Friday, 30 November 2012

November 30th




The wind from the north has spent the past couple of days howling through the gaps in my window frames.  Cold air fills the house, freezing the tea I was drinking no less than a minute ago.   Typing wearing Mitts can be difficult, so it's a good thing most of you read quite slowly.  As I sit here wrapped in a thick blanket I experience to the full what it means to be a Scot.  The weather is always like this up there!  Quite why the greatest nation in the world did not make its way down to the Mediterranean coast all those years ago is a question I fail to comprehend.   We would make much better neighbors for the Catalans than the ones they already exist alongside.  They would be much more tolerable than this lot here!

The point of all this comes clear when you realise that today is St Andrews Day!  Today the Scots remember their Patron Saint, St Andrew!  However ask the majority of this once Calvinist land what knowledge they have of him and few would know much.  The reformation of course removed the fallacy that a dead man could be prayed to or expected to look after one group of people rather than another so saints of any sort get ignored.   Quite right too!  However this could be a day for remembering what Scotland is about, Scots great contribution to the world, and Scots influence for good to one and all.  However let's not talk about me.  Scotland as you know has produced more genius's per head of population than any other nation.  The greatest Americans have all got Scots blood in them, Scotland led the way in exploration, benevolence, medicine, law, learning, and football.  What more could you wish for?  The Arbroath Declaration is the main inspiration for 'freedom' in this world.   A refusal to be cowed by an aggressive bully at that time has been the mainspring of human freedom ever since.  But you know all this and I merely humbly reiterate such for the benefit of the younger generation.

Andrew himself, as you know was brother of Simon, and is considered as the first disciple and the one who brought Simon, later renamed Kephas, Peter to you, to Jesus.  While this Peter became well known and ended up dying somewhere in Rome around 64 AD Andrew himself disappeared from history.  Around the four hundreds people began to collect bits of dead apostles, a finger here, a toe there, and stories of their healing powers began to circulate.  The place where they were stored brought pilgrims seeking healing and Spiritual strength which meant cash could be made by Abbeys and the growing number of monasteries around the world. 

Some say Andrews bones lay in Constantinople, a region Origon and others claim he evangelised.   Others make similar claims and these may contain an element of truth.  How then was he not only on the Volga but crucified at Patras in the Peloponnese?  Ah well, we will never know.   The story goes his bones remained there until moved to Constantinople by one of the bigwigs of the time.  They would interfere wouldn't they?  Later bits of him were returned to Patras, but I doubt it is worth a visit myself.  For some reason his bones ended up in Hexam, as you might expect.  Acca, the bishop, was chased from there at one time and moved himself to Fife,  he landed in his wee boat at St Andrews, a miracle that he landed at a town with that name!  Proof indeed that this was Andrew!  A later Pictish King decided to make Andrew the patron after winning a battle. However as the Picts died out (except in Fife where many still exist) maybe he got that wrong. 

Who really knows? In days of yore when few could read, and the bible was only in the possession of a few, often only one or two copies in the land, superstition easily arose and religion was second to church political gain. No change there then!  Lacking a biblical understanding people came to put their hope in 'saints' of many sorts, some even Christian, and in time all nations had their own personal 'saints' who would plead before God on their behalf. The new Testament makes clear that only Christ Jesus, the great high priest, pleads before the throne, and that using his own blood shed on the cross. By no other name can men be saved. A 'saint' by the way, is simply someone who receives Christ Jesus death on behalf of his rotten nature, believes Gods mercy, receives the Holy Spirit and finds a new life. Each Christian is in fact a 'saint.' No need for anyone 'special,' bar Jesus himself. 


Quite how folks endure the freezing cold weather beats me.  There should be a law against it.  Oh look, I've found a source of heat.  I wonder who this candle belongs to?

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Whitewash?



So we had the Leveson enquiry, set up by Prime Minister David Cameron, to inquire into the press intrusion and misuse of the individual, famous and unknownm has reported.  Hours, days, weeks of testimony from the famous and infamous, politicians, journalists, tabloid hacks, and Rupert Murdoch and his henchmen, and indeed famous henchwomen!  Actors, individual members of the public who were hacked and abused, footballers and singers, all have appeared and demanded the press are controlled!  Lord Justice Leveson listened, occasionally questioned, and has now returned after pondering the findings and come to his conclusions.

