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Art & the artist

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I just finished watching a great show on BBC4 about Russian art from the revolutionary period.  It featured many of the artists that were part of the exhibition, I went to see back in April, in the Royal Academy. 

It was very good, both the exhibition and the show.  Sadly, many of them suffered and died, or were forced into exile during Stalin's reign of terror.  However, their art is now being re-discovered and it proves something that I've come to believe.  No matter how many wars, warmongers and dictators that strut their way through history or how much destruction they cause; in time, it is the work of the artists and artisans that survives and outlives them all. 

Warmongers leave little of value and sadly, we still don't seem to have learned from all the lessons of history, that there are no winners in war.

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Art, Genesis & Consciousness

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 17 Nov 2017, 22:24

I recently submitted a painting to a local art exhibition.  I usually work with a lot of colour but for a change, I tried something more stripped back.  The painting is called 'After the Fall', and is of a tree silhouetted against a pale background. (If I ever get a smart phone, I'll post a picture of it)  Someone in my art class suggested adding some fallen leaves but I decided not to, as I wanted the focus to be on the tree alone.

The painting works on 2 levels.  It can be taken literally; a tree after the leaves have fallen off in autumn, but when I painted it, I was thinking about the Genesis story of the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil' that stood in the Garden of Eden.  So, my painting is a representation of this. 

The Genesis story has been taken as a literal truth by the Christian church and used for centuries to malign women and justify our treatment as second class humans.  In case anyone doesn't know, it was us temptresses and evil-doers who got the poor men kicked out of paradise because poor dumb Adam couldn't say no (of course) when Eve tempted him with the fruit.  An insult to both men and women.

However, this interpretation has always bothered me, not least for the reasons already stated but when you look at it from a metaphorical point of view, you come to see that this story is about consciousness and that 'religion' has misinterpreted it.

When Adam and Eve eat the 'fruit', they become conscious of themselves and the world, as they now possess the knowledge of good and evil too.  They no longer need anyone to tell them how to act or think; with consciousness, they can now think and decide for themselves how they are going to act.  They have grown up and are no longer children who have to be told what to do.  They have become adults.

 

This story is telling us about our evolution as human beings and how we grow up (in theory) and learn to think and act for ourselves by using our knowledge, our conscience and applying it to our actions and beliefs.   Once we have become conscious, we cannot 'unsee' reality and go back to the pre-conscious state represented by Eden which is why we are barred from ‘paradise’ forever. 

 

So, how do we become conscious? 

In order to grow up or become conscious, we have to challenge the things we believe in or believe about ourselves.  For example, do you believe in God and why, or why not? 

So, the tree in my painting is a representation of this.  It is asking the question, who am I when stripped of the delusions of ego, religion, nationality, culture and materialism. Do my actions match the beliefs I have about myself as a human being or am I deluding or lying to myself.

 

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Meditations, art & Ubuntu

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Didn't make it to OMD, it was just too long a day and all I wanted was to get home.  I did make it to HMV and picked up a couple of DVD'S which I look forward to watching at the weekend.  I was on my way back when I had a text message from work saying they needed the banner for today.  We're doing a presentation on Friday and because I do art, I got the job of making the banner.  So, I made it at my art class last night, and they were all very happy with it.

Talking about art, I was at the opening of a local exhibition tonight, No Jury, No Prize.  Apparently, this began in London a few years back but it was in the Alley tonight so I went down for an hour as I submitted a painting for it.  Unexpectedly, my cousin Paul also had a piece of sculpture in the show and was with a friend of his who was also exhibiting a painting.  There was a broad mix of styles from both amateurs and professionals.  I'm technically a professional, because I have sold paintings but really I'm an amateur.  I'll consider myself professional when I can earn a living doing it which will probably be never! 

I'm sitting here and I saw this show advertised for BBC 4 called, Retreat: Meditations from a monastery (supposed to be writing my assignment and the stress is kicking in!) .  Before it started, they showed a little film of a sunset by the sea with the water ebbing and flowing, and very restful it was too.  If only we could have these instead of bloody ads all the time.  Anyway, it's about a group of monks in a monastery and how they live, making their own clothes and growing their food.

There certainly is a great appeal in the simplicity of the communal aesthetic lifestyle.  I remember a few years ago, there were several programmes on about the Amish community and I have to say, I found their lifestyle very appealing. I loved all the craftwork and cooking and baking and gardening, because I do all that too.  I just don't get to do enough of it as the rat race demands my services and unfortunately, I don't have the means to escape, yet!  Well, I can always dream...

The only downside was the religion, and I've often wondered how you could have that way of living; in a community and everyone working together to help each other out but without all the dogma and rules of religion.  If I ever get enough money to buy a large piece of land, I'm definitely going to try that one out, build my own community - Free the wage enslaved!

I believe in time, we will have to seriously look at alternative lifestyles and eventually move towards a world without money.  The whole capitalist thing just isn't working and isn't sustainable in the long term so we're going to have to try something else.   If you think about it, imagine if you could have access to everything you needed and didn't have to work to earn money to buy it.  All the stress of life disappears. The fear of 'not having' is what scares everyone, me included! 

There are a few movements around who are advocating this idea which I found online but most are in the early stages of development.  One of the most organised is called the Ubuntu Movement, and they have set up the first 'town without money' in South America.  You're only obliged to contribute 3 hours of work to the community and the rest of the time is your own, sounds good to me!  That's as much as I know about it as I haven't had the time, (the ongoing dilemma!) to check it out in more detail at the moment.  A blog for another day...

Oh well, back to the assignment!

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The Vietnam War

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As disappointing as the Simon Reeve in Russia show has been, credit where credit is due, BBC4 have delivered the goods in The Vietnam War which has been running on Monday nights.  This excellent series has fully lived up to all my expectations and is a must for any student of politics. 

As part of DD306, we're studying the Cold War, of which this is one of the direct consequences.  A sorry and dirty mess, death and destruction on a devastating scale but have we learned anything?  Unfortunately, it seems that we haven't or ever will.  With tensions ramping up again between the US and North Korea, and Trump's latest statement on Iran, it seems they're gearing up for a war on two more fronts, with the strong possibility of the nuclear arsenal being rolled out.  The insanity continues.

Meanwhile, I'm off to Belfast in the morning for our first tutorial and then I'm back in Belfast on Tuesday for a job interview.  OMD are playing on Tuesday night in Mandela Hall at Queens and I'm sorely tempted to hang around for the show but my first assignment is due next Monday and then I'm at the opening of an art exhibition on Wednesday and my art class on Tuesday of next week too, so I'm not sure if I can spare the time! Decisions! Decisions!

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Simon Reeve in Russia

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I just finished watching the Simon Reeve in Russia, series.  I was really looking forward to it but I feel disappointed and let down by the overall tone of it.  The constant anti-Putin rhetoric, spoiled it for me and the thing about it is, the issues that Simon focussed on, are mirrored here exactly: health cuts, corruption, elites controlling and taking all for themselves and having special privileges, ordinary people having no voice.  The only difference in here and Russia, is they actually have a strong leader and ours are all weak, ineffectual and useless.  Politicians here would die for Putin's satisfaction ratings, up in the 80%'s.

On tonight's show, he featured a girl who lives in one of the old style apartments and is being forced to leave because they're knocking them down, and has to go and live in a brand new apartment block.  There are working class people in this country wishing that was a problem they had!  Simon has a short memory, does he not remember the issues around Stratford when the Olympic Stadium was being built or the social cleansing that has happened in London under the guise of 'austerity'.  And just on that, the economy crashed in 2008, that's nearly 10 years ago, and we're still being hammered with austerity!  What have they been doing all this time, twiddling their thumbs???

Anyway, Russia is a huge country and one that I hope to visit some day.  I even starting learning a bit of Russian last year.  I had a real flair for it too and was picking it up very easily.  By the way, the Russian word for the number one is pronounced adeen,  So, I'm nearly number one in Russia! 

I'm studying the Cold War too, as part of DD306 at the moment so it's all very relevant especially since it all seems to be going strong again!  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!


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DD306

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Got a start on the course so I'm now trying to catch up on the 'news', if it could be called 'news' these days. There's a lot going on politically and so I'm sitting here tonight watching Panorama.  I'm old enough to remember when Panorama was a serious programme with real journalists, sadly, that time has long passed and all we get now is propaganda and not even very good propaganda at that.  Tonight's show is a rather pathetic piece of anti-North Korean propaganda filled with dead-eyed commentators trotting out the same old clap-trap.

Now, I'm not labouring under the illusion that North Korea is some sort of utopian state but the opening of the show talked about North Korea threatening nuclear war.  As I recall, it's the US threatening NK.  We are just being pumped with the same old propaganda we had before the Iraqi invasion. 

I actually watched a piece online a few weeks ago where a South Korean village was protesting against the US deployment of the Thaad Missile System and there are numerous videos online showing South Korean protests against the US but did any of them appear on Panorama?  No, of course, they didn't.  Gone are the days of fair and balanced reporting. 

