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Time off to read

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I took this week off to help out with the new arrival but she is so good, I have nothing to do so I'm catching up on a bit of work around the house.  I have workmen here today to fix the chimney which I discovered had a leak when I started stripping the wallpaper in my room.  

The weather is good today too (I'd forgotten what a blue sky looked like and it's great to see it again!), so I'll get some work done outside too as soon as the workmen finish up. There's not much you can do when it rains incessantly, it's been so wet even my hanging baskets have got rushes growing in them. Which goes to show that things spontaneously grow when the conditions are right as they usually grow in bog land.

My pre-course reading has arrived, After Tamerlane, The Global History of Empire by John Darwin and Unfinished Empire, the Global Expansion of Britain by the same author. I'll be starting them today, and as part of my learning more for Lent, I've been learning about Greek legends which is something I've been interested in for a while.  

I've also been writing every day which I'm pleased about although, I'm not necessarily posting every day as some pieces take longer and require more work but I can feel the habit starting to form.  1 week down 5 more to go!

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Rights + Responsibility = Truth?

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 17 Feb 2021, 10:59

Everyone today, is very clued up on their human rights, they demand that life live up to their expectations and when it doesn't, they start shouting about 'violations' of their 'human rights' and can quote verbatim from the section, sub-section, paragraph and line of the Human Rights Act.

We’ve come a long way from the days of Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft when ‘rights’ were nothing more than a middle-class aspiration, and while there is much that I agree with in their writings, overall, I don't actually believe in human rights. I don't believe that there are natural rights or God given rights, as a matter of fact, I don't believe we have the right to anything. The only rights we have are those we have awarded ourselves and when we award ourselves rights then, we are morally obligated to award those same rights to everyone, equally. We consider the Human Rights Act a sign of our evolution into a more civilised society and a demonstration of our moral and intellectual superiority. And like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the more we get, the more we want.  

We are quick to demand our rights, however, we are not as vocal when it comes to our responsibilities and are often quite happy to run away from or ignore them. The concentration on rights without the same consideration of responsibility leads to a skewed perspective and causes an imbalance within society.

Within the Human Rights Act, we have the Right to Life, the Right to Respect for Private and Family Life and the Right to Freedom of Religion and Belief but no responsibility to provide a counter-balance to them.

I do not believe in a ‘right to life’, life is not a right, it is a gift which we are very lucky to have, so alongside a 'Right to Life', I would put a responsibility - the responsibility to take care of and respect that life.

Alongside the Right to Respect for Private and Family Life - I would add the responsibility to ensure that a private and family life does not compel any member of that family to share in your belief system, if they choose not to, and also, that your behaviour as a family does not impact negatively on the community outside your family.

On the Right to Freedom of Religion and Belief - I would add the responsibility to ensure you do not force or impose your religion or beliefs on anyone else. Religion should be a private matter between the individual and whatever God they believe in.

Why do we believe that we have more rights than any other living organism on this planet? The demand for rights comes from the belief that we are 'special', more special than everything else on earth because we sit at the top of the food chain. This idea originally came from the book of Genesis, where God gave man dominion over the earth (which of course was written by man and has more than a bit of self-serving bias in it) and was adopted by religious institutions. From that, we were led to believe that the universe was created for us and we were, literally, the centre of that universe with everything revolving around us. 

In the psychological development of a human being, this is known as the egocentric stage, or egocentrism, and was first identified by the psychologist, Jean Piaget. This stage of development, usually occurs between the ages of 4 - 7, although, it can persist into adulthood for some (believe me; I deal with them all the time!).  It is characterised by a lack of awareness of different points of view - something which was very evident in the Brexit debate and which you can see any day in Parliament (and is actually the modus operandi in Stormont!!). It is a stage of development where a child/person is self-absorbed and still has to learn that things are not always from their point of view or perspective. When it persists into adulthood, it can be identified in people through their 'egocentric shortcomings' which include:

'The False-Consensus Effect - where people overestimate the extent to which their preferences are shared by others; (as evidenced by the ‘remain’ side in Brexit)

The Curse-of-Knowledge Effect - where experts in a particular domain fail to take into account the level of knowledge of laypeople with whom they are communicating; (or egosplaining, as I call it)

The Illusion of Transparency - where people exaggerate the degree to which their internal emotional states (such as anxiety during public speaking) are evident to others; 

The Spotlight Effect - where people overestimate the degree to, which aspects of their appearance and actions are noticed by others.' 

Or, in other words, it's all me, me, me, me, ME!!!

The universe is approximately 14 billion years old, earth is approximately 4.5 billion, man or a man-like creature is estimated to have been around from somewhere between 2 - 7 million years and your life, if you are lucky, will average 70 years. The life of a human being, in proportion to the life of the universe, is nothing more than the blink of an eye. You are a dust mote sitting on a quite beautiful rock which revolves around a glowing hot rock, in a universe whose size is beyond our knowledge and comprehension and, of which, we know very little. We don't even really know the basics - we know that there is a gravitational force in the universe but we have no idea what it is, or how it works, all we know is how it behaves.

