Monday, 31 December 2007


I was thinking today about my desperate desire to obtain the purple corduroy, safari jacket that once meant so much to me. I wished to add it to the maroon cords that I wore in days gone by. It seemed just right at the time. However I could never afford the £5:10/- that the jacket would cost. My hopes were dashed as I was only earning £7 at the most in those days. I yearned for years for that jacket, and sometimes, while howling at the moon I still do. A decent jacket is the only item of clothing that really matters to a man, and once he has the right jacket, with the right number of pockets (and why oh why is there never TWO inside pockets in a jacket), life is perfect. Men who fuss about other items of apparel are either under thirty, worried about getting old, or just very sad. The desire to appeal to the fashion conscious of today has long since slipped my memory, as anyone who meets me can tell. Some appear willing to go out of their way to indicate this!

I was listening to Joe Caulfield's show from last night, and very funny she is too, but it was interesting how she, and the women in the audience, thought the number of comments about fashion and relationships were funny! Joe often makes humour out of women's fascination with clothes! I mean, how can you find so many jokes about getting ready to go out? All you do is get ready, but no, a woman has to go to a friends, and get dressed there. No man would even think of this! Relationships, yes OK in their place, but don't go on about it. Some years ago a lass I worked with displayed the girls attitude to clothes well. Her man pointed out he had two pair of trousers, a jacket and a suit. She had three wardrobes! When the kids came along this lessened, but then the girls developed the same habit. He never changed, and probably still has the suit!

Anyway, 2007 has not provided me with much, and I cannot even fond the cord these days! I did eventually find some, not quite the same 'jeans' design, and costing £34! However M & S appear to have the correct thing. I bet they are expensive! I think it is time to wander round the charity shops again.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

The Honours List

The Queens New Years Honours list has come out. Once again I have been ignored, in spite of many letters in support of my application. No knighthood once again it seems, and after all that effort I put in and those stamps cost me a packet! I must make clear to the younger generation that the 'Queen' mentioned, is in fact the English queen, Queen Liz, not the plastic pop group full off nancy boys called 'Queen.' They do not give out honours, well, not to me anyway so they have something in common with her. I think I should point out to the historically unaware that Queen Liz II is of course queen only of England although they use the term 'Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. That term of course reflects the inherent racism at the heart of the UK. Scotland, as you must surely know, has never had a Queen Elizabeth, only England and it's junior partner Wales have that distinction. This fact does not stop the English from demanding we bow down and become part of Englandshire, and they know only to well what they can do with that idea!

Each New Year this Queen, through her ministers, announces the names of those honoured by her. She, according to the unwritten constitution (a very good idea in my view) has little if anything to do with the names put forward for selection. I believe she is made aware of the awards, and indeed does hand out several special awards by herself, but while she may or may not agree with the names her views are subject to the will of the government of the day. Lucky her! Her job is too stand for several hours at a time, pinning medals on some, touching the shoulders of the lucky new knights on occasion, and dreaming all the while of her day out at Ascot when she can actually enjoy herself. She always manages to keep her own opinion of the recipients to herself, quite a good idea when holding a sword in ones hand I would say.

Now the honours system is a good idea to me. Any nation ought to publicly acknowledge the hard work and diligence, the acts of bravery and the commitment to help others that comprise most nations. From top to bottom there are individuals who indeed deserve awards and recognition. What a shame then that those who are awarded all too often appear uninspiring.
This year Michael Parkinson, who has made his name allowing 'B' celebrities from all over the western world to bore the pants of the intelligent among us, has received a knighthood. Could this be a way of thanking him for retiring and getting his programme full of nonentities off the screen? Sadly I fear not. Kylie Minogue, a one time 'soap star' and now mediocre singer, has been awarded an OBE, why? Possibly because she is popular and this appeals to the younger generation, well men in their thirties actually! That, popularity, alas is today the real reason for awards. They are given less for talent and endeavour than to appeal to the mass market. Give the public what they want by awarding their favourites and appear to be reacting to the popular mood. That's the thing!

Once again Sir Ian McKellen is awarded, for services to the homosexual Mafia perhaps? It seems to be all he talks about, I cannot see it being for his undoubted acting talents as he has already been knighted for that. If indeed he was knighted for that reason. The token English sporting failures are awarded, Jason Robinson for failing to succeed as England captain this year, and the coach, both are rewarded for keeping up the standard. No doubt some token Scot will be found to present a lesser award. Not that there is bias here of course, although Denis Law has never been made a Knight, and Jock Stein was refused one in 67! Alf Ramsey, the sour England manager, received a knighthood gratefully for cheating in 1966, Law is unrewarded still.

I am however much in favour of Lollipop Ladies and charity workers, those unknown folks who care for the sick and lonely, those who work away for years keeping the world turning getting an award of some kind. Whether an OBE or a CBE or indeed any kind of honour matters not. What does matter is that the nation respects the actions of each and every one of us. Wherever we are, whatever level of society we exist at, whether rich or poor,those who ought to e rewarded and recognised as having done something worth commending need to be rewarded openly. This is good for our society. The only question to be asked, and it is a fair one, is this the correct way to do it? In spite of changes in the manner in which these awards are offered there is still the feeling that some receive honour simply for being in the right place. Which I suppose, is why I have never been able to turn one down.

Friday, 28 December 2007

'The Might That Was Assyria' by H.W.F.Saggs.