Clearly the Press Complaints Commission has failed, clearly the press have got out of control, clearly a body is required to independently rule over the press.  This must be a body agreed by the press, independent of them, and secured by law!  The world rises to agree, with only three objecting.  One objection comes from the newspapers themselves whining about 'freedom!'  A freedom to do as they like.  The papers have all lost half their readership in the last ten years, TV, radio & the internet taking over, no wonder they are desperate for dirt on the famous.  Money talks and unemployed hacks can be very upset.  A second comes from the readers who feel that the private lives of the rich and famous, no matter how vacuous, are their business.  And a third objection comes from the Prime Minister himself.  Yes the man deemed not to have been influenced by friendship with the editor of one of Murdoch's papers, in spite of his close contact with her, the man who set up this enquiry as a PR stunt, the man who now fears the 'Daily Mail' and 'Daily Telegraph,' turning against him, has suddenly discovered he is not keen on passing any of the Lord Justice's findings into law!  Who would have thunk it eh?  To bring the law into being would have the media ruin him, and his chances of continuing in his job are feeble enough.  He is in a bad position.

Naturally the opposition suddenly find themselves in favour.  Naturally Nick Clegg, the man who sold out to Cameron just to pretend he was in power, has disagreed in a vain effort to save his job after the next election.  No chance pal. Naturally these new buddies will now demand a law, one that keeps press freedom to question and investigate, but also allows the politicians to curry favour with the media.  Naturally those who suffered, and one couple saw their son commit suicide after lies were published about him, naturally these people are not best pleased with Cameron's response.  What is important here, is it not those abused and hacked by the press?

I have done my bit.  In fact I did this yesterday.  I e-mailed my MP, Tory lackey that he is, and made clear that I wish for a press that is free to investigate and demand, to objectively question the powers that be, but one that is controlled from abusing the innocent, living of 'kiss & tell' stories, and one that is forced to be objective.  In a few days time I will receive a standard reply, full of bland acknowledgement and not altering his position which is to support Dave.  However by writing he knows how I feel and calculates this is also how others will feel.  Nearer the election I would mention the UKIP Party subtly!  

What happens now Dave wishes to whitewash the whole affair?  We will have to wait and see.  Which also reminds me of the other enquiry, you remember, the one asking about Tony Blair and the Iraq war.  Whatever happened to that whitewash report I wonder?     

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Now I'm not one to Complain, But....



I awoke this morning to the World Service, 'Outlook' was offering us yet another sob story, just what I need when darkness covers the land.  Day after day Matthew Bannister indulges himself with tales of woe, rape, torture, suffering and anguish, mostly from women, doing his best to imitate one of those women's magazine's that live on that sort of thing.  Just what is it about such mags that they sell by trauma?  Who can forget the cover headline 'MY LOVER WAS AN ANORAK?  The stories follow suit, 'Doctor healed by face,' 'My child was black,' 'My hair went gray.'  The women of this world appear to require an hour's emoting over another's pain rather than having a life, why?  If someone is suffering try to help them, if you can't do anything why enjoy their pain? 

The only shock 'Outlook,' is that a man presents the programme.  Later, as I dozed, we come to 'Farming Today.'  Now you might think that an occupation dominated by males would have a suitable presenter but no!  Only women are allowed to lead this one.  Two were involved today, too much for one I ask?   Of course a woman is producer!  After the torrential rain that has flooded the farms and destroyed much of the crops it would be reasonable to expect the programme to be dominated by sodden farms, but no!  The first story concerns the 23,000 women now involved in farming!  Gosh, it was always men before because the work was 'heavy,' now women are involved because of machinery.  I suppose the farmers wife of days gone by does not count?  I suppose they never worked a tractor or pushed cows about?  Today however women work on farms because it is 'light work!'  I think some women may object, the men certainly should.  So men do the hard work, women the easy, and they get more pay, this is a femail guide to equality I suppose?  

