All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Thursday, 28 June 2007

I'm Not 17 Anymore

And it seemed like such a good idea at the time.

"I know", I thought, "I'll join the teachers team and race the sixth formers. I mean, how fast can they run? They're only seventeen, dammit".

The spectacle of yours truly looking like a flying tub of lard, as he watched everyone else zoom past him (including all the other teachers in the race, which was the most humiliating part) was not what one could call "dignified".

I knew I'd get ribbed about it at school, but on the whole, the kids were very good about it. Some told me they didn't know I could run so fast (which sounds like a compliment, but isn't), whilst others weren't so kind, but ultimately more honest.

I replied that it was the taking part that mattered, even though I knew that I'd made myself look like an utter pillock.

However, one teacher really touched me when she said that I'd made her proud.

I wanted to show the kids that I was more than just an attitudinal teacher and that I too could have fun. In hindsight however, I think I'm going to find other ways to prove this to the kids I teach next year, because right now, the lower part of my body positively hates me.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Changes

For the first time in my childrens' lives, there is a new British prime minister. It is amazing to consider that Tony Blair had been in power for less than six months when Dassi was born. Ten years on and she'll have to get used to the idea of someone else occupying his place at number 10.

By the time I was Dassi's age, I had already lived through three prime ministers!

Sports Day 2007

I've just come back from the school sports day where I had fun helping to work the PA system and go around speak to students and staff as the events were taking place. I even participated in two races against students - but I won't tell you where I came.

It was a long, but ultimately memorable day.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

A Special Day

Happy Birthday Mum!!!

Jumping For Joy


Have I told you that I'm useless at building things? Well, guess what, I'm useless at building things.

That said, I am eternally grateful for the help from R, who did his best to start us off on our wonderful excursion into assembling the fourteen foot trampoline that my parents and in-laws have bought for the girls. He had to leave and so, I was left to continue the work.

Unsuccessfully.

It would have also helped if we'd bothered to read the instructions too.

Thank G-d for D. and her teenage son A. who generously donated their time and experience (they've already got the identical model in their garden) to build the contraption, ably aided by yours truly and the wife.

D, A and Dana literally saved the day.

That said, I really can't describe the total joy that is derived from bouncing up and down on a brand-spanking new trampoline. In short - it is fantastic.

I can already hear the squeals of delight from the girls tomorrow morning when they wake up and glance at the dramatically altered garden.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Twelve Months of Pain



It is twelve months since Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. Twelve long and painful months.
Gilad may be out of sight, but to us, he is not in any way forgotten.

I watch the journalists at the BBC hold protests for their kidnapped colleague, yet not one of them has held up a placard for Gilad. So here, on this lonely corner of cyberspace, today, this is my placard.

Gilad, you are one of us and we will never abandon you. Please G-d, I won't have to re-write this entry in twelve months time.

You are a son to each and every one of us.

Movie Review: Fantastic Four - Rise Of The Silver Surfer


A mischievous thought entered my mind as I sat watching this movie. I wondered if architects around the world designed structures (such as the London Eye, which features in the movie) for the sole purpose of seeing how Hollywood would depict them being attacked by aliens or simply imagined that they be would used as backdrops for set (action) pieces.

In the last fifteen years, we've seen the Millennium Dome (The World Is Not Enough), White House (Independence Day) and Channel Tunnel (Mission Impossible) respectively serving as locations for full-on action scenes. Are the locations chosen for their very presence, or are they created especially for Hollywood?

In other words, what came first, the action movie or the London Eye?

Yes, yes, I'm being facetious, but I do wonder what Hollywood would do if these structures didn't exist. Maybe they'd create them anyway.

This all detracts me from reviewing Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer, which I certainly enjoyed more than the original FF movie. The story is pretty pedestrian and there aren't many surprises, but it moves along at a sprightly pace and kept my attention on the screen throughout the meagre running time.

The characters are pretty one-dimensional and the special effects are nothing special (G-d, haven't we all become spoiled?). In fact, I often wondered whether either Spider-Man or one of the X-Men would pop up in one of the scenes, as the movie did seem very samey.

That said, I can't fault it for its entertainment value and it kept my three eldest kids interested throughout, which is no mean feat.

In short, this FF release is entertaining if somewhat undemanding (and nowhere near the kind of superior comic adaptation evinced in either Spider-Man 2 or Batman Begins)

If you've got kids, take them.

My Rating

***

How To Tell If A Catholic Is Driving Too Fast




(no offence intended if you are of the faith)

Thursday, 21 June 2007

George vs Paul

Its definitely rich pickings on the ex-Beatles' catalogues this week. Having purchased Macca's new CD, I also shelled out on newly released The Traveling Wilbury's Collection which arrived yesterday. For those who don't know, the Wilburys were made up of George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison (who sadly died shortly after the release of Volume 1), Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty.

