Saturday, 31 July 2010

Emotions

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Emotions are funny things. We all have them, we all fail to control them, or control them too much. None of us can enjoy life without them and some of us enjoy the emotions more than we ought. This thought crossed my mind, and you wish it had continued to cross, when I realised how satisfied I appeared to be after the Heart of Midlothian defeated Millwall in a testimonial match for their man Neil Harris. It was indeed a mere friendly match, but with an honourable intent, and the fact that the side is beginning to merge together leaves me feeling quite satisfied, and having a man who can score from free kicks is also pleasing me. Now I know there are more important things in life, however a football team winning brings a strange happiness, and many share this emotion. The emotions of the wee team the other night, that is the Hibs losing to a side they had never heard of before, does give us an inkling into the opposite type of reaction.  However, we will not go there, as this might provoke another emotional reaction from me, one accompanied with a lot of sniggering to be honest!

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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Worn Out

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Twice this week I have cycled out to a nearby warehouse to help clear up the mess they are in. For a mere two hours, yes two hours a day I have wandered around flattening cardboard boxes and generally tidying the place up. This is a company that has dropped a number of staff yet found itself getting busier. This means the warehouse, actually well organised but in a mess through sheer industry, is creating a H&S problem, and a sheer practicable one for the pickers and packers as they wade thought fallen boxes, some full many empty, to fulfil their tasks. Therefore the cheap option is to bring in someone aged, desperate for a few hours work, and willing to happily wander around flattening the boxes and moving it in the huge bins provided. So twice I have spent two hours doing this, and now, after four hours work I cannot move anything anymore without aching everywhere! Not working, lacking exercise, and being as fit as a ten day old corpse, has revealed me to be less fit than even I thought. I stretch, I hot bath, and just await the girl from the Cambodian all night tanning salon to come around and massage my knees back into their proper place. However, the tiredness I feel, what some dafties call 'good tiredness' is hanging over me and I may not be able to stay aw...


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Monday, 26 July 2010

How Many Dead?

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I have just had a glance at the 'Mail Online' page and while I expect to see half naked, meaningless celebrities whom I have never heard off, and I also realise that scandal and shock will fill the page, I did find myself shocked by the number of dead people on the page.  One was 'happy Slapped' to death by neds, a four year old was found dead in a washing machine while playing 'Hide & Seek, a pretty young student finds herself dead crossing a road while on the phone, so the driver gets off with that one, and a father is found hanging not long after his wife and two daughters are found dead. Not a bad body count when we are still in the 'Mail's' opening section.

They were joined in the opening section by a 45 stone woman who, the 'Mail claims,' died after stuffing herself on junk food! We quickly move on to a nurse stabbed by her 'ex-lover,' never boyfriend, always 'lover' in this paper, and a 'newly wed stabbed to death by her step son' in the US. There is a cruise ship passenger dying after the gangway collapses, a mother bleeding to death after a long wait for the police, a professional footballer given 25 years for shooting an ex friend in a drugs related case. This led to another murder and about thirty shooting incidents in a notorious London housing estate. However hold on, we are only half way down the page! We still have the 'insanely jealous' boyfriend who bumped her of for finding another man, we must not miss him out must we? 

At a rough count, and it must be rough are there may be more yet to discover on this page, we have about 14, yes fourteen, bodies on one page of the 'Mail Online.' I have missed out the regular things, priests giving communion to dogs, a ship made from plastic bottles arriving in Sydney harbour,  shocking things found on a soap opera and lots of flesh on the side bar as 'B' celebs disport themselves for cheap publicity.

Murder used to be unusual in the UK. We use to manage about one a day, now we are at least ten times that number, although I have no official figures for this guess. The police once shuddered at the thought of carrying guns, now every station has it's 'armed response unit' Youths are always showing off by fighting, now however they all appear to carry knives, and especially so in inner cities. Drugs carry a great responsibility here as all areas appear to have a drug gang of some sort. Heavens, only a few years ago an armed police raid occurred on a house behind my mothers in Edinburgh. I spent 21 years in London and never saw an armed police raid, yet one occurs right next to what once was our playground! Totally unthinkable in the fifties!

There again it is a paper reporting 'news,' and facts are slanted to sell. These sad events take place all too often but life goes on. There are more good things in the New Forest than dead families, some housing estates, even black ones I will have you know, are full of folks just living their lives. Reading the press does give a skewed view of the world around us. When I lived in London the area, Paddington it came under, had about 660 'car crimes.' Stolen or just broken into for a few pounds, that sort of thing.  Maida Vale had well over 700 such offences! Yet when I arrived at this backwater  the local media talked of things taken from cars, garages raided, and police warnings to 'Take care out there!'

