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

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Movie Review: Die Hard 4.0



These days, there are a helluva lot of action movies out there. The vast majority consist of some guy going around shooting criminals and getting himself into all kinds of bother in the process. The pyrotechnics often take over the plot, which usually looses steam by about the second reel in.

Then there is Die Hard.

In my opinion, this group of movies have always stood apart from the usual fare, due to clever scripting and plotting and of course, not least as a result of the maverick casting of Bruce Willis in the title role. You want to believe that John McLaine does exist somewhere. His physical pain and vulnerable vest reminds you that this hero can bleed and despite it all, kill the bastards who came to get him. He wisecracks his way through numerous adventures, managing to carry us along with him - hoping that he'll succeed in the end.

Yes, I like the Die Hard (or DH) movies!

However, twelve years is a long time to wait for a new movie and on the face of it, I didn't hold out too much hope. After all, 52 is no real age to be jumping around athletically bumping off nasties is it?

Then again, in Hollywood, almost anything is possible and to my delight, the film-makers managed to come up with yet another sterling installment in the DH canon. This is a cracking movie, with Mr Willis in fine fettle, smartly allowing younger stars to steal a little of his limelight - which is why the movie works so well.

Yes, it does go OTT sometimes, but hey, this is Die Hard! At the end of the day, you root for McLaine, because this guy is so fallible and human. There are clever moments accompanying the action and you can see that time and care has been taken to make this a most enjoyable movie.

Or as McLaine would say:

"Yipee Kay Yay Motherf......."

If you're a DH fan, don't miss this one and even if you're not, treat yourself, because this is a roller coaster of a movie.

My Rating

****

Monday, 30 July 2007

Kiki's Back!

I've come to believe that, sadly, most people seem to thrive on hearing about the misery of others.

Just watch your friends' faces perk up when they hear the latest (usually negative) gossip about others. There's nothing more fascinating than hearing that so and so is going through a bad time. Yes, you feel terrible for the person and give them all your sympathy, but deep down, you know that when bad things are happening, its better that others get inflicted.

You might read the above and think that I'm being particularly callous, but deep down, I bet you agree with me. It is human nature after all.
It therefore gives me great pleasure to give you some more news to pique your interest. Are your ears pricked up yet? Do I have your full attention?

Yes?

Then I'll start...

Guess what, Kiki's back!

Now, to the vast majority of you, the name "Kiki" means nothing. Who is Kiki? And what's the big deal about her being back? Most importantly, what's BAD about that?

Honestly, nothing - but I've done it, I've actually got you hunched over your computer...about to receive good news!

Kiki is an old friend of mine who lives in Canada and who has gone through a hell of a time in the last eighteen months, in her private life. She used to have blog, but it was removed against her wishes and she found herself effectively silenced from the cyberspace world that we all seem to inhabit.

When we last communicated, Kiki announced that she was getting divorced. Twelve months on and here she is, once again single but re-invigorated with the lust for life that made her so appealing to all of us, her friends, who have known her in better times.

Her blog address is: http://kikisnewbeginnings.blogspot.com/
and it would really great if you paid her site a visit and welcomed her back.

Please feel free to spread the good news because it is much more fulfilling than the alternative.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Movie Review: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix


Now as you probably know, I have not read the Harry Potter books yet, which is probably a mistake, granted that I've now seen all the films.

This one, which at times is so dark, really makes me wonder whether the Director has had an almighty row with the lighting crew. There really is very little light, both visually and in the storyline, which jokes aside, I am told accurately reflects the sombre mood exhibited in the books.

That said, I enjoyed 2/3 of this movie, particularly Imelda Staunton's delicious performance as Dolores Umbridge, as well as Harry's turn as class teacher.

I'm afraid the final reel left me cold as I literally lost the plot (nodding off for a moment didn't help either). Thankfully, those nice people at Wikpedia.com explained it to me, which sort of defeats the purpose of the film's director, who didn't do a very good job in clarifying the murky denouement. I also felt the pace lagged at times - something that I haven't really experienced since the Chamber of Secrets episode (which bored me silly and also sent me to zzzz land)

I definitely preferred The Prisoner Of Azkhaban and The Goblet of Fire. They were just as dark, but at the same time, more engaging. Dare I suggest that the source material wasn't up to it?

