The Turk’s head

Knotty problems require several solutions

It was an article on the BBC which reminded me, but Coco forgets which among the many thousands it was.

The building work had at the last reached its completion and Lakshmi, the very capable and ferocious forewoman, had left her three workers, Erdogan, Mahmud and Stephen, whom she trusted without reservation, to clear up. Stephen, who was able to read and assimilate plans and instructions quickly and accurately, was a bright and sparkling electrician but willing to turn his hand to most aspects of building work. Mahmud was as strong as an ox, ready, willing and able to carry out any instruction given to him with a swiftness and certainty unparalleled among men. He was not given to reading but could mix plaster and cement in huge quantities and lay bricks in straight rows and even lines. Erdogan was every bit a plumber by nature, a plumber by trade and a plumber by size, but knew his rafters from his joists without even thinking about it. He was also exceptional with plaster. If anything could be plastered, he could skim it.

The time had come to remove the wooden scaffold which had been erected several months earlier by a company of sailors whom Lakshmi had picked up in the nearby fishing leje. The old tars had efficiently used just about every sailors’ knot, and a few more, that were known to man as they secured the scaffold around a building that had not then been built. Stephen and Erdogan surveyed the knots on the scaffold scratching their heads wondering what to do and where to begin. Mahmud waited impatiently, for he had not been instructed to do anything, for something to happen. Erdogan came down first with his face very pale. ‘Problem there is’, he muttered, ‘very serious’.

Stephen suddenly let out a great cry of delight such as had not been heard in the region for many a day. Looking over the edge of the scaffold and tossing a knife down to Mahmud, he shouted: ‘Eureka! It is straightforward, we must cut off the Turk’s head.’

Mahmud looked around. So did Erdogan. He knew full well the propensity of Mahmud to literally follow instructions and without any further delay took to his heels becoming the first man ever to run a three minute mile.

We know what literalism means. It is the stuff of The Merchant of Venice. The judgement handed down in favour of Shylock demonstrates this. Shylock could have his pound of flesh. Literalism finds a way into justice. It is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But if justice goes one step, however small, beyond literalism, then it is not justice. The Lord said ‘You have heard it said an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’ because the law had been corrupted by the additions of men and so he added ‘but I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you’. He reminds us that the law also says ‘it shall not be so among you’ for he is the one who gave us that law.

We often hear of cries for justice, and Coco does not say that we should not listen, but let us be careful that a cry for justice does not become a cry for revenge. The judgement for Shylock would not serve justice if in the taking of the pound of flesh one drop of blood was shed.

But there is a time for the shedding of blood for justice, and the one who said: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth?…but I say to you love your enemies and do good to those who hate you’, became himself the shedder of blood. His enemies took him and nailed him to a tree. Justice was being served, but not in the way that his enemies thought. They intended to dispose of him, but they were doing what God had planned and had spoken about to us beforehand. He was despised and rejected by men. He was taken as a lamb to the slaughter. The Lord placed upon him our iniquity.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth ultimately become a life for a life (as the Law had predicted), and Jesus, the righteous one, gave his life for our life. Justice was served, the exact price that we should pay because of our sin was paid by Jesus. And the wrath of God was sated. Not only that, his own qualification of an eye for an eye with ‘but I say to you: love your enemies’ was demonstrated by him in his death in that it was for his enemies that he laid down his life and shed his own blood.

So God, in the death of Jesus, shows his justice. God looked for a way at the same time to satisfy justice and to save sinners. He found it. He gave himself to die to satisfy the law’s righteous demands in order that he might save us from our sin. Jesus paid the price and now calls: Come to me, for life without a price. Your own labour and works will not turn the scales, but Jesus has turned the scales with his own blood. The way to peace with God and eternal life has been opened.

You may want to know what happened next in the story of the builders. Well, it is recorded that Mahmud did indeed cut the Turk’s head off after which the removal of the scaffold was as some would say apple pie.

