Saturday, 7 April 2007


I Want To Be Six Again

To Whom it May Concern:I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult, in order to accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old. The tax base is lower. I want to be six again.

I want to go to McDonald's and think it's the best place in the world to eat.I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make waves with rocks.I want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them.

I want to play kickball during recess and stay up on Christmas Eve waiting to hear Santa and Rudolph on the roof. I long for the days when life was simple. When all you knew were your colors, the addition tables and simple nursery rhymes, but it didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care.

I want to go to school and have snack time, recess, gym and field trips. I want to be happy, because I don't know what should make me upset. I want to think the world is fair and everyone in it is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. Sometime, while I was maturing, I learned too much. I learned of nuclear weapons, prejudice, starving and abused kids, lies, unhappy marriages, illness, pain and mortality. I want to be six again.

I want to think that everyone, including myself, will live forever, because I don't know the concept of death. I want to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by the little things again. I want television to be something I watch for fun, not something used for escape from the things I should be doing.I want to live knowing the little things that I find exciting will always make me as happy as when I first learned them. I want to be six again.

I remember not seeing the world as a whole, but rather being aware of only the things that directly concerned me.I want to be naive enough to think that if I'm happy, so is everyone else.I want to walk down the beach and think only of the sand beneath my feet and the possibility of finding that blue piece of sea glass I'm looking for. I want to spend my afternoons climbing trees and riding my bike, letting the grownups worry about time, the dentist and how to find the money to fix the old car. I want to wonder what I'll do when I grow up and what I'll be, who I'll be and not worry about what I'll do if this doesn't work out.

I want that time back.I want to use it now as an escape, so that when my computer crashes, or I have a mountain of paperwork, or two depressed friends, or a fight with my spouse, or bittersweet memories of times gone by, or second thoughts about so many things, I can travel back and build a snowman, without thinking about anything except whether the snow sticks together and what I can possibly use for the snowman's mouth.

I want to be six again.

Author Unknown

Modern kids?

Maybe the kids of today are like this? I do not meet very many so cannot say.

Hostages - Pt II

Well, my short bit on hostages has sparked off a tide of comments. Not Comments as all communication has been by e-mail. (Thinks – have I done something that makes the Comment facility on the blog difficult to use?).
Reaction was expected given the mass of debate on the world wide internet regarding the conduct of our forces. This covers both the way the boarding operation was carried out and supported and the way our troops responded to challenge, capture and captivity. The poor performance prior to their being detained seems mostly to be unchallenged. Some seek to offset this criticism by reference to the Rules of Engagement and the fact that we are not at war with Iran. Rules of Engagement are merely guidelines; it is not possible to encapsulate the vast amount of legal precedent on self-defence in a small piece of card. The thing that counts is how the person holding the firearm sees his job. Regarded as something from a belt and braces Health & Safety manager, the Rules lean towards doing almost nothing. A soldier with confidence in his training and officers will see them as they are – guidelines. He will react as he has been taught. Our guys chose not to resist. Pretty doubtless that they would have died in any confrontation in that adrenaline-charged moment of confrontation. Those who lean towards the dulce et decorum school of thought do, in my opinion, overlook that the damage that would have been done to world peace with 15 deaths on our side plus those they managed to carry with them would have been very much greater than arose from their illegal detention. I used to feel when in Northern Ireland on hearing of people who were willing to die for their country that a great deal more would be gained if they chose to live and engage fully with their country's interests at heart.
There has been much opinion from our American friends as to precedents set by their personnel when in custody. The different attitudes towards their oppressors are clear – they did not co-operate. This is in itself somewhat cloudy. Certainly, many did resist. See John McCain. This proposition seems to ignore the American attitude of death before dishonour for the logical end game there is that there would not have been a single American POW. But then they have a Military Code of Conduct which we are lacking. So, I discount what an American would have done. I'm sure that we Brits could have found grounds for criticism in anything an American crew would have done in the same circumstances.
What the Marines and sailors did whilst in captivity causes me concern. This is tempered by the fact that I was not there and was not under the same pressures as they now claim. However, they were service personnel and this should have given them much more resolve than seems to have been exhibited. The whole purpose of all military training is to make them aware that they are anything other than a despised, time- and space-wasting civilian and that greater things are expected of them. I had doubted if this attitude was ingrained in the first place. Sailors come close to being sort of civilians in my book; they generally remain a long way from the mud, blood and whatever that marks Army combat. However, this consideration could never apply to the Royal Marine contingent. Their most recent activities in Afghanistan continue a long tradition of hard fighting.
I will now admit a prejudice. I have always had doubts about many commissioned officers. Not all. Many – maybe I'll qualify that as some. This from direct, close-up, contacts. Having got that out of the way, I feel that the marines and naval ratings were let down here by their officers. It seems that a Captain and a Lieutenant were unable to inspire, command, devise – whatever – resistance to interrogation. We did not see the things that went on in isolation but the officers were there when the cameras were running. They surely should have been able to make it clear to the woman that letter writing was a no no and to the whole party that they should avoid displays of bonhomie.
However, to me, what happened with the hostages was just a small part in the overall story. I find the major damage has been done where it allows the Iranians to judge where our Government will draw a line. The response was weak. Slow to mount. Totally lacking in conviction. Irresolute. If you let me get to the thesaurus, I'll add many more words but I'm sure you get my drift. When the time comes – as it will as sure as green apples make you trot – for us to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions, they will know that our hearts are not in it and whatever we do is just fluff and puff. Just as the opening stages of a corrida are devised to allow the main player to evaluate the bull's fighting attitude, so was this an evaluation. We failed. For us, neither ears nor tail were awarded.

