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The Demon Drink

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 12:46

Back when I was a teenager, (about 10 years ago, no really, it was!!!) there was a group of men in our town who were known as the local wino’s. Now, I remember seeing them drinking down along the water wall, next to the river. I recall seeing them drunk but not falling down drunk. I never saw any of them passed out on the street or being sick, and they all lived into their sixties and seventies. Looking back now, these men almost seem like paragons of temperance and moderate drinking compared to what I see on the streets around me now. We Irish like to portray ourselves as the ‘easy-going, happy drinker, just out for the craic’, but the truth is, we are the world's drunk.  

This is not the land of the ‘happy drinker’, it is the land of the serious alcoholic. It's hard to believe this country was once known as the Land of Saints and Scholars. (The saints are thin on the ground now and most of the scholars have emigrated). Alcoholism is endemic in our society and the fall out from it reverberates into every area of our lives whether through days lost at work, the cost to the public purse of medical treatment and court cases, not to mention the long term social problems it causes in families. The estimated cost of alcohol abuse in Northern Ireland in one year is - £900 million pounds – yes you read that correctly!...I’ll repeat it for you just to be sure, NINE HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS!!  This is just in the six counties of the North, in a population of less than 2 million people...and what is the government solution to stem the cost of all this?

Well, this is the really fun bit, the first thing that our local  minister is proposing in order to help curb the binge drinking culture, is to allow the pubs to open later! Yes, that’s right, in order to stop people drinking more, they are proposing to allow the pubs to open longer so that people will be able to drink more???!!! I kid you not! Ye cuddent mick it up (that’s Ulster Scots, by the way, oh sorry , I forgot, we did that already! See previous post - Belfast Riots) 

The next proposal is to allow children to stay in the pub until 9.00pm so that their parents can drink longer!!  This is also to make us more attractive to tourists, apparently?!!  Yes, there’s nothing like watching the local clientele drink themselves into a state of emotional tiredness to make your holiday in Ireland complete. If you’re really lucky, a fight might break out and think how much more enjoyable this scene will be when the local steroid-inflated bouncers come charging in to ‘sort things out’ while a couple of children cringe terrified and crying in the corner. No holiday in Ireland would be complete without it!! 

Third on the list, and you are going to love this one - they propose to put the alcohol behind a solid wall in the supermarket so that you have to buy it separately from your shopping!!!! Well, that should sort everything out now, shouldn’t it?? 

Yes I can see it now, picture the scene – two adults, who imbibe on a daily basis, find themselves at home on a Tuesday night and the drink has run out, the dilemma, what will they do now?  Which of these do you think, is the most probable outcome?? 

Will they:- 

A) Decide they’ve probably had enough and could do with an early night, so they go to bed and sleep it off.

B) Flip a coin to see who will go to the supermarket to check out the latest drink offer but decide the stress and inconvenience of having to buy it at a separate counter from the rest of the store puts them off so they call it a night and go to bed!

Or

C) Phone their local taxi service to get them a carry out from the local off-licence?

Yes, for our inebriated friends, it’s really not much of a competition is it??  Because we all know addicts would walk through hell-fire to get their drug of choice and would quite happily sell their mother, soul, children into servitude, if it meant getting what they wanted. Oh, and meanwhile up the hill at Stormont (the NI Parliament), they are still debating minimum pricing!

Meanwhile, down here in the real world, the graveyards are steadily filling up and every day the social problems grow and grow, passing on a legacy of neglect and abuse from one generation to the next. There is hardly a family in this country that doesn’t have at least one alcoholic and several problem drinkers.

Now as I previously mentioned, the RAAD (Right (bunch of) Assh*les Against Democracy, I think that’s what it stands for...) are busy shooting and beating up young men for recreational drug use. Meanwhile, the country is rapidly disappearing into an alcoholic haze of dysfunction and depression. If they were really interested in ridding this country of it’s drug problem, then they should start with the most damaging and costly drug of all, ALCOHOL!!  

So what could be done to curb the drinking problem? Well, here’s a few ideas that I would like to propose. Firstly, restrict the opening hours of off-licences and close them completely for two days a week, say Sunday and Monday. Better still, let’s close everything on a Sunday. I’ve been to many countries in Europe and it was a revelation to me that everything still closes down on a Sunday. Why can’t we do the same, allow the shops to open later during the week, if necessary, but couldn’t we all do with a day off from everything. I remember lazy, quiet Sunday’s when I was young, they were great, we wandered around town and out into the countryside, we had peace and time to explore. 

Next, lower the tax on beer and hike it up on spirits, wine and alco-pops, and remove all tax and VAT from non-alcoholic drinks, like Becks Alcohol Free, which I drink myself and would highly recommend. (For the record, I'm not a reformed alcholic, I've just seen and experienced too many of the negative effects of alcohol, and I have better things to do with my time and money) 

Next, they could try enforcing the law in relation to age and prohibit the sale of strong spirits to under 21’s. It wouldn’t do any harm to ban all advertising that glamorizes alcohol while they’re at it. So what do you think, not very drastic measures but worth consideration?

And then, maybe we could all start telling the truth about alcohol. We treat it as our best friend, no occasion is complete without this guest of honour but, in reality, it is our worst enemy, and who in their right mind would invite their worst enemy into their home and family? Alcohol destroys families, wastes lives, money and talent, and the long term damage to children is something that would be almost impossible to quantify. Alcohol needs to be treated with care because if you don't treat it with respect, it will strip you of yours. So, if you take a drink, enjoy it but remember that the view through the bottom of the glass is a false one and no problem was ever resolved by drinking yourself into a stupor. Life sober really isn't that bad, I still enjoy a night out but I can drive home at the end of it, I wake up with no 'morning after', my purse isn't empty, and I actually remember the nights events. So, try it sometime, who knows, you might even grow to like it.

As usual, comments are welcome.

Permalink 5 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 2 Aug 2012, 21:23)
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In Defence of Young Men

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 14:30

One of the items on the RTE News this week caught my eye (one of the advantages of living along the border, we get all the British and Irish Channels).

Apparently, there has been an increase in suicides among young men due to the economic situation here.  Figures showed that 38% of these young men were unemployed, while 32% worked in construction, which is the sector suffering most since the downturn. I also read in the New Statesman that suicide rates in Greece have gone up 40% since the austerity crisis.

The high suicide rate relates to men and boys and a few years ago there was a European report which showed that the suicide rate in this part of Ireland was 73% per cent higher than anywhere else in Europe. So, although the present economic situation is partly to blame at the moment, there are also other reasons why young men are suffering so much. 

One of these, I believe, is the level of violence aimed at young men. I never knew how bad it was in this country for young men until I had some of my own. Throughout their lives, from they were children until they were grown up, their primary experience of dealing with older men and boys was one of threat, violence, bullying and intimidation. I remember having a conversation with my youngest son many years ago when he was at secondary school and he said to me, ‘Mum, you have no idea what it is like, every day, all you get is, I’m gonna fight you, I’m gonna get you.’ 

This level of threat has followed them right through their lives, from their teachers to their peer group, to work colleagues. I remember, as a teenager, witnessing a teacher slapping a twelve year old boy on his hands with a leather strap that was a quarter of an inch thick and feeling physically ill. (I was in another classroom that overlooked his). I have seen numerous acts of violence committed against young men throughout my life and, so, it was no surprise to me to read that young men under the age of twenty five were more likely to be victims of violence than any other group.

Here in the North, there is another more sinister side to this violence that comes from a self-appointed Republican paramilitary group RAAD, who are shooting and beating up young men for minor drug offences (the major drug dealers pay protection to other criminal groups so they don’t get touched). They think if they add Republican to their name, this gives them some sort of legitimacy within the Nationalist community. We have had the extraordinary situation of parents bringing their sons to these people to be shot out, of fear that if they didn’t, there would be worse done to the whole family.  

