Friday, 3 June 2005

Not all bad.
There is much criticism of why they are there and what they do there, the basic humanity of the ordinary soldier still shows through.

Eye eye

Now, this really is sick. Where will it all end I ask myself. Once this gets into the gene pool of the socially bereft, we will have all sorts of horrors staring out at us. Tattoos are bad enough surely.

Here's a great idea.

Gordon Brown has said that UK will dedicate itself to doing everything possible whilst we are in charge to help countries in Africa. Bill Deedes wrote a great article on why the place is in such a state.
I have the solution!!
We should re-colonise. Germany had places there along with France and Belgium. They also should re-colonise. The despots have had their run and filled coffers in Swiss banks. This 'turn back the clock' procedure would solve some of the unemployment problems in these old Colonial Master races. Any fears that we would return to exploiting the local inhabitants would be overcome by the latest advances in racial-diversity, political correctness and all the other new ideas as to how we should treat our fellow humans. And, it would save us the money recommended to write off debts as well as providing a safe haven for resigned politicians to hide until the heat died down and they could crawl back to the trough in England. Idiots like Galloway could be sent there like failed sons in the old days.
All in all - a damned good idea. Take the rest of the day off Wood!

Fair treatment

Sorry, but today I’m going to just cut and paste something from today’s Daily Telegraph. It concerns a teacher involved in sexual relations with one of her pupils. Identities, to my mind, are irrelevant. My reasons for re-publishing this lie in Utley’s point as to why there should be a difference in the way we treat male offenders as opposed to female wrongdoers in such cases. I investigated many cases where males were accused and just two where women were involved as the instigator but with just that exposure I formed the opinion as laid out below. My reasoning brain tells me that there must be quite a number of couples who find themselves in the same situation. They do not come to widespread public notice, or court, because few young males would complain about their ‘treatment’ – almost a victimless crime one might say. One does not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs!. Mr Utley says what I would have liked to say many years ago – I commend it to your attention and, hopefully, comments.
Tom Utley(Filed: 03/06/2005)
Nicola Prentice has already paid a very high price for seducing a pupil who attended her dancing classes. At only 25, she has lost her career. She has suffered the ignominy of having to sign the sex offenders' register, and the acute embarrassment of having her photograph and the story of her crime published in most of the newspapers (including this one). Now she may even be sent to prison.
Judge Michael Stokes QC, who will sentence Prentice later this month, told Nottingham Crown Court: "If this was a man, prison would be inevitable. Why should I treat a woman any differently? You do not send your 15-year-old son to school for him to be seduced by his dancing teacher. The law is there for a purpose."
He is right, of course, and we can all see the purpose of that law. As a teacher, Prentice was in a position of trust, and she abused that trust by flirting with the boy and luring him out of lessons for visits to the pub. True, she waited until he was 16 before she had sexual intercourse with him - and for most Britons, 16 is the legal age of consent (in Northern Ireland, it is 17). But the law makes separate provision for those in positions of trust, who are forbidden to have sex with anyone in their care who is under 18. This is the law of which Prentice fell foul, pleading guilty to two counts of abusing her position by mutual touching and sexual intercourse between September 2001, when she was 22 years old, and February 2002.
I am sure that Judge Stokes needs no advice from me on how to deal with Prentice. He also has the advantages of having heard all the evidence, and of having seen the defendant's demeanour in court, which I have not. But the judge posed a question from the bench, and all of us whose parliamentary representatives passed the law under which Prentice was charged are entitled to answer it. He asked why he should treat a woman any differently from a man. My own answer to that is: "Lots of reasons."
One is the very nature of the sexual act. I know that it is unfashionable to say so, but it remains a fact that penetration is something that a male does to a female - no matter which way up the couple may happen to be. It is also a biological fact that the male has to be keen on the project, at a very basic level, or else he is physically incapable of carrying it out. The same is not necessarily true of the female. If consensual sex can be said to have a "victim", it is very much easier to see the woman in that role (or the penetrated male, in the case of homosexual intercourse) than the participant who is doing the penetrating. It belittles abused women to pretend that the sort of abuse we are talking about, when it happens, can be as great for a man as it is for a woman.
There is plenty of evidence that the young male in the Prentice case, who cannot be named because of his age at the time the offences were committed (he is now 19), was very keen indeed on the idea of going to bed with his dancing teacher. His parents, we are told, allowed him to continue with his 19-month relationship because he threatened to commit suicide if they forbade him to see her any more. The affair only became public after she grew weary of his emotional demands and dumped him, whereupon he took his story to the newspapers.
A second, and connected, reason for treating a woman differently from a man is the question of shame. For most 16-year-old boys, there is no shame at all in bedding an older woman - particularly if she is only 22. On the contrary, it is a badge of pride. There were rumours at my school that a classmate of mine had bonked one of the matrons. We all looked up to him with something approaching reverence.
It is not quite the same with a girl - although I realise that the times they are a-changin', and that there are a lot of young girls nowadays who would be proud to boast of having slept with an older man. I can't help feeling, however, that there is still something shaming for a girl - much more shaming than for a boy, anyway - about going to bed with a teacher. The balance of power is quite different.
Another difference is the attitude of parents. I know that if I had a 16-year-old daughter, I would be spitting blood over any 22-year-old teacher who tried to seduce her. But I would not be nearly as angry if one of my teenage sons were to go to bed with a female teacher. I cannot speak for my wife, who may feel very differently, but at least a small, laddish part of me would think: "That's my boy! Good on yer, son." I would not go as far as Coleen Nolan, former singer with the Nolans, who announced on television the other day that she had promised her 16-year-old son a visit to a prostitute in Amsterdam if he passed his exams.
But I think it monstrously unjust that poor Nicola Prentice has been made to add her name to the list of perverts on the sex offenders' register. I see nothing remotely pervy about a 22-year-old girl who fancies a sexually mature 16-year-old boy.
I will enter one last plea in mitigation of Prentice's offence. In my view, somebody who teaches break-dancing and hip-hop, as she did, is simply not an authority-figure, in the way that doctors or geography teachers are. I know that I would not mind a bit if she were to try to teach my sons how to dance. I also know that they would not feel the slightest pupil-to-teacher obligation to go to bed with her, if they didn't fancy the idea.
My own feeling is that Prentice is a bad girl - a very bad girl indeed, if she really did drag her young lover off to the pub, when he should have been in class. But what a terrible waste of a prison cell to lock her up in it, when it could be used to keep a violent thug off the streets. It is cheeky of me, I realise, to offer a distinguished judge my unsolicited thoughts on an appropriate sentence for Prentice. But I put it to you, your Honour: hasn't she already suffered enough - or even a bit too much?
OK - now you have read that, has it changed in any way your thoughts about what should have happened in the situation involving the three very young mums in the same family as reported recently?

