Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Who should we remember?

Whitney Houston's death, while a sad thing, was the direct result of very unwise life choices.

Same thing with Michael Jackson when he died! It dominated the news.

Jade Goody, no talent, no hope, sad ending.

Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and thief.

Amy Winehouse’s story was all over the papers and shoved down our throats as she was a singer and ‘celebrity’ and a substance abuser.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian's stupid wedding (and short-lived marriage) was thrust upon us!

While the following

Justin Allen 23
Brett Linley 29
Matthew Weikert 29
Justus Bartett 27
Dave Santos 21
Jesse Reed 26
Matthew Johnson 21
Zachary Fisher 24
Brandon King 23
Christopher Goeke 23
and Sheldon Tate 27...

are all British Royal Marines who gave their lives last month for you.

There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Disappearing Act

I'm still doing my 'disappearing act'.

Since I started my diet last year I've lost seven stone. I've almost reached my target - just another stone and a half to get rid of (then I think I might celebrate with a huge fry-up).

The way things have been going, I think I should reach my target by the end of summer this year.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

An Explanation of Life

On the first day, God created the dog and said: 'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'

The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?'

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said: 'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'

The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?'

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said:
'You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you
a life span of sixty years.'

The cow said: 'That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?'

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said: 'Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years.'

But man said:
'Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?'

'Okay,' said God, 'You asked for it.'

So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Things That Will Disappear

Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come.

The Post Office
Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

The Cheque
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with cheque by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process cheques. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

The Newspaper 
The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

The Book 
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

The Land Line Telephone 
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalogue items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists

Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery.

The "Things" That You Own 
Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

All we will have left that can't be changed are "Memories".

And then probably Alzheimers will take that away from you too !

Friday, 1 February 2013

Older Generation Not Green Enough

When at a store checkout the young cashier suggested that I should bring my own shopping bags in future because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

I apologised and explained that we didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days.

The cashier said, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right - our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got blunt.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to the shop and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two streets.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 2200 watts - wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the county of Yorkshire. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not polystyrene or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country. We accepted that a lot of food was seasonal and didn’t expect to have out of season products flown thousands of air miles around the world. We actually cooked food that didn’t come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrapping and we could even wash our own vegetables and chop our own salad.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people caught a train or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical socket in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza place.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we oldies were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Tiddly Jack

There's mismusters, slop chits, tot time and pay
There's rising and shining and hitting the hay

There's thickers and strongers and neaters as well
There's DQ's and chokey and the tiller flat cell

There's aft and there's for'ard, abeam and abaft
To civvies this cackle seems awfully daft

But to us in the Andrew it doesn't seem strange
Like the draft chits the Jossman can always arrange

We're always being seen off and getting green rubs
And chasing up rubbers and looking for subs

And going ashore like a great herd of cattle
And getting filled in and put in the rattle

There's runs out to Honkers that to Jack are just fine
There's times when we say "Oh roll on my nine"

And when nine comes and we're out on the dole
In old civvy street, where we don't know a soul

We think of the good times and wish we were back
In bells, silk and lanyard... A real tiddly Jack!