image from: investorplace.com
amiss, so let’s start off with one of those beautiful stories that you read about every now and then.
An Act of Kindness
Imagine you are a humble bus driver working for a pittance on a city transport system. One night after your shift you are checking the bus and you find €390,000 in a bag. Happy days! Well, not for Wolfgang R who found the bag on a Vienna bus. Being an honest man Wolfgang called the police, gave the money to them and they were able to trace the owner from her passport which was in the bag. Beautiful.
What are the chances of meeting an honest man like that? Was there any other good news this week?
Well, I suppose it is not good news but at least it made me smile; Silvio Berlusconi is to run again for PM of Italy. You have to hand it to him, after several court cases on various charges and having been dumped from power by Frauline Merkel for mishandling the economy, 76 year old Silvio, who has not a grey hair on his head, could not care less about them and is aiming to be Italy’s next PM.
“Them” being anyone outside Italy (and inside Italy) who does not think he is fit to lead the country.
I hope the couple of years away from the corridors of power have not made Mr Berlusconi “Rusty.”
Mathias Rust, do you remember that name? Neither did I until I read that it is twenty five years since 19 year old Mr Rust flew a light aircraft into Red Square in Moscow. I remember the incident. For his efforts he got four years in a Soviet prison camp. Bit thick of the Russians if you ask me.
Rust claims that he did the prank to highlight the failure of America and Russia to make any real progress on ending the Cold War and limiting nuclear weapons. He felt he had something to do and he did it. History is made interesting by such incidents.
This week’s incident which shall still be talked about in twenty five years is the death of the nurse in England after she gave out details of Kate’s pregnancy. Jacintha Saldanha is 46 and she took her own life after being caught out in a prank call from two DJs in Australia claiming to be the queen and Prince Charles.
Sometimes pranks can go so wrong. What a world we live in.
Dave Brubeck and Oscar Niemeyer don’t live in this world anymore; they’ve moved on to the next one. Brubeck was a great jazz musician and Niemeyer a genius at designing buildings. These men looked at a piece of music or an open space and could imagine something beautiful. They were not limited by fear nor were they afraid to try something new and challenging. Perhaps they’ll build a concert hall in the heavens.
Unusually for a jazz musician Brubeck experimented with classical and Baroque tunes in his work, while Niemeyer was once quoted as saying that he could look at an open space and picture what he wanted to put there in his mind in detail. True men of vision!
image from bbc.co.uk
Flags and bombs
We have had our men of vision back on the streets of Belfast. You know the ones in masks and carrying petrol bombs. And what’s all the hubbub about? Flying the Union Flag over the city hall in Belfast.
Now I don’t know if I am hearing right this week but I think that we in the New North have more important things to be worrying about right now. The chancellor told us on Tuesday in his autumn statement that the whole place is on its knees, that there will be no hope of growth for the next five years and basically we may all start praying for better times to come.
And what is our big concern in the New North; the flying of a flag. Why is it that people never catch on to the fact that we can’t eat flags?
Then to top it all the death threats and the driving out from homes started again. Naomi Long, Alliance MP for East Belfast, had to leave her home on Friday last after her life was threatened by loyalists.
Ms Long was recently in the news for bringing the Marie Stopes abortion clinic to Belfast. She is a liberal thinker and a promoter of equal rights for all. She does not deserve to be driven from her home or killed be anyone, loyalist or not.
It is an inalienable human right that a person should have the right to life and be safe in their home no matter where that home is. Naomi Long should be free as to live her life safe in her home in East Belfast as I am in Clady, as is anyone in Dungannon, Armagh or Lurgan and as a child is safe to live in its mother’s womb while its home is there.
Even poor Hilary felt distressed about the whole flags issue when she came to visit for a few hours last week. (Can you imagine her coming as President?) How can we expect to attract tourists when we send poor Hilary Clinton, peacemaker extraordinaire, home to the good old US of A crying and weeping about the state of the New North?
Now if you had a choice of a fortnight here, ducking petrol bombs and rocks or a quiet few days on the moon, which would you choose?
No doubt about it, I’d go Lunar! But the cost might be a bit prohibitive.
image from ciarcullen.wordpress.com
Everyone’s gone to the moon!
A team of former NASA executives has launched a private venture to send two people to the Moon for $1.4bn (£871m). They intend launching operations in the 2020s so I’ll have to start and put an extra few bob a week into the Turlough Quinn Lunar Holiday account in my local credit union. Taking roughly 15 years till my next holiday break, it works out at about £1,116,666.67 a week.
You’d need to be a Greek politician to make that sort of money!
Transparency International carried out a survey of the perceptions of people about corruption in their country. Of all 27 EU countries Greece was thought of as the most corrupt.
Denmark, New Zealand and Finland were perceived as the least corrupt in the world. The good old UK was 15th overall in the world.
But wait for it, this is the funny bit.
Ireland, Ireland of the bankers, the builders, the planning corruption, Charles Haughey and Bertie Ahern, came 25th overall in the world league of least corrupt nations. Now had it been the league of the most corrupt nations and had Ireland made 25th place I’d have thought that maybe they were a bit out, say a few paces too low.
But to try and tell me that there are 180 countries in the world that are more corrupt than Ireland makes me scared to think of what our world is coming to! It is also an insult to my intelligence!
In fairness no one’s perfect. And that is a scientific fact.
Do you know those times when sometimes you think a person is just a wee bit odd and you can’t put your finger on it, well worry no more. Scientists have shown that all of us have at least 400 genetic mutations in our “genome,” or genetic code. I’ll bet you didn’t even know you had a genome.