Further information:

1Ask any six year old female what a Turk’s head is and she will be able not only to tell you but show you how to make one there and then providing as examples several more in a variety of colours that she had already made. Be aware that not, possibly only yet, being a sailor she may know the thing by a different name. Don’t ask a boy. He will say that he knows, give you six different versions, none of which work and then tell you that it is so easy you can work it out for yourself before he walks off for the apple pie that he hopes is still in the fridge.
Scriptures referenced above are to be found, inter alia, in
2Matthew 5
3Deuteronomy 19
4Isaiah 53
5Romans 5
6Isaiah 55
7If we say that Mahmud became the second person to run a three minute mile we need to add: He also missed the finishing line by about 300m for Erdogan ran in a SW direction, and Mahmud mistakenly followed West by SSW.
8If you skipped to the end you may have missed the important bits. Perhaps Coco should copy the BBC and only produce short and less wordy posts.


A preposterous proposition

There are, as you, dear reader, well know, four types of sieve. This conclusion is founded upon the well-established theory of sieves, which states that a sieve is an object with two properties each of which may be in one of two states. The two states are of permission and denial. The properties relate to the passage of fluids (liquids and gases) and solids. Thus a sieve is an object which will either permit or deny the passage of liquids or solids. Where both states are set to denial (Permissio Aut Nunquam), we have a pan sieve, which as a result of the dropping of the noun and retention of the adjective as an adjectival noun – a common occurrence in the English language – is commonly known as a pan. We must be careful however in any discussion of the theory of sieves to use the correct terminology. Where both states are set to permit (Permissio IPropter aEternum) we have a pipe sieve, which becomes known to us, for the same reasons, as a pipe or where the pipe has zero thickness a ring or hoop. The second order of sieve is where the fluid property is set to permit and the solid to deny. This is the, somewhat perhaps confusingly but it has become the standard convention, the solid sieve (Solidum Obstructus; Licet fluidum Ius Detur). In everyday use in the kitchen or garden we would simply refer to it as a sieve. The fourth order of sieve, which is a fluid* sieve has a state of deny to fluids and permit to solids. It is under standard convention known as the exotic sieve. It is thought to have significant technological advantages over much that is presently used in engineering, for the storage of fluids and the building of engines which rely upon clean fluid fuels. It would be possible to clean fluids in a static environment, the fuel tank of your car for example, rather than using a filter in the pathways to the combustion chamber. Exhaust gases similarly and waste liquids could be cleaned and solids collected safely. The possibilities for use in a waste treatment plant are considered to be inestimable.

As yet the exotic sieve has not been observed in the real world, but early work in the late Soviet Union under Lysenko, who was primarily an agricultural scientist but saw the potential benefits of this sieve made some progress, but sadly the work ceased to be funded in 1989. It is thought that the work may be continuing in Xin-Jiang or perhaps Wuhan, but no official confirmation of this has been possible to obtain.

So what has this to do with standees, well we shall now see. Coco was astonished to see the use of the word so Coco thought: Coco should consider other words which use this construction. You may care to correct the following:

