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?

Read more…

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Compare and contrast

One of the big stories in Friday’s news caught my attention, and I thought I’d have a little chat about it.

The story I refer to is about the Oxford ‘sex grooming ring’ – a group of Muslim men who viciously abused children.  Now, they’re not the first to do this, and they won’t be the last – so there’s not much to talk about there.

No, the real story is that mosques across the UK were reading out a sermon condemning those responsible.  Hundreds of mosques pledged to read out the sermon during Friday’s prayer meeting.  (If I use the wrong terms, I apologise.  I mean no disrespect by it.)

So, the heads of the Muslim religion within the UK have spoken out against the acts of these scum.  Good for them.
In one stroke, they have said that the men responsible were acting against the teachings of their religion, that their religion did not condone their acts, and that their acts were not those of ‘true believers.’  They have neatly seperated the degenerates from the religion.

Now, you may be reading that, and waiting for me to fire both barrels at them, as is my usual practice.  Well, you’ll have a long wait.  Sorry.  But wait… here comes the shotgun, after all…  I’m aiming it… there goes the trigger!

We have a religion I know little about, that is clearly saying they do not condone, support, or approve of their congregation sexually abusing children.

On the other hand, We have a religion that makes a habit of moving any abusers to a different area, and denying any knowledge of their actions.  A religion that routinely and loudly condemns homosexuality, while ignoring any homosexual abuse their priests commit.  A religion that vehemently defends any priest accused of paedophilia, despite the fact that the very same priest has been accused of it at every single parish they’ve worked, within months of moving.

I know which of those religions is the more worth following.  Do you?

Strange, isn’t it?  How the Muslims are more Christian than the Christians…

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Getting ready

For a long time, I’ve been in the position of – while not wanting or hoping for it – expecting a revolution in the UK.

Those in power have no respect for the masses.  The government is bringing in cuts across the board: health service, pensions, benefits, public spending – you name it.  But… has anybody heard one word about cuts in Government?  Are MP’s facing a cut in their pay?  A cut in their expenses?  Are any of the the 8 bars and 6 restaurants in the houses of parliament going to close?

Strange, isn’t it, that it’s the huddled masses who have to tighten their belts, while the ‘elite’ need to loosen theirs after every meal?

Read more…

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Not the way forward

Today, I want to start my post with a small reminder: I am not, never have been, and never will be, a racist.  I have never disliked somebody simply because of their race, skin colour, religion…  If I dislike somebody, it’s personal.  They have said or done something to make me dislike them.

On the other hand, I have been forced to conclude that I am a nationalist to some extent.
I believe that our government is biased towards immigrants, which is wrong.  What do I mean by biased?  Well, for example, there is a service available for immigrants which will find somebody who speaks their language, and that person will tell the immigrant exactly what benefits they can claim.
If, however, you live here… there is no help, of any sort, with finding out which benefit you may be entitled to: all you can do is apply for them, and see if you succeed.

Read more…

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My Easter Egg has gone bad

I’m writing this on Easter Saturday.  Yesterday was ‘Good Friday’, tomorrow will be Easter Sunday, and I’m wondering about a few things…

Let’s start with Good Friday.  If you are of a Christian upbringing, you were probably taught that Good Friday is the anniversary of the day that Christ was crucified.  I’m not going to argue that, nor am I going to point out that nobody actually knows what date it was – there are actually many differing opinions.

No, I’m going to question the name.  If you believe in God, and Jesus, etc. – and if you don’t, why are you celebrating Easter? – then, please, I implore you, tell me what on earth is good about mankind brutally murdering the son of God?

‘He died for our sins,’ I hear some of you say.  And is that in any way fair, I reply.  Is that ‘good’?  If He had volunteered for crucifixion – taken somebody else’s place, maybe – then I can see why it might be ‘good.’  Well, why He might be thought good, anyway – but not us, for killing him.

OK. Moving on a little.  ‘On the third day, he arose.’  (Maybe not the exact wording, but you get the point.)  So, three days after he died, he walked out of the ‘grave’ and walked among us, again.  For this reason, we also celebrate Easter Sunday, by the giving and receiving of chocolate eggs.

Pardon?

Oh, I’m ignoring the chocolate egg thing – that’s just too absurd for me to bother with.  No, I’m confused about the ‘third day’ thing.  The third day after Friday is Monday, surely?  Count with me: Saturday, one; Sunday, two; Monday, three…

So, we celebrate his resurrection a day early.  Maybe that was brought in so we could get back to work on Monday?

Sadly, Easter shares the same problems as most religious holidays in our world: they have nothing to do with religion.

In our house, the only anniversay we recognise or celebrate are wedding anniversaries.  We ignore all others, be they religious, pagan, or capitalist.  (Just bear in mind here that there is no such thing as a religious celebration: christmas and easter are just pagan ones under a thin cloak of religion.)

