From a line to a point

Once again, a story in the news has prompted a blog post.  (Well, it’s about time something did…)

Apparently, a recent study has concluded that as much as a third of under 16’s have had sex.
So what’s the big news?

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Mutter mutter…

I’m not angry today, but I am disappointed.

We’ve just had family to stay.  A young lady and her boyfriend.  Well, I say ‘to stay’ – what I mean is that our 15 year old grand-daugher slept at our house, and the 18 year old boyfriend slept in a B&B we booked and paid for.

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Ignorance, or stupidity?

This is a question I’m finding myself asking a lot, lately.  Are they stupid, or are they ignorant?

I touched on it  a few posts back, when I talked about the ‘I’m only…’ crowd – and I know we all fit that heading from time to time.  My own dear papa admitted as much himself.  But…

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Understanding

If I come across as Arrogant in this post, I apologise.  That is n0t my intention.
I am what and who I am, and I do not hide it – but it is almost impossible to explain myself without coming across as arrogant, conceited, boastful…

I am intelligent.  Above average, according to MENSA. (I took their test over twenty years ago.)  This does not mean I know more than you.  In some areas, I know more than average, in other areas I know less than average.  My geography is awful, for instance – I’m surprised I don’t get lost walking the dog! Read more…

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Infectious

I’m waiting for a telephone call.

I had a call earlier, just as I was trying to get dinner done, and had to say ‘call me back.’  So now I’m waiting for the call.

A computer that I did a clean install on, just a few weeks ago, is now infected with… something.  So I have to talk somebody through the whole disinfection process.  It’s gonna be a looooong night.

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It’s a secret

I’ve just finished watching a TV show called ‘Secret Interview.’  It wasn’t bad.

For those who haven’t heard of it, allow me to explain the format: Two people are competing for a dream job, but they don’t know it! It’s a secret interview, you see.

So they have a film crew following them around to make a documentary while they go about their normal working lives, not knowing that it isn’t really a documentary, but a secret interview.

The week is anything but normal, as they meet the worst possible situations – and the way they deal with everything is secretly being watched by their potential new boss.  But they don’t know that, because it’s a secret.

At the end of the week, they are told that they’ve been taking part in a secret interview, and they are amazed at all the things that happened when they didn’t know they were being interviewed.   Because it was a secret.

If you think I’m  overdoing the ‘secret interview’ bit, you’re wrong – and you obviously didn’t watch the show – because after less than ten minutes had passed, they had told me that it was a secret interview in secret that the interveiwees weren’t aware of because nobody told them because they were being interviewed in secret and they didn’t know about it.

I think that was it, but I’m not sure.  Maybe I totally missed the point of the program.

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World view

I’ve mentioned before that I play internet games, chiefly Lord of the Rings online.  For the past week, I’ve been trying out one called Age of Conan.  This post is based on events in both games, and other games as well – the game involved makes little difference to the way people act, though.

Todays post is about these games, and how they reflect on life in general.

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Confusion

I believe myself to be a good(ish) person.  I don’t lie, cheat, steal, kill or covet my neighbours ass.

I was brought up ‘right.’  My parents taught me… Hold on… My parents tried to teach me right from wrong, and now all these years later, I find myself living by a moral code.

Why?

If you watch ‘The Apprentice’, or study how business works, you’ll realise that ‘business’ = dishonesty.  The bigger the business, the more dishonest.

Think about it.  Big businesses are the ones who contribute to election costs – and they always get changes in the law that benefit them.  The banks, for instance, got laws passed that enabled them to take stupid risks with your money.  And what happened when it went wrong?  The government gave them more of your money!

When things go wrong, big business will always be heard to say that they ‘operated within legal guidelines.’  True.  Legal guidelines that they set up, giving them permission to lie up to a point.  I’ve said this before: if they need a legal department to approve their script before they use it, they must be getting as close as possible to breaking the law as they can.

Why can’t they just use common sense?  ‘Will this product make my carpet like new?’  ‘No,  madam, it’s a dishwasher.’  Hardly rocket science, is it?  But their guidelines would enable them to ‘suggest’ that the carpet would be cleaner.

Seriously, though.  All they have to do is tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Only they won’t, because they won’t make as much profit that way.

Sorry, I’m drifting away from the point.

Businesses in general are not ‘good.’  Governments are not ‘good.’  Religion, even: when a religion tells you that greed and lust are bad, then you hear that a priest who lives a life of luxury in a mansion has been found guilty of molesting children – and the church not only pays to keep it quiet, but promotes the priest concerned….  That does not fit any category to which the label ‘good’ can be attached.

So… We have our deity telling us to be good.  We have our Government telling us to be good.  We have schools training our children to be good.  We have a vast industry producing books, films, and propoganda exorting us to be good.

The whole world is trying to make us be good.  To not lie, cheat, steal, etc.

And you know why? 

So that priests, politicians, and businessmen can walk all over us!

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Mental disability

Last Saturday was our big 25th wedding anniversary party.  We had a lot of friends and family join us in the function room of a local Pub, and we had fun.  (Thanks to all who joined us and made the day special.)

My partner went in a wheelchair, which I pushed.  At the party, I parked the wheelchair in a dark corner out of the way (with my partner still in it) and then spent the next few hours circulating.  Great fun.

At the end of the party, I pushed the wheelchair home again.  We travelled along the pavement for a couple of hundred yards, then turned around and went back, off the pavement onto the road, and set off homewards again.  We had to do this, as somebody had parked their car right where the pavement was lowered for wheelchair (and pushchair/pram) access.

I don’t blame the car driver too much, as it was a clearly marked parking area.  The question is why the council would lower the pavement where cars can park, and not five feet further along the road, where cars could not park?

