seems to have never got over Rome losing the empire, and publishes mostly his musings on Italian feminist Carla Lonzi, feels entitled to get his kicks in, on social media. He got so much kick back he’s locked his account and the American male instigator of the doxxing campaign “Anti TERF Sussex”, who called her “one of this wretched island’s most prominent transphobes, espousing a bastardised variation of radical feminism” (note how both these men think they’re experts on feminism) has been identified and similarly criticised/ hailed according to ideological position under the hashtag #ShameOnSussexUni.

Consider a wee White woman from a post-industrial town in Scotland’s rustbelt, with none of these other advantages, whose court case is both current and infamous. A brave, friendly and intelligent woman I similarly admire and one whom the Scottish legal system has basically dragged through a hedge backwards yet still manages to come out smiling, with a word of compassion for anyone going through a hard time. I won’t detail all the financial, emotional and reputational stress she’s dealing with, because they’re well-known.

White women who haven’t come out against the war on women don’t dare to because they don’t want the harassment that these women go through. Not only from men who, although they may be criticised, may also be violent. Julie Bindel, co-founder of Justice For Women, knows all about the level of violence, and violent threat, that women suffer. Yet she can’t even speak about this without being attacked. White women who are supporting other women are already being attacked on all sides. Including by other women. Of the 6 FT University of Sussex SU Officers, 4 are female (all have bio pronouns) and the SU are at least tacitly supporting the attack on a member of staff.

So what I’m asking is unfair. I know this. I know some of these women and their supporters. Some only through social media, some in person. I admire them greatly. I’m conscious that we don’t agree on everything and we don’t have to. I’m also, always, conscious that I’m male and when it comes to feminism I don’t get it because, not being female, I just can’t.

I’m asking White women who are already persecuted for standing up for women to wake up. Because if they don’t, I don’t think we’re going to stop the current technocratic takeover. Yes, I know that many people apparently saying the same thing are mad (Simon Peaks), bad (Donald Trump) and dangerous to know (Holocaust deniers). Firstly, I’m not saying what they are. Trust-The-Plan Peaks (no, I’m not linking to any of them) preaches passivity, trust in authority and a morally problematic saviour (Trump) and none of that helps. The third category isn’t worth comment. However, Peaks and Trump and their many followers do, confusedly, critique the current repression of civil liberties – conveniently forgetting all sorts of violations of them that Trump is apparently guilty of.

We can’t leave the liberation of the world to such men. It won’t happen. Trump is not only reportedly associated with financial shady dealings but has made many racist remarks. So these men are not listening to black people.

Why aren’t White women? Gender-critical or not, every feminist I know is anti-racist. Black people are being criticised, and patronised (as poor, stupid and too traumatised by history to think clearly) for resisting coercion by the military-medical-industrial complex that has maimed and killed members of their community for decades. Neither poor nor stupid, American Congress candidate Billy Prempeh subtitles his video address to White liberals “From slaves to human guinea pigs…” and explains: “Why the dark history of Black America justifies our vaccine hesitancy.”

White women need to realise that their relative power and moral authority is enabling rich White men to take over the world and shut down all forms of resistance. Female fascism succeeds in Scotland, New Zealand and in New South Wales just as much as in Germany and for the same reasons: it’s abusive. In contrast, callous clowns like Bojo (who just buried his mother after she died “suddenly”, no doubt after a Covid vaccination) may be admired by their braying supporters but get no sympathy. Female fascist leadership is more insidious, leveraging “caring” in order to strip citizens of our rights.

Another reason why White women don’t want to wake up is because they’re tired. Not as tired as Black women but still exhausted by the constant attacks from men and from their handmaids. The resistance to The Great Reset is multifarious and confusing. It can be difficult to differentiate, at first glance, the brusque dismissal of ecological concern by an elite White male American capitalist who has no problem with making money from fossil fuels (and reducing indigenous territory to tar sands) and the careful and sympathetic analysis of The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg by Canadian journalist Cory Morningstar, who is quite aware, from her own experience, of the vulnerability of young women.

As for Covid, this last and most successful attempt to further the agenda of a global social credit surveillance state benefiting only the elite, it is precisely women’s community leadership which has been co-opted for that cause. It is precisely why a search for “Black vaccine hesitancy” shows, overwhelmingly, images of Black women – and articles that fail to take their concerns seriously.

Men failing to listen to women is sexist. White people failing to listen to Black people is racist.

Billy Prempeh is a Black man with good reason to be wide awake. Whitney Webb is a White woman who understands Black “hesitancy” and doesn’t patronise them for it but, instead, bravely and responsibly publicises the wider context of the elite technocratic agenda.

In order for most of us to survive, in any condition but that of slaves, White women need to wake up. Now.

Woman’s eyes

Thanks to Karen Arnold for releasing her image Eyes of Woman into the Public Domain.