The end of the year report told us there had been 24 'car crimes,' and that this area was the safest in the county, and the county had the lowest crime rate in the country! Read your paper carefully!

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Sunday, 25 July 2010

What has happened to our culture?

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I had occasion to use Google maps the other day for some important study that has now gone right out of my head. It meant looking at Edinburgh for some reason or other and I eventually wandered over the places where I spent my youth. I was shocked! What caught my eye was an area used by some lads for football, now dominated by a council laid basketball court! What on earth is going on here I thought? This was a place I only visited once, and not because of the hard men who played there either. I did however play on the other side of those houses for a while with the chaps there, and a good time I had also. However I noticed their pitch no longer exists and tarmac paths cross what was once the goalmouth where my heroics often brought jeers of laughter! I wandered, from a height of several hundred feet, towards the more usual pitches of my footballing career and found a similar dearth of football being played. I was aware the roundabout had four trees planted in the centre (trees for goodness sake!) but now a ring of flourishing growth is found around the edges of the greenery. I am shocked. I gazed in a daze at the green grass, usually mud when we played, the trees and the lack of enthusiasm for the 'beautiful game!' I gave myself a crick in the neck shaking it back and forward with disbelief at the sight. I had known of course about the death of my first love long ago. The football had been hindered greatly by the imposition of the cinder pitch over our near neighbours pitch. (Funny how we rarely had a 'take on' with them for some reason, although we all played together at times?) The men at the bus stop had eased their despair at the buses by watching our football skills, which were many I must boast, and now all they could find were some enthusiasts 'training' or just walking the dog. Shame I cry, shame!

What has happened to our culture? Over the past thirty years, for no known reason, men have stopped playing football! This of course is not just in Edinburgh, home of the truly greats, like Willie Bauld, Bobby Walker, John Robertson, and Dave McKay, but it occurs everywhere in Scotland and indeed the United Kingdom! Not only this but it happens throughout Europe and even Pele, the world's second best player (Bobby Walker outshone him of course) even Pele claimed the kids no longer played football on the beach they way he used to! What is going on here? Football, whether with a proper plastic ball such as the ones we possessed, or with a bundle of rags tied together, been there done that, still happens, but in Africa, or some other third world nation. In those places where the economy is not strong people play football as we did. So is it wealth that has lost kids interest in the game? Almost any decent school reveals lots of brats kicking a ball, and one another, around the playground, so why do they prefer homework or computer games in the evening? They are not all sniffing glue or playing with little girls bicycle seats are they? A generation and more, has arisen that has no concept of the 'tanner ba' player. The idea of twenty or so a side, first to 21 wins, played under dim amber lights, in the rain and mud, means nothing to them. Yet all the greats of the past were reared this way!

I suspect one reason is the growth of football development! Football clubs select the best under eights, put them into the cut down pitches and reject the bad ones and retain the good. This may be fine for those who continue on but does it leave the young reject disillusioned with his chances? It appears the only way to make it big is not by enjoying the game, and dreaming of success, but by having sufficient talent to belong to a football team and train with them their way and no other. Add to this those who tell us that 'Playing too much football causes harm in later life' we are left with kids who play only when they are allowed. Well, those who obey their orders that is! Certainly we could have developed problems with too much football, but alcohol, cigarettes and women cause many more problems. Few suffer from playing football too much, certainly we never had to play to lose the burger fat that today's slobbish youth delight in. So I am left wondering why our football has developed in this way? Proper coaching killing the natural enjoyment? Too much homework as kids struggle to pass exams that will make no difference to their lives? Possibly the left leaning teachers, usually female, who robbed a generation of 'competitive' games had a belittling effect on attitudes? I just know that while I am not against the developing of the areas we once saw as our own I am struggling to understand why this change in thirty years?
   