There is also the cultural aspect to this, the macho culture that continually supports the ridiculous idea that males need to be toughened up. A few weeks ago, I read a letter in the Observer newspaper from a doctor, (unfortunately the paper went to the recycling) who said that males were the weaker sex, that a premature child was more likely to die if it was male. I was also speaking to a school principal who taught at a girls school for many years before becoming principal of a boys school. She told me that there was a huge difference in them and that girls were smarter, quicker and matured earlier and the boys were more naïve and took a lot longer to mature. I have to say that concurs with my own experience of bringing up boys and girls.

The question I would like to pose is this – what if all this violence was being directed towards young girls?  What would we be doing then, society would be in uproar!  A friend of mine asked this question at a recent community meeting, he works with and counsels young men. After the meeting, he was taken aside and told not to ask the question again by members of one of our ‘political parties’.

What kind of society have we created which accepts that young men are legitimate targets for violence and do not deserve to be treated with the same gentleness and kindness as young women? Why do boys have to be toughened up and made to repress their emotions? 

There are also paradoxes to this here in Ireland and that is in the way young males are ‘mammied’. Where their mother, whether through her own narcissism, or through some warped idea of her role as a parent, mollycoddle young men and do everything for them, indulging them all the time. The outcome of this, is to leave a grown up boy who is incapable of caring for himself, who has never learned how to deal with issues in a mature fashion and who finds himself in adulthood completely unprepared for, and unable to cope with, the realities of life.

A boy is a human being and, as such, has the same emotional range as a girl. He needs to be allowed to freely express his feelings as a child in order to learn how to manage and control them so that they don’t overwhelm him then when faced with crises later in adulthood.   

The role of a parent is to prepare your child for life in the real world. To spoil a child is about the worst thing you can do for them and is not a sign of your love for them but a sign of your own emotional immaturity. Most of us love our children and only want the best for them but spoiling a child is the laziest form of parenting because it requires no effort. I watched Rabbi Shmuley Botech on Oprah a few years ago and he drew a great analogy that has always stayed with me. He said that if we thought about it in terms of meat, it would help us to see it more clearly, a piece of meat that is spoiled is rotten and no good to anybody.

This is exactly true of children, the worst people to deal with in life are those who have been spoiled because they expect everything their way, have no empathy for others and have an overbearing sense of their own importance, (the front bench of the Tory party is a fine example of this) and while your child may be important to you, the rest of the world is not so enamoured.

As a society. we need to re-think how we treat our children, boys and girls. Our young men are in crisis and there are not enough grown-up men to help them negotiate their way into adulthood. We all need to take a long hard look at ourselves as parents and human beings because we are failing our children. We try to impose cultural falsehoods on them about how they should act and behave with no regard for the person they are. We allow these levels of violence against them to go unchecked and even believing it is for their own good. Men will not stop being violent until they are brought up without violence, when it is seen as the evil it is and not as something all boys need.

So be kind to your sons and if you want to spoil your child, spoil them with your time and attention. Make an effort and show them their true worth and how to value it. The constant threat of violence only leads to more violence and, inevitably, plays out in the ultimate act of violence against the self, suicide. The job of parenting is probably the hardest job there is, you are responsible for preparing this other human for life, it’s a profound role  and it requires effort but it has it’s own rewards when we see our children grow up into happy respectful people.

 As a final thought I would like you to think about this, the Lakota word for child is Wakanyeja, it translates as ‘sacred being’. Imagine what kind of world we could create if every child born was treated as a sacred being.     

 

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Riots in Belfast (did they ever stop??)

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 14:41

As you may, or may not, have seen on the news this week, we had the 'Glorious Twelfth'. This is where sections of the Unionist and Loyalist community come out to march and celebrate the victory of the Protestant King, William of Orange over the Catholic King, James. This all happened several hundred years ago but you couldn't beat the Norn (Ire)landers for their long memories!  They make elephants envious!!

Anyway, back in the day, when NI was ruled by Unionists, they could pretty much march wherever they wanted but since we've had 'peace', the nationalist community has decided it doesn't want a load of Orangemen marching down their streets and they can now object and refuse. So, in Ardoyne, in Belfast, the two sides live in quite close proximity so, every year, one side wants to march and the other side objects. And every year, as usual, it ends in rioting with the police stuck somewhere in the middle and bearing the brunt of the abuse, not to mention, of course, the thousands of pounds it costs the public purse! (this is a very simplified out-line, there are numerous sub-texts to all of this, which I really don't want to bore you all with, I've been bored by it for years).

By the way, did you know that there are more 'peace lines' in Belfast now than there were throughout the Troubles!  The politics of NI is like a child with a scab on their knee that they keep picking at!  This was one area the Good Friday agreement seriously missed out on. They should have banned all commemorations, marches and all other demonstrations that related to Republican or Unionist politics for a period of at least 50 years to really give us all some peace. 

Do you remember this same debacle, at Drumcree near Portadown that dominated the news several years ago. Unbelievably, or not, they're still whinging about it. What always amazes me about these situations is how people that thick-skinned can all be so easily offended. 

I think they should tear down all the peace walls and keep the police out of it and let them knock blue blazes out of each other until they finally realise that these people are always going to be here and they are going to have to learn to live with them.

Here's another ironic fact about NI. Throughout the troubles, the rate of mixed marriages in NI (ie: between Protestant and Catholic) was one in three!  There isn't a family here that doesn't have a relative or two who have married into the other side. 

Another big step to finally ending all this nonsense would be to integrate all the schools unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen as the Catholic Church has a strong grip on the education of Catholic children which is even more amazing considering all the paedophile scandals of the last few years!  But we're nothing if not forgiving (blind) to the sins of our own side. Urrgghhh! (sorry almost choked writing that last bit!)

Anyway, and so it rumbles on, and on, year after year, after...zzzzzzzzzzz!!  Sorry, dropped off there for a minute!

'Can't the politicians sort it out', I hear you say, 'don't they have their own parliament over there now, like Scotland and Wales??'

Aha ha aha aha ahh ha ha ahahahhahha!! 

Sorry.....yes we do, our very own wee political meeting house up in Stormont where they get to argue about how to spend the pocket money from London. Tis a joy to behold, the oul enemies of yore, all dressed up in their best suits playing at being proper politicians and trying to act like the grown-ups in the House of Commons.

AAAHHH HA AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Sorry, or should that have been LOL LOL LOL!!

Sorry, about that, I'm a bit giddy tonight! Oh, I've just realized, LOL over here, also stands for Loyal Orange Lodge, lol, lol, lol, AGAIN!! 

Och, ye cuddent mick it up!  That's Ulster Scots, by the way!  You didn't know I was an Ulster Scots speaker did you, I didn't either but there you go!  Ulster Scots is a language now too!  Well, if the Fenian's (Irish Catholics) have a language, the other side have to have one too. 

'If yer gan awa' hame, mick sure the dooog is a'right.'  That translates to, 'If you are going home please check that the dog is ok'.

I know it sounds like English spoken with a thick Scottish accent but what do I know and there isn't one registered speaker of this language either. Maybe I should register, I might be able to get a grant from the Ulster Scots Coouncil. Och aye, they get thoosands o' poounds a year fer the promotion o' the 'Ulster Scots Culture and Language'. They have a big shiny office up in Belfast, it's on Great Victoria Street, not far from the Bus Centre, it wid be easy te find. Who knows, maybe a cud git a jawb there, I could be a translator for English tourists who don't speak the lingo...wat de ye think, eh?

Well, isn't it good to know that while we're all watching the pennies in this time of austerity, that our taxes are doing so much good, and being directed to those areas of greatest need over here in NI!!