Our tendency to egocentrism, often means that we lose our perspective on life and our place in the world. Our egos delude us into overestimating our importance and our knowledge and it can be a shock to the system to confront this reality and realise that, at the end of the day, we still don’t really know that much, we really don't matter very much either and if we disappeared tomorrow, the world will still keep turning and life will still go on.

Within the 'climate' hysteria that has gripped most of the mainstream media; the delusions of the ego are predominant.  Like Brexit, no real debate is allowed and the stream of propaganda continues, as those who are still in their egocentric phase refuse to consider any opinion but theirs, or consider that they could be deceived. 

I can understand and sympathise, if people only get their information from the mainstream media and believe that they are being told the truth.  There is a generation who were brought up to believe in the integrity of institutions like the BBC and NASA, to name but a few, and find it hard to comprehend that they are being lied to on such a grand scale, and believe me that scale is huge. I mean, I believed in it too until someone pointed out the truth to me, and it isn’t nice to have to admit that you were taken for a fool. I was a real ‘greenie’ and was quite happy to pay £3 for a light bulb, I used to pay 60p for. But, that’s life, it wasn’t the first time I’ve been fooled but it will most certainly be the last, I hope!

A few months ago, I tried to debate with a couple of people I know on 'climate change', both have quite large egos and one of them was flying to the US to protest with Extinction Rebellion (ironic or what?). But they completely refused to even consider any alternative viewpoint or read any of the literature I recommended. They chose wilful ignorance over scientific truth because it fed into their egos. 

Coincidentally, I took my mother to mass on Sunday and one of the readings was from Genesis, it was the passage where Adam and Eve are tempted by the serpent into eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is one of my favourite  passages from the Bible because there is so much you can take from it and is probably one of the earliest writings on humans and consciousness.  So, I spent most of mass reading and re-reading this passage. There were several interesting things I took from it. One of the things I noticed about it was that, in this passage, God lied. Now, in all the years of being taught religion at school, no one ever pointed that out or questioned it.  The serpent asks Eve if God has told them not to eat from any of the trees, and Eve tells him yes, that God has said 'you must not eat it....under pain of death'. This is the lie which the serpent reveals. He tells her she won't die and that if she eats from it, her 'eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil'. So, with consciousness, we become the god of our own lives, we have the knowledge of good and evil and can then make a choice. 

The lack of curiosity and desire for truth and knowledge from the ‘climate change believers’, because it is about ‘belief’ and not scientific truth, shows that some of us prefer to live in ignorance, which is doubly disappointing in an age when so much knowledge is, literally, at our fingertips. Carl Sagan once remarked, 'knowledge is preferable to ignorance, better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable' and was a great advocate for scientific truth over superstition and myth.

I wonder what he would say now or how he would fare in the present day when science is being destroyed by lies and propaganda; when even the Nobel Institute has lost their integrity and real scientists are dismissed and silenced, in favour of an uneducated teenager, who is being cruelly set-up by her parents and paymasters. Would he too be side-lined and silenced?  Where lies the responsibility for truth now, is it with us to demand it as a right?

In searching for truth, I can only be grateful for the internet, for providing a gateway to truth and a different perspective. I dread to think how we would fare without it at the present time and the only advice I can leave you with are the words of another advocate for scientific truth, Benjamin Franklin:

"Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see"

By the way, if you still believe you are the centre of the universe, or even if you don’t, because Carl Sagan is always worth listening to, follow the link and enjoy –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIANk7zQ05w)

https://www.britannica.com/science/egocentrism


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Mona Lisa

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Been working on this since Christmas and finished it on Monday night. 1000 pieces and about 4 different shades of black which made it a bit tricky. I got it from the book club at work, it was alright for a fiver.


ML


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New Arrival

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Nothing can spoil my mood today, I'm walking around with a smile like Bonnie Langford on a high - granddaughter number 2 arrived in the early hours of this morning, weighing in at a healthy 7lb 5oz and I am over the moon! She's a little beauty!

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Day 1- Misery, Meghan and Mossad

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Tuesday, 17 Mar 2020, 11:43

Talking about 'number one fan's', I've been having a bit of a Paul Sheldon time recently (Misery - Stephen King). If you're not familiar with the story - towards the end of writing his new Misery novel, letters kept breaking off the keyboard of his typewriter and he had to write them in with his pencil. I've been having the same trouble with my keyboard.  My z and x have stopped working which isn't so bad on Word as you can insert them from the symbol list but is a bit of a pain here as they only have the capitals on the insert here. I took the buttons off and cleaned in around them but no joy!

