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The birth of a ‘Nation’?

By Mike Cunningham On August 10th, 2012 at 8:31 am

I must be getting confused; or at least befuddled.

I did extremely well in Geography whilst at my school, and learned well all the names of the Empire nations, as well as being able to identify all the combatants from the extreme unpleasantness in the years following my birth from 1940 onwards. During my years at sea, I visited many major and minor ports in countries all around the globe, and as the years rolled by, I noticed many new names being added to the global roll-call. Some were re-named, many emerged from obscurity, and some were born from strife and conflict.

I watched as nation-states came forth, such as Ukraine, and all the new nations of the Caucasus after the death of the old Soviet Empire, and got used to all these changes.

But there is one thing which puzzles me greatly. I have so far been unable to locate a Nation which seems to have emerged in only the past two weeks, and is apparently doing rather well in some quaint local sports competition.

I am of course referring to that entity which is now known as ‘GB’.


Another Trayvon query

By Mike Cunningham On March 30th, 2012 at 9:56 am

The question is, are they being pro-active, reactive, retrospective, introspective, or just plain silly?

Oh to live in this ‘age of austerity’

By Mike Cunningham On December 18th, 2011 at 11:29 am

I am not often taken aback at what I see on my newspaper pages, but a small piece, again, unfortunately in the Sunday Times (no link) really gave me pause for thought.

The author (as told to) of this little gem was a ‘cocktail waitress’ who works (if that is the appropriate term) in the Rose Club in London’s Marylebone. She stated that she ‘earns’ around £5,000.00 a week in tips. There is another term for this sort of work, especially at those prices, but the word escapes me for now.

Seems she welcomed a party of around twenty men from some financial outfit, and they were ready to party; and indeed did so. Booze flowed all around, and at £1,850,00 a bottle, the bill was gonna’ be high, but when the credit card machine was finally produced, the bill was totalled as £71,000.00; but the ‘big spender’, gave this ‘cocktail waitress’ a £10,000.00 tip. The young woman stated that her job entails a ‘lot of responsibility’, and at those prices I would tend to agree with her!

Different folks…Very different Strokes!

By Mike Cunningham On October 8th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

When I was a schoolboy, my father was tenant of a public house in Jarrow. As newcomers to the Town, we soon realised that this was a place apart, where whole streets had been flattened by German bombs, where grass grew where once people had been born, lived and died because a would-be invader fought against us; where grass grew because the very house foundations had been blasted away. The people of Jarrow had been through the same mill as most other British towns and cities, but their fortitude was perhaps of a different brand, having first been the crucible from which the steely determination of the Jarrow marchers was cast.

Their aim was honest, to simply publicise the way and the manner in which they felt their own town had been cast upon the industrial scrap-heap, and to civilly ask the Government of the day to give them aid and help. On October 5th 1936, they set off, and marched for 22 days, and 280 miles; to London. Despite huge publicity, and a groundswell of approbation on the march itself, they did not meet the Prime Minister, the hoped-for jobs did not re-appear until re-armament brought increased industrial activity to the mines and the shipbuilding sector of the North-East.


Switch forward sixty-five years, and a second ‘Jarrow March’ sets off as HUNDREDS of activists are planning to recreate one of the most iconic protests ever to be held in the wake of rising unemployment.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the legendary Jarrow March, a new generation of crusaders are planning to follow in the footsteps of the 200  jobless men who made their way on foot from South Tyneside to London in 1936.


Somehow, I don’t think we do ‘Iconic’ any more!

‘goes around, comes around’

By Mike Cunningham On July 11th, 2011 at 7:42 pm


Not all the ‘News‘ is bad news!




By ATWadmin On January 27th, 2010 at 10:09 pm

This is the obligatory blog post of the new … erm Tablet iPad, which has a 9.7in full-colour touch-screen, and can be used to watch movies, surf the internet, listen to music, view photos, and read ebooks and digital versions of newspapers and magazines. Jobs described the device as a “truly magical and revolutionary product”.

  Considering I’m a 1907 man in a 2010 world and that my mobile phone doesn’t even have a camera – nahh, gimme a proper book instead.