 

 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Robert McCune, Saturday, 14 Jul 2012, 11:15)
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Bankers again!

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 14:54

Well, here we go again, another banking scandal, quelle surprise!! 

Yes, because we all know that bankers are honest, hard-working, decent types only interested in looking after our money and giving us the best deal they can offer! So what if they fixed the interest rates, mis-sold mortgages, mis-sold insurance, gave themselves huge bonuses and salaries and screwed up the computers, not to mention all those billions they lost.

Well, anyone can make a mistake can't they? I mean, it's probably not really their fault is it? If the nasty old governments had just got rid of ALL the regulation and let them do whatever they wanted well, they would have sorted things out all on their own, wouldn't they?

When you think about it, it's probably the fault of those poor people and all those benefits cheats who get their benefits paid into bank accounts, yes, clogging up the system, they probably shouldn't even be allowed to have a bank account!!  Because £67.50 a week to live on, if you're a single person, is tantamount to living a life of luxury. Just think of all the places you can go and things you can do with £67.50 a week, after you've bought your groceries and paid all your bills. It's no wonder so many people want to live on the dole isn't it?

It just doesn't compare to Bob Diamond's millions, does it, or David Cameron's? I mean what sort of hardship must David Cameron have grown up in when everything was handed to him on a plate. Living a life of privilege, going to the best schools and colleges, never having to worry about what he was going to wear or what he would eat for dinner, or if the house would be warm enough in the winter. I mean, it must get so frustrating being one of the elite that him and his mates used to go out and trash restaurants on the weekend when they were pissed. Of course, daddy paid for it all because, you know, it's not like those people in the riots who seemed to think that they were entitled to do whatever they like. I mean, they were vandals, not like David and his pals, well, that was just youthful high spirits, wasn't it? 

I don't know what you mean, double standard, indeed!

And let's not forget the hordes of immigrants who are arriving by the boat-load daily. If we didn't have all them to worry about we might have noticed what was going on and helped the bankers to look after things better. You know who I mean, all those people fleeing dictatorships and the like, you know, all those countries that the white Europeans used to own, when they had empires and those places where they helped to throw over the democratically-elected governments and install those friendly dictators who would help the British and American arms industry by buying all those weapons and tanks and things. 

You know, I can't remember them all, well, like we did in Iraq and Iran, helping those backward peoples with their funny religions to find the true path to democracy and capitalism, so they can live like us, burdened with taxes and worried about keeping our jobs, and paying mortgages on our negative equity properties. Why should they be allowed to live in peace and harmony with nature in their own countries? We know better than them, everybody knows that! That's why we had to go there, to teach them, to make them civilised like us. 

HA, HA, HA, Ha, ha, ha, haAAAA!!! 

What are you laughing at? I don't think this is a laughing matter at all!!

Actually, you know you're right, because if this was really true, it wouldn't be funny at all......it would be tragic! 

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012, 23:24)
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Spiderman

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 14:55

Went to see the new Spiderman film last night. It was an enjoyable enough film but I really didn't see the point of it. There was nothing new added to the character, or the whole Spiderman story, and it seems to have been made with the Twilight audience in mind. 

Overall, worth a look but, personally, I prefer the Tobey Maguire films and being a big movie fan means that the next big outing for the summer is almost here, the Dark Knight is next and, unfortunately, last outing. Cannot wait!!!!

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Busy times

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 14:59

I know the blog has been neglected a bit recently but I've been busy rehearsing for a play which is on this weekend in An Grianan Theatre in Letterkenny. So, if you're in Co Donegal this weekend and have nothing better to do, then come along and watch our showcase. 

We're doing excerpts from the Neil Simon play The Good Doctor. I'll be in the second cast on Sunday night which no doubt will probably be on You Tube at some point.

 

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The Alternative Feminist/ Austerity

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 15:08

(Contains strong opinions, she's angry today, you have been warned!!)

I am angry today, very, very angry, about bankers and the whole austerity package that has been dumped on everyone, everyone that is, EXCEPT bankers and tax-dodging millionaires and billionaires. 

I watched the news during the week about Greece, and it really upset me to see people in such distress and to hear how the suicide rate is soaring. This part of Ireland had the dubious honour of the highest suicide rate in Europe at one time, and if you had to live here, believe me you would really understand why, but it's Greece and the banks we're on today, we'll get back to Ireland (North and South) another day.

What I don't understand about the whole austerity/economic crisis is this.

The bankers lent money, recklessly, to people who couldn't really afford to be borrowing on the scale that they were allowed to, BY the banks. Then the banks failed and they were bailed out of the public purse. Now the 'public purse' is your tax money, which I am sure you all know because I'm sure anyone who reads this blog is intelligent, knowledgeable AND politically aware!!!!

So when they failed, we bailed them out, (by the way do you remember anyone asking you, if you wanted to bail them out, no, neither do I). So the banks lost all the money, were given all our taxes to 'save' them and they still get to keep all the defaulted property. And now, they are busy throwing people out of their homes and taking back properties that rightly belong to us, THE TAXPAYER!!!! 

And here's another thing, why are they not paying back the money they received in the bail out FROM THEIR PROFITS? WE all have to pay our loans back so WHY DO THEY NOT HAVE TO????? This is wrong morally, ethically, politically and logically.

So why is no-one else asking these questions and challenging these bail outs? Why are the left and the socialists not screaming from the rooftops????

I'll tell you why, it's because the so-called party of the left, sold it's soul under Tony Blair and dumped the working classes. Tony Blair was no child of Labour, he was a Thatcherite, born and bred!!  And if you’re expecting Ed Milliband to do any better, then forget it, because he really needs to grow a pair and start standing up for something more than trying to out-soundbite bloody Cameron. (Wasn’t it great to watch him squirming at Leveson this week??? The whole thing, to quote Baby Herman, ‘STINKS LIKE YESTERDAYS DIAPERS!!!’)

And how did this whole rotten mess begin, well, it wasn’t with Gordon Brown as the Tory party would try and have you believe, it began with Thatcher. She smashed the working class political power base, the Unions (I know they needed some reform but they have been annihilated, helped in no small measure by the whole rotten Murdoch media empire and those other right-wing rags, you know of whom I speak), and then brought in the so-called Free Market Monetarist policies, which of course led to the opening up of the markets so we all could get rich, lifted all the banking controls and let the market take care of AND, regulate itself, and we all know how that turned out now, DON’T WE??!!!  Yes, because now we’re all rich and happy, aren’t we???  Oooops!

(Just on the subject of the Murdoch rags, it’s amazing how many ‘Irish Republicans’ buy The S** (it pains me to even mention it) and have the satellite dish up on the roof. They are quite happy to contribute to the media empire of Maggie Thatcher’s old mate and staunch supporter, funny that, but politics is a funny old game, innit?)

Anyway, back to the bankers and the spineless politicians who won’t stand up to big business and do the job WE ARE PAYING THEM TO DO. Remember that, AS LONG AS YOU ARE PAYING TAX, DAVID CAMERON IS YOUR EMPLOYEE, YOU PAY HIS SALARY, maybe, we all need to remind THEM of that.

So, what can we do about it all anyway, Greece, the whole mess? Well, here’s an idea to help the Greeks, why don’t we give them the Olympics to keep. Instead of this faffing around the globe every fours years, let the games stay in Greece where they began. I wonder do they have a copyright on them, or even if you can copyright them, and give them back the Elgin Marbles while we’re at it.

And why should we?, (I can hear Thatcher’s children cry) well, again, I will tell you why, because they are HUMAN BEINGS and they need help. They didn’t cause this mess, just as most of you didn’t either, but they are paying for it, big time, and let’s be thankful, the REAL Labour men of the past who set up the Social safety net, (so despised by the Right and which Cameron and co desperately want to get rid of) which just about keeps us from being completely crushed by austerity.