Talking of high wages and little work have you noticed how News Sports broadcasts are almost always presented by women?  All channels, on both TV and radio men are blatantly discriminated against, any objector is howled down, often by the men in the media!  The men that is who have yet to suffer being replaced by a floosie.  The 'Daily Mail,' that pillar of objectivity and high standards, daily offers us a report of a hard done by woman and her suffering at work.  Her wages are always less, the 'glass ceiling' against her, and men have it easy.  Not the men who have to do her work while she is off work yet again of course!  Those kids make a good excuse to miss the difficult days.  The feminist lobby object to hard facts from male commentators asking if men on oil rigs suffer in any way, or the difficulties of those digging holes in the road.  Femail concern is not offered these men.  The other day some men, names withheld, commentated somewhat cynically on the report that women in their 20's now earned more than their male colleagues of similar age.  The result was an outbreak of misandry.  Not one misandrist suggested equality meant equal pay, they just took the money and ran!  So if a woman gets more than a man that is OK to them.  

Men are suffering discrimination at work in every sphere, apart from those that require hard work, and it should cease with immediate effect I say!  


Monday, 26 November 2012

Specs




An enjoyable shopping experience recently.  After six years I managed to get round to checking my eyesight and obtaining new glasses.  The people at Specsavers managed to appear both interested in the customer, competent, and friendly at the same time.  Quite how they manage to keep this up while dealing with the public I fail to understand, but the girls here did so very well.  So well did they do their job they almost appeared genuine in laughing at my quips!  I did say, almost.  So once again I find myself struggling to get used to new frames as I wander about.  At least there is little difference in the lens so I do not fall over steps as I used to do with new glasses, lampposts are safer also.  I must say the staff did impress me, no wonder they refused my application for a job a while ago......

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Friday, 23 November 2012

Early Afternoon Mist



While Australia heads for a summer of heatwaves we have cold mist arising in the early afternoon.  The temperature falls and dark clouds gather in the south west.  The west side of the country is flooded in many places after much heavy rain, with wind and rain to again to arrive overnight.  The question is, why is this happening?  This nation has endured rain for millennia, is this unusual I wonder?  Could it be global warming is having an effect?  I am sure folks with several feet of water in their living rooms will not be asking these questions at the moment, but will later.  There has been an abundance of rain this year, caused by the air stream coming further south than normal, and farmers with drenched crops have watched as shopkeepers rushed to increase their profits, using the rain as an excuse.   Rain in the British Isles is not unusual but it does become a drag after a while.  For those suffering flooding, and in recent years this appears to be an increasing number of people, it must be unbearable.  
Roll on Spring!



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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Morning Radio News Programmes



It has long been known that TV 'News' programmes in the early morning are rarely 'News' led.   Any passing film/pop/soap star can fill in the time, along with bulimic girlies and women with a grudge.  A major conflict/disaster may well get a few minutes notice now and again but the majority of the viewers would rather 'pap' was to the fore.  For some getting the kids out the door, preparing for work, and keeping toddlers occupied while the others are taken care off means attention for important subjects is somewhat limited.  Therefore items that do not require much concentration are what appears to be popular.  The TV on offer early mornings in the UK is full of 'pap' and some say popular.

Therefore news has to be found via the wireless!  Until recently this was happily achieved in this region via the medium wave where the BBC World Service was available.  The news was off a high standard, reports from trouble spots ignored by national media, top quality journalists, and well run programmes offered.  Sadly the austerity offered by this useless coalition has led to cuts in the BBC.  Naturally while back offices full of those efficient in office politics keep their jobs, and high salaries, the front line service e.g. programmes, suffer.  Recently the medium wave service closed down leaving only those online able to catch the World Service.  Then the powers that be shrunk the service so much that a radical, and shockingly poor, new early morning offering appeared.  This BBC World Service programme was based on their African coverage, the excuse being that 70% of listeners are African!  Oh yeah?   The new programme goes under the name 'Daybreak,' is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, has an irritating, yet constant, silly drumbeat repeated endlessly, childlike presenters and only comes alive when the 'actual' World Service journalists appear.  It has become almost impossible to listen to this programme.  No doubt in Africa these folks are popular, I am not African and expect a London based BBC to broadcast with occasional African coverage as part of this, not the other way around.  It sounds what it look like, cheap programming!  This is more an African 5Live than proper journalism!

