Category Archives: Ecclesiastes

Falling like flies


Such a great pic of David Jones fraternising with Ian Kilmister circa 1970. Too bad it’s photoshopped!

My brother Tim and I grew up listening to the likes of Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. At our family lunch on Christmas Day I reiterated to him that I was still undecided about whether or not to go see Black Sabbath play Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on 30 April this year. I mentioned that 30 April is Walpurgisnacht. I also mentioned that it wouldn’t be reasonable just to assume that all three remaining band members will be well enough or even alive four months hence to play the gig, so if I did decide to go ahead ticket insurance would be a must!

I then mentioned that Motorhead’s drummer “Philthy” Phil Taylor had died recently and that Motorhead’s main man Lemmy had only the previous day (Christmas Eve) celebrated his 70th birthday. Rock music’s founders (excepting members of the 27 Club) are mostly still alive but getting well long in tooth and claw.

My brother then morbidly observed that we can expect half of the big rock legends of our youth to die in the next ten years, and the other half to die in the ten years after that. At the rate of about one per week.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (NIV)

We didn’t care to speculate who would be next, but by a strange coincidence it was Lemmy himself! You can read my co-blogger Tim’s wonderful tribute to Lemmy here.

And then David Bowie! You can read my co-blogger Blair’s wonderful tribute to Bowie soon. 🙂

The day a person dies is better than the day he was born.

It is better to go to a funeral than to a party.

We all must die. Everyone living should think about this. (ICB)

I confess. I’m not even a big fan of Motorhead (or Lemmy’s original band, Hawkwind). But I still enjoy listening to them from time to time, of course, what self-respecting metalhead doesn’t?!

I’m not even a fan of Bowie at all. Well, I thought I wasn’t. But now I’ve been given the opportunity to peruse his back catalogue, it’s amply confirmed what I always knew about David Bowie. He’s out of this world talented. So put me down as a small fan of David Bowie. 🙂

So I just thought I’d share some Bowie gems.

You can keep up with who’s rockin’ and rollin’ six feet under here. (We’ve lost a few smaller rock legends since Christmas too, inlcuding Stevie Wright, John Bradbury and Robert Stigwood.)

‘Tis an ill wind that blows no minds


As you do not know the path of the wind,
    or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
    the Maker of all things.

The Maker of all things? What about Winston Peters, the Kingmaker of the next New Zealand government, according to the latest One News-Colmar Brunton poll?!

And do we not know the path of the wind? Winston Peters knows the path of the political wind. He’s the ultimate weathervane politician! Where are the votes? Just look to see what the Winston First Party’s latest populist policy is!

So, what’s the mood of the public on the Psychoactive Substances Act? What’s the feeling out there in the heartland about “legal highs”? It’s very far from positive.

“We will ban Legal Highs,” NZ First

Legal highs are out of control and set to kill more New Zealanders unless stronger measures are taken say New Zealand First.

“New Zealanders are among the world’s biggest users of legal highs. This problem is really getting out of hand so we will certainly take action to fix it by banning the whole lot,” Le’aufaamulia Asenati Lole-Taylor, welfare and social policy spokesperson tells Pacific Guardians.

“Our caucus has decided that if New Zealanders vote us back to parliament, we will fight to have the bill repealed and ban all legal highs. And boost resources for the Police to carry out enforcements.”

She says the current law is not “working” and the situation made worse “because the Police minister keeps taking resources out of the Police so there is not enough funds or manpower to effectively respond to the epidemic of cases around the country.”

Is there really an epidemic of cases around the country, or is this just prohibitionist hype? I’d like to believe it’s the latter but, actually, there is an epidemic of serious adverse reactions to legal synthetic cannabinoids around the country. I recently Facebook friended an old acquaintance from Dunedin whom I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years. Here’s what he told me.

The legal highs are destroying so many people down here, I think it’s the best chance for [the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party].

The legal high people I know are too incapacitated to commit crime. Dunedin now has many beggars on the main street for the first time in my experience. They beg until they get their $20 & rush to the shop then home to slip into their comas/seizures.

Legal highs industry shills, a large sector of the drug law reform movement in this country, and even my own co-blogger (God bless him) are in serious denial about the extent of the problem caused by legalising these particular substances.

