Monday, 30 September 2013

Why was there no human skeleton sitting there?!

Last Thursday, I discovered an old but modern looking folding camp chair, set up for someone to sit in.  It was not only miles from anywhere but sitting on a huge granite block on an island in the middle of a reservoir - Loch Loine.  All that was missing was the human skeleton sitting in it!  The water level was so low that I was able to walk out to the island and, on such a good road, that it even had a smooth tarmac surface in places and a dry stone, hump back bridge that was still safe to walk over.  That quality continued just below the surface towards the mainland on the other side of the island as I waded through for 15-20 metres before I turned back.

The road to the unoccupied camp chair was six or seven miles from the western end of Loch Cluanie.  The single track road, was flooded in 1957 for the new reservoir of Loch Loine.  130 years before that, Thomas Telford beautifully engineered the new 'Road to the Isles' with over fifty bridges and culverts all built from the local stone.  There were stone parapets, huge expanses of stone wall holding up the road of gentle gradient and easy bends and, today it looked passable, still by careful drivers in modern motors in second and third gear.  No 4x4 was needed.  But, much more sensible to cycle it, as I did!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

“Old age is not for sissies.” David Attenborough (87) 18 Sept 2013 on Radio 4’s ‘Today'

I'm now officially an old man - at long last!

I'm an old bod, a grumpy old man (and with the mug to prove it, from Becky), a full-time old age pensioner with one foot in the grave, who has left the world of work to make room for a younger person to come along.

Years ago, I thought 2013 was an impossibly long way off and would never come.  How wrong I was.  Now for my new career of sheer idleness, leisure and pleasure, of spending the kids inheritance before the second half of the retirement career - of, perhaps, gentle exit from the world of everything!  I've given it all up at the politically correct age of 65, too.  Unfortunately, the next politically correct age of three score years and ten is all too near!  But, then, without departure there can be no new arrivals.

Even ten years ago, I would never have thought that I would end my working days cycle commuting for an hour, every day, over the roads through the Clent Hills and over the top of Romsley Hill - even with dodgy knees.  And, often, even longer routes for the return run!  But, I did have to gradually jettison weight in the final 18 months of labouring over the hills.  Surrendering the laptop, in 2012 meant a lot less weight on my back!  This past year, I've cycled through one monsoon-like downpour with mud and debris sliding down the steepest road, Uffmoor Lane, that I had never had before.  Often, in this last job, I had early morning commutes with cloud draping the hills but, so much better than jam packed in a London tube that was my very first paid work!

I want to acknowledge, here that brother in law, Tony was quite brilliant in supporting me over the most stupid, the strangest, the most mendacious incident that I was caught up in, in over 40 years of employment.  It was yet another nail in the coffin for my withdrawal of support for local government in favour of alternative ways of running services rather than local authorities.  Yet, my experiences of local authorities reinforces how very, very fallible all of us humans are in running our affairs – whether it is the public or private sectors.  This is a further reason why, I think, we are imperceptibly sleep walking into a nightmare of entirely our own making.

“Old age is not for sissies.”  David Attenborough (87)  18 Sept 2013 on Radio 4’s ‘Today'

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Library of Birmingham

The just opened Library of Birmingham is quite stunning and must now be the major tourist attraction in Brum city centre.  It's a building that, on the outside, is all angular, square and oblong.  Yet, the external decoration is a clue to how things look on the inside - to make a building of surprises and sheer delight.  You must visit to see what I mean!

There are two beautiful roof top gardens and, from the topmost observation lounge, in particular, you get great views over the city to the distant hills and landmarks.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Which power bloc of humanity does the most killings?

Many thanks, John.  Sorry for this length - I just love to crystalise my thoughts in writing!

Which power bloc of humanity does the most killings - the Christian capitalist West or the Communists and Muslim extremists in the East?

I particularly liked 'Drop Medicines, not Bombs'.  Not just medicines but, for Afghanistan and Iraq from the War of Terrorism started on 7 October 2001, we would have been better off dropping 'bikes' not bombs!  By bikes I mean everything but handing out death and injury.  Parachute humanitarian aid in to these poor countries and never death dealing devices, unless authorised by the Security Council and never Congress and the US President.

My Christian discipleship also means doing what Paul advised, "Think of others as better than yourselves."  Hence, I am very unpatriotic in mischievously delighting to point out how it appears that the Christian West, down too many centuries (not just the 20th) has been the worst offender in killing other humans.  Death by all kinds of horrendous means that the West got to do first. From, just 1945:- use of WMD, Korea, the Kenyan atrocities in the 1950s, the West's wars against the Communists in many countries of SE Asia, extra judicial killings but, good news, we do seem to refrain from suicide bombing (I wonder why?  Of course, no need to when we have drones to keep us safe when killing!)

It seems, that it was not the Arab Muslims or the Communists who did the most killings (even when remembering but, never verified, Stalin's millions that he killed*).  For me, this is because of the European nation's responsibility for rounds one and two of the industrialised scale slaughter.  Known, by me, as the wild West's World War 1914 to 1945, with the interlude between 1918 and 1939.  20 million godless Communist Russians were slaughtered to help the Christian West defeat Nazism.  Nazism that came out of a Christian country, too!

I think it is unlikely that the Nazis would have risen to power if the West had not started the 1914 war.  The victors saw to it that vanquished Germany was treated without Churchill's much vaunted magnanimity.  German reparations meant that they had their noses rubbed in the dirt.  It was all a breeding ground for very angry, very patriotic, right wing, National Socialism.  Thus, the sequel in 1939.