BBC 5Live of course broadcasts throughout the UK, a trendy female led station.  Intended at fiorst for football coverage women whined as they do about 'men,' and the day is filled with second rate girlies in jobs they should not have.  A feeble offering aimed at teens and 20's, and is poor at most times when football is not mentioned.  It is time this was changed into a BBC 'Talksport.'

I need not waste time on BBC Scotland's puerile Glasgow based offering, and find the only radio news left is found on Radio 4.  The 'Today' programme is seen as leading in the news category  except when the Conservatives object to it being 'left leaning,' a phrase often used when one of their people is caught out.  Yet this contains the token woman Sarah Montague, given a job simply for being female, an ageing John Humphreys, a man excellent at calling senior parliamentarians to account but all to often just happy to find fault where there is none.  James Naughtie (pronounced Naughtie) is famed for mispronouncing James Hunt's name, discussing literature and opera, and offering three forty five minute programmes on the bible yet managing to avoid any reference to God while doing so, very BBC!  The other two are just a waste of time and space.  What ought to be a serious journalistic offering becomes all to often a tabloid paper.  Small mindedness when no story is available, adverts for later programmes and an amazing amount of trivia concerning new books or films.  

Each morning I wish to be informed and find less serious news available each day.  Yet while the Israel problem has been well reported almost nothing has been mentioned until now concerning the Congo.  Some five million people have died in the long lasting conflict there, yet it is almost unheard off, why?  A wee girl banned from school for breaking rules about hair or trousers get more attention!  Football results, while important, will always mean more coverage than that given to a few thousand deaths.  Who mentions 'Darfur' today?  Do you recall the deaths there?
I do not want bad news constantly, just serious reporting, journalism if you like, and the main channels appear to offer this less than blogs and specialist news agencies do today.  The web is taking over the news.


Kweku Adoboli, working in the City of London as a dealer in the money markets, managed to lose his company around £1.4 billion.  It is claimed at one point his losses were around £7.5 billion, but he managed to reclaim this.  Had he not done so the Swiss Bank which employed him, UBS, may well have gone bust.  He was found guilty of fraud and jailed for seven years.

The thought crossed my mind that robbing a bank gets longer sentences than murder these days.  Stick a knife in someone and walk the streets in six months.  Batter someone unconscious and get a banning order but rob lots of money and go down for a long time!  A bank that robs the public, or fails to return the 'bail out' cash will lead to knighthoods for those at the top, alongside million pound payouts.  Hmmm something wrong somewhere.  Just saying....

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Christmas Lights



The town's Christmas lights were switched on last night.  I swear they make the place even darker!  The date today? November 18th!!!  Six weeks before Christmas  I read that at least one person in the town has already got their decorations up and I suspect Tesco will be installing the 'Valentines Day' cards by Friday!  Cynical, me?  Yes!  There again had I not got all my buying almost complete a little bit more cynical. I hope your shopping has been done.  Soon the local TV news will be offering us those daft folks who place hundreds of lights, accompanied by reindeer, sleigh's, Santa's and snowmen, and then expect us to believe they do this to collect money for charity.  Just give the cost of the electric instead pal it would gain more money!  It's Christmas and such have no relevance to the real deal.  Just saying. 

No doubt there will be grumblings from some shopkeepers who pay towards this that the lights are insufficient for the cash, I suspect they are correct. Had there been sufficient lights to brighten the city of London some of these folks would still complain, and if there is one thing I canny stand is folks complaining!  No need for it.   

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Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Dangerous Middle East

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Thursday, Voting Day




Billions of dollars were spent on the US election in recent days, considerably less has gone into organising today's electoral vote in England and Wales.  Scotland of course runs things differently as you will understand. No president is being sought, nor are we voting for either members of parliament or local councils.  The vote is a new one, we are choosing a man to head the local police!  Until now a local police authority has called the police to account, checking into the cheif constables behaviour and accounting for the cash spent. The Conservative government, sorry Con/Lib-Dem coalition, have decided one man is required instead.  To be frank I doubt anyone knew who was on the previous committee unless there was reason to contact them.  I suspect Cameron and his hordes believed the local authorities were all communists and require changing so he could tell them what to do, so the one man accountable to the people is introduced.  You will of course realise that few of those standing are known to the nation, fewer still are known in the locale, some may be unknown in their own house even, however the stand anyway.  A website has been laid on to supply some details of those standing, a picture, basic details, a statement of intent, and answers to some questions.  On such basic  details most of the electorate will decide.  No-one knocked on doors, no leaflets were given out, and one meeting in Chelmsford was the soul outreach I heard off.  I was the 20th person to vote early this morning, and the lowest ever turnout is expected by evening when the doors close.  Will this individual receive a mandate that makes much difference to me or most others?  No.  Still, it's democratic I suppose. 