Worth seeing, but ultimately, a little disappointing, granted the high quality of the previous offerings.

My Rating

***



I

Movie Review: The Simpsons Movie


I'd really been looking forward to seeing this movie (not unlike virtually everyone else in the western world) and the chance to see it as soon as it came out, was something that I was not going to pass up. So I bought tickets for the three oldest girls and myself and took them to the cinema yesterday morning - without disclosing what we were seeing. This was only the second screening of the film.

The surprise virtually complete (it would have been, had a woman in front not sat down ten minutes before the film started and asked me if we were watching "The Simpsons" - of course Dassi's ears pricked up and she'd heard our conversation), I sat back and prepared myself to enjoy what what would no doubt be an hour-and-a-half of unadulterated entertainment.

The movie started and I was instantly hooked. The jokes came thick and fast and our modest audience (it was only 10 am after all) laughed appreciatively, soaking up the feel-good atmosphere.

Then, after about quarter of an hour, to my horror, a large group of teenagers (not unlike the kids I teach) walked into the cinema. They sat behind us and started off by throwing their popcorn across the auditorium, talking loudly, laughing inappropriately (if you know what I mean) and generally spoiling the entire film for the rest of us. At one point, one schmuck even walked over chairs in-front of us, so that he could get a better view.

My children were shocked at this behaviour, particularly Dassi, as this is not something she has seen before. I sadly felt in familiar territory, not least because, for all I know, some of them might have been kids I'd taught.

So, in short, my entertainment of this film was curtailed by this experience in the cinema, rendering any review I could make, flawed.

What I can say, if I try to rise above the resentment I felt towards these teenagers, is that this is a funny, original and wonderfully subversive movie (pretty much what the Simpsons is all about) and I think I'm probably going to wait to see it again, before I can make my mind up as to how much I do or don't like it. It would therefore be unfair of me to rate it, based on what happened yesterday.

I know I should have tried to get these kids ejected, but did I really want to face the kind of harassment I've experienced from these horrendously brought up, ignorant peasants? There was only me and my four little girls and sometimes, you need to know when to put up and shut up (especially when you don't have the power of the education system, for all its flaws, behind you).

It's a shame, because viewing The Simpsons Movie should have been a much more pleasant experience. I don't think Homer would be impressed.

Then again...

Recommended (because every one will have seen it anyway)

***

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The 2007 Tisha B'Av Experience

Tisha B'Av (lit. the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av) is the one day in which we Jews look back in both anger and sadness at the multitudinous calamities that have befallen our nation over the Millennia - most of which eerily took place on this very day.

So, here I am, at 6.26 p.m, nearly at the end of this sometimes tortuous day. How do I feel? How can I really understand what it means to lose a Temple (or two), face the thought of being evicted from Spain (the inquistion kicked into action on Tisha B'Av) or even look across the ruinous landscape of six million deaths?

What can Tisha B'Av really mean to someone like me, who was born after we regained Jerusalem, Hebron and the Golan in 1967? Today, according to one website, 100,000 Jews prayed freely at the Western Wall. And here I am fasting for the destruction of Jerusalem?

We have Yom Hashoah and Holocaust Remembrance Day to mark the "H" word. The deaths of our great-uncles and aunts, cousins and distant relatives throughout the Shoah is never far from our minds, so why do we need Tisha B'Av. Why put myself through such discomfort when we Jews have returned to Spain, England and France and yes, even Israel?

I've grappled with this thought for a while and very sadly, have realised what Tisha B'Av is all about.

If we foolishly thought that persecution and animosity were a thing of past years, just take a moment to look around you. Consider the rhetoric spewing out of Iran, Syria, Pakistan (or wherever Bin Laden and his Nazis are hiding), Caracas or London - and tell me a reason not to commemorate this fast.

