It’s the little things which excite me.
I’ve been cycling to work for the last few weeks. It’s only twenty minutes, most of it’s across country and all on marked bike trails so it’s an easy job. Even so, phew; getting on your bike at 6.00am at this time of year soon wakes you up.
So this evening I’m cycling home. There’s no moon, it’s a dark evening as I cross the fields and the fog’s getting thicker. The only sound I can hear is the tyres rolling, all I can see is the silver halo in the fog in front of me from my lights. The woods I ride through are about a hundred yards ahead, and the other side of them is the village and home. Even so, it wasn’t exactly a spooky scene as the woods formed through the fog.
Our ancestors once attributed all natural phenomena to the whim of the Gods. Apparently they still do that in Wales. That was until Christianity and scientists came along, and there was the kind of supernatural feeling about the scene which had me sympathising with the old people. I was only about fifty yards from the woods when something ghostly drifted above me and to the right. I thought, “what the f- flip” as I glanced up. It was an owl, just gliding out of the trees towards me. We don’t see them often enough I think, but then they are mysterious and coy creatures, not to mention stunningly beautiful and fascinating.
This one glided close enough for my light to catch its underside, almost close enough to touch just a few feet away. It went straight over and behind me, banked around, came back over me again and disappeared back into the woods. It was either a tawny or short-eared owl, but either way it was clearly checking out this strange apparition coming down the path towards its manor. It never flapped its wings and never made a sound. It just floated in the fog, checking out the strange light coming along the path, it’s light underside glowing in the dark. But what a moment though, what a magic few seconds.
A non-Jewish British Olympian has been the subject of a vicious online antisemitic attack.
Opening up about her anxieties and insecurities over her body image, Rebecca Adlington, a now retired swimmer who won bronze and gold medals at successive Olympic events, said that she is often targeted and mocked online. The sporting star said that the abuse often brings her to tears.
“She got a tweet the other day from someone saying she was a Jewish c*** because of her nose and should die like the rest of her lot in a concentration camp,” Adlington’s fiance, Harry Needs, a fellow swimmer, said. “How can people write that stuff?” Becky’s warm blue eyes fill with tears when she talks about these tweets.”
Hard to imagine someone could write something that cruel, ins’t it? In my own way I have also been the subject of sustained Twitter abuse and harassment and read some dreadful things said about me. Most of the time you brush it away but not everyone can do that, nor should they have to. I am all for free speech BUT I think that those who make such comments should face full legal interrogation and possible punishment for their wicked hurtful comments, as in the case above.
The very fact that this makes news is the more shocking aspect of the story…
Couples should not have children if their relationship is not stable enough to merit getting married, a senior High Court judge said.
Sir Paul Coleridge said those couples whose relationship was stable enough to cope with the rigours of child rearing should marry.
But the judge, who is retiring from the bench next year after decades as a family lawyer and judge, said those who did not feel ready for children should not have them. He said couples had no right to have children, “you only have responsibilities if you have them”.
Sir Paul criticised warring parents’ obsessions with their own “rights” instead of their responsibilities to do the best for their children.
Well said, Sir Paul, but the fact that you say this as you are about to retire tells me that the RIGHTS culture has long since trumped the RESPONSIBILITY culture I was brought up in. Of course children should only be brought into this world IF their parents have a stable loving relationship and we all know that marriage provides the soundest basis for this.
Good to see that Jim Allister has weighed in on the near hysterical media coverage of Mandela;
As the world (sic) mourns South Africa’s first black president, Mr Allister has criticised media coverage of the late statesman’s death. ”I think the uncritical hysteria following the death is verging on propaganda,” he said. After the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, the ANC switched from passive protest to sabotage, targeting government institutions like power plants. ”I was particularly struck by the uncritical coverage by the BBC, ignoring part of the story which they clearly do not want to be seen,” said Mr Allister. ”They’ve fallen over themselves to see the positivity, with one view, but not highlighting the pursuit and endorsement of terrorism which left a trail of victims.”
Jim is right. The BBC has essentially gone into official state mourning and will stay in that mode for the rest of the week until Mandela is laid to rest.
Figures show that unelected Labour peer Baroness Ashton now employs almost 3,500 pen-pushers in 140 countries, costing taxpayers £420million a year. The rapidly expanding European External Action Service was set up in 2010 to oversee billions of pounds spent on EU projects around the globe. It now employs 1,457 staff in Brussels and 1,960 in overseas offices from Fiji and Jamaica to the Solomon Islands. Some 29 service officials are paid more than David Cameron, earning £150,000 a year, excluding benefits. When these generous benefits are included – such as expat, household and child allowances – it is estimated about 500 officials earn more than the Prime Minister’s basic salary.
