Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Christmas Cards

About this time you will probably be thinking about Christmas cards! This is the time of year you make a list of those folk who ‘must’ have a card sent to them, even though you ignore them the rest of the year, and indeed may not even like them! Families being families and folk being folk, you send them anyway. Now I understand why people get trapped into the Christmas card habit, but fear not I have good news, it is NOT compulsory! I had a legal eagle search the laws of both Scotland and England and nowhere was it compulsory to send a card. So if you don’t send a card to the person you do not like nothing will happen to you, honest. In fact, if you do not send them a card you may well benefit them also as they will be freed next year from the need to keep in touch with you! Hallelujah! One year I put this to the test. I worked out all those I WANTED to send cards to, and all those I thought I ought to keep in touch with. I considered whether it was worth while sending to some, and whether they rally wanted or needed to contact me. After considering how many cards either party might send needlessly I made a list of those I would bless with my cheap cards. I felt no guilt!

The next year, those I had omitted from my ‘must/want to send’ list, omitted me from theirs. We were all glad. Money and effort was no longer wasted. Friendships, occasional and worthwhile, remained. I tell you not to be oppressed by the need to send cards to folk you wish to drop. They may feel the same towards you! Anyway, if within the next year they infer they wish to keep contact no harm is done by the loss of a card, is there?

Now I realise this is not always possible, in the real world compromises must be made. One year I worked in an office staffed with 14 women. At Christmas time these girls gave each other cards. As we sat at desks next to each other, and as most of them were Hindus and the others Muslim, I found this desperate need to give cards somewhat strange. I did point out the novelty of being forced by such to waste money on a card to join the dozen already crowding each desk, however the noise of my protest, and the physical threats if I failed in their duty, was overwhelming, and for the sake of peace I obeyed. I did suggest one car with their name on it, and they could tick it off as it passed, but this was not welcomed. Compromise? Me? Oh yes, the boss,she was an Irish catholic, and very rough I can tell you!

Wise Men?
But consider carefully the cards available. Are they really representative of Christmas as it actually occurred? Matthew is the main man where Christmas is concerned, and Luke tells us from what I think is Mary’s point of view. A child’s birth tends to stick in a girls mind I have discovered. Take the arrival of the magi for instance. These men, usually referred to as ‘Wise men,’ don’t appear to me to be to wise on most Christmas cards do they? Three men on camels, staring up at a very bright, beautifully drawn spectacular star, one pointing skywards implying the other two are to dumb to see the star that lightens the world around and fill a third of the card! Some wise men they! But nowhere does it say three men arrived. They presented three gifts, Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, but nothing to say how many men arrived. Anyway, three men on camels coming all the way, possibly for the Babylon area, on camels with a vacuum flask and a packet of sandwiches does not appear to my little mind to be too accurate. Each man would have had a party of men with him, servants, probably slaves, several camels and donkeys, and would have joined with as many others as possible to travel the vast distance in safety. One Italian film on St Matthews gospel shows three such men meeting up and travelling together. Each one talking loudly to drown out the hand waving yelling servant hordes with them! That is much more realistic than three lads on their own, and much more biblical in my view also.

Baby in Manger?

But what is in front of these men? Usually a small wooden hut, surrounded by a bright shining yellow glow awaits them. A wooden barn may contain the family, with attendant cow and donkey happy in the background. Everything clan and bright and very Hollywood, and like Hollywood have as much chance of reality as I have of becoming Pope! None at all. It is most likely Jesus was born in a cave. As you probably know better than me (I just think I know a lot, mostly I find others actually know facts), Bethlehem was on a hill, and the folks in Israel used these caves for many purposes. One such was a s a shelter for animals, and sometimes people lived there also. This is not too strange as in the British Isles in days past many folk lived in what sometimes were called ‘Black houses.’ Small stone built houses, divided into two parts. In one side were the animals, in the other the family. The animals helped keep the place warm at least! These turfed roofed houses were still in evidence in some places at the beginning of the 20th century! It is no wonder that by the time a pregnant Mary and Joseph had walked from Nazareth Bethlehem was full. Yes I said walked, I doubt they would have had the cash for a donkey, and if they had in such a society Joseph would have been the one on the Mule, not her! In the wall of such place a ledge was chipped out and filled with fodder for the animals feedstuffs, and it was into one of these that Jesus, the Son of God, was laid, wrapped in the usual manner in swaddling clothes, to sleep. The place would have been clean as it was possible for a cave barn to be, the animals would have been, well animals, and Mary would have been knackered! As would Joseph, he of course had the hard job in all this. Knowing what they both knew about the announcement of the birth, the arrival of these strange, generous rich men, then the shepherds (the lowest of the low at that time), it would be interesting to read Josephs thoughts as the action occurred around him.

Maybe it is just me that thinks most Christmas cards have little to do with Christmas, just as folks who spout all to easily ‘The real meaning of Christmas’ and bounce over -zealously on the telly in programmes recorded last March, have as much idea of the real Christmas as I have of being rich! Christmas is a time for commercial exploitation, but this does not mean we ought to be Oliver Cromwellian about it. I like Christmas pudding! It is a time to get together with friends and family, it is a time folk find themselves in a church, and it can be a time for bringing good news to those who never hear it. But for Christians it ought to be a time to emphasis the biblical truths, and not half truths expounded on Christmas cards.