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Saturday, 24 July 2010

O wad some Power the giftie gie us

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O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion! 
One thing recent times have shown me is another look at myself. Like you I have been much influenced by many things, including other peoples opinion of me. This can of course be very encouraging. The football coach that speaks of your ability, the boss that praises your honesty and work, and admiring friends who praise your artistic or practical abilities. It can also be destructive, only today a young lass muttered "Sod of Granddad," as I passed by, and she was at least forty! Folk you question your right to life when you accidentally allow the ball past you - for the eighth time can be exceedingly wounding, and parents, teachers and family can all leave a mark on the consciousness that may never leave. This can sometimes make it difficult to know just what you are capable off, or worse still, make it difficult to convince others you can, or cannot, do certain things. Their image often clashes with your own and when you know yourself this can cause many troubles with those around you!
 Recent times have convinced me of my true ability, although there are few opportunities that offer decent money for being a lazy fat slob. There are many who encourage me in the view that this is the most suitable employment however, usually those I once worked with. I have often been swayed willingly by peoples opinions of me. I have realised recently just how many I still carry, and just how wrong they were. From their point of view there was a reason to claim I had some ability in this or that, but at depth this was misleading. Now, as time passes by, I have a much more sober estimate (a phrase never found on Auld Reekie Rants) of my abilities, other folks remain convinced of their opinion! The best way to determine whether friends, bosses, or others opinions regarding you are correct is of course to put them to the test in the real world, a world where strangers regard you in the same manner you regard them, and they soon indicate your failings, as you would theirs!  

My thoughts originated when I looked at that cat in the picture. Is this a reflection of the image we offer the world, tough and strong, while inside we are like a kitten? Or could it be that within each kitten we have the talent to be a roaring lion? Some will see us as lions even when we ourselves are curling up inside like a kitten, others note the kitten dressed with a false mane. What strange creatures we can be? I spent many years being encouraged by people, and fooled into misunderstanding much of my capabilities, I trusted much of the opinion and spent a long time attempting to be what I was not. It showed, oh how it showed, but I didn't notice! I can see it now of course, and am very glad those people who also saw this are far, far away now. 
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Do you know what I am talking about? I did when I started, but I appear to have gone off in a daze somewhere. This at least shows that teacher who slapped my legs a lot was correct when she said I was dozy. Mind you I was 37 at the time....... 

Friday, 23 July 2010

You What Pal?

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So the US senate has demanded that Scotland, and the UK, send ministers over to submit themselves to a Senate Committee investigation on the Lockerbie Bomber release? Just how arrogant can these men be? Since when does a Scotsman answer to the committees of a foreign power? Do these expensively suited men with shining plastic teeth consider the Scots to be some Arab state they can kick around? I assure them they are very much mistaken! MacAskill has rightly refused to jump at their call. I strongly urge him to take a more offensive attitude towards their offensive attitude. 

Why, they ask, as if they care, was Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahiget released from prison on compassionate grounds? And why is he still alive if he was so ill? He was released on compassionate grounds because he was seriously ill and Scots Law contains much US law omits, in particular compassion is mixed with justice. Scots Law after is all is based on Calvinism, a right understanding of scripture, and that is something most US Christians fail to understand. US justice appears based on retribution, not justice, vengeance, not righteousness. In Scotland, a nation now far from its Calvinist past, such attitudes are still embedded in the consciousness. 

The real reason the men with false teeth are concerned has less to do with concern for Pan-Am 103 and much to do with an electioneering attack on BP. It is of course understandable that the short sighted politicians would use the oil disaster as a means to attack Obama and his Democrats. They are not allowed to complain about him being black are they? Strange to say the black areas of New Orleans appear to be untouched by reconstruction, could this be because of cost, five years on, or because it concerns mostly black areas anyway? I wonder! Men such as this appear to think they can tell Scots politicians what to do? No chance pal!

Let us remember what is going on here. Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahiget (You spell it your way and I'll spell it mine!) was convicted of the bombing of Pan-Am 103, and many among us consider this to be a political conviction, and an extremely unsafe one. The international desire to avoid upsetting the wrong people, possibly Iran, was satisfied when one man carried the can for something a great many powerful people were concerned with. However this was seen as an attack on America, although  a great many passengers aboard were not from the USA!But let us hold and consider first what caused the downing of this plane.

Based in the Gulf we find the 'Gun-Ho' attitude of the USS Vincennes, under Captain Will Rogers III. The ship was known as 'Robocruiser,' by other US warships in the Gulf at the time because of his behaviour. The US had placed many warships in the Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war for reasons of their own. Such ships began challenging every aircraft, commercial or otherwise, even including those approaching Dubai International Airport! On board each ship were details of all traffic, their times, destinations, call signs, how to contact them, and so on. Yet a constant and needless interference with legitimate aircraft and shipping continued. Inspired by lurid anti-Iran propaganda, too many John Wayne films, their incompetence and lack of training, their lack of knowledge of air routes and how commercial airlines operated even though details were before them, added to the 'John Wayne' closed minded bullying so beloved of American military men, inevitably led to disaster! Captain Rogers excelled in such neurosis and was regarded with disdain by other ships in the Gulf at that time.