At least with the internet, we can now seek out the news for ourselves.  Meanwhile, far away from dictatorships, over here in the 'free and democratic' west, Catalans are being beat out of polling booths for daring to try and exercise their right to have political control over their land and lives.  And over in the land of the 'bully' and home of the 'deluded', another mass shooting.  And just when you think it couldn't get any worse, up pops the Tory Party Conference!!

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DD306

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Book arrived last week.  Just one book so I'm assuming most of the learning will be online.  Only one course book to buy, too.  Really looking forward to getting started but the module site doesn't open for a couple of days yet. 

I had a couple of night's out last week.  Went to a play at the local theatre, a couple of friends from the Letterkenny drama group were in it.  It was very funny but they don't have any more dates for this year as they were late booking.  It'll be hitting the rest of the theatre's in the north west next year, it's called The Coarse Acting Show.  It's a comedy about the worst drama group ever, and it is hilarious, it's the most I've laughed since the last party political broadcast I watched!  If you're in the area next year, keep an eye out for it, definitely worth a look.

Then, I had a work's night out on Friday, in Omagh; danced a bit, drank a bit and generally had a lot of fun.  I'm trying to get most of my outings in now before study begins.  Last year for honours, so everything else is being side-lined. 

Off to the cinema tomorrow night to see It.  Early reviews are on the favourable side so looking forward to that.  Other outings ahead: PMJ are back again in March, coming to the Ulster Hall next year.  In case, you don't know who PMJ are, they are Scott Bradlee's, Post Modern Jukebox, they do jazz versions of modern pop songs, check them out on YouTube, you won't be disappointed.  My favourite's are Stacey's Mom & Creep.  I saw them last year in the Waterfront and the year before in Mandela Hall.  So, this will make it 3 in a row.  I even got dressed up for it last year and bought myself a 'wiggle dress', there were quite a few of us in the audience dressed for the occasion.  They're touring all over so if you get a chance, go! It's a great, night out!

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Movies & endings

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 4 Sep 2017, 21:01

I went to see The Dark Tower last week, the film based on the Stephen King books.  I think this was a one off and it wasn’t a bad effort.  Although, I thought, Idris Elba was too young and fresh-looking for the role of The Gunslinger.  In the books Roland is ancient and has been around forever.  Also, it was all a bit too quick for my liking but I won’t complain too much about having to look at Matthew McConaghey, for an hour and a half, or Idris Elba for that matter!

The Dark Tower is a whole epic of 7 books originally (apparently 2 more have been added which I haven’t read) and were all very enjoyable, except for the ending.  If you haven’t read the series, then you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about now, but I’ll try not to give too much away in case they’re on your ‘to read’ list.  The problem I had with the ending, was the very same thing Stephen King referred to in Misery (great book, mediocre film), when Annie Wilkes pulls Paul Sheldon up for cheating with the story like they used to do in the old Saturday shows, when you were sure the hero had died going over the cliff in the locked, burning car, or some such, but by the next week he has somehow managed a miraculous escape.

The Dark Tower had one of those endings.  Roland had moved back in time and was leaving with the horn of Eld after the battle of Jericho Hill but that didn’t make sense to me.  I’m doing an Annie Wilkes now! He would have had to go back and re-fight the battle in order to win it and in my mind he would also have to go back to when he entered Hambry and save Susan Delgado.

I’ve read quite a few Stephen Kings, they are my pleasure in between the heavy stuff.  Misery is my favourite book, and my favourite film adaptation is Stand By Me.  The re-make of It, is out this week and if the trailers are anything to go by, then it’s something to look forward to.  I know a lot of people were disappointed by the ending in the movie first time around so I’m not sure how that’s going to be rectified but what works in fiction doesn’t necessarily work on screen.  Anyway, I won’t spoil it by giving away any details.  However, I will say that the endings of several of Stephen’s more recent novels were disappointing, Under the Dome was one and Joyland another, Revival too, was a bit of a let-down but my biggest disappointment this year, was not a book but a film, the final Planet of the Apes movie, War for Planet of the Apes.

Firstly, it wasn’t a ‘War’, it was a battle and not much of a battle either and from looking at the trailers beforehand; I was expecting WW3 with nukes.  Mind you, the way Donald and the Young ‘Un are squaring up, we could be headed for the real thing any day now!  I’m convinced Lil Kim, could make a case for an Ulster Scots grant with his name!

The big let-down, apart from the ‘war’, was all the emoting that was going on.  It was like an episode of Dr Phil!  Caesar was giving it all the dramatics of rage and burning anger, like an obstreperous teenager.  While Maurice, the big orangutan, was giving out so much deep and meaningful advice, I half expected him to be given his own talk show. 

Then, there were parts of the story that didn’t make sense either.  How did the soldiers manage to capture the other apes when Caesar was following them, and the other apes had been left behind??  Go figure??  The real pity is, the cgi was the best I’ve seen but like so many ‘epics’, too much thought given to the ‘show’ and not enough to the story.  Yes, James Cameron, I’m talking about your Avatar (great visuals, lazy, old, clichéd story) You think you would have learnt from the hash Lucas made with Star Wars!

Anyway, if the books and movies have been disappointing, at least music brings its own rewards and the God of Rock, himself, the one and only Mr Robert Plant, returns to the Ulster Hall in December!  And I will be there! 

The new Star Wars is out then too, lets hope that's 2 bright spots on the December horizon to look forward to.  May the force be with you or rock on!  Whatever, is your wont!


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La, la land

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 30 Aug 2017, 23:26

I really feel, I should send out a warm and hearty congratulations, to our local politicians for a job well done.  I caught the news headlines tonight, floods in Houston, missiles over Japan and WW3 looming large on the horizon but meanwhile over here in the political imaginarium of la,la land, there has been a coming together of parties (all say, awwwh!) to (wait for it!!) press for an Irish language Act (now don’t it just warm the cockles of your ‘eart) and according to Sinn Fein et al, there will be no assembly until they get it.  (Ya boo sucks to you!  So, there!)

I live in a socially (among other things) deprived area where we have always had higher unemployment rates than the rest of the UK, and back in the 70's, I think we even held the No 1 position for unemployment black-spot for the whole of Europe!  Not forgetting, the most bombed town outside of Belfast!!  Ta da!  Beat that Damascus!

Unemployment is only one of the issues needing addressing around here and I was sitting a few months ago counting how many people I knew who had died either by suicide or from alcoholism, and the total came to almost 40.  This was one of the reasons why I deferred my final OU year to get involved with the Waving Not Drowning show.  When the show played in our local theatre, not one, and I will repeat that -

NOT ONE, POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVE FROM ANY PARTY,

NOT ONE, PERSON FROM ANY OF OUR COMMUNITY GROUPS,

NOT ONE DOCTOR OR NURSE, FROM ANY OF THE HEALTH CENTRES IN THE ENTIRE STRABANE DISTRICT, SHOWED UP TO WATCH IT!

And up in Stormont, they're demanding an Irish Language Act before any political movement on anything because that really is where the priorities are around here.  In the midst of the fire of unemployment, alcoholism, suicide and let’s not forget that other old remnant from the ‘trouble’s’ PTSD; our politicians fiddle around with an Irish Language Act because it so necessary to the well-being of the population and demonstrates just how concerned they are about us. They really do have our best interests at heart and those fingers are right on the pulse of the nation.  Not to mention how necessary it is to show how welcoming, culturally diverse and accepting we all are.

So stand up, all you NI politicians and take a bow!  Take a large bow for being so completely up yourself, not to mention, deluded, with your big overblown ego and totally distorted sense of proportion.  Take a bow for all those languishing on the dole, for all those who are drinking themselves into an early grave or those who have sunk so low into the pit of despair that they feel their only option is to hang, overdose, shoot or drown themselves. 

And take a really big bow for those who are crippled with anxiety and depression!  The nervous wrecks left behind from having to grow up in a war zone and who have to, day and daily, face the murals and monuments to death and destruction.  Those constant reminders of just how totally fecking miserable it was here, throughout that whole rotten period.   

Yes!  Take a great big bow!  For God knows, how hard you must be working to take home that 50 grand a year plus expenses, not forgetting the other 60 grand for Parliament (and this is especially to Sinn Fein who don't even have to bother taking their seats!)  Well done to you all!!  Congratulate yourselves on your blind arrogance and self-righteous grand-standing!

Because, at the end of the day, just think how important it is to be able to demonstrate your patriotic credentials by writing your suicide note in Irish...slan abhaile!

 

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Belbin

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We were given the Belbin Team Role Inventory at work last week.  It is used to assess what role you feel you are best suited to in a team.  It is named for Dr Meredith Belbin who, in the 1970's, devised the test as a way of controlling the dynamics of groups working together and pre-empting problems or personality clashes by finding out which roles people were most suited to.

So, after doing the test, it turned out I'm a 'plant'.  The supervisor who administered the test and gathered up the results became quite excited about that.  Apparently, plants are a rare thing and don't normally show up but anybody who knows me would certainly agree, I am a indeed a rare thing!  She also said, 'plants are very creative and big thinkers'.  

