ramblings

Most Important People

I came across the attached article from the Naples Daily News (Florida) at the beginning of the year.

I don’t know I 100% agree with the author – well it is American! – as I think he has tilted the balance too far from the current norm and I think there is a balance to be struck. However from what I see around me the best adjusted children are those where the family apparently adheres, more or less, to his tenets.

Here’s an image of the article, and in case you can’t read it easily I reproduce the text below.


Click the image for a larger view


Naples Daily News, Sunday 1 January 2017

Your kids should not be the most important in the family

John Rosemond, Family Psychologist

I recently asked a married couple who have three kids, none of whom are yet teens, “Who are the most important people in your family?”

Like all good moms and dads of this brave new millennium, they answered, “Our kids!”

“Why?” I then asked. “What is it about your kids that gives them that status?” And like all good moms and dads of this brave new millennium, they couldn’t answer the question other than to fumble with appeals to emotion.

So, I answered the question for them: “There is no reasonable thing that gives your children that status.”

I went on to point out that many if not most of the problems they’re having with their kids – typical stuff, these days – are the result of treating their children as if they, their marriage, and their family exist because of the kids when it is, in fact, the other way around. Their kids exist because of them and their marriage and thrive because they have created a stable family.

Furthermore, without them. their kids wouldn’t eat well, have the nice clothing they wear, live in the nice home in which they live, enjoy the great vacations they enjoy, and so on. Instead of lives that are relatively carefree (despite the drama to the contrary that they occasionally manufacture), their children would be living lives full of worry and want.

This issue is really the heart of the matter. People my age know it’s the heart of the matter because when we were kids it was clear to us that our parents were the most important people in our families. And that, right there, is why we respected our parents and that, right there, is why we looked up to adults in general. Yes, Virginia, once upon a time in the United States of America, children were second-class citizens, to their advantage.

It was also clear to us – I speak, of course, in general terms, albeit accurate – that our parents marriages were more important to them than their relationships with us. Therefore, we did not sleep in their beds or interrupt their conversations. The family meal, at home, was regarded as more important than after-school activities. Mom and Dad talked more – a lot more – with one another than they talked with you. For lack of pedestals, we emancipated earlier and much more successfully than have children since.

The most important person in an army is the general. The most important person in a corporation is the CEO. The most important person in a classroom is the teacher. And the most important person in a family are the parents.

The most important thing about children is the need to prepare them properly for responsible citizenship. The primary objective should not be raising a straight-A student who excels at three sports, earns a spot on the Olympic swim team, goes to an A-list university and becomes a prominent brain surgeon. The primary objective is to raise a child such that community and culture are strengthened.

“Our child is the most important person in our family” is the first step toward raising a child who feels entitled.

You don’t want that. Unbeknownst to your child he doesn’t need that. And neither does America.


Book of Gloria

I posted about this on Facebook earlier, but it’s so brilliant I have to say more here.

Earlier today on the intertubes I came across the Bible in Polari. Those who know Polari, or are old enough to remember Julian and Sandy from the radio show Round the Horne, will guess how much of a hoot it is. Here, for example, are the first five verses of Genesis …

1 In the beginning Gloria created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was nanti form, and void; and munge was upon the eke of the deep. And the Fairy of Gloria trolled upon the eke of the aquas.
3 And Gloria cackled, Let there be sparkle: and there was sparkle.
4 And Gloria vardad the sparkle, that it was bona: and Gloria medzered the sparkle from the munge.
5 And Gloria screeched the sparkle journo, and the munge she screeched nochy. And the bijou nochy and the morning were the first journo.