On 3rd July 1988, Iran Air IR655 took off on a regular commercial flight and headed over the Gulf. The pilot, Captain Mohsen Rezaian, an experienced pilot and a regular on this route, communicated with three air controllers as he flew. The channel he used meant he could not accept incoming calls from the Vincennes, as the USS Vincennes ought to have been well aware, they had the details on board after all, and he continued to ascend while the panicking Rogers, captain no less of a US warship, decided he was in fact 'diving' to attack. Concluding, against all the evidence, that this was an F-14 Iranian Fighter the Yanks shot two heat seeking missiles and brought down 290 passengers and crew, including 66 children. Their bodies could be seen falling from the sky by other US ships. These ships had made no attempt to respond to the Iranian plane, knowing it was on course as normal. Yet their crews were able to watch the men women and children fall into the sea.

The US propaganda went into full spin, supported by the ever faithful Margaret Thatcher. Claims of attacking Iranian gunboats were disproved on the evidence from other US warships, the Airbus diving with a suicidal pilot was one lie propagated by loyal media. All were proved to be a lie. President Reagan, a comedian that would never have been elected in any other nation, apologised to the world, and considered this 'sufficient.' He wrote to Congress stating 'This matter....is closed.' As he spoke most of the bodies lay unclaimed, and unrecognisable, in a warehouse. As far as is known no compensation was paid. They were after all just Arabs, weren't they? (Iranians of course are not Arabs, but Persians.) I doubt Reagan knew this.

Later, the USS Vincennes returned home to a hero's welcome. The crew received 'combat medals,' and were lauded by US for their prompt action. The dead were forgotten as they were probably enemies sworn to destroy America anyway. So that's all right then! The children probably had no idea America existed even when they fell out of the aircraft at 10,000 feet! However, they know now, don't they!

Aircraft leaving Heathrow and heading for North America follow a path towards the west coast of England and cross the border into Scotland shortly before heading over the Atlantic. On the 21st of December, four days before Christmas 1988, Pan-Am Boeing 747-121, named 'Clipper, Maid of the Seas,' flying at 31,000 feet, exploded just as it reached this point. A mere six months after Iran Air IR 655 had been brought down. The plane landed in the small Scots town of Lockerbie killing 243 passengers, 16 crew, and 11 people on the ground. 270 in all.

After an exhaustive investigation, covering many parts of the world, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was the only man convicted of the crime. The fact that one man took the blame indicates something somewhere has never been revealed concerning this conviction. One man could never have taken this action, so who did? Did the Ayatollah Khomeini's talk of vengeance lead to Lockerbie? Did Ahmed Jibril, the leader of the PFLP-GC, or the Syrians have a part in this? Will we ever know? I doubt it.

My opinion has not changed, and that is an opinion shared by many, that this man was 'set-up' by all nations involved, to take the rap for a crime he did not commit,any part he may have had was very small indeed. The politics behind the scene, involving the UK, Scotland, the UK, and Libya, and whoever else, was satisfied with having closed the deal. Justice was not served here, politics was! The cries from America after al-Megrahiget's release while ignoring Rogers murder of the innocent speaks volumes. Captain Rogers did write a book explaining his actions, did many read it, did many care?

Today we find the US Senate demanding Scots and UK politicians explain their actions. The arrogance! Who do these electioneering men consider themselves to be? The Scots have stood against English oppression for over a thousand years. They fought two major wars against oppression in the 20th century, and would have stood alone with the rest of the UK while others kept their distance had Hitler invaded in 1940! Yet some US Senator, nice suit, clean teeth,and a hand in all corruption available, instructs them to submit to his self seeking questioning? Aye right!

The Scots government must make a stand here. It must make clear to these self important men that Scots are not an Arab nation and will not be pushed around by anyone! Our men died in Bush and Blairs war in Iraq, not to defend a threat, but to enrich an American suit in an oil company, BP perhaps? David Cameron, that slimy Eton boy, may well pass the buck onto the Scots government, that's what his sort do, and that is what Conservatives do to Scotland all the time after all. He may well attempt to keep in with Obama, but he of course would prefer Bush, but whatever he does it will to make him look good, and our boys will still be dying in Afghanistan for the United States of America!

Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, ought to ask why Captain Rogers prize has not been compensated properly, and why he has not been jailed for murder? He must make clear to America that while we stand by them when attacked, and we shall always do this because we still regard the US as a friend, and have many ties with that land, he will not behave like Tony Blair. Scots readily agreed to aid the US when 9/11 occurred, and stand against any terrorism against the US, in spite of America supplying the money that paid for the Irish Republican death squads for thirty years! Scots governments should not bend the knee to anyone, why should they? There is no government that will ever get the Scots to bow by force. Instead Salmond should indicate that many Scots were killed by the downing of Pan-Am 103, yet they were innocent of the slaughter of the Iranian jet! Why has America not compensated them for the results of their actions? If the senate, and its polite, clean cut, all white, members want answers they must begin at the beginning. Picking on Scotland will not avoid the US facing up to its own crime!


NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT PAL

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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Memories

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I forgot what I was going to say...........






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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Heart of Midlothian's New Strip.

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This is shocking! The Heart of Midlothian play in all maroon shirts, not reverse imitation Ajax shirts! This is a disgrace! The Heart of Midlothian developed their famous maroon shirts way back in the 1870's, and this has continued till this day, with one exception. That was the insistence by Bobby Seith, the then manager, that we ought to wear 'Ajax' type shirts, and inspire a better footballing approach from the side. It failed! It was a disgrace to adopt another teams shirts, and it is a disgrace that is being repeated here today! Only those with no understanding of the club, no knowledge of the clubs history, and a teenagers approach to fashion, could even contemplate such a shirt!

There are those who can accept the 'away' shirt and that is up to them. The 'change shirt,' a much better title, has to be one that does not clash with the enemy, and today's youth often prefer such, once again as they have little understanding of 'style' or fashion! However the change strip is not the main strip and almost anything would be acceptable their. The main shirt must however be all maroon! If it's good enough for Bobby Walker, Tommy Walker, Willie Bauld and John Robertson, then it is certainly good enough for what we have playing for the club today!



Channel 4. WWI: Finding the Lost Battalions

What is it with documentaries today? At one time a documentary told the story of an event, today it must be an emotional adventure aimed at those who consider daytime television worth watching! This programme is an excellent example of how not to tell a war story. For one thing the men at the front are given the second place in the story, the women at home fill the screen. The camera, which never remains still, closes in on their faces as they read the letters and diaries written by the men so long ago. In the background a piano tinkles slowly, as if desperate to produce tears. Every effort is made to enhance the sentiment including a granddaughter taking us to where her relative said goodbye to his family and walked away to war across the fields. This happened countless times during the war, five million men served, and this was indeed a poignant moment for any family. However little is said about the attitude of the men themselves. These men wanted to go, they volunteered! More men volunteered than were enlisted! Their attitude is ignored while the tear filled narrator weeps his way through the tale. This type of documentary is what dominates all to often such stories today. History is replaced with sentiment, facts with emotion. The men who fell in this needless attack at Fromelles deserve better.


The attack was just to draw the Germans away from action elsewhere. The officer in charge made a hash of it, and the attack failed with around 8000 casualties, including about 1600 killed in action. The cause of the programme was the successful discovery of a group of bodies found in a lost grave and reburied in a new cemetery. The use of DNA to identify many of them is a wonderful tool and those involved deserved recognition for their work. This programme fails them also!

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Sunday, 18 July 2010

Old Maps



Am I the only one who finds old maps fascinating? Shown here is a map of the South of Scotland, concentrating on Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth, but the date is difficult to establish. At 3/- a copy, (that's three shillings to young folks, OK, that's 15 pence to you very young folks), and 'cloth bound,' it was designed for those rich enough to possess a motor car which enabled the middle classes to join the toffs driving around the country. Such driving became popular in the 1920's and with cars (That's 'automobiles' to those in North America) being so expensive the working classes, who often drove lorries and vans for employment, could never hope to obtain a car of their own. Indeed in was only in the late fifties and early sixties that car ownership really became a possibility.

I love looking at such maps and pondering their date, and indeed the owners over the years. It is stupidly interesting to look at a map of the district from days of yore and compare them to the present day. For no good reason I can be excited by the residue of ancient pathways, buildings and workplaces that no longer exist in a manner that I cannot repeat for the buildings of today. Why this should be I cannot say, but there it is! There is of course a demand for these maps, they sell on E-Bay and online shops, and mine arrived via a local boot sale. I may peruse E-bay for a few days and hope for a windfall, or a couple of pounds anyway. 
I still do not understand the interest, but I enjoy perusing old maps. There was a badly made programme which featured one eccentric chap, brolly and all, wandering about following ancient maps and those who travelled on long gone roads. Had the programme been better made, and avoided his overacting and the cameraman's love of shaky camera and blurred picture,  it could have been very entertaining. All around us are ancient pathways that are still used today, In fact outside my window lies 'Stane Street,' so called after the Roman army used their technological expertise on it, although it must have existed for a long time before this, possibly some thousand or more years at that, as a thin winding track through the heavily wooded land. Roman roads themselves are often made from previous tracks, but our incomers military needs meant they just straightened out the bends and climbed straight over the hills! Today such roads traces can be see on Google Maps quite easily.