I had already purchased the Volume 1 back in 1988 when it came out, but for some reason, let the second album, perversely titled Volume 3, slip me by. By the time I realised that I wanted it, it had been deleted from the company's catalogue.

No matter, I only had to wait seventeen years to get a listen (I could have probably found it somewhere else, but I wasn't that desperate).

The good news is that both Wilburys albums have been remastered and re-released as a single collection, made up three disks (one of which is a pretty cool DVD). To make matters even more interesting, the album entered the pop charts at number 1, whilst Paul's recent, worthy effort only managed to get in at to number 5, only to descend to number 10 this week.

I wonder how he feels about George pipping him to the post, despite being long gone?

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Memory Almost Full - Another Review

Having listened to this CD continuously since I received it about ten days, I feel the need to update my review.

Don't read what I wrote before (well, you can read some of it!) because I've changed my mind and now honestly believe that this is one of the best albums he's released since quitting the Beatles, on par with Flaming Pie, which I think is generally regarded as one of his finest solo outings.

I say this, because I've even found myself starting to like the songs that didn't impress me at first (such as Sunshine and House of Wax). The five track medley is still glorious although I've found myself discriminating against the songs that precede it, which I think is unfair.

With all this in mind, I'm upgrading my recommendation to:

****1/2

My Charming Students

I had the pleasure of being called both a "prick" and a "wanker" by two separate students, within the space of about half-an-hour.

What a charming bunch of kids I work with.

Twenty four days and counting...

Monday, 18 June 2007

When He's 65

I hope that someone is still needing and feeding Macca, now that he's 65.

Happy Birthday Sir P.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Please Boycott Me


No, you didn't misread the title of this posting. I want you to boycott this site.

The President of Columbia University has asked the UCU to add his university to the list of academic establishments being proposed for the boycott.

As an extremely proud Zionist and Jew, I would also like to do my modest bit for the cause, by asking anyone who feels the need to discriminate against Israeli universities or any other Israeli firm or public body to extend their actions to my blogsite.

So if you are the kind of person who subscribes to this or any other boycott of Israel, don't bother coming here again. I don't need or want your patronage - you are not welcome here.

Instead, go and read up about the last time boycotts were set up against Jewish people because Adolf Hitler would be so proud of you.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Why Jews Are Not Weather Men

At Last...Fleeting Fame

My 15 minutes of fame.

1) My review of Memory Almost Full can now be seen on the Amazon website (my nom-de-plume is Beatle C).

2) The Jewish News headline is "Peres-ident". Now, I wonder where they got THAT from? For the record, my posting (see below) appeared on Wednesday and the newspaper came out on Thursday....

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Kurt Waldheim Is Dead

GOOD.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

The PERES-ident

So, at last, Shimon Peres has been voted into Office!

I think this is a good thing, as the further he stays away from real politics, the happier I (and many other people) will be.

Despite his international reputation as a "statesman", I have nothing but contempt for a man whom many believe would sell his own grandmother if she were alive - and if he could get a decent price.

Then again, I believe that Peres will rescue the respected office of "The President of The State of Israel" from the gutter, from whence the current incumbent left it - and return it to its ceremonial perch.

I will certainly feel happier knowing that the newer president will not demonstrate the kind of salacious behaviour exhibited by his predecessor.

It is just difficult, getting used to this new Peres-ident (sorry), sex scandal notwithstanding.

CD Review: Memory Almost Full


In time-honoured fashion, I bought Paul McCartney's new offering as soon as it came out - and I've been listening to it ever since.

Paul McCartney is a gifted musician. In fact, he is a very gifted musician and when he stops trying to please everybody, he comes out with some damn good results. His new album follows on the heels of the last (Chaos and Creation In The Backyard) and is almost a total antithesis of that album. The former showcased piano based ballads, whilst this new batch definitely reminds you that Mr Mac. has a rocker's creditability's.

Listen to Only Mama Knows and Junior's Farm comes right out at you in glorious 3D. I can't say that I intially warmed to The House of Wax, although it is starting to grow on me.

I am also growing increasingly fonder of Mister Bellamy, if only for its sheer quirkiness and veddy British humour. The title track is simple but infectious, whilst My Ever Present Past gets into your head like one of those that you can't quite shake off.

The centrepiece consists of a lovely medley of five songs that Macca uses to create an image of his childhood and past (with shades of Wings)

The standout trackout is You Tell Me, a beautiful song about asking someone else to help you recall those special moments in your life, as advancing age curtails your memory. In the quality stakes, this is closely followed by The End of The End, a moving song about a man at peace with his mortality and ready to face whatever comes, whenever it comes.

That said, See Your Sunshine is pleasant but forgettable and Gratitude reminds me of the kind of song Paul Simon used to write (and thankfully doesn't anymore).