I do have a suggestion, though.  Many times, my father has said that he prefers to celebrate unbirthdays over birthdays – as you get more of them in a year…  Why not apply that to christmas, easter, valentines day, mothers day, green tea day, shoelace day, whatever. 

Celebrate every day that isn’t supposed to be ‘special’ – you’ll find it much more fun.

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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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Religious persecution

Today, I’m going to have a rant about religion.  (Waves goodbye to a few regulars.)

Over the centuries, various religions have been persecuted for one reason or another.  The Spanish Inquisition, or the Jews in general are just two examples that spring to mind.

I am, and always will be, opposed to persecution. 

My own belief system is fairly simple:  I think that we each have to right to choose our own path.  You want to be a Jew?  Here’s your yarmulke.  You choose Buddhism?  I’ll only offer you vegan food in future.   Whatever your choice of religion, I will support and defend you to the best of my ability.

But that’s not the point of this post.  No, this is about the other side of the coin.

You see… all religions persecute us!

We are not allowed to follow our own path if it doesn’t agree with their religion.  Instead, we are constantly told what we can and can’t do, say, or think.  Why is that?

Under my belief system, we are each responsible for our own actions and choices.  And as long as nobody else is harmed, we can do what we like.  Rape, murder, robbery, assault… all are wrong – as they all harm others. 

But I refuse to be told that I cannot – for instance – smoke.  (I gave up years ago, but it was my decision.)  If I choose to smoke, I’ll smoke, and no religion has the right to tell me I shouldn’t. 

If I choose to get drunk, I’ll get drunk – yet almost every religion out there will condemn me for it, some more than others.  (I can’t remember the last time I was drunk.  Because it was so long ago, not because I was so drunk.)

But what does it have to do with them?  It is my life, my body, and my decision – and I’m tired of being told that I’m ‘wrong’ to do it.

So please, let’s have an end to the religious persecution – from both sides.

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Perception

Have you ever considered that where you stand affects what you see?

If you stand in a room, well back from the window, your view is restricted by the walls around it.  Move forward, until your nose is touching the window, and your view is greatly enhanced.   (Of course, you can no longer see the room you stand in, but that’s a different matter.)

It’s the same with people and events.  The closer you are, the more you can see – and the more blinkered you are to anything outside your view.

More importantly, where you are in relation to an issue or person will alter what you see.

Want an example?  Country A is invaded by country B.  Country C supplies country B with weapons and training to aid them in their fight for independence.  This is an old story.  Country B uses the weapons to attack the infrastructure and ‘soft’ targets: railways; airfields; support services…  The ones doing the attacking are labelled ‘terrorists.’

Think you know who the three countries are?  Well, Country A is Germany, Country B is France, and Country C is Britain.  The period is World War 2.  The French resistance were not ‘terrorists’, they were freedom fighters! 

Now please explain to me the difference between that, and the scenario where Country A is Britain, Country B is Ireland, and Country C is America.  American Irish raised money to support the ‘fight’ in Ireland.  And the IRA were terrorists, not freedom fighters.

I can – in honesty – only see one real difference between the two.  I’m British, so in both cases I’m on the side of Britain.  And that is why one is ‘right’ and one is ‘wrong.’

All because of where I’m standing.

When I sat down to write this, it wasn’t supposed to be anything to do with Politics – it just got away from me.  It was supposed to be more personal than that…  Let’s try again.

I may have told this story before.   Fifteen or so years ago, I was driving taxis for a living.  One night, a youth ran out of his house, across the narrow pavement, and onto the hood of my taxi that was coming up the road.  When I stopped, the car was still in front of the door he came out of – that should tell you how fast I was travelling. (Or how slow.)

Within minutes, I was surrounded by his pals from the pub he was heading for – directly opposite his house, and the reason he didn’t bother to look.  Their viewpoint was that all taxi drivers drove too fast, and that it was entirely my fault that I’d hit him.   Facts, and evidence, meant nothing to them – that was just me trying to worm my way out of it.

I’m convinced that I would have been assaulted if the guy I hit had been unconcious – but he was awake, and he was okay.  And he told them it was his fault. 

He had to work at it, though.  They really didn’t want to give up on the idea that I’d been going too fast.

Recently, I realised something about myself.  My family sees me a miser.  I have no idea why.

I’m planning a party, for my Silver Wedding.  Talking about it to one family member, I was amazed to be told that ‘everybody will come, if only to see me put my hand in my pocket.’

Another family member made a joke about all of us paying a share of something, then misread my expression – believing it to be fright at the idea of paying for something.  It was shock, actually, at the idea that he might pay a share of something!