So, there you go.  I am a rare thing or as defined on Wikipedia, 'unorthodox, bright and free -thinking'  At last, my genius is being recognised!

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New blog post

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Tuesday, 22 Aug 2017, 19:44

When I was young, I used to get the Once Upon a Time comic and, as the name suggests, it was full of fairy tales and stories about the usual subjects, princesses being saved by princes, tales from the Arabian Nights and as far as memory serves, it was also where I first encountered tales of Brer Rabbit.  It was the highlight of my week and I loved it as much for some of the colourful artwork as the stories.  I was always drawing and colouring-in as a child and I even had a painting exhibited locally when I was in P2.  There was an exhibition of local art and somehow I was nominated to paint a picture for my class/school, I'm not entirely sure which.  Anyway, I got the afternoon off lessons to paint a picture of a hen.  I don't remember if I made that choice or if that is what I was told to draw. 

A few years ago, I took up art again and, I have to say, I love it more now than ever and I try and get to exhibitions and galleries as much as I possibly can.  I even sold a painting when I first showed some of them at a craft fair.  This actually happened by accident as we thought the paintings were being used to decorate the room but they were put on a stall instead.  

I was in Dublin on Saturday to meet a friend so I headed down early so I could spend some time in the National Gallery and came home with a pair of 'Starry Night' socks!   There was a Vermeer exhibition on but it was booked out so I couldn't get to see it but I still enjoyed a roam around the gallery.  Then last night, I spent an hour on Facebook watching video presentations on Van Gogh's Sunflowers, from art galleries around the world.   Van Gogh would probably be my favourite artist and I do like his work in general but Starry Night would be my favourite painting, hence the socks.

A friend of mine recently shared a video of Jim Carrey, the actor, talking about art and discussing how creating art had helped to heal him after a particularly heart-breaking time.  Jim isn't the first to find healing in art and creativity and I have to say, I too, find it very therapeutic. 

In the video, Jim talks about how he was sitting in a 'grey New York' and felt the need to bring some colour in to his life.  A sentiment I understand, more so considering the state of the world at the moment.  While I am political in my outlook, when it comes to art, I leave the politics aside and take the aesthetic road.  I don't want to create political statements with my artwork, I want to create something of beauty to transcend those miserable and grey days of life.  On this one, I'll leave the politics to Banksy.

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Global warming

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 20 Oct 2023, 10:27

Going back to the global warming/climate change debate, I've been trying to figure out what is really going on because I couldn't understand why this false science has become so pervasive in the media and across the internet with real scientists being subjected to some serious abuse for trying to talk 'common sense', as David Bellamy put it, when it is not proved or even close to being proved.  Why is this big lie being promoted with such vigour across the entire world and what is the purpose?

Just as an experiment, I tried to talk to a few 'Green' friends about the blog I had researched going over the science and asking them to check it out. This propaganda is entrenched! They refused to even consider it, blinded by their own arrogance. Also, I think, the fact that I'm female and they are male, had a bearing. Here in NI the old attitudes prevail even amongst those who consider themselves open-minded and liberal.

I've also been researching a lot into the Rothschilds, the Fed, the IMF/World Bank and how no matter who you vote for the Rothschilds are still in charge (a blog for another day). The powers that be are still pursuing their own agenda, creating wars as cover to gain control of the energy supplies, the oil and gas around Ukraine, Iraq and the rest of the world and, of course, the big prize, Iran.

I couldn't understand why they were still doing this while pushing the Co2 as a contributor to global-warming, across the media and the internet and call me paranoid, if you like, but I think I've got it!

I think the whole Co2/climate-change agenda is a set-up which will be used to discredit the entire green movement and anyone connected to it. When it suits their purpose, of course, the tide of opinion will be turned through the media, which they mostly control and no one will listen to the environmentalists again. If you don't believe this is possible, I would ask you to look at the Adam Curtis documentary, Century of the Self, to see just how much we are, and have been, manipulated. This will be the big pull the rug out from underneath them and shut them up forever and this will happen when they have locked down the energy supplies of coal, gas and oil for themselves.

Maybe I've been watching too many you tube documentaries but it's the only thing that makes sense to me.  Anyway, all we can do is wait and see and remember you read it here first!

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1690 VS 1916

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 7 Dec 2022, 13:23

Well Jimmy, can you believe it?  The fight we have all been waiting for is finally on!  The 2 big hitters of the Northern Ireland political scene, Sinn Fein and the DUP are finally set to slug it our in a clash that has been dubbed 1690 vs 1916!

These two have been dancing around one another for years and there have been many skirmishes along the way but there was never a decisive victory that one could claim over the other.  But here we are now and who could even begin to try and predict the outcome of this?  The line has been drawn between them for the first time in over 40 years and the last election has ironically, strengthened bother their hands. Red hands at that! (That's just a little 'in' joke for the Ulster folk)

They have laid waste to the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists, those former giants of the political arena whose glory days now seem, sadly, behind them.  How this will turn out, is anybody's guess!

In the green corner, we have Sinn Fein or the Shinners as they are affectionately known, thought not by the DUP!!  Sinn Fein are the political wing of the now retired IRA. (they haven't gone away, ye know!)  They were on the 'Catholic' side during the Troubles.  They fought for many years in the 'armed struggle'...sorry, I have to apologise, it seems I got that wrong!  They didn't fight but they 'supported' the armed struggle or as they called it 'the fight to free Ireland from the yoke of British Imperialism'.  Although the DUP would have a lot more to say about that and still consider them a 'bunch of bloody terrorists!'.  Okay, what a pair!  This is hotting up to be the fight of the century, although I'm not entirely sure what century we're talking about, but the trash talk had been going on for years!

Anyway, they have now laid claim to the nationalist mandate in the North and have grown in political strength and confidence since the end of the Troubles.  However, the big question remains - will they ever really have the confidence to get over the past or themselves and take the fight to the Wembley Stadium of politics (or should that be Croke Park!) the British Parliament???

The only all-Ireland party, they're also a growing political force across the border in the Irish Republic or their 'true' home and where last year, they fought the good fight against the introduction of water charges.  A big pro-EU party, which is ironic considering their name and their history.  Sinn Fein translates as 'ourselves alone' and they have fought for years against British rule in Ireland! 

Their big date in the calendar is Easter when they have rallies and marches to commemorate the Easter Rising and last year was the biggie as it was the 100th anniversary.  This was when Ireland started the fight that led to the founding of  the Irish Free State.  Strange that the Shinners seem quite happy to hand over the sovereignty of the country to the EU, the IMF and the World Bank after all that, but there you go...although, I think if truth be told, I think the Irish government have already done that!!

We don't really know how determined they are in their support for the EU, after all, it was that very same EU that imposed the water charges they fought so hard against recently!!  There are a few theories on this, some say that since they are newcomers to the international political scene, they want to enjoy the ride on the old gravy train to Brussels for a while longer and don't want to give up the perks and benefits of the EU especially since they have only just got their snouts in the trough!  Others think it's just the same old; whatever the DUP are for, they're against!

Anyway, whatever the reason, they have now moved up into the political heavy-weight class and there seems to be no one who can slow them down or stop them!!  And that, ladies and gentlemen, are Sinnnn Feeeiiiinnnn!!

Over in the red corner, we have the DUP or the Dupers, as some like to call them and not affectionately at that!  But don't mistake the 'red' in their corner for the colour of their politics because they are as far away from 'red' as you'll ever get!! 

Stalwarts of the political scene in Northern Ireland, they have been around forever, going right back to the early days of the troubles.  There are those who say there might not have been any troubles if that 'big mouth Paisley had shut up'.  Not my words, Jimmy, just the word on the street...

Anyway, if any party ever gave credence to the saying, 'politics is showbiz for ugly people', then it's the DUP.  Anti-EU, pro Brexit, they don't really need the trough of Brussels as they've just been given free rein to the British public purse.  (Seems there was a magic money tree after all!!!)  They were always able to depend on government support throughout the years of the Troubles, a reward for their staunch loyalty to all things British, even threatening the government when it seemed they weren't being British enough.  We'll never forget the 3rd Force or the Anglo - Irish Agreement protests, will we, Jimmy?

The DUP were on the 'Protestant' side during the Troubles, albeit a very conservative right-wing version of Protestantism.  They once refused to allow ELO to play in Ballymena as it was deemed to be too decadent!  Kidding???  I wish I was!

Like Sinn Fein, there's a big day out in the calendar for the DUP too, the 12th of July!  This is the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne when King William of Orange (Protestant) beat King James (Catholic) in a battle for the throne of England back in, yes, you've guessed it, 1690!  And they've been celebrating ever since which is ironic as the DUP aren't exactly renowned for being party people!  Another ironic fact about this is that King William (or Billy as he's also known) was, as one historian described, an 'avaricious homosexual'.  The DUP are well know for their anti-homosexual stance and had no qualms about getting rid of former DUP rising star, Paul Berry when he was reported to have indulged in some 'compromising' behaviour in a hotel somewhere in Belfast, a few years back.  Last seen, wandering in the political wasteland with a couple of unseated Ulster Unionists.  Awwww, shame...