In Edinburgh a wander through Davidson's Mains leads to the public park at the end of the street. Few realise that the road ahead was once a busy drovers road and sheep and cattle would be brought from west and indeed from over the Forth in Fife along this ancient track. As kids we discovered a bit beyond the park an old bothy once used by such men as a night shelter. I wonder if it was allowed to remain when the expensive middle class houses were built in the sixties? It is knowing this that it is possible to trace the route once used by generation, on foot, bringing cattle to market from far away. History is on our doorstep. Thousands have passed this way before, although they probably drove a bit slower when oxen were pulling their carts!

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Monday, 12 July 2010

Viva Espana



At last, just in time for the new season, the World Cup is over! Quite rightly the final was won by the only side which attempted to play football, Spain! The Dutch, who we always have to call 'The Netherlands' these days rather than 'Holland,' realised that the only way to beat Spain was to stop their midfield playing. This Van Bommel started to do from the off, and 'off' he ought to have been. I have always reckoned him to be one of those louts you come across in pubs. The 'hard man' always willing to step in, or outside, with anyone who also fancied themselves. While capable of playing football he preferred, like the rest of his side,  to just kick anything that moved. Had this not been the final there is no doubt he would have been off before half time! In fact I thought the English ref was not too bad last night, allowing things to be 'forgiven' because of the nature of the game. No-one wants to send of players in cup finals, let alone this one. In the end he had to, but by then it was too late. Spain, once a nation famed for the cynical foul and hard man defender, played what football there was and got the goal far too late in the day, but at least it was a winner! Good for them! Spain have always had the potential to win things and now they are European and World Champions at the same time! An achievement they might never again equal, but they have done it, and that is what matters! Of course many of their players are young, talented, and soon to be overpaid in the English League, this will make a man of them, unless they get decapitated of course, and the footballing future of this country appears assured. While the Dutch cloggers can go home heads bowed with shame at the dirty tactics and foul football they produced the Spanish have shown us all how to play. The ball on the ground, fast passing, and clever players working hard. Just what you expect in the Scottish Premier League really, isn't it?

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Sunday, 11 July 2010

Tommy Cooper



Two blondes walk into a building..........you'd think at least one of them would have seen it.

 Phone answering machine message - '...If you want to buy marijuana, press the hash key...'

 I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.

 I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him 50 quid that he couldn't reach the meat off the top shelf. 
He said, 'No, the steaks are too high.'

 My friend drowned in a bowl of muesli. A strong currant pulled him in.

 A man came round in hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, 'Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!'
The doctor replied, 'I know you can't, I've cut your arms off'

 I went to a seafood disco last week and pulled a muscle.

'Doc I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home'
'That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome. '
'Is it common?'
'It's not unusual.'

A man takes his Rotteweiller to the vet. 'My dog is cross-eyed, is there anything you can do for him?'
'Well,' said the vet, 'let's have a look at him'
So he picks the dog up and examines his eyes, then he checks his teeth. Finally, he says, ‘I’m going to have to put him down.' 'What? Because he's cross-eyed?'
'No, because he's really heavy'

‘You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.' So that was nice.'

A man walked into the doctors, he said, 'I've hurt my arm in several places'
The doctor said, ‘Well don't go there anymore’

Friday, 9 July 2010

Writing


I acquired the Snoopy cartoon from another site, one written far better than this will ever be, but I was really taken with the theme. I have, as you know, written several books, one even getting to page two before I deleted it and burst into tears. I have sat looking at the PC, through strained eyes, filled with floating specks, and numb of mind. Inspiration would not come and yet I had a desire, a real hunger to write something, anything! However the question is 'What to write?' There is no use just babbling along like a panellist on 'Loose Woman,' is there? You need a purpose, something to say, an idea bursting to get out and change the world for the better! I often have such moments, such as when in the bath, on a bus, or burning toast, but when I get to the PC there is nothing there! It's gone, lost forever. Anything that ends up on screen is a pale imitation of the wondrous thoughts that went before, and have now just went! How on earth did people write in days of yore? Thucydides wrote his epic on the Peloponnesian War over a period of 27 years! How many scrolls of parchment did he use? Josephus settled in Rome to write huge long books, about the Jewish War and their Jewish History, as well as defending himself against his detractors. How did they do this? Trollope was employed by the Post Office to run the mail service in Ireland. In between creating the pillar box he write hundreds of books, letters, articles, and so on, often on trains or in a horse and carriage, and in long hand at that! Yet I sit here with PC and spellchecker facing blankness, hold on I am looking into the mirror there, let me change position. 