I'm not a fan of royalty at all, I find the whole idea of it absurd, all that bowing and scraping but who would want to be Meghan Markle these days? Some of the online comments are unreal, the vitriol and poison about someone none of them even know, it's all rather pathetic. Then there is the pernicious drip of anti-Meghan propaganda in the main stream media. However, in this instance, far from being against them, I congratulate them on having the courage to leave the 'firm', and going for an independent life. Quite frankly, I think they should take a few more with them. And with Harry and Meghan gone, don't William and Kate look really old and boring.  I think his mother would be delighted!

The only downside to this is that it has taken the spotlight off that slimeball, Andrew.  From what I can deduce from the whole Epstein affair, it seems that Epstein is Mossad and was using sex and young, sometimes underage, girls as a honey trap. Like the whole dirty Parliamentary/Saville story we'll probably never hear the half of it or even a 10th of it but the more I see and read about it, the more appalling it becomes.  Harry and Meghan are well out of it and at the end of the day, a gilded cage, is still a cage. Good luck to them!

   



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To write or not to write

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 27 Feb 2020, 21:15

Following from yesterday, I was trying to think what to do for Lent. Much has changed for me in the last year, not so much a visible external change but more internal and I'm probably in the best place I've ever been in my life. So much so that I decided I would go back and finish the last year of study to bump my degree up to honours. Unfortunately, the course I want to do doesn't start until October so I've a bit of time to work up to it. I'm going to do A326 Empire - 1492 to 1975.  I've ordered a couple of the recommended books to read prior to starting and registration doesn't open until next month. 

The blog has been a bit neglected too recently. I had a bit of a, I wouldn't say crisis, but it was a sort of personal concern. There is a lot of noise in the world today, and a lot of 'noise' online (and most of it meaningless too) and I questioned if there was any point in carrying on with it. Does anything I say matter, have I convinced anyone to re-consider their thoughts on Brexit or helped to assuage their fears over 'global warming' or to even question what they believe and why? Maybe, maybe not (but then again old number one fan might miss me if I stopped but then again, maybe not...).

However, I do like to write, well, like, is not necessarily the right word either because sometimes it's a pain, but it's more that I feel compelled to write. When I don't for a while, that still small voice from within starts to irritate and won't quieten until I've done something to shut it up. So, I decided for Lent, I would try and write something on the blog every day, more to create a writing habit than anything else but I have a couple of bigger projects in mind and I feel this is what I need to do, to get them going. 

I also decided that instead of lying brain dead in front of the telly most nights, I would try and expand my learning and do a bit more reading and studying.  My Tuesday night art class has been suspended for a while but my Thursday night class is still going which works out well as me, and one of the girls from work, play badminton on a Tuesday and it was a bit of a rush to get back home for the art class afterwards.

By the way, one of the men from the Thursday art group has an exhibition of his work showing in the Garden of Remembrance Gallery at Bishop Street in Derry. His name is Dermot Anderson and he specialises in portraits. If you're in the area, pop in for a look.  We were all down for the opening on Valentines night and a couple of people from the Letterkenny acting group happened to come in and we got chatting about a few possible projects we would like to try so maybe I'll be getting back on stage again too. Busy times!!!

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Food glorious food!

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As Lent comes around once again, I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do for it. It's not that I'm religious, far from it, but it does no harm to practice going without or trying something new for 6 weeks. There are 'fast days' in Lent and last year I did a fast day for the whole of Lent.  A fast day is 1 large meal and 2 small meals.  But I kept it up after Lent and I don't eat in the evening anymore once I've had my tea.  Some days, I don't even eat 3 meals and can get by on 2.

We all eat far too much and our stomachs never seem to get a rest.  When you break it down, we are eating about 7 meals a day - we get up and have breakfast, then something around mid-morning and then lunch/dinner.  Then we have a mid-afternoon snack before our evening dinner or tea. Then we'll be eating again mid-evening before finishing up with supper, and that's not even counting the in-between snacking.  It's no wonder we have an obesity crisis.

I've made other changes to my diet in the last year as well. I've cut out cereals as much as possible and when I eat bread now, I usually eat white bread.  I've come to the conclusion, we are not really supposed to eat wheat and other cereals, they cause me digestive problems and I feel much better without them so I'm on a high protein/fat, low carb diet now. I am genetically predisposed to having type 2 diabetes and I've found that wheat and other wholegrain cereals just seem to turn to fat around the waist line and I don't rock the 'weeble' look. 

I've also come to the conclusion that all the dietary advice we've been given for the last 30 years is wrong and it can't be a coincidence that when other countries adopt the western diet they see rises in cancer, heart problems and obesity.

BTW - If you don't know what a 'weeble' is, follow the link -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq0OQBdIhsc


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Christmas Tree

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020, 21:34

This was my Christmas re-do of one of my flower arrangements. I didn't put up a tree this year, just did my usual holly, ivy and assorted flowers etc. garland around the fireplace.  I really liked how this turned out and will keep it for next year, I think.

lights




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Someone's Poisoned the Waterhole!