Friday, 6 April 2007


Thankfully, we got them all back in safety. Now, the debate rages over what they should, or maybe should not, have done. I can understand the objections from the traditionalists but I am not so sure how many of them would have taken their own medicine. I happen to think that their attitude comes from the time of Dulce et decorem est; an attitude which has gone in the mists of time. I see no honour in giving one's life for one's country in a dishonourable war. The whole mish mash of the Middle East is not worth one more Caucasian life. At the time the expression was first coined, those who initiated the war were in the forefront of the battles and not skulking at home with inane grins on their faces. I am aware of the captivity record of John McCain. Outstanding but known to me as it was unique so there are not many who can ever aspire to that degree of fortitude.

Yo Blair

To me, this Wiki entry seems to sum up just how I think the Americans see the relationship between their Boss Dubya and our Idiot In Charge.

Virtual April Fool

And this is how a magistrate sees things in this NuLabour world of ours.

So what chance does a mere mortal such as me have of understanding where we are and why.

However, I've just got the book of Kate Moss and her adverts for raunchy underwear designers Agent Provacateur. What care I for the real world? I'm off to fantasy land.

Thursday, 5 April 2007


Seems like every day, as new discoveries are made and fresh conclusions get drawn, I am getting more and more normal. Soon, I shall have nothing at all to worry about.

One less thing arose today. Old Pointy Nose my dog has been a very good car traveller ever since we got her some seven years ago. She had always been happy on the move and was content to remain in the car - suitably cooled - when we went where dogs could not. Then, about ten days ago I came back to the car after a short absence and found she had destroyed most of the cargo compartment that is hers. Her behaviour showed that she knew she had done wrong so we had a small discussion about the matter. I left her alone again and all seemed well.

Then, three days ago, she put on a repeat performance. As she was due to see the vet for her booster injections I left it until last night to query with the expert. I thought it might be a phantom pregnancy as she had one of these just after she was spayed and did strange things then. Vet checked it out but she was not dreaming of pups. He could offer no explanation. I've cured the problem of destruction by getting her a car cage. She likes her house crate so I did not see it as a problem. We tested it out this morning and she quite likes it. I think it makes her feel more secure.

It takes all sorts to make this world

There is not much that gets my motor spinning. So long as it does not involve me directly, the rest of the world can do as it wishes and I will leave it to those who care to act to change things.

However, even against that background, I feel both saddend and repulsed at the idea that prisoners may gain release by fighting other inmates. Don't know why it does this to me. Must be getting soft as I grow older. My softening is not too far advanced; I cannot see why we strive to change governmental attitudes in foreign countries when the rot lies at such a basic level. If they cannot see that this is wrong, they should retain the burden of World Bank loans etc. And, yes, I know it is a round eye trying to impose his standards on a foreign country. I'll live with that charge.

Many a true word .......

Touches a raw nerve. Good thing I'm retired.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Wisdom comes with age

Who said that old age makes one less than perfect?

A Doctor was addressing a large audience in Tampa. "The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water.

"But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have eaten it, or will eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?"

After several seconds of quiet, a 75-year-old man in the front row raised his hand, and softly said, "Wedding cake."

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Give me the child

Maybe best that I just post this as it came to me. The highlighting at the end is all I will admit to as it sums up my thoughts when I heard this on the radio.

Convicted IRA trio take top portfolios in Sinn Fein line-up-News-Politics-TimesOnline

Three convicted IRA members will take the majority of Sinn Fein’s ministries in Northern Ireland’s incoming power-sharing Executive next month...Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister, as well as Gerry Kelly and Conor Murphy.

Mr Kelly, 54, was convicted of the 1973 Old Bailey bombing, in which one person died and 180 were injured. In 1983 he led the Maze prison breakout by Provisional IRA prisoners, in which a prison officer died of a heart attack after being stabbed.

Mr Kelly was eventually found in the Netherlands, from where he was suspected of playing a role in the IRA’s mainland Europe campaign aimed at British Army bases.

He was extradited back to Northern Ireland and, after his release from prison, became a senior Sinn Fein member. At the time of the party’s first talks with the Government more than a decade ago, he was reportedly serving as the IRA’s “adjutant general”.

