Wednesday, 26 November 2008

RELIGION : Paradise & praise the lord

When Mohammad Atta boarded his plane on 9/11, seven years ago, he was freshly starched and washed, clean inside/outside, ready to embark on his historical suicide-killing spree. And all that because he knew after his death he would go to paradise.

His kind of paradise is truly enticing, at least for a man who happens not to be gay and who is in excellent health. Imagine: 72 beautiful virgins at your service, good wine, good food, soft bed. All this free of charge and no end to it.

Compared to this Five-Star-Paradise the Christian one looks drab. When I was a little boy, I was told up there the good, deserving people would sing in a choir praising the Lord and/or polishing the stars and anyway, I would be an angel able to fly around with the help of my wings.

Both have at least this in common: they are somehow childish. A modern paradise, revealed these days, would probably look different and if someone of my readers has any ideas about it, don't hesitate to explain what happens there.

The three big religions with their monopolistic god have lots in common. They all come out of the desert, those dry, sandy stretches, too hot during the day and too cold at night. And they don't like women.

The male Jews thank god in their prayers not to be made a woman. the Muslims don't allow them to drive a car (Saudi-Arabia) or give them only half the value at law suits (Iran) etc., etc, etc. The Christians (Catholics, Orthodox) don't consider them good enough to be priests or pope.

And here comes something truly astonishing. in all those three religions women play an important role. Not on top, sure, but on the lower echelons they are aplenty. How is this possible?? Not one of these big three One-God-Religions has to complain of a scarcity of women!

If I would be a female I would quit an organization that considers me inferior. But they don't seem to see it in this light.

Next point: in a remote corner of our garden is a little aunt heap. They live there and I leave them alone. I don't ask the aunts to praise me for that and I would be slightly amused if I would learn that they are praising me for letting them going after their business.

But in religion that is not so. On the contrary: Praise the Lord is mandatory, here on earth and it even seems to go on in paradise. I can't help thinking this praising activity is just an oriental, Near East habit. In this part of the world, when you happen to meet your cheikh, sultan, padishah, bey, king or emperor, better tell him this: "you are splendid, wonderful, your face is shining with wisdom, your decisions are always right, I am mostly wrong, thanks for letting this insignificant servant live on nevertheless, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you". .....

And there is another aspect to it: this praising activity is a pious attempt to corrupt your god into giving favors, frequently totally undeserved. What about replacing this praising activity by doing something useful?

Last not least, there is this little poem written by the American Joe Hill, probably nearly hundred years ago:

You will eat (You will eat)
Bye and bye (bye and bye)
In that glorious land above the sky (Way up high)
Work and pray (Work and pray)
Live on hay (Live on hay)
You'll get pie in the sky when you die (Thats a lie)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Flying in total safety - Microsoft Flight Simulator

In one of my last comments regarding religion, I promised Vinod Sharma to write a second chapter on that matter.

But religion is a terrible subject. Awe inspiring, ridiculous, dangerous. So I put the idea in cold store, for the time being.

Right now my main worry is not how to improve humanity through the power of my postings. No, these last weeks I tried - in vain - to pass the Instrument rating test ride at Microsoft's Flight Simulator.

The idea is to fly an airplane - here a Cessna 172 - exclusively with the help of instruments, without any visibility. Flying above clouds, in pea soup fog, heavy rain and above all, being able to land safely under these conditions.

Contrary to a widespread idea, man's brain - and even the brain of a woman - is unable to do two things simultaneously. We do one job after the other and in case we do it fast enough, we can pretend to do them together.

Naturally, I know what to do to pass successfully the check ride. The problem is I have to fly perfectly steady, never deviate from any course, maintain height, maintain speed, respect sink rates and angles of climbing, set the radio and the navigator VOR1 and VOR2 plus ADF. Fly a holding pattern and execute a missed approach. The cherry on the cake, at the end, is to land the plane without seeing anything worthwhile.

And the slightest mistake I make, there is this female voice telling me "sorry, you have to start over again". I hate this voice. Having said this, she continues cheerfully to enumerate the list of my shortcomings.

It's a kind of mission impossible but I have set my teeth to it to get the green light to print my certificate.

This YouTube video is a simulation of this checkride in clear weather and with the help of the Autopilot. Just to show and give an idea. To those who are not yet bored stiff (my compliments to them, they merit a seat in pilot's paradise).

Why I am doing this? Flying under these conditions is a real pleasure but a challenge at the same time, it obliges you to concentrate deeply, this is an intelligent video game.