Monday, September 29, 2014

The Embarrassing Phone Message.

I'm not really into tech things. I think most gadgets are more complicated than is necessary. I use them for their basic function and get on with real life. If you do decide to get into all the features, it takes hours studying the manual and wading through all the option you didn't want. The problem can be learning a little but not learning enough.

Once I had come in from mowing the lawn, hot and needing a shower. My wife was soon going to follow me in. I checked for any missed calls and remembered that you could leave a message on the phone that others could retrieve by pressing a button. I left a very cheeky message about going in the shower and after she had also, we could meet on the bed for...well that's enough for you to get what it was like. I called there was a message I had left for her an went for the clean up.

My wife came in the the bedroom and got dressed. I asked if she got the message and she said there was none there. I went and checked and there was no message. I decided it hadn't recorded and thought no more of it.

Two weeks later a friend of ours left a message when we were out and said we needed to check the answerphone message as there was something not right about it. I checked it and the missing invitation for my wife had become the public message. I was so embarrassed to think that for two weeks such a personal communication was heard by anyone who called.

Later I asked around as to why they didn't tell me. They all said they were surprised, but left it at that. Even the secretary where I work who often called never said anything, but said she wondered what was going on.


It just goes to show that you cannot always trust your friends to be honest with you. Also, don't play around with gadgets unless you know what you are doing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Persistent Birds

Each year a few bird couples who live in the small wood behind our house decide inside our roof is the place to build a nest. I am not great on bird types but they are like the one pictured here, the common starling.

Persistent doesn't even start to describe them. They make much noise setting up the nursery and feeding their young, not to mention the mess they leave. We try to stop them before they start by blocking up areas before they can build the nest, giving them time to go elsewhere. The problem is they are not deterred by obstructions, but set about removing them.
Our defence against birds

The other day they were very noisy and so I went out, jumped and slapped the gutting with my hand to scare them off yet again. The bird was off, but as I retreated back inside I still heard scuffling in the gutter. I turned around repeated the dose for a second offender, but the noise continued. Then suddenly the bird half flopped out of the guttering, clearly caught on something. I assumed the netting to stop them. I got a ladder and went up to investigate. The bird had caught its foot in an upward V cut in the steel the roof is made of.

It flapped frantically seeing me so close, the foot was ruined and blood was spattered around. I got a stick and the leg was then pushed down and off it went. I would say the foot had been lost as anything useful. It wasn't nice to see.
The offending gap in the middle

The good news is that the birds in the area have been less frequent visitors to the roof, that corner in particular has not seen a bird since. They are without doubt clever, although not smart enough to know how to get it's trapped leg out. A flick with a stick and it was done.

We cleaned up the mess for the picture on the left. Hopefully the couple found a suitable place in the woodland for nesting. We can now get a sleep-in instead of hearing them make a racket.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Freedom And Independence - Part 2

Having looked at the freedom side, my attention moves to the independence issue, especially Europe. I am not a political person so observe it rather than takes sides. That can give one a more open view, without being influenced by personal preferences.

The has been divided by many things, including national boundaries, which has led to conflict. J Lennon sang "Imagine there's no countries...nothing to kill or die for...a brotherhood of man...sharing all the world". Nice sentiments and many in Europe hoped that the European Union would lead to one state, with peaceful coexistence.

The fact is people don't want that. They want independence. The logic that peace is more likely without borders doesn't influence them. In Scotland's case, almost certain reduction in standard of living if truly left to go it alone became irrelevant. The emotion of the 'I' word overpowers the mind and satisfies the heart.

Of course, Scotland isn't the only country where some citizens want to cut ties with a larger entity. Many Basques and Catalans want shot of Spain, the Flemish want a divorce from Belgium and it goes on. The vote held in Scotland has thrust the notion of independence into the limelight. Now Scots who never thought of it now want it fervently. It may have destabilised other countries too, as they want the freedom promised by separation as well.

In other words, the genie is out of the bottle. The dream of a federal Europe perhaps dead. If the Scots, who do pretty well out the UK want out, what hope for other, more fractious, situations? I sense that while Scots nationalists said they would accept the will of the people, they really haven't. This was just the first round. They will keep pushing until they get what they want, and that could cause less unity within Scotland itself.

It seems that that same desire to gain 'freedom' is as strong as ever, even if it something we can never truly have. We depend on others. The Bible says that man's loss of Divine approval started from an independent stance taken by the first humans so it has been a round a while now. With the sick things happening in the world, we need Divine assistance now. With this independent mentality, many humans would reject even that.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Freedom And Independence - Part 1

Everyone wants to be free and independent. Within societies, people are less bound by what society and those around them expect. Being part of a mainstream church and all going together as a society is waning. Traditional moral values are now down to personal preference.

