Is this the Age of the Pleb?

There are many systems of thought that describe various times, epochs or ages that humanity appears to pass through on its collective historical journey through the Great Fractal. Plato’s Republic described it alchemically, the Hindu cosmology describes it in a similar fashion and many other traditions have a time of increasing disorder leading to a climactic revolution.

In Republic, Plato laid out how culture disintegrates over time. Society begins in a Golden Age, according to Socrates in Book VIII, and gradually deteriorates.

It begins with rulers who put virtue above all, and who accordingly cannot own property. Because of the errors that these good people inevitably make as a consequence of being fallible, they are replaced by an inferior and greedier set of rulers.

Eventually the greed of the society leads to money being lent out at high rates of interest, which inevitably concentrates wealth in the hands of a very few. Society degenerates further into the rule of the mob, when doing whatever one wishes to do is the only value.

Here there is little of the higher order that an alchemist would associate with gold, silver or iron. Indeed, the men of gold have vanished by the time it comes to democracy. The man of clay takes charge by convincing the man of iron that the man of silver wishes to enslave him, and by convincing the man of silver that the man of iron wishes to kill him, and so ensures that those two mutually destroy each other.

The Hindu timeline tells a fantastic – and weirdly similar – story. Each Great Year, or Age of Man, or Maha Yuga, itself consists of four smaller Yugas.

The first of these, the Satya Yuga, is also known as the Age of Truth, and it corresponds very closely to what an alchemist would call a Golden Age and what Plato would have called rule by aristocracy. Here it is the gods that are, rightly, in charge of their creation, and everyone knows their correct place.

In the next age, the Treta Yuga, righteousness gradually diminishes. An alchemist would call this an Age of Silver – spirituality begins to give way to materialism, and kings and rulers must use cunning to get their will through, no longer able to rely on the confidence that the ruled have in them.

The final stage is the Kali Yuga, which is known in Hinduism as a Dark Age.

Both of these systems of thought, like the Norse Ragnarok and the Abrahamist Armageddon, suggest that the human experience starts good and gradually gets worse until it has to be restarted in violent revolution. Before we get to this point, however, things have to become genuinely terrible.

An alchemist might point to the immense population surge of the last 150 years and declare that this must be the time of the man of clay, because it appears that no longer does anything other than sex matter. People breed mindlessly, with no thought to the long-term benefit of their actions or whether more offspring are desirable, and so the human population has exploded.

A consequence of this is a resurgence of lowest common denominator culture. American popular culture seems to have sunk to an almost childish level, with the people happy to accept any display of gross incompetence or unfitness for leadership from their ruling class.

In New Zealand it can be seen with the increasing media attention given to soccer, which is the McDonalds of world sports, at the expense of excellent sports such as rugby and cricket, and with the degeneration of the nation’s most popular media portals into click-baiting drivel.

Perhaps all of these systems of thought are all correct and we are currently living in the Age of the Pleb, ruled by the worst among us, and by the worst instincts within ourselves.

The good news is that, in all systems of thought that warn us of such a thing, the Age of the Pleb is always replaced by a new Golden Age.

To some extent, how this develops is inevitable. The man of gold, born into the age of the man of clay, finds himself impelled to take action. The degree of degeneration strikes him as obscene, and out of righteous anger he takes action.

This action usually has the effect of bringing fire into the world to burn away the rot and filth of the Age of the Pleb. Sometimes this means war – and with a massive and still-growing human population creating ever more pressure on ever depleting natural resources, this seems very possible.

The other way we might exit the Age of the Pleb is by a fiery revolution of thought, in which the mental cobwebs of long-decayed religions are burned away by righteous fire and the brutal monkey instincts at the bottom of our brains are tamed and sublimated into something valuable.

Generation X, We’re Now On Our Own

The last of the Silent Generation are leaving us. The oldest Baby Boomers, born in 1945 and so 71-72 years old, are now the bulk of the elderly. Pretty soon, those of us of Generation X will be the voice of reason wedged between the insanely selfish Baby Boomers and the insanely pathetic Millennials.

There are many repeating patterns in Nature that skip one or two generations. The mindlessly narcissistic hubris of the generation that led the world into the hemoclysm of World Wars I and II is re-expressing itself in the consumer-rapist greed of the Boomers.