A short while ago I wandered into the library section of this dingy abode and searched the many bookshelves lining the wall in a suitable manner to hide the cracks. Many leather bound volumes gleamed in the dim candlelight, first editions gathered dust here and there, library books that should have been returned when the Tories were in power sat guiltily on an old desk and strategically placed under the shaky table leg I found 'The Might That Was Assyria!'
This excellent book I purchased from the 'Al Saqi Bookshop ' in Westbourne Grove around 1990, but whether the bookshop has survived as well as the book has I cannot tell. Recently I decided to have another wander through the book and I am glad I did. If you desire an easy to read, very informative introduction to the Assyrians this is the book for you. Beginning with the geography of the region, and then describing the earliest agricultural settlements, around 9000 BC, Saggs, in an easy to read narrative, brings us through the rise and fall of the Assyrian Empire. From the vassaldom under Mittanni the growth of independence, then the inevitable domination of the region, we see human nature in action. Saggs has a terrible time excusing the empire building of the nation he very much admires. He claims their expansion was merely a result of ensuring their own borders, which on occasion meant raids into neighbouring lands. At times these 'raids' led them to the Mediterranean and eventually into Egypt and to possess the greatest empire known at that time!

Poor old Saggs does not want to refer to the bible. The prophets in Jerusalem had a terrible habit of putting the Assyrians down, and tend to consider them bad. However, Mr Saggs has to refer to these prophets and their writings to back up his arguments regarding his boys. How he must have hated that! Of course the most common reference to the Assyrians in the bible is when they did venture right up to the gates of Jerusalem under Sennacharib and were forced to flee, although our friend Saggs claims this was because of a Babylonian uprising, not Gods intervention. Some of us can testify that every day events are often just the way God does intervene in his world. It is amazing how coincidence happens when you pray!

Sennacherib was an efficient king, his rebuilding of Nineveh and his other construction works were extensive and he clearly was a leader of men. His name reflects one of the sad notes of his time, the death in childbirth of so many young, it means 'The god Sin has replaced the brothers,' pronounced, 'Sin-ahhe-eriba,' or 'Sennacharib' to us. The brothers clearly were those who died in childbirth, even the royal house suffered like the rest. Ashurbanipal was, as well as an imperialist, a man who collected manuscripts. These were usually the clay tablets covered in cuneiform script but also material written on other material, sometimes in other languages. His concern mostly being with the supernatural. When you are aware that life can change for the worst at any moment it is wise to attempt to read the future. Omens abounded in the kings library, showing his thin hold on power, and the fragility of life in Mesopotamia.

After taking us to the end of the Assyrians, the Babylonians took their place as the major power for a short while, Saggs then gives details of the religion, medicine and army organisation etc of this once great empire. His bias towards them ensures he manages to explain away their savagery to those who opposed them. 'Just to punish the rebels' is the idea he puts forward, although being skinned alive is one way to punish I suppose.
However the one thing that stuck in my mind was the fact that the Assyrians were just like us! In the UK we only know them via the Old Testament where they are denounced and clearly feared. So disliked were they that Jonah, when ordered to tell them to change their ways or else, would not go because he knew YHWH would forgive them if they did repent! That did not please our Jonah. However, here we see them as people, just muddling through as best they can, just like us! They had their wars of 'freedom' and then their empire, their kings lording it over them, and occasionally the people rebelled, most of course having little option in their choice of life had to take the best out of what was on offer, many good times were had, just as there were bad times. People, in spite of the 'culture' or the time in which they exist, are all just the same in the end.
'We are all Jock Tamson's bairns.'

This book is worth a read as it enables us to understand ourselves as well as the OT. One day, when rich, I will seek out his 'The Greatness That was Babylon.'

Thursday, 27 December 2007


Well done Pakistan!
Just what the nation needs, another dead political leader!
Now what for that nation? The planned elections in January must be delayed, a new leader for her party must be found, and nothing but instability dominates.
Who benefits from this? Bhutto had many enemies and it may never be known who sent in this 'suicide bomber.' I say bomber, but latest reports talk of bullet wounds to the neck. No doubt information will change in these early moments. However, somebody planned this,somebody was willing to kill and wound several hundred Pakistani people, somebody obviously thought this worth it. I hope they are satisfied.
Blame will be passed around from side to side now. Riots will take place, assaults and deaths will follow, but will it change Pakistan for the better? Will the people benefit? I doubt it somehow. The people will continue living their lives, being used and abused, both by politicians and a wide variety of dissident groups.
Some things never change, Jesus still weeps.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Heart of Midlothian 0 St Mirren 1

Losing to Inverness Caley was a disgrace. Losing at home to a St Mirren side not fit to grace the Premier League can only be described as a disaster! We not sit third bottom of the SPL! Third bottom in the season you claimed we would win the European Champions League! Third bottom, just one point ahead of St Mirren, a team full of fight, and only ten ahead of bottom placed Gretna. Looks good doesn't it Vlad? Just what is to happen now? Have these Lithuanian numpties got no idea just what this football club represents? Does the chairman think that winning(how exactly?) a televised dance competition is more important that making this club what it ought to be? If he does not, I am more than willing to remove the ignorance from him!
Today, even the best players cannot pass the ball, the rest just stand and look. It is not enough Vlad to employ people who you can trust, they need to be able to do the job! This your men are clearly not able to do! However, it is clear that while these men, those silent men who never face the press, while these men could be replaced by a proper manager that has man management ability and tactical nous, too many players have either lost their ability or are just not up to this level of football. That however must be obvious even to you Vlad! I am just glad that we no longer play Hibernian on New Years Day. In spite of their problems they would just murder us, and how could the fans cope with that?