The Abruzzo Earthquake

By ATWadmin On April 7th, 2009 at 8:16 pm

L’AQUILA is yet another of those beautiful Italian small towns in a stunning setting, in this case up in the Appenines. I know it because an ex-girlfriend is from a nearby village and she lives there still. We’ve had a chat this evening. Good to say she and her family are fine, though panic still breaks out with the aftershocks of the earthquake yesterday.

Bodies are still being pulled from the rubble and 228 are known to have lost their lives so far. I felt a few tremors when staying there (Italy can be lively like that) though I managed to sleep through one that was quite severe. Her family thought I was the cool Englishman, but as Tiziana said tonight, I wouldn’t have snored my through this one.

feel like some stimulation?

By ATWadmin On February 7th, 2009 at 10:06 am

I ploughed, and that I believe is the correct terminology, through the body of the Stimulus Package which passed the House, and was then submitted to the Senate. One or two random thoughts crossed my mind on some of it’s contents, and thought I’d share with you.

The first thing to come to mind is the immense benefit this package brings to the nation’s timber, pulp and paper manufacturers, as counting in the front and rear pages comes to a very impressive 684 pages. Not bad for some $790,000,000,000,00 or so of spending and tax rebates.

There are many fine and noble things included within the Package, and many will or should bring Americans relief from worry, fear and doubt, mainly from wondering where their next pay-check is coming from, such as the WATERSHED REHABILITATION PROGRAM, or the RURAL COMMUNITY ADVANCEMENT PROGRAM, which between them amounts to £6.4 billion dollars worth of funding; or the 22 Billion dollars aimed at the RURAL HOUSING INSURANCE FUND PROGRAM ACCOUNT, but I really do wonder at the $50 B Million earmarked for the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS .

Similarly, while being generally neutral at the expenditure of just under a Billion dollars for COMPETITIVE GRANTS TO STATES AND INDIAN TRIBES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF LOAN PROGRAMS TO FACILITATE THE WIDE-SPREAD ADOPTION OF CERTIFIED EHR TECHNOLOGY, I wonder at the general usefulness, in terms of the alleged stimulus of the whole programme,  of the $335,000,000 directed as to carry out domestic HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually-transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis prevention programs.

Accepting, as most do that the statistical average of HIV/Aids in amongst the general British public points overwhelmingly at the Homosexual and Drug-user columns, and taking into context the view that most of the illnesses have been contracted through purely selfish behaviour; and assuming that a similar statistic follows for the United States, does anyone think that the G.O.P. will let that one section pass through on the slide, or will it dissappear as the Democrats accept they have to give up on just some of their own pet pork programmes in order to bring the Republicans on board at any stage whatsoever?

Anything You Can Do …

By ATWadmin On January 14th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

IT’S FAIR to say that student stunts usually don’t go down well with me but, well –


ATW Public Service Announcement – Keep It To Yourself

By ATWadmin On December 24th, 2008 at 10:18 am

IT’LL BE A MIRACLE if I make it to next year without coming down with some kind of lurgy. Driving to work this morning I heard a news report on the radio that the United Kingdom is going through its worst flu outbreak for years. Chuck in the winter vomiting bug, colds and whatever else is going about and a load of people are in the wars.

And so I sit here at work and it’s plainly obvious why everyone’s coming down with something. You see, dear reader, for the past week or so the office has resembled a plague ward. Getting anything done is carried out to a constant background of sniffs, sniffles, coughs, sneezes, retching, moans and groans.

My job usually takes me out of the office for much of the week. Just my luck then to be stuck in it when my colleagues’ faces look like they’re melting with all the snot flying about. I can’t walk into a meeting room without feeling like I should have swapped the pinstripe for something with a little more anti-biological capability.

I told a colleague to go home yesterday. “Thinking of my health, Pete? How kind” says she. Take the credit old son, I thought, don’t mention it’s your own health you’re thinking of.

So here’s a word of advice to all those little troopers who won’t be beaten and will get into the office no matter how bad they feel – give in to it. Stay at home. Stay bed with a nice cuppa. Stay away from me and anyone else who hasn’t succumbed. Keep your germs to yourself. A place of work is a place of work. Mine currently resembles Emergency Ward 10. I’m washing my hands as if I’m developing a compulsive disorder. Forget the socks tomorrow; I’ll have a face mask please.

Just as well I’m knocking off at lunchtime, in normal times I’d be lucky to see the weekend.