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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Great City



I have 'borrowed' this excellent video I found on YouTube.  This intelligent lass went to Edinburgh (Pronounced Edinburra) and discovered it was the great city she had hoped it would be.  The sun even shone for her, and that is unusual it must be said.  Always be prepared for a touch of dreich drizzle when there. (Glasgow sends it over!)  It is a nice tourist video made in 2009.  One day I might go back and make my own.  

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Banter



Edinburgh contains two professional football clubs, the Heart of Midlothian who I may have mentioned before and Hibernian, the wee team down in Leith, Edinburgh's port.  Now it is of course inevitable that the followers of these two clubs would become entangled in swapping insults, both kindly offered and sometimes quite barbed.  But the question is how far can we go?  During any game between the clubs the bad behaviour of the Hibernian fans often caused the constabulary to become involved with controlling their bad attitudes.(Hearts fans always behave like gentlemen as you know) In such circumstances it is imperative that club officials behave with propriety.  However when the clubs are not meeting together surely some 'banter' is allowable?

The Heart of Midlothian, struggling financially because of Rangers draining resources from Scots football and their own high wage rates for mediocre players, let alone the payments to ex-managers, has run into trouble with the Queens taxmen!  These London controlled gentlemen, much reduced in number since the Cameron government appeared, have been forced to hassle football clubs for unpaid taxes, in Rangers case about a £100 million worth.  Of course little is done regarding Vodafone who owe £6 Billion or Amazon, Starbucks and all who avoid tax in similar fashion to Tory cabinet ministers.  I wonder why?  The situation however has caused anxiety amongst some fans regarding the Heart of Midlothian which in turn leads to much banter and no little vile expressions from Hibs fans.

However the other day the PA announcer at Hibernian's half empty plastic seated football ground played, amongst other records, the great Beatles song 'Taxman.'  This naturally caused mirth among the fans as they knew this was banter aimed at the bigger and better rivals.  The club however did not agree!  The PA announcer sacked after someone somewhere lodged a complaint about the 'offence.'  Is this for real? 

Now come now, what is an announcer for?  What is wrong with such a track when the enemy is not in a position to even hear the music?  It appears someone has been offended, and we live in an age of offence, and indeed compensation it must be said.  Quite how anyone could be offended, quite how any club would sack someone for this is beyond me!  Possibly there was more behind the scenes but as far as I know this record was the only cause of sacking.  

A Hibs statement implies this individual, a contractor as opposed to staff member, had not obeyed orders in the music that was played.  He admits to breaking the agreed playlist and the statement implies his removal was nothing to do with the 'Taxman.'  Hmmmm a typical Hibernian statement.

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Monday, 12 November 2012

Rip Off!




To avoid the almost non stop BBC coverage of the BBC internal problems with Jimmy Saville and the programmes that were not allowed to expose him but managed to expose another, and an innocent one at that, and the BBC's marvellous way of paying a Director General off with a massive Golden Handshake, I turned to other things.

Tonight I mused on rip off prices.  The camera above,  Zenit - E, a Soviet made camera, cheap and cheerful and ideal for an Irish wedding I was told. How? well when the fight starts everyone swings their cameras club like but nothing survives bar the Zenit!  Built like a brick it was heavy but it did give a feeling of security!   However the digital camera revolution has ended film cameras stone dead.  Old cameras are still available and indeed collectors items, a good quality Leica will cost good money.   The other week when in the big city (they call it) I passed a camera shop with a window stuffed with second hand (sorry, second user!) cameras.  I noted the prices and noted my shock to see a Zenit-E on sale for £65.  £65!!!!!  A few years ago they were going for £5-10.  How people rip us off when they think we will buy.  