The situation we now face was, sadly, entirely predictable. Some more from NZ First’s indicates why …

But the government says banning the drugs is not as effective as its new approach which has led to fewer drugs, fewer retailers, and less harm to health.

In July last year New Zealand became the first country in the world to establish a regulated licensed market for new psychoactive drugs also known as legal highs. The government concluded that the “banning of all psychoactive products” model favoured by Australian governments, such as New South Wales, was not keeping pace with the emergence of new drugs.

Associate Minister of Health, Peter Dunne told ABC radio earlier this week “about 95 per cent of the products that were on the shelves prior to the legislation have been removed. We’ve gone from having over 4,000 unregulated retail outlets to now 156 retail outlets, and anecdotally, we’re getting reports from hospital emergency rooms and others about a decrease in the number of people presenting with significant issues.”

Consider this. Products which were allowed to stay on the shelves after the enactment of the Psychoactive Substances Act were restricted to products which had been on sale for three or more months prior to its enactment about which there had been no serious complaints. Only 5% of them (1 in 20) stayed. Well and good. But if the size of the consumer market for synthetic cannabinoid products remained roughly the same size after the passing of the PSA as it was before the passing of the PSA … then the number of people consuming those products allowed to stay on the shelves has increased by a factor of 20.

Please don’t get me wrong. Although I remain a die-hard libertarian, I’m actually in favour of the so-called regulatory model. That is, the regulatory model as applied to specific drugs, e.g., tobacco, alcohol and cannabis. I’m in favour of the regulatory model because, realistically, it’s the most libertarian legislative framework possible. Right now, the sale of alcohol in New Zealand is heavily regulated. But I can pop across the road to my local supermarket any time during regular shop hours and pick up a reasonably priced six-pack of beer or bottle of wine. I’m not hugely inconvenienced. I can live with advertising restrictions and point of sale limitations. (I haven’t even been asked for ID since I turned 40!)

What if I wanted the regulatory model to succeed? How would I implement the regulatory model if it were left up to me? What if I wanted to see a smooth transition from the prohibition model to the regulatory model, with a minimum of bleating from the sheeple? I would transition slowly, cautiously, one drug at a time. To begin with, I would regulate a single drug. A drug that has been the subject of thousands of scientific stuides and which we well know is very low-risk. And, moreover, is a drug that people actually want! Cannabis!

What I wouldn’t do is simultaneously approve fifteen different novel, untested synthetic cannabinoids, about which we know nothing, and which the vast majority of seasoned drug users rate as inferior to natural cannabis. What I wouldn’t do is rig the legislation’s interim implementation in such a way that use of these unknown research chemicals increases by a factor of 20 immediately after the legislation is passed. Unfortunately for the cause of drug law reform, this is what actually happened in New Zealand in July 2013.


The adverse reactions continue to be reported (and massively under-reported) to the National Poisons Centre. The government and the Ministry of Health don’t know what’s happening and they sure as fuck don’t know what they’re doing. The sad truth is that the propaganda being put out at an ever increasing rate by the hysterical prohibitionist mob is based on hard fact. It’s no wonder that there’s an ever-increasing flood of the proverbial in the MSM. To the industry shills and my misguided friends in the drug law reform movement who are trying to counter the ban brigade’s propaganda by shovelling it uphill, I say: good luck with that.

It’s getting worse, and it gets worse. There is real anger out there among the “lynch mob” recovering addicts and their “witch burning” mothers. Sadly, that anger is justified. Even more sadly, some of their understandable actions are not. A week ago, someone posted the following message on the page of a Facebook group dedicated to banning the synthetics, K2 and Other “LEGAL HIGHS” in New Zealand we all need to know the dangers.

i will burn down every sythetic legal high shop in invercargill for 2grand. message me if you are willing to hire me for this job . churr

Nek minnit, Molotov cocktail hits shop.


What if I wanted the regulatory model to fail? I’d enact the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 and put the Ministry of Health in charge of its implementation. And, if I were the legal highs industry, I’d meekly follow Dunne’s advice, like a lamb to the slaughter, and reiterate it to the hapless end users: “If you must use drugs, use these ones.”