There are other cards which reflect a Christmas of the mind as opposed to reality, you know the ones, the happy Victorian scene, the one where a stagecoach glides through the snow filled streets past well dressed happy folks, with kids throwing snowballs and glowing shop windows in the background. Such cards tend to forget the kids had rickets, one third of the population were on the breadline. In fact usually this means is they had a job tomorrow, but often and many as a third did not! The happy folk in the shops were working 98 or more hours a week, and the happy folks who could afford to buy would either die in childbirth or from TB or some disease we use a few drugs to cure. Cynical? No just realistic. Many Victorians were happy, but these scenes are deceptive, I wish a better Christmas, a more honest one.

The Robin sitting on the snow covered branch is another deception, as the bird is with us all year round. It is also an adulterous bully boy in the bird world, very Christmassy, if you are shallow enough to think ‘Eastenders’ is worth watching!
Snow scenes and snowmen abound on cards, this is amazing as outside of the Scottish highlands we never see snow till February ,and anyway snow is cold horrid stuff that freezes everything, causes accidents and I hate it anyway! Send it back to the Arctic where it is needed I say!

Shall I bother to convey my opinions on cards fronted by Santa Claus? Or if you are middle class and ‘Santa’ is too childish for you, change it to ‘Father Christmas’ and make this fairy tale character, usurped by the ‘Coco Cola’ company, into something more acceptable. How many folks enjoy the kiddies belief in ‘Santa Claus’ but never explain the Jesus was lying in that manger in a cave? Burn Santa ‘s sleigh and eat the reindeer I say! And when you are at it ask him why I never got that CD I wanted last time!

‘Peace’ is common, ‘Peace on earth to men’ the cards often claim, although many are now correctly inserting the better ‘peace to men of goodwill’ as opposed to ‘Peace to all men,’ as peace is offered but too often ignored. The Dove with the olive branch is very biblical, at least when the snows melt in February. ‘Joy’ is often seen on cards, and such cards, often in boxed sets, are bought from the local Clintons by miserable looking folk who have not smiled since they won £10 on the first week of the Lottery. ‘Joy’ indeed! But honestly, how many Christians make you feel ‘JOY’ when you meet them? All too few I say. The Holly and the Ivy just sting the fingers and should be placed, neatly, on a compost heap where they would be of more use.

Cards made to placate the politically correct, saying ‘Happy Holiday’ instead of ‘Happy Christmas should be recycled. Companies who insist on such greetings so as not to cause ‘offence’ should be sued for being offensive. Just what exactly should be done to those cards which, when opened, ring out computerised versions of Christmas Carols I leave to your imagination. But if one comes my way I suggest you transfer yourself into any regiment now patrolling in Afghanistan. That would be safer!

I gave up on religious cards long ago. They do not convey biblical truth, and all to often are discarded unnoticed by the recipient. I only use carefully selected humorous cards, such as the one shown, that is my preferred card this year, as they are better for the folk at the other end. At least they get a laugh! A minister friend had dozens of cards one year, many from folk worldwide, and far too many were routine religious type cards. People were afraid to send something frivolous in case he was offended! Incredible to think that people can be so stupid!
Use cards well, and do not follow convention as that stifles life. If it must be religious make it biblical or forget it! But I think most folks will be happier with humour. That's closer to what it really is all about.

Friday, 23 November 2007


I was given this award by the Channel of Healing very nice it is too! Not often I get rewarded now is it! I do often get given things mind, folks round here are very helpful, you recall that only the other day I had a note, attached to a brick flung through my window - the note read, "Your window is broken!" Not everybody would take the time to do that, but lots of folk here put themselves out in this way I find.

The north wind doth blow today and it is rattling the windows so to help forget the weather I have stole....acquired some jokes that may, or may not, waste some time for you today.

In a recent poll the British population were asked if Polish immigrants were a problem.

23% said ''Yes its a serious problem''.

77% said ''Czesk bardzo mi milu gdzie d jest toaldta''.

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman:
"Where's the self-help section?"

She said that if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

f(x)=6x+3 walks into a bar, goes up to the barman and asks “
Can I have a couple of sandwiches please?”
The barman replies: “Sorry mate, we don’t cater for functions”

I’ve told my wife I want a wooden leg for Christmas.
It’s not my main present; it’s more of a stocking filler.

Q: What do you call an Essex girl with half a brain ?
A: Gifted!

Q: How do Essex girl braincells die ?
A: Alone.

Q: Why should Essex girls not be given coffee breaks ?
A: It takes too long to retrain them.

