"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Bournemouth Sea and Sky in January

Friday, 27 January 2012

yellow polka-dot bikini

"It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka-dot bikini,
That she wore for the first time today.
An itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka-dot bikini,
So in the locker she wanted to stay!

Brian Hyland 1960
Lyrics and music by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss

Saturday, 21 January 2012

What will happen to our High Streets and Shopping Malls?

High street stores have had a disastrous Christmas, and it seems they are now having a disastrous time in the January sales. The fact is many of us have little if any money to spend, are unemployed or are fearful of losing our jobs. Or if we are pensioners our pension simply does not go so far these days, with interest rates on savings at an all time low. Several household names have gone bust in the last few months and weeks. Camping equipment shops, clothes shops, shoe shops, card shops. No business seems immune from failure in these difficult times, except perhaps undertakers and accountants, death and taxes being as ever the only certainties in life! Even here, tax accountants could be in for a lean time if much needed simplifications to the tax system ever happen.
One household name that is disappearing is Kodak, the company who brought cameras to the masses with the old Box Brownie. What a fiddle it was to change the film in those old cameras. If you were not very careful, light got in and ruined the film before it had a chance to be processed. Then Kodak developed the Instamatic. The film was in a cartridge that we just dropped into the camera. That was so much easier.
But then along came digital cameras and Kodak just didn’t seem to know how to respond to such fundamental change in photography techniques.
But there is even more monumental change on the way. Internet sales over Christmas and New Year were up 10% over the same period last year. It is so easy to buy on line. And it is green. We save petrol as well as time. And now we buy our groceries, our clothes and our Christmas presents on- line. We buy car tax and pay all our bills on-line. We even send greetings cards by email. We buy our holidays and order our holiday money on the Internet. Where is this going to end? Even if we do go to the supermarket, we can now pay at self-service checkouts, being spoken to by a machine not a real person.
What this means, of course, is that fewer and fewer of us will use shops or banks or post offices any more. We can even print off our postage stamps at home now! Think what this will mean. There will simply be no need any more for many of the shops in the High Street. Or for the big out of town shopping malls. Things are changing in a huge way! Will the High Street shops and shopping malls become a thing of the past? What will happen to those areas? Will we spend all our spare time in our own bubbles, staring at our own screens and losing our human communication skills in the process?
Any ideas?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Salvation of the World?

The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart 

Vaclav Havel, the former Czech President, in an address to the United States Congress in 1990.  

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Big Issue - again.

I really would like to know from my American readers and friends whether they have anything at all like The Big Issue?
Forgive me for mentioning it yet again but The Big Issue in the UK really is a jolly good read - not to mention the fact that every time you buy one you really do help someone to get back on their feet again after falling on hard times. So please don't look the other way as you walk past the vendors on our city streets. Please buy one. The magazine comes out every week - and costs no more than the calorie stuffed coffee latte or hot chocolate you'll otherwise buy on the way back to the train. So give your stomach and waistline a treat, and help someone build their life again.
The New Year Edition no. 981 has a really interesting review of 2011 and much, much more besides. And from January 16th there will be new look, bigger, better magazine, still for the same £2.50.
Go on, give it a try. Please!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Mea Culpa

An apology to my readers - I seem to have been away from here for too long - well, a week anyway. Fact is I have had my head down finishing my next book and everything else just had to go on hold. I hope to be back in full flow again soon.

I did though take a break from my scribblings to go to Southwark Cathedral for a wonderful service - the annual Diocesan Servers' Festival Eucharist, where we get a chance to be thanked for all our efforts (!) and to go through an Act of Redication. Wonderful organ music, beautiful Cantor's voice, fantastic incense, amazing spiritual experience.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy Day for Hens!

As Aldous Huxley once said,
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

“1 in every 30 Americans, that is 10 million people, back the Humane Society of the United States, an organization that seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals and is America’s ‘mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation and neglect.’ This means that 29 out of every 30 or 290 million Americans may not care very much about animal cruelty. That is a huge number of people.
I wrote that a couple of years ago and the really good news is that another million now back the society, that is now 1 in 28 Americans!
But the fact remains that many farm animals are still subjected to the most appallingly cruel conditions in factory farms. Would those who love their own family pets be happy for them to be treated to the same kind of cruelty? By our inactions we appear to condone miserable birthing cages or farrowing crates for female pigs, where they are held for months and can hardly move let alone turn around or socialize with other pigs; we eat and apparently enjoy the French delicacy pate de foie gras which requires that ducks and geese are force-fed unnaturally large quantities of food through a metal tube that is shoved down their throats and into their stomachs two or three times each day. This barbaric treatment produces a liver that is fatty, diseased and ten times the normal size. It sounds disgusting and it is; goodness knows how those birds must suffer. We prefer not to know about the calves separated from their mothers within the first few days of birth and crammed into individual crates or stalls, tethered by their necks, so they can hardly move, for the duration of their dreadful short lives; and we ignore the plight of the 280 million laying hens in the United States which spend their lives cooped up in tiny cages with no more than the space of an A4 piece of paper that they can (hardly) call their own.”

However not all is gloom and doom. Compassion in World Farming is celebrating a landmark piece of EU animal welfare legislation that came into force today, making the use of barren battery cages for egg-laying hens illegal throughout the European Union (EU).
There's a short and pretty silly film of hens celebrating as well!
But, and this is why we cannot be complacent, 13 EU states are likely to be non-compliant, with 84 million hens still stuck in those dreadful cages. And these eggs may still be imported and sold in the UK, or used in the manufacture of other foods offered for sale. So those of us who care about animals and their welfare must remain vigilant. Our work is not over yet.

You can go to the CWF “The Big Move” website to ask the European Commission not to let non-compliant nations get away with flouting the ban. And we can all be more thoughtful about what we are buying and eating. Please think about this, for the sake of sentient animals everywhere.

And a Very Happy New Year to all my readers.

It's Time you knew - by Transition Rachel at YouTube

Many reasons to love La Gomera



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