Category Archives: Literature

Flowers on Friday

In a field of roses, I am but a wildflower.

she is as a wildflower meadow, beautiful and untamed

no matter what befalls, she is washed clean by spring rains






jack collier

these shots were taken with a Lumix

click the link

Flowers for Love

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

not every woman loves the same flower

nor wants the same flower from her love







jack collier

health, wealth, and happiness

The Greatest Gift You Can Give the World is a Healthy You.

Sometime around the first century AD, Roman poet Juvenal, (Decimus lunius luvenalis), wrote this;


you should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body

ask for a stout heart that has no fear of death

and deems length of days the least of nature’s gifts

that can endure any kind of toil

that knows neither wrath nor desire and thinks

the woes and hard labours of Hercules

better than the loves and banquets and downy cushions of sloth

what I commend to you, you can give to yourself

for assuredly, the only road to a life of peace is virtue.


Except Juvenal wrote it in Latin, and he wrote Sardanapalus, not sloth.  It actually rhymes much better in Latin.  This is from where we get the phrase ~ mens sana in corpore sano ~ a sound mind in a sound body.

flagTo me, this reads a lot like Kipling, who was also very adept at giving good advice to young men; for example in his seminal poem IF Kipling explains what it takes to be a Man.  Sir Henry Newbolt with Vitai Lampada, gave a more inspirational lead.  But for hard advice the Maxims to Guide a Young Man, which appeared in the 1850’s maybe says it all.  After a long career in banking, my personal advice to a young man echoes Shakespeare’s from Hamlet; Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Even two thousand years later Juvenal’s advice is sound.  He’s telling us not to lay about eating, drinking, having sex, (all things that the ancient Romans excelled at), but instead live an energetic life of courage, self-discipline, and virtue.  Every great teacher before and since, including Jesus Christ and the Buddha, says more or less the same things.  The Noble Eightfold Path could have come straight from Juvenal.

Life is difficult and painful.  The way to freedom from pain lies in courage, hard work, and self-discipline.  And by the way, don’t get cynical, envious, impatient, apathetic, or angry along the way ~ these negative emotions will not serve you well.

Neither in a man nor a woman is negativity a pretty sight


eightfold pathjack collier


on the beach

P1030480If I could, I would spend all of my time on the beach.  My local beach, or in Australia, California, Miami, Texas, or  the Windies…  just so long as there is the sea and the sky.  Lighthouses, a cool villa, and a gorgeous woman would be good too.  I would settle for a hut to sleep in.  To be honest, I can do without the guy playing the guitar. 

Chris Rea ~ On The Beach

please listen responsibly

On The Beach is also the title of a novel by Nevil Shute, which was turned into a chilling movie starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner.   (I think Ava Gardner has such a look of a dirty vamp about her.)

please watch responsibly

If your girl talks about the 2000  Armand Assante movie, it’s cool if you not only know about the earlier film, but also the book.

As for my beach.  It’s lonely, cold, and grey down by the sea today.


P1040574Jack Collier


Bitter Harvest Falls


You like autumn?  Don’t call it fall.  You like fog wet dog boggy footpaths mud?  Fur scarf hat gloves separating love’s touch.  Cider with cinnamon vomit stinks I think warm beer the only fit drink for an English man.  Cinnamon satisfies women but don’t call it fall.  It’s autumn mists mellow fruitfulness hopelessness dreariness missing your touch too much don’t call it fall.  California knows no bitter winter touch what is autumn to you?  Sadness last verbal touch telephone call isn’t much don’t call again.  Beginnings told me of multiple men my long drinking winter began don’t call it fall.


P1010479experimental prose poetry

words and pictures by jack collier

Robinson Crusoe Bear

Shipwrecked on a deserted volcanic island, the lonely sailor bear.


lost and alone

nothing but my signal fire

and my empty bottle of booze

I hope that someone gets my message



P1010857words and pictures by jack collier

capitaine de ta vaisseau

moine guerrier

Spirituality And Free Will


Well, the real answer is Yes, and No, or Maybe.

For millenia philosophers have debated whether humans have free will.  What is free will?  Is free will compatible with the notion of a God, or Gods?  Is free will possible alongside causal determinism?  Is free will probable if we believe in quantum mechanics?

Free Will is taken to be the ability to act without the constraint of necessity or fate, or to choose between alternative possibilities.  In fact, these two concepts are mutually exclusive.  There may be many possibilities, but the choice must be driven by necessity or fate.

In which case free will does not exist.  On a daily basis most individuals in the west act out of necessity; school, work, relationships, weather, economics, the list of things which drive human behaviour is endless to the point of infinity.

Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer.

Arthur Schopenhauer ~ philosopher and author of The World as Will and Representation and Essays and Aphorisms.


I’m certain that Ghandi believed in free will

Fate is another matter.  Many Eastern Religions believe that everything is preordained, although the word most commonly used to describe Eastern beliefs is fatalism.  In fact, many Christians also believe that God has already decided everything.  This may be called either preordination or predestination.