Anyway, theie success in the recent Parliamentary election has added to their strength and power and they have teamed up with their natural allies...The KKK?  No, not at all, the Tories!  So, Arlene, has climbed into bed with Theresa (metaphorically, of course!) in the biggest act of political prostitution ever and the DUP are laughing all the way to the bank!  Oh what a party!

Money is what the DUP are all about, (Protestant work ethic and all that) and they do love to spend it, especially when it isn't theirs!  Always in the top rankings for MP's expenses, in 2015 the DUP took the top 2 places in the list with Jim Shannon claiming £205,798.23 and Ian Paisley Jnr, £195,247.59. 

They're also involved in a bit of trouble back in Norn Iron at the moment, in the Cash for Ash scandal where they paid businesses £1.60 for every £1 spent in a heating renewal scheme that is set to cost the taxpayer £490m over 20 years!  We won't even mention the Invest NI building, the most expensive rental property in Belfast at £25 a square foot which is going to cost the taxpayer another £120m also over 20 years!  This property was built as part of a PFI scheme and here's the real joke, after 20 years, the property developer is still going to own the building!  Oh, this is too much!!  You couldn't make it up!!

So, we are now poised to watch the 2 heavy-weights of Northern Irish politics fight it out to the bitter end (cos no one does bitter like they do here!!)  What do you think Jimmy, are the Shinners punching above their weight or will the brash newcomers take out the old dinosaurs!!

It's a tough one to call, Saint, Unionism isn't exactly known for standing their ground when it comes to a real fight,  They ran away from an Irish Republic back in the day, too afraid to let go of the old apron strings of Britannia and still don't seem to have the bottle to take on a United Ireland and fight their corner.

Sinn Fein, I have to say, seem hungrier for success.  For years, they liked to play the victim card blaming the British and the Unionists for repressing them but, changed times, Saint, and you can see their confidence growing with every election.  Who, 20 years ago, would ever have thought the 'bad boys' of Irish Republicanism would ever sit in Stormont with the DUP?  Or rather, the DUP would sit with them!  It seems 'Never! Never! Never!' was only until big Ian got the top job and the big pay packet.

Still, it's a close one to call, Saint, but if I had to pick a winner, I would have to put my money on the Dupers.  They've been doing the politics thing a lot longer and that experience has stood them in good stead in the past.  And big Arlene, I'd think twice about tackling her myself, a tough old cookie or as they say in Ulster Scots, 'a grand big cuddy!'.

The Shinners might be younger and hungrier but they don't have the experience of the old dinosaurs and you have to ask yourself if they are capable of delivering that knock-out punch when needed.

Ok, Jimmy, thank-you for that and I have to agree and go with the DUP too.  At the end of the day, they have the government on their side and as long as Theresa can hang on to power, they'll have the upper hand.  Mind you, you know the old saying, 'a week is a long time in politics', and we've seen some storms in the past year with Brexit, Trump and Corbyn all defying the pollsters!

And as if things weren't hot enough, the 12th is just around the corner and we all know what that means!  The old sectarian divisions will be ripped wide open again!  Bonfires!  Riots!  And you won't believe this Jimmy, on top of all that, Linfield (Norn Iron's version of Rangers) are set to play Celtic on July 11th in Belfast!!  What is going on in the world???

Hold on, Jimmy, I'm getting some news...just announced...apparently the Stormont Assembly is on hold, Sinn Fein are stalling over a promised Irish Language Act from Tony Bliar, sorry, Blair!  But you know Norn Iron, you can't have one side getting something without the other getting something too, so the DUP are demanding equality of footing for Ulster Scots!  See you, Jimmy!  Ah hah, what a game!

There are rumours that the Shinners are really holding our so Arlene won't get to spend the big bribe...sorry, pay off...sorry, what is it then??  What?  'The price of strong and stable government'... Really?  Is she still using that old line?  Well, I never...

Hold on, more breaking news...it's...it's...it's all off!!  Summer recess, they've all gone off on holiday to September.

So, what do we do now, Saint?

I'm f*cked if I know, Jimmy!

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How I learned to stop worrying and love Co2

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 20 Oct 2023, 10:23

Stephen Hawking, in a recent article, stated that we should start looking around for a new planet to colonise because ‘with climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious’. If all that’s coming, maybe we should just leave now! Stephen Hawking is a clever man, but he’s obviously looking for a big grant to fund research or something. Now, let’s be logical about it and look at the reality. We’re miles from anywhere habitable and he suggests colonies on the Moon or Mars. Why would we leave a planet that is rich in water, plant and animal life to live on a barren wasteland with no water, life or atmosphere? This is another of those statements paraded all over the media that terrorize the population and keep us in a constant state of fear. 

 

Coincidentally, I have been looking into the science behind ‘global-warming’ and ‘climate change’, for several weeks now and (I have to get the language right here) from the evidence I have gathered, I have concluded that we’ve all been taken for huge ride. 

 

When it comes to man-made global-warming and climate change, I’ll be the first to admit, I believed it. I didn’t even bother with the science because I thought, ‘well, you can’t lie about science; it’s all based on evidence and research, isn’t it?’  I’ve always enjoyed science programmes, never missed Tomorrow’s World and I even wanted to study it at school but we had a rubbish science department.  I remember looking through the biology books, a subject you weren’t allowed to do until 3rd year, and the pages on human reproduction were torn out because they had a picture of a naked man and woman in them.  We sneaked a look at the teacher’s book, they were still in his. So, everything in nature procreated except humanity, in the narrow world of the Convent Grammar.   

                                                                                                       

Going back to the early 1990’s, some doubts were raised. I was doing a Life Sciences course as part of a Foundation course at Magee College and I remember reading this in one of the journals, and it always stuck with me. It said, ‘there is no such thing as an environmental crisis in nature, because nature is always working to repair the damage’. That, and the fact that the teacher didn’t believe any of the environmentalist’s warnings about what was happening. We also discussed the fact, that back in the 1960’s, they were talking about another ice-age which I remember too…barely that is!

 

But, courses end and life moves on, and you become distracted by other things, and I didn’t give it much more thought.  I could see the benefits of recycling and trying to cut back on energy usage if for no other reason than to save a few pounds, and assumed we were being told the truth because the general consensus in the media seemed to confirm there were problems with the climate. There were stories about El Nino and a hole in the ozone layer and, in 1995, we had the summer from heaven, 3 months of the most beautiful warm, sunny weather and we thought, ‘well, if this is global warming, bring it on!’

 

And as I sit here and write this, I’m thinking, it’s June, my roses have only bloomed in the last couple of weeks, last year one rose bush didn’t bloom until July and even then it was only for about 2 weeks.  I had my heating on last night, I still have the quilt on my bed and I’ve even had to wear pyjamas a couple of nights this month as it was so cold.  

 

Now, this all came about because I’ve been having more political debates and discussions with my sister (Me: for Jeremy Corbyn.  Her: not) Then, the topic of climate-change came up; and there’s another thing I noticed recently, there’s less talk about ‘global-warming’ now. The language of the debate is changing and it’s becoming more about ‘climate change’, have you noticed that? Anyway, she has always been a sceptic and has complained a lot about paying taxes for something she said wasn’t true so after some debate she said, check out Piers Corbyn’s website, Weatheraction.com.  At this point, neither she nor I knew Jeremy and Piers were brothers. So, I did.

 

Weather forecasting is Piers Corbyn’s area of expertise and when he started studying, he noticed a correlation between solar (sunspot) activity and temperature and climate change on earth.  He was so successful in using this information in weather-forecasting that he was able to live off the money he won, betting on the weather when he was at university. 

 

Now, when you actually read the science you come to understand that the earth has always had periods of warming and cooling. There was a warming period in medieval times, when Greenland was green and the Vikings lived and farmed there.  There was a mini ice-age about 600 years ago (we’ve warmed up a bit since then) but scientists on several sites seem to agree that we are now in a cooling period again. This data is derived from studies on solar activity.   

On the website climatescienceinternational.org, 6 leading British scientists, including Piers and the well-known botanist, David Bellamy, Phd; and many others from around the world, have put their name to this statement:

 

We, the undersigned, having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming."

 

It also states their reason for compiling a register of scientists:

 

‘A common misunderstanding amongst the general public, mainstream media and politicians is that only a small proportion of experts in the climate science community have serious problems with the concept of a carbon dioxide-driven climate crisis. In reality, thousands of climate experts are highly skeptical of this hypothesis.

This fact has been repeatedly demonstrated through open letters, petitions and other declarations.  However, these documents have not had sufficient impact on government policy largely because mainstream media have generally ignored them and so only a minority of the public is aware of their existence’. 

 

On petitionprojectorg, 31,487 US scientists, 9029 of them Phd’s, have signed their name to another petition whose purpose is:

 

‘to demonstrate that the claim of “settled science” and an overwhelming “consensus” in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists.

Publicists at the United Nations, Mr. Al Gore, and their supporters frequently claim that only a few “sceptics” remain…It is evident that 31,487 Americans with university degrees in science – including 9,029 PhDs, are not "a few."