And here, the Immaculate Conception from Luke 1:26-35 …

26 And in the seyth month the fairy Gabriel was laued from Gloria unto a smoke of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a nanti charver espoused to a homie whose name was Josephine, of the lattie of Davina; and the nanti charver‘s name was Mary.
28 And the fairy trolled in unto her, and cackled, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Duchess is with thee: fabed art thou among palones.
29 And when she vardad her, she was troubled at her cackling, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the fairy cackled unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with Gloria.
31 And, varda, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and parker forth a homie chavvie, and shalt screech her name Josie.
32 She shall be dowry, and shall be screeched the homie chavvie of the Highest: and the Duchess Gloria shall parker unto her the throne of her Auntie Davina:
33 And she shall reign over the lattie of Jacob for ever; and of her kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then cackled Mary unto the fairy, How shall this be, vardaing I know not a homie?
35 And the fairy answered and cackled unto her, The Fantabulosa Fairy shall troll upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that fabulosa fakement which shall be born of thee shall be screeched the homie chavvie of Gloria.

Brilliant isn’t it?!

Incidentally it’s worth downloading the PDF version, even though it is big, as it contains some wonderfully captioned “old style” images (“Gethsemane had always been a notorious cruising ground”) and a huge dictionary of Polari.

What I find interesting is how much Polari has passed into modern parlance (possibly as some was stolen from existing dialect like Cockney and entered the modern English from there). Just in writing this I’ve noticed acdc, troll, barney, butch, drag … the list goes on!

This is what I find so entrancing about language: not just the fun but the interplay between language, dialect, argot and idiolect. And I love it when something in one form is translated into another, but remains amusingly intelligible to speakers of the original – as here and as with the Pidgin of Papua New Guinea for Prince Charles: nambawan pikinini bilong Mises Kwin.

Just excellent!

Test Post 5

Another test post. Apologies. I’m trying to figure out the best way to get stuff automatically from my WordPress blog to Facebook and Twitter. But none of the methods seems to be reliable. I am removing these posts as soon as they are redundant.

Test Post 4

Another test post. Apologies. I’m trying to figure out the best way to get stuff automatically from my WordPress blog to Facebook and Twitter. But none of the methods seems to be reliable.

Book Review: Letters from England

Karel Čapek
Letters from England
(Continuum, 2001)

What is the connexion between Czechoslovakia, ant, London and robots? Answer: Karel Čapek.

Čapek (1890-1938) was a Czech novelist, dramatist and journalist who was mostly active in the 1920s and 30s. He is possibly best known today for two plays written with his brother Josef: R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) and Pictures from the Insects’ Life (aka. The Insect Play). This latter I have known since school as we did it as the school play in my final year; it is strange, weird and disturbing. With R.U.R. Čapek is credited with the invention of the term “robot”.

In 1924 Čapek visited Britain and Letters from England is the resulting sketches about the visit. It is a small paperback which I’ve had on the shelves for many years and dipped into occasionally – as I have done again recently.

The sketches, originally written in Czech but in several translations, are a mixture travel diary and cynical but humorous observation.

Čapek travels the length and breadth of the Britain (but omits Ireland). The first third of the volume is taken up with London, including this wonderful description of his first visit:

I remember with horror the day when they first brought me to London. First, they took me by train, then they ran through some huge, glass halls and pushed me into a barred cage which looked like a scales for weighing cattle. This was ‘a lift’ and it descended through an armour-plated well, whereupon they hauled me out and slid away through serpentine, underground corridors. It was like a horrible dream. Then there was a sort of tunnel or sewer with rails, and a buzzing train flew in. They threw me into it and the train flew on and it was very musty and oppressive in there, obviously because of the proximity to hell. Whereupon they took me out again and ran through new catacombs to an escalator which rattles like a mill and hurtles to the top with people on it. I tell you, it is like a fever. Then there were several more corridors and stairways and despite my resistance they led me out into the street, where my heart sank. A fourfold line of vehicles shunts along without end or interruption; buses, chugging mastodons tearing along in herds with bevies of little people on their backs, delivery vans, lorries, a flying pack of cars, steam engines, people running, tractors, ambulances, people climbing up onto the roofs of buses like squirrels, a new herd of motorised elephants; there, and now everything stands still, a muttering and rattling stream, and it can’t go any further …

This, remember, is 1924. Plus ça change!