Thursday, 2 June 2005

Thursday - again

Again, the week has rushed past without catching me up in anything. In a way, I'm pleased about this as I feel quite happy sitting, dipping my toes, by the side of my imagined stream. I lack motivation - my get up and go has gone or maybe slipped down the back of the sofa. Perhaps this is a good thing - my addiction to adrenalin is not sated but perhaps that is a good thing. Perhaps the fact that this does not worry me or motivate me to stir things up, proves I am finally getting into what retirement is all about. I never subscribed to colleagues theories that I would not find time in retirement to do all the things I wanted; it seems my suspicions on this were warranted. There are many things I could be doing but none, it appears, that I must be doing. I have the means, energy and, I suppose, ability to do anything that I take on board - I think - and it just seems that I lack any challenges. Perhaps this is not just adjusting to retirement - could it be that I am getting old?
I have never had any real idea what being old was. Army life insulates one from this - there are no old people in an organisation where almost everyone leaves the community when about 40 years of age. In my sphere of civilian life, retirement at 60 was quite usual and people dropped off the horizon when they left the company. Where I live, one seems to identify old people as those with some form or level of disability. Problems in walking, general mobility, sight, hearing - almost all the old people I know here have one or other of these difficulties. I cannot really identify with them in these respects. I accept that 72 is quite aged - 2 over God's ration - but see myself as worn and used up rather than old - whatever that means.
Oh well. Live with it. We seem to be moving at Captain Kirk's warp speed; by the time I have proof-read this it will be Friday.

Wednesday, 1 June 2005

Just saw this elsewhere. Thought I would add to all the other warnings reference cyber sex!
(P.S. I have a body like a Greek God)

Traffic planning.

Whilst this in no way refers to the situation in Edinburgh, it is not far wrong for London - even after Herr Livingstone's new congestion charges.
However, the powers that be in Scotland's major city felt that they too should have what they saw as the prestige of a congestion charge scheme. "Good enough for London, good enough for us". The good people of Edinburgh told them what to do with their revenue raising scheme. Now, in a fit of pique, new Edinburgh traffic routes and movement prohibitions have been introduced which, in most areas, have just added to delays and confusion. It takes real genius and application to turn a beautiful city, with wide roads, easily defined routes to and through the centre and relatively low traffic volumes, into an approximation of London that has narrow roads, no defined main routes in and out and massive traffic flow.

