Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow…

The Christmas Gremlin has already wiped its feet on the way out and left our homes looking like a tinsel and wrapping paper tsunami has destroyed all in its path.

The biggest issues left behind by the yuletide wave is not the irritating pile of useless cheap gifts from a perfumed auntie whose name escapes you. Its not the worry that your arse will be twice as big tomorrow as it was yesterday, and it wont be the fear that your boss will remember you goosing him at the Christmas party.

No, by far the biggest and most worrying leftover from the chocolate and pine needle orgy is the kitchen full of food you cannot possibly eat. Two days ago you invaded Tossco’s panicked by the knowledge that it would be closed for a unbearable 48hrs (how could they desert us at such a time of need!?) Multiple shopping trolleys were filled to gut straining levels with foods of a type and quantity that were obviously beyond the ability of our already over-stretched appetites to deal with.

Now fridges and cupboards, coffee tables and bedsides are stacked with a half opened, once nibbled, piles of seasonal indulgencies, which form a series of shrines and monuments to our vanity and greed. We may as well light candles and say a little prayer as yet another round of bread and wine are forced between our greasy, egocentric, retail fattened lips.

Ok, my rant is a tad excessive! Not as excessive though, as the grocery bill and the compound injustice of seeing the mountain of food, which will hit the wheelie bins as we tumble toward our New-Year box of Resolve.

Each year the excess creates guilt. New Years Resolutions and the deep down satisfaction that ‘I’m worth it’ then gently pacify the guilt!

Here’s a suggestion; for the first year ever, why not replace the guilt and the need to compensate for your misjudgement and turn it into something positive. Take that feeling of regret and shame and use it as motivation to redress the crime by actually doing something for others over the coming year.

Whether it is setting up a DD for a needy cause, or sweeping up at your church hall. Whether it is remembering to call on elderly neighbours or simply being less aggressive and self-serving whilst shoving your way along life’s’ commute. Find a way to say sorry for being such a greedy indulgent egotist.
This year give something back, and in the process you will gain much more than you will ever fit in a dozen Tesco’s trolleys.

Here endeth the lesson.
Jools Chapter 25 vs 12

Friday, 14 December 2007

Give the troops more drugs and less bullets

Today’s’ news-mongers are grabbing desperately onto the reports, which state that there are nearly a thousand soldiers sent home each year for Drugs related offences.

Can you imagine how tough it is for some of our boys and girls who are fighting on our behalf in the most frightening and dangerous places on earth? Some of these people are literally boys & girls, barely out of school and touting guns, which they are then required to shoot and kill other human beings with.

They have to follow orders to drop bombs, which they know have a fair chance of killing as many civilians as enemy soldiers. They are surviving in the harshest climactic conditions often for very long periods without rest. They go through all of this knowing their family are a million miles away fretting whether the next roadside bomb has their loved ones name on it!

I’m a grown man, with much life experience and my fair share of bad times. I am worldly wise and generally pretty tough. I would readily hit the hard stuff if I were put in their position. If I were stuck in such an inhospitable hellhole with bullets ricocheting off my tobacco tin, I would find the nearest dealer and beg him to line me up a moment of bliss.

Or… Why not drop several tons of Weed on either side of the enemy divides. A massive party breaks out and everyone gets stoned. Anyone who has ever smoked a joint will know that shooting someone is the last thing on your mind; your first priority would be getting to the biscuit jar.

On top of all this there is a special team of volunteer set up to diffuse all the Christmas Crackers, which are being sent from families to troops. I am not kidding now; Christmas Crackers are listed as explosives and have to be diffused before entering Iraq! Sat around their sand strewn and lonely Christmas dinner tables, each time a cracker is pulled they are greeted by a silence created by the stupidity of the bureaucrats who sent them there.

I have a solution. If our brave troops have to shout ‘Bang!’ When their Christmas Crackers are pulled. Then why not also diffuse all the bullets and bombs that enter Iraq. (I’m no expert, but I think they are also classed as explosives.)