When I think of this I am in a state of shock.  Time for a lie down, for a few hours I reckon.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance



The nation stopped for a few moments today to remember the war dead.   The Queen led the tributes, willingly as she will remember the war clearly, Prince Phillip followed, and he knows war having won an award for his work in one naval action long before he was important.  In towns and cities up and down the land groups large and small commemorated the dead.  Many people concentrate their thoughts on friends and families from major wars of the past, some young women think only of fallen husbands and brothers from recent days.  Men wounded in action pass by the Cenotaph glad they still can, others recently injured watch on TV.  

Someone unknown remembered Leslie Eley Wall who died on the disasterous Dieppe raid in 1942.  He is not on our memorial and I wonder who placed this cross here today.  Most of the 6000 participants who landed at Dieppe that morning were Canadian.  Half the force was lost.  Because the smart, often ageing, soldiers who pass by the memorials surrounded by bright red poppy wreaths do not convey what many servicemen know to be the truth of war I post two pictures from the raid. 



I don't post for 'shock' effect merely to show what many men endured.  Dead men lie around as if sleeping.  Some died immediately some died slowly possibly in pain, maybe concussed.   It is a sight that contrasts with the neat memorials which often hide the terrors of war.  The sight we can see, the smell, the fear, the pain we avoid.

War will always be with us, human nature will see to that, however we must show what the real cost is.  Too few politicians today know the cost, ours were youths in the 'Punk' era!  The constant flood of war films and games and television coverage of battles far away tend to take from us the reality of war, a reality our mothers and grandmothers understood without actually well enough.   My great nephew was lucky enough when in his last year at school they visited the war cemeteries in France.   While he is unlikely to begin a major war himself, a few minor ones possibly, all will remember what they saw and the cost of war.  Recruits to the British Army are now taken on such a tour I understand to ensure they realise just what service may mean.  Few can enlist with any misunderstandings about that today.

I wonder however about our remembrance.  Almost all football teams in the UK now wear a poppy on their shirt.  Every game has a minute silence, soldiers at most grounds get free entry, all pay respects.  Only occasionally does a player refuse to wear the poppy, one was hounded by the Daily Mail for this today.  This man, an Irishman, felt it wrong for him to do this, the paper decided to pick him out as if he was a criminal.  How strange I thought, we saw millions die in a fight for freedom from Fascism and a paper with Fascist sympathies attacks a man for taking that freedom to think for himself!   Too often people join in because it is a passing fancy, in a few years they will once again fall away.  Emotional blackmail helps no-one.  Today there is great support for the fighting men we ought to encourage this and demand our governments do more to care for such when they return broken, but maybe that is asking too much.



Friday, 9 November 2012

Christmas Market



I discovered this afternoon a Christmas Market was under way.  This has occurred a few times in recent years and stalls from France and elsewhere usually predominate.  Clothes, hats, trivia, and far too many fast food (healthy well made foods) on show.  For some the stalls offer gifts for Xmas, for me they appear overpriced.  They must make money however as many appear to have been here before.  The simple idea of blocking the High Street, only buses use this in theory, allows folks to parade back and forwards.  Sadly a stall at the far end has a stand for some sort of performance so I expect loud, bad, music to be heard tomorrow afternoon.  I looked at the bread stalls (£2:70 - £4:00 a loaf!!!) and fancied some of those on offer but managed to restrain my hunger.  A good selection but prices that those who call themselves poor appear able to pay!


In the shopping centre itself the British Legion stand, with resplendent lorry on show, brought the remembrance services on Sunday to peoples mind.  Since the 1920's the Poppy has been the UK symbol of remembrance and the Legion makes millions for sale throughout the land to raise money to aid ex-servicemen.  It always get a huge response.  This year Armistice day, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, falls on the Sunday itself.  Throughout the country people will gather at local memorials to remember the fallen.


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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Rest Easy!