Several times I have started writing the History of the Great War. Several times I have realised I was a clown and stopped. In the meantime at least five new such histories have appeared while I sit here wondering how to begin the first line! I suspect a novel (a novel is nothing but a story, but do not tell novelists as they think what they write is life changing. Actually it is just a story made up so the world can be made they way they wish it to be. And they one day will know it isn't really.) as I said, I suspect a novel is easier to write. However you begin you can change it to suit yourself! Factual writing is harder, as you can see here, as there are always wingers who will point out your many mistakes, deliberate lies and similarity to a newspaper in that your style stinks and your writing is tosh! So maybe I ought to try this story writing stuff.  OK.

It was a dark and stormy night, well actually the sun was shining brightly and........







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Thursday, 8 July 2010

Shock!






I am shocked! Yesterday I sent off my gas meter reading online, the 'in way' to do it these days. Today my bill arrives, and they have reduced, yes REDUCED, my payments by £9 a month! Has anyone ever heard of an energy company actually reducing prices before? They are always informing us of their 'cuts,' while the profits soar, and blaming rising prices from Russia and elsewhere. These may be good reasons to increase prices, however the reductions, which do arrive, rarely make it down to this level! The question then arises, if I have had this reduction, soon to be followed by a rise in costs as Winter is only a couple of months away,  then just how much profit have British Gas been making? Their smug 'Sir Fred Goodwin type' chairman was on recently boasting of reductions, while pocketing a fat salary, and did nothing to convince me to buy shares from him! Now they are reducing prices for real......What are they playing at? What lies around the corner for us I wonder? I suspect however they will be offering 'fleeces' and 'pullover' to older folks come winter, at reasonable prices of course.....

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Spain Through to Final.



Well done Spain! Glad to see them get to the final I thought they deserved that tonight. 
The Dutch do not deserve to be there in my opinion. Not played well, won through by luck, but however are competent and organised. Might be a good final! Spain for me. 
Viva Espana!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Happy Weekend? No Actually!

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It has been a hard weekend. The sun may be shining, the sky may be blue, although gray clouds have shown up recently, and my stomach may be expanding as normal at this time of day, but it has been a bad weekend. Not only did I find myself staring once again at a blank television screen, the last football till Tuesday ending last night, not only do I once again suffer the bug that removes what little strength I have from me, both physically and mentally, but yesterday 'they' created noise! 
AGAIN!
Last year this group thought it funny to set up an Christian Outreach in the park opposite me. (Outrage is a better word in my opinion.) They placed the stage so that it faced this building and then hurled Christian Rap (with a capital 'C') at me. This at 2000 decibels at that! Words fail me, in fact they did not fail me but the wrong ones did escape me somewhat! So this time I took action. Having contacted the noise police last year - too late of course - and I wrote in good time indicating my displeasure at this event. The council man interceded and promised improvements. 
Liar!
Actually it was slightly quieter, but still aimed at me, albeit from a slightly further distance. 
Not nearly far enough!


The several hours in which a lass on stage attempted to strangle a kitten while her male associate repeated the same three words in an unidentifiable language (possibly American!!!) did not endear me to their efforts. Quite what they were doing I am not sure but it involved a lot of base, much of this on a drum, much repetition of short phrases in Aramaic or Cuneiform or some such and requesting their audience (I don't know if there was one as I had my head under a mattress at the time so vision was difficult) to resond in like manner. This was accompanied by bouncy castles and various games and a good time was had by all, except when someone unknown threw those Tear Gas canisters in that time (giggle).  My sozzled neighbour thought it was OK as it was only once a year. There again the chance of his eyes remaining open after his lunch in the 'Wagon & Horses' was slight. Poor soul does not understand how another activity, a Fair, will be there next  weekend and that till late! The council have plans and these must be opposed or we are in for it. 


