Monthly Archives: October 2013

Retribution

No good deed goes unpunished…

good deed…but carry on anyway.

That sums up my thoughts on the topic of retribution today. But who said it and was it worth saying?

Two candidates for the first part. The late great Oscar Wilde – whose shoulder I pat whenever I pass his statue on Adelaide Street in London. (Other passersby keep him in fresh cigarettes.) And various Americans, including Clare Boothe Luce.

The second part is me.

But was it worth saying? Yes, back then, for the truth of it.

And now? Less so. But repeating it may let me escape retribution from Ramana, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, MaxiPadmumShackman and The Old Fossil  – the other members of the Loose Bloggers Consortium, for failing to post on this week’s set topic. But if you’re disappointed with this meagre offering, I have something exciting coming soon.

In the meantime – girls, music and books.

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You don’t need a cellphone to talk through your arse, but it helps…

More like this here: http://www.bizarro.com/

More like this here: http://www.bizarro.com/

The old days: Thought in head. Speech through mouth.

The old days: Cell phone off. Someone might call me. With work. Wouldn’t want that. “How come you never answer your mobile?” Switch it on to call other people. Quickly switch if off again. Occasionally lend it to soldiers on duty at “incidents” or outbreaks of “bother” to let them call back home to Britain – in exchange for them giving access or information. Otherwise peace. Quiet. Meeting someone? Make an arrangement and stick to it.

These days: Cell phone on. Someone might call me. With work.  Freelance. Keen. And on duty to respond to emergencies like forgotten PE kit, after school activities with the bus long gone. Emails. Audio recording. Writing. Maps. Twitter. Facebook. Etc. Etc. If only it came with a pillow I could sleep on it.

These days: No need for any thought in head. Adjust sitting position. Then, using either buttock, accidentally trigger cell phone and dial a random person in phone’s address book. Nothing to it. You’re talking through your arse.  That’s progress for ya. Just pray your backside hasn’t dialled Australia.

Or the police. Really Continue reading

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Curing me of my biggest fear

Just one small step and... wheeee....

Just one small step and… wheeee….

They say the best way to conquer your fear is to face it. So if you’re an arachnaphobe, you should let a big hairy tarantula scurry over your hand. If snakes give you the willies, you should let a small non-poisonous serpent drape itself round your shoulders.

Easy for them to say, whoever “they” are.

What if your fear is this? Imagine you’re really high up – at the edge of a cliff or the parapet of a very tall building. The fear is not being scared of heights. Or about having vertigo. It’s something different.

Call it… curiosity. What if… What if I stepped up and jumped? Like Icarus. The rush. What transcendent insight would reveal itself? What revelation? What if… Continue reading

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Islam and Freedom of Belief

Let there be no compulsion in religion

Let there be no compulsion in religion

We hear a lot of intolerance and Islam. When there’s a complaint in Europe or north America about Islamaphobia or suggested restrictions on the wearing of the full-face veil, you can be guaranteed that someone will remind us that when it comes to intolerance, Islamic states can be hard to beat. “Try walking through Mecca in a mini-skirt,” they’ll say. “Or proselytizing for Christianity. You’ll soon know what real intolerance is like.

But that’s not the full picture – as you’ll know if you follow the Unity blog of Usama Hasan. (A good guy you may remember from a previous bust-up.)

He’s written an interesting paper called No Compulsion in Religion: Islam and the Freedom of Belief. I reproduce some of it here. I’ve cut a lot for brevity and scrapped the footnotes. So I recommend you read the original. But in the meantime, please read this. It enlightened me.

Following the international furore in 2012 over the amateurish, inflammatory and offensive film, Innocence of Muslims, there were calls around the world to introduce or strengthen rules that would become akin to global blasphemy laws.  Dozens of people were killed during violent protests in Muslim-majority countries, including US Ambassador Stevens in Libya by a terrorist attack under cover of anti-film protests, and a Pakistani minister placed a $100,000 bounty on the head of the film-director.