Fatalism espouses the belief that we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do.  We have no power to influence the future or our own actions.  In the East this produces an attitude of resignation in the face of the events of daily life.  Fatalism also espouses the belief that to live is to suffer ~ which is one of the Four Noble Truths.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning to the suffering. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.

Friedrich Nietzsche ~ philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet, composer and author of  The Wanderer and His Shadow.

Free will obviously relies on internal thoughts and feelings, and how successful is anyone in generating and sustaining the psychological, physiological, emotional, cognitive and subconscious dimensions which make up a free-thinking individual?  How does that fit with alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder, hypersexuality…?  Again the list of neurosis and character defects which appear to deprive humans of free will is almost endless to the point of infinity.

Does a man with a severe addiction to gambling have any choice but to go on gambling until he is broke and destitute, and often beyond that with borrowed money?  Does this man have sufficient free will to say; ‘Stuff this for a game of soldiers, I’m going to make a nice casserole for dinner instead of throwing my money away betting on the 3:30 at Sandown?’

Well yes and no.  It is only his gambling addiction which is preventing him from exercising free will, not something in the intrinsic structure of the Cosmos.  Does a nymphomaniac have a choice about having sex with every man who happens along?  Well, possibly not.  Unlike sluts and skanks who merely have a pathetically low self image and will sleep with just about anybody, nymphomaniacs have the bona fide mental illness of hypersexuality.  They have a choice but the choice is almost always Yes.


nymphomaniac or just healthy fantasy?

I have met many gamblers, sluts, alcoholics, skanks, people with OCD, tramps, heroin addicts, vamps, cocaine addicts, hookers, and strippers, but I have never met a real, honest to God nymphomaniac.  Excessive sexual drive in a man is called satyriasis, and I wouldn’t like to suffer from that.


no more casual sex please

To live a spiritual existence implies that free will does exist.  It isn’t a given that any woman needs to have sex with every man that comes along, (unless said woman is a hooker).  It isn’t a given that alcoholic women will do almost anything for a drink, up to and including prostituting herself with casual sex.  It isn’t a given that the same woman may have OCD and be a compulsive thief.

For example, in the choice between alcoholic and sexual debauchery as against spirituality, an absence of free will negates any moral responsibility whatsoever.  Without freedom of action there is no morality.  However, given a choice between dying sad and lonely, bottle in hand, and living to see your children grow up, the choice is blindingly obvious.  Therefore a man’s decision to give up the booze are not the result of free will but of necessity.  BULLSHIT.  If that were true then hardly anyone would be a practicing alcoholic ~ and yet our city streets are full of dipsomaniacs.

The difficulty we face is that once we are in a given lifestyle, it is incredibly painful to change.  Free will implies that our skank can wake up one morning and decide that she isn’t going to do that sort of thing anymore.  On the one hand, she could do that, on the other hand, she won’t.  She won’t until she is badly beaten, or gang raped, or suffers similar trauma.  It takes a lot to make people want to change their ways, and self deception and denial means our woman probably does not even recognise that she has a problem.

Admitting that you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, that takes a hell of a lot of free will.  I don’t think there is a self assessment for compulsive shoppers, but there are many for alcoholics.  Am I An Alcoholic? is one question some of us should ask ourselves, for alcoholism deprives one of free will.

So, addiction deprives one of free will.  So does compulsion.  When one is conscripted into an army one doesn’t have very much free will after that.  Except we do, even in the mud and blood of the trenches during WWI, there was free will.  ‘Should I have a cigarette now or later?’  ‘Am I actually going to have to eat yet another tin of bully beef?’

Free will does exist, despite what a lot of people with more letters after their name than you can shake a stick at say.  Which is just as well as far as spirituality is concerned, for without free will there is no spirituality.

It is possible to recover from addiction, but not without some degree of spirituality and a willingness to begin to live a spiritual life.  You don’t have to take my word for that, just go to one 12 step recovery meeting.

Hawker Hurricane


Unlike the beautiful Supermarine Spitfire, the Hawker Hurricane has a stubby, hunched, rugged old soldier, look about it.  Unlike the complex Spitfire, the Hurricane was easy to manufacture and repair.  It also took half as long to refuel and rearm, was easier to fly and more maneuverable near the ground. The Hurricane cold carry heavier armament and was a better gun-platform than the Spitfire.  The Hurricane was simple and tough, and although nowhere near as fast or with a rate of climb to rival the Spitfire, it was an operational go-anywhere, do-anything fighter by the time of the Battle of Britain.  The Hurricane was a workhorse to the Spitfire’s thoroughbred.


Hurricane IV with 4 ~ 20mm cannon

BF109 Bouchon

Bf 109 bouchon

The Hurricane was in the thick of the action well before the Battle ofBritain as part of the British Air Forces in France, with 6 Hurricane squadrons from January 1940.  A further 4 Hurricane squadrons were sent to France when the German offensive began, followed by another 2 on May 13th 1940.  The French Air Force, (Armee de l’Air), was so ineffective in 1940 that on May 14th the French Government then asked for another 10 squadrons of Hurricanes ~ after much heart-searching only 3 more Hurricane squadrons were committed, and these returned to England at night.  In the end, by the time of the Miracle of Dunkirk, over 200 Hurricanes had been lost, many of which would have been repairable had they not been operating from forward air bases in France.  England committed a greater proportion of its air strength to the Battle for France, than the French did, 30% as against 25%, and at such a cost that the Battle of Britain was a damn close run thing.  (The 1969 film: Battle of Britain gives a reasonably accurate account of the battle.  However the Bf 109’s in the film are powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.(Hispano Aviacion Bf109 Bouchon)).