(Also, I’d probably stage a counter-protest at today’s nationwide protests, carrying a banner that treats the protesters as fools, or worse, and tells them what they already know: “Prohibition still doesn’t work”. The protesters are well aware, by now, that the problem with synthetic cannabis in this country is a direct result of cannabis prohibition. I’m heading off shortly to stage a co-protest at my local protest. My placard reads, simply: “Legalise Cannabis”.)

Organiser of today’s protest in Tokoroa, Julie King, says

Other countries are watching us. They’re seeing how it’s working in New Zealand. It’s not working.

I think Julie’s right. We’re not watching New Zealand lead the way to saner drug policy. We’re watching a train wreck in slow motion.

“Cannabis! Cannabis!” says the Blogger. “Utterly cannabis! Everything is cannabis.”


Regular readers may have noticed that my posts these days are, as often as not, about cannabis law reform. I certainly have.

Cannabis is insanely high in the “intoxicating mix of Christianity, libertarianism and death metal” mentioned under “Contributors” in the right-hand sidebar. Seems there’s more tokin’ going on than “slaggin’ socialists and headbangin’!”

But there is a very good reason for this blog contributor’s unbalanced content.

The Parliamentary term in New Zealand is three years and this year we’re due for a general election. Likely, it will be in November. I intend to stand again as a list candidate and as an electorate candidate for the party of which I am currently the Acting President, viz., the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. Until then, dear reader, there will be no respite from my drug-induced ramblings!

2014 is election year! The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party is aiming high!

Our goal is to crack the 5% theshold and get MPs in Parliament. Failing that, we intend at least to frighten the Labour and Green horses into legalising cannabis in the next Parliamentary term. I hope that there is a Labour-led coalition in government by 2015. (Politicians are like diapers. They need changing often and for the same reason.) And I hope that the next government does our job for us, with or without our Parliamentary help. So that I can get off my hobby horse.


Why am I even in the cannabis law reform movement?

To begin with, I got involved for much the same reasons that most people do and believe most of the things they do and believe—emotional and psychological reasons. I wanted to justify my own behaviour. The process of justifying my own behaviour led me, after a while, to my libertarian political stance. So, all good!

Today I still believe that there is nothing wrong with drug use provided that it does not interfere with what one is supposed to be doing, viz., leading a good Christian life and, in doing so, leading by example. I won’t be the judge of how much room that leaves for tokin’ up. Not as much as I’d like, probably. 🙁

I read recently that we are fast approaching the day when coming out of the closet as a Bible-believing Christian is harder than coming out as a homosexual. Actually, I think we’re pretty much already there. Coming out of the closet as a cannabis user is also hard. But, these days, even my mum knows I smoke marijuana, and I go to church with her on Sundays. Two out of three ain’t bad. 😉

But coming out of the closet as a cannabis user remains difficult for many. Mainly because of its illegality. For obvious reasons, this is a major problem for the cannabis law reform movement. An untold number of respected members of society are regular cannabis users, but they won’t come out as regular cannabis users and voice their support for cannabis law reform, because they want to stay respected members of society—and they want to keep their careers.

Which brings me to why I’m still in the cannabis law reform movement.

I no longer feel any need to justify my own behaviour. I live like it’s legal. Even if I didn’t smoke cannabis, today I can legally get stoned out of my tiny mind on any one of eleven different synthetic cannabinoids contained in over thirty products given interim product approval by the Ministry of Health.

My involvement in the cannabis law reform movement isn’t now, and never was solely, about justifying my own behaviour. My involvement is about stopping the massive injustice of cannabis prohibition. Arresting people for smoking a God-given herb that makes them happy is criminally insane. I have next-to-no words for people who support laws (such as we have now) that prevent medical cannabis patients from getting the medicine they need. They’re evil beyond the pale.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party is the only political party in New Zealand with a sunset clause in its very name. Once cannabis is legalised, the party will deregister. And I can have my life back. 🙂

Does the Bible condemn laziness and stupidity?


Proverbs 6:6-9 KJV
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

Proverbs 10:26 ESV
Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him.