 

These scientists are instead convinced that the human-caused global warming hypothesis is without scientific validity and that government action on the basis of this hypothesis would unnecessarily and counterproductively damage both human prosperity and the natural environment of the Earth.

 

So, I started really looking in to this and gathering data about ‘global warming’, I typed in ‘facts about global-warming and I got a site called Co2earth which gives the Co2 levels in the atmosphere which at this time are 400ppm (parts per million) which doesn’t sound like a lot. (I wonder what’s making up the other 999,600 parts.). Anyway, back in the Cambrian period, Co2 levels were at 7000ppm and I also found out that the Cambrian period is ‘famed for its explosion of abundant and diverse life forms’. So no harm done there then!

 

Now, to be fair, I also checked out the other side. The first thing I noticed about the pro GW/CC sites was that they didn’t have a lot of actual scientists, scientific papers or links to all the evidence and one of the first things I came across, on one of the sites, was a statement that said there was a global consensus among scientists about ‘man-made climate change’, which I knew straightaway from my research, was a lie. According to the GW/CC ‘science’, rising Co2 levels are causing the earth to warm up but the actual real science shows us that reverse is true.  Temperature rises cause Co2 levels to increase.  Part of the reason for this is that warm water cannot hold as much Co2 as cold water and the oceans contain huge amounts of Co2. So, when the water warms up it releases Co2 but Co2 levels are not static anyway and are moving all the time. As a greenhouse gas, Co2 isn’t very big either. They largest greenhouse gas is water vapour, yes, I know, I couldn’t believe that one either.  Water vapour coming off the oceans makes up about 96% of greenhouse gases. Co2 is contained in the other 4% along with methane and other gases. As a proportion of the atmosphere, Co2 is about 0.039% with nitrogen making up 78% and oxygen 21%. Again, that’s not a lot, as Paul Daniels used to say. (Gawd, I’m really starting to show my age!)

 

Anyway, back to the science!  Co2 or carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring element on earth; it is in everything, plants, animals, the oceans, the land, us, everywhere. As a matter of fact, if there were no Co2, everything would die. We even breathe it in and out. We breathe in 400ppm of Co2 but we breathe out 40,000ppm and as the man says, I don’t think anyone has died from Co2 poisoning while receiving CPR. We could actually do with some more Co2 as it makes everything grow bigger and better, it’s the very food of life for plants and trees.


Now, the earth itself is about 71% water to 29% land. 33% of the land is deserts and 3% is urbanised which doesn’t really sound like a lot either. So if you were worrying about the impact of your non eco- friendly light bulbs, stop now because how much of a difference is that going to make when you look at the big picture?

 

Here’s another piece of info, 99.9% of the energy that drives the earth’s climate comes from the sun.  And this is backed up time and again by data. When the sun is active the temperature goes up and then the oceans release Co2. Water vapour rises forms clouds and helps to insulate the earth, keeping it warm. You’ll know this from the difference in a clear sky at night and a cloudy one. Clear skies in autumn, winter and spring bring frosts. So, if we’re causing the planet to heat up, then it is only a fraction of a percent and again, light bulb vs sun?  Think about the proportions.


We also have to remember when we hear stories of the highest temperature or warmest month since records began, they have only been keeping records since 1880. (I think parts of England had a hottest day since 1976 last week, didn’t they?)  Again, let’s think about it proportionally, that’s 137 years out of 4 500 000 000. The earth has been around for many years and has gone through many changes so keep that in mind the next time you hear the hottest, wettest, driest day/week/month since records began! 

 

The main body promoting climate change is the IPCC which stands for the International Panel on Climate Change which was established by the United Nations and the World Meteorogical Organisation in 1988. A lot of their scientific data was drawn from what they call proxy studies which take information from many sources and are notoriously unreliable as models for predicting anything. They have used the Mann ‘hockey stick’ graph to show the rising temperature but this graph is still the subject of debate as to the authenticity of the results and has been subjected to charges of manipulation. Some of the temperature data is taken from urban sites which are naturally warmer. There have also been difficulties in replicating the study which is a really big deal in science. It’s like reverse plagiarism, you have to be able to follow the exact same procedures, to see if you get the same result, otherwise, the study is invalidated.

 

So, if like me, you were worried about humanity and the future of the planet, then I hope I have eased your mind, keep looking at the big picture and don’t let yourself be terrorised by the government and Al Gore.  Al Gore is a charlatan and I really hope he reads this and sues me so I can take him to court and expose the fraud. Now, climate change is happening because the climate changes all the time so it’s always happening and always will.  Here is a little table showing hot and cold periods on the earth since 200AD. 

 

200 – 600   Warming

 

440 – 900   Cooling  (Dark Ages)

 

900 – 1300  Warming again

 

1300 – 1850 Cooling (little ice-age)

 

1850 -  present  Warming with possible cooling period ahead

 

So, there you have it.  Now, asteroids, I’m afraid we can do nothing about.  A big one might arrive at any time but I would like to think if we were facing some life extinction event like that, then we would pull together and use all those nukes to blow it away in a grand display of human camaraderie while unilaterally disarming at the same time! Kill two problems with one big bang, so to speak.

 

Epidemics? Again, I think we’re fairly well disposed to sorting out those threats with all the good scientists and scientific knowledge we do have. But if the worst happens, well, the upside is we won’t have to worry about population growth! There you go, problem solved!  See, every cloud has a silver lining…and a large percentage of greenhouse gases! By the way, the population is dropping in Europe so there’s another thing we don’t have to worry about.

 

I’m going to be a real bore about this from now on, I can’t believe how quickly I learned all this stuff. I didn’t even realise I knew this much until I got into a spat on Facebook about it, and I was able to ream off facts and figures without having to check my notes. I have to say, I even impressed myself and more importantly, I got the last word! Game, set and match to me!!

 

I’m actually thinking about creating a fake science site and starting an internet rumour about Co2. I’m going to tell people that ‘scientists have reported that if we all held our breath for a minute every day for a year we could reduce Co2 levels by 10%’ and see how long it takes to become an urban myth. So, do me a favour and start spreading it around. 

 

And for anyone who’s interested, here are a few links to sites with lots more interesting reading and scientific facts.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/history_of_the_earth/Cambrian

 

http://myweb.wwu.edu/dbunny/pdfs/looming-threat-of-global-cooling.pdf

 

http://www.plantsneedco2.org/default.aspx?menuitemid=370

 

https://www.heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/why-scientists-disagree-about-global-warming

 

http://forecast.uchicago.edu/chapter4.pdf

 

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Wonder Woman

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Just back from watching Wonder Woman, I know, and you thought it was me?  But no, just the new movie.  Being a feminist, how could I not go out and see a great, female superhero or should that be heroine?  At last! Someone to challenge the male domination!   The film had received pretty good reviews and overall, it was (I feel I should have a long dramatic pause here...Oh no!  It's the brainwashing!  It's working!)...well, it was ok.  Wonder Woman (Gal Godot) was great, hot to trot and men and boys everywhere will love her and the actual fight scenes were good too.  That girl can kick ass and a half!

However, (you knew that was coming) it did drag a bit especially in the first half.  I almost fell asleep a couple of times and the acting was all very earnest, a lot of the ‘deep and meaningfuls’ going on.  They did try to introduce some light relief, Chris Pine as 'Steve Trevor', basically reprised his 'Captain Kirk' persona but it sort of clashed as the film couldn't seem to make up its mind if it was supposed to be serious or tongue in cheek, but it did liven up a bit in the second half, more action, less seriousness and more..er!.. comedy?...Well, sort of...

There's not much to say about the story line; basic goodies versus baddies superhero stuff and no real surprises but we don't go to see these for the political and social insights or the spiritual growth now, do we?

I do have to warn you though (and if you are Scottish, look away now!) there is a Scottish 'character' who is so..so..soo...obnoxious..(sorry, Scotland!)  I began to think, 'maybe I've been too hard on Jar Jar Binks'.  This 'character', obviously based on 'Willie' from the Simpsons, has all the complexity and cultural depth of a puddle in the Sahara at the height of summer.  What can I say?  Scots everywhere, I feel your pain...

There are also a few other sad, lazily drawn, film and cultural stereotypes tagged on to try and appear politically diverse and lighten the mood.  A sort of poor man's 'Village People' so to speak, but with crap music and no choreography.  The only saving grace, is that because this is set in the past and is merely filling in Wonder Woman’s back story, we’re almost guaranteed to never have to look at them again. Amen to that!

So, if looking at a hot girl kicking ass is your thing, then by all means, go.  But, if it’s not, then give it a miss because there’s little else worth looking at.  As far as I know, there are 2 more films planned, I can only hope they do better next time, but then when you start this low, there’s only one way to go.  Here’s to hoping…

 

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Trump VS Pope

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I was reading an article in The Observer at the weekend by Stewart Lee where he was comparing Donald Trump’s meeting with the Pope as a ‘good vs evil’ encounter.  Trump in this scenario being likened to Satan, and the Pope being the ‘good’ guy.  Whatever your opinion on ‘the Donald’, I really don’t think he is completely evil any more than the Pope is completely ‘good’.  I mean, is Donald Trump really more ‘evil’ than the Pope?