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 24 Feb 2020, 13:43

I just watched a story on Channel 4 News today, about a new film 'Dark Waters' based on the real life story of lawyer Rob Bilott who took on Dupont over their poisoning of the water in Parkersburg, West Virginia with the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA-C8), which is a man-made chemical also known as Teflon. This is the stuff most of your frying pans are coated in. Strangely enough, I got rid of anything Teflon coated out of my kitchen years ago and cook only with either cast iron or stainless steel. Thank God!! The film is not in our cinema yet but definitely one to keep an eye out for.  

Talking of poisons, for years I had trouble with my teeth. They bled almost constantly and it didn't matter what or how often I brushed or flossed with, they still bled and were becoming visibly weaker. Then I started to read up on fluoride and what I read did not inspire confidence in what I was putting in my mouth every day. 

So, after a bit of research, I stopped using toothpaste with fluoride in it and within days, the bleeding stopped completely. My teeth never bleed now and have recovered their strength, and along with an adjustment in my diet, (I upped my protein intake) they have visibly improved and have even started to reverse some gum shrinkage.  By the way, if you look at your fluoride toothpaste you will see it has a health warning against ingestion and the possibility of 'poisoning'.

The Republic of Ireland is the only country in Europe to have fluoride added to their water and they also have the worst teeth - a coincidence? I don't think so. So, if anyone is having tooth trouble, maybe you should think about changing what you clean your teeth with. And for anyone who is interested in reading more, there is a website I would recommend you check out - fluoridealert.org - it makes interesting and quite scary reading.

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NLF Veganuary

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021, 20:52

As the vegan propaganda ramps up hard and heavy across the media for 'veganuary', a UK court awards 'ethical veganism' the same status as a religion, it's now considered a 'philosophical belief'.  So, if your dietary choice can now become a religion, what's next - the Holy Roman Church of Fruitarianism or the Blessed Sisters of the Saturday morning fry-up? Although, McDonalds might have been ahead of the game on this one with their 'Golden Arches' and their message of 'love'!

Veganism is one of two things - a necessity in a time of poverty or an indulgence in a time of plenty - because to have the choice of not eating meat, really is an indulgence, considering how many people in the world don't have that choice. (Although a lot less than there were, with figures showing global poverty has declined by a massive 85% since the 1980's and deaths from natural disasters are down a massive 95% in the last 100 years too, just to reassure anyone still worrying that we're all about to die in a climate apocalypse).

And along with all the save the world/climate change/vegan propaganda, we have George Monbiot, IPCC mouthpiece and climate change fraud, terrorising the population again with 'Apocalypse Cow - How meat killed the planet'.  

Did you realise that the earth was dead?  I've looked out the window several times today and it looks fine to me, it's a bit wet and windy but apart from that, it all looks ok.  Maybe George is so thick, he doesn't realise it's winter when everything is supposed to look 'dead'.  But then George does seems to be a bit stupid about things in general. Apparently, he killed a deer and then ate a venison burger during the programme, and he is supposed to be a vegan, funny sort of veganism that!  But to his credit, he blubbered like a girl when he killed it. (God, where are the men these days???) Personally, I blame Disney for a lot of this, making all those cartoons with cute animals that talk. Maybe someone should explain to George that they're not real, just like 'global -warming' and most religions too.

So, they don't want you to drive cars, or go on holiday, or use fossil fuels and now they don't want you to eat meat either. So, it will be back to the caves and without even the luxury of an animal skin or a fire for comfort!  

Again, we are being preached at by the Neo-liberal Fascists, people who have never known poverty or discomfort, and from the arrogance of their self-righteous, unchallenged lives, they pontificate to the rest of us. I wonder how long they would remain vegan if they were starving and hungry, crashed in the Andes or in a refugee camp? Maybe George should try that for his next 'reality' show. I'd definitely watch that one!


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Flowers

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This was one of the last from the flower arranging and the one I enjoyed most. Apparently, this style is the newest thing in flower arranging.I re-did it for Christmas and I'll upload a picture of that later.


flower 4

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Star Wars - This Rise of Skywalker

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:55

I was there, back in 1977, at the Commodore Cinema in Strabane, to witness the beginning of new era in cinematic, cultural and commercial history when Star Wars arrived, transporting us through space and time to a galaxy far, far away and 'May the Force be with you' entered our language and even got its own day (May 4th for those who don't know). I fell in love with Luke, lusted after Han and wanted to be Princess Leia.  I followed my heroes as Luke confronted the dark reality of his origins in the Empire Strikes Back (still the best movie in the entire franchise) and cheered when Luke, Leia and Han won the day, in Return of the Jedi and the evil Empire was finally beaten. Hurrah!

Then, the balance in the force was lost and a darker side took over (commercial interests) but out of loyalty, I stayed the course, suffered through the prequels, almost crying in despair when Jar Jar Binks arrived on screen (What was George Lucas thinking, what was he thinking????). But cheered again when good sense won out, as the back-lash from the fans saw him sidelined in episodes 2 and 3, even if the balance still wasn't quite right and there were huge plot holes.  Then Lucas sold the franchise to Disney and I looked forward in anticipation to see what JJ Abrams would do with it, especially when he had done so well with the reboot of the Star Trek movies.  How naive was I...