First person to say "Rejoice! 'Tis is the season of goodwill." Gets it!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Christmas Day 2007

For those producing TV programmes and adverts, Christmas cards and the like, Christmas scenes must always be dominated by snow! This annoying tendency has no substance whatsoever, unless these overpaid creatures are based in Norway! However, Christmas Day 2007 starts the way they so often do, gray skies and pouring with rain! Possibly this fails to sell products, and telly shows set in a rain drenched mist fail to cheer the fat potato loafers watching.
The telly itself sets yet another standard for failing to satisfy! Of course few people are actually watching the thing, especially early in the day. Kids are breaking most of the precious gifts, several bones and a TV or two by now. Families are arguing about the time for dinner, someone is grumbling about the gift they did, or did not, receive, and uncle Billy is already half way through the bottle of Sainsburys Cognac and looking for his first fight of the day!
Soap operas, cartoons and repeats of the usual Christmas films dominate the screen. I am so glad UKTV History has done the decent thing and is giving us an all day presentation of the excellent 'World at War' series! Just the sort of thing we need on Christmas day! Well I like it, and it is better than any of the other rubbish!
There was the token 'Christian Service,' as always from one of those English Cathedral things. Lovely buildings but hopeless in producing worship. Men in robes following a formal liturgy, a congregation happy to be seen on telly on Christmas day, well prepared choirs singing their hearts out, children reading prayers others have written. But is it worship? Not to me it isn't, and I find it hard to take. While there needs to be control and organisation during a service, this formality hinders rather than helps worship. No doubt those leading were believers, but how many attending really cared? Many turn up at Christmas but never return. Too often this type of church service bores people to death and turns them away from the life Jesus offers.
But I have to laugh when they offer one another 'The Peace.' Hands are shaken and 'blessings' passed on in an embarrassed manner between people who do not know each other. One Anglican church I knew used to have a 'Kiss of peace' until the vicar became aware of one couple being just a bit too-too peaceful. It was handshakes from then on....

It is however better to give than to receive. I have been given things today by the family and am left guilt ridden by my inability to give to them the things I wish to give. I prefer to be the one giving to them rather than taking from them, it just doesn't seem right! So I sit here with my new books, including 'Hearts Greatest Ever Season,' and 'Baminals,' a gift from the youngest great niece - she understands me, and full of guilt look forward to my lamb lunch.
The lamb is not so pleased I must say!

How 'BT' must enjoy this day! The calls that will be made to family or friends,if you can work out where they actually are what with folks running round those who 'must' be visited, and the length of time spent listening to the young ones blethering, for hours, about the loot they have acquired. Old folks will talk for ever, just because nobody listens most of the rest of the time, and half the time will not hear a word spoken because of the deafness. Some folks will even consider Jesus and read about him, some will just find an emptiness afterwards, an emptiness that comes when the obtaining gift like we did as a child no longer holds the same meaning, and we are left wondering what the point of it was. Especially those who suffer breakup, divorce or heartache. For folks who are down Christmas hits them hardest, because we are all supposed to be merry and having fun, aren't we? Time for them to realise why we have Christmas in the first place.

Hmmm, how long does a lamb need to burn before it is cooked? Does that blue haze over the cooker usually occur? Oops, must dash, the fire alarm is going off....

Monday, 24 December 2007


So last night I put the chicken in the oven. "Two hours should do it," I says to myself as I withdrew the Imitation Peshwari nan from the top shelf. I then happily stuffed my fat face with the aforesaid nan and cheese. I live well here!

Today I decided to clean up the PC, hopefully not repeating the mistake of the other day when I deleted the connection with the CD which, by the way is still defunct! So I press 'Start' then press the appropriate button.Or at least I thought I did,but suddenly this broken, secondhand, laptop was switching off! I had automatically pressed the 'Shut down' button. What seems like an age later I had finished the start up process and promptly forgot what it was I had been intending to do in the first place. I remember now, but maybe I will leave that for another time.....

I have however attempted to put another nan into the oven, but failed. The reason? Some fool had left a chicken in there all night,uncooked. The said fool had taken the Peshwari nan out the oven, turned it off, and forgotten the chicken was inside. What a life for that chicken. Maybe she was free range, maybe she saw some daylight, although with all the bird flu scares I doubt that. Passing through a factory complex, she is killed, defeathered and trussed up like a...well, turkey! reduced in price to help Tesco increase her profits, she ends up, cold, bare and lonely in an oven that last saw cleaning fluid in 1996! Why did the chicken cross the road, I can guess she had foreknowledge and wanted a better life!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Heart of Midlothian 2 Inverness Caley Thistle 3

I've not calmed down yet!
How this club can allow the situation to continue is beyond me. Owned by a self made man who cannot trust anyone to do their job. Run by lackeys who's jobs depend on him. Coached by a man who has put his mortgage before the club! Players know those chosen for the side are not there on merit, but on the whim of a distant owner, so motivation dies.
Fans are reaching the end of their patience, and now this!

Inverness Caley are a team with a new manager and a new heart. A competent hard working side who play to their strengths. It is hard to believe even their best players earn anything like the cash available at Tynecastle. Yet they work harder, have more will to win, and beat us! Certainly we came back from two down and equalised, but we should never be in that position! While Frail chats to the press, more for his publicity than the clubs needs, we implode once more and are now ninth! Yes Ninth in the league! A league we should be challenging to win, and here we are in danger of relegation!

Angry? Yes! Frustrated that there is nothing I can do for my club!

Now this is strange, because when all is said and done it is only a game! But football clubs get into your life. It is easier to change your wife than a football club, although they both treat you the same! With contempt! I was so angry at them all yesterday, Frail especially. It is all right standing there holding your knees pal, get of them and tell Vlad to bring in a proper manager and run the team the way it ought to be done! if you lose your job so what? We are losing a club, and you will soon find another job, you have been fronting the press with that in mind for a while now!