 Look at it this way, the Pope has, for most of his life, been a member of the Catholic Church.  An organisation that has been responsible for the systemic rape, abuse and possible murder of the most vulnerable of children, on a global scale.  There is nowhere on the planet where the Catholic Church has been, that doesn’t have a legacy of the most appalling physical and sexual abuse of minors and that is a fact. I don't really think the title Pope, is short for Protector of Paedophiles, I think that's just a rumour...

Now, as far as I know, Donald Trump hasn’t done anything like that to children.  He does have his faults but paedophilia I don’t think, is among them and certainly not on the scale committed by the Catholic Church.  Now, Pope Francis is head of that organisation and he appears to be a ‘good’ person.  He makes a lot of statements about humanity and appears to say all the right things.  However, as a member of that organisation and now head, what has he done to root out the paedophiles?   Does he have a legacy of outing paedophiles or railing against the terrible abuses being carried out by the membership?

Jimmy Saville, who was once a much-loved ‘national treasure’, is now reviled for the rape and sexual abuse of children, young girls and vulnerable adults.  Would you worship in a church led by Jimmy Saville or even an organisation that regarded him as a ‘good’ person?   Yet, the Pope and the Catholic Church are still seen as something that should be respected? 

Jimmy Saville got away with the things he did because so many ‘good’ people stood by and either said nothing or covered up his behaviour.  This same man was given a knighthood and dined with Margaret Thatcher every Christmas at Chequers.  There is a clip of a video online where the great John Lyndon (aka Johnny Rotten) talks about Saville and what he gets up to.  The clip was never shown back in the 70’s, the powers that be, protecting Saville.  Yet, Johnny Rotten was held up by the media, at the same time, as a threat to the decency of the nation.

There is much that I disagree with Donald Trump about, but I don’t believe he is inherently evil.  He is certainly a product of his environment and upbringing.  Arrogant?  For sure!  Misogynistic? Definitely, but evil?  Well, who’s to say...yet?  And credit where credit is due, he did get rid of TTIP, that foul trade agreement that was going to hand over the nations of Europe to the corporate elite, as if they didn’t have enough of us already. 

Now, his trade deal with Saudi Arabia could be regarded as an evil act but the British government is the world’s second biggest arms dealer/supplier, and to some very dodgy states.  Are they evil or are they just 'protecting' the nation? 

There are acts of evil being committed around the world day and daily.  Some deliberately, some accidentally; like Theresa May, ‘accidentally’ losing that list of paedophile MP’s when she was Home Secretary or now, wanting to bring back a ‘sport’ that involves the hunting, terrorising and tearing to shreds of that most beautiful of animals, the fox.  Not to mention being part of a party that seems intent on grinding the poor, the vulnerable and the working class into the ground.

Which acts are more evil, and which people?  Those who commit the deeds or those who stand silently by and let them happen or help cover them up? 

By the way folks, election coming up, so don't forget to vote, the future of Reynard may depend on you...


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The Purge 2

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 5 Jun 2017, 20:04

As the purge continues, a friend asked if I had cleared out my attic yet, which I hadn’t because I didn’t think there was much up there.  Then I thought, I better check it out, just in case.  So, up I went last night and lo and behold, I forgot, I had packed up all my videos and put them away;  3 boxes of them.

I packed them away when I started buying dvd’s, which of course, came out to replace the videos.   I had a quick look through them and pulled out a few that I really couldn’t part with, at least not yet; a special edition, 3 video, Star Wars collection, a collector’s edition of Close Encounters and Whitesnake Trilogy.  This has to be one of the most played video’s of all time and holds many happy memories for me of my cousin Marcy and his friends coming over to watch it, rewinding it and watching it, over and over again.  They were really in to the music and it had nothing to do with a half-naked and very sexy Tawny Kitaen, somersaulting and dancing around.  The video player was still there too but I think I’ll hold on to it for a while yet because it still works.

So, tomorrow the rest of them go to the dump.  They would have gone tonight only I left it too late and it was closed.  When I took them down last night, I remember how pissed off I was when dvd’s came out and video became consigned to history.  I had spent good money buying them and now I had to buy them again on dvd.  Then dvd’s turned to blu-ray, but I absolutely refused to buy in to that one. 

When my son was home last year before he headed off again on his travels, he kept on at me to get an online subscription for movies.  I point blank refused because I had paid for these movies now twice over, some 3 times if you count watching them in the cinema, and there was no way I was paying for them again.

The first cd I bought is now unplayable, and we were told when them came out that they would last forever and were virtually indestructible.  Now, I know several people who got rid of their albums, and as far as I recall, I think Virgin did offer some sort of discount on cd’s when you brought in your albums in exchange.  I got that first cd in 1992, so your cd’s if looked after, they probably have a shelf life of about 25 years. 

Funnily enough, I never got rid of my albums.  For a start, they had cost too much and there was no way I was throwing away something like Dark Side of the Moon.  I have about 50 in all, and they haven’t been played in years, basically because they stopped making turntables but now they’re back, just like the vinyl is coming back too!   So, now you can buy them all over again!

It’s a rat trap people and we have been conned!  And that is why I’m not spending money again on movies or anything else. 

It’s like the water charges they tried to bring in to Ireland and which, if the Tories get back in, they will try and bring in here.  I know water is already metered in Britain, but people this is a con.  Water falls free from the sky and the amount of water on earth is a constant and has remained the same for several million years.   The water goes down the drain, out into the rivers and seas, is evaporated upwards and turns into clouds which then drop it all back down as rain.  I know this is a simplified version of the process but that’s basically what happens.  So, as that water keeps being recycled back to us by nature and the water board, at what point are you paying for the same pint of water again and again.  Now, there is a case for putting a charge on for the maintenance of pipework and the managing of waste but there is no case for charging for the actual water itself.  It’s another con… 

(I've put a couple of links below as someone remarked recently about references, I didn't realise I was being assessed, I thought I was just having a bit of a rant, but there you go...so here they are, in case you don't believe me)

https://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycle.html

https://www.thenakedscientists.com/articles/questions/earths-total-water-finite

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The Purge

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 11 Oct 2020, 09:29

I’ve grown tired of the noise of modern life.  Not just noise in the literal sense, but in the metaphorical sense too, the visual ‘noise’ and the ‘noise’ of stuff that seems to be clogging up my life.  The audio pollution seems relentless.   I try not to listen to anything more than I have too.  I had stopped watching the news and I’ve stopped listening to the radio in the morning because I just can’t stand the daily drivel as I drive to work.  And there’s another thing that gets on my nerves, the over the top dramatics of everything, the news, interviews, even quiz shows.  You can’t get a straight answer anymore, there has to be a dramatic pause before everything.  I used to enjoy quizzes but the minute the dramatic pause starts, I turn over or as it is now, turn off.  Which explains why my TV watching is down to 3 shows, The Good Fight, the Grand Prix and Gardener’s World.  Monty Don on a Friday night is the most chilled out moment of my week.  Yes, I know how sad that sounds!  

The sound of silence is seriously under- appreciated and it’s only when you try to find a silent moment that you realise, silence is almost impossible to achieve.  Even when there is no one around, there is still the background noise of cars in the distance or planes passing overhead.  Even at the top of Gortin Glen, you can still hear the distant drone of traffic.

So, I’ve been cutting back and cutting out a lot of stuff recently, I’ve also cut back on my time online, again the ‘noise’ of constant advertising driving me away.   

I’ve been having a bit of a clear out too.  As well as trying to get rid of the audio and visual pollution, I’ve been clearing out my ‘stuff’ as well.  Actually, it’s been less of a clear out and more of a purge, getting rid of all the old stuff that has been clogging up my life and my house.  There is just too much of everything and I feel overwhelmed by it.  Too many clothes, shoes, books, creams, jewellery and all the other useless stuff I have accumulated in pursuit of…I don’t even know?   What is the point of it all?  I mean, what is it all for?  I’ve also found, the more I get rid of, the more I want to get rid of, so I’m still purging. Minimalism here I come..

I’ve also called a halt to all spending.   It’s part of my life plan to try and bring capitalism down by not spending my hard-earned on anything other than the absolute necessities, like food.  So, I’ve set myself a weekly budget of £40, £20 for diesel (I need to travel to work, although I’m looking for something closer to home) and £20 for food, which is doable when you live alone.  I don’t have much debt and I’ll be rid of most of it within 20 weeks or less, although there is one loan that will run until next year, unless I get lucky and get a lift of money from somewhere. 

I was discussing the accumulation of stuff a few months ago with a good friend of mine and he recommended a great documentary called The Century of the Self.  It’s available to watch for free online, and was made by the BBC.  I highly recommend it.  It explains how government and business have basically being doing their level best to brainwash us all.  And they’ve been pretty successful at it too, I have to say.  We have moved from the concerns of the collective, to the promotion of the individual over all others.  It’s basically, divide and conquer by another name.  We’ve been encouraged to put our own individual needs, over the needs of the greater good.  Where we used to have neighbours, now we have competitors in the race to have and to own; better job, bigger house, fancier car, more stuff and more stuff and more... etc, etc. 

