Post-Apocalyptic Positivist Calendar

There have a been a lot of hits recently on the New, Improved Positivist Calendar, prompting a re-think about what to do with the idea. I had intended to produce a calendar for the whole year, but life intervened, not to mention the hard labour of making 13 monthly pages and inserting the old style dates for comparison. I ended up with the first 3 months, and wasn’t very happy with them.

The forthcoming End of the World, as presaged by the end of the Mayan calendar, is the perfect opportunity to take the positivist calendar post-Apocalypse. Occurring on December 21, 2012, it is also the winter solstice. You will recall that the “new, improved” aspect concerns beginning/ending each year on the solstice, leaving 13 months of 28 days each, divided into 4 weeks. Clearly a coincidence made in the Heavens. Never mind using the 1859 publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species as Year One, the world going kerplooey in 2012 blows it out of the water.

August Comte (1798-1857) created a religion of humanity, founded on a positivist philosophy that saw the natural sciences as the basis of life, rejecting metaphysical assumptions about the nature of reality. His logical calendar is part of that project, which I like for its elegance and versatility – it can be tweaked to mirror the seasons. The Gregorian calendar is 10 days late for the solstice.

Comte envisaged it stuffed with secular saints, people from all walks of scientific, political, artistic, and religious life, like a Catholic saints’-days calendar. I don’t want to do that, but it might include people I find interesting. Absurdity is probably the keynote of this and any future age, so eccentrics, artists, poets etc will feature. Lightly sprinkled, of course. No doubt I’ll think of other ideas. I can see it becoming a calendar plus, perhaps something like an almanac.

For the past 2 months I’ve been learning about digital art by making it, so this now sounds like a fascinating project and a chance to learn new skills. I’ll attempt to make a proper calendar, with different designs for the cover and for each month. Not necessarily seasonal ones – this is unknown territory, I can’t draw, and don’t know what I’m doing – yet. The deadline is obviously before December 21, and I’ll post updates as the work progresses. My inspiration is Nancy Farmer, a real artist who knows how to draw and paint and everything.

Whatever happens on December 21, the Post-Apocalyptic Positivist Calendar will see you through the aftermath.

Daily Video: Discworld Tourist Guide (Part 7) – Flora & Fauna

A treat for fans of the Discworld novels, by Terry Pratchett – everything you need to know to survive in the sometimes challenging environment of Discworld. True aficionados can also gather at the Terry Pratchett: Patchwork Pieces page on Google+.

Catch up here: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6


This is inspired by a comment from emaillikeunderwear, that the German word, kunst, means art, while kunststuff means plastic. ‘Nuff said, and I went haring off after appropriate images.

The painting is a detail from a vision of Hell by Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516). It’s mashed up with a detail of a plastic artifact manufactured by Encore Industr(y/ies) of Sandusky, Ohio. I found the image at Texture King, a splendid free site. I don’t usually trawl for textures, preferring to photograph my own, but this time I wanted something specific. And it must be said that I’m extremely snobbish about plastic, deeming wood, stone, metal etc, to be more “genuine.”

The result is serendipitous, combining dimensions and arcane image physics into something I’m dead chuffed with. I like how the printing and recycling logo align with and bracket the sinner’s head, while his hand reaches through the logo. Then there’s the position of the plastic depression, which says a lot about the “oh, shit!” moment in the pit of that poor bastard’s stomach.

If only they were all like this.

TED Talks: Maz Jobrani on being an Iranian-American

A weekly post featuring talks by innovative thinkers, sponsored by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). This is what the internet was made for – to allow challenging ideas to escape from their academic ghettoes and hang out in a place where they can talk to each other.

Maz Jobrani is an Iranian-American stand-up comic, part of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour. His work is about the absurdities and contradictions of being born in a country widely regarded as evil, while living as an American citizen. He’s funny, astute, and you should watch this because he blows away all the stereotypes.


Dear Dotty,

I’m sending this photo to help you defeat the Demon in your attic. Hold it aloft, while protecting your own eyes from the blazing vision, and you’ll have the little bastard out in no time. Retching and puking, so put tarpaulin down to protect your carpets. I’m beginning to heave a little, just by having it in a post.

We are fortunate in Campbeltown to have Linda gracing the garden of our museum, probably doing unspeakable things to wee lambs when no-one is looking. Should anyone local see this post, I’ll be tarred, feathered, and run out of town, so you may not hear from me for a while.

Love, Poet xxx
PS  I always knew I’d find a use for this photo one day.