In any form, the Bf109 outperformed the Hurricane except in tight turns at low altitude.

Specification; Hawker Hurricane Mk IIB

  • 1,280 bhp Rolls-Royce Merlin XX
  • Span 40 ft,  Length 32 ft,  Wing Area 257.5 sq ft,  Weight 5,500 lbs (MTOW 7,300 lbs)
  • Maximum Speed 342 mph at 22,000 ft
  • Service Ceiling 36,000 ft
  • Range 480 miles
  • Armament 12 .303 machine guns plus up to 1,000 lbs bomb load

Designed by Sydney Camm and entering service in 1937, the Hurricane was the first of the RAF’s monoplane fighters, and became the first operational RAF aeroplane capable of exceeding 300 miles per hour.   It used the same legendary Rolls-Royce Merlin engine as the Spitfire, which at the time of the Battle of Britain produced 1030 brake horse power.  Eventually the Hurricane would be fitted with the two-stage supercharged Merlin 27 which gave 1635 bhp.  These engines were mounted in a fuselage which had a lot in common with earlier, biplane fighters.  There was an alloy frame to which were mounted wooden stringers and then covered in fabric.  Only the area around the engine had an alloy skin.  Early Hurricanes even had outer wings covered in doped fabric.  Unlike the beautiful, elliptical, wing of the Spitfire, the Hurricane’s wings were simple in design and construction.  This rugged construction was the logical outcome of a long line of Hawker fighting aircraft.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

The thing about the Hurricane’s simple wing was that all the guns could be grouped close together, outside of the propeller arc, and heavier armament could be fitted than the Spitfire’s thin, elliptical, wings could accommodate.  The Hurricane was the world’s first 8 gun monoplane fighter, at the time of the Battle of Britain most Hurricane’s were fitted with 8 Colt-Browning 303 machine guns.  Later Hurricanes could be fitted with 12 machine guns, or 4 20mm cannon, or even with twin Vickers 40mm S cannon and 2 machine guns for use as tank-busters.

Some 1,715 Hurricanes took part in the Battle of Britain, (29 squadrons as against 19 Spitfire squadrons), and between them its pilots destroyed 80% of the Luftwaffe aircraft shot down between July and October 1940.  Sadly, inexperienced Spitfire pilots were known to have mistaken Hurricanes for the Bf 109 and attacked their brother RAF aircraft.  The usual tactic for a mixed formation of Hurricanes and Spitfires was for the Hurricanes to stay lower down and attack the bombers, while the Spitfires flew top cover and tackled the enemy fighters.  Obviously the bombers were the easier target.  However, it is fair to say that this reliable aeroplane has never been given all the credit it deserved for winning the Battle of Britain.  Older and slower than the Spitfire it may have been, but there were more of them.  (Hurricane: Victor Of The Battle Of Britain by Leo McKinstry.)

TRANSPORT Hurricane/Duxford

wrecked Hurricane (photo from Daily Mail)

The Hurricane was a remarkably versatile aircraft.  At a pinch it could be flown as a night-fighter as the wide-track undercarriage made it possible to land a Hurricane in the dark.  From 1942 the cannon-armed IIc operated as a night intruder over occupied Europe.  In the North African desert, tropicalised Hurribombers armed with 4 20mm cannon and 500 lbs of bombs, gave the axis a taste of what to expect from Hawker fighter-bombers.  The Hurricane was supplied to Russia under Lend-Lease, although the 2,952 aircraft delivered weren’t much liked by soviet pilots.  The Sea Hurricane became operational from 1941 and stayed in service for 3 years.

Perhaps the most dangerous, (for the pilot), variant of the aircraft was the Hurricat.  Because of a shortage of aircraft carriers for convoy escort work, some merchant ships were fitted with a rocket-propelled catapult to launch a single Hurricane fighter.  Amazingly, pilots were found for the Hurricanes fitted to these CAM ships.  If all went well, the Hurricane would shoot down the German reconnaissance aircraft shadowing the convoy, and then the pilot would bail out, or ditch in the sea, to be picked-up by the convoy escort.


CAM ship with Hurricane on the catapult

This unpretty fighter was in the right place at the right time.  Early Hurricanes had a wooden, two-bladed, propeller and no armour plating.  But even when these shortcomings were rectified, the aircraft had a limited development potential because of its frame and fabric fuselage.  Hawker’s next fighter, the Typhoon, employed a structure that was a mixture of a monocoque and steel frame skinned in alloy.  The monocoque tail structure of the Typhoon had a nasty habit of falling off in the earlier marques.

The real story is that, without the Hawker Hurricane Britain could have lost the war.

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