  • It is an anchorage. The anchors anchor the anchee, which then becomes the anchored. Hmm, I think that is wrong. It is the boat, carrying the anchor, which is anchored.
  • It is an appointment. The appointors appoint the appointee who then becomes the appointed.
  • It is a beavering. The beavers beave the beavees which then become the beaved.
  • It is a colouring. The colours colour the colees which then become the coloured. It is better in US English.
  • It is a donation. The donors done [to] the donees, who then become the done[d]. Well, a three year old might say I have doed it, but I have doned it, perhaps not.
  • It is an execution. The executors and executrices execute the executees, who then become the executed.
  • It is an escape. The escapers escape the escapees, who then become the escaped. I seem to remember reading somewhere that it was the escapees who escaped, but the -ees and -ors cannot be the same surely?
  • It is a firing. The firer fires the firee, who then becomes the fired. Well, you probably would not say it quite like that, but it makes sense at least.
  • It is a footballing. The footballers football the footballee, which then becomes the footballed.
  • It is a going. The goers go to the goee, which become the gone.
  • It is a howing. The howers how the howee, which becomes the howed.
  • It is an idling. The idlers idle the idlee, which becomes the idled.
  • It is a jambing. The jamborors jambor the jamboree, which becomes the jamboreed.
  • It is a joke. The jokers joke the jokee, who then becomes the joked.
  • It is a killing. The killers kill the killee, who then becomes the killed.
  • It is a laughing. The laughers laugh [at] the laughee, who then becomes the laughed.
  • It is a mortgage. The mortgagor mortgages the mortgagee, which then becomes the mortgaged.
  • It is a mourning. The mourners mourn the mournee, who then becomes the mourned.
  • It is a numbering. The numbers number the numberee which then becomes the numbered. After this my days probably are too.
  • It is a ornamentation. The ornamentor ornaments the ornamentee, who/which then becomes the ornamented. That should rather probably be: The ornamentrix ornaments the ornamentee, who then becomes the ornamented.
  • It is a payment. The payers pay the payee, who then becomes the paid.
  • It is a quelling. The quellors quell the quellee, which then becomes the quelled.
  • It is a ramble (like this). The ramblers ramble the ramblee which then becomes the rambled.
  • It is a registration. The registrars register the [interest of the] registrant which then becomes the registered.
  • It is a sizeuppance. The sizeuppers size the sizeuppees up, who then become the sizedup.
  • It is a spectacle. The spectators spectate the spectatees, who then become the spectated.
  • It is a standing. The standers stand (on/in front of/behind/below/above/next to etc?) the standees, who then become the standed.
  • It is a tidying up. The tidy-uppers tidy up the tidy-uppee, which then becomes the tidied-up.
  • It is a usurpation. The usurpers usurped the usurpee, who became the usurped.
  • It is a vivisection. The vivisectors vivisected the vivisectee which became the vivisected.
  • It is a waiting. The waiters and waitresses wait [on/for] the waitees, who then become the weighted.
  • It is a wedding. The wedders wed the weddees, who then become the wedded.
  • It is a weighing. The weigher weigh the weighees who then become the weighed.
  • It is a xysteration. The xysterators xysterate the xysteree, which becomes the xysterated.
  • It is a yanking. The yankers yank the Yankee, which becomes the yanked.
  • It is a zincing. The zincers zinc the zincee, which then becomes the zinced. Coco knows Coco should have said galvanising, but z-verbs are fewer and further between then x-verbs. Zoom does not cut the mustard.

Has it become obvious to you that the -ee-or endings, like the famous donkey, are rather morose. They speak of an empty head which has seen the -ee-or elsewhere and thought ‘that can be used in place of ‘standing’’. On a bus, there is likely to be a notice indicating that it is licensed to carry 30 seated and 20 standing. What has clearly been forgotten is that this is a common English way of saying 30 seated passengers and 20 standing passengers. Standing is an adjective without its noun, just as pan in the initial discussion is an adjective without its noun. Coco suspects that perhaps they were told that standing is an adjective and thought ‘O, we cannot use that then’. Did they forget, there is already a noun implied in the notice which does not need to be said, but sometimes is, or at least used to be, and therefore standing is the correct word to use. Better than standee then would have been to use orthostatis, at least the correct form of that word is definitively defined, if Coco may use a tautologous repetition of a conceptual idea.

By the way, the second purpose of the discussion of the sieve was also to show that just because a theory suggests the existence of a particular state of matter, the real world does not have to provide it. There may be an apparently empty slot (*as above for the Fluidum obstructus; licet solidum ius detur seive) in our design for the world, but it is perhaps just as likely that the design is wrong as that the thing for the slot exists.

For in saying: where is the promise of his coming, they wilfully forget that God made the worlds of old out of water and destroyed them with water (ie the cataclysm). Just so he shall destroy the present world (at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ) with fire (2 Peter 3 and elsewhere). Do you have a conception of this world which excludes that? Does your paradigm omit judgement and retribution? We must not forget that God has shown his wrath, and mercy towards sinners, in the death of Jesus Christ who for sinners received the just judgement and retribution that our sins deserved in order that God may justly show mercy and provide forgiveness to sinners.

Farming targets

How to use a cane

A tautologous repetition of conceptual ideas will not produce the making of a taxonomic classification of factual data items however well clothed with an investment in a garb of reasonable logic, but it may provide a cane with which to rod those with whom your tolerance will have nothing to do.