How many software engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

*None. "We'll document it in the manual."
*None. It's a hardware problem.
*Two. One always leaves in the middle of the project.
*Four. One to design the change, one to implement it, one to document it, and one to maintain it afterwards.
*Four, plus one senior analyst to manage the project, one technical writer to correct the spelling and grammar of the one who documented it, one light bulb librarian, a sales-force of at least five to drum up enough users who want to turn the light on, 274 users to burn out the new bulb, at which point we go to tender for another light bulb change,...
*Five. Two to write the specification program, one to screw it in, and two to explain why the project was late.
*Only one, but she's not available till the year 2000.
*"The change is 90% complete."
*"It's hard to say. Each time we separate the bulb into its modules to do unit testing, it stops working."
*Of course, as everyone knows, just five years ago all it took was a bunch of kids in a garage in Palo Alto to change a light bulb.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Justice is Done

The English, who since time immemorial, have considered themselves one of the 'top nations' in the world, and especially in world football, have, once again, been seen for what they really are, failures!
The have forgotten the biblical injunction to be humble and their arrogance has brought its own reward. Does it not say, "Arrogance leads to a fall, and pride leads to destruction?" England can see this played out in front of them today. Will they listen? Will they understand? NO! It is not in their nature.

Stereotyping a people is one of the things political correctness does not allow us to participate in these days. However, it always has a basis in fact. With the English a belief in their own importance in all things pervades them. Possibly this is a left over of Empire, a residue of the vile human desire, one we all share, of lording it over others. In the world of football the English pride runs deep. They like to believe England is 'The Home' of football, ignoring the fact that football was widespread long before a group of rich kids at the 'public schools' formulated a system of 'laws' for the game. Quite why that gives them the right to claim ownership is unanswered. William McGregor, the Aston Villa man who created the English football League,had learned his football in Perthshire in the 1850's, and the game, under a wide variety of rules, being played throughout the land. But it is 'their ball' and facts will not get in the way of emotion.

During the last World Cup a lot of media pressure was put on Scotland to support England during the tournament. Possibly politically motivated from Downing Street and the then premier, but certainly a novel idea not used in previous occasions, it was demanded the Scots support England. Now,after a thousand years of imperialist threat, after three hundred years in which the Scots had been treated as second class citizens, after English MPs voting with closed minds on Scots matters then demanding Scots MPs should not vote on English debates, after the name North Britain was forced on the Scots but soon the word 'England' was to take its place, after all this and the contempt still clearly seen on the BBC each day they demand submission from a nation? Dear me, how ignorant are the English from anything outside of their own opinions!

A nation which wrongly considers itself more important than it is, a nation that abuses its neighbour and 'union partner,' a nation that deep inside believes with a passion that they are among the elite of world football finds reality a hard thing to accept. Today the media will of course blame the manager. They will forget how it was they who cried out for a replacement goalkeeper, who also failed, and it is they who consider their opinions above all others. But that is for another day. Today the scapegoat will be found, the promises of change will ring out, the shouting will continue, but the heart will remain stubbornly the same. The John Motson racism will continue, (During the last England v Germany game he took eleven minutes before he mentioned a German player by name!) the opposition will be 'delighted' because they have scored 'at Wembley.' Not that scoring against Spain or Italy, France or Brazil is of importance John is it eh? Ian Wright, how did he get his job, boasts of England in a way he would object in the BNP, Alan Hansen the 'Tomb Tabard,' yearns for his adopted country to win, and Alan Shearer boasts "We play fair," and ignores his many elbows in goalkeepers throats. The radio and TV news,and every other programme, will be filled with English woe, even though the programmes are shown throughout the UK. Northern Ireland's grand show against Spain might get a passing mention, and so will Scotland, Wales will be ignored of course, but the whole of the UK will have to share the woe of England. And they will! After the arrogance of there pundits, after their self interest, after the abuse we suffer we are indeed sharing their woe minute by minute, by laughing our head off!

A new motto for England......

"When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. "

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Market Day Murder

I made a mistake today. Not for the first time I can tell you and most likely not for the last. The mistake was to forget that today being 'Market day' the town would be full of people. Add to that the second mistake, the idea of wandering amongst the stalls and shops in the middle of the morning when the place was at peak 'women shopper' time! This mistake ranks alongside the man at Decca telling the Beatles that 'Three guitars and a drummer is old hat folks,' or 'Old Moores Almanac' claiming foretelling the future for September 1939 as 'Peace!' While some may say there are differences between market day and these examples I suggest you attempt to squeeze past a fat woman and a stall selling biscuits, then negotiate between two old dears looking at each other and pointing in different directions caring nothing for the hordes attempting to pass. Subtle hints like barging into them with a pushchair (and what sort of creature takes a pushchair into such a small space anyway?) or throwing a small child at them fails to get any recognition. Similar types push themselves in front of you as they leave the 'Special offer' shops, ignorant of normal people (male) attempting to gather a few precious needs. As you enter a shop you note that what you require is at the back and the obstacle course comprises too many stands, full of delicate things that fall far too easily, and yet more large unseeing females who think shoving a coat hanger in your face as you pass is nothing to complain about. The store, which of course has exactly what you want at exactly the wrong size, has to be fought through once again as you head for the door, the shop staff convinced you have some stolen item inside your jacket. The fact that you have your arms pinned by their sides by the crush of thoughtless shoppers is not a thing they would notice.