Ridiculous. it is only a football team. Why does it mean so much? I mean I am four hundred miles away, I only ever see them through the PC, and that usually in highlight form. Yet I allow this to be more important than anything else. When they win I am happy but it does not rule my life. When they lose it is a pain, when the club is being destroyed by someone who does not understand what it means it is frustrating and makes me mad, and I need no help there thank you very much! Jesus never suffered this problem, although in his day the fans of chariot racing divided into the 'Blues' and the 'Greens,' would you believe, and support their star drivers. Rioting only when necessary of course. The attitude was there if not the football. How strange we are, getting upset over a game.........

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Christmas Songs for the Unfortunate

1. Schizophrenia - Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder - We Three Kings Disoriented Are.

3. Dementia - I Think I'll be Home For Christmas.

4. Narcissistic - Hark The Herald Angels Sing About Me.

5. Manic - Deck The Halls And Walls And House And Lawn And Stores And Office And Town And Cars And Buses And Trucks And Trees And...

6. Paranoid - Santa Clause Is Coming To Town To Get Me.

7. Borderline Personality Disorder - Thoughts Of Roasting On An Open Fire.

8. Personality Disorder - You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why.

9. Attention Deficit Disorder - Silent Night, Holy Oooh Look At The Froggy, Can I Have A Chocolate, Why Is France So Far Away.

10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells.........

Friday, 21 December 2007

William Topaz McGonagall

Time for culture I think. Culture with a capital 'K' at that! I refer of course to what Spike Milligan called that great "Poet, tragedian and twit," William Topaz McGonagall! This man has become one of Scotland's most famous sons.
Not because of his great talent, indeed his fame comes from the lack of them!
William was born of Irish parents in Edinburgh sometime between 1825 and 1830, depending on who you believe. His family eventually settled in Dundee and although he had some education, most of Wullie's time was spent as a hand loom weaver. He claimed that in 1877 he discovered
the 'muse' had come upon him and he was a poet. He had already tried out the acting in 'Macbeth.' From this moment on he began a life as a poet, travelling around performing in pubs and halls wherever he was welcome. He was always welcomed, for while he perceived himself to be a poet the audience perceived him to be a 'Bam!' It became the thing to invite him to give a reading just so the motley crew gathered there could ridicule him, sometimes in the most violent manner. Abused and assaulted, pelted with rotten veg and other vile armoury he continued nonetheless to believe in himself and his abilities as a poet. All this, in spite of the reality! On one occasion he walked fifty miles to Balmoral to see Queen Victoria in person. The police constable at the gate turned him away in a fashion that would not occur in these politically correct days. It was also strongly emphasised that he should not return! Over two hundred poems were published during his twenty five year long literary career, a career which even took him to New York at one stage, but he was quickly on the boat home again.
Did he realise he was a joke to the world, and therefore play to them as this was his only means of income? Some would say so. Sadly it appears he may well have considered himself equal to Burns and other famous bards. His poetry has however remained popular, mostly because it is awful! Because of this he has become one of Scotland's most loved, and quoted poets. Not however in the higher echelons of Scots poetic society! Maybe had he read Burns a little closer he would have considered more the line "To see ourselves as others see us," and gone back to the weaving. It would have been our loss mind if he had!

William wrote this when the Tay bridge was opened in September 1878:-

The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay

BEAUTIFUL Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay !
With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array
And your central girders, which seem to the eye
To be almost towering to the sky.
The greatest wonder of the day,
And a great beautification to the River Tay,
Most beautiful to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Sadly this bridge was struck by a gale on the night of the 28th December 1879, and the design faults and construction failures led to a weakening of the central girders. As the Edinburgh train reached the 'High Girders' the weight and the gale combined to bring the edifice crashing down into the Tay. The Tay is wide at this point and is renowned as carrying the largest volume of water in the UK. There were no survivors. The engine was eventually lifted from the depths and went back into use until 1908. With typical Scots black humour it became known as 'The Diver.'

Once again William Topaz McGonagall found reason to write, and produced what has become his most quoted poem. It gives an excellent example of his style, if that is the word, and surely leaves a desire with all readers for more!

The Tay Bridge Disaster

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say-
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

Those who wish to learn more about this great man, and surely you want to, can find his poems at 'McGonagall Online.'
Well worth a browse over the Christmas period.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

News Reporting

Funny how news is reported. A train crash in Pakistan gets little mention in our press, even though around fifty people are dead and almost two hundred injured. It is not important because it happened far away, and anyway Pakistan is where all the terrorists are to be found is it not? None of our folks are involved so who cares?
Some years ago a daily tabloid reported an avalanche in the French Alps which killed several and injured dozens under the headline 'Two Britons Safe!' But the short story only mentioned the dead at the end.
When Glen Hoddle was manager of England the Bishops Stortford local paper referred to him in one story, not as the England manager, but as, '...Glen Hoddle, who used to own a sports shop in the High Street...' Now I am not saying some folks are a bit introspective but.....
I did notice that apart from a passing reference nobody has bothered about the train crash, 'hands free' driving and government slackness counts for more.

Nothing to do with Arbroath is one of those blogs that leave you wondering whether what you read is funny or sad. A collection of weird and wonderful stories from around the world. The stories often appear crude, but not for the sake of it, and do show us the strange, sad experiences of folk worldwide. This is one of those blogs you must look at and see what you make of it. Some of it is hilarious, but isn't that the way when others get into trouble!


As one or two of you will read this at what you call 'work,' I have come across this little game to fill in the time before you have a break. It is a simple Paper Aeroplane game, which most of my more intelligent readers will already have discovered. There should be a health and safety warning about that fan, it's dangerous!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Magna Carta

The Magna Carta was a document drawn up in 1213 by the then Archbishop of Canterbury , one Stephen Langton. His intention was probably to secure his church from attacks by King John rather than purely humanitarian or democratic ideals. The barons of the day, sick of Johns demands for money and failed foreign policies, supported his intentions and forced John to agree to limit his powers and sign the document at Runnymede. This document was revised on occasion and for some time considered irrelevant. Later parliamentarians rediscovered the ideals contained therein and brought it back to prominence - for their own sake. True humanitarian gestures are rare, and the nobles who signed the original were in no hurry to let their vassals force them into similar gestures! In Cromwell's day his middle class landowner attitudes affected his understanding of democracy also.