The grim cynicism of the generations that stopped Hitler is another pattern that has skipped some generations. The Boomers don’t get it: their world is very serious. The God-given mission to squeeze every last cent of material productivity out of the Earth is one that brooks no levity.

Neither do the Millennials get it: their world is also very serious. In the hyper-connected cyberworld of the Millennial, to take your finger off the pulse for one moment is to risk becoming fatally unfashionable.

Their great taboo is to never ask who is pulling the strings of all these fashions and fads and to what ends. The Millennial merely follows, a perfectly feminine creation for an excessively feminine age.

We in Generation X – often raised by our grandparents in the Silent and Greatest Generations while our parents were building careers – do get it. Make no mistake: for us, in between two opposing and mutually annihilating generations that are both deeply detached from reality, survival for our generation will involve getting out of the way while the nutbars fight each other.

As the 21st century takes a more definite form, four distinct groups of enemies have arisen to challenge those who wish for a peaceful world. These are Boomer globalists, Boomer nationalists, Millennial globalists and Millennial nationalists.

The Boomer globalists and nationalists are already familiar to us as the representatives of the various political interests. The globalists are the alliance of the capitalists and communists who want to bring the whole world under the yoke of one system.

The nationalists are those resisting this process, who usually bring with them masses of conservative baggage in the form of disrespecting anyone not like them, in particular women, other races and other sexual orientations.

The Millennial globalists and nationalists are their useful idiots on the streets and in cyberspace. Millennial globalists like Antifa and other social justice warriors will attack nationalist interests under the delusion that they are doing “good”, because there’s nothing a brainless dog enjoys more than biting someone and then getting a pat on the head from the master.

Their opposition, the Millennial nationalists, are naturally the foot soldiers of the wealthy, often religious and ethnonationalist interests who oppose the globalist interests. In practice, many of these people (usually men) are involved in the burgeoning alt-right movement.

This is the arrangement of major sociodemographic forces in the West as we drift towards the second quarter of this century.

However, the timeline before us is chaos, about which little can be known. We can say this for certain: the Baby Boomers will cling to power like shit clings to a blanket, and the Millennials will demand power as if they were all royalty and born to it.

Keeping the world on a even keel will involve making sure that the balance of these forces does not come out of alignment and cause the whole shithouse to go up in flames.

Probably the best historical example of the current plight of Generation X is the way in which Britain was, 80 years ago, caught between insane right-wing Nazis and insane left-wing Communists. At that time, the best strategy was to work on consolidating the strength of one’s position, and to wait for a future opportunity to expand while enemy forces exhaust themselves.

The New Masculine Age Will Be One of Either Reason or Brutality

The feminine has done its dash as ruling force in the human world, for now at least. The feminine epoch that has just ended may have saved us from warring ourselves back into the Stone Age during the Cold War, but its logic and its attitudes are now glaringly ineffective for dealing with the challenges we face in 2017.

Let’s be fair. The feminine can probably be credited with saving us from nuclear hellfire in the aftermath of World War II. Curtis LeMay wanted to pre-emptively nuke Russia and China, and he once had the ear of the US President. Cooler heads prevailed there, as they did in the Cuban Missile Crisis, so we’re all still here.

The potential geopolitical catastrophes of our generation will be different in nature to the ones of our parents. Our danger is not an outside enemy killing us in fire but that we rot from within.

If one looks back at the earliest history of humankind, the most fundamental masculine action a man could possibly make was to build shelter in the form of a house or a wall.

Building a wall is incredibly masculine for many reasons. On the physical level, a person has to be able to lift large stones and chisel them into flat shapes. On an emotional level, a person has to look out into the world and see dangers that they want to protect their people from. On an intellectual level, a person has to do maths to calculate how the wall ought to be constructed, and on a spiritual level a person has to discriminate between that which belongs close to their people and that which does not – and to have the will to declare that which does not belong is to be kept on the other side of the wall.

This latter point reveals the genesis of the current European migrant crisis. It isn’t a matter of not having the knowledge, strength or skill to build a wall; the crisis of the West is a matter of will. In particular, we seem unable to make intelligent decisions about who to let through the wall and who not to.

Why did the European Union adopt an immigration policy that made it hard for people from similar cultures – such as the Americas or the ANZAC countries, to enter – and hard for people from high-energy, low-crime cultures – like the Far East Asians – to enter, but easy for people with very little to offer?