Having fought against the hordes of Vandals and Huns who comprise the normal Wednesday morning market day to the fruit and veg stall, and discovering the best stall is not there, only the Essex boys with their cheery wit and lying smiles and rotten fruit placed by sleight of hand into the bottom of your brown paper bag, you head back they way you have come. This time the bird in the red jersey, worn such a manner to inflame the desire of the men she fancies and enrage the jealousy of the women she passes on the way, this bint decides to grab you attention by skillful use of the pushchair her greeting faced brat is screaming blue blazes in. She also uses blue words when confronted (in love) about her driving ability. Short and frank is the conversation, as indeed are many others at this time. The postman pushing his trolley loaded with business mail around the town 'accidentally' lets you know he is also passing by muttering 'Some of us have jobs to do you know.' Knowing he spends half his day having free coffees and buns (something I never obtained on any walk when I was a postman) another short conversation takes place.

Why do women stop in the middle of the way and stare? What is it that hinders the ability to move to the side and let folks pass? Just because you are looking at a stall, or a window display, for some magical treat you neither need nor actually can afford, is there any need to hinder the rest of the world. MOVE!!!! But no. Females must stop the traffic just to contemplate something, anything, that is in front of them. Ask them what it was two minutes later and they cannot tell you! I have been taken, by force I can tell you, through a department store, up hill and down dale, until we reached the curtain department, one of my favourites I can tell you, just for her to take some material in one hand, rub it between her fingers and mutter, 'Hmmm.' Then we left. 'What was that about?' says I. 'I just wanted to look,' says she. All this for 'Hmmm?' says I. 'Yes,' says she, as if the hour had been worth it in some way.

However, today I surpassed myself. Coming out of 'Woolworth's' were the Mongol Hordes, pushing and shoving, and attempting to avoid the bookstall and the girl selling overpriced candles ('Ideal gift,' for who?) while not stumbling into a woman searching her handbag in the middle of the remaining space. Behind me a crowd of stampeding cattle were being held up by this female. The narrow space in which we crushed seemed to get smaller as we waited for her to do something and, finally, she did. She stopped looking in her bag and just stood there with a soporific smile on her face. From the other direction I thought Ashur-bani-pal and his Assyrian army were coming towards us,but I may have miscounted, the stalls around us swayed and yet more arrived from 'Woolies' as another pushchair arrived to scream its way into the fray. Just than a small still voice came from behind a hand proffering a leaflet with Santa prominent on it,
'Merry Christmas' said the voice cheerfully. It was at this point that I took out the chainsaw and cut the old bint in twain. I then proceeded to carve my way through the Assyrian army, any runaway cattle and each and every pushchair headed in my direction. As I got to the end of the market I found that I had been followed by several dozen men. 'Thank the Lord for that,' said one, I thought I'd never get out of there again!' The others said the same. 'Never shop on a market day again,' said a big ex army type,'It's far too dangerous if you ask me.'
We looked back at the carnage brought by the chainsaw, and were satisfied.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Monday Morning Lies!

Start the week the way you intend to go on! that is what this government is doing. Today the attention grabbing headline is 'Getting People Off Disability Allowance.'
Goody! But why? Peter Hain appears on TV this morning blethering, in that disreputable manner of his, about the benefits to those receiving such benefits getting back into work. 650,000 vacancies he says, ignoring that most of them are unavailable for the disabled and not in their district anyway, 'Help is available,' true, but not everywhere, and he wax's lyrical about the benefits for those who get back into the workforce.
Jolly good, but all lies!

David Cameron has taken the lead in the publicity stakes so Labour need to get the attention of the 'middle England' voter. How to do this? Attack those on the dole, after all are they not all scroungers? Indeed 60,000 claim disability allowance in Glasgow, vast numbers do so in Liverpool, and many more in the north east of England, non of which are considered 'Daily Mail' territory. Ah the 'Daily Mail,' yes indeed, it is the readers of this paper who matter here. They consider themselves the backbone of the nation, they work for their money, they are concerned to keep it in their grasping paws rather than share it with those in need, and all of them are scroungers who should get a job and 'stop hiding behind their disability anyway!' After all, if they have to work, what is stopping someone who has had an injury, and 'anyway it is not as bad as they make out is it?'

You see the truth is the disabled, or dole scroungers of any type, appeal to the 'middle England' reader, therefore attacking them in this way helps prop up the Labour party and its desperate desire to stay in power. If however Hain decided come on telly claiming tax dodgers were to be dealt with it would lead to a disaster at the polls for the 'Socialist' party. Stop folk cheating on the dole by all means but do not deal with those who evade paying tax! The fact that vast billions is removed from this country to off shore tax havens (yes Mr Lampard we mean you!) and those grossly overpaid rich folks who do this are encouraged by the 'Socialist' leaders because it 'aids the economy' says much for our understanding of 'decency' and the 'fair play' for which this country is 'justly famous!' Those who have are well able to keep what they have, those who are not 'middle class' or part of 'middle England,' and many small business folk are here, fearing the immigrant, terrified they will steal from their shop, not give the taxi driver his tip, and worse, open a business undercutting him. But they feel better when the powers that be stand on those who do nothing for their keep, even if it is not their fault.