The Magna Carta is seen by some as the first statement of democracy, no matter how limited. But it was not the only such statement of freedoms in those distant days. In 1320 The Scots nobles, no doubt aware of Magna Carta also made clear their free state in the Declaration of Arbroath. Although how many of the common people knew, or cared, about this is unclear.

Whether the French understood the principles in Magna Carta or not, they did have themselves a revolution in the eighteenth century which some like to see as walking in the same footsteps. This in turn is seen as the precursor of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776. The American dream is in many hearts based on the Pilgrim fathers and the Declaration of Independence, Life, Liberty and filling your pockets with cash! The idea of bullying other nations and invading them when it takes your fancy appears to be an 'add on.' The Yanks were of course to busy killing Indians, oops sorry, 'Native Americans,' after they found their freedom and taking their land, or ensuring black men, oops 'African Americans,' stayed as slaves, to bother about other nations. Once of course they had grabbed all they could and released the slaves, and kept the 'Jim Crow' laws, they cleared the Spanish out of the Philippine's and then grabbed it for themselves. It takes more than a document or two and a 'myth' of a nation to bring freedom.

However, the Americans do look to the Magna Carta with admiration as the basis on which their nation is founded. Those that have not been spending their time drinking Coca Cola or shooting one another have of course been worshipping at the throne of Mammon! As such one chap has spent £10.6 million (that's $21.32 to you) on the only copy in private hands. It had belonged to Ross Perot the one time presidential candidate, and you will be pleased to hear, now is in ownership by David Rubinstein, whoever he is!

This leaves me wondering, what would you spend £10.6 million on? A rare important document, or something substantial? I like things. I like expensive things that are worth the money, but for a document that you cannot touch because of its age, not keep in the house because of its value, not do anything with except say,"Hey. it's mine!" No thanks. Stick it in a museum and let the folks see it. Tell the kids its history, even if they are bored, but spend your money on something useful. Perot will use the money on wounded veterans and medical research, which sounds more useful. I wonder what Rubinstein does with the rest of his cash?

Monday, 17 December 2007

Bloggers Unite

Bloggers Unite to do something good today!

So I have decided to do something good for all my friends, relatives and associates. In fact the whole wide world!
I am going to leave them alone!

That usually puts a smile on their faces.

How to be an Idiot. No. 65

This lesson in idiocy is a simple one.

First decide there is too much 'stuff' on the PC, and then remove it.
Use all the usual tools, 'Ad-Aware,' 'AVG' and the like, then progress to a little function called 'Find Junk Files.' A useful tool for removing dead links and,would you believe, junk files.
Simply run these programmes and delete.

The important thing of course, especially with the 'Find Junk Files' operation, is to fail to check just what exactly is being deleted! It is clearly displayed in front of you, and a check is recommended, but of course you need not bother because, 'They are all junk surely?' is the grand attitude!
At least that as my attitude.

Now the CD Rom will not play, the 'My Documents' and 'My Pictures,' files will open but fail to display, and I await with trepidation whatever else will malfunction during the course of the day.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

The 'Zibbi' Disease

We have it now! yes indeed the Heart of Midlothian have been diagnosed with the 'Zibbi' disease. It is fair to say that, like so many other diseases, it was avoidable. The disease first showed itself during another Heart of Midlothian trouncing of Hibernian. The Hibs goalie, one, and we thought there was only 'one, let the ball squirm Zbigniew Malkowski made unfortunate errors and allowed the Hearts to obtain the goals their performance so clearly deserved. However, it grew from this. In league and cup semi finals, 'Zibbifrom his hands, or found himself out of position. he did not know how to react to the Hearts fans calling his name, poor lad.
Hibernian of course decided this could not go on and dropped him and replaced him with a goalkeeper named Brown. A fine Scots name and surely 'continental' goalkeeping was a thing of the past. Wrong! 'Broon' was just another 'Zibbi' after all, and has vanished from the scene. Call upon a Scotland Youth, and Under 21, goalkeeper Andy McNeil. This young man has a fine career ahead of him. A steady goalkeeper, learning his trade, developing fast, and one for the future, possibly even a full Scotland international. He blew it. Twice!
How we laughed! Now I am not one to gloat over another's fall, and being an exceedingly bad goalkeeper myself in my time, the best and most important player on the football pitch, I am certainly not trying to put these men down - but it is funny!

We are not laughing now!
Oh no. Since Vlad arrived as owner, and Craig Gordon moved to Sunderland we too have developed 'Zibbi' disease. How? By simply allowing the owner to pick the team! We have a very good, although ageing, goalkeeper in Steve banks. here we have a mature player, knowledgeable about the game, experienced, popular with the fans, and he is not playing. Just because we needed a goalkeeping coach after the previous man moved on, and Banksie took over his duties, someone, Vlad, appears to think he is not competent to play the game! Jings!
fumbled the ball and we lost! Having forty thousand people crying 'Instead of wearing out the poor man we play two other goalies who are not fit to wear the Hearts jersey. How does that make sense? Basso, the Frenchman played against Celtic, had little to do, made one mistake for the goal right enough, and has been dropped. Kurskis, who we all know from the reserve games he has played, clearly is not up to the job. Three minutes from the end today we lost the game. Having been poor in the first half, as indeed were Rangers, we let them score via a mistake, then struggled to get the ball into their half. During the second half we played better, attacked them and scored with seventeen minutes left. We could at that pint have won the game, and certainly got a point. However, near the end KurskisHee Haw' donkey fashion cannot be good for ones confidence! Both are good enough for a lower level, both are good shot stoppers, but so was I! Neither are good enough for the Heart of Midlothian! So why play them? The 'Zibbi' disease comes back on us. A mature, competent, non 'Zibbi' goalkeeper is a must Vlad, or even easier, play Banks! Oh, and get a proper manager at the same time!