How to save piglets

It’s the feast of St Francis and you may know that about 150,000 UK pigs are under threat of being slaughtered, without the excuse of eating them, due to shortage of staff at abattoirs, due to Brexit. Of these, some are just piglets who face being shot in the head and thrown into a skip like rubbish. Agricultural doublespeak refers to this destruction of the barely-lived lives of the 5th most intelligent animal on our planet (humans, supposedly, being the first) as “animal welfare”.

Here’s how to save them.

1) Network by phone and social media until you have a local group of vegan and vegetarian households willing to either be Piglet Rescuers, Piglet Foster Families or Piglet Food & Finance Friends.

2) Piglet Rescuers need a vehicle (preferably a van) with plastic sheeting and straw or grass cuttings and/ or willing arms to hold scared or excited piglets with their backside/ back legs in plastic/ bin bags/ incontinence sheet nappies.

Bag of Boots 60cm x 60cm disposable bed pads.

They’ll need wellies (farms can be muddy) raincoats (so can piglets) and the pragmatic mindset that they can only take piglets, only as many as can be homed, and saving some is better than saving none. They also need to be polite to the farmer (who may think they’re fools) as well as the firm assurance that the number of piglets they pick up is the number that will be homed, as arranged.

2) Piglet Foster Families need a County Parish Holding (CPH) number, a fenced back garden with 6 square metres per pig, a cleared shed, heated in winter, with straw (a few rescued hens will help deal with troublesome insects but keep their nests out of reach of the growing pigs). Pigs like to root around (it’s comforting for them to do this and distressing when they can’t) and may root up the whole back garden but they can also be walked, especially to woodland, which they love, like dogs. This needs an Animal Plant & Health Agency herd mark but APHA need to be notified of pigkeeping, even as pets, within 30 days of arrival, in any case. Keeping two pigs of the same sex means they won’t be lonely or multiplying! Dogs and pigs don’t usually get along well but there’s mutual appreciation with cats.

3) Piglet Food & Finance Friends are essential to keep the pigs’ food in supply and help with vet bills. Although government websites tend to have dire warnings about domestic food waste, especially containing vegetable oils, they of course are hand in glove with agricultural food suppliers and, although there are somethings that must be avoided, pig sanctuaries do feed their animal friends with veggies and show this clearly on social media. They also know about bills and how to keep them down (because they have to) and need to work very hard to do that—so social media might be a good start to contact them for advice as you’re also advertising them and attracting donations. Whereas everyone can advertise, local piglet rescue networks could perhaps have one person who contacts the nearest sanctuary and passes on advice, to avoid inundating them with your anxieties about your piggy friends when they’ve got animals of their own.

DISCLAIMER—I love pigs but I have no experience or qualifications in caring for them. I’m passing on what I’ve been able to find out about government regulations and advice but I may have misunderstood or be missing a lot. Therefore this post is simply a call to action and the first step is to get informed. There are many great social media sites (such as the American Odd Man Inn on Facebook and Instagram and Pigs in the Wood in England on Facebook) but do be aware that regulations are different from state to state and country to country—including around the UK.

This is a naive attempt to rescue little lives that are currently under threat. I’m prioritising them because they’ve barely lived at all and because by the time they grow their Foster Families should be more experienced in looking after them and better prepared to care for big pigs. When I first turned vegetarian at the age of eight, I stuck a big poster of a pig on my bedroom wall. It said “To Know Me Is To Love Me!”

I still believe that. Let’s rescue piglets!

Cute pink piglet in a pen with straw bedding looking anxiously up at the camera.

Thanks to Petr Kratochvil for releasing his photo Piglet on Farm into the Public Domain.

Topsides and hull

My last post on Harmony described repairing this 1974 Mirror dinghy, again, and how I (eventually) overcame my despair at yet another repair! As a boating friend said, old wooden boats are lovely but they need a lot of maintenance and, when it’s done, that feels worth it!

The broken stern transom gunwale glued with epoxy, and the inner plywood boards dried, I got on with painting. Yes, I could’ve stripped it all back but my pragmatic solution (to get her afloat this year) was that, if the wire brush didn’t take it off, it was staying on! So, after sanding, it was undercoat (International yacht primer) first on the bare planks, then everywhere.

Then it was the topcoat, a deeper Marine blue than the original Navy, giving a vintage feel and (as I’d been misled by the red label) getting away from the red top style borrowed from the tabloid newspaper that sponsored the original. Evening came and (several) mornings came, and then I had to face turning the boat over and surveying the damage to the hull.

The keel paintwork was pretty beat up and there were a couple of dents in the woodwork. Some rotten wood too that would have to be scraped away. So I went to work with the steel brush and took off all the paint and rot that I could. Then I cleaned it up and covered it up again to dry out for some days. Boat repair takes time.

Reluctantly I realised I’d have to get out the epoxy again. So once more with the mask, gloves and goggles. Actually it took a few applications.

Then repainting. Now that the wood was nice and dry. The same Marine colour as the topsides. The same vintage look with just the nameplates showing lighter.

So now, repaired and repainted, the only thing left to do was to check the trailer. Well, I found good and bad news. But that’s a story for another day.