A good business idea is to go to Glasgow or Liverpool and sell walking sticks. Thousands use them in and around Glasgow, just in case the camera van is watching them and they lose their dole money. Selling walking sticks at a few pounds a go will make someone's fortune, I wish I could do it but I can't afford the bus fare..............

Saturday, 17 November 2007


Another 'glorious failure!' Once again Scotland come up against the best Europe has to offer and once again play at their level. Once again the fates decide against us, this time a last minute goal from a nonsensical free kick. Having missed a golden chance to take the lead, and knowing a draw was not good enough for us, we still suffered a needless loss, just to rub the 'glorious failure' in our noses.

Scotland have taken on the World Champions and forced them to play at their best to beat us, we have beaten the World Cup Runners Up, France, home and away. Throughout the tournament we have been regarded as no-hoper's, yet we again fail at the last. Some things never change! When we succeed in qualifying for tournaments we fail to the best by the odd goal or a 'hard luck' story. Never are we humiliated by the best, by the rest yes, the best, no! Once again the side that has given its all, made the nation hold their head high, left us knowing the future is bright, has gone out.
Life is not fair.

To make matters worse, Russia have lost in Israel, a side they should have beaten handsomely.
Why does this matter? Had Russia done their duty England would have gone out also. As it stands England have every chance of qualifying for Euro 2008! By Wednesday night we will know the sad truth. England, once again struggling in an easy group, will have succeeded where valiant Scotland have failed. Once again a feeble side will arrive at the tournament, their media, and indeed their public, claiming they are world beaters, believing in their hearts, in spite of all the evidence against them, that England are one of the worlds elite teams. NEVER! This is a lie!
Once again John Motson and his ilk will ignore the Scots who have fought to overcome the worlds best while England have used others to bring them success. Once again the gloating smarm that sickens decent people will be found shining like American evangelists from our screens. Once again facts will be ignored to enhance the 'greatness' of England and it football.
Sick is not a word to reflect the heartfelt emotions of decent football folk.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Thoughts For Friday

"I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy"
- P G Pridmore

A friend is someone who's there when he needs you"
- Anon

"I'm gonna live forever, or die trying."
- Joseph Heller (Catch 22)

"Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law."
- Hubert Humphrey

"Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder"
- Anon

"I can see clearly now, the brain has gone"
- Anon

"I am nobody
Nobody is perfect
Therefore, I must be perfect!"
- Anon

"Some people say that one's personality is reflected off of their car... Well, I have no car."
- Anon

"Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do."
Ronald Reagan

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Just where do the neds that plague our streets come from? Do they arrive in ships and planes from abroad? Are they hanging on the back end of lorries crossing the channel perhaps, possibly they just drop down the chimney with Santa each Christmas? Or could it be that the feckless young yob who finds entertainment by taking drugs and cheap alcohol, throwing up in the streets and stealing cash from old women is in fact a product of our society itself? In short, your fault and mine!

While it may not exactly be our fault directly, I wonder if it is indirectly as we have let the society around us disintegrate into a liberal mish-mash of self based ideas masquerading as 'freedom.' The encouragement to divorce and allow folks to separate from failed marriages seems at first sight a good and fair one. Indeed we all know that failure is sometimes inevitable in some cases. But when laws are passed allowing divorce why was there no attempt to provide help for those who really wanted the marriage to work but could not cope with the strain? The 'marriage Guidance Council' in the early 80's received million pound a year from the government, a government that began to spend umpteen million on benefits and housing for those who began to separate. Had they then began to increase the finance to those willing to support marriage there would have been a colossal saving in cash, something Conservatives worship! But this was not done, because they would not spend the money! Short term gain for long term failure. Since then the abundance of single parent families, loved by the middle classes who have the cash and ability to endure in such circumstances, has left the lower orders in disarray. While a middle class child learns around 1500 words by the time he is five, he may not get beyond 500 among the 'Chavs 'of this world. For the young dad who cannot cope with a child bride and a child often leaves her, and peer pressure all to often from both sides, indicates this is OK. The young mum is often helpless in rearing a child she is too young or too dumb to cope with. Another generation of the shiftless arises.

The Christian church has stood back, and sometimes encouraged, such freedoms. In the 70's it was claimed by many satanic forces were praying against marriage. We nodded and did nothing. Too wrapped up in our own affairs. (Is that the right word I ask?) Too late we realised that society was dividing, but by then we were also. Charismatic or evangelical? Women priests or not, then the homosexual debate caused the church to forget it's God, or just polarise the many differences. Satan much more able to destroy than the church to unite. Christians above all are at fault for our society, because (I) were too full of our self life, and did not submit to God nor pray for his world. Too late for self flagellation now however.