This is no way to run a football club Vlad!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Social Networking

So a friend, who shall not be named, let's just call her 'Blackberry Juniper,' tells me I must join 'Facebook.' Obedient to the last, and knowing how evil women can be, I enlisted. Time passes and I still have no idea what this is all about! I have a garden which includes a bunny and a donkey! Gifts that appear to be no more than pictures, and am constantly bombards with 'notifications' that someone wants to talk to me on a 'wall.' First it was 'The Wall,' then the 'Super Wall,' or the 'Advanced Wall,' there is also a 'Graffiti Wall' and several others. Each notification uses a different way of communication, why? Just what is the point of these things? Can these folk not just e-mail like normal folks, or text like kids?

What is worse two folk from the past have turned up! Now as it happens these people are OK, although one speaks only in 'text speak' and therefore I have no idea what she is saying. Which may be a benefit of course! However the lass who started all this has gone quiet and has not responded to the many 'gifts' I have sent her, 'free' of course. I even sent her a present to put under her pagan and ungodly Christmas tree - yes I was forced to have one also! Well I need the presents don't I!

The other day a card arrived from up North in the land of constant wind, rain and these days, sleet! My sweet ten year old great niece, sweet to those who don' t know the brat, wrote the family Christmas cards. This is because her writing is better than her mothers and if she had not done it they would never be sent. her mother managed to send the cards in time a couple of years ago, and on enquiring how he done it met the reply, "They are from last year. I forgot to post them!" Right enough. Before that she had sent my expensive gift to my brother by mistake. I hope it fitted!

Anyway this trainee juvenile delinquent 'just happened' to mention her 'Bebo' address on the card. I understood she had obtained one of these by blackmailing her dad, but had not been informed of the address. Naturally I took the bait like any great uncle fearful of the consequences of not responding, and struggled to open a 'Bebo' account just to please the whelp. Naturally, after spending an evening tying to understand, and failing, how to set the thing up as I require, no trace of the brats account could be found. Either she has had it closed in the few days since writing the cards or it is an incorrect address.

Now I have two 'social networking' sites I could live without, clumps of hair lying around the chair, and some tell me these things are amongst the 'must haves' of today. I am off back to my 'The Might That Was Assyria' book, I find cuneiform tablets easier to understand. First person to say 'Peace' gets it!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


The BBC is a public service broadcaster, designed to bring the best in television and radio to the United Kingdom. Tonight I decided not to watch the too smart know-all kids on 'Junior Mastermind,' and the snooker is too slow for my mood. Turning to 'Freeview' I discovered that in spite of the indoor aerials inability to show a complete picture every time a vehicle passes by I could obtain a clear picture from BBC 4. What delight do we find on the channel, set up at enormous cost, for the intellectual elite? Batman! Batman! a series that began in 1966 and was too stupid for the five year olds of the nation! Now it is presented to the adult twenty some things who BBC 4 is aimed at! Stone the crows! 'Clunk' and 'Kapow!' Bad acting and cameras at odd angles. I believe there is a story line, but I could be wrong. Something is wrong somewhere!

I am paying something like £138 a year, which I can hardly afford, for a TV licence. This money goes towards paying for the BBC. This money I am happy to pay if I could find some programmes worth watching. Instead I find soap opera after soap opera, each the same, the good guy, the bad guys (mostly bad these days), the tense story line - adultery, jealousy, anger, malice, maybe murder if the ratings are slow and a disaster every so often. 'Emmerdale,' set in a country village, appears from the intro to have around twenty seven house, a church, a pub and a village hall. There are one or two farms around, employing maybe three people at most, and little else. In its time there has been around 300 divorces, fifteen murders, several fires and car crashes and on top of this, so to speak, a plane fell on the village! The intro has never changed! OK, that one is on ITV not the Beeb, but they are all the same. The Beebs 'EastEnders' has the record of fewest smiles in a programme. In nearly twenty years nobody has ever smiled or grinned, ever! Although 'Dirty Den' may have smirked after punching someones lights out occasionally, but that's different.

Drama in days of yore used to mean a cop series or what was then called a 'play.' Today drama is no more than a soap opera under another name. Usually a woman is in a man's world fighting male oppression or the barmaid is chasing a priest, and the usual good guys and bad guys fill the screen Even historical programmes are reduced to this dumbed down level. No matter who the historical character may be the trailer for the programme will feature an aggressive man, a stern faced man and a slapper ripping her bodice. Doesn't matter who is the hero, facts are reduced to fit what the audience wants. Factual documentaries are reduced in this way by turning them into dramas with the introduction of actors failing to convey the person they portray.

Now this is a shame. The BBC at its best produces the best documentaries, the best comedies 'Hancock,' 'One Foot in the Grave,' 'Only Fools and Horses' and the like, the best news coverage and yet has for the past twenty years, after Conservative politicians demanded ratings improve if the licence fee should stay, has dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. This is not good enough.

Of course the British part of the name is a misnomer. It really means 'English,' and always has. Some would say it is indeed only the so called 'Home Counties' that matter, the rest can stick as far as London is concerned. They have a point, how often do you hear a Birmingham voice, or one from Norfolk or Cornwall, and there is now way a Geordie would ever get on, nobody could understand them! Scotland of course has a separate BBC up to a point, but only up to a point, the money stays in London. While the Scotland team play games at Hampden Park, Glasgow, the Scots have England shown on their TV! London will not allow enough to buy the rights, so Scotland's home games go to 'SKY!' Shocking!

