Monthly Archives: October 2012

Halloween – Should I stay or should I go now?

Scariest pumpkin I’ve seen. Not – I repeat NOT – at my house. If you’re visiting this blog from outside the British Isles, just google Jimmy Savile and BBC, or… I dunno… much loved national treasure, knight of the realm, papal knight – any of those – then you’ll understand.

Halloween – it’s tonight. But I have no children at home.

So – should I get the hell out of Dodge? Or sit waiting for the doorbell to ring? (The latter feels a bit lurkish.)

Last year I was thinking of three-headed dogs. Usually I’m out with the door knockers. Feels odd to be lying in wait. (See? Sounds dodgy, doesn’t it. And lying in wait with sweets sounds even worse.)

It’s time to lighten the mood, pep up the tone. A banana should do it, huh? A Halloween banana…

What have you dressed up as for Halloween? I was a Grim Reaper once – eerie but not really pushing any boundaries. Though I was a carrot one Christmas. I began as one of a bunch – but the others faded. It was a good night out in Dublin.

Anyway – time is passing – I’d better make plans. In case the little beggars start turning up early. (See below.)

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Classroom rule number one: Never smile before Christmas

Two excellent short films. The first is clever and imaginative. The second may induce feelings of vertigo or unsettled stomach – IT”S THAT EXCITING!

So – first – The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemmingway’s book and John Sturges’s film starring Spencer Tracy – now an animation drawn by Marcel Schindler.

I saw this film on the excellent Brain Pickings website. My only quibble with the animation is that the role of the boy is omitted – though, to be fair, he doesn’t board the small boat on the trip depicted.

Next – short film number two. Some of the camera shots may make you queasy. Here’s the film called People Are Awesome.

It’s the going over the edge skiiing shot that has me holding on to the table for balance. Though I suspect it’s the sort of thing Lesley “Get” Carter does every morning before breakfast. I presume they used the same crew as this Carling Black Label advert (based on cameraman Graham Henry’s exploits with Anneka Rice in Treasure Hunt).

The nearest Continue reading

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Best answer to the question: “Does my bum look big in this?”

It’s the question no one – man or woman, but especially man – ever wants to be asked: “Does my bum look big in this?”

Finally – here’s the answer.

But to appreciate it, I’d better give you some context.

You have to imagine that your partner has arrived home with a new dress. Or has maybe dug an old one out of the wardrobe, having not tried it on for a while.

“I want your opinion on this dress,” says she. “I’ll just nip into the bathroom to try it on, and then reappear and you can give me your verdict.”

It’s no good. You’re trapped. No escape.

So she’s in the bathroom. Dumps what she’s wearing on the bathroom floor. Pulls the dress over her head. Wriggles and shimmies it down. Jerks the hem to get it straight. Smooths the lines. Ready.

The door of the bathroom opens. She stands framed in the doorway.

“Now be honest,” says she. “Does my bum look big in this?” Continue reading

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Secrets

Don’t click on this because it’ll reveal where we’re going.

Will Knott wants to know my secrets. Nosy, isn’t he?

But given that a secret is – Something you only tell one person… at a time.

I suppose I can reveal this secret just to you.

Tomorrow I’m off to a place where Google Streetview does not function. It’s a place where, to paraphrase U2, the streets have no surface at all. In fact you’d need to be Jesus to cross to the shop opposite. Jaywalking is not banned – just laughed at.

You can slip your suggestions into this cute letterbox. Looks like C3PO’s postal cousin. But don’t click on the picture!

Shhh! Don’t say it.

Don’t mention that the Continue reading

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Don’t forget your shovel…

Man shovelling. Shhh!

Aah… the weekend. Time to relax. Recharge. Rejuvenate.

Re… reach for a shovel. (Wasn’t that an S Club 7 song?)

Lift the sewer access hatch.

And start digging.

Through packed “sludge”.

There’s nothing like blocked drains to remind you of one of the essentials of civilisation – good plumbing Continue reading

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But why?

Acceptance can be over rated.

Ask John Gurdon.

Before the scientist began his experiments on frogs Continue reading

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Scary and shocking times with Buzz Aldrin

Steve Dodds (THE Steve Dodds) and an astronaut called Buzz Aldrin. You might have heard of him.

Quick! Give me something to calm me down! I can’t cope with the excitement – the surprise – and the fear! (Not to mention the exclamation marks!)

First it was Buzz Aldrin – I encountered him through work today.

Buzz Aldrin. THE Buzz Aldrin. Buzz Aldrin!