Being poor, and uneducated, does not lead to failure. The working class in the 19th century made an effort to learn and 'better themselves.' This continued into the 20th century and its effects are with us today. From Cowdenbeath alone, a mining district, two men made it to the House of Lords, one invented the 'Beta Blocker, many were forced by parents to learn a trade and avoid going down the pit, some travelling the world because of their skill, one at least became an international footballer, and all had a pride in themselves. It is not thus today! For too many they see no further than the dole handouts, a TV, drugs and short sex acts. the hope of a life worth having seems rare for some.

It need not be! There will always be many worthless people in this world, and will you avoid looking at me as I say that please! But if God sent his Son to redeem the whole lot, he must have thought it worth trying. How? The dreadful fact is that 'Love' is the answer. Not the Walton's type love,
'Goodnight Dad',
'Goodnight Son',
'Goodnight Mom'
Goodnight Son'
'Goodnight brother'
No it is worse even than that. It takes effort, time and means 'loving' the person in front of you.
That is hard!
It means reaching out even to the ned and his mates near you and offering them a life they have not received from their forefathers. A life they will reject often, but one that some will accept. Even if they do not accept your God just finding them a life will be worth it.
Some try, like this group.

It costs however. How off putting.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Free Rice

Yes indeed I am offering you the chance to participate in this also. I realise many others will have brought this to your attention and I hate to be left out! So here it is. Find out just how your vocabulary fares, it will be better than you think. Mind you, this has clearly been developed by an American, some of the words make no sense whatsoever to anyone born in the real world!
However anything that is fun and educational, that gets a grip of you and helps feed those who need it cannot be bad I say.

The Free Rice FAQ's says this:-

If FreeRice has the rice to give, why not give it all away right now?

FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice―you are earning it 10 grains at a time. Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.

Who distributes the donated rice?

The rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The World Food Program is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good. Wherever possible, the World Food Program buys food locally to support local farmers and the local economy. We encourage you to visit the United Nations World Food Program to learn more about their successful approach to ending hunger.

Will the rice I donate make a difference?

The rice you donate makes a huge difference to the person who receives it. About 25,000 people die each day from hunger or hunger-related causes, most of them children. To a mother or father watching a loved child die in their arms from hunger, the rice you donate is more precious than anything in the world.

So, have fun, educate yourself, and feed the world at the same time.
Click here now!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Now I am not one to complain

however, if I were I could soon find reason to complain about the Tabloid press! These papers, which outsell anything that masquerades as journalism, seem to be a law unto themselves. The lowest common denominator appears to be what they aim for. Facts are either ignored or, more often, twisted to fit the sensational or sentimental. We are to be either shocked at a dangerous criminal or a celebrities love life, or we must sentimentalise and gush over a sickly sweet story. Both are of course taken out of context and their importance exaggerated greatly.

While they claim to cover 'News' and 'Sport,' what they actually mean is 'sensation' and 'scandal,' whether in the news or sporting worlds! In the end within such papers sex is the most important element. If not semi nude women, and they are all right in their place, it is a celeb, often one you have never heard off, discussing ditching their partner or partners. Sex is prominent in ‘problem pages’ and even the adverts, and all women photographed must be as exposed as possible, usually willingly it must be said.

That begs the question who is using who? Do celebs use the media for publicity, yes indeed, and do the media use them because there is a large number of folk out there who want to read about celebs, especially the bad ones? Of course there is and all parers, even the so called ‘quality’ press, write what their readers wish to see. It was ever thus.

People are often hounded by the ‘Tabloid journalist’ types, sometimes wrongly accused, and certainly abused by them. Should this be so? There is a place for free speech and press freedom but surely the media, and tabloids especially, go well beyond the justified investigation required. Nothing seems able to stop their prying. Governments are scared of them, especially the ‘Daily Mail’ and the ‘Sun.’ The courts cannot protect as legal aid is refused for libel cases, and the pressure put upon those opposing the press is tremendous. What does it say about a society that is happy to allow such media free reign? It means we want to stick our noses into others lives, we want to see someone write what we think, whether justified or not, and we want to read about meaningless ‘B’ celebrities and their love lives. In short, an empty people needing something to fill our lives.

I hate tabloids and all they stand for. They use and abuse the people found inside, and the reader also abuses in the same manner. The reader is dehumanised as they read and the ‘reporter’ loses his decency as he cynically uses those around him. Who wins? Short term finance for the producer and shorter term thrill for the reader. Both soon fade and only emptiness remains. Human nature is exposed by a glance at the tabloid media, in print or on air, and what is seen is not good.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Haymarket Remembrance of Heart of Midlothian Players

On Sunday we see many Remembrance services throughout the UK, but one I wish I could attend is the short service at the Haymarket in Edinburgh.
This memorial was erected in 1922 to commemorate the action of the Heart of Midlothian players who enlisted in 'McCrae's Battalion.' This battalion, the 16th Royal Scots, was founded and led by Sir George McCrae. By persuading the Hearts men to join the battalion he brought credit to the football world, many were determined to force football, and many other sports, to close for the duration of the war. The actions of these men ended this, and persuaded a great many more to enlist at a time when recruitment was falling away after the early rush.