Nothing funny so far eh? No, but it has filled a few minutes of your life. You sad creature you!
TV is poor, some days I see nothing on a wide variety of channels. Now as you know, TV is a good thing, but let's be honest, while God Creates the devil perverts, and so much is just not worth watching. Talk shows in which people's broken lives are held up to world scrutiny really make me mad! They are happy to use daft folk to get ratings and make money. I would love to help these folk and hate seeing them ridiculed by an audience of cretins. This is not right!

Television is a wonderful invention (a Scot was the inventor by the way) and has many uses. Parliament debates on one hand live football on the other, it educates kids as well as bores the parents. It keeps us company when alone and saves many in our fragmented society from despair. It can be good, so why is it I find myself so often looking for a book? Oh well.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Did Someone Say....?

Did you ever say things like this.....?
Michael Owen England Footballer :
"I was really surprised when the FA knocked on my doorbell".

"None of Croatia players would get into the current England team".

Better make it six, I can't eat eight."
Dan Osinski, Baseball pitcher, when a waitress asked if he wanted his pizza cut into six or eight slices

"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century."
Dan Quayle, former U.S. Vice-President

"Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing - but none of them serious." Alan Minter, Boxer

"Traffic is very heavy at the moment, so if you are thinking of leaving now, you'd better set off a few minutes earlier." Anonymous Traffic Report

"We are unable to announce the weather. We depend on weather reports from the airport, which is closed, due to weather. Whether we will be able to give you a weather report tomorrow will depend on the weather." Arab News report

"Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, "Thank God, I'm still alive." But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again."
Barbara Boxer, Senator

"After playing Cameroon in the 1990 world cup finals: "We didn't underestimate them. They were just a lot better than we thought" Bobby Robson

"Most cars on our roads have only one occupant, usually the driver."
Carol Malia, BBC Anchorwoman

"My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt." Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice.

"We are not ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
Dan Quayle, former U.S. Vice President

"There's going to be a real ding-dong when the bell goes."
David Coleman, Sportscaster

"There is Brendan Foster, by himself, with 20,000 people"
David Coleman, Sportscaster

"We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out."
Decca Records Rejecting the Beatles, in 1962

Friday, 7 December 2007

Friday Night

Friday Night. Everybody is out gallivanting, or being hassled by wives and families, possibly just getting over the week and resting the brain that has been tested once too often this week. This means they are unable to post therefore leaving us, the unwanted dregs of society, to post away into the ether. Possibly this means our scribblings may never be read, but will that hinder us? No! However it is with regret that I find myself with nothing worth posting! Tsk! So, I will scrape the barrel bottom just to fill time while my gruel is burning on the pot hanging over the fire.

I could make mention of the award given to me by that wise man Sicarii. Yes another award, (excuse me while I stand in front of the mirror patting my hair while a bright glint is seen emanating from my teeth). While I grasp this with both hands (please excuse the filth on them, I have just washed my face), I must refrain from adding it to the board itself. You see he, and many others, post specifically about their spiritual lives while I just rant and spout whenever I have had too much coffee, or the Prozac runs out. Some may have noticed this.... While gratefully received it would intimate the blog is something it cannot be and give the wrong impression. I leave such blogs to those who can properly write them, I just spout whatever flits through my mind, leaving me able to cover other important subjects, Football, er...and,.......... there must be something else...


I am watching the 'Eggheads' quiz at the moment, as the smell of burning gruel drifts past, and I wonder what is it about such programmes that take hold of us? I first started listening to the 'Brain of Britain' quiz around 1975/6 time, and I have been hooked ever since! Why? What is it about the general knowledge quiz ? I very rarely miss this programme, even though the excellent Robert Robinson no longer holds sway, and thoroughly enjoy a quiz that is much too hard for my little bonce. A recent radio programme investigated the 'Pub Quiz' and the somewhat cynical presenter admitted at the end he was hooked! Small five question quizzes appear in most papers these days and several people can be seen struggling to find the answers. Such a simple formula and so satisfying when a high score is reached! TV and radio stations must have some for of quiz show. Often these are dumbed down, a simple choice of three answers from a stupidly easy question to help raise cash from those calling in, or just to offer a prize that will keep the audience eager. Flashing lights and big name 'celebrities' to ask questions helps ratings, especially when some over hyped lass is in tears at her £several thousand pound success. This begs the question,why must they all be so hyped up? A dull show we do not want but hysteria, is it really necessary? The calmer scene on 'Mastermind,' or 'University Challenge' does not detract from the show, but maybe tabloid everything is what sells best in this world. Funny how worldwide a little thing like a quiz can be so popular
Hmmm I did not do too well on this edition of Eggheads, the questions must have got harder!. And while I scrape this black stuff from the pot I will consider a little quiz for next week maybe.



On the way to my job this morning, I rear-ended a car at the lights down the road.
Somehow I just knew it was going to be a bad day after that.
The driver got out of the other car, and he was a dwarf, poor soul.
He looked at his dented car and then looked up at me and said angrily "I am not happy"
I said, "Well, which one are you then?"

Anyway that's how the fight started.......

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Tagged - Again!

Now I am not one to complain, as everybody knows, nor am I vindictive and vengeful, however, I have been tagged by a man who will remain anonymous, namely Mulled Vine
Claiming I have too much free time he passed this on to me to fill my day! Ptah! I have been very busy today, so busy I only went back to my bed twice! However, being the nice guy that I am, I have taken several hours of precious time to follow orders. This is the result!

