It’s been a week of coming and going. Mitt Romney is definitely gone this time. Two attempts at the presidency and two failures; time to take a hint,
Bill Dees dies at 73 Co-Writer to Roy Orbison's 'Oh, Pretty Woman' image source: spinner.com
Mitt. Bill Dees is gone. Bill Dees is one of those men who most of us have never heard of but who we all know. He wrote “Pretty Woman” and “It’s Over” for Roy Orbison. He also wrote a lot of familiar tunes for Johnny Cash, Glenn Campbell, Frank Ifield, and Gene Pitney.
“Don’t panic! Don’t panic!” Yes, he’s gone too. Clive Dunn, aka Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army, has gone to the great butcher’s shop in the sky. Who doesn’t remember his silly van? Most of them are gone now. While Dad’s Army is still widely watched on TV the actors are nearly all deceased. Like the passing of an era, there is something poignant in the death of Clive Dunn. I’ll bet a lot of you can remember the words of “Grandad” Dunn’s 1970 hit single which went to the top of the charts.
Henry McCullough, he was reported as gone but “rumours of my recent demise have been greatly exaggerated” as Mark Twain once said.
McCullough, from Portstewart, County Derry, is one of the best known guitarists in the world, performing with a host of legendary artists. Mr McCullough, who is 69, was also a member of Joe Cocker's band. He played with Cocker at the legendary Woodstock concert in 1969, the only Irishman to perform there.
He also spent 18 months touring and recording with Wings in the 1970s, after being invited to join the band following a number of jamming sessions with Paul McCartney.
I couldn’t care less about playing with Paul McCartney but playing with Joe Cocker at Woodstock puts Henry McCullough in the league of true Irish legends.
David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell
CIA director David Petraeus has resigned from his post, after admitting he had an extra-marital affair. In a statement, Mr Petraeus described his behaviour as "unacceptable" for the leader of the world’s premier intelligence agency.
It seems that David conducted a not so covert affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Do these men never watch the movies? Only James Bond can do that and not get caught!
The Germans have gone. Well, they were never actually there in the first place. It seems that the demographic shift in Germany is so serious that many town houses are lying empty. While not yet evident in the cities, small towns throughout Germany are becoming bedecked with boarded up houses and apartments.
“One can already see the signs of this tectonic shift in Altenwalde. It isn't everywhere, but it still can't be missed. There are houses with empty window panes, closed shutters, empty driveways and overgrown gardens. These are symptoms of being vacant or of only being inhabited by a single, usually elderly person who cannot afford to, doesn't have the energy to or simply doesn't care to keep things up. Indeed, demographic change has arrived in Germany's famously idyllic suburbs,” said an article in Der Spiegel.
The rise in materialism has changed our culture and attitude to children. We hear many say “We don’t want children because they are an inconvenience to our lifestyle of big houses and plenty of holidays.” We make the excuse that we can’t afford children. We will sow what we reap. How many empty houses shall we see in a few years?
Actor Branagh receives knighthood image source: news.uk.msn.com
Finally, actor Kenneth Branagh has come to the palace to visit the queen. Local lad Kenneth has been made a knight of the realm by the Mrs Windsor at Buck House. There was a time in my youth when I would have been ridiculing him for going to that place but now as I get older I see the need for awards and ceremony in our society. This shall give other children in Belfast and the New North hope and encouragement.
Famous for roles from Shakespeare to detective Wallander, he was honoured for services to drama and the community of Northern Ireland. The 51-year-old, who was born in Belfast, said he felt "humble, elated and incredibly lucky".
Whether you agree with him being knighted or not, you can’t take away the fact that he is a great actor although he was never as good as the original Wallander in Swedish.
The Free Staters are coming. Enda Kenny is heading north this weekend to the remembrance service in Enniskillen. Twenty five years from that fateful day when a host of people were needlessly killed. We are right to remember these twelve innocent victims of our little civil war.
Eamon de Gilmore is heading to Belfast where he will take part in the annual Remembrance Day service for the war dead. Our Eamon will lay a wreath at Belfast City Hall cenotaph.
John Condon, the ‘Boy Soldier’ of the Royal Irish Regiment image source: waterfordcivictrust.ie
In January this year, Belfast council passed a resolution inviting the Irish government to participate in events to mark both the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and Remembrance Sunday.
On 1 July, the Irish Minister for Transport, Alan Kelly, became the first member of the Republic's government to take part in the annual Somme commemorations at Belfast City Hall.
He laid a laurel wreath at the cenotaph in memory "of those lost at the Battle of the Somme, on behalf of the government of Ireland".
Do you know who the youngest soldier killed in the first war was?
The youngest casualty of the First World War had not yet reached his 14th birthday when he was killed on the fields of Flanders in Southern Belgium. The story of John Condon, the boy soldier from Waterford City, is not well known in Ireland and there is no monument to him in his native town.
John is remembered in Belgium where a large monument stands to this lad from a foreign land who died to help the Belgian people.
All this is a bit too romantic for me. Sixty thousand men died in the first morning of the Battle of the Somme. Why do we fight so much? Why do we hate so much? Are we never going to learn?
Lads form these islands stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting a war no one cares about, coming home in boxes or in shell shock. What is it all about?
image source: libroscatolicosexpress.com
“Man’s freedom is always new and he must always make his decisions anew. These decisions can never simply be made for us in advance by others. If that were the case we would not be free. Freedom presupposes that in fundamental decisions, every person and every generation is a new beginning.”