When you have numerous pro-Palestinian MP's, journalists and media figures openly spouting anti-semitic bile, all the while dressed up in Anti-Zionist clothing - please tell me, what has changed for us Jews. Look at the recent Richard Littlejohn programme on the resurgence of Anti-Semitism in Britain and explain to me why I shouldn't be mourning and fasting today.

There are powerful movements in this free and democratic country of Britain who want to stop us killing our animals according to the strict Jewish guidelines - because it's "cruel".

Others have a problem with the way we carry out our practices of ritual circumcision (shechitah) without anaestetic - because it's "inhumane".

And yes, many others who actively spur their unions on to try and wreck boycott Israeli, or rather read as "Jewish", academic, sporting or medical institutions.

Yet none of the above can use the spurious excuse that they are Arabs and have a beef with Israel. All of the these are educated, and on the whole, white, "peace-loving" Christian folk.

While I'm at it, why not mention our open-minded ally, the Pope, who is doing what he can to regress Christian-Jewish relations by forty years by replacing the bold Nostra Aetate with the anti-semitic Latin Mass, whose use was outlawed by John XXIII.

The Greeks and Romans tried to ban our religious practices, such as shechitah and circumcision.

The Nazis boycotted our academic, medical and educational institutions and the Inquisition was all about destroying our Jewish beliefs- as expressed in the possibly soon-to-be reinstated Latin Mass.

So what is the difference is today.

I fast on Tisha B'av because my experience of persecution as Jew continues into the 21st Century.

Three thousand years ago, King Solomon wrote these prophetic words:

Ein chadash tachat hashemesh - there is nothing new under the sun.

And when it comes to our many reasons for commemorating Tisha B'Av, he was so very right.

Anti-semitism, in all its ugliness is still with us. The problem is, however, that after a short interlude whilst the world felt a modicum of guilt for its shameful behaviour during the Holocaust, it is well and truly thriving.

Monday, 23 July 2007

DVD Review: Black Book


Five years ago, I was privileged to participate in my first ever family reunion. It featured my maternal grandfather's family and was held in the country that two of my grandparents hailed from, namely Holland.

As part of the visit, we were taken on a guided tour of Elburg, from whence my ancestors originally came and we also strolled around Amsterdam, where we were given a history of the the Jews in Holland and I was shocked to discover that the Netherlands ranks as having one of the highest numbers of Jewish deportations.

In Amsterdam, we visited the chilling site (a theatre) where the Jews were gathered together and sent off to their deaths. On a memorial wall therein, I saw the engraved names of numerous family members, along with a record of where they ended up - Auschwitz.

When you consider that, as of 1940, there were 140,00 Jews in Holland, which made up 1.6% of the general population (including 34,000 refugees from the Germany, Austria, Bohemia and Moravia), you realise that we are not exactly talking about an insignificant number of people.

Fast forward, five years, and one finds there were only 30,000 left. Doing the maths, it means that 110,000 were murdered.

How could it be that a country as liberal and historically benevolent towards its Jewish inhabitants, features so significantly (statistically-wise) in the Nazi genocidal programme?

Black Book manages to provide the answer - which I am not going to reveal here.

This is a powerful film that leaves little to the imagination. The acting is superlative throughout and it moves along as a brisk pace - which is fine if you're watching an action movie, but seems to jar at times with what I perceived to be the overall message being rendered as events unfolded.

Many of the dramatic scenes reminded me of the kind of war movies they used to make in the 1960's - think of Where Eagles Dare or The Great Escape and you will understand what I mean. That said, there are some pretty powerful moments and this film draws you immediately since you can't help but identify with the main protagonist whose experiences you follow throughout the generous running time. I certainly couldn't have imagined what was coming, when I was watching the early scenes in the Dutch household.

I think the film would have achieved more had it spent less time trying to get the adrenaline running and more effort examining the way in which ordinary folks coped under Nazi occupation.

I would certainly not advise comparing this film with something like The Pianist or Schindler's List. It is of a different breed, but still striking enough to make its mark.

Definitely recommended.