This is where some of your taxes are going. Makes you feel good, right? Ashton is just the nauseating figurehead who is pocketing a tasty £400,000 a year (got that?) as the EU spreads its tendrils around the world
Wonder what you make of this one then?
‘Brits should find jobs of their own and stop complaining about immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria coming here to work, Ocado’s Sir Stuart Rose has said.
And the boss of Domino’s Pizza Lance Batchelor has complained that his chain of delivery services has 1,000 jobs going that Brits are not prepared to apply for – and thinks more immigrants should be allowed to live and work in Britain, saying: “There are a huge number of jobs at the bottom end of the service industry, and not enough people in the UK who want to work for them”.
Rose, the former Marks and Spencer chief executive told Sky News on Sunday: “I’m a free market economist, we operate in a free market.” ”If these people want to come here, and work the hours they are prepared to work for the wages they are prepared to work for, then so be it.”
Look, Rose and Batchelor have a point.
There are too many living here who have decided work is not for them. These are the welfare parasites that Labour encouraged during their long years in power. However, there is another side to this argument and it is this. The seemingly endless supply of cheap Labour that immigration provides SOME sectors of the economy rather suits Big business and rural farmers. So it’s not quite as cut and dried as these guys suggest.
The way to fix it is to reduce welfare levels and present those who live here with the stark choice – work or accept a much reduced lifestyle. We should also control our borders, however, and only accept in those who add value to the national output,
I know it’s a bit maudlin but it is 33 years today since John Lennon was murdered in New York. I can remember hearing the news like it was yesterday, I was sitting in the Student’s Union at University between lectures and my girlfriend came in to tell me the news. We were all shocked and it was just one of those moments in time I have never forgotten. There are so many musical memories Lennon left but this song, written when he was still in The Beatles, is a particular favourite.
About four years ago, you may have heard the story of Tsutomu Yamaguchi.
During the Second World War, he happened to be in Hiroshima on the day when the atomic bomb was dropped there. He survived that. He then returned to his home, in Nagasaki. Three days later, the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. He survived that, too. He died in January 2010.
I remember having a conversation about him three years ago. We couldn’t decide then if he was very unlucky or if he was the luckiest man who ever lived. I mean, talk about dodging two bullets.
This past Thursday, I went to a retirement party for a co-worker at The Trading Post in the Seaport area of NYC. It is on the site of the old ” Yankee Clipper “. The Trading Post opened exactly one week before Superstorm Sandy’s tidal surge destroyed most of the beautiful furnishings they had installed, most especially in the the cozy basement rooms. They had to do everything over. You can’t say that they had good luck on that one.
I spoke to MacPherson, a co-worker who i see once in a while at client meetings, but never in the office. He works from home, and I found out why. This boy don’t like to travel.
It seems that MacPherson worked in the World Trade Center for some years, for us and for a previous employer. He was there for the 1993 bombing, and had to walk down the smoky, scary stairs that day. Then, in September 2001, he went into the office to work. He went up to the 78th Floor Skylobby. Before he boarded the next elevator to get to our office, he got a message on the cell phone saying that he plans had changed, that he needed to head out to Jersey for a client meeting chop chop. He had gone into Manhattan for nothing. Down to the ground floor he went, before the first plane hit the building next to us. He had an awful day, but still.
There are a surprising ( or not surprising ) number of people who were there for both WTC incidents.
But back to MacPherson. He told me that in addition to these two harrowing incidents, he has been at the scene of four additional ones, that were damned harrowing to him.
He said that he has been a passenger on three airplanes that developed mechanical difficulty mid-flight. Obviously, he survived them all, but they weren’t much fun, and therefore, he doesn’t love to fly so much.
And then there was the time at LAX. He was taking the shuttle bus to the Avis Rental Car, when a criminal fleeing the cops jumped on board the bus, which was chased down by the LAPD, weapons drawn.
MacPherson thinks that he’s the unluckiest traveler that ever lived. I can see his point, but I can also make the case that he should buy a lottery ticket, since he’s actually very lucky to have survived all these events.
But what do you think? Do you feel lucky, punk?
A 34-year-old MUSLIM man from Somalia is accused of raping a dying woman in a garage in Stockholm. According to the prosecutor, the woman died during the rape, but the man chose to continue the assault.
As readers may know, I spent Wednesday afternoon in Malmo, in Sweden.
Malmo has a 20% muslim population as of 2012, and rising.