Eventually this lot finished around five, having managed to drown out sixty thousand vuvezualas during the Argentina v Germany walkover and the world suddenly appeared better. The area under the trees is covered in little plastic ear defenders dropped by the blackbirds and pigeons who had inserted them in an effort to keep their sanity. I know where they ought to have been inserted. Jesus gathered crowds, and took them to lonely places to preach. He did NOT cause irritation to the neighbours. he also spoke to the folks with words, not (C)Rap and if these folks really wished to reach the kids they would meet the brats during the week when they are wrecking the place and groping one another in the bushes! However that is hard work!


My next e-mail to the noise police will be a beaut, especially with next weeks activity looming up, and I am raring to go - and complain!.


Things were bad enough as in the morning an other intractable problem raised its ugly head and left me beat. This after suffering the lowest Friday since this time last year, yes I had another birthday. I spent it lying on the bed staring at the ceiling and wondering what went wrong. Actually I do that each year without fail, it's just that it takes longer than it used to and I fall asleep in the middle of the pondering.  Also I know the answer to the question, and this did not make matters any easier.  Only six years till the pension, unless it has been changed by the Compromise Government of course. I notice today they are threatening up to 40% cuts in everything, the typical Tory approach.  So far these smug, expensively suited millionaires who lost the election but have still wormed their way into power are doing OK themselves while assuring us we all must suffer together, for the nations sake. Hmmm The French generals informed their men as they headed to Verdun that they must sacrifice themselves 'For France!' The men made sheep like bleating noises in response. This appears to be the sound the Lib-Dems are making towards Cameron at the moment, anything to keep their jobs and sit on that side of the English parliament. (Sorry, UK parliament. I don't know how I made that mistake...) The Tory idea to get people back to work is to reject the claims of 2.5 million on Invalidity Benefit, thus adding them to the Jobseekers, cut thousands of Civil Service jobs, thus adding to the Jobseekers, and cutting work projects and aid to companies, thus adding to the Jobseekers. Around eight, yes that's 8, million will be unemployed at this rate. The cost of the welfare state is enormous, however ten to fifteen times as much is lost through Tax Avoidance, yet the Tories are doing nothing about this, why? The reason is of course that their 'Daily Mail' readers, and therefore Tory voters, are well into fiddling the tax, because greed and selfishness is their life. The worship of Mammon sums them up. Maybe we could sell them to the States?  


Old and with nothing to show for it, under pressure from noise and more to come, being me, I wouldn't wish that on anyone, broke, jobless and suffering this bug AGAIN! This has been hanging around for three weeks and will not leave me! It goes for a few days and returns, then fades and returns, rather like a piece of polystyrene that clings to your fingers it just will not go away! You may not have noticed that it is beginning to annoy me.....        It's just a good job I am not one to complain aint it? 


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Thursday, 1 July 2010

Flower Bush



For the last couple of years, at around this time, the air here is fragrant with the scent from this flowering bush. It hangs in the air in the cool of the day and covers a very wide area indeed. It is fabulous! It changes the whole atmosphere of the place, although I wonder if the brats chasing one another around the nearby skatepark appreciate this? I am instead surprised that it grew at all with their adolescent approach to the park. Possibly the drugs and dregs from the bottles of cheap lager have in fact aided its growth. It does look woosy in the wind right enough. I have of course no idea what this is called, although it might be a rhododendron bush (note the use of the spellchecker there folks!) but it could be almost anything. If it is not a 'Rose,' 'Tulip,' or 'Pansy,' will not be aware what any flower might be called. It's lovely however.

 

Today I spent some 40 minutes applying for a driving job with this company. To do so I had to apply online which meant registering with them and logging in to the application procedure. This meant answering 75 questions, most of which were irrelevant to the job (as usual) and then fill in the personal details. Why is it these organisations no longer depend on human beings? Are personnel staff (Sorry, Human Resources) to dumb to recognise someone is able to do the job or not? In fact many such staff I have met are very able to understand humanity although I have met quite a few who would be lost without a book to refer to. It appears that the bigger the company the more trendy the system is required. Certainly there is a need for companies receiving large numbers of applications to have a simple and quick system to ascertain the best applicants but I wonder about the efficiency of this type of system. I suspect this began in the USA and I know it has spread throughout the UK. In fact I have twice failed the B&Q questionnaire, possibly because I failed to lie, and failed to give the impression I would lie to sell goods! I noticed the last time I was in their store that some members of staff had managed to find employment while lying about the 'Having a cheery personality' question! Yes you miserable old bat, I mean you!

I finished the application just after eleven o'clock today. By two thirty they had responded and told me, very nicely, to 'Take a hike!' Typical, just typical!


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