november done

Posted in journal on November 30th, 2009 by george

november skyNovember is quite a month. We in the north bid farewell to autumn and don hats, scarves and gloves to shake hands with old man winter. If we resist at the beginning, by the end we are resigned to the onslaught of Christmas and all that entails. Read more »

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thanksgiving

Posted in opinion on November 26th, 2009 by george

Corncop2God bless America for coming up with such a great holiday. To simply gather with friends and family and give thanks. And there is plenty to be thankful for.

My memories of Thanksgivings past when living in the US, include a tradition of everyone at the table being given a chance to say what they are thankful for this year, before the feasting begins.girl-turk

We do well to recall our successes, big and small, and the joyful times we have experienced. Looking back over a year, surely everyone has some positive memories, even in the midst of great suffering. Once we focus on the good things, the list grows surprisingly quickly.

Living in the UK, where complaining seems to be the order of the day, it is all too easy to forget. Our sainted media thrives on digging up dirt and picking holes in everything. But then it has long been established that good news doesnt sell.

ncookedturkey2Unlike its beleaguered cousin Christmas, Thanksgiving is not much tainted by commerce. There is no extravagant gift buying. All that is given is thanks, to each other and to God, for the abundance of good things we have.

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whats in a hoody?

Posted in how about?, humbug alert, rants on November 22nd, 2009 by george

sunday am hoodyLast night I listened to my 57 yr old brother, and my 17 yr old daughter, bemoaning the armies of hoody wearing youths who prowl our urban landscape, terrorising the innocent. They even referred to them as ‘hoodies’.

This has to be the last word in senseless, prejudiced generalisation. The hoody is a very practical, affordable, modern garment. Large numbers of teenage boys wear them. Some of these boys find themselves going through an antisocial phase. Duh! Teenage boys have found it hard to stomach society ever since there’s been a society. Does this mean that anyone who wears a hoody should be treated as a dangerous criminal? Most of these ‘disaffected youth’ also wear trousers, have teeth, and sleep with their eyes closed. Are these characteristics we should view with more suspicion? Read more »

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just say hello!

Posted in journal, opinion on November 19th, 2009 by george

S3600016Yesterday I walked to a local store to buy some milk for my morning coffee. Close to my destination, I encountered an elderly, African looking man waiting for a bus. He appeared both dishevelled and disgruntled.

On impulse, I looked him in the eye and said, ‘Hello!’ Instantly his weathered face broke into a beatific grin and he mumbled a reply. I didn’t stop, but continued on my way.

As I walked away from him, I realised that I had behaved as I did, because of his African demeanour. If this sounds racist, I don’t believe it is, unless in a positive way! I spent several summers in Ghana, West Africa, and got used to their way of saying hello. On a daily basis, total strangers would greet me as they walked by, and not just because I was white. There seemed to me to be a tacit understanding there that no opportunity to acknowledge a fellow creature should be allowed to slip by. I never felt threatened or targeted in any way. I just felt included. How different from the city streets of England! Read more »

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cleanliness is next to dirtiness

Posted in journal, opinion on November 15th, 2009 by george

french maidCleaning is an endless task. I know people who have spotless homes, but spend every waking moment keeping them that way. Conversely there are those who always have something better to do, and choose to blithely ignore the absolute squalor surrounding them. I am somewhere in between.

Despite my best intentions, I wind up letting cleaning/tidying up slide until it overwhelms me. Then in a frenzy of remorse and disgust, I thoroughly tidy and clean everything and everywhere, promising myself that henceforth I will stick to a regular cleaning schedule. I may even keep my promise for a while, but generally within a month or so my good intentions are a dim memory. Read more »

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just say no

Posted in how about?, humbug alert, journal on November 14th, 2009 by george

santaLast night I spent the evening watching the tube. November 13, and already TV ads are working their dreadful sorcery. An endless list of gift options and food and drink items for the feast, now a mere 6 weeks away, are paraded before hapless viewers.

Why does this still affect me? Its not that I want to rush out and buy all this crap, but rather that I feel guilty because I don’t want to. The arch winks and sly grins of a high sheen cast of glamour cats and kittens, would have me give in to their blandishments and START SPENDING MONEY!! Read more »

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sorry prince charlie

Posted in how about?, opinion on November 11th, 2009 by george

7989185Poor old Charles and Camilla. Hauled off to Montreal to present new colours to the Black Watch of Canada, they were confronted with more than 100 anti monarchy demonstrators.

Julien Gaudeau, a spokesman for the militant nationalist group Reseau de Resistance du Quebec which organised the protest, said: “The prince is important as a symbol of power given by the blood. We don’t want this kind of symbol in Quebec, more than 80% of the population in Quebec is opposed to the monarchy.” Read more »

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statistics, the first cousins of lies

Posted in humbug alert, opinion on November 7th, 2009 by george

policing cambridgeThis little magazine dropped through my letterbox the other day. Its purpose is to summarise police work in the area over the past year. All very commendable, but I take issue with one claim made in an artice entitled, ‘Life on the street’. In it, PC Christian Dicks states that, “The average homeless person in Cambridge can make £400 a week by begging.” He goes on to say, “In London I’m told its more like £1000.”

I cant help wondering where PC Dicks gleaned this information. My guess is it is the result of an exaggerated account of a particularly good day. Perhaps, a few days before Xmas, someone wound up with £73 one evening. He or she was probably far from average. Most likely they were playing seasonal music. Excited by their success, they bragged about it to fellow beggars & buskers, rounding their earnings up to £80 in the process. In this new polished version of reality, our braggart puts in a 5 day week and earns £400. And hey presto, in the giddy world of statistics, £400 becomes average earnings. Read more »

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