He represents North Belfast in the Assembly and has been Sinn Fein’s justice and police spokesman.

Conor Murphy, the MP for Newry and Armagh, served five years for possession of weapons and membership of the Provisional IRA. He has been tipped as a successor to Gerry Adams as party leader.

Mr McGuinness admitted to being an IRA leader at the time of Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972, and has been named as a former chief of staff of the Provisional IRA under parliamentary privilege, in books quoting senior republican sources and by senior security and government sources.

The same sources say that he, along with Mr Adams, remains a member of the IRA’s ruling “army council”

A lovely bunch, and par for the course. The interesting aspect is this:

Sinn Fein surprised Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists by choosing the education portfolio as its first choice under the d’Hondt system of distributing the Cabinet seats.

Mr McGuinness was Education Minister in the previous Executive, which was suspended in October 2002 over allegations of an IRA spy-ring at Stormont.

Mr McGuinness’s final act as Education Minister was to abolish Northern Ireland’s grammar school system

As the old Jesuit motto says: "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man."

Would you be happy to have this man in charge of the compulsory schooling of your child?

Monday, 2 April 2007


Spooky thing about this is that it surely reflects how I would like people t see me. The picture I chose was the only one of a selection that did this. Obviously trickery but one where I cannot see the joins.

See what it does for you. I'm not on commission for hits.

Your Personality Profile

You are funky, outdoorsy, and down to earth.
While you may not be a total hippie...
You're definitely one of the most free spirited people around.

You are very impulsive - every day is a new adventure.
However, you do put some thought behind all your actions.
Still, you do tend to shock and offend people from time to time!

That Meme

Whilst I linked yesterday's Meme effort to the originator, I failed to do the Full Monty and show the way to her original work. As one who often sees more in news reports that appears in print, her mish mash communication often causes a deep laugh.

Top Tourist Tip

Well, not just for tourists. I've started going there quite regularly just for, strengely enough, the peace and quiet. Even last summer when it was very busy, there was always somewhere off the beaten track. I'm not a joiner of anything but I've now got a Friends Card which gets me in as often as I wish at a vastly reduced cost.

What gets me is the vision of the Duchess. There is always something new just opened or in the pipeline. Those who decry the more practical purpose of women should get here and be given the keys to the Poison Garden with recommendations as to which plant does most to, say, reduce obesity.

So, good people, if you are ever within striking range of the Gardens, get yourself down there.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Ho Ho - a meme

I generally avoid responding to Meme requests on the grounds that my private life and personal invitation are just that – personal and not to be surrendered to the first information seeker who comes along. However, I’ve been tagged by a woman whose writing amuses and interests me and which does not involve my other life outside blogging.
The brief was “Offer up 5 blogs that make me think”. I’ve already said that about the Jacqui Brown blog but I’ll not count that as one of the five.
As someone with a Army service background, I wander about on the battle field of military bloggers and could fill the meme many times over from that category alone. So, just one khaki blog. Has to be Michael Yon. Another hang-over from my career is an interest in the police. They are having a hard time in England right now. I’d nominate Inspector Gadget for approval. My own sense of humour is a bit off the beaten track and I spend time with The Grouchy Old Cripple. But, be aware he tells a lot of blonde jokes and likes the bits that stick out in front of young ladies. Back in the days before the hip went on strike, I used to get a lot of enjoyment wandering about the wide open spaces of our largest county Yorkshire. The scenery is fabulous and the people almost unique. Hard to describe in what way unique – suggest you have a look at Arthur Clewley

So, four done. One to go. This is where it gets hard. My news collector has some sixty odd blogs so it is hard to distil that down to just five. I have followed the work of Gemmak. Lady who has had a few clouds get between her and the sun but generally manages to pull herself up and get back on the horse. That’s it.

See what you can make of those.

In victory, prepare for defeat

The American fascination for starting wars in distant places rather than defend their country from within seems to have taken Iran in it's sights. The prospects of an attack upon that country seem still to remain high.

So, interesting to see that this time there is some planning for when things go tits upwards and the initial shock and awe wears off with resistence forces deployed. And, no this is not an April Fool story.

10 Answers

In the current heat of the hostages situation, we seem to have lost the concerns about that nation getting nuclear power. Perhaps that is why they did what they did.

With Iran now fixed as the lodestone of daily topics here, the article in the Guest Blog may come in handy.

Just had a memory burst from days gone by. It was, I recall, a feature of Chinese brain-washing during Korean War times to get prisoners to write long confessions. Under duress or to get better treatment. This repeated play-acting confessional process - allied to less subtle methods - gradually convinced the writers that they might well be in the wrong. They would then give a more polished performance when taken in front of the cameras. I think the female sailor is now on her third letter where she admits to possible 'offences'

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Coverage to 10 Questions about Iran.