And let’s start talking politics again, turn off that drivel, X Factor, Y Factor, who gives a crap factor and lets start DEMANDING that OUR EMPLOYEES start governing this country for ALL the people in this country and not just for their friends and cronies, and REMIND your Labour politicians of what their party used to stand for before they were infiltrated by the Thatcherites, and remind yourself daily, (or at least monthly) of the working class struggles of the past, re-discover the writings of ORWELL, (read Animal Farm and dare to challenge the myth that it doesn’t apply to capitalism) find out about PETERLOO, TOLPUDDLE, the CHARTISTS, teach your daughters about the SUFFRAGETTES: remember the Miners and the Liverpool dockers, and the UNIONS who used to fight for the working classes, and how and why they began.

And if you do all that, you can be sure that when the revolution comes, you'll definitely be on the right side.

And finally and MOST importantly, when you have done all that, put on  a black beret with a star on the front, and shout out loudly and clearly while punching the air -

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!

(And if you don't know what that means, make it your business to find out, or else, just ask someone who lived through the 70's!!)

 

 

 

 

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Final Assignment

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I have just submitted my final assignment, YEEEEEHAAAAA! 

Good luck to everyone with their work and I look forward to next year and another seven months of stress, doubt, worry and then triumph and relief.  When that last assignment has been submitted and you thank God ,you stuck it out and have notched up another year, and are another step closer to your goal!!!

Looking forward to Power, Equality and Dissent already.  The OU is a bit like labour.  You think you're never going to get through it, and then five minutes after it's over, the stress didn't seem so bad after all, and you look forward to doing it all again!!!

Ah life, what a wonderful pleasure, pain ,up and downy great experience it is, ENJOY!!!!

 

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Ritalin/The Observer

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021, 17:56

While I'm on the subject of articles in today's newspaper, there was a disturbing report on the quadruple increase in prescriptions for Ritalin for children in the last ten years (P4, The Observer, also see previous posting on Madness and Jon Ronson).

One interesting point in the article mentioned a report commissioned by the RSPB, which suggested an improvement in the behaviour of children diagnosed with ADHD, when exposed to outdoor activities in nature.

I remember reading an article some time back, not sure where now, but it was about patients in mental hospitals during the war.  Apparently, they moved them outdoors to make room for the injured soldiers coming back from the war, and what they found was, that being outdoors helped to restore the mental health of a lot of the patients, and in some cases, people improved so much that they were discharged and no longer needed treatment.

It seems like common sense that being closer to nature has a beneficial effect on our mental health, after all, we are animals and part of the natural world, even if we like to think we are in some way superior to the rest of the life on the planet.  Maybe, if we maintained our link to nature more, then we might have less stress and depression among the general population.  Unfortunately, when it comes to treatment  the medical model alone prevails.

It does require more of an effort to get in touch with nature these days especially for those who live in cities.  I was lucky enough to grow up in an area and at a time, when there was a lot less technology, fewer cars, and we had fields to run about in.  That same area now is surrounded by houses and industrial estates, and you couldn't move on the street for cars.  Which is really unfortunate for the children who live there now, they don’t even know what they are missing.  Another interesting statistic I read about a few years ago in relation to children’s mental health and well being, was that in the boom years in Ireland, that mental health problems in children increased in perfect correlation to the increase in wealth.  Maybe less really is more!

I also worked as an OTC assistant in a pharmacy a few years ago, and the two biggest sellers were Soluble Solpadeine and Nurofen Plus.  Both these items walked off the shelves daily.  Both contain codeine which can be addictive, and which can only be obtained with a  prescription in the US.  I also read an article not long ago, where a member of the Irish Parliament was calling for regulation to control the availability of these and similar products, because she said, the country was self-medicating with them.  As far as I know, nothing has been done about it yet.

This all makes for disturbing reading in relation to the health and well being of all of us and should really make us question what kind of society we are creating when we allow our children to be treated in this way.  If we continue down this road, then I think we are storing up some serious social problems for the future.  

I can only hope that the time is coming when we will start facing up to our social responsibilities and really start addressing the issues that are affecting the population, because if David Cameron wants to build a big society then he would do well to remember, that in order to build anything you need to start with a solid foundation, and the foundation for any society is the well-being of its people.

 

 

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Elections and Votes

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021, 19:11

Looking at the results of the local elections in Britain, I have to say I find it very disappointing to see how low the turnout has been, although considering how democracy has been subverted for many years now, it’s hardly a surprise that people have lost faith in the political system.  I think this is due in part to the fact that there is no mechanism for appeal once a party has been elected, so the politicians can promise all sorts during the campaign trail, but once in office, they can do what ever they like which, of course, they have done and there is no one to stop them or make them follow through on the promises they made. 

 I also think we are still suffering the fall out from the Thatcher era.  Her attack on the unions, strongly backed by a right-wing media (I for one, am delighted that the past is finally catching up with Rupert Murdoch and his whole media dictatorship, having been railing against him for years) has left the working-classes without a way into politics or a strong voice that truly represents them. 

 All the political parties are now populated by upper/middle class public school boys who have no idea how the other 95% of the population live.  That the front bench in the House of Commons is full of millionaires, speaks volumes about our so-called democracy.  Where is the voice of the working-classes in Parliament?  Even the so-called left wingers seem so egotistical and arrogant that they don’t really speak for ordinary people any more, with the exception of Dennis Skinner and, since Tony Benn retired, they are becoming thinner on the ground and there does not seem to be any new blood following in their steps.  Politics is now a career for the upper middle-classes and they work in the interests of one group, and one group only, their own. 

The whole class system too, is part of the problem.  The most obvious example of this is the House of Lords.  The whole idea of an unelected upper house based on class and privilege is so anachronistic in the 21st Century and completely subverts what is supposed to be a democracy.  Why should these people have this right?  It supports privilege for some and exclusion for most of the rest of us.  How can Britain even claim to be a democracy when this system remains in place.

 What is really needed is political reform, but how is that going to be achieved when it is in the interest of the ruling classes to maintain the status quo?  The truth is, is that those who now rule, are not the least bit interested in democracy but are only interested in self-promotion and self-protection for themselves and their own social class.  And I’m really going to p*ss off the middle-classes with this next statement because I believe that they too, are partly to blame for the situation. 

The class system is elitist and unfortunately too many aspire to be part of it.  I don’t believe in the middle-class, and if you think of yourself as middle-class then you are, in my eyes, a working-class snob.  What does it even really mean to be middle-class, other than you have more money and a bigger house (or should that be mortgage, another con, but a subject for another day) than someone who is called working-class.  Middle class is an illusion, you either work for a living or you don’t, and to divide people into class groups is nothing more than social apartheid, and is every bit as disingenuous and damaging, as the racial apartheid that existed in South Africa.

 So how do we resolve the political apathy that exists?  Well, firstly, I would like to say thank-you to all those who did turn out to vote, at least you made the effort.  To all those who didn’t vote or who haven’t voted for years, I challenge you.  If you are so disillusioned with the system and those self –serving politicians, then put yourself forward for election next time.  Go forward as an independent, and let’s start a campaign to fill Parliament with independents at the next General Election, because your vote IS your voice and if you don’t use it, even if it is to spoil it, then you shouldn’t even be allowed an opinion. 

 Politics affects every area of our lives, and almost seventy per cent of the people who were entitled to vote, didn’t even bother to turn out.  Now, what if those seventy per cent had turned out and voted for the most politically independent candidate on the ballot paper?  Or just for the fun of it, voted for anyone as long as they were not a candidate for any of the big three?  What kind of difference could that have made?  Because it isn’t just one vote, it amounts to millions when used collectively or not, as the case may be.  Opting out resolves nothing, if you want to change it, then you have to get in there and do something about it, otherwise things will just remain the same. 