It could be many reasons – historical guilt, cultural decadence, internal corruption, out-of-touch political elites or that history is a masculine subject and therefore taboo in a feminine age like the one we have just come out of.

If this rhetoric about will and cultural decline sounds like something Hitler might have dreamed up, heed this warning: a new masculine age will inevitably be either one of reason or brutality, and it will be up to us to decide which.

Most women will be pleased at this new state of affairs, for the reason that if men become men again then women will no longer be forced to become men to compensate. As many women can tell you, it’s not dominating a man that is the difficult thing, it’s knowing what to do with him once you’ve brought him to heel, as a feminine woman has no natural use for such an arrangement.

Some men will be pleased with this new state of affairs, most obviously the masculine ones who find it natural to move forwards. Some will find it more difficult, in particular those not fully weaned who prefer to just drift along, but the zeitgeist of this new age may transform such half-men into correct ones.

If the masculine does its job correctly, the heroes of this new age will be men like Professor Jordan B. Peterson, whose commitment to reason is so complete that he is baffled by the irrationality of the criticisms levelled against him.

If the masculine does not do its job correctly, then we only have to look back to the last time people were in this situation to guess that the heroes of this new age will be much like Hitler.

The biggest danger is that the mainstream media has cried wolf so hard over Trump that if Trump does not turn out to be the next Hitler, the next Hitler could simply stand up and go full Nazi knowing that no-one was going to believe the warnings about him.

Whether humanity survives the challenges of the next half-century will be a matter of whether it can correctly identify reasonable men to follow and correctly identify brutal men to keep out of power.

It is becoming ever more obvious to ever more people that we can no longer rely on the mainstream media or the Government to be the gatekeepers of such knowledge. But with the Internet before us and alternative media growing every year, there is no excuse to rely on the authorities of a bygone age.

Can This Black Caps Side Take The World No. 1 ODI Ranking?

In winning the Hadlee-Chappell series 2-0, the Black Caps have defeated the Australian side twice in an ODI series in 12 months and moved to No. 3 in the official ODI rankings. This essay poses the question: can Kane Williamson’s side achieve something unprecedented in New Zealand ODI cricket history, and take the No. 1 spot?

The Black Caps have never achieved the distinction of being able to claim that they were the best ODI side in the world. At times we have come close. The current Black Caps ODI unit might have it in them to go the rest of the way.

Let’s look at the team with reference to the official ICC player rankings.

On these rankings the figure of 750 stands out as a benchmark for world-class performance. To achieve a score of 750 a player must consistently excel in comparison to their peers. It is a rare enough distinction that only six current batsmen have rating scores above 750.

Williamson had a score of 752 in January 2015, and in the two years since then has almost always stayed above that figure. If we compare his returns with that of Martin Crowe, we can see that Crowe was similar but generally below the 750 mark. Crowe, however, maintained his standard of between 700 and 750 for nine years.

In the extremely unlikely event that Williamson’s career peters out from this point, he would end up with a career ratings trajectory similar to that of Andrew Jones, who hit his peak at roughly the same time as Crowe.

Jones, who was like Williamson in that he was rock-solid at No. 3 but unlike him in that he was picked late for the Black Caps, maintained a rating above 750 for about four years.

Ross Taylor, widely regarded as the second-best bat in this current side, has maintained a Martin Crowe level of performance for the past three years, in which time he has also been between 700 and 750. He has averaged 55.89 with the bat in those last three years.

What the Black Caps of Jones and Crowe’s day didn’t have was a classy hitter at the top like Martin Guptill. Although Guptill was not world-class for the first part of his career, he got on top of his game about two years ago and since then has risen above 750. He averages over 50 in the 50 matches he has played since the start of 2015.

The Black Caps have long had a tradition of excellent ODI bowling, going all the way back to Sir Richard Hadlee, who was one of the best of all. At one point the Black Caps had the rare distinction of having three of the top five ODI bowlers, in Shane Bond, Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills.

Vettori was the only one of those three to be truly world-class for a decent length of time – Bond suffered many problems with injury and Mills was not enough of a wicket threat to really be considered in that top bracket.

The most skilled Black Cap with the ball currently is Trent Boult, who is ranked No. 1 in ODIs. Boult is a curious case, because he hasn’t even been in the ODI side very long. He has, however, maintained a bowling rating of 750 or thereabouts for most of the past 18 months, during which time he has also struggled for fitness.