Midday walk today was at the picnic place. Weather overcast with low cloud. There was a constant weak drizzle - Ireland's 'soft weather' - and no wind. The river was attracting hordes of swallows and there were many dipper. I suppose the weather was good for midges and small flies. Up on the hills around us were what I think were curlews. I need to get close to birds to identify them properly but we held off - we being me and dog, as we did not want to scare nest-makers away. At one stage I got bombed by the swallows but could not see why this was in that particular area. The dippers were really cheeky, sometimes landing on rocks right alongside the dog. She can knock low-flying birds out of the air like a four-legged shotgun but seemed to have a truce with our friends at the riverside.
The parking space indicators on the car work really well although we sound like the corporate dust cart reversing. Sable is unfazed by the beeping noise which surprised me as I thought she would jump quivering into my lap the first time she heard them. So, another success story.

I got rid of the Mozilla browser Fire Fox as it seemed to be causing more trouble than enough. I don't know what caused it to turn nasty but it must have been something to do with one of the updates I downloaded for long-established programmes. The e-mail FireFox is still OK. I tried Opera as an alternative browser and found it quite good but I would not pay significant money for it. I'm back to the bog-standard BT Yahoo thing and that - touch wood - sems to be working satisfactorily. Looking at the advances in technology over the past few years, it surprises me that we cannot seem to get the basic, long introduced and well tried, applications to run on a 100$ 24/7 basis.

Tuesday, 31 May 2005

Hot dog.
This is something that I usually try to avoid - dressing animals up. They don't feel it but I think it demeaning. My general attitude is that, whilst it is OK to train a dog, getting it to do tricks is somehow wrong. I'm just a tree-hugger at heart, you see. All the reservations thrown away here 'cause it looks just soo funny. Being a sort of Boxer dog adds to the humour.

Maybe a new interest?

I was up at the Garden Centre again the other day and wandered into the pet shop part. They have a fine display of aquaria - warm water, cold water and sea water fish of all sorts. I was fascinated by some of the fish; I found it quite restful and calming just watching them swim about aimlessly and non-productively. Bit like being back in work really. The cold water ones did not inspire me too much but the shapes and colours of the warm water fish were nice. Seems that sea water fish are bigger than either of the others. I think I might go a bit further with the idea of having a small aquarium somewhere in the house. It will need to be somewhere that Pokey Nose cannot sit and stare them into submission.
Had the reverse sensors fitted to the Picasso today. Quite effective. Problem has been estimating how much space was available at the rear that would allow us to open the fifth door and let Sable out but we seem to have cracked that problem.
Nice write up in the Publican reporting Caroline's victory in the Marketing section of Publican of The Year. Even better achievement when you consider she has only been in the trade for a short while. Obviously all that gin I used to drink got into her genes somehow.

Monday, 30 May 2005

Nutrition & Dreams

I came across this today whilst wandering through the ether. I’ll miss the link so as to save the lady’s blushes.

"I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After browsing for several minutes, I was approached by one of the good-looking gentlemen who work at the store. He asked if he could help me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, "I think I like playing with men's balls."

Maybe that’s the attraction for the rather fearsome ladies I see at the local club? I thought it might be something that Venus Williams or her sister would say and then realised the stupidity of thinking that either of them might play golf. Nice swing!

Been some discussion today on nutrigenomics. Very intensive and targeted at the individual. There was a radio report today on how this is done. It is not just an analysis of DNA but also requires a very comprehensive life-style and activity questionnaire. I suspect that reading that someone is a regular diner at Manoir de Quatre Seasons and spends most of their time watching TV will suggest dietary changes that do not need sophisticated laboratory work. We should set this against what is a really serious concern as is due to the background of the new Bob Geldorf initiative to deal with world wide famine of the sort reported in the Guardian I suspect the DNA-related thing is just another passing fancy of the type such as where we had very large plates with tiny portions decoratively dressed – cuisine minceur or whatever. Back when I was object of corporate hostility I would decline hospitality at the places who dealt in such confidence tricks. I used to explain that my frame could handle such ideas but only if it were a Yorkshireman’s idea of cuisine minceur. Edward, son of James, of High Street Addis Ababa will not concern himself what sort of DNA-compliant diet he gets. I think this a better home for money than nutrigenomics.

Day dreaming today and wondered what sort of holiday I might fix myself should I ever be persuaded to get back on a long distance flight. Went into Atlanta and then a big circle through Nashville, Tulsa, Dallas, Houston, along the Gulf Coast to Tallahassee and back to Atlanta. About 14 days worth. Could not guarantee that Dallas might not be a jump-off point for Arizona though! Needs a bit of effort on my part to get over the narrow-seat, pig-sty, accommodation on the plane. The regular first class when with the oil company and sleeping bag up the back with RAF flights spoilt me for this but the award might overcome the pain barrier. But, as I said, a day dream.

Sunday, 29 May 2005

Back in the days when.....

One last time.
Norma received a container of new bras. and selected a couple of drawers-full of old ones to dispose of. I could not resist the chance of a keepsake. Reminder of the good old days. Happy days when we were young (and gay but not in the way of today)