The world rests easy tonight.  Around the world leaders of all nations, bar one, have been congratulating Barack Obama on his success in regaining his position as President of the United States.  Memories of Ronald Reagan's disastrous adventures in the middle east, Bush seniors Kuwait expedition, and the needless invasion of Iraq led for reasons as yet unexplained by George 'Dubyah' Bush junior caused the world to fear when they realised a man even less able, less intelligent and less knowledgeable than than those who had gone before becoming president.  Mitt Romney, a man who thought Iran wanted Syria to reach the sea when Iran lies on the Persian Gulf, a man who thought the United Kingdom which he calls 'England' could not run an Olympics, a man who closed his factories and outsourced the work to China then criticised Obama for losing jobs to China, this was a man who wished to spend trillions on increasing military hardware and once again oppose the Soviet Union while not appearing to notice the Islamist threat. Such a man as president?  It would be like having Dave Cameron as.....oh!  Romney is a Mormon yet has not realised that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons, was a scam merchant and a fraud, surely his is a fit hand to be on the nuclear button?

The world rests easy but does not sleep!  The world will never be safe and many dangers lie ahead.  Islamic extremists, economic collapse, nuclear fears with Iran and Korea, and the growth of China as a world power all offer a slippery slope. This however is why these men take office.  His problems at home come from a rising number of young liberal voters.  Too liberal for me, these believe abortion, the murder of the unborn child, is acceptable, they also see nothing wrong with sexual perversion such as homosexuality, the women also appear to think that being female ought to give advantages not offered to men.  The racial element is less about 'Blacks' sorry, African American's today,  Hispanics flooding over the border appear to be a more urgent question.  Advantages for these also appear to help gain votes.  Meanwhile what is often referred to in the UK as the 'Right wing Republican Christians,' or 'Tea Party,' appear to be demographically losing out.  You of course realise that biblical Christianity is somewhat different from their biblical view.  Their numbers may be failing, hopefully a reading of their good book will change their worship of mammon to worship of God!

What happens now?  The Congress has to work with this man, although they are mostly Republican but the Democrats do control the House.  If they fail to agree the whole world may be affected, including the second most powerful economy China!  Already that nation is suffering from the west's economic slowdown, jobs are being lost and some millionaires there are beginning to almost worry about their next bottle of single malt whisky.  A new leadership in Beijing arrives shortly, how will they deal with Obama?  

As always the world is full of 'wars and rumours of wars.'  Natural disasters will continue to occur, political events will surprise us in the way the Arab Spring has,  and none of us really know what will occur tomorrow - and the majority of the world will just get on with life and make the best of it, there is no other choice.  

The one man who does not rejoice at Obama's success? Premier Netanyahu of Israel.  he it seems has already attempted to drop a nuclear device on Iran and been stopped by his own people.  He  would have been happier with Romny I think.

The election cost several billion dollars, however one facts today indicated the States spend $3 billion on Halloween outfits!  The election seems cheap at the price!



Monday, 5 November 2012

Christmas Adverts



It takes a while before I find a TV programme worth watching and when I do it is interrupted by adverts.  Now the adverts are all Christmas themed.  That is snow is seen falling, brightly dressed numpties smile stupidly while throwing money at shops, sleigh bells adorn reindeer (often seen around these parts) and tinsel and Christmas trees abound.  I cannot tell of my joy at such scenes, especially as they were recorded in March!  Bah! 

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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Graph



Rab, our favourite Dunbartonshire shopkeeper has posted this graph on his site.  This tells us all we wish to know about the free worlds view of the presidential candidates.  The free world understands the situation correctly, although Pakistan fails badly here, will the ones who visit the ballot box have the same clear understanding I wonder?

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Saturday, 3 November 2012

Stout



A long time ago and in another life I worked in a brewery.  The term 'work' as used here must be taken with a pinch of salt in truth as the office where we piled the loads together for the lorries could not be said to be full of men fighting their way to the top.  The girls took the orders over the phones, typed them up and passed them on.  Bob went round and put the price totals correct afterwards as some of the lassies found counting a bit difficult.  I must say I was happy there, the people were good it was fun and the young girls all wanted me, what?....oh!  However the beer made there was not great.  'Tennents Lager' was our biggest seller, and indeed it still is up there but the rest of the beer was lousy on the whole.  One famous beer introduced was the 'Super.'  It has remained popular and all drunks are known to be held in bondage to the 'purple tin!' 