We persist in thinking that the violent Communists and the violent Islamists are worse than ourselves because, quite naturally, we more carefully keep a record of their killings of us than that of our own of them - and, we never really like violence, of course; it is forced upon us!  In the last century, the 'Christian' Europeans even got their colonies to help in the slaughter to defend their mighty empires in the (so worthy) West's World War.

Hence, my boring and constant theme:- that I would like - shock horror - to hear, occasionally, a Christian preacher exhorting their flock to avoid arms manufacturing and the armed forces when it comes to a job.  Actually, I did hear Tony Campolo (on Friday 6 Sept at B'ham Christian Centre) do just that in the context of President Obama wanting to punish Syria for using chemical weapons in August.  Praise the Lord - and pass the ammunition!**

NOTES *"Ralph Miliband was a supporter of Marxist ideology that was being used to run governments in other parts of the continent and other parts of Europe which was responsible for an awful lot of terrible things, including millions and millions of deaths."  (Jon Steafel, Dep Editor of Daily Mail, on 'Newsnight', BBC2 on 1 October 2013)

** Christians might only vote for political parties that try non-violence or, at least, non-aggression and who abide by Security Council wishes or UN resolutions.  That means, for me, voting for none of the major three war parties.  Therefore, abstaining. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

So much in common but the differences dominate!

Jews, Christians and Muslims are so similar but so different.  So much in common, yet are not only so divided but have been so full of hatred, enmity and killing of each other from time to time through the centuries and today.  Far too much at each others throats when it comes to nations with one of these religions predominating - the Christian West, the Jewish Israel and the Arab Muslims.  This is madness, this is tragic, this is scandalous.

What unites them all:
  • All children of Abraham.  All have the same father!
  • The Christians scriptures are Jewish and include their Torah!
  • The Muslims regard Jesus Christ as a great and important prophet, second only to their own Mohammed.
  • Jesus was a Jew, as were the first Christians. 
  • Disgust at homosexuality is common to them all.
  • Sexual immorality is more important, a far greater sin, than violence.

Friday, 6 September 2013

"Jesus wants to save Christians" - book review


To be like Jesus is a tall order but not so impossible if Rob Bell could have been a little more outspoken about us all renouncing the attacks, the occupations, the aggressions, the sheer violence of our descendants and, now, ourselves - on other nations.  The Church in exile is the church wrapped in the devil's arms of violence; it should be noted for its non-violence.

Jesus wants to save Christians to be more like Him in the way He renounced empire building in His first temptation.  Rob omits to remind his readers that the Christian West has been at the forefront of taking and taking over countries to be all their own - called colonialism.  Now the religious, God fearing, USA is the largest empire on earth.  The Church in exile is the church in unholy empire of being on the take; of being in domination.  Not quite what Jesus intended!

"Man shall not live by bread alone".  Yet, the Church has done just that in grabbing what and who it can while the going was good.  Not just land and fossil fuels but slaves to make us rich beyond what humanity has ever seen before.  We are now turning, transforming, the stones of rare minerals and a host of other finite resources to live it up to bring today's comfort and riches.  But bread for the poor and future generations is overlooked, ignored, forgotten.  Including the stones of fossil fuels and all finite raw materials.

Is this not what Jesus also wants to save Christians from in order to be more like the Man God who rejected what we never, ever reject?

Rob - You have more to include in the next edition, please!

Syrian War fuelled by all sides, including us!

I am bothered about all the weapons our people produce in the UK and that get sold on to keep the civil war going in Syria.

We need to accept that our side was the first to use WMD in the Great (foolish) War, in the second round of the slaughter (on Japan in 1945) and, once more in Vietnam in that 16 years war. Our side - NATO and Israel - hardly occupy the moral high ground.  In fact, we have set Syria a very bad example to follow.

Now, on the 'Today' programme, 12 September 2013, I have heard Frank Gardner (BBC Security Correspondent) say, "Britain used chemical weapons (poisonous gas) soon after the First World War against rebels in Iraq and Afghanistan before they were outlawed by the Geneva Protocol of 1925."

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Brrr ... or, Ugh!! ?

No fracking;
no nukes;
no wind turbines;
no CO2 from dirty coal;
no pylons.  Brrr ...
Live it up now and to hell with the future;
live infinitely on a finite planet;
What we buy today we throw away tomorrow;
what we take today we don't have tomorrow.  Ugh!!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

DO SOLAR and be a humanitarian, a philanthropist!

I've had a short chat this evening with Mike, my father in law.  He's against investing in solar panels because it takes far too long to get the investment back.  Certainly, that is true for him at 86 but I see solar renewables as avoiding fossil fuels that are finite and limited and, all enhance the natural greenhouse effect.  Why think only of putting your money where it will make the most money in the shortest possible time?  Can we not think of future generations and their energy needs?  Can we not think of slowing the exhaustion of non-renewable resources?  Of slowing climate change.  How about investing in solar for humanitarian reasons?  Not for self advancement but to play one's own very small part but, essential part, in improving the prospects for humanity.  Do it for others!

As you said Becky (Roseff), every single roof should have solar panels.  New builds should have them on the roof pitch that is south facing.  I will now make enquiries over the feasibility of E/W facing pitches having solar.  Both those pitches get the sun for half the day each if they are not shaded by trees or higher buildings.  Will any company do it for me?  I will see.