I really don’t know where this idea comes from.  My partner complains that I am too generous.  If you were to create a balance sheet, showing what I gave and what I recieved, it would show that I was owed a great deal.

But I’m not worried about it.  I don’t want it.  I give, happily.  It’s just upsetting, really.  Talking about it with my partner, we worked out that virtually every member of my family has had help from me that they would never return in kind. 

A relative who would never, ever let me touch his car has borrowed my car.  A relative who would always charge for professional services has never paid me for professional services.  A relative who would never go out of their way for anybody has had me travel great distances to help them.

Maybe my reputation comes from the fact that we don’t bother with Xmas or birthdays.  I’m tight-fisted because I told them not to spend money on me.  (Because I told the relative whose present to me was books that they needed for their studies – books I never saw again – not to buy me presents.)

Whatever. 

I know that I would give my last penny to help another.  I don’t have much, so I can’t give much, but I pay my way.  A recent family event proves that: I was the only one to pay my share.

How’s that for perception?

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Live and let live

I firmly believe in the concept of  ‘live and let live’.  I really do. 

If you choose to waste your time and money on expensive bits of card that will bloat the mail system, that’s your concern.  If you wish to spend a months earnings buying food to eat over a short holiday, that’s fine.  If you’re crazy enough to spend next years wages buying christmas presents nobody wants, well… good for you.

So why do you all insist on trying to make us feel as if we’re the crazy ones?

Try it sometime.  (OK, you have to wait eleven months to try it, but you get the point.)  Next time somebody says ‘are you ready for christmas?’ answer with ‘I’m not doing christmas this year.’  See what a reaction you get.

I have had some very interesting discussions about that, ranging from the old dear who simply kept telling me that I ‘couldn’t say that’ to verbal abuse.  Not one person ever simply accepts it – they always have to try and convince me I’m ‘wrong.’

I dread christmas nowadays. 

I play LotRO, as I’ve mentioned.  And I had to create a new character so I could play over christmas without an endless string of ‘merry xmases’ from other players.  I had to stay well away from any character that was known, because I didn’t want the trouble that would ensue.

You see, you can only ignore ‘merry xmas’ for so long.  The thought police very quickly pick up on the fact that you don’t reply, and ask why.  Then you have the choice of lying, or telling them why.

I never lie.

And once you’ve told them why, you will get more seasons greetings, as they treat it like a game – seeing who can get the best response from you.  Once you reach the end of your patience, and explode, it’s your fault that you can’t take a ‘joke.’

The end result is a lot of bad feelings that will never truly disappear.

So, we hide.  We lock the doors, pull the curtains, and pretend we’re not home.  We watch TV, read, and I play on the compu… oh, I can’t do that, can I? 

When you think about Scrooge, you probably see him as somebody who hates christmas, and wants everybody else to hate it.   The chances are, he didn’t start out that way.  Like me, he probably started out by being uninterested in christmas – then over the years he was forced into hating it by all the people who couldn’t just let him ignore it.

I used to enjoy christmas.  Then I realised how much of it was driven by the commercial aspect.  It lost it’s magic, and I found myself doing it only because it was expected of me.  The day I realised that I was being pushed into it was the day I stopped doing it.

I don’t want you to stop celebrating christmas.  I just want you to let me not celebrate it.

The trouble with Christmas

Just over two thousand years ago, according to most religions, our ‘saviour’ was born.  These days, we celebrate that fact by spending money we don’t have buying presents that aren’t wanted.

Christmas today is big business.  You’ll see the adverts starting before the summer is truly over, and they’ll go on right up to the day – and then it’s the ‘sales.’

But what does Christmas actually mean to you?

I’ve asked many people,over the years, and had a range of answers – and the very best of them is ‘it’s a time for families to get together.’  Well, I have no argument with that.  I love family get-togethers.  I’d much rather have them in the summer, when it’s easier to travel and you can have them on the beach, but, yes, I love a family gathering.

Over the years I’ve been asking the question, by far the least offered answer is of a religious nature: only a very small fraction of you are actually celebrating the birth of Christ.  So, if you take that religious excuse away, what are you celebrating?

And what makes it any different from Mother’s Day; or Valentines Day; or Hug a Tree Day? 

In the USA, they have something to make every day special: it’s National Volunteer Day today, for example.  So why should Dec 25 be so special?  It’s just a day near the end of the year – Dec 31 should be more important, really, as it marks the end of so many things.

And why spend money you don’t have?  Why spend at all?  Ask any mother out there what they’d prefer from their child: expensive perfume, or a home-made card…  Would you rather have an expensive present you don’t want, or that cheap DVD you’ve been trying to get for years?

There are a lot of platitudes spoken about Christmas – but almost every one of them is a lie.

Christmas is about having parties, presents, and family gatherings. 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have those things – I’m saying you should have them all year round.




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