My Rating

****

Sunday, 22 July 2007

The Kosher Top Ten Signs Facebook Is Jewish

10. Wall postings are something we've been doing for years at the Kotel (Western Wall)

9. News Feeds, loshon hora (gossip) made easy

8. Poking, the shomer negia way to flirt (i.e. flirting without physical contact)

7. $1 USD diamond rings!

6. Updating your status is better than your mom telling the world you are now single

5. Tagging photos brings Jewish geography back into the picture

4. Social networking; a nicer way of saying protectzia (i.e. its not what you know...)

3. Mark Zuckerberg (facebook) vs. Tom Anderson (myspace)..last name says it all

2. Only colors: Kachol v' Lavan (blue and white, the colours of the Israeli flag)

1. We are the people of the Book...we just got superficial.

(c) http://www.bangitout.com/
----

Friday, 20 July 2007

The Bereaved Teacher

This is extraordinary and not something that I've ever experienced, but today, I am experiencing what can only be termed as "job bereavement".

Now before you think I'm going doolally, I should explain that it's the teachers I'm missing, not the students! Working as we do in a challenging environment, I for one, feel as though these people are members of my extended family. Over the year or two we spent time together, we went through so much, that the resulting wonderful friendships we formed mean a great deal to me.

As a result, I am finding it hard to contemplate never working with these fellow teachers and friends again.

If you are a teacher, you will probably understand exactly what it is I am trying to express here. Teaching is not like an office job. We don't say goodbye at 5 pm and disappear into the ether of the weekend. Some of us still communicate with each other when the school gates are bolted and the lights in the building have long been extinguished - and this is the bit that I'm finding the hardest to accept.

So if you're a teacher and you know where I'm coming from, please send me some positive thoughts, because right now, the idea of starting at a new school in September without my special teaching buddies fills me with nothing but dread.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

The Last Day - How It Went

It has really been an emotional rollercoaster of a day. It started off in registration time, when my lovely Year 10 tutor group presented me with a signed card and box of deluxe Ferrero-Rocher chocolates. I got a little gushy, telling them that they had always been my favourite class and how happy I was, when told that I would be their co-tutor. I reckon that if you can't get emotional on the last day of term, just when you're going to leave - you'd better quit the profession.

I gave out some jelly sweets and went into my class for the first period. I couldn't believe my eyes. Some little "expletive" had actually walked off with both my computer and sound system. Apparently it happened last Friday. Maybe, leaving the school wouldn't be so hard after all!

Anyway, I managed to fix up another class room so that some of them could use a computer to watch a DVD.

Break came along, a final few moments with my class and then we all went down for assembly, where the Deputy Head made some very nice comments about staff who were leaving, and we all felt several lumps suddenly making themselves known in our respective throats. It would have been a perfect assembly, had my mobile phone not decided to go off. Yes, it was pretty embarrassing (and I could have sworn that I had switched it off!)

The students were dismissed, there were numerous handshakes and bear-hugs and then it was over. My students left the gym and went out into their holiday time - never to be taught by me again. Hard moments indeed.

School ended and we had the customary last assembly for staff. I said a few words (which I can't repeat for reasons of confidentialty) , got a laugh, received a gift and took loads of photos.

I joined the staff for a drink after school at the nearby pub and we said our final goodbyes.

And that, my friends, is that.

These have been two years of experiences, tears, some laughter and memories. I'm taking a breather, thinking about the past and looking forward to new batch of students and staff.

Good times have passed - good times lie ahead.

The Last Day - Some Musings Before The Event

Well, this is it folks.

The "Last Day At School".

I feel kind of sad, knowing that I won't be working with these other teachers again (unless we end up in the same school), whilst at the same time, glad that I don't have to teach some of the more challenging kids again (unless they get permanently excluded and end up in my new school).

Mixed emotions for sure.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Puns

If you, like me, are fond of puns I think you'll enjoy these. If you don't, please stay well clear of these:

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Police were called to a daycare where a three-year-old was resisting a
rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all
right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened
criminal.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We'll never run out of maths teachers because they always multiply.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U C L A.

