Recently in Life's like that Category
My life is continually filled with wonder at the stupidity of my fellow man. The unthinking and casual nature of persistently dumb behaviour is quite simply astounding. This is not to portray myself as some kind of genius, the opposite would clearly be true, but the absence of what I would consider to be 'common' sense is often staggering.
Let's ignore the behaviour of Haye and Chisora as we should, simply because they're meat-heads whose daily life consists of muscling up and punching things. Even they should've known better than to get dragged down to the level of the bar-room/playground brawl but the majority of right-thinking people have never regarded modern boxing as the sport of 'gentlemen'. I'd be grateful though if you didn't point out that I'd called them meat-heads since I've met David Haye and I wouldn't like to fight him even if he is 'out of shape'.
I saw a TV show last night called 'My Social Network Stalker' which related the story of Ruth Jeffrey, a girl then in her late teens who'd endured three and a half years of online stalking and other harassment. So far, so harrowing you might say, except that the identity of the stalker should've been painfully obvious from very early on.
The foolish queue
to be unfulfilled
at a price
they can ill afford
send sparks skywards
regardless of the time
While Jools celebrates
like it's live
rather than over-rehearsed
and recorded earlier
The old man shuffles
out the back door
coal in hand
to come back in the front
We who think we know better
sit in silent remembrance
with misplaced hope
that this year might be different
The verdict is due today: the one that determines the guilt, or otherwise, of Michael Jackson's doctor. I can already supply the overall verdict; it is that celebrities and the very rich can find people to do anything that they want.
The ethos of this is ingrained in our history whether it's Roman emperors forcing slaves and prisoners to fight to the death in the coliseum, or the retail environs of the nouveau riche promising that they can sell you anything from an aniseed ball to a zebra. If you've got the money or the power (or inevitably both) then you can get anything you want.
Since last week's post about my mum on Facebook I've been doing some deeper thinking about identity; I probably shouldn't have bothered.
Perhaps part of my resistance to accepting her as a Facebook friend was to do with my own sense of self. Even at this age there are probably still sides to my character that I wouldn't share with my mum. I think also that everyone's online character is in some way an exaggeration of themselves, it may be real-time but it is not entirely real.
My mum has joined Facebook; no good can come of this. My daughter has already had to 'clean up' her wall to avoid potential embarrassment or awkward questions from her nan.
I only know about the 'clean up' as she told me, I wouldn't otherwise since I'm not allowed to be her Facebook friend. Using this principle - eldest child rejects parent - I could similarly ignore my mother's request. It speaks volumes that I wonder if she'd actually notice.
The service manager on this morning's train had a pleasant voice. He exhibited the clear enunciation once displayed by BBC announcers before a drive for regionalism took hold. He was also aware of his 'talent' taking every opportunity to demonstrate it.
Consequently those of us on the train for a long time got to hear the list of upcoming stations at very regular intervals.
His fault was in Tring. The train doesn't usually stop there but today was doing so for some never-specified reason; it did give him an extra couple of opportunities to demonstrate his vocal qualities though so he was probably secretly happy. The fault was in his choice of words as we would today apparently be also 'touching-down in Tring'.
It was probably the lure of alliteration that trapped him, he couldn't resist it. Sadly this particular train never goes fast enough to touch-down anywhere and whilst he may have the voice of a pilot, it just made him sound like he was showing off.
A bit more wit and we'd all have welcomed his interruptions. To later tell us that the delayed arrival was due to the unavoidable stop at Tring was to compound the problem, since no-one had told us why we were stopping there in the first instance. Is anything entirely unavoidable? We don't usually stop there so it is easily avoided. Had he added some local knowledge or riffed upon the onomatopoeic qualities of the town's name he could've saved the day.
I didn't need any further proof that impressive delivery without equal content eventually fails, certainly not during my commute.
It wasn't only the start of a new term, but a new school year and the introduction of a new uniform. It seemed to matter little that one 'child' had only started at the school last year and had a relatively new set of clothes, nor that the other young adult was diametrically opposed to the concept of uniform.
The recently appointed headmaster has a vision of the school being viewed as a first-class educational establishment and the apparent outward appearance of this is in the presence of 1500 identically-clad children wandering the dilapidated corridors of the school's crumbling interior.
A consequence of getting older is that you no longer accept things at face value. Where once you may have blindly believed everything you read, experience of life now leads you to question everything instead.
An example of this was the recent headline I read (over someone's shoulder) in a reactionary newspaper. It claimed that there would now be on-the-spot £100 fines for idiot drivers, that people would now be penalised for bad driving. This is all well and good, were it not clearly a headline-grabbing-stunt with no real merit.
The police clearly find it hard enough to enforce the powers they already have with regard to driving offences without the option of being able to punish, surely speculative, bad driving.
We all know that it's currently illegal to drive whilst using a hand-held telephone but we all do it or at least know people that do. I suspect we know very few who've actually been punished for doing so yet we could all randomly walk the street and spot many offenders every single day. It's a worthwhile law but it's almost impossible to enforce, particularly with the Government cutting police budgets and workforce accordingly.
Cold calls are often quite random. Occasionally they provide temporary relief from staring at a screen or trying to solve a problem. Usually they're just dull, as the disinterested caller launches into the pre-prepared script with little thought or care for the recipient's level of interest. There are also those that start with the most ridiculous leading questions, like 'Would you like to save money on....' They get quite perturbed if you answer, 'no'.
Often I'm forced to laugh - which is probably neither big nor clever and it will either amuse the caller or send them into a fury as if I've insulted their very being instead of just mocking their script or style. This one caused some reciprocal laughter: What do you look for in an energy supplier? It's an interesting question that bears some consideration. What do I look for - charm, good sense of humour, style, panache?
Perhaps my only requirement is their ability to supply energy efficiently at a price that doesn't reduce me to tears. I suspect the latter may be too much to ask so perhaps I only need them to not call me randomly and ask stupid questions; that would be a bonus.
Wednesday: The Cats Protection League has still to call back. There are probably too many cats to protect, or maybe they've just given up trying. I try to get through to the RSPCA and fail, I keep returning to a recorded message. It claims I'll be connected if I hold on, it lies.
Thursday: I finally get through to the RSPCA, they tell me about a web-site called 'Pets Located'. Why they couldn't tell me about this when I was in their building last week I've no idea. Mystery is now entered at Pets Located, she is also on the waiting list for RSPCA re-homing. She still avoids me.
Friday: I am increasingly saddened by finding 'Mystery' regularly asleep in our shed. This is despite the fact that we've provided a box and bedding and we're still feeding her. It's probably my hormones.
Saturday: Rapidly (or not so rapidly in fact) coming to the conclusion that no-one cares too much about stray cats. A possible sign of the troubled economic times is that pets can sometimes be the first to suffer. In my line of work I've noticed that spending on 'luxuries', such as concert tickets, is already on the wane. People are concerned about the future, the cuts and rising prices are starting to hit their pockets.
Whether this means that pets will be cast out rather than indulged remains to be seen and I shouldn't be basing this whole theory on one personal incident. This said, one of our existing cats was adopted by us from the RSPCA - he'd been abandoned when his previous owners moved house. Consequently it appears to me that people are already leaving their pets behind.