 And when you do get in, remember why you are there.  Get rid of the House of Lords, and while you’re at it, do your best to dismantle the class system, and that means removing the Queen from Parliament.  The monarchy is an out-dated system and doesn’t really have a place in a truly democratic society.  I have nothing personally against the Queen, she seems like a really nice woman, she can still be Queen if that’s what people want, but an honour’s system that confers titles, again supports the social elitism of the class system and she doesn’t have any political power, so why is she even there?  I read in the paper today about a move to bring in changes to the Honour’s system by removing Empire from titles and instead give awards that are more reflective of the reality of life in Britain today.  Rather ironic that the Queen’s Lord Lieutenants are more in touch with the social reality of Britain, than our so-called Parliamentary democracy!!

 And remember too, that when elected, regardless of who has, or who has not voted for you, you have a moral obligation to govern in the best interests of all the people in the country, because the business of government, is the business of the people, and the business of the people, is the business of government.  This means, that government has a moral obligation to work in the best interests of the entire population and that the population too has a responsibility to be aware of what their government is doing, and to hold them accountable for it, and the only way we have of doing that at the present time IS WITH YOUR VOTE.  So please, use it!

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Marriage again!

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 7 Dec 2022, 11:05

Well, our feminist is on the rant again I see. You don’t want to take her too seriously, she gets a bit carried away at times. However, she does make you think about some of the issues around marriage. There are so many ways of looking at it and I was going to take a different angle on this but I was watching the news the other night and they reported a story about Fr. Brian D’Arcy being censured by the Vatican for expressing some views in support of marriage for priests, or against celibacy, if you prefer to look at it that way.  Fr Brian is well-known in Ireland and writes a column in a newspaper, the Sunday World, and he sometimes does a stint in the ‘spiritual’ section, on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2. 

As someone who was brought up Catholic, I’d like to throw out a few ideas around the issue, and would be interested in what other people think. I have been watching the BBC 2 series, Divine Women, and have found it interesting how the early Christian Church operated, compared with all the patriarchal rules and regulations that have been imposed upon it since. 

So consider this, within the Catholic Church, when a man or woman wants to become a priest or a nun, they have to go through years of study to prepare themselves before they are allowed to make that lifetime commitment and, in effect, when they do, they become married to God. Now, on the other hand, any gombeen with a notion to, can give 3-6 months notice, do a pre-marriage course or not ( I don’t think they are compulsory) and then get married. 

Within the Catholic Church, there is no divorce and there is certainly no re-marrying in the Church if you have been divorced. Now just for arguments sake, lets concentrate on the nun’s perspective on this. A nun wears a wedding ring and is considered a bride of Christ. She can leave the Church, which many have done, and she can then get married in Church. Why is that allowed? She is able to divorce herself from God and re-marry in Church, even though she went through all those years of training in preparation for her marriage to God or taking Holy Orders, as it is called.   

But an ordinary woman or man cannot do the same, even though they may have had little or no preparation at all before marriage. Is there a double standard operating here?  Is marriage to God, not as important as marriage to another human being? Holy orders and marriage are considered sacraments in the eyes of the Church, how is it possible within the law of the Church to be able to marry God, then leave him/her or it, and then marry a person in the Church?

And there’s another thing, if any of you have watched the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding series on Channel 4, I wonder if you think like me that there is something immoral about allowing sixteen year olds to marry. What does anyone know about anything at sixteen, not to mention the realities and responsibilities of a marital relationship?

What is marriage supposed to be about?  What is it’s purpose?  We were taught at school, a Convent Grammar, that the purpose of marriage is to have children. So, if you can’t have children are you entitled to get an annulment? Or if you know beforehand that you can’t have children, should you be denied the right to marry? 

I’m just asking these questions because I’ve actually come to believe that there is something unnatural about the whole situation or maybe it’s more about the whole approach to marriage.

I’ve been on this whole spiritual journey for many years now (I may have mentioned it in one or two other posts) and the more I look at these things the less sense they seem to make. Among my friends, there has recently been a plethora (great word that by the way, I remember it from The Three Amigos, if I recall correctly!)  a plethora of relationship break-ups, and all the break ups were instigated by the females, funnily enough. Some of the couples were married, some not, but all involved children. 

A few months back there was a great story in the Observer newspaper about a woman who was approaching her forties, she wasn’t in a relationship but wanted to be a mother. If you know the story you can skip ahead but if you don’t, read on, because it’s really interesting. What she did was, she advertised for a man who wanted to be a father because she wanted the child to have parents who were both interested in being parents. She wasn’t having much luck, as most of the men she interviewed shared different ideas about parenting. Then a friend recommended a gay man who they knew also wanted to be a father. They got together, had shared ideas about parenting and so they decided to go ahead and have the child. And this is where it gets really interesting…he fell in love with her, even though he had lived his whole life as a gay man and had never had a romantic relationship with a woman. They are now very happily married and the child is about two years old. 

Isn’t that a fascinating story??

So maybe the conversation we should be having before marriage is not what colour the bridesmaids should wear, or who to invite, but how to bring up the children? Because the pre-nuptial agreement, which is very popular among the rich to protect their assets, is something that could be brought in and extended to cover not just the monetary assets but every aspect of the marital relationship from childcare to housework and, in case there is a breakdown, living arrangements, finances, and contact arrangements for the children. People think about their monetary assets but give no consideration at all to what will surely be their greatest asset, their children!!

We jump into these situations assuming everything will work itself out in time and the real issues are seldom addressed before the wedding, then it’s too late afterwards and when I look around me, I honestly don’t see very many genuinely happy marriages. That is not to say that marriage can’t work and there aren’t good marriages out there but I don’t believe the preparation is anywhere near adequate for the task ahead and I really believe that parenting is something that should be taught in schools.

I also think that no girl should be allowed to marry under the age of twenty-five, and I would make that twenty-nine for a man. I know people have got married at younger ages and stayed together but I really believe that it needs much more thought and preparation than it is currently given and, I think with a few changes, we might have better marriages and fewer divorces.

 

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The Alternative Feminist/Marriage

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 16:08

Strong opinions are expressed here. You have been warned!!

Ahhh marriage, that great old institution, the bedrock of a civilised society, the foundation upon which all stable families depend and……..Oh what was that !!!  I must have fallen asleep and been dreaming, it’s ok, I’m awake now!!

Marriage, well it certainly is an institution!  Having indulged and been lucky enough to have escaped with all my faculties intact (just about), I have to say that the institution analogy is very appropriate.  As a matter of fact, I think we should replace the wedding rings with something more symbolically appropriate, like a straight-jacket and a frontal lobotomy for her, and a remote control and a lifetime’s subscription to Sky sports for him. 

Because that’s what seems to happen to couples after the rings go on. She disappears into herself and forgets that she used to have life outside of housework and children. Every day merges into the same miserable drudgery until you’re living in some nightmarish Groundhog day scenario, with each day as monotonous and soul destroying as the next. 

And as for him!! Well, what can I say, all of a sudden the antics of some football team and ownership of the remote control becomes a life or death struggle in getting through the daily round of mutual loathing and  contempt that your marriage has become. 

You look at him/her and try to remember what it was about this person that you used to profess to love for.  LOVE?? You say to yourself, bitterly, what does that even mean? How can something that was supposed to be so wonderful, turn so quickly into this seething hotbed of petty power struggles and sneering asides; where trying to agree what DVD to watch on a Saturday night can quickly descend into a trade-off of insults where her mother’s overbearing intrusion is voiced for half the neighbourhood to hear, and where his father’s personal habits are dissected with a venom that sends small animals and children running for cover; where all those little annoyances, like hanging the toilet roll the wrong way, can escalate into an issue of such magnitude that the UN put a platoon of special forces on stand-by, just in case! You finally agree but agree isn’t really the word is it?  What actually happens is that someone has to back down, adding another layer of contempt to an already expanding portfolio of her f**king whinges and his all-round uselessness.