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on
it.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky
ground.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

The optometrist fell into his lens grinder and made a spectacle of
himself.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like an orange.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

The Year 7 Disneyland Paris Trip

Day 1

A parent of one of the children going on the trip very kindly offered to give me a lift to the school. We gathered outside the building and ticked off the kids as they were brought in by their parents. It all felt pretty surreal, being in the vicinity of school with these kids and their mums or dads at 11.00 at night.

We boarded the bus and were off by 23.35

The kids were obviously hyper and I knew that I wouldn't get too much sleep. There were four of us teachers and thirty three kids. We were lucky to have a really friendly driver, whom I found out would be staying with us throughout the entire trip, which was nice to have.

We made our way down to Folkstone, to catch the Eurostar to Calais. To my astonishment, the place was full of school-kids, all making their way through the tunnel -
despite the fact that it was 2.30 a.m! I was intregued when I saw another coach turning up in the car-park...but when three came along, I realised that this travelling at night lark is the norm in the school-trip universe.

We got the kids out of the tunnel shop and back onto the bus. After the usual head count, we boarded the train carriage and waited for the Eurostar to leave. You really do feel like some cargo, as you're being packed into this nondescript can. The ride across was bumpy, if uneventful and I looked forward to getting a little kip on the other side.

As the train doors opened in Calais, we were greeted by the unwelcome sight of an almighty thunderstorm. Each time, I tried to close my eyes, they were sprung open firstly by the streaks of lightning and then by the kids shouting "did you see that one?!"

It was going to be a long, long night.

I did manage to doze off a little (much to the amusement of some of the other teachers) and woke up to face the daylight. We eventually arrived at our hotel at around 08.00 - dazed, but excited about the day ahead.

The hotel was themed around a castle and there were artifacts like faux suits of armour in the lobby, as well as a sword in a stone and two royal looking thrones.
You can see some photos here.

The hotel couldn't let us into our rooms until 3 pm (although the other teachers did manage to get theirs....grrrr) so we left our luggage in a holding area and went off to the park, which only opened at 10.00

I would have liked to have changed clothes, had a shower but it was not to be...

It wasn't too bad getting into Disneyland, although it was surprising to see armed soldiers walking around the entrance to the site. We were also subjected to a bag search. Does terrorism really have to intrude on something as pure as Disney?

We let the kids go off and do their thing whilst the four of us mooched around. To be honest, I really didn't feel like doing something too strenuous, which suited the others fine! We perused the shops on Main Street, ignored much of the tat on offer and sat down for a coffee.

The weather started off OK, but started to get progressively worse and at one point, it was bucketing down. This however did nothing to stop the various Disney parades and it was fun to see the characters in all their full sized glory.

We did go on some rides, such as the Phantom Manor (or Haunted House) and Steamboat, but it was lovely to take things easy and bump into the kids every now and again (we'd set up a number of meet-up points) as they went around buying presents or trying to get onto rides (some of which consisted of forty five minutes' queuing) . We also walked around Sleeping Beauty's Castle and heard a lovely brass band playing Disney tunes.

However, the highlight was finding a restaurant for lunch, where we could sit, just the four of us and feel civilised for the first time since we had boarded the coach.

The day passed by smoothly and we made our way out of the park and back to the hotel. I think we'd all had enough of Disney!

We came back and found our way in our rooms after battling electronic key entry cards that stubbornly refused to work. I can't describe the experience of being able to finally get out of my clothes, have a shave, brush my teeth and shower. It was, without a doubt, the finest shower I have had in living memory. I was reborn!

Dinner was pleasant and fortunately, there was quite a bit of (kosher) food that I could eat, including tuna and smoked salmon. I passed on the frogs' legs (yeuch) and snails (gross) but was happy to watch others grappling with their challenging dinners.

Dinner over, it was time to get the kids to sleep - and that's when the fun really started....

Imagine a long corridor. The kids' rooms ran alongside the length of the entire first floor. Our job as teachers was to ensure that they stayed inside their rooms and basically settled down, so we patrolled the corridor and had a go at any kids who came out of their rooms. This went on for a long time as some of them were determined to find out who had more staying power.