But given that he is rapidly improving and is only 27, this column contends that over the next few years, Trent Boult will establish himself as the best ODI bowler in the world. He might not have quite as many wicket deliveries as Mitchell Starc, but he is far more relentlessly accurate and incisive.

Perhaps the major weakness of today’s Black Caps side in comparison to those of past years is the absence of a world-class allrounder. When Cairns, Oram, Styris and Vettori were operating the team had both depth and flexibility.

Certainly there is potential among the current wider squad for a quality No. 6 to emerge. Corey Anderson has even more potential than Cairns, but can’t stay on the field long enough to make an impact. Jimmy Neesham appears to have the goods, but has been unable to translate it into class in ODIs. The best bet going forward might be Mitchell Santner, as the errors he makes tend to be errors of inexperience.

With four world-class players in Williamson, Taylor, Guptill and Boult, and a handful of potential ones in Matt Henry (currently ranked 7 in ODI bowling but can’t make the side), Santner, Anderson, Tom Latham, Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne, the Black Caps side of 2017 looks to have both a stronger core and much greater depth than ever before.

All it would take would be to maintain those standards or gradually improve them over time as players naturally get more experience, and the Black Caps will surely claim the No. 1 ranking sooner or later.

This side could actually take the No. 1 ranking fairly soon if enough results went in their favour. A 3-0 win in the ODI series against South Africa later this month is far from unthinkable, considering they just beat the world champion Australians 2-0 at home.

That would leave them second, two points behind Aussie, and therefore within striking range of the previously unachievable.

Where is Humanity on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a famous psychological theory based on the observation that people as a rule take care of their most pressing needs first, and only when those are satisfied do they develop an ambition to move to the next level.

The most common way to represent this is as a coloured pyramid – one can see an example as the title image of this essay. The ‘lower’ desires represent the more fundamental ones. The need represented by each level must be satisfied before a person is motivated to move on to the next one.

The lowest level is physiological needs. This basically means air, water and food. When the need for these are met a person moves on to safety needs, such as physical and economic security. Meeting those needs will mean a person advances to the level of love and belonging, where they try and satisfy a need for friendship, intimacy and belonging.

Above these three levels are two that are arguably not so much ‘needs’ as ‘decencies’. The first is the need for self-esteem. This relates to the human desire to be accepted and appreciated by others and by oneself. Generally the lower one’s self-regard the greater one’s need for fame or respect.

The last level is self-actualisation. This involves fulfilling one’s greatest potential; becoming the best version of oneself that it is possible to be.

It’s common for individuals to look at where they are themselves on Maslow’s hierarchy. It certainly is an interesting theory for anyone curious about how they fit into the grand scheme of things.

Some people are further than others. What we generally consider wealthy, fortunate, or “doing good” correlates pretty strongly with where a person is on the hierarchy of needs. If we take a look at humanity, though, we can see that as a whole we have not come very far.

According to the World Food Programme, 842 million people go to bed hungry on any given night. This represents about one in every eight people, all of whom have fallen at the first hurdle when it comes to the hierarchy of needs.

If one thinks about what that means in practice, it is one in every eight people who have no realistic chance of ever making progress in any of the other needs. After all, someone who goes to bed hungry will hardly be concerned with their bank account, because if they had any money they would have bought food with it.

It’s worth thinking that one in every eight people are that desperate – possibly that means one in every eight people are desperate enough to have a strong incentive to do serious harm to another human being, should an opportunity for a robbery arise.

After all, the major incentive a person has for not robbing someone is their desire for physical security, in the form of not going to jail, and their desire for social esteem, in the form of not being thought to be a robber.

As both of those needs are less fundamental than the need for food, a hungry person is unlikely to care about them very much. The desire for food is even more fundamental than the desire for peace, and so one in every eight of us is too hungry to care at all about all the war in the world.

A global universal basic income would raise us up the hierarchy, as it would take care of most basic physiological needs. It is the inability to fulfill the need for these that causes the vast majority of human suffering in the world.

It does, however, raise the spectre of overpopulation, at least in the minds of those who believe that some of the tropical peoples are incapable of keeping their breeding in check. If a person believes this, then it is natural to also believe that a global basic income will lead to ecological collapse.

Maybe humankind is doomed to remain at a reasonably low level because of the belief that if we co-operate too closely, factions within humanity will take advantage of this peace to wage war against other factions, perhaps even without those factions knowing about it.