As for Nod Your Head...the less said, the better (well, its not that bad).

Memory Almost Full
is a strong album which doesn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor. McCartney seems to produce better offerings when his life isn't panning out that well, so I suppose I should thank Heather Mills for something, especially as 1991's Driving Rain album, written when they were courting was such a load of dross. So thanks, Heather, for giving Paul a hard time.

Recommended

***1/2 (out of 5)


Monday, 11 June 2007

The Alef Bet As You've (Probably) Never Seen It Before

Some smart-alec has managed to construct the entire Hebrew Alphabet (or Alef Bet as it is known) using only the structure of the Star of David (Magen David) as a basis.

You could read something into it, or like me, just wonder as to the inordinate amount of spare time some people have on their hands.


Read My Mind

The Palestinians are going around butchering each other - including throwing their brethren off buildings to their deaths.

The less I write about this situation, the better. I refuse to lower myself to their level, by describing exactly what I feel about the whole business.

As they say, "silence is golden".

Friday, 8 June 2007

Big B(r)other

I'm not a great fan of "reality TV". I can't see the attraction of watching people in a camera saturated fishbowl, living their lives as though they weren't being viewed by millions of people.

The additional spectre of these individuals demonstrating their racist credentials (a la Big Brother) does not do anything to disprove my theory that these people really need to get a life - instead of trying to squander their precious time on earth chasing their pathetic fifteen minutes of transient fame.

I know that, as usual, I am in the minority in expressing these views. If the rest of the "viewing public" felt the same, we wouldn't be faced with this ghastly excuse of a programme reaching its eighth incarnation.

I will admit to watching "The Apprentice", but only because it features characters who have something interesting to say (well, most of them do) and tackle their business tasks using a variety of approaches. Additionally, Sir Alan Sugar, though not my cup of tea, does have some worthy credentials to back him up - if only because he has achieved so much in forty years of commerce.

That said, "The Apprentice" builds up to some sort of worthy climax (pushing aside the notion that its probably fixed anyway) and rewards its viewers in the process with a feeling of satisfaction that the best man or woman has probably won - as result of some pretty hard graft througout the numerous tasks and challenges.

Could some one then please explain to me how the chavs and no-hopers in that pretty North London house can be worthy of 100+ hours of my viewing time?

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

NEW FEATURE!!!

I've added a new feature on this site, which you can find in the left hand column if you scroll two thirds down the page (just below the "I Power Blogger" button).

It is a slide show from the Webshots site (one of my favourite places on the web) and I guarantee you that its gorgeous photographs of the sky and sea will automatically de-stress you.

This is yet another free service offered to you by your overly empathetic Scribbler.
I hope you enjoy the show.

Fab Beatles Story (And It's True Too)

A judge sentenced a Beatles-loving thief by quoting 42 of the band's song titles in his verdict.

Andrew McCormack, 20, had been asked what sentence he thought he should get for stealing beer, he wrote: "Like The Beetles say, Let it Be."

But he had clearly come up against the wrong man in Montana's Judge Gregory Todd, reports the Daily Mirror.

Judge Todd replied: "'Hey Jude', 'Do You Want to Know a Secret'? The greatest band in history spelled its name B-e-a-t-l-e-s.

"Your response suggests there should be no consequences for your actions and I should 'Let it Be' so you can live in 'Strawberry Fields Forever'.

"Such reasoning is 'Here, There and Everywhere'. It does not require a 'Magical Mystery Tour' of interpretation to know 'The Word' means leave it alone. I trust we can all 'Come Together' on that meaning.

"If I were to overlook your actions I would ignore that 'Day in the Life' on April 21, 2006. That night you said to yourself 'I Feel Fine' while drinking beer. Later, whether you wanted 'Money' or were just trying to 'Act Naturally' you became the 'Fool on the Hill'.

"As 'Mr Moonlight' at 1.30am, you did not 'Think for Yourself' but just focused on 'I, Me, Mine'. 'Because' you didn't ask for 'Help'. 'Wait' for 'Something' else or listen to your conscience saying 'Honey Don't', the victim was later 'Fixing a Hole' in the glass door you broke."

Judge Todd went on: "After you stole the beer you decided it was time to 'Run For Your Life' and 'Carry That Weight'. But the witness said 'Baby it's You', the police said 'I'll Get You' and you had to admit 'You Really Got a Hold on Me'.

"You were not able to 'Get Back' home because of the 'Chains' they put on you. Although you hoped the police would say 'I Don't Want to Spoil the Party' and 'We Can Work it Out', you were in 'Misery' when they said you were a 'Bad Boy'.

"When they took you to jail, you experienced 'Something New' as they said 'Hello Goodbye' and you became a 'Nowhere Man'.