Then, just like when we were boys, if you point your gun at someone and shout ‘Bang,’ the enemy have to lay down dead and they are out of the game. If they refuse to acknowledge that they have been shot, then your biggest soldier and their biggest soldier have a proper scrap and decide things that way. Slowly but surely the mess in Iraq and the other world war zones, would be settled without bloodshed. Less shooting and less bloodshed means less stress, less stress means less drugs.

I really don’t mean sound like I am belittling the work being done by men far, far braver and manlier than I will ever be even if I live to be 350 years old. I am just trying to grab your attention in order to highlight a situation, which shouldn’t be allowed to continue. I just get annoyed when brave selfless men and women on the front line are expected to be ‘Superhumans.’ On top of that, when they are caught with drugs, they are shipped off home in disgrace!

Lets sort this out. Support our bravest of countrymen and women with proper balanced understanding and tolerance, considering the enormity of the job we are asking them to do.

Then if the families want to send them a Christmas parcel, don’t forget to include the Rizzlers!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Fat of the land

Lets be more selective about about the habits we adopt from across he pond.

I was sat on a plane coming back from Texas, a very large woman next to me was talking incessantly and only pausing long enough to down another mini bottle of in flight wine. The more she drank, the louder she became and the list of things, which were ‘so cute and adorable’ got longer and longer!

I was ready to scream, but realised that if I did, a twitchy air Marshall would probably shoot me! I was pinned into the corner and escape was impossible, so I decided on the direct approach. If I could not shut her up, at least I ought to have a conversation with her and direct her verbal assault somewhere meaningful.

‘Why are you flying to the UK? Business or pleasure?’ I asked gingerly.
‘Young Man we are travelling to Edinburrow in Ingerland for a vacation’ she declared.
‘Ah, that’s nice, anything in particular you plan to do whilst you are there?’ getting a little more confident now!
‘We are going to Edinburrow to shoot Peasants!’ she announced!
‘No, No surely not! You are going to shoot Pheasants!’ I laugh all nonchalant and slightly nervous.
‘Young Man!’ she bellowed ‘I know what I’m going to shoot!’

Apart for the fat Texan lady another unwelcome American import and destroyer of our ‘peasants’ is MacDonald’s!

I live quite near to MacDonald’s and the thing that makes me laugh out loud, every time, without fail, is the MacDonald’s Drive-Thru.

Now, it is a widely accepted fact that McD's food isn't exactly the first name in healthy options. I enjoy a McD (now and then) it is very tasty, but eaten as part of a balanced diet etc.

Now, for you to go to a Drive-Thru to collect your 'fast food' is a bit of a dumb move. You know that it’s not a very healthy food and yet you compound this, by not even walking the 10 metres from the car park to the counter, to pick it up. Instead you sit in your car for 10 minutes with the engine running, polluting the atmosphere and enlarging your arse!
At least the exercise from car to door would in some way compensate for the crap you are about to ingest.
The funniest funny thing is that it actually takes longer to queue up in your car for the food, than it does to park and walk to the counter. So, get some exercise and get a life! Literally!People who go through the Drive-Thru have somehow been seduced by the American heart disease loving, life-shortening lifestyle. It is a vegetative utopia where everything is delivered to your car window. From personal services through to divorce proceedings, from Pizza through to exercise equipment, your average American needn’t leave the comfort of his haemorrhoid cushion ever again. Just look the evidence. The results of this cultural regression are the fat, cholesterol soaked American Drive-Thru role models you are emulating - argument won!

America has given us many good things from Cheerleaders to Elvis. We as a nation are accredited with intelligence, manners and taste, and as such we should make better decisions about which of the products and habits of our North American cousins we adopt and which we throw in the trash!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Stolen Identity!

Only 1 in 5 schools this year are having a traditional nativity play. By panicking that we might offend someone, we are losing our identity as a nation. Why don't we just paint the world beige and abandon all the things, which make us who we are?

I am an Englishman living in Wales. One of the primary things I love about living here is this nations huge pride in its own identity. Traditions, nationalism and iconic Welsh-isms are oozing out of every pore of every brick, that built this proud people. The Welsh make no apology for their absolute indulgence in their historical landmarks and their reminiscent branding of their modern behaviour. And why the heck should they?