Australia in New Zealand 2017 ODI Series Preview

Missing an explosively terrifying opening batsman and a first drop with the hand-eye co-ordination of a god, the Australian cricket team came to New Zealand and got beaten 3-0. Prediction for this week? No, that was what happened the last time we were in that situation, in February 2007.

Building up for a later triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign, Australia rested both Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting for the 2007 Hadlee-Chappell series in New Zealand, and got beaten 3-0.

Absent the usual steel up top, Australia disintegrated in the first ODI to Shane Bond, who took 5-23 from 9.3 overs, and they lost by ten wickets. Chasing 337 in the second ODI, New Zealand won after a brilliant Ross Taylor century and some dogged lower-order batting. Again chasing in the third, only that time 347, the Black Caps won in the last over with the last wicket after a 165-run 6th wicket stand between Craig McMillan and Brendon McCullum.

The 2017 edition of the Hadlee-Chappell will be absent David Warner – who recently took AB de Villiers’s crown as No. 1 ranked ODI batsman, and Steve Smith, who averages 51.90 since the start of 2015.

In the 2016 edition in New Zealand, the Black Caps took the series 2-1: Australia won a close game and was thumped twice. Something similar might be on the cards for this week.

Like 2007, the Australia of 2017 will possess some fearsome bowling. Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins make up what must be close to the most dangerous trio ever seen in ODI history. Both Starc and Hazlewood are ranked in the top 5, and although Cummins is only ranked 27th that is a reflection of bad luck with injuries and not an absence of talent.

The Black Caps, for their part, have their own heavy artillery. Trent Boult is today the No. 1 ranked ODI bowler in the world, and Matt Henry is at No. 7. These two bowlers demolished the Australia top order in the first ODI of the 2016 series, leaving them at one stage 6/41.

Tim Southee might only be ranked 26th but he is dangerous with a bit of assistance, and Mitchell Santner is fast becoming like another Daniel Vettori in terms of miserly economy. This series will surely also feature more of Lockie Ferguson, who rocked the speed radar in Australia with a string of 150kph+ deliveries, but whose pace was often to the batsman’s advantage on the hard pitches.

The major difference between the two sides is in the batting. Australia’s best batsman in this series is arguably Glenn Maxwell, ranked 18th.

Because Australia is absent Warner at the top and Steve Smith ranked 8th, New Zealand have the top-ranked three batsmen in this match, with Kane Williamson at 5, Martin Guptill at 9 and Ross Taylor at 16. These three batsmen would all be in a Black Caps all-time ODI top 5.

Tom Latham may only average 33 in ODIs but appears to have now adjusted very well to the white ball game, and he is now averaging 40 in his last 25 ODI matches. As he is still only 24 and improving so rapidly in all forms of the game he is on a trajectory to become as good as the others.

Australia has brought in the reputable Aaron Finch to bolster the batting, but none of the names in the Australian top 5 – weak by historical standards even with Warner and Smith – will stand out to the Black Caps tacticians as a particular threat.

The obvious plan for the Black Caps to win the series, then, is to repeat how they won it in 2016, namely by bowling Australia out for substandard totals.

The market seems to think that this is very likely – the Black Caps are paying only $2.12 on BetFair to take the first ODI at Eden Park tomorrow. At the TAB a 3-0 Black Caps series win is paying only $6.50, which seems minuscule considering that Australia has won five Cricket World Cups.

Considering that the Hadlee-Chappell is fast becoming the ODI cricket equivalent of a marquee series like the Ashes or the Bledisloe Cup, probably the best strategy would be to save your betting money for chips and weed and just kick back to enjoy the degree of skill on display.

The Peter Pan Generation

The Peter Pan Generation believes that whatever it wishes to be true is true. Whatever would be the most personally gratifying interpretation of reality is the natural one to, not only believe in, but to insist upon, as if the rest of us had a duty of care towards them akin to that of their biological mother.

This has led to many adopting the attitude that they can believe whatever they like with no obligation to pay any regard to consensual reality. If reality disagrees with me, it is wrong, and therefore has the obligation to change.

We can observe the consequences of this in the form of delayed adulthood, in particular a child-like total failure to accurately appraise the degree of danger in the world and to respond accordingly.