In time, you’ll look back and wonder if you were suffering from some sort of mental pathology, as you remember how you actively pursued this state. You’ll recall how you wanted this, how you dreamed and planned for it, saved every penny to pay for it, maybe even borrowed thousands of pounds because you wanted to make your day special, and now, all you can think is ‘What the hell was I thinking, why did nobody warn me?’

You could have travelled the world several times over, had great holidays to exotic countries, met more windswept and interesting people but no, you got married instead. You look over at your other half and can barely contain the sneer quivering on your top lip. Stuck now with children and a mortgage, you’re trapped and the worst thing is, YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF!!!!!   

Yes, marriage, don’t ya just LOVE IT????!!!!

Which makes all the controversy over gay marriage seem a little unnecessary, don’t you think? Personally, I don’t have a problem with gay marriage, far from it, I really think that gay people should be allowed to get married. I mean why should the heterosexual community be the only ones to suffer!  After all, the only people who complain about not being married are people who never were and, believe me, a few years of marriage will certainly cure them of that.

 So if you’re thinking about getting married and reading this is making you nervous, GOOD, you have been warned!!!  But never fear, it’s not all doom and gloom, there is an escape clause, it’s what divorce was invented for. And finally if the worst comes to the worst, remember, marriage may be grand but divorce can be SEVERAL!!!

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Orglondes

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 5 Sep 2022, 15:21

I was in France a few years ago and the journey back took me through Normandy where all the WW2 cemeteries are. I visited the British and Canadian one in Bayeux, and the American one at Caen and, after leaving Caen, I noticed a signpost for a German one at Orglondes, so I went to see it. Well, I have never experienced anything like the atmosphere of deep sorrow that hung over the place and, even now, when I think about it, it still gets to me.

I know some people might have a problem with that but I make no apologies for what I felt. When you walk around and see the ages of the young men who died and that goes for all the cemeteries, it really brings it home to you what an insanity and a complete waste of humanity war is. The average age was about 19 and, at the time, my youngest son was 21 and I thought about him and his friends going out to fight a war and, to be honest, you could hardly have left them alone with a box of matches never mind sending them into the battlefields of Northern France.

Orglandes 

In the Battle for Normandy, now long over,

this is the story of the losing side,

visible in the final resting places

of those known, and Known Only Unto God.


No glorifying memorials,

no quotes, no fine speeches.

Below a bell tower, an apologetic sign

Remains, a grey stone marker, six by one...

 

Onto the thousands, you fought and died,

you chased the dark dream, another ‘old lie’.

Youth sacrificed to an ideology,

that robbed so many of their humanity.

 

‘I did not think, I just went along’

‘My friends all joined so I did too

A boy’s own adventure, we thought’

‘I was afraid not to, I followed the crowd’. 

‘I believed in it, I was serving my country

I was proud.  I don’t believe now'.

 

So full of regret now, weighted in sorrow,

bearing down on me to grieve the tomorrow

that never came for this Lost Generation:

 

This is the story of the losing side,

that reveals the darkness that lives in us yet.

That negates the claims we make to civilization,

and reminds us to think:

Lest We Forget.

 

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The Alternative Feminist / Madness

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 15:49

I read this book the other day, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. It's about madness or what is, or is not, madness and it raises as many questions as it answers. 

Going insane might be one of our worst fears along with serious illness, or something terrible happening to our children but after reading this I am now feeling highly reassured. I am never going to worry about going mad at all again because after reading this, I figure we're all a little bit crazy anyway, and some of us may even be a whole lot crazy but if we're not really harming anyone and managing to function in our lives, well, where's the problem?? Because what is normal anyway?? Does anybody even know?? 

Well you could say that it’s normal to get up and go to work every day. Ok then, think about this -  is it really normal to get up and go to work every day, the way we do? 

To slog your way through crowds and traffic, to sit in a building doing stuff for a company or corporation, to make money for them so they can pay you money to buy stuff, most of which you don’t really need, for a house, you didn’t really want, to begin with. 

Then you take on a mortgage to pay for the said house which will ensure you have to keep your nose to the grindstone for the next thirty years when you can finally look forward to retirement (which by this time you will be too worn out and too tired to do anything) to find that the company CEO has raided the pension fund and disappeared into the ether and you are destined to spend your old age in fear and poverty after spending most of your life working your bollocks off for someone else!!! 

AND, along the way, you missed out on most of your children’s growing up, your partner is now a complete stranger with a life of their own, that doesn’t include you, and all because you had to be at work, in order to pay your taxes to a government that basically doesn’t give a crap about you anyway!!! Yes, THAT'S normal!!

If that's normal, then I embrace my insanity with glee!!  Hee, hee!! Because inside all of us, there is a little streak of insanity. It may not manifest itself as a medically recognised psychosis (although if the American Psychiatric Association has it's way, it may very well soon be) but it might just be a little obsession about collecting stuff, or how we dress, or cleaning; something along those lines, because let's be honest, we all have our little obsessions, don't we?

And what harm are we doing?  Ok if your shoe buying habit is the reason you haven't paid your rent in six months well, maybe there’s a little bit of a problem there that you need to think about but still, you're not crazy are you??  And what about the girl up the street who goes out to work every day dressed up like Mary Poppins, or the old lady who walks around like the queen on LSD, are they really harming anyone?  Because the truth is, isn't it our little insanities that mark us out as individuals? Aren't these the hallmarks of our uniqueness in the world?? 

Because what I now realize is that THERE IS NO NORMAL. We’re all crazy in some way and some of the so-called most normal things are the craziest of them all!!!

What I see happening within the world of psychiatry is similar to what happened back in the 19th century, when the Victorian's did a study on sexual habits and labelled everything that wasn’t the Missionary position as sexually deviant. 

Basically the same thing is happening now with all human behaviour.  Anything that deviates from the norm (because we all know what normal is??!!) is now being diagnosed and labelled as mental illness and comes with its own line in pharmaceuticals. 

Roll up! Roll up!  Get you behaviour modifiers here, an emotionally-deadening pill for every little ill!!

‘WHAT YOU HAVE AN OVER-ACTIVE CHILD???’ (Fake shock and horror)

Here, don’t you know that a little Ritalin a day, will keep the pharmaceuticals in pay!!!’

If you think that’s a bit exaggerated, then I urge you to read this book, (if you haven’t already) because the really scary part of all this, is what is happening with children in America and, here too, so let’s not get complacent. Children are being diagnosed with all sorts of mental health problems. We’ve all heard of ADD and ADHD, ( I always had huge reservations about those two, even more so now!) but what about childhood bipolar disorder?? Now, there’s a happy little threesome, to label a child with!  Add to that, the huge rise in autism diagnoses and soon you will find that children everywhere are being medicated out of childhood. 

So, if you have an active child, don't take them to a doctor and definitely don't take them to a psychiatrist, take them to the park and let them run around, stop feeding them crap and let them dig that hole in the back garden and get mucky!! Who cares what the neighbours think!! Let them swing from trees, even better, join in and swing from the trees with them and, basically, go have some fun!!!! 

Because that’s what’s wrong here, we take ourselves far too seriously and have forgotten what it is to HAVE SOME FUN!!!! So let rip and let a child be a child and remember that you were once one too!!! Life’s too short to let it drift by on prozac and Ritalin. ENJOY IT!!!! .LIVE IT TO ITS FULLEST!!!! Because in the words of Noddy Holder -  ‘MA MA, WE’RE ALL CRAZEE NOW!’

So stop worrying and embrace the insanity because we are all in this one together!!!!! YEAHHH!!!