The UK has opened its arms to people of many nations for hundreds of years. Our country only exists in its current healthy socioeconomic state thanks to all those people who left their lives far away and made old Blighty their home.

Some came here by direct request, some came here speculatively, but whether press ganged or refugee, holiday maker or migrant, they all came to a place which understood its own self, which proudly wore its uniform with buttons polished and collars starched.

What is happening to us as a nation? Our history and traditions are the things which glue us together as a multicoloured melting pot of glory and strength. Many of our proudest historical moments include references to the part played by the many cultures who have helped secure our victories.

The Christmas nativity itself is based around the story of a prophet, born in the middle east. Its many facets reflect a conglomerate of fables and legends from all over the world. Did you spot a Christmas tree to the left of the manger? Even the date itself is based on the ancient winter solstice celebrations, Jesus was actually born nearer to October - do the maths, its fact.

The point I am making is, our history, our culture, our traditions, already reflect a multiculturalism which other nations do not even come close to. So why, Oh why, Oh why, are we in such a hysterical rush to 'dumb down' in an attempt to pacify our own fear of offending someone. The very people we are in fear of offending are the very people we already represent.

So, we can either paint the whole country beige, including the Red London buses and Prince Philips nose and slowly slip into a gloop of universal uniformity, (which neither offends nor inspires) and probably, given time, the whole country will resemble a great big Beige GAP outlet and there will be a MacDonald's in the garden of every house and the PC Police stood on every corner.

Or.... we can halt all this nonsense, maintain the traditions and celebrations which come from a rich and colourful multicultural heritage and shout out, loud and proud that we are British, we are inclusive, an we are here to stay, wrinkles and all!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

A storm in a teacup at a teddy bears picnic

This whole ridiculous fuss being made about the naming of a Teddy-Bear needs putting into perspective. I guess I risk 15 days hard time for this!

If this News item had broken at the beginning of April I would have naturally assumed that it was from the same people who came up with the great Spaghetti tree scandal.

For those 3 people left in the UK who haven’t heard this story, an English teacher in Sudan, during a perfectly innocent class discussion with 10 year olds, decided, at the children’s request to call the class Teddy; Muhammad. She has now been imprisoned and some are even calling for her execution!

Ironic, isn’t it, that the child, who came up with this lofty Teddy title, was called Muhammad.

Now I believe that everyone has the right to their views and beliefs and they also have the right to express indignation and disgust at another’s lack of respect for that belief.

This is not the story of a politically motivated extremist wilfully and intentionally insulting an opposing view. This was an earnest, hard working schoolteacher, who made a minor cultural error.

It’s not ok to call a cuddly harmless and lovable teddy Muhammad, but ok to call a small child it. Now lets just think about this. Which is more disrespectful? A harmless lovable toy, or your typical 10-year old boy who spends most of his time with dirty knees, a finger up his nose and a dead beetle in a matchbox?

The world is full of really serious international political and religious problems. Why has this tiny tiny issue been allowed to be used by a minor group of extremists to make it look like many Muslims hate Westerners, when clearly the two ideologies cohabit quite happily in the vast majority of places.

The prophet Muhammad is spoken of as a wise and reasonable man who had great diplomatic skills uniting many opposing tribes, which existed during his life. Surely he would not have executed an innocent woman for a momentary lack of insight. So where are this tiny number of his followers, getting their authority to pass judgement on her?

I fully agree that when abroad you follow the rules of that country. What I do not agree with is governments allowing the political hijacking of minor events by extreemists, when there are far more important issues that need debating.

I used to be a Christian – would I have been justified in executing everyone who calls their pit bull terrier or their goldfish; Jesus? I guess the Jews set the precedent for this by crucifying Jesus for claiming to be the son of God. They set the original benchmark in stupidity. Have we learned nothing in the last 2000 years?

After the success of Paddington Bear, Rupert Bear and Pooh Bear, perhaps this new recruit also has a future in print.