For many of us, this felt like a case of “Here we go again.”  From books and films to cartoons, teddy bears and desecration of copies of the Qur’an by a handful of American fundamentalists and soldiers, the story is the same: instead of ignoring material insulting and offensive to Islam, or forgiving their authors as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would have done, some immature Muslims resort to violence that ends up killing people who had done more than most to actually help Muslims or Muslim-majority countries.  Furthermore, the poor-quality “offending” material receives far more publicity than it deserved, and the image of Islam is dragged through the mud yet again, to the exasperation of the vast majority of ordinary, decent Muslims.

In the 1980’s, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, an expletive-laden, largely-unreadable book was catapulted, along with its author, into international fame by an Islamist campaign of “raising awareness” by publicising its satirical insults towards holy figures of Islam, culminating in Ayatollah Khomeini’s notorious fatwa ordering Rushdie’s murder.  The same story was repeated, two decades later, with the Danish cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): these were largely unknown when first published, until a Denmark-based Egyptian cleric began a campaign publicising them.  Surely, to love the Prophet and his disciples means not to publicise gross insults directed at him.  If people insult our loved ones, such as parents, children or siblings, would we broadcast those offensive comments or depictions to the whole world?

In all these cases, dozens of ordinary people died in riots and protests around the world: this is extremely ironic, when the Prophet himself is said to have taught that the destruction of the Ka’bah, the holiest site of Islam, is lighter in the sight of God than the taking of a single life Continue reading

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Who’s on the cover of this week’s Enormous Ego?

You gotta have a bit of an ego to get ahead, right? To convince yourself that your art is important to others… So what better example to follow than the composers Chopin and Liszt.

chopinlisztsmChopin and Liszt come courtesy of the Hark, a vagrant blog. I bought the book the other day. It’s great. The topic, ego, was set by the Loose Bloggers Consortium. It’s all them, them, them with Ramana, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Rohit,Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will – when it should be me, me, me, whoah ha ha ha.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: You may notice a new image under my horse’s head in the top right hand corner. It’s a big F. Please click on it and follow the link. I’ll tell you more about it soon.

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It’s time I gave erotic fiction a thwack!

Given the topic, I though I should have at least one picture of a, you know, cute cat.

Given the topic, I though I should have at least one picture of a, you know, cute cat.

Everyone’s doing it. (Ooer Madam.) It’s time I did it too.

But where, how and with whom? Or what?

Maybe I’ll do best to follow the crowd, but (being very busy and important) I don’t have time to read the whole of 50 Shades of Grey – never mind the sequels. Luckily there’s an abbreviated version which I can share with you here. And, fancy that, it’s a special version aimed at men.

So read on and enjoy. Or should that be: Read on – and Tingle! (By the way, a “zimmer” is a walking frame.)

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY – (a husband’s point of view)

The missus bought a Paperback
down Shepton Mallet way
I had a look inside her bag
… T’was “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Well I just left her to it
And at ten I went to bed
An hour later she appeared
The sight filled me with dread

In her left she held a rope
And in her right a whip
She threw them down upon the floor
And then began to strip

Well fifty years or so ago
I might have had a peek
But Mabel hasn’t weathered well
She’s eighty four next week

Watching Mabel bump and grind
Could not have been much grimmer,
And things then went from bad to worse
She toppled off her Zimmer

She struggled back upon her feet
A couple minutes later
She put her teeth back in and said
“I am a dominator!”

Now if you knew our Mabel
You’d see just why I spluttered
I’d spent two months in traction
For the last complaint I’d uttered

She stood there nude and naked
Bent forward just a bit
I went to hold her, sensual like,
but stood on her left tit

Mabel screamed, her teeth shot out
My god what had I done!?
She moaned and groaned then shouted out
“Step on the other one!!”

Well readers, I can’t tell no more
About what occurred that day
Suffice to say my jet black hair
Turned fifty shades of grey

That work of classical literature came from here. And I suppose you could call this the musical version. It’s funny.

Right – I’m now in the zone. I even have a title for my Continue reading

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