 

 

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More poetry

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 15:31

A couple of short ones today, the first one is a little poem to my grandfather who died when I was eight and whom I still miss every day.  

The second one is about the word commence and is self explanatory.  If I had my way I would outlaw its use completely,   

Blue

I miss you on those occasions

That mark our path through life

The turning points and celebrations;

But mostly when the clouds part

And I look up into the blue.

 

Commence

I have an intense dislike

For the word commence.

It’s full of pretence

And delusions of intelligence,

And people who use it

Are just the same;

They can’t start or begin anything,

They may only commence!

 

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God?

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 15:29

I’m back on the God question again today because these questions keep rattling around in my brain and the truth is no one really knows if God exists or not. Unless you’ve had a personal encounter with some awesome force beyond yourself, or you are taking on faith the teachings of whatever religion you subscribe to, you probably don't know any more than me 

I have read most of the Richard Dawkins book, The God Delusion, and while I can’t disagree with his conclusions about religion, I have to question why he thinks God, if he does exist, has anything to do with religion? I mean isn’t religion man-made? 

Seriously now, if you really think about it, or think about what God is supposed to be, do you really believe that all those dreary sermons and/or fanatical rantings, could have anything to do with what is supposed to be the most potent and awesome force in the entire universe and beyond? Let's really think about that!!

THIS ALL-POWERFUL, ALL-KNOWING, ALL-CREATING FORCE OF LIFE. 

Say it again, ALL POWERFUL, ALL-KNOWING, ALL-CREATING FORCE OF LIFE!!!

How could we even DARE to claim to know anything about it. We’re only a bunch of human beings, inhabiting (or trashing, depending on how you look at it), one small planet, in a fairly quiet corner of the universe. Maybe that’s why we are so far away from all the action, we haven’t learned how to behave ourselves yet, or take care of the beautiful planet we are privileged to live on.

Also, how could we possibly know anything about God, if God is supposed to be what we believe him/her/it to be?  Imagine an encounter with something like that, it would completely blow your mind!!!

So I’ll ask again, how could we have the AUDACITY, to claim to have knowledge of what God is, or to know how or what, he/she or it thinks?

Now, I can’t claim to have had an awesome encounter with a heavenly body (chance would be a fine thing!) beyond my understanding or not, but I have been on a bit of a spiritual journey for several years now.  I call it a spiritual journey because I have actively been seeking encounters or knowledge beyond what I see and hear in front of me. Things have happened that I can’t explain and I have questions to which I don’t, as yet, have any answer.   

For instance, I used to have a recurring dream, I won’t go into the full details of it here, but the important thing about it was this, in the dream I would wake up to find that I wasn’t really awake at all. As any good psychologist/psychiatrist/dream dictionary will tell you that is a message from your sub-conscious mind telling you to wake up to something that is going on in your life. So when I became conscious of it's meaning I didn't have the dream again, or at least until there was something else in my life, I needed to wake up to!

Now, what I don’t understand about it is this, how does my sub-conscious mind know something my conscious mind doesn’t? And another thing, how and why is the sub-conscious mind always right? Where does it get its information from? Not only that, but why do I have two minds anyway, why do I not just have one with all the information I need? 

And now, when I put that all together, I can only conclude that maybe, just maybe, (and I am only saying maybe because I don’t know either) the sub-conscious mind is God’s, or whoever, or whatever’s way of communicating with us. 

That out there in the universe and maybe it is the actual universe, or some other force that exists beyond us, that it can only communicate with us, through our sub-conscious mind because it’s complete and true reality would be...TOO AWESOME....TOO OVERWHELMING...TOO MIND BLOWINGLY SPECTACULAR to encounter in it’s fullness and would completely destroy us, mentally and physically. 

Think about it. And now that I do think about it, I probably shouldn't even mention he/she/or its name.  So read this very quietly, please, just in case.

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Midnight in Paris

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:26

I missed Midnight in Paris first time around at the cinema so I was anxiously waiting for its release on DVD as it had received great reviews all round. So I got it out last weekend and after all the disappointment of War Horse which certainly did not live up to the hype, I have to say, this wonderful film certainly did.

This was one of those really lovely movies which you will enjoy more and more with each viewing. It was like a hot cup of chocolate, wrapped up in a warm blanket and, if you haven’t seen it already, then there could be no better way to chill out a Saturday night, curled up on the sofa with your other half, than watching this.  

I think everyone should have heard the basic story by now but, just in case, here is a very brief outline. Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), an American writer in Paris with his fiancée, gets transported back to the Paris of Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald (and if you don’t know who they are, join a library, and the sooner the better!). 

The basic premise revolves around the idea that we all revere a past golden age which we believe was better than the present, and just maybe, that idea might be wrong.

Owen Wilson is perfectly cast in this role and I’ve fallen in love with him all over again after watching this. So much so, that I pulled Zoolander out of the DVD collection for another viewing and, as I hadn’t watched it in a while, I have to say it, too, gets better with every viewing (sure sign of a comedy classic), plus it also features David Bowie whom I have loved forever.

So if you’re unhappy with your present life, then do something about it instead of wasting it harking back to another era. The past is over, the only place that you exist is in this present moment (and no, I’m not going to get into discussions about the possibility of parallel universes and all that, some other time) so get out there and live while you can. Sound advice!

Highly recommended!!

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Gortin Glen

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:36

I wrote this poem last night. I was trying to get to sleep and I started to think about Gortin Glen where I like to go to ramble around and get away from the stresses of life.

I was trying to relax my mind and unwind my body, and then the first line came to me and so I got up again to write this.   

Gortin Glen 

Standing 

In the quiet of the forest

Breathing in -

the silent scent of pine and fir

Softening

the hard edges of a life on edge.

Breathing out -

Tension and tightness unwinding

with each tentative step

on the needled floor,

as moisture laden mosses

drip gently into rivulets, running

to a strengthening stream,

gathering all the cares and

worries of the world away.

Away,

to dissipate in distant seas,

as I step softly across

the sweetened grass.

Gently now, slowly now,

My soul is restored.

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God vs Science

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021, 17:58

 I am very interested in everything, I think life is amazing and I become awestruck when I think of the amount of different life forms on this planet alone not to mention the possibilities that may exist out in the universe.

I have also been on a bit of a spiritual journey for a few years now and I have listened to the whole God vs Science debate with interest.  This is what I have concluded based on observation and my own experience.

Gravity is a force which cannot be seen or touched but you can see and feel it’s effects.  Magnetism is also a force which cannot be seen or touched but it is possible to see and feel it’s effects. 

 Throughout human history many people have recounted experiences of contact with an invisible force outside of themselves which they have not been able to explain, but for want of a better word or explanation, refer to as the Divine, or God.  It’s effects do not seem to be as regular or consistent as gravity or magnetism, but that does not mean that it does not exist, or that at some point in the future we may find an explanation for it.

 Man through his experience with it has turned it into a religion, rightly or wrongly, and tacked on a lot of his own rules and ideas to it, but that does not mean that within the universe there is not an invisible force at work that we don’t quite have a full understanding of yet. 

Personally I believe the closest anyone has come to really understanding or trying to explain it is Taoism which ties in with my own experience and as the Dalai Lama says ‘Anything that contradicts experience or logic should be abandoned’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Alternative Feminist/ Robbie Williams and shopping

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 11:55

In society there are guy things, and there are girl/woman things or rather these are supposed to be the girl/woman things like Robbie Williams and shopping.

For the record, I just don’t get the whole Robbie Williams thing, I am a woman, as red-blooded as any other but ROBBIE WILLIAMS??? I mean come on, ROBBIE WILLIAMS??? He has as much sex appeal as a bull terrier, come to think of it he even looks a bit like one and yet the female population seems to go brain dead at the mention of his name and lose all sense of well….anything. 