Buzz Aldrin in his work clothes. Yup. He’s on the moon.

He was charming, chatty, understated and interesting – as you’d expect. He was supporting the Aerobility charity effort to raise funds for a flight simulator for people with disabilities.

So he talked about that a bit. But I have to admit I was thinking the whole time – but what about space, the rocket, THE MOON!!!    We did get on to that Continue reading

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Trading places – Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans

“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans” – apparently. So it’s best not to hang around too long making them.

Seize the dime and all that.

Like Emeka Egbuono. Here he is getting east London inner city youth together with police officers in a role reversal exercise – to build mutual understanding and trust. He started as a participant and now he helps run them – as described in this excerpt from Emeka’s blog.

I remember being part of the pilot session…  I was 15 at the time and to be honest all we wanted to do was to have our weekly table tennis competition.

The police turned up in two vans. There were at least 9 of them for that first session.Everyone seemed uneasy with their presence, looked more like a raid to be honest.  They came with their plain clothes.  The session was not how I imagined, Janette project manger for The crib had to stimulate the discussion because she could sense  that none of us wanted to talk to the police.  Eventually after a few games that broke the ice, we started discussing issues that affect us, this was our chance to get our voice heard and if anything would happen after this was yet to be seen. We spoke about police tactics, stop and search, profiling, stereotypes, legal rights, and the justice system.  It was very interesting talking about all these things and seeing thing from a different perspective. It was all done in a respectful manner as everyone had equal say.

This was then followed by role reversal role playing between us and the police. An example of a scenario we had to do was that a group of young people were hanging around on the stairwell in block on the estate, a concerned resident calls the police to come and move them along because of the noise and what looks like fighting. So now we have the scenario, we now had to act as the police who turned up to deal with the situation, and the police were acting as the young people who were only play fighting with each other and having a laugh.

A Trading Places session – youth and police – pic from Emeka Egbuonu.

As the police officers we started off with the nice approach, but the police officers acting as young people did not go easy on us, they made it extremely difficult to resolve the situation. I think they have vast experience dealing with scurrilous youth because they were doing a good job. Eventually we had to use force and make them move along.

The second day was really interesting because the police now had to come in with their full uniform and the dynamics of the session changed.  There was a sense of animosity between us and the police, even though it was with the same officers from the day before Continue reading

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And the award goes to…

Versatile Blogger Award

It’s official. This blog is  super awesome. How do I know? Because of these two awards.

Laurie nominated me for the “Versatile Blogger Award.” Thank you lovely Laurie from Ten Minute Missive.

And the dashing Duck of Indeed nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog Award.” Thank you Duck.

The rules of both awards are the same:

  1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers. (See list at the bottom.)
  2. Inform the bloggers of their nomination. (Working on it.)
  3. Share 7 random things about yourself. (See below.)
  4. Thank the blogger who nominated you. (I’ve done that above.)
  5. Add the award picture to your blog. (Done. – You’ll find the code for the award images at the bottom of this post.)

One Lovely Blog Award

If you’re one of the superlative blogs listed below – you have to go through this same rigmarole described above on your own blog to comfirm the award – or in this case – double award. (Sounds like a Readers Digest Exclusive Offer.)

Seven random revelations about me that have some truth to them – the short version is in bold:

  1. The tastiest drink I found was at a roadside cafe in northern Venezuela after being dropped off while hitching through the the littoral forest. Freshly squeezed passion fruit juice.
  2. I had to kneel on the road to get a lift out of Ballymena.
  3. I used to pick up the smelliest, dirtiest, wettest looking hitchhikers in Ireland – usually old farmers – because I thought nobody else would.
  4. The Gardai (police south of the Irish border) stopped to reprimand me for hitching on the motorway – and then kindly gave me a lift to the end of it.
  5. Perhaps the scariest road ride I had was against oncoming traffic and on the opposite hard shoulder on a busy road in Jamaica, as the driver of the minibus in which I was holding on wide-eyed, diced with a speeding car of armed men. Having a priest sitting beside me was no comfort. He was too thin to offer much in the way of cushioning.
  6. My first car was a (“You can’t wine and dine here in an auld“) Morris Minor which “used to be black as me father’s hat” till I sprayed it a rich bright candy yellow. The chrome became matt black. It had lovely wide wheels. It was a beautiful sight.
  7. Then one of the lovely wide wheels fell off…  I watched it bounce up the road away from me as the car slunk and tipped to a halt. (Luckily the engine of the motorbike I had been towing had just turned over, so I nipped on the back and we chased down the escaping car wheel. And off we went again Continue reading

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