This was no easy task for these men. Football wise they were about to win the League Championship for the first time for years, this team was the best in the country and had started the season with a resounding two nil victory over their main rivals Celtic. By the time McCrae arrived the war had begun to go badly for the allies. After the victory at Mons, the retreat to the Marne, and the beginning of trench warfare, folk had realised the war would not 'be over by Christmas.' The dangers to life and limb were becoming obvious, and the opportunity of football glory was near, yet many enlisted in the Royal Scots. Others had already joined up, one a reservist and another a territorial. James Speedie and John Allan both enlisted when the first call for volunteers was heard.

Speedie was one of the seven players were did not return from France. He enlisted in the 7th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and died during the advance on Loos. The regiment then successfully took most of their objectives although they were then held up after a decent advance. Somewhere along the way Speedie was killed, his body never found. The 16th were to suffer badly on the first day of the battle of the Somme. Three men. Wattie, Ellis and Currie died, others were wounded. But the survivors did make a stand and some progressed further than any others that day, to the edge of the village of Contalmaison, although they ended up as POW's! In August, during a quite day, young Boyd was killed. Tom Graicie however died while on service. This man had become the Hearts leading scorer with 29 goals in the season that preceded the war, yet he had begun to suffer his illness by then. This however not only did not stop him enlisting with the rest he continued to score goals. The Hearts men had to endure military training, often involving long route marches, and as a result often found themselves playing league matches with injured feet. Blisters were often bad, tiredness was keen, but by the end of the season 1914/15 the Heart of Midlothian finished second and only by a few points, points that would have been won had military training not interfered! Graicie would often be in his bed but would rise to play his part, and continued his military training. In October 1915 he died. he had been suffering from Leukemia but had managed to keep the nature of his illness from everyone. In 1917, while serving with the only kilted Royal Scots Battalion, the 9th, John Allan was killed near Rouex. His patrol was caught in crossfire, he was the last to die during the war.

Paddy Crossan and Bob Mercer were to die from the effects of the war during the next twenty years, along with many thousands of others who do not have their names on war memorials. But maybe their names ought to be remembered also? Several players resumed their football careers, many were unable to, some leaving the army 'severely disabled' in one way or other. the welfare for these men would be slim at that time. In another war yet more men died, men and fans serving for a cause beyond football. Many endured during the years of 'peace' since the war. Today fans from the club are in the armed forces and brave the dangers of Iraq or even Afghanistan. War memorials are no longer about the distant past, they are with us, unfortunately, for ever.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

How to be an Idiot No 66.


Why women enjoy this type of thing I am not sure. But there are times it is indeed enjoyable to shop. Having managed to pay off my debts, and rejoicing in merely being on the breadline as opposed to under it, I went shopping with a glad heart and empty pockets. However, with the cold days approaching I had noticed my only good pair of trousers were rather too thin for the cold days ahead, so a thicker, warmer pair were required. Now for almost 25 years I wore cords. Blue, green, brown, maroon, almost any colour, Wrangler, Levi and preferably, cheap types!
Now however they cannot be found anywhere! Proper cords have disappeared from the shops as the indolent youth of today want strange shaped things they refer to as 'fashion! Ptah! Now as you know I am not one to complain, in spite of wandering about every suitable shop in the locale, and being unsuccessful in my quest, but complain I can. Far too many expensive goods on offer, and the only cords to be found were overpriced in M&S. Tsk!

However, I ended up in Tesco once again, and splashed out £6 on a pair of , what I thought, were suitable goods. These trousers appeared thicker than the ones hanging in the cupboard, they were an appropriate colour, the same as the pair in the cupboard, and were only £6, the same price I had paid months before when the sun rose early and shone all day - except when it rained. Anyway I took them home satisfied with my purchase and glad to be at last able to wander out amongst polite society without freezing things that are best not frostbitten. Let joy break out.

Today I tried these trousers on. For one thing they size on the label appears a lie, my stomach should not push against the belt like that, the others with a similar size label appear fine. The length is OK and the fabric , well the fabric is exactly the same as the original pair I thought too thin! The professional idiot has replaced his thin trousers with a pair exactly the same!

Is it any wonder I find it hard to get a job.........

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


Mothers, you can't do with them and you can't do without them! Obviously we need them to enter this world and without their help we would find it somewhat difficult to have made our entrance. However, I sometimes wonder whether some folk I come across in fact actually entered this world in this manner. When reading about the 'Ned's' who roam this world, or maybe any 'B' celebrity informing us of the deep traumas of their existence, or indeed meeting those women who insist on spending an eternity putting their change into their purse and moving away from the checkout, then I find myself asking 'Do they have mothers?' The question remains unanswered.

Some mothers of course fail their offspring. We all know of someone who was rejected by their mum at birth and has let it affect their life ever since, sometimes tragically. The fashion for single parents, whether mum or dad is not wise. Children need both parents, and parents who are committed to them at that! In fact a few years ago I heard of a scientific study in a US university which had spend several years, and much money, to come to the conclusion that a child benefits from one male parent and one female parent! Gosh! Well done folks! Of course putting aside fashion death and divorce often leaves a child with only one parent, and this does not necessarily lead to disaster. It has happened in my family circle and possibly in yours, but two good parents, one of either sex, caring and committed, is always the best bet.