I mean, as a person, I don’t dislike him, I’ve seen him on chat shows, he seems like a nice enough bloke but that’s about as far as it goes, he’s just a bloke, nothing special.  I mean put him next to Hugh Jackman or Viggo Mortenson, (now we’re talking!) or even Ralph Fiennes (phew!), and well Robbie just doesn’t compare does he?  He just looks like an enthusiastic schoolboy - no big deal. 

And there’s another thing, his music is shit, I mean, ok Angels was alright, I’ll give you that, but seriously, Rock DJ??  Wasn’t that just about the crappiest song you ever wish you had never heard?  It was garbage,

‘I doo wanna rock DJ cos you’re BORING ME TO TEARS!! and  if I have to listen to that song one more time I’m gonna slit my freaking wrists!!!.’

It was just shit!

Anyway, here’s another thing, what is the shopping thing about?  Again, I just don’t get it, trailing around shops looking at stuff, trying stuff on, into another shop, the same thing, the music is too loud, I thought this was a shop not a freaking disco!  Your back starts to hurt, your temples start to throb, you can feel your brain disintegrating, you’re starting to lose the will to live, your life is passing you by, you start to forget that you had a life outside of the shopping centre, the walls are starting to close in, you might never get out of here again, 'Weren’t we in this shop already?'

They’re all starting to look the same, the all have the same stuff,

'Just buy the freaking jeans so’s I can get out of here!!'

…your chest starts to tighten….you can’t breathe….you’re trapped in hell…you thought it was a quick look to see what’s there and it’s turning into an episode of Eerie Indiana….you’re going to be trapped in the shopping centre for the rest of your life and you just have to keep shopping forever and ever!!!!!!  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! 

 And then, just when you are on the verge of cracking you spy the book shop, you almost cry with relief, you’ve been saved, just in time!  You walk in and make straight for the classics section, nothing like a few Dickens or Bronte’s to restore your equilibrium. 

You remember, that’s right, I did have a life before this, I read books, yes books...like Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights, you glance around, you’re starting to feel better, your eyes fall on the TV/Film section….and there on the top shelf you see,

The Wonders of the Universe by Professor Brian Cox, ….YES!!!

You have been saved…you feel safe again, your breathing has steadied, you walk over and lift it off the shelf, you stroke it’s cover and console yourself with the thought that yes, there is intelligent life out there and one day in the future PEOPLE WILL THINK AGAIN!!!  And so just to nudge the world in that direction you take as many copies as you can and place them over Robbie Williams autobiography before you leave.

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The Alternative Feminist/ Men and football

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:38

There are guy things like football and Nick Hornby novels and, you know, all those mass slaughter computer games where it takes three thousand rounds to kill one person. It positively encourages psychotic behaviour in the general population, as if they’re weren’t enough nut jobs running around already, and it seems to me, looking at what passes for men around here, that evolution seems to have stopped, not just stopped, if anything it seems to have gone into reverse and there’s another thing, it’s not just about football with guys is it?   

I mean what is that about, all that anally retentive stuff about who scored, who passed it to them, at what point in the game and from what position, what the weather was like and if the goalie was distracted by that slight touch of diarrhoea his cat had that morning, and what should the left back have ordered in the restaurant last weekend when his mother in law came to stay (steak not prawns, since you ask). You know all that kind of stuff that men seem get off on. Yes, I know women like football too, I do myself, but my interest runs to did they win or lose, it’s that simple. 

‘How did they do today?’ you ask someone.

‘They won two nil’

‘Great’ you think, ‘they won'. Nothing more to know, but no…men are never satisfied with just knowing the score, it’s all in depth analysis of the game, who did what, who didn’t do what, who should have done this, why wasn’t he taken off at half time, that free kick was a joke, that asshole couldn’t score in a whorehouse, that referee’s a prick…you know all that macho stuff. I mean, what are they trying to prove, what does it all mean, I’ll tell you what it means, it means nothing at all, just a load of empty vacuous claptrap that no-one really gives a damn about and, in the great scheme of things, has about as much significance as a pimple on an ant’s ass in sub-Saharan Africa on a wet Wednesday in April!!

           

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10

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:32

This is another one from the creative writing course. It came from memories of 1980/81 and contains some very personal references along with some of the political events of the time. It was the year I turned 18 and it was a pretty miserable year for me all round.

 10

 10, Maggie’s Den.

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie!

OUT! OUT! OUT!

 

10, happy birthday,

Eighteen now, no child here.

What do we want?

 

10 Men Dead,

Black flags and funerals.

Political Status!

 

10 Gold medals,

Games without false tears.

When do we want it?

 

10 years gone,

Wondering where you are,

Now!

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Belief

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:36

This is another poem I wrote which I use it to remind myself to challenge my own thinking. I have often found that very few people ever challenge their own thinking and when you question them on it, it often turns out that their beliefs are not their own but what they have been told, or brought up to believe.  I'm often told I think too much but I think we don't really think enough about everything.

Belief

Ask yourself a question;

What do I believe?

Think about it for a while,

Then ask yourself - Why?

Then write it all down.

Turn it into a poem

Or even a play,

Set it to music  

Make it a song and sing it out, 

loud and long.

Then ask yourself another question;

What if it’s all wrong?

Then think about that.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 9 Feb 2012, 12:21)
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War Horse - A review

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 11:59

I went to see War Horse last week with high expectations of seeing a Spielberg classic and having read several reviews which all gave it high praise. 

Well, what a disappointment!  This film was so bad I wondered if maybe there were two versions of this movie out and I was watching the wrong one. This was overblown, mawkish, sentimental tripe. It was full of sad old stereotypes and clichés, bad dialogue and worse acting. 

After a very boring start, the story was galloped through, giving no time to build up interest in anything that was going on. 

The lead character Albert, while supposedly appearing young and naïve just came across as moronic. Taking nothing away from the horrors of WW1, I actually felt relieved when him and his friend were gassed, hoping it would put an end to the misery but, unfortunately, Albert survived. It got so bad in the trenches that I actually couldn't stop from laughing and half expected Dougal to appear and give us a verse or two from My Lovely Horse.

There are only two characters who come away with any credit from this film and that was the horse and Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. 

I think Spielberg has been in Hollywood too long.  This is a film for children only.  Not recommended at all.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 9 Feb 2012, 12:07)
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A little bit of politics

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 13 Nov 2015, 13:34

I wrote this poem last year on my creative writing course but it was much shorter and didn't seem finished, so now I have finally finished it, I hope you enjoy it.  Comments are welcome

Austerity

The stated precedent of the Condem Government is:

To implement cuts to pay off the deficit.

When greedy bankers and free market Capitalism

Dramatically failed, they were saved by Socialism

And still they demand no tighter regulation

To control their gambling and reckless speculation

Even when it leads to third-world starvation,

Because profit is their only consideration.

And their biggest worry is double-dip recession,

Which if it lasts longer, will be a depression.

‘There is no alternative’ says Thatcher’s next generation.

‘Someone has to pay for this economic devastation’

As they roll out the old policy of privatization,

(Which also demonstrates their complete lack of imagination),

To sell off to the few, what belongs to the nation

And the cost will be yours and your children’s education.

Along with your health and your old age pension

While blaming the poor for the whole situation

Not to mention that other old chestnut- immigration

Because every government failure needs a scapegoat to aim for

And tomorrow the finger might be pointed at your door.

So, the next time there is a general election

Think carefully before you make your selection

And vote in the best interests of the entire population

Not for Oxbridge boys and their corporate connections

Who deceive us with rhetoric and tabloid machinations

In their lust for power and without any consideration

For the debt, they’ve dumped on future generations.

Because this legacy of poverty has been laid down for posterity

But not for the millionaires who’ve Condemned us to austerity

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