Since the war breweries had begun to merge, large conglomerates taking over small local breweries, and the varieties of beer began to dwindle.  As they did so it was in the big companies interest to produce less variety and keep costs down.  This being the late sixties and industrial strife breaking out regularly cost was important.  I say industrial strife, what I mean is bad management, greedy workers, poor laws, even poorer union people, incompetence and buck passing everywhere.  For instance the men in the office were annoyed after the drivers struck for more money, within a day or two they got what they wanted thus leaving them a good deal better off than the office workers.  We formed our own union and made a wage demand, this was rejected, so we had a one day strike (which I spent watching 'Midnight Cowboy) and all our demands were met the next day.  Poor, thoughtless, management led to the strike we didn't want (the only strike day I've ever had) and worse management caved in.  The directors you see didn't care as long as they were OK.  Typical attitude off the day.  It was a combination of bad management and short sighted unions that destroyed British output and growth during the 60's and 70's leading to the arrival of the lower middle class Thatcher!  Her answer was to sack everybody at the low end and keep the money for the top lot, like her friends.  Strong but thoughtless leadership which could have been successful but just brought division.  Our brewery management and union needed strong sensible leadership, it just didn't exist.

Brewers were all producing run of the mill beer.  Scottish Brewers dropped their 'Heavy' and 'Light' to replace this with 'McEwans Export' and 'Tartan Special.'  Sewers produce tastier brews.  At that time we young folks all drunk Lager & lime, costing 1/11 pence in the 'White Cockade' Monday to Thursday, and 2/1d Friday and Saturday.  We had not developed taste in those days. For many years vile brews dominated the land, England became famous for 'Watneys Red Barrel,' a concoction so vile that people drank sea water in preference.  Well in Scotland anyway, the English just drank it without thinking, they are like that.  Rebellion however was brewing.  Men gathered in groups demanding to taste their beer.  The 'Campaign for Real Ale,' CAMRA, was launched by folks we all considered a bit, well middle aged men-ish.  Laughed at by many it is clear they were right!  

By the eighties beer adverts were dominated by the Thatcher followers, young get rich quick males for the most part, dressed in striped shirts with red braces, drinking beer out the bottle in overpriced pubs and among all the right trendy, moneyed people.  The TV adverts appealed to them with exotic sounding foreign lagers which image conscious types fell over themselves for.  When you actually tasted the stuff it was all very similar and not up to much, it was also very expensive!   CAMRA did produce results however.  By the nineties taste was beginning to be seen again.  Bottled beers with exotic names, Theakston's 'Old Peculiar,' 'Abbot Ale,' 'Spitfire' and 'Bishops Finger,' were to be found by an older wiser type.  Quite how these brands got their names I know not, and possibly this is the wiser option.  The economic collapse (begun by America!) has led to people spending less time in public houses.  Many happily buy from supermarkets, at cut down prices, and drink at home.  Any consequences of this tend to be limited to their families and close neighbours rather than the High Streets of the nation.  That is some sort of plus I suppose.  An interest in beer with taste has increased and said superstores are following the trends happily.  Grossly overpriced beers in my view they may be but a variety now abounds.  While the large breweries have been failing, my old brewery works are now an overpriced block of crammed flats, the smaller breweries have been developing.  

Small premises closed in times past are now reopening and over two hundred such 'micro breweries' are enjoying good sales, at first locally and then further afield.  Possibly a revulsion against the empty aloof corporate giant helps here.  We feel a satisfaction when drinking 'March of the Penguins' from Williams wee brewery in Alloa which we don't when drinking Tennents, where ever that is brewed these days.  Now I don't drink much these days, half a bottle is enough for me and I tend to fall over easily afterwards, but when I do I wish to taste the thing.  These days I drink 'stout,' a concoction they claim was started long ago in London's Covent Garden when it was the fruit market of the city. That may be the case, it may not, whatever I find Fullers 'London Porter' to be the best I have come across, and naturally not enough sold in our Sainsburys for it to remain in stock.  Mann's 'Brown Ale' went the same way sadly.  Ah well, while I contemplate my next bottle of 'Piddle in the Pot,' named after an English village they say, or maybe a 'Kelpie Seweed Ale,' I will wish you a good evening and wander off to find all the football scores I missed while waiting for the BBC Alba coverage of the Ross County game.  After that game believe me I need my  'Old Speckled Hen!'