And what is all the spending for?  Profits, for the corporations.  The wars and misery in the world today are driven by profit for the few at the expense of the many.  The pursuit of money is a poison for humanity and the planet.  It has caused the most horrific damage, pain, death and suffering to the world and its inhabitants since its invention.  If we got rid of money tomorrow and instead started living by the maxim,’ everyone taken care of’, the world would become a very different place.  All we need is the will to do it…  To be continued

As always, comments are welcome..


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DD306

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 14 Jun 2017, 21:49

So, I'm all signed up for DD306.  Roll on September!  I absolutely love politics, I'm one of those sad people who gets excited over topical debates, and the Grand Prix, I know that's got nothing to do with politics but I just thought I would drop it in there.  I'm in the minority around here for both of those. 

But anyway, back to the politics.  The unfortunate thing about it is that so many people are put off because of politicians.  I include myself in that, I rarely even watch the news but I suppose I'll have to start taking more of an interest in current events.  Although I still keep in touch with things on line.  I've found you get more 'truth' online.

Take Syria for example, has there been any mention anywhere on the mainstream news about gas pipelines across Syria?  Probably not.  Apparently President Assad turned down a plan for a pipeline from Qatar through Saudi Arabia and Syria to Europe and this is the real reason for the war. Isis is just a smokescreen. There is another pipeline from Iran and this is the one Assad gave the go ahead to.  And Russia?  They're trying to keep control of the gas fields in the Ukraine and Crimea is where the port for shipping offshore is situated as well as being another area with gas.

So, Syria is being ripped apart and it's people terrorised because the military/ industrial/corporate complex are fighting to control the gas and are trying to stop Russia and Iran benefitting. 

That is why Donald Trump is so reviled by the mainstream media.  The election of Donald scuppered the plans for a war with Russia and another big payday for the corps and they've been crying all over the media since.  Brexit was another big blow to them but people are waking up to how we have all been manipulated and screwed over and are fighting back the only way they can, with their votes.

I also have to say, I have serious doubts about the gas attack being the work of Assad. It all seems too convenient for the 'dark' forces of the MIC complex.


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Towards Honours

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I had taken my degree in 2015 without honours.  I had a chance to get involved in a writing project for stage which is presently touring the north west and thought I had finished with studying.  But, now things have settled, the pull back to the books has risen again and I've decided to go back and hopefully finish off with honours.

I wasn't sure what to do and was initially drawn back towards literature and A335.  So, I had a longish talk today with a student adviser and after much consideration I'm going to go for a level 3 politics course.  It seems strange now that I ever considered literature before politics, when you look at the content of the blog.   So, it seems to make more sense especially since my level 2 politics course was one of my highest marks.

So, I'm going to make the most of the summer before getting back to the books....can't wait to get started! The only thing now is which level 3???  I think it has to be Living Political Ideas.  DD306, it's really where my natural interest lies.  I just remembered, Tony Benn left parliament because he wanted to get more involved with political ideas.  Well, I think that confirms it.

So, onwards to hopefully upwards.....

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Royal Academy

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 26 Mar 2017, 22:29

I was in England at the weekend and spent Saturday in London at the Royal Academy.  There are two wonderful art exhibitions on at the moment, Russian Revolutionary Art from 1917 - 1932, and America after the Fall; Painting in the 1930's.  I would never have forgiven myself if I had missed them, and I am so glad I made the effort to go.

'Revolution' is a brilliant exhibition featuring some amazing art works which reflect the debates and events of the period alongside Communist propaganda.  It features work by  Vassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich.  I was familiar with Kandinsky's work and although I had never heard of Malevich I've become an instant fan.  His artistic philosophy was that art should express spirituality and he was known for inventing 'Suprematism' in art and I love how he used colour.  Like Kandinsky, he fell out of favour with the powers that be because his art did not express social realities and became disillusioned.  One of his most famous pieces is 'Black Square', an abstract painting representing the 'zero of form'. 

On the propaganda side, some of it was very interesting and quite relevant today, but I also wondered how closely Hitler had watched Stalin's rise to power, as there were strong parallels between the propaganda of Stalin and the methods used by the Nazis to create the nationalistic narrative of a nation on the rise, taking control of their destiny and their country.

The American exhibition isn't as big as the Russian one but it features some famous works too.  Edward Hopper's 'New York Movie' and Grant Woods 'American Gothic' and, of course, many others I didn't know, like Joe Jackson.  His painting drew a lot of interest but I'm not going to tell you anything about it, go and see it for yourself.  I had seen the Russian exhibition advertised first and hummed and haaad a bit about going, but when I saw the American one was running along side of it, then it was a no brainer. 

So, if you are interested in art and/or politics then make the effort and go.  I went the whole way from west Tyrone in N. I.  to see them, so you've no excuse...and I've no money either but sometimes you just have to say 'to hell with poverty!' and go.  It's about the value, not the cost.  But if you really can't make it, then you can check them out here:

https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/revolution-russian-art

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The Universe

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The universe is approximately 14 billion years old, give or take a couple of hundred thousand.  The Earth is estimated at 4.5 billion years old.  Man or a man-like creature is reckoned to be between 2.4 and 7 million years old and homo sapiens, from whom we’re descended (correct me if I’m wrong) have been around for about 200,000 years.  Not very long at all when measured against the age of the universe and according to physics, everything that is in the universe existed the moment it began.  So, we were at some point in the life of the universe, stardust.  Wonderful! 

‘Good morning starshine, the earth says hello’.  Pardon me, just having a little hippie moment there. 

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched way back in 1977 and it has taken the best part of 40 years to reach the edge of our planetary system and now they are zooming along somewhere in interstellar space at an impressive rate of 37,000 mph.  Even at that incredible speed, it is still going to take them 40,000 years to reach the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.  The vastness of the universe is beyond our comprehension and some planetary facts can be mind-blowing.  For instance, it takes Neptune 165 years to complete one orbit of the sun, amazing! But even more amazing is that even if Voyager reaches our nearest star, it would take it, (and this is incredible) 400,000,000 years to reach the other side of the Milky Way.  That is a distance beyond comprehension....and that is just one small galaxy in a universe of millions?????

 In 1990, when Voyager 1 was leaving our planetary system and heading into interstellar space, a distance of 3.7 billion miles, Nasa, on a suggestion from the writer Carl Sagan, turned Voyager around and took a picture of earth; ‘a pale blue dot’ Sagan called it. 

Carl Sagan wrote the great story, Contact, which was later made into a film with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaghey.  It is one of my favourites and I strongly recommend it, especially if you like sci-fi or even if you just like a good movie.

So, back to us - the life of a human being is averaged at 3 score and ten, 70 years,  if you’re lucky, and many never even come close to this life span.   When that is measured against the age of the universe, it really doesn’t amount to very much at all, a mere speck of dust, a fraction of a blink of an eye in the vastness of the cosmos. 

So, here we are with our paltry 70 years, on this tiny blue dot rolling around the sun and what do we do with it?  In this eye blink of a life, we waste so much of it.  We waste it fighting in wars, over land, religion, money, power; making ourselves and everybody else miserable and afraid; scrabbling around like rats trying to ‘make a living’ instead of actually living; bitching and whining about petty stupidities, like what other people have, what we don’t have, how someone looks, how someone lives...

 We sacrifice the only life we have (I think) obsessing on nonsense and tying ourselves down to the slavery of capitalism; wasting precious time appeasing the forces of society, family and our own misguided expectations.

We allow others to dictate how the world should be and let them do our thinking for us.  The two most destructive concepts man has created, money and religion, have systematically robbed us of the experience of joy in this short life of ours and have created the greatest miseries ever inflicted, not just the human race but on all other life forms on this ‘tiny blue dot’. 

Is this really the best we can do with our precious time?


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The Vacated Heart/Capitalism

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 6 Nov 2017, 22:32

Here's a little poem I wrote a while ago.  I'm not sure if I've finished it yet as poetry is something that seems to evolve.  I've called it The Vacated Heart but now that I look at it again it could just as easily be called Capitalism - a health warning!  Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.


The Vacated Heart

A lonely wind

meandered 

through the hollow chambers

of the now

vacated heart.

Fleshy forms that once pulsed 

with heat and passion

have petrified

into stony silence

and a body lies broken,

washed up, 

on the unforgiving

shore of life.

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The Numbers Game

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This was my second piece in the show, I'll not say what it's about and see if you can guess before you get to the end.


A person onstage marking white strokes on a black board.  Another person comes on.

Person A       What are you doing?

Person B       Counting

Person A       What are you counting?

Person B       Deaths

Person A       Really? 

Watches for a while, then speaks.

Person A       There seem to be quite a lot, what did they die from?

Person B       Can’t you guess? 

Person A       Oh, I don’t know. Terrorist attacks?

Person B Stops and turns around to speak.

Person B       That’s a lot of terrorist attacks in the space of a month.

Person A       Oh, it’s just in a month.