I watched The Force Awakens with some trepidation but thought there were some good things in it that could be developed only to have my hopes shattered by The Last Jedi and I felt so let down that I did not even go and see Solo, A Star Wars Story (there is only so much disappointment you can take in a certain time-frame although, I am assured it is a fairly decent film) but still haven't seen it.  

Then, with the announcement that The Rise of Skywalker would be the final film in the series, and since I was there at the start, how could I not be there at the end, I decided to put all negative feelings aside and go see it. I had watched Rogue One again over Christmas (one of the better off-shoots from the Star Wars story) and The Force Awakens. So to fully prepare, I watched The Last Jedi again (just to see if it was as bad as I remembered - it was!) got bored before the end and went to bed. 

So, with the end now in sight,  Sunday evenings being what they are and with no better offers on the table, I decided to go to the cinema and watch The Rise of Skywalker.  It was getting better reviews than The Last Jedi  (which isn't really much of a recommendation) but gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, they had upped their game a bit and since it was the end of the story, hoped that they might have pushed the boat out and made a film in keeping with the spirit of the original trilogy - going out with a bang and not a whimper!

Unfortunately, they didn't!  The Rise of Skywalker, or as I will now refer to it, the Lazarus Episode, (because the dead were being resurrected left, right and centre, although no one could resurrect a good script!) failed for the same reasons that most of the newer films in the franchise have failed. They are not character led, they are led by economics with an over- emphasis on special effects and cute characters, in a puerile attempt to flog us Star War's fans more tat, in thanks for our loyalty over the decades.

My biggest gripe apart from the hole-riven story(?) is with the main character (and I use that term in its lightest sense) Rey, this generation's new 'Luke' (because in the age of gender equality, the lead has to be female this time around).  She has the acting/emotional range of a door, all jolly hockey sticks earnestness or jolly hockey sticks earnestness with tears which really starts to grate after a while. She is so bad, she actually makes Hayden Christensen look good.

John Boyega who played Finn was one of the good characters in this new series and I had an expectation/hope that his character would be developed into something more than he initially appeared. He could at least have had some Jedi training. However, he was badly under used again in this film and can only lead me to conclude that he was there as a 'token' character to check that 'all-inclusive' box that is so important in the world of political correctness today.  

The script/story (if you could even call it that?!) revolves around the 'mysterious' return of the old emperor, Palpatine.  However, this didn't really turn out to be much of a mystery at all, and it quickly became obvious that it was merely a plot device to cover up for the complete lack of originality and ideas by the scriptwriters on how to develop a story or make a decent film. 

In the original Star Wars Trilogy, we had several great individual characters who bounced off each other and gave the film a sense of realism (even if it was set in a galaxy far, far way) and depth. There was no big convoluted plot, just goodies versus baddies in space, add a little sexual tension, some sharp humour and it worked!  

In the new films, even the great characters from the original movies have been lobotomised into blandness.  Leia, who was the feisty heroine leading the rebellion even before Luke and Han got on board, has been reduced into a benign, toothless granny. Same thing with Luke and Han, everyone now appears like a refugee from a Channel 5 Christmas movie, all bland sweetness and cloying com-patriotism.  

I had such hopes but this poor excuse for a movie is just a mess of nothingness with neither rhyme nor reason, a sorry end to a cinematic era.  If there was any reasoning behind it (which I seriously doubt it!) I think it went something like this - Well, we've made a total balls-up of the whole franchise so lets just bring whole sorry mess to an end asap and start over with something else. The fans will still come and see it because it is Star Wars so we'll at least make our money back, then hopefully, we can all forget about it and move on - or words to that effect. I will certainly be doing my best to forget it.

As a long time Star Wars fan, I cannot fully capture the depth of my disappointment. For me, there are really only 3 Star Wars films and those are the 3 originals. And I mean the originals, not the updated version Lucas did a few years ago with more special effects and 'cute characters'. Rogue One is the best of the others and Fan Boys is the fan's, Star Wars film - all worth a look. I will see Solo at some point in the not too distant future but if you are a fan and haven't seen The Rise of Skywalker yet, save yourself some time and money and give it a miss but I know if you're a Star Wars fan, you will still go and see it. 

Ah, Obi Wan, the balance in the Force has been lost. I'm only glad they didn't resurrect you and Yoda to witness the trashing of your legacy. But, as bad as it feels at the moment, word has reached me from a distant galaxy (Ok, from number 3 son) that we are not entirely without hope. Apparently, The Mandalorian, another Star Wars offshoot set after episode 6, is getting very good reviews so for fans mourning the passing of our old friend Star Wars, it may not be RIP just yet. So, as we prepare to jet off again to a galaxy far, far away maybe the lesson to be learned here is that, if you can't do it better, especially when it comes to film classics, then leave it alone.