So, why all this concern for mothers? I spoke to my 94 year old mother tonight. She has successfully raised four children, and we are grateful to have her alongside a good father to bring us up. Always and ever the cry was 'to behave' and to 'do the right thing.' Consideration for others was inbuilt into that generation, a generation that had seen a major war, dad being recalled into the army to sit tight for two day while watching the Armoured divisions cross the Rhine, then he wandered over. He was too old by then for a front line soldier, but he had the inbuilt soldiers knack of ensuring he avoided the worst! Alongside the war they had both seen the depression, mum reared in Cowdenbeath saw the six months long general strike cripple the whole of Fife, dad had enlisted in the army the year before because work in Edinburgh was impossible to find. After the war, in the new opportunities created, they looked for a decent kind of life, for themselves and everybody else.

Our parents influences influence us. Mine had some church influence, but nominal at best, and I doubt dad believed much. But like so many working class folk they wanted the best for themselves and their neighbours. Today that attitude seems less obvious, wealth has stifled it and 'political correctness' has become the new 'moral law.' Obviously I am not painting a picture of a world where all was love and goodness in days gone by, human nature never changes, but the culture in which we are nurtured does! I am glad my folks were brought up in they way they were. Often tough, never easy, granddad on one side was a drunk, on the other a miner, and times were always hard down the pit. But this shaped them, along with their kind.

So caring was my mother, that when I called tonight, at half time during the football so I did not have to listen to her for too long, she asked how things were?
'Terrible' says I. 'I don't think I can go on.'
'Poor you,' says she. Then begins to burst into laughter.
'Everything is awful, it's falling apart and so am I,' says I.
'Oh dear,' says she, again sniggering,' Poor you eh? Tsk!'

Mothers love and care never falters, does it...........?

Saturday, 3 November 2007


What's with this outburst of SPAM?

Yesterday I had fourteen 'Penis enlargement' spam alone! FOURTEEN! There were Six more waiting this morning! All this in twenty four hours? Why? it shows how little these folk know of me, when she was around she often referred to me as 'Animal,' and it was not because of my monkey like looks.
There were several offering 'Replica Watches,' or bizarrely, 'Replica handbags?' Who buys replica handbags for crying out loud? One or two offered nothing but made up nonsense stories just to see if the address was live. But why now? It has been down to two or three a day until recently, now it seems an attack of spam is doing the rounds.

Now 'junk mail' through the door is a good advert for a commercial enterprise. Much as we hate it, the 'junk mail' sells! It is one of the cheapest and most convenient forms of advertising. Let us admit it, folk somewhere want the stuff on offer. However laws ensure we know who is sending the 'junk' to us, and where we can contact them, such info must be included on all leaflets in the UK. This is not so with 'spam.' If it was merely commercial enterprises it would not be so bad, but most of it is porn and much of the rest is dubious also. Companies selling medicines show the failings of the US medical system, the 'penis extension' adverts show the insecurity of far too many men, and the complaints of too many women. By the way, you don't need to extend it, just try 'loving' the bitch! It will make things better quicker. It is not just insecurity in men, it is lack of knowledge of the woman! 'Love her' and things improve for you both. (Didn't stop mine running off but that's another story) Anyway I am annoyed by these this morning. Here are a couple of things to help fight Spam. I suppose we ought to make more use of those that fight the stuff before spam blocks the Internet altogether.

Thursday, 1 November 2007


Very depressed today. Not something I normally suffer. Self pity, feeling sorry for myself oh yes, been there and done that, but this is different. Felt a bit strange for a while now. The past week has seen me very agitated and irritable, although that word does not do my feelings justice! Mad axeman might be more appropriate!
Just don't put a chainsaw in my hand and then upset me will you!!!!

Not a nice time really. Care for nothing, nothing tastes, and energy levels both mentally and physically low. In fact the physical level is higher than the mental, as I can still do the exercise but the mind is not invigorated as it ought to be.

This morning I once again sauntered around to the dole office to sign on. This went well but when I got home I was overwhelmed by a desire to just sit there and, well, sit! I found myself saying 'I don't want a job!' over and over, and that is how I felt. I sometimes feel I am breaking up! There was a time I could not endure being unemployed. Not only is there no money there is no banter with those around you, and in the last job that is what kept us going. If the job is routine you need to have a laugh and get on with it, we did, and that is one thing I miss. But today I was not interested, even if banter was to be included. I just want to sit here, alone., in comfort, and ... well and what? I just want to sit there in the sun.....nothing else.

Something is wrong. The 'zip' has gone, although 'button' might be more me than 'zip!' This is not good.
'Dear Dr, the 'zip' has gone.'
'Your right, have a pill or two!'
'No thanks, I think I'll just despair mate!

Anyway, tonight I will attempt to laugh myself to sleep with the 'Punch Cartoon Album.'
I Highly recommend it!