Person B       Hmmm, ok, I think I’ve got it, famine in Africa.

Person A       It’s not Africa, it’s here in Ireland.  I don’t think there would be too many dying from famine in Ireland, at least not this century

Person A       Oh, it’s Ireland. Wow, I thought it was in the world.  (Thinks for a minute)  Ok, I think I’ve got it. Car accidents, yeah, it has to be car accidents. (Feeling pleased with himself) I know road deaths are high because you have all those ads on the telly.

Person B       It’s not road accidents

Person A       Oh it’s not. Are you sure?

Person B       I’m sure.

Person A       Ok, (thinks for a minute) Cancer.  Yes definitely cancer.  That’s why you don’t really hear about it.  Yes, it’s cancer, I mean everybody dies with cancer these days don’t they?  (Feeling pleased with himself again)

Person B       It’s not cancer

Person A       It’s not?  Really, God I can’t think what else it could be.  Ok, give me a clue?

Person B       Alright, here’s another statistic - It’s a factor in more than half of all suicides.

Person A       Ah it’s depression, it has to be depression.   I mean that’s usually why people kill themselves, isn’t it?  I mean, I know quite a few people who’ve killed themselves and a lot of them were depressed.

Person B       It’s not depression.

Person A       It’s not.  God, this is a hard one isn’t it.  (Studies the board for a moment) Ok, give me another clue?

Person B       They reckon it costs the health service 1.2 billion euros every year.

Person A       Wow, that’s a lot of money, I could do with some of that, eh?  Ok, violence, maybe, yes violence because you always hear about violence and how much it costs the country

Person B       It isn’t violence, although it’s a significant factor in many violent assaults

Person A       God, I dunno, knives, guns something like that, yeah that could be it, cos people use guns and knives to kill themselves and hurt others.  You know like all those druggies you hear about in Dublin.

Person B       It’s not knives or guns either.

Person A              Jesus, it’s not that either, awh, you’ve got me, I can’t think what it could be.

Person B       You really can’t guess?

Person A       No

Person B       It’s drink...alcohol

Person A       Really, that many?  God, I wouldn’t have thought.......so how many exactly?

Person B       88

Person A       Every month?

Person B       Yes

Person A       Here...in Ireland?

Person B       Yes

Person A       Wow, that’s a lot.

Person B       It is, isn’t it?

Both walk off


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Broken

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This is the first of my sketches that appeared in the show on Wednesday. It's about treating physical health as mental health.  It went down really well and got a lot of positive feedback from the audience.


Reception of an A&E.  Two people come in, one of them has a broken leg. There is a receptionist at a desk.

Person A              Please, can you help?  I think my friend has broken his leg.

Person B              (groaning in pain)

Receptionist       Ok, (exasperated) let’s see if I can get you an appointment.

Person A              An appointment, what are you talking about?  Didn’t you hear me, I think he’s broken his leg and needs to see a doctor now.

Receptionist       Right, I can get you in on the 29th.

Person A              The 29th? But that’s 2 weeks away.

Receptionist       I’m sorry but that’s the earliest appointment I have. 

Person A              An appointment?  He needs a doctor now.

Receptionist       Well, I’m afraid you can’t.  All health problems require you to make an appointment so that you can be referred for treatment.

Person A              What do you mean, referred?  You mean the doctor isn’t going to fix his leg?

Receptionist       No, he’s not qualified, he will have to refer him to a specialist.

Person A              Are you kidding me?  His leg is broken.  Look!  He can’t walk on it.  He needs to see a doctor now.

Receptionist       I’m sorry but that isn’t possible, it’s the new rules. 

Person A              What new rules?

Receptionist       Health care has been equalised.

Person A              What do you mean equalised?

Receptionist       From now on all physical and mental health problems are to be treated equally.  There’s to be no difference between them.

Person A              What?  This doesn’t make sense. I mean, this is A & E.  He had an accident and this is an emergency.  Why does he have to wait two weeks now?

Receptionist       Well, you still can be seen in an emergency.  I mean if he had broken both legs and arms, then you would be deemed to be completely incapacitated.  So he might get seen then. 

Person A              What?  This is insane!  What the hell is he supposed to do until then. 

Receptionist       Well, make sure he doesn’t miss his appointment.  They don’t like it when that happens.

Person A              I mean, about his leg?

Receptionist       Well, he should probably sit down more and try not to put any weight on it.

Person A              Is this a joke?

Receptionist       I’m sorry but that’s the way it is.

Person A              I don’t fecking believe this, are you serious?  I mean, a broken leg! Can you understand what that means?  He won’t be able to work or anything

Receptionist       Oh, work?  Oh, I can assess him for that. I went through the training program last Wednesday afternoon.  (gets up and walks over to person B)  Can you raise your hands up over your head?

Person B raises his hands.

Receptionist       Can you stand up?

Person B stands up (leaning on one leg)  Can you move a bit? (hops along for a couple of steps)  Ok, you can sit down now.  (to person A) See, he can still work.

Person A              How can he work with a broken leg?

Receptionist       Well, what does he do?

Person A              He’s a painter.

Receptionist       Well, there you go, he can still paint, he’d be able to do it sitting and he can stand for a bit too.

Person A              Jesus, I don’t believe this.  And how do you assess someone who’s ill with something like depression?

Receptionist       Well, the same way.  If you can move you can work, that’s the policy.  So now, does he want the appointment or not?

Person A              Good God, what a set up....do you want the appointment?  (to person B)

Person B              Yes!  YES!  For God’s sake, YES! (groaning in pain)

Another person comes in holding his chest.

Person C              Help, I’m having terrible chest pains! 

Receptionist       Look, I told you last week, your appointment’s on Friday.

Person C              Man lets out a loud groan and collapses in to the seat next to Person B,. 

Person A              I don’t believe that just happened? (incredulous)

Receptionist       (Lifts the phone)  We have another one, can you come and well, you know........

In the background person B is poking and looking at the collapsed man. Two people come in and drag him off

Receptionist       Well, that was a bit of luck.

Person A              Sorry?

Receptionist       For your friend....an appointment has just opened up for Friday.

Person A              What?

Receptionist       Well, do you want it or not?....The appointment?

Standing looking bewildered and shaking his head.

Person B              Take the appointment!  Take the appointment! (shouting)

 Receptionist      Ok, we’ll see you on Friday morning at 10.30, don’t be late.

Person A              So, how long will it be after he’s seen the doctor?

Receptionist       Well, once he gets his referral, his name will go on the list.

Person A              What?  A list?

 Receptionist      Yes, everybody goes on the list now.

Person A              Sorry, just bear with me for one minute.  He can’t see a doctor for 2 weeks (trying to stay calm)

Receptionist       Now, now that’s not true, don’t forget, he got an appointment for Friday.

Person A              Ok... he did......but then he has to go on a waiting list. (taking deep breaths) Ok, now how long is the waiting list?

Receptionist       Well, the waiting list at the moment is 10 months.

Person A              10 months!  You cannot be serious!!?  10 months!  To see someone to fix a broken leg.  This is a joke, this has to be a joke!  (exploding with anger)  How the hell is he supposed to manage for 10 months with a broken leg?

Receptionist       Well, as I said before it would probably be best to sit down more.  You know, I saw this in a film one time. A man was injured out in the jungle, it was his leg too, and they tied a piece of wood to it and taped it up.  You could try that.  It would keep him going,... you know.....until you get to see the specialist.  And, you never know....you might get lucky again.

Person A              What do you mean, lucky?   Again?

Receptionist       Well, someone might...you know...(lowering her voice) pass on...

Person A              What?

Receptionist       Pass on... you know...like before...(nodding over in the direction of the man who collapsed) that’s been happening a lot recently.  We’re saving an absolute fortune.  The government thinks it’s great.  It’s a wonder someone didn’t think of it before.

Person A              What the hell is going on here? (almost hysterical)

Receptionist       Well, I don’t know what you mean?

Person A              I brought my friend in here, he can’t see a doctor for 2 weeks and then he’s going to have to go on a list and wait another 10 months.

Receptionist       But he’s seeing the doctor on Friday.  You were lucky, other people have to wait too, you know.

Person A              And this is supposed to be a health SERVICE?

Receptionist       Well, it’s not my responsibility,  I don’t even vote so don’t blame me for what the government does...(getting angry, she stands up)  and anyway that’s how it’s been for mental health for years and I didn’t hear you complaining then.

Person A              What are you talking about, you....you....?

Receptionist       Look, that’s the way it is and there’s nothing you can do about it.  You were lucky he got an appointment for Friday.  My friend’s son had depression and killed himself before he even got to see the doctor.   You should think yourself lucky he only has a broken leg!

Person A              Standing, looking at her with his mouth open

Receptionist       Well, it’s time for my break....(leaves)

Person A moves over to person B

Person A              I don’t believe this...(stunned) I’m sorry.  (helps him up, he groans and they move towards the exit).....here I tell you what...my brother in law has a pair of crutches....from when he broke his ankle, remember......playing footie.  I’m sure he would lend them to you.....(they hobble off stage)


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