For this reason, some call them the ‘Special Snowflake Generation’. This was to distinguish them from their predecessors in Generation X, for whom Fight Club was a seminal influence on the collective identity, and who were told in which “You are not a special and unique snowflake. You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

The generation who came after X, who weren’t latchkey kids, who were brought up with technology rather than catching the wave of the disruption it caused, who were bathed in hysteria about Islamists rather than the very real threat of the USSR and who, crucially, didn’t hear the message of Fight Club – they are the snowflakes, so named for their striking fragility.

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The Peter Pan Generation doesn’t like being told no

If there is an overarching narrative in one’s social circles that rich white men are the devil and everyone opposed to The Man is on the same side and knows they’re on the same side and feels solidarity with each other, then one might be horribly surprised to find some of these people on your side want to throw gays off buildings.

Yet this is the natural consequence of the unnatural degree of naivety and unprecedented delayed infancy that is due, in a large part, to the absence of war or belief in the need for war or to prepare, either physically or mentally, for it.

Those of us in Generation X may not have had World War II or Vietnam to contend with, but we did grow up hearing the death throes of the Soviet Union and, with it, an entire paradigm that had until then given the world meaning. We were still brought up under the very real possibility that we might end up going to war one day.

Not so the snowflakes. War – like Hillary Clinton losing the last election – is unthinkable simply because they do not want it. There is no concept of war coming to them. After all, the Muslims blowing up Western targets are opposed to the same Man that is oppressing us!

And because those Muslims are opposed to the same patriarchal capitalist interests as the young and trendy there couldn’t possibly be any problem with letting in a couple of dozen million of them – they’re just like us, right?

As any regular reader of this column knows, all things comes in time, and the yin always turns into yang.

A sense of entitlement, in an indifferent world where you’re going to die, is like the potential kinetic energy created by raising a heavy object against gravity. Sooner or later, it is going to fall back to its natural starting point, and the further away it was before it fell the more noise and violence it will make on the way down.

It’s too early to tell what will slap the Peter Pan Generation awake in the way that 9/11 slapped awake Generation X, that Vietnam slapped awake the Boomers, that World War II slapped awake the Silent Generation, and the Great Depression slapped awake the Greatest Generation.

But what we do know is that nature will out, and that nature loves to punish stupidity with violence.

The Solution to Nelson Drunkenness is Cannabis Cafes on Bridge Street

Nelson does exceptionally well as a tourist town over the summer. We get thousands for the Abel Tasman alone and the Black Caps played here twice this season. It means big money for Sun City – but it won’t continue if we continue to get a reputation for mindless violence.

Retail group Uniquely Nelson is especially concerned by what they see as a spike in antisocial activity, in particular “drunkenness, violence, abuse, theft, rubbish and broken glass.” But as anyone who has lived in Nelson for any length of time knows, violence, abuse, theft rubbish and even broken glass are natural consequences of the first problem named – drunkenness.

Neither can we glibly blame everything on ‘North Islanders’ as if Nelsonians are not subject to the same loss of inhibition as everyone else on the planet who drinks booze. Drunk people in Nelson do the same things in Nelson that drunk people in any low-wage area get up to.

The problem with the drinking culture of Nelson is this – most of the intelligent people who have lived here for long enough have secured cannabis hookups and use that instead. Cannabis has driven out alcohol among the sort of consumer that is most sensitive to being turned away by dickheads, and this has left the drinking to the lowest common denominator.

Anyone new to Nelson looking for a good time will quickly encounter this lowest common denominator, and the results are usually as described in the examples given in the opening paragraph.

The sad thing is, there is plenty of opportunity for people to come here and have a good time. Being the oldest of Kiwis, we Nelsonians naturally represent what is the best of us, in particular a sunny nature, a social attitude and a genuine joy of life.

But we’d rather smoke weed at home than come into town to get our heads kicked in.

So the solution is obvious.

We ought to demolish the dive bars of Bridge Street and replace them with a handful of cannabis cafes, so that Nelsonians and our many visitors can relax in public without fear of being attacked by some drunken animal.

As it is, if I’m driving East on Bridge Street late on a weekend night and I see some young backpackers heading the other way for a night on the town, I feel sorry for them, knowing that they will not get to see the best of my city or of its people.

Cannabis cafes on Bridge Street would provide the revitalisation that Sun City needs. It would bring the young people back out of their homes and life back into the streets of the CBD. It would also create a festive atmosphere in the city centre to replace the fighting, vomiting and vandalism.