Is the move to more freedom and independent thinking better? That depends. In some cases yes, others no. As to yes or no will vary as to what we think as even that is open to debate. So looking at freedom first (as an overview) from my perspective.

Freedom in any form is something that has been rare throughout history. People have been oppressed by anyone having authority over them. Now we have comparatively so much freedom such as where to live, travel options and discretionary spending. Moral and religious decisions are ours to make without judgement and even persecution.

I'm free!

Is giving the masses freedom a flawed way, that in the long run it will inevitably fail? Expressing freedom that fails to respect the freedoms and feelings of others leads to problems. Selfish expression of freedom gives it a bad name. Responsible 'free people' understand they interact with others, so that affects their use of freedom. They know that being prepared to take others into account is a necessary part of all of us enjoying freedom*. A conscience is a help, provided it has been trained to be selfless and considerate.

In summary: Good moral values and respect for others is essential. Getting everyone to that point would require perfection and none of us can manage that. Therefore rules and the enforcement of them is necessary in any society. We cannot handle absolute freedom. Anarchists may disagree, but we are not up to that level of individual freedom. Only Divine intervention and assistance with our weaknesses would ever get us to that standard. For now a mixture of rules and free choice is as good as it can be.

*For example, I may enjoy loud, late night music and I then express my freedom in that way. However, that impinges on the right of my neighbours to have a good night's sleep. I would therefore take their freedom (to sleep at night) into account in deciding when and how loud I will play it.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Parenting With A Difference, Shall We Say

Some parents are overly protective, but others too much the other way. Keeping them safe is a parents job. So too is moral guidance. Below are some examples of errors of judgment, and ... I'll let you decide.

Probably just not thinking where she is! 

They may not have seen this side 

Not sure what they plan but hopefully not driving

Hard to believe this allowed anywhere


Against zoo rules for a reason

A very poor moral decision

Why do we need hand guns anyway?

Less said the better

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Should Have Gone To Specsavers

Now look at the advertisement at the point of impact....

Don't Try This At Home

Thursday, September 11, 2014


A man went to trial for armed robbery. The jury foreman came out and announced, "Not guilty."

"That's grand!" shouted the man. "Does that mean I can keep the money?"


Female customer: "Could I try on that dress in the window?"

Shopkeeper: "I'd prefer that you use the dressing room."


Wife shouted from the kitchen, "Is that you I hear spitting in the vase on the mantle piece?"

"No," said the husband. Then to wind her up he replied "But I'm getting closer all the time."


A frantic husband phoned the maternity ward at the hospital. "Quick!" he said. "Send an ambulance, the baby is about to come!"

"Tell me, is this her first baby?" the intern asked.

"No, this is her husband speaking."


"I wanted to be a priest," the young man said. "But then I thought about giving up sex, then people coming in and have to listen to them telling me the details and highlights of theirs?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Police And Prejudice - Part 2

I heard a talk recently where a fashion model (of all people) was saying that in the US if you are young, male either African American or Hispanic, you are more likely to be approached by the police and questioned. She asserted that it was a race issue. It could have been sexist, because women are less likely to be stopped. How about age prejudice against the young? If it was a race thing, then why are young Asian males not as likely to have this problem?

He looks sloppy and shady
I remember walking along a road dressed in business shirt, tie and trousers. Three young people were also taking the same route but looking unkempt. It was quite a nice suburb so I fitted in and they didn't. A police car drove past me and stopped by them.

As I got near I could hear the police asking them questions about where they were staying and what were they doing. They were responding with annoyance that it was harassment and the police had no right to stop if they weren't doing something wrong. The police persisted and as I walked on, the standoff continued.

If police see people they believe are a higher risk to be involved in crime, they will more likely approach them. It could be the clothes, car make and condition, or even an ethnic group known to be more likely to be involved with illegal activities. These youths I passed were of the same race as the officers, so stopping to talk to them must have been their dress.

Insurance companies charge differing rates according to the statistical averages of how likely the client will be to claim. At airports, certain people are more likely to have to have their bags searched depending in their nationality, age etc. That is the way it is. Police are out to apprehend criminal offenders and they get better results by tailoring their efforts. It is frustrating to be an honest citizen, yet be stopped because of your profile or dress. Playing the race card however, is simplistic and in most cases plain wrong. They are out to catch criminals. The fashion model should stick to the catwalk.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Portable BBQs

Seems a bit over the top. A closer look below

Apparently the biggest. I won't argue that one

A more modest effort, but still plenty of cooking going on

After the game, the appetite needs to be sated

More for style than cooking capacity

A very practical effort. Loads of cooking area