Čapek perambulates an astonishing amount of the country: Oxford, Cambridge, Yorkshire, North Wales, the Lake District, Edinburgh, Inverness … and here he is in the Isle of Skye:

I am in a region which is called Skye, that is to say ‘Sky’, although I am not in the heavens but only in the Hebrides, on a large, strange island among other islands, on an island consisting of fjords, peat, rocks and summits. I collect coloured shells among the blue or flaxen pebbles and by a special grace of heaven even find the droppings of a wild elk, which is the milch cow of Gaelic water nymphs. The hillsides drip like a saturated sponge, the bruach heather catches at my feet, but then, folks, the islands of Raasay and Scalpay, Rhum and Eigg are visible and then one can see mountains with strange and ancient names like Beinn na Callaich … It is beautiful and poor, and the original shanties look as prehistoric as if they had been built by the long-departed Picts, of whom, as is well known, nothing is known.

Interspersed with the text are occasional thumbnail sketches by the author: naïve but humorous. And Čapek meets people, often well known people, like George Bernard Shaw, who sketches, twice:

GBSThis is an almost supernatural personality, Mr Bernard Shaw. I couldn’t draw him better because he is always moving and talking. He is immensely tall, thin and straight and looks half like God and half like a very malicious satyr, who, however, by a thousand-year process of sublimation has lost everything that is too natural. He has white hair, a white beard and very pink skin, inhumanly clear eyes, a strong and pugnacious nose, something knightly from Don
Quixote, something apostolic and something which makes fun of everything in the world, including himself; never in all my life have I seen such an unusual being; to tell you the truth, I was frightened of him. I thought that it was some spirit which was only playing at being the celebrated Bernard Shaw. He is a vegetarian, I don’t know whether from principle or from gourmandaise. One never knows whether people have principles on principle or whether for their own personal satisfaction.

If you want a criticism, the prose does get a bit tedious and turgid at times, however all in all this is a delightfully eccentric and amusing small volume; very readable in small doses, so eminently suitable for dipping into or light bedtime reading.

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Meme Again

A few days ago, Andrew Baker over on Facebook, posted another meme. One I’ve not seen before. It isn’t hugely exciting but it amused me for 5 minutes (and besides I need a test post), so here goes.

1. Where is your phone? On the desk in front of me
2. Your hair? Grey; needs cutting
3. Your dad? In a box in a wood
4. Your other half? Walking up the road to the shops and post office
5. Your favourite food? So many! Probably curry
6. Your dream last night? Not a clue
7. Your favourite drink? Beer: Adnams Ghost Ship or Dry Hopped Lager
8. Fears? Not being in control; not having enough money
9. Favourite shoes? Bare feet or trainers
10. Favourite way to relax? What is this relaxation?
11. Your mood? Depressed
12. I Love? Sunshine
13. Where were you last night? In bed at home
14. Something that you aren’t? Conventional
15. Muffins? Just say no
16. Wish list item? A new head and a new body
17. Where you grow up? Waltham Cross
18. Last thing you did? Installed a WordPress plugin
19. What are you wearing now? Tracksuit trousers
20. Something you hate? People who don’t think
21. Your pets? 3 cats and some fish
22. Friends? A select few eccentrics
23. Life? Marvin
24. Regrets? None; I don’t do regret
25. Your home away from home? If anywhere it’s Norwich

No, nobody is tagged; it’s just an amusement for me.

2017 Predictions

As I promised a few days ago I’ve again dusted off my crystal ball to see what this year could bring. After all it can’t be a lot worse than 2016 — or can it?

What follows is my best interpretation the misty images in the aforesaid crystal ball. I remind you that they are just my ideas of what could happen; they’re based solely on hunches and gut feel; I have no inside knowledge and I haven’t been studying the form — so if you base any decision on any of this I will take no responsibility for your for your wanton act of idiocy.

As before, I’ve divided the predictions into three sections: UK, Worldwide and Personal — the latter are documented but currently redacted.