Not least, the local retailers of Nelson stand to make a packet from the idea. The wider Nelson region is already, along with Coromandel, the most popular destination in New Zealand for underground cannabis tourism owing to our widespread local embrace of the plant medicine. International visitors know that they can come to this region for some of the world’s best natural cannabis.

If Nelson could get it together to take advantage of the impending repeal of cannabis prohibition we could position ourselves first in the queue for the hordes of young tourists that would flock here to escape from the drunken shitheadery that plagues most other Kiwi towns and cities.

If we did it right, many of those tourists would be other Kiwis. These people should leave Nelson with a sense of being impressed by our forward-thinking, gregarious and positive attitude, not with relief at getting out before they were glassed by some pisshead.

Bangladesh in New Zealand Test Series 2017, Second Test Preview

The Black Caps, the Tigers, and cricket fans will all be on the same side for the Second Test, their adversary: the Christchurch weather. It is forecast to rain on at least three of the five days of the Test, and anyone who has lived in the Garden City knows that this could mean anything from five days of blazing sun to five days of hammering down.

BetFair doesn’t seem too concerned about the possibility of the Draw, though. At time of writing this was paying $6.60.

On the face of it, this looks very high when you consider that the first two innings of the First Test went for over 1,100 runs for only 18 wickets. In fact, at Tea on the fourth day, the Draw was paying a mere $1.05, and the majority of cricket fans were astonished by how rapidly the second Bangladeshi innings fell apart from that point.

Probably the market is anticipating that Bangladesh will have difficulty replicating their batting feats of the first innings in Wellington – after all, Bangladeshi batsmen cannot break the record for their nation’s highest ever Test score every match, as Shakib al Hasan did with his superb 217 from 276 balls.

The Black Caps are paying $1.26, which is very marginal value at best.

Although they showed in Wellington that any of Tom Latham, Kane Williamson or Ross Taylor can play a matchwinning innings, it’s doubtful whether the Black Caps have the firepower with the ball to justify accepting a margin of twenty-six cents in the dollar.

The Black Caps bowlers may have knocked the Tigers out for 160 in their second innings, but aside from skilled bowling from Mitchell Santner, and Neil Wagner setting up Mominul Haque, this was mostly due to poor shot selection and being injured by the ball.

Certainly there is motivation for Tim Southee to bowl well in Christchurch because his claim to a spot in the team is arguably more tenuous than anyone else beside Henry Nicholls.

With match figures of 3 for 192 in Wellington, and with an average of 36 at a strike rate of 70 since the start of 2015, he will have to improve to keep the next generation of strike bowlers from replacing him in the first choice side.

Bangladesh are paying $16.50 at time of writing, which appears good value but not as good as the Draw. They were paying $24 before the First Test so the market has taken account of how impressive they were.

Taskin Ahmed was impressive without reward with the new ball on debut, suggesting that much of his promise in the shorter forms will carry over to Tests once he makes the adjustment. He may have only got one wicket but it was Williamson with a delivery of excellent line and length, and if a bowler can dismiss Williamson he can dismiss anyone.

Subashis Roy, the other debutant, did not have an action that suggested he would be dangerous but he did pick up 3 for 121, very good figures in the context of a defeat of this magnitude.

The main difficulty for Bangladesh is that – although Mominul Haque and al Hasan are a match for the Black Caps bowlers with the bat – Williamson, Taylor and arguably even Latham and BJ Watling outclass with the bat anything the Tigers can put forward with the ball.

So – as was amply demonstrated in Wellington – the Tigers may have the potential to put up a huge innings on occasion but probably lack the firepower to break the Black Caps defences twice themselves.

Certainly with regular captain Mushfiqur Rahim out injured for the second Test, the Bangladeshi men of silver will be having nightmares about how to get Kane Williamson out twice. Williamson was dismissed once in Wellington for the McCullumesque match return of 157 runs from 145 balls.

Considering that there are very few match outcomes that could result in the Black Caps being shorter than $1.26 at the end of the first day, the optimal betting strategy might be to lay the Black Caps before the start of play. In doing so, you will be in a position to cash in on both the possibility of rain and of a large first innings from Bangladesh.

This bet will very likely have value until at least late in the fourth day, given the fact that the batsmen in both teams are collectively more skilled than the bowlers in both teams.