These words tell us that we all must choose what is right and wrong as we go through life. We do not inherit wisdom; we learn it through experience. And the author of these words has lived through some of the worst evil the world has ever seen; Joseph Ratzinger, aka Benedict XVI. The quote is from paragraph 24 of Spe Salvi, well worth a read, and it tells us why humanity can never quite get it right.
Who else is coming?
Obama helping out during his 2012 campaign drive image source: www.ijreview.com
Well, Obama may not exactly be coming but he is here for another four years. Like him or loathe him, he is the “leader of the free world.”
I read somewhere that the election in America cost over two billion dollars and that most of the money raised for the candidates was from private industry. Now I know very little about high finance, politics or world affairs, but I do know that “he who pays the fiddler calls the tune.”
On the subject of he who pays the fiddler calls the tune, the Italian police came and took away a few highly respected doctors.
“Police in Italy have arrested nine cardiologists over allegations that they carried out unauthorised experimental treatments on patients. All the doctors arrested are linked to the Policlinico hospital in Modena,” said the report on the BBC.
The first thing that comes to mind is that they are trying out drugs for the pharmaceutical companies. I don’t know but it is the idea that hit me as I read the article. Maybe I am too cynical. Perhaps doctors wouldn’t do such a thing.
Who can we trust these days? Barclays Bank had to set aside two billion sterling in order to pay for PPI mis-selling. This is the reason we are getting these annoying phone calls at all hours of day or night, telling us that we may have been mis-sold a PPI and that we might get a ball of money back.
A Madrid bank is daubed with the word 'murderers' after a woman who was about to be evicted killed herself Photograph: Andres Kudacki/AP
But it is not all bad news. Ulster Bank lost £242 million in the third quarter of this year. So far this year it has lost £797 million. If Mr Brown, he of the Australian accent and the brass neck, asks me politely I shall give him back the £20 that I got as a reward after the computer fiasco. As someone else says, “every little helps.”
I read this in the paper on Saturday and if it does not make you angry then nothing would.
“A woman jumped to her death as bailiffs approached to evict her from her fourth-floor Spanish apartment for failing to pay the mortgage.
It was the second apparent suicide linked to evictions and further highlights the dire conditions many Spaniards find themselves in as the country's economy sinks.
The government recently created a task force to study how to reduce evictions because of the devastating personal impact of repossessions due to tough mortgage rules and growing unease among the public on the subject.
The unnamed 53-year-old woman threw herself from her balcony in a suburb of Bilbao, the regional Interior Ministry said. She worked at a local bus depot, was married to a former town councillor and had a 21-year-old daughter.”
She does not sound like a frivolous non caring woman to me. What are we doing in Europe in order to pay German bondholders?
Perhaps while they are up here, Enda and Eamon can lay a wreath to all those who shall die in Ireland to pay back the bondholders; the broken hearted mother’s whose children build up Australia, the debt ridden businessmen who believed the lies of the bankers and politicians, or the dispossessed who see the banks take back their homes.
Aynsley defends high salaries at former Anglo Irish Bank image source: sligotoday.ie
But the gravy train goes on at Anglo Irish Bank. Read this from the Irish Independent last Friday and then think of the poor woman in Spain:
“Six current executives of the former Anglo Irish Bank are on pay packages of more than €500,000 -- making a mockery of the half-million euro cap on bankers' pay.
The revelation will raise serious questions over why so many are being paid so much to wind down the bust bank, which is already estimated to have cost the taxpayer €30bn.”
If we don’t need a revolution in Europe what do we need? Can our leaders not see the anger and resentment that is building up in the people of Greece and Spain as well as Italy and other broke countries?
Is there any good news this week?
Karen Gillan, born in Scotland image source: raising-redheads.com
Well, there is if you want to marry a redhead. About 1.5% of the world’s population has red hair but if you go to Scotland the percentage rises to around 13%. I wonder why the Scots have such a high number of redheads. Perhaps it is because they are very fiery in nature or maybe the red hair evolved as a way to annoy their English neighbours.
And Irish intelligence was to the fore again. You know, when the world talks about the “thick Paddy” we must remember that we bring it on ourselves. Just listen to this:
“A bank robber struck too early and stole an empty cashbox from a security guard on his way into a bank, Belfast Crown Court has heard.
Joseph O'Callaghan, 31, of Gleann Si, Rostrevor, was jailed for nine years for robbery and possessing a knife in public on 8 April 2011.
It is amazing that you can do all this planning and you decide to attack the man when he is going into the bank as opposed to waiting until he comes out, the judge told him.
It shows the level of intellect we are dealing with."
Now no harm to Joe but he deserves all the time he got. How dare he bring such dishonour on the great name of Irish thieves! Our thieves are bankers, Senior Counsels, TD’s and cabinet ministers.
image source: amazon.com
The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, is the title of a book by American economist and author William K. Black. He came to that conclusion while on holiday in Dublin in Sept 2008. Do you remember what happened one night that month?
And so we come to the end of another week; another week of ordinary comings and goings, people dying and people making choices. Is there any point to my musings?
Yes. I have a point in mind and it is this; when you look at the world and try to take an overview of what is going on you realize that this cannot possibly be all there is to it.
There must be justice, and that justice must be fair and total and the same for everyone with no favouritism shown to rich or poor. Only God can provide such justice and only God can see and know everything, thoughts and deeds, which lead to decisions.
I hope he has more mercy on us than we have on those we consider inferior or poorer than we are.
“Our God is a great God.”
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Weekly Column published in Observer Newspaper group, N.I. 15th Nov '12