May the force be with you!


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Good News/ Bad News

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:51

It's been a good news/bad news sort of a week. Good news, in that Boris won the election with a sizeable majority so now we can finally get on with Brexit and leaving the EU. I never thought I would be glad to see a Tory Government elected but like many working class, Boris was the only choice to finally settle the debate and I would like to say a huge thank you to the people of England who turned out to vote and make it happen. I feel, for the first time in a very long time, hopeful and optimistic about the future of the country and I think the UK will thrive from here on and that we have a lot to look forward to.

The sheep here turned out to vote for the tribes, as usual. However, there were a few upsets. Sinn Fein lost Foyle to the SDLP and the DUP's, Nigel Dodd’s lost his seat too.  Unfortunately, it was to Sinn Fein so that was a bit of a double-edged sword!  

With the EU out of the way, the buck will now stop in Westminster (at least, it will once we are out) and our politicians will now (hopefully!) be more accountable for their policies and actions.  At least, it will be easier to hold them to account.

Other good news on the election front, was the non-election of Jo Swinson who got a lesson in reality - self-righteous pontificating isn't really much of a policy and a bit of advice for Jo, just because The Guardian say it, doesn't make it true. Now, Jo will have to get a real job and work for a living. Welcome to the real world!

Labour too, got a hard lesson in reality. They deserted the working-classes and now the working-classes have deserted them, at least, temporarily. Although, I was sorry to see Dennis Skinner lose his seat. 

Labour hasn't been a working-class party for years, like the politics of Northern Ireland, their view of the world is out of date and so are most of their policies. What we have also seen, is that reality trumps ideology and we are now moving towards a post-ideological world.  The extremes of right and left ideology no longer work when faced with the practical reality of life. Labour needs to restructure and start living in the real world and not in some 'socialist' Utopian ideal that exists only in the minds of those who have only ever lived comfortable, middle-class lives. Especially, when in recent years, they pontificate and insult their voting heartlands with their self-righteous grand-standing and try to ignore the voice of that majority.

On the bad news front, we lost Dr David Bellamy, the naturalist and critic of the 'climate change' fraud. His opposition to that fraud saw him side-lined by the media and many of the environmental groups he was involved with. I hope the day is coming soon when the lies of the mainstream media are finally exposed on this and with the EU out of the way, that will, I hope, be the end to their funding of the propaganda and distortions of the truth.

And if anyone is still in doubt about 'climate change', answer this one simple question (even Jo Swinson could work this one out!) 

Who is more likely to tell you the truth about the effects of Co2 on the climate of this planet?

A - An American politician, Al Gore?

B - An unqualified and uneducated, 16 year old with a learning disability, Greta Thunberg?

C - A naturalist and environmentalist with a Phd in Botany and over 40 years of campaigning on the environment, Dr David Bellamy?

On the news/news front, since you cannot trust the BBC or any of the mainstream services, I would recommend Sky News Australia.  A completely different beast from Sky News UK which, I would never allow in the door but a great channel with some great commentators. You can find it on Youtube.

So, roll on 2020, and the US election.  This will probably return a massive vote for Trump since the US is also enduring the same self-righteous grandstanding that we have endured from the Neo-Liberal Fascist's in our midst but from the Democratic Party in their propaganda war of lies as they try to cover up Biden's dirty deals in Ukraine.  Watch this space...

 


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All I want for Christmas...

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And God sent his only Son that mankind might be saved ....NO IT WASN'T! It was to punish us for all our misbegotten deeds so that every year as a 'celebration' of his arrival, we would have to endure the special purgatory that is Christmas Shopping!  As if shopping at any time of the year wasn't it's own special kind of hell, now you can do it with bigger crowds who are more stressed while Noddy Holder screams 'IT'S CHRISTMAS!' for the four hundredth thousand time as you trudge around, on the verge of a mass extinction of brain cells, spending your hard earned (that could be better spent or saved for a decent holiday somewhere warm!) buying meaningless tat for those who spent their hard earned buying you the same meaningless tat because you 'have to' because its 'Christmas'. 

I wouldn't even mind if they actually bought me something I could use, I mean I have hobbies, I read, I write, I paint, I knit, I crochet, I garden and I've even gone back to playing badminton. But would they ever buy some paint or a canvas or two? NEVER!  Just the same bloody old body lotions and potions which I NEVER use!

And as if all that wasn't bad enough, now we have a general election in the middle of it all???  So, we're going to have to trudge out in the midst of the ice and snow (and the next one who mentions 'global warming' to me is going to get punched several times over!) to see if we can finally get a functioning government in place who will carry out the democratic will of the people and get us the f*ck out of the EU and start running the bloody country again! 

Merry Christmas everyone, God bless us one an' all!