The trader may also wish to consider that in the previous Test at this venue, the Black Caps lost Latham, Williamson and Taylor for a total of 16 runs in the first innings – and still won by eight wickets. So if the rain does not play a role there may well be a result.

The Life Cycle of Internet Forums

As any long-term reader of this magazine can recite by heart: as below, so above. The life-cycles of men and women are well known; those of empires somewhat less so. This essay will examine how the life cycle of Internet forums follows a pattern similar to what can already be observed in Nature.

If one follows the series of 19th century Thomas Cole paintings known as The Course of Empire, one can surmise that, on a much smaller scale, Internet forums follow the same pattern.

The first stage is known as The Savage State. With regard to empires this refers to the state of nature that existed before human civilisation arose. It is therefore an especially feminine time, full of raw potential and untrammelled chaos.

Internet forums begin in a similar state before anyone starts regularly posting. Often there is nothing but forum software to start the process. At this stage the forum has the full potential to go in many directions, as the people running it are yet to make any firm decisions regarding subforums or posting etiquette.

The second stage of an empire is known as the The Arcadian State. This is functionally almost identical to a world run by philosopher-kings. In the Arcadian state, humanity lives at peace with Nature. We might have learned to alter our environment in order to not die as easily, but nothing major has happened.

An Arcadian state exists in Internet forums when the people who have the greatest personal interest in the subject matter naturally find the forum and start to populate it with quality threads. This usually occurs when the name of the forum is spread around by whoever started it and they attract a small, hard-core of highly interested experts.

The third stage of empire is known as The Consummation of Empire. This is represented by glorious buildings at noon on a summer’s day. Everywhere there are marble steps; one can observe a triumphant general crossing the bridge that spans the central river, and all of this in the shadow of the great domed temple.

This is also the best stage of an Internet forum. In this third stage, the excellence established in the second has attracted a huge number of other people. They all want to take part in the glory, and so they flood in and tell their friends. The forum expands, and develops. More rules become necessary to deal with the friction naturally caused by such heavy interaction.

However, in the same way that the seed of decadence present at the height of the glory of empire is also the seed of its destruction, so are the abundance of rules and restrictions that come with the greatest extent of traffic the downfall of Internet forums.

The fourth stage of empire is known as Destruction. In this stage, the empire is collapsing. The painting represents the fall of the Roman Empire as it was sacked by Vandals and Goths, but it could serve as metaphor for the fall of any empire into destruction and ruin. It is hinted that the cause of the destruction may have been a civil war.

Again, the pattern is replicated perfectly in the life of Internet forums. The barbarian invaders are the people who recently joined the forum at its height but who would clearly have not have belonged back in the Arcadian stage. In other words, plebs.

These plebs have the effect of dragging the forum back down, firstly by reducing how willing other posters are to be open and creative, and secondly by provoking whoever is running the forum to bring in more and more rules to crack down on the plebs and to try and restore the glory days.

In this fourth stage of forums, it becomes harder and harder to post anything unorthodox or interesting as true creativity becomes ever more likely to fall foul of censure. Consequently, many of the threads, instead of discussing current events like in the glory times, are just wistful ramblings about old posters and old arguments.

New posters, instead of finding a niche they can feel happy in, are persecuted by older ones, frequently in the manner of high school girls psychologically abusing a victim. This henpecking has the effect of making the forum into a troll’s paradise, which attracts an ever nastier grade of poster, until the stream of new blood dries up completely.

The fifth stage of empire is known as Desolation. This is similar to the first stage, with the exception that the potential of nature, instead of bursting forth with vitality, is exhausted. There are no more human beings – Nature has entirely reclaimed the space on which a glorious capital once stood; weeds and flowers grow from the cracks in the shattered marble.

This is also the natural end stage of all Internet forums. Indeed, 99.9999% of them are already at this stage. Here, there are no more truly human posters, just ghosts of people who used to be funny, back when they were younger and cooler, and before they sold out for a job or became bitter because of a family or or extended period of time without getting laid.

In this stage, there are as many banned users are there are regular ones. Here, no new posters even want to join the forum, because there is no joy in listening to middle-aged washouts droning out about how everything was cooler a decade or more ago. Especially not when these same washouts feel obliged to pack bully anyone who threatens the morgue-like atmosphere.

Because computer software does not need to eat and is therefore cheap to maintain, some forums are capable of lurching along in zombie mode for many years.

And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page…