Seven things you did not know about me :-

* I live alone in this cave.
* There are several hundred videos on the shelf. Mostly beginning with Scots football and filled with worthwhile stuff I have added.
* The VCR does not work!
* The 'Bullworker' that leans against the wall was bought in 1970 ish. Had I used if for a few minutes a day as recommended I would now be a muscle bound oaf.
* I am an unfit, weedy & pot bellied oaf!
* I mostly read my books in the loo/bath.
* I once spent a night in Cardiff (1976) and have never gone abroad since!

Now the results, without pics as I canny do them............

You Are Olive Green
You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.
For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.
You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.
People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.


Your Superpower Should Be Invisibility
You are stealth, complex, and creative.
You never face problems head on. Instead, you rely on your craftiness to get your way.
A mystery to others, you thrive on being a little misunderstood.
You happily work behind the scenes... because there's nothing better than a sneak attack!


Why you would be a good superhero: You're so sly, no one would notice... not even your best friends
Your biggest problem as a superhero: Missing out on all of the glory that visible superheroes get


You Belong in San Francisco
You crave an eclectic, urban environment. You're half California, half NYC.
You're open minded, tolerant, and secretly think you're the best.
People may dismiss you as a hippie, but you're also progressive, interesting, and rich!

Ageing hippie maybe......

Your English Skills:
Spelling: 100%
Vocabulary: 100%
Punctuation: 60%
Grammar: 20%

Well I speak Lallans actually....

You Are Scissors
Sharp and brilliant, you can solve almost any problem with that big brain of yours.
People fear your cutting comments - and your wit is famous for being both funny and cruel.
Deep down, you tend to be in the middle of an emotional storm. Your own complexity disturbs you.
You are too smart for your own good. Slow down a little - or you're likely to hurt yourself.
You can cut a paper person down to pieces.

The only person who can ruin you is a rock person.
When you fight: You find your enemy's weak point and exploit it.
If someone makes you mad: You'll do everything you can to destroy their life

Sharp and brilliant???????

You Are Not Destined to Rule the World
You are destined for something else...
Like inventing a new type of cupcake.
You just don't have the stomach for brutality.
But watch out - because many people do!


You Are Bert
Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you lovable - even if you don't love them!
You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you
You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil
How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

Who is Bert?

I should now pass this onto a friend - but I lost all the others I passed the last one on to!
So I will find something else...........

Monday, 3 December 2007


Some time ago a beautiful woman of my acquaintance gave me a little fridge magnet she, in here womanly manner, thought appropriate. It read, 'If a man watches two football matches in a row, he should be declared legally dead.' Now this woman, beautiful, highly intelligent, full of knowledge and common sense, was unfortunately female! This as any intelligent person (e.g. Male) will realise leads to a lack of proportion in understanding just what exactly is important in this world! An unfortunate lack you will agree, but one we have come to expect from the majority of lassies in this world. They will consider wearing the same earrings two days running a sin but never appreciate just how important beating Stirling Albion in the League Cup might be. Tsk!

However, had that lass been around on Saturday she might have flipped her lid a little as I managed to watch three games that day, one after another. How good was that! First I managed to pick up the mighty Heart of Midlothian's struggle against half of Glasgow's evil twins. Now when Celtic arrive in Edinburgh the place is always buzzing. Not only are they a 'big team' (in their own minds) but they share the 'Old Firm' self importance with the other half, Rangers. It is always a delight to rip them apart in that loving football manner that men understand so well. However, although the game started well it soon faded into a dour, dreich encounter that will quickly fade from the mind. Effort and some skill showed up, but goalmouth action was a rarity. Usually these games are played before a baying, howling crowd, with tackles unfit for human consumption appearing all over the park, not on Saturday. Often the ref will fail to control the outburts of temper and bad feeling, none showed on this occasion, and the game, was lifted only by a goalkeeping error and a deserved, blatant last minute penalty. In the days of prehistory I played in more exciting games myself, and played extremely badly I must add!

I followed this up with Portsmouth v Everton. here the best of the English Premiership failed to impress! The English love to claim they have the best league in the world, ignoring Spain of course, and telling the world how good they are. This quality is shown by the lack of English managers and players at the top clubs, but I will not mention that. The Everton display did not inspire respect for any league, defending away from home when one of the top clubs in the league was a poor decision. The second half was better, but although a draw at Portsmouth is commendable this was poor stuff.

Much better was the Aston Villa taking on the mighty Arsenal. This was how to play away from home, all out attack with bundles of skill from Arsenal and deserved goals. As the break approached I thought Villa were about to implode. How wrong I was! The second half was a display of all out attack from Villa that had me on the edge of my seat, except when I fell off!
Excellent game, and the best of the weekend. But I was glad when it finished. Those little Saturday jobs that I had meant to do were still waiting for me, and it was too late by then! Shame eh?

Sunday. A day of rest. Now what better way to rest than to watch the Harrogate Railway play Mansfield Town in the English Cup? Actually, having watched this I consider listening to a woman talk about her baby more interesting, but maybe I am being harsh! To upset the lassie, if she was to know, I also finished up by watching an excited Birmingham City travel to Spurs and beat them 3-2. Jolly good that, much as I would like to see Spurs move up the league, which the will.

All in all a very good football weekend. We held our own, some good, exciting football observed, and now I am surrounded by squalor that has built up from nowhere over the weekend. How come? Anyway, back to the real world. Job seeking is not easy when you are an ageing, injury hit idiot, especially at this time of year. I had invested hopefully in the Lottery as a means of changing the world around me, but that seems to me an unfair system, in so much as someone else always gets what i consider 'my' winnings! Tsk!

I wonder if there are any games on tonight............