UK

  1. Brexit. The Supreme Court overturns the High Court judgement that Royal Prerogative cannot be used to trigger Article 50.
  2. Brexit. Article 50 will be triggered in the last week of March by government without the agreement of parliament.
  3. Brexit. It becomes apparent that no deal is possible with the EU and that the notification under Article 50 cannot be withdrawn.
  4. As a consequence, Theresa May resigns and asks Parliament to grant a General Election.
  5. Boris Johnson is sacked as Foreign Secretary and relegated to the back benches.
  6. The new Foreign Secretary is one of David Davies, Liam Fox, Michael Gove.
  7. Inflation will hit 2.5% by year-end.
  8. The Bank of England Base Rate will be reduced to 0%.
  9. The Pound falls by 20% (cf. 1 January) against the US Dollar and the Euro.
  10. FT100 falls by at least 10% compared with the start of the year.
  11. Unemployment rises by 10% compared with December 2016.
  12. GDP falls by at least 2% year-on-year; the UK is in recession by the end of the year.
  13. The Government will introduce legislation to implement Nordic model of prostitution.
  14. The Government also implements alcohol minimum pricing.
  15. There is at least one major incident (plane crash, train crash, terrorist attack, industrial accident etc.) with over 50 fatalities.
  16. At least one high street name goes out of business with over 500 job losses.
  17. At least 2 major hospitals are forced to close due to finance problems, with loss of jobs and healthcare; there is no allowance for anyone to pick up the slack.
  18. Two horses die in the Grand National, which is then permanently scrapped.
  19. There’s significant flooding somewhere in the UK in March, May and October.
  20. A meteor strike destroys two houses, but there are no fatalities.
  21. There is finally proof that there are non-native big cats living wild in the UK; there are enough to maintain a small breeding population.
  22. The Queen dies unexpectedly followed within 3 months by Prince Philip.
  23. Prince Charles ducks becoming King thus allowing William to take to the throne.
  24. Other Deaths: Paul McCartney, Bruce Forsythe, Bob Geldof, Michael Parkinson.

World

  1. Donald Trump is inaugurated as US President amid strident protests, possible rioting and several fatalities.
  2. During the year there are moves to impeach Trump which may succeed.
  3. Obama care is scrapped.
  4. NASA’s budget is halved.
  5. An accident (maybe a debris strike?) destroys the ISS with loss of the crew.
  6. Consequent on the above NASA abandons manned space flight for the foreseeable future.
  7. Trump visits Russia; Putin visits the US.
  8. US imposes severe restrictions on immigration.
  9. Against all the odds the USA abolishes the death penalty.
  10. Major banking collapse somewhere in the developed world, possibly Italy, USA or UK.
  11. Major cyber attack brings down power/utility infrastructure affecting hundreds of thousands, probably in USA but maybe Western Europe.
  12. Marine Le Pen is elected French President precipitating an existential crisis in the EU.
  13. Turmoil in South Africa after the arrest of a top politician.
  14. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe dies.
  15. Consequently the regime in Zimbabwe becomes even more repressive, in an attempt to prevent a civil war; this triggers a mass exodus of blacks to neighbouring countries.
  16. At least one major earthquake (magnitude 7.5+) with over 200 fatalities in Asia and another in South America.
  17. Scientists in Tasmania discover a small breeding population of Thylacine.
  18. At least two major civilian plane crashes each with over 100 fatalities.
  19. There is a significant downturn in air travel which causes at least one major carrier to fail.
  20. At least one conspiracy theory of 2012-16 turns out to be true.
  21. There’s a major epidemic of a new infectious disease across a whole continent (or more).
  22. IBM is bought by/merged with another large US corporation (possible contenders: Microsoft, Apple, Google).
  23. Other deaths: Rupert Murdoch, the Dalai Lama, Jimmy Carter, George HW Bush.

Personal
Personal predictions have been documented but are redacted to protect both the innocent and the guilty.

  1. Knee Surgery 1. [[REDACTED]]
  2. Knee Surgery 2. [[REDACTED]]
  3. Pension. [[REDACTED]]
  4. Deaths amongst Family & Friends. [[REDACTED]], [[REDACTED]], [[REDACTED]], [[REDACTED]]
  5. Anthony Powell Society. [[REDACTED]]

I wonder if I can do any better than my pathetic 32% score for 2016 — but I wouldn’t advise anyone to put any money on it!

And if you have any good predictions please do share them.

[Updated 7 January 2017]