The research gives an insight into the "flaws that make us all different, sometimes with different expertise and different abilities, but also different predispositions in diseases," said Prof David Cooper of Cardiff University, the lead researcher of the study.
"Not all human genomes have perfect sequences," he added. "The human genome is packed with pervasive, architectural flaws."
The bit that annoys me is that Cardiff University probably spent millions finding out what we all knew before. All you have to do is go to any club, pub, school or town to see that people are different. It’s what makes the whole place interesting.
Some people can sing some people can play golf and some people can smoke a bit of dope; the Palestrina choir, from St Patrick’s pro cathedral in Dublin, will sing at the Papal Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict on January 6 next. A big day for the Dublin lads and lasses.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy has been voted PGA Tour Player of the Year by fellow players on the US Tour. The 23-year-old, the youngest player to win the award since Tiger Woods in 1998, topped the money lists in Europe and the US and was also part of the victorious European Ryder Cup team. It’s good to see a local lad do well. My wife states, “Everyone from Ireland is a local lad!”
And Washington State has made the smoking of marijuana legal. Anyone over 21 is allowed to carry an ounce of the stuff for personal use but you can’t smoke in public. There you are now, a little smoke does one no harm.
But what about all the people who went to prison for smoking marijuana before this? Will they be able to claim for unfair imprisonment?
There is something strange going on in society when we change laws to make what is obviously wrong appear to be right and when we attack those institutions that have worked for thousands of years in order to please a few.
image from blog.newhumanist.org.uk
A Bob A Job
We are all so equal now that even the scouts are going to change the oath that they take so that children atheists can feel comfortable taking the oath. A child atheist! Did you ever hear such nonsense?
A child believes in three things; their parents, Santa Claus and God. What the secularists and the atheists can’t accept is that belief in God is natural. It is encoded in our DNA and is not one of the mistakes in our genome that the scientists we talked of earlier found.
People become atheists. They all tell you that they stopped believing at some time. This means that they did believe or they would not have had to stop believing.
The existing Scout Promise reads: "On my honour, I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law."
The alternative versions introduced more than 40 years ago allow Hindus and Buddhists to use the word "my Dharma" and Muslims "Allah" instead of God. Non UK citizens are able to replace the phrase "duty to the Queen" with "duty to the country in which I am now living".
Now they are going to do away with the word God altogether. We in the west are going to throw away our Christian heritage because we want to be inclusive. And then we will be in some mess.
Did you ever stop to think of what Britain and Ireland shall be like when we go back to being the third world countries we really are? Britain and Ireland are broke; we produce nothing, have few natural assets and cannot afford to go on living the way we are living.
Rather than stand as a community and see what we can do about our countries we are infighting, looking after our own corners and could not care less about what happens to our neighbour. The rich are getting richer and the poor are becoming more numerous.
image from mediabistro.com
Blessed Are the Poor
If you don’t believe me look at the budget in the Free State this week. Read this from an Irish paper:
“The most savage Budget of the economic downturn has hit ordinary families for €1,000 a year.
Property tax, cuts to child benefit and changes to social insurance have put extraordinary new pressure on squeezed family incomes.
Pensioners will lose out with cuts to the household package that helps for electricity, gas and telephone bills.
And in a move that is set to prove highly controversial, mothers on maternity leave will now have to pay tax on State maternity payments - despite paying for this already through PRSI.
No section of society was left unscathed by the draconian Budget.”
Cuts in child benefit and taxing maternity pay; talk about an attack on the family.
And where is Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen, Seanie Fitzpatrick and all their cronies? They were off enjoying their big pensions.
The budget also took money from poor families who were depending on grants to get their children clothes for school. When asked what the families who had been hit in this way were to do what did our Joan, who has a good minister’s salary and is married to a senior lecturer in mathematics in the Dublin Institute of Technology say?
“Social Protection Minister Joan Burton landed in hot water after justifying cuts to the clothing and footwear allowance by saying families can get "good value in some shops"” according to the Irish Independent.
Two things about our Joan; first she has one child and I’ll bet any money she has never had to shop around for cheap clothes to send her offspring to school in. Second, Joan is a Labour member of the Government, the same Labour party that has always made a big thing of helping the poor......until they become an inconvenience, that is.
image from belfasttelegraph.co.uk
Have you ever had that feeling that you are reading something that is a joke?
Well, on Saturday Comrade Varadkar, (did I not drink varadkar and coke at a time?) erstwhile minister for Transport in the Banana Republic of Ireland, told the people that if they wanted their roads repaired that they would have to do it themselves.
Comrade Varadkar, who seems to have gotten on the wrong bus in Moscow yesterday morning, said:
"There are proposals to introduce a new community involvement scheme for regional and local roads on a pilot basis in 2013 involving an exchequer contribution of between €5m and €10m," he said.
"This revised scheme should allow communities and the State to share the cost, or the workload, involved in repairing minor roads which wouldn't otherwise be improved."
If any of you are wondering what to buy your Free State cousins for Christmas I have negotiated a price with our local quarry here for a bucket of stones; £1 for a bucket of ordinary stones, £10 for a bucket that have been painted green, and £25 for a bucket full of those that have a special wee shamrock on them. These last would be a particularly good present for St Patrick’s Day.
So Paddy’s back to being a navvy!
How much was that ticket to the moon again?
“Our God is a great God.”
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published in Observer Newspaper group, N.I.
13th Dec '12