Proverbs 18:9 ESV
Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.

Proverbs 24:30-34 ESV
I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

Proverbs 26:14-16 ESV
As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 ESV
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.


Mark 7:18 NIV
“Are you so dull?” he asked.

Matthew 15:16 NIV
“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.


(See also Does the bible condemn recreational drug use? and The truth about marijuana. 🙂 )

Chasing after the wind

Can I sue Ngāti Toa for compensation for the storm damage incurred by their deity?

Wind To Be Subject Of Next Treaty Claim

As the Government prepares to negotiate with Maori over ownership of rivers, a Waitangi Tribunal claim is being finalised for Maori to earn a dividend for the use of wind for commercial electricity generation.

Ngapuhi political commentator and Hone Heke Foundation chairman, David Rankin, has been approached by a cohort of hapu representatives to act as spokesperson for the claim.

“I’m not yet convinced about the full merits of the claim,” says Mr Rankin, “but in my preliminary discussions with the hapu representatives, they make some good points and I am hopeful that they will be able to get their claim finalised over the next few months.”

According to Mr Rankin, the planned claim will insist that a pan-tribal body be established to manage shares in commercial wind-generated electricity, and to exercise a casting vote on where wind turbines can be located.

Mr Rankin says that Maori entitlement to the wind can be justified under article two of the Treaty of Waitangi, which guarantees Maori full and exclusive ownership of all their properties. “Traditionally, the wind was regarded as a deity in Maori society, and Maori do not consider the Crown have the right to use it without Maori consent.”

Mr Rankin is encouraged by the recent Tribunal claim for water, and believes that the claim to wind will lead on to other areas of property rights such as aerospace.

Everyone’s toil is for their mouth,
    yet their appetite is never satisfied.
What advantage have the wise over fools?
What do the poor gain
    by knowing how to conduct themselves before others?
Better what the eye sees
    than the roving of the appetite.
This too is meaningless,
    a chasing after the wind. (NIV)

God creates. Man makes alternative arrangements.

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Ayn Rand

The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only creative power man possesses. It is an enormous and glorious power—and it is the only meaning of the concept “creative.” “Creation” does not (and metaphysically cannot) mean the power to bring something into existence out of nothing. “Creation” means the power to bring into existence an arrangement (or combination or integration) of natural elements that had not existed before. (This is true of any human product, scientific or esthetic: man’s imagination is nothing more than the ability to rearrange the things he has observed in reality.)

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun[c].

Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?

Impending Doom has arrived!

Welcome to an intoxicating mix of heretical Christianity, libertarianism and death metal.

The track is “Welcome to Forever” by evangelical Christian deathcore band Impending Doom.
What better way to begin? The lyrics derive from Ecclesiastes, a book of the Old Testament.

Welcome to forever, on this wrinkled piece of paper
Welcome to forever
I write a letter to you
To this generation and the generations to come
Vanity of vanities, everything under the sun
Everything under the sun, everything will be forgotten
All that you remember, wrapped around this world

Grasping for the wind
Where both the wise and the fools, both achieve emptiness in the end
Emptiness in the end

Where does the time go?
Who are we when we’re all alone?
When we’re all alone

Welcome to forever
Everything will be forgotten
All that you remember, wrapped up in this world
Welcome to forever, everything will be forgotten
All that you remember, wrapped up in this world

Grasping for the wind
Where both the wise and the fools, both achieve emptiness in the end
Both achieve emptiness in the end

Welcome to forever, on this wrinkled piece of paper
Welcome to forever
I write a letter to you
Look back and retrace your steps
Look back and retrace your steps
Don’t look at the clouds and ignore the one coming through them
Coming through them

When I first read Ecclesiastes I thought, “WTF is this doing in the Bible?” Indeed, its canonicity has been disputed. To this day, theologians are perplexed. The book purports to be the words of Qoheleth (“the Teacher”), son of David, king in Jerusalem. It begins

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

and continues in the same nihilistic vein the whole way through until the closing verses of the twelfth and final chapter when, all of a sudden, Qoheleth concludes

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

Morality made simple.

[The YouTube video I originally posted mysteriously disappeared. I had to resurrect it. 🙂 ]