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Judith McLean, Saturday, 16 Nov 2019, 12:33)
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More flowers

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 4 Mar 2020, 21:36

Latest from the flower-arranging.  I had a bit of a disaster coming out of the class the last evening, once I got outside, I was hit with a gust of wind which wrecked the whole arrangement. Thankfully, I was able to put it back together when I got home.  Its funny how you pick up on stuff once you get into this, the spiky branches are actually the dried up seeds from a dock plant, normally regarded as a weed but I was out for a walk on Sunday and thought it would look good in an arrangement and, lo and behold, it did!

By the way, the definition of a weed is 'a plant growing in the wrong place'. So, everything could be a weed or nothing either, it all depends on your perspective.

flowers

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Flowers

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 30 Dec 2019, 23:55

This is the second arrangement from the flower-arranging class.  I'll have to do something about my backgrounds!


Flowers 2

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Art

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 30 Dec 2019, 23:37

This is a view of Doneyloop church at sunset.  Doneyloop is a small village just over the border in Donegal from Clady.

sunset

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Art

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Tuesday, 31 Dec 2019, 00:13

The Glebe Gallery, outside Letterkenny was running free art sessions over the summer, these are 2 from the outdoor painting sessions that I took part in. One is oil on canvas and the other is oil on board.


Glebe 1

glebe 2


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Wot, no global warming!

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If someone has time today, can they give Extinction Rebellion a call and ask them when the global warming is arriving because when I got up this morning my car was covered in something that looked suspiciously like frost AND the gritter was on the road when I was coming home last night!

Not to mention the fact that it was cold and wet all through May and June and the allotment didn't get going until July and we were decimated with slugs this year: we planted 40 cabbages and got about 12. My French Marigolds didn't grow at all this year and the nasturtiums only started to appear in September.

And it rained again for most of August and September, and now frost, and it's not even Halloween yet!!! It's going to be a looonnnnnnggg winter! Bbrrrrr!

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Flowers

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I started a flower arranging class a few weeks ago and these are my first efforts. This one is in a basket and was to be viewed from above.  


Flower basket


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Art

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This is the latest from my art class, I'm quite pleased with this one. The sluice gate was broken and the water was pouring out of it which added to the drama, plus it was a beautiful warm sunny day. 


Sluice gate

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Brexit???

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I can hardly speak for the rage I feel over that shower of NLF's in Parliament today and i personally don't give a crap how many were on the People's Vote march, even if it was a million it is still 16.4 million less than voted to leave!

Roll on the general election so we can be rid of these parasitic fascists!

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 24 Oct 2019, 18:48)
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Brexit?

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Saturday, 19 Oct 2019, 10:21

Just sitting watching Boris in the Commons; listening to him just highlights how negative everything is and how long it has been since I heard someone actually have something positive to say about the UK and be hopeful about the future.

Now Corbyn's up and whining on, all fear-mongering and propaganda. There he goes again on the 'climate emergency', publicly dismissing his own brother, the so-called lefty who was anti-EU his entire political life, now sells out on every principle he ever claimed to believe in. What a turncoat!

If this doesn't go through today, the working classes will never forgive Labour.

I used to be a leftie, I was even a communist, although it was my own version of communism. Now I have turned into an unapologetic, meat-eating, Trump supporting, climate-change denying Brexiteer!  I cannot listen to the self-righteous posturing of the neo-liberal fascist ego's of the left who have no idea how the rest of us have to live, who sit above us posturing on their arrogance and think they have the right to dictate to the rest of us and who think that they have the right to overturn the democratic wishes of the people of the UK.

Scotland's turn now. The voted against independence when they had the chance so tough luck!

Jo Swinson, God, give me strength!!!

I wish they would just get on with it!


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Judith McLean, Saturday, 19 Oct 2019, 16:37)
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Joker

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 2 Mar 2020, 22:20

Since I was out every night this week, and both the weather and the telly were crap on Saturday, I went out to see Joker as I didn't want to have to wait at least another week before I could get to the cinema and also, to see if it lived up to the hype, which it does.

Joaquin Phoenix delivers a stunning performance as Arthur Fleck, a man clinging to the bottom rung of life, in desperate need of a break or maybe just a genuine act of human kindness.  (Don’t we all Arthur, I feel your pain…)

This Joker is no comic book cartoon character, in the mould of a Jim Carrey or Jack Nicholson Joker, and while Heath Ledger brought a new dimension to the character in the Dark Knight Trilogy, this Joker has a much darker edge.  This is not an action hero movie and Joker is not the nemesis for some do-gooding boy wonder to flex his virtue-signalling heroics.  It is much more and he is more than that too; he is Joe Ordinary pushed over the edge of sanity, scraping together a miserable existence, in a miserable world, the demented product of a sick and demented society. 

Considering the attention this movie is getting, there is more to this than just a brilliant acting performance, it is hitting nerves in all the wrong/right(?) places.