Yesterday, I spent the day out with family.  My mother was there, in her battery powered disability scooter.  She drove along the pavement, for several hundred yards, until she reached some scaffolding – which totally blocked the pavement.  With no room to turn around, she had to get off the scooter, and wait while we manhandled the scooter into the road.

Throughout the day, my mother encountered exactly the same as my partner does when out on the the scooter: people will look right at the scooter, see it tootling along merrily, then step in front of it!  If the scooter hits them, it’s your fault

Not once, ever, have I seen somebody step aside for the scooter – the best you can hope for is that they stop while you try to get past.

It’s not stupidity, not really.  It’s ignorance.  It’s lack of thought; lack of education.  People just do not think.

I’d like awareness of this problem to be taught in schools.  I’d like teenagers and pre-teens to be tied into wheelchairs for a day, and forced to leave the house: give them a list of things to collect from the mall, and make sure that some of the items are on different levels, too.

I’d like everybody to be required to pass a test in wheelchair use – and passing that test to be an essential part of obtaining a driving licence or passport; make it a requirement for getting a mobile phone!

Honestly, you only need to spend a few hours in the chair (or even pushing one) to realise the problems the disabled face.

Yes, the disabled have parking benefits.  We have a blue badge, and can legally park on yellow lines, within limits.  The idea of this is to allow the disabled to access places more easily.  Many are jealous of this benefit, and make a point of parking in the disabled bays at supermarkets, hospitals, etc.    And, to be honest, the blue badge is more useful to the carer than the disabled person, most of the time.  (The disabled person will be put in a wheelchair, or scooter – so an extra half-mile walk will not affect them.

Again, try it.  Try parking the car in a ‘normal’ parking bay, taking the wheelchair out of the boot, assembling it, then transferring the disabled person from car to chair – when there is no room behind the car for the chair, and not enough room to open the car door.  THEN try pushing that wheelchair a mile to the shop, where you have to get it up three steps to gain access.  Push it around the shop, down those aisles that are just wide enough for the wheelchair, then come up to the display that blocks off half the aisle, so you have to reverse out again, past all the other shoppers who are giving you filthy looks and tutting over the holdup.

Try lifting a heavy battery powered scooter into the boot of your car, then out again half an hour later when you reach the shops.  Walk around the shops, then lift that scooter into the car again, and drive to the surgery, where you lift it out once more.  After your partners visit to the doctor, lift that ton weight into the car again and drive home – where you take the scooter out again!  Of course, once your partner is safely in the house, you have to carry in all the shopping, put it away, make sure the oxygen supply is on, cook dinner, walk the dog, wash the dishes, and – above all else – keep smiling!

Oh, and don’t forget – every time that wheelchair or scooter reaches a kerb, you have to lift it on or off – because somebody is parked where the kerb has been lowered. 

No, being a carer is not easy.  (Being cared for is even harder, of course.) 

Maybe, just maybe, making people understand what it’s like will make them think a little more.

You think?

The land of Wynot

Most of the people I know live in the land of Wynot.  You probably live there yourself, though you didn’t realise it. 

Since the start of this blog, I’ve been banging on and on about the same issues, and getting the same reaction from people I know and love.  The most common reaction to my posts is an amused ‘what’s the problem?’

A day or two back, I had a phone call from somebody who wanted my opinion on something: apparently, Windows had phoned him and told him there were security problems with his computer.  They told him all sorts of things about his system, and they convinced him they were genuine.

It took me ages to make him understand that Windows is a product of Microsoft, and the phone call (from India) was not from Microsoft as MS would never call him – they couldn’t, because they didn’t have his contact details!

His attitude to the call, though, is exactly what I’m talking about.  When they asked questions, the only thought in his mind was ‘why not?’  If he couldn’t think of a good reason not to answer, he answered.

You all do it.  A website wants your email address?  Why not?  Your date of birth?  What harm can it do?  Your name?  Postcode?  Telephone number?  NI number?  Passport number?  Bank account number?  Password?  Why not? Why not?  Why not?

It’s totally ridiculous. 

And you’re all thinking, right now, what’s the problem, I’ve got nothing to hide.

Neither do I.  I break no laws; I’m not a benefit cheat or a tax-dodger; I’m married, have been for 25 years, and have never cheated on my partner.  Everything in my life is totally above board and capable of withstanding any scrutiny at all.

But I won’t give out personal information without a bloody good reason.  I don’t ask ‘why not?’  I ask ‘why?’ 

And so should you.

Get in the habit, every time you are asked anything, of asking why they need to know.  If there is not a fantastic reason for it, don’t tell them.   And I mean a reason that is to your benefit, not theirs.

A website does not need you to register unless the subject is sensitive.  Money, for instance.  Registering and logging in is to your benefit when you visit your bank’s website.  A shop, on the other hand, has no benefit to offer you.  It is a simple matter for the whole shop website to open to all visitors, and for the ‘buy now’ section to secure without the need for registration. (In fact, registration means that your data is less secure – as it will be stored on their system, which can be hacked.)

If somebody phones you with an offer, refuse it.  I don’t care what it is.  When they call and check your name, go to red alert status.  When they ask questions, ask them why they want to know.  Tele-sales personnel are given a script to use – every question is preplanned, and callously calculated to manipulate you into a corner where saying ‘yes’ to whatever they’re pushing is the only solution.  So don’t back into the corner, de-rail the conversation at every opportunity.  I once spent a good thirty minutes telling a tele-sales operator about my grandkids: we parted on good terms, but he never got any of my money. 🙂

Stop asking ‘why not’, and start asking ‘why’, instead – you’ll be amazed at how many times the answer is ‘no idea.’

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