There were four schools on the remote populous Atlantic Island of South Withering, we call them A, B, C and D. The Island had overall a poor reputation for the education of its people and wished to improve its standards. A report was commissioned and after much deliberation it was agreed by the educational sociologists that the recommendations would be implemented subject to some minor modifications which they assured all would not invalidate the new measures. It was a stick and carrot approach but as with most social sociology the emphasis was upon the carrot. There would be rewards for increasing standards of achievement amongst pupils as this was felt to be the most appropriate way to encourage both schools and pupils.

The targets were ambitious, but given the abysmal starting point generally recognised as not unattainable. Over three years there was a hope, it was not expressed as an expectation, of a ten percent improvement in educational achievements. The teachers at school C were quite concerned about the targets, but nevertheless threw their weight behind the initiative and after learning that their colleagues at school D were struggling offered them help in the form of additional coaching and tutoring. The teachers at schools D and C worked together over the following years. Schools A and B continued to make steady but not remarkable progress.

At the day of assessment all four schools were astonished at the outcome. School D received prestigious rewards for its achievements. Schools A and B were commended, but school C would be placed in special measures for its failure to draw anywhere close to the targets that had been set.

The results table was as follows:

Increase in numbers passing exams at grades and decrease in unclassified results

What was not disclosed however were the actual numbers of pupils before and after (the before numbers have been scaled to match the current numbers):


All of the teaching staff knew that without the dedicated support of the staff at school C, in guiding her teachers but primarily in motivating her students, school D would have made little or no progress. But in their hearts, they knew, it was useless to say anything. For school C even the best possible result would have been regarded as a failure: +11% at α -100% at β -100% at γ -0% at υ.

What has that to do with Welsh farmers one may ask? I too do wonder why they are in December 2020 to be given new reduced greenhouse gas emission targets when they already have one of the lowest rates of emission in the world?

Jones, the farmer, who had been very active in the farmers’ union throughout his working life, on his retirement had been asked to present to his colleagues on the techniques that he had used and tried over his many years’ of active life. Some months later in the course of his closing remarks he mentioned that he had farmed 1000 hectares for over forty years, and through the implementation of systems of active land management and rotation in his last twenty or so years had increased his average five year yield from 6 tonnes an hectare to 8, but in this latest year he had achieved over 10 tonnes per acre.

His peers were impressed by his long term achievement, but what had he done recently? ‘Remarkable’, they spoke to one another in the reception afterwards. ‘Indeed’ would be the reply, ‘what had he done, what is the secret?’ And all and sundry wanted to ask him the burning question, but he seemed to take control of every conversation and steer the discussion away from the question of yield to techniques and environmental impact. Eventually the younger farmers gave up, until another retired gentleman farmer spoke out, and asked Jones to explain to the company what he had meant and how he had done it, giving Jones, as only an older man could do, no escape. Jones replied quite simply, ‘if you are willing to put in the effort then ten tons per acre is not in anyway unachievable, but, he added, I knew that if I planted more than one square yard I would not be able to devote sufficient care to the crop to produce such a yield.’

‘By the grace of God given to me, Paul, do not think more highly of yourself than you ought, but let each by careful judgement measure yourselves according to the faith that God has given you. ‘ Of course, if we have no faith then we have no standard by which to measure, but nevertheless our standard is Jesus Christ, who loving his enemies, gave his life for us that we may receive from him faith and so be able to serve and love him in his eternal kingdom (Romans 12:3 and elsewhere).


If Coco said that the opinion that ‘A is safe’ is supported by 100 years of medical experience, and the opinion that ‘A is not safe’ is only supported by sixty such years, which opinion are you more likely to trust?

If Coco further told you that one hundred second year medical students had formed the first opinion, but only two consultants in their late fifties had formed the second, would you remain of the same view?

What bearing then does the fact that there are 100 years of medical experience between the UK regulator and the committee advising which groups of people should be vaccinated first have upon the opinion that the CMO promulgates?

Furthermore, we all know that it was a committee that designed the first camel to win the Grand National.

Fauci apologises for saying UK ‘rushed’ vaccine

On Thursday, the UK’s deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam told the BBC he was “very confident” in the MHRA.
He said there was more than “100 years of medical experience” between the UK regulator and the committee advising which groups of people are vaccinated first.