I can understand why the NLF's are nervously fiddling with their self-righteous indignation, worried that Joker might inspire copycat acts of violence, for if ever a movie encapsulated the disconnection between those at the top and those who are not, Joker depressingly does.  He is the bogeyman who, by his actions, inspires a violent revolution against society and the rich, and (spoiler alert) who publicly executes smug talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert DeNiro) when he is invited on to his show after Murray has used a tape of his comedy routine to mock and scoff him (shades of X Factor auditions?) but when it goes viral, sees it as an opportunity to be exploited. 

There is also some controversy around the use of one of Gary Glitter’s song and one of the reviews I read, accused the director (Todd Philips) of trying to be ‘edgy’ by using the track.  I have to say, I found the music appropriate and suited to the scene (and it is a good song regardless of what you may think of Glitter) and maybe the director was not being edgy but merely using the music of Glitter to highlight the hypocrisy of the elite who would condemn Gary Glitter but cover up and excuse the equally deplorable actions of the ‘right’ people (Epstein/Prince Andrew/Weinstein/Saville/Catholic Church).

One of Arthur Fleck’s grievances with the world is that no-one listens anymore, that people are nasty and cruel and have no compassion for their fellow human beings.  He is the on screen manifestation of the injustice and inequality that has been eating into the heart of those on the bottom rung of society for years and who have been ignored and dismissed by those on the top.  He is one of the ‘deplorables’ like those coal-miners who Hilary Clinton vowed to put out of work and, who kept her out of the White House, when they gave their vote to Trump.  

When Arthur first hits back against the bankers, he feels powerful, the little guy has fought back against those who would look down their nose at him and I certainly felt a sense of satisfaction in his actions. 

Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck has created a character that repels and appeals in equal measure but he is also a character that many will identify and sympathise with, and Joker is, in my opinion, the perfect movie for this time. It captures the zeitgeist and demonstrably highlights the disconnection between the top and bottom of society.  De Niro perfectly encapsulates all those self-righteous media types who sneer and scoff at the outsiders (Trump supporters/Brexiteers) and those who don’t quite fit in with the ‘right’ people or have the ‘right’ opinion.  And there was, again, a certain satisfaction when Arthur dispatched him to meet his maker.  There are other violent scenes and there is one scene where the character attacks a former work colleague which is pretty gruesome and one that I couldn’t watch but which demonstrates the twisted morality of the world of Arthur.

I felt the film had a strong political message or maybe my own political outlook has led me to see more in it than the director was aiming for, but Joker hits a nerve, and I fully expect to see Joker masks on the front line of political protests. 

Overall, I would highly recommend seeing the film, it is a fair construction of a character from the Batman series but this is not a film for children.  This is a bleak and disturbing portrayal of what could happen to any one of us, if our lives got off to a bad start and turned the wrong way.  I will, in all probability, go and see it again, it is definitely worth a second viewing.

The ending is ambiguous and I will leave you to make up your own mind about it but at the end Arthur is laughing and is asked what he is laughing at.  He replies ‘you wouldn’t get it’ and with Trump up for re-election next year and Brexit looming on the horizon maybe that final message should give the Neo-liberal Fascists something to think about because I still don’t think they are…you have been warned!


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Boris Bungles Again!

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So, Boris (allegedly) squeezed the thigh of journalist Charlotte Edwardes 20 years ago. I mean this kind of sexual harassment is just not on and I for one am appalled.  Thank God, we have moved on as a society and the casual sexual harassment that went on in the past is rapidly being exposed for the horror that it was for all victims of thigh-squeezing.

And I must confess to a certain 'mea-culpa' too.  I remember now the almost weekly sexual harassment of Terry Wogan on his BBC talk show, Wogan. Week after week, woman after woman used to come in and squeeze his leg, I actually think the odd man may have done it too!  And to my eternal shame, I remember, I used to laugh along, I thought it was a joke too! My God, how could I have been so naive?? 

Little did I realise how distressing all this must have been for Terry, and although he seemed to take it as a joke and laugh along too, maybe underneath it all he was in torment. Did he go back to his dressing room after each assault and cry at the impossible position he had been put in, the humiliation of having to endure being sexually assaulted right on screen every week for the whole country to see?  Did his bosses make him play along, was there pressure from the top to just sit there and take it??!  I think we need to be told, nay, DEMAND to be told!  

What kind of culture existed in the BBC at the time, when an innocent man could have been subjected to such appalling behaviour for the entertainment of millions and with no regard for his 'personal space'.  The term 'Housewife's Favourite' now takes on a much more insidious tone!  Was Terry Wogan used by the BBC to provide sexual gratification for frustrated housewives and women everywhere? Was there a darker side to the easy banter and playful innuendoes he used to so casually drop into his broadcasts? Maybe they were secretly a cry for help from a man without friends, a 'victim' of his own 'success', whether he wanted it or not?

Terry Wogan is unfortunately, no longer with us, did the years of sexual harassment add to his stress and have a bearing on the cancer that killed him? Who knows?  But at the very least, to honour his memory, I think we need a public enquiry and those women should be publicly named and shamed for the blatant harassment of a kindly gentleman just trying to make a living!  The horror of it all!



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