"Later you may have said 'I'll Cry Instead'. Now you are saying 'Let it Be' instead of 'I'm a Loser'. As a result of your 'Hard Day's Night' you're looking at a 'Ticket to Ride' that 'Long and Winding Road' to prison.

"Hopefully you can say both now and 'When I'm 64' that 'I Should Have Known Better'."

McCormack got probation, a community service order and a fine.


(c) Ananova

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

My Moment Of Insanity?

I was approached today by the Head of Year 7 and asked if I would join her and about three dozen Year 7's on a two day trip to Disneyland Paris. For some crazy reason, I've accepted the invitation....and am hoping that I won't regret my decision. There will be some other teachers coming along too.

My rationale?

You only live once and whatever happens, this will probably be an experience I won't forget (hopefully for all the right reasons).

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Thirty-Five Days

I'm back at school tomorrow for my last half-term in the establishment. I don't quite know how I feel about it. I suppose it will zip past, without me realising how little time is left.

In truth, my sights are already set on the next school. I just have to ensure that I don't let my students down over the next seven weeks/thirty-five days.

Difficult, but workable.

Forty-Seven Years

This afternoon, I attended a special screening of the 1960 movie, Exodus with my father and good friend, S.

The occasion was to commemorate the the sixtieth anniversary of the original boat's journey to Pre-State Palestine (i.e the Exodus 1947). I had never seen the movie in the cinema (although I own it on DVD) and so really didn't want to miss the opportunity of seeing this classic on the big screen.

It is hard to watch a movie like Exodus without relating it's story to present moment. I approached the screening with a certain degree of trepidation, if only because I wondered how dated the movie would seem, in other words, out of touch with current events.

To my surprise, it hasn't dated at all. If anything, its sad message is more relevant now than it was forty-seven years ago.

Exodus doesn't pretend to be anything other than a record of the founding of the State of Israel. It shows how the Jews really had nowhere else to go after the Holocaust and how the indigenous population weren't all evil (e.g. the character of Tala, a Sheikh who had grown up alongside Ari (Paul Newman)).

The main characters all talk about wanting to live peacefully with their neighbours, yet, tragically, we know how the story ends (and indeed, continues to this present day). The arguments put forward by both the Arabs and the British (who understandably come out in a very poor light) in the movie are the very same used today.

Both groups question our right to the land and dismiss any legitimacy that we have to re-settling the land. However, the most interesting point to me was that the movie was made before 1967, before Israel had re-claimed Jerusalem and the other areas and yet, the arguments put forward are still being heard today.

In the past, I had doubts as to whether those people who were vehemently anti-Zionist were indeed anti-Semitic. As time goes on and the well-worn arguments are hurled at us, time and time again, I am sadly coming to the conclusion that people who have a serious problem with our return to our land also have issues in general with us. After all, why shouldn't we be allowed to have a country of our own? The Arabs have 22.

Yes, the Palestinians have had a rough deal, but I'm afraid that I blame the situation more on them than on us. If they had really wanted to make peace, they could have done so, years ago. As I watch the news footage of rockets flying out of Gaza, (which we completely evacuated two years ago) slamming in Sderot, I seriously doubt whether there is any intention whatsoever on their part to accept our presence in any part of the land.

There are some Tala's out there, but I guess, they too are being hung out to dry, whilst their brethren are doing everything they can to destroy any vestiges of peace or reconciliation with their cousins.

Exodus was made forty-seven years ago. I pray that it's message will have a sweeter outcome in another forty-seven years from now.

Friday, 1 June 2007

The Ever Popular Pepper

It was forty years ago today, Sgt Pepper told the band to play.....

Have you ever heard the album?
Do you think it is over-hyped?

I've been that much of a fan of the album. Aside from the marvellous "A Day In The Life" and maybe "When I'm 64", I'm not too enamoured with it. The music is good, it rocks along and the special effects still enthrall, but in the overall scheme of things, I believe Abbey Road or even Revolver to be superior offerings. I find the songs on those albums to be more effecting and memorable.

However, I seem to be in the minority as 'everybody loves Pepper'.

I think both John and Ringo got it right when they showed their disapproval of the project. They saw it for what it was, a shiny, maybe even dazzling production - devoid of any real heart. I would even go further by saying that, had A Day In The Life not been included, Pepper would not have received the kind of respect and adulation that it still elicits from both fans and critics alike.

It does rock, it sometimes rolls but I feel that Paul's songs therein are far from being his best (aside from She's Leaving Home, which is truly great, even though Sir George Martin didn't produce it). If anything, I would say that it is John who provides the best input, with dizzying classics like Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and the said final track (which happens to be my favourite Beatles' song).

It was forty years ago today, but it was also forty one years ago since Revolver and thirty eight since Abbey Road.

Let's keep things in perspective, eh?