We tried all sorts of tricks, like hiding in alcoves and waiting for them to come out or keeping outside the range of the peepholes they looked through in their doors...and pouncing when they thought we'd gone.

One of the teachers, M, confiscated a play sword and was walking up and down the corridor swishing it around in the air and against the wall hangings. She had the rest of us in hysterics.

We sat on floor waiting for the kids to settle down. I struggled to stay awake and found myself lying on my stomach, supporting my head on my up stretched arms, battling sleep.

After about an hour, we felt that they'd finally settled down and I finally got into bed. 00:12 - my head hit the pillow and the world around disappeared into the distance. It had been a very long twenty four hours.



Day 2

To my embarrassment, I overslept and looked at the clock - 08:20
I quickly made my way downstairs and the other teachers were most understanding (I won't live this down though!)

We had breakfast and eventually made our way back onto the coach
. The journey back to Calais went by smoothly and all was well, until the kids spent a little too long in the Euro tunnel shop and the customs, seeing that we had some students with African passports, felt the need to check our bags for firearms (did I mention that we were on a school trip????) as well as all the childrens' and teachers' passports. So we had to get off the coach again and go through a totally unnecessary customs operation.

We missed the train.

However, we caught the 15:20 and made our way back to Folkstone.

Traffic was light until we got caught on the M25 (as per usual) but managed to arrive exactly on time at school - 17.30

It had been a wonderful trip. The kids on the whole were well behaved and the teachers pretty much so too.

My head is spinning, my bed awaits and I look forward to being back at school tomorrow (NOT) after a good night's sleep.

(If you are reading this post on Facebook, please check out the photos of the trip in the left hand column)





Sunday, 15 July 2007

Will It Be Fantasia or Peter Pan's Lost Boys?

The evening is drawing in and I am apprehensive about the upcoming experience. What will it be like? Will it be fun? What will the kids be like? Will I get any sleep? Will I fight with my colleagues?

So many questions. At present, not a glimmer of an answer.

I guess I should just relax and go with the flow. I've never really done this sort of thing before and so trying to predict what will happen is probably pointless.

The next two days will certainly be memorable....I just hope for all the right reasons.

Friday, 13 July 2007

The End Of This Line

I've now reached the last day of the last full week of my time at my current school. Hard to believe but in five school days' time, I will be embarking on a brand-new scholastic adventure.

These last two years have certainly never been dull. The experiences that I've racked up must surely count towards something. These haven't been easy times, but I'm grateful that I experienced them at the start, as opposed to the end of my career. I now need to build upon these foundations and strive to be a better teacher.

Ahead lie six weeks of rest, relaxation and recharging. I will try to use the time wisely, finishing off some marking for my current Year 10s and slowly gearing myself up in time the start of the new academic year.

Yesterday, I told my favourite class (the very same Year 10's) that I was leaving and they were genuinely upset. You could have heard a pin drop after I made the announcement. We'd built up a wonderful learning relationship and we were equally sad to be going our respective ways.

I guess that the moments you treasure the most are when you realise that to the kids, you are someone they value and appreciate and you know that you have made a difference to their lives and educational aspirations. I really love that class.

However, I move on and the horizon standing before me is there for the taking.

I'm on the cusp of something new.
Time to inspire some new students.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

A Breath Of Fresh Air

I've just spent the day in my new school and it seems like a totally different world. It is easy for me to look at it through rose coloured spectacles, but I'm resisting the urge to do so.

I marvelled at students sitting there in an IT classroom without continuously playing computer games or surfing the net. I also met teachers who had been in situ for nearly ten years and showed no inclination to leave.

I could write more, but sometimes, the shorter the prose, the more powerful the point made.

Read through the lines on this one, friends.

Read through the lines.

Monday, 9 July 2007

The Curse Of The Cd-R's

I decided to make another attempt at buying some cd-r's this afternoon. I went to the a different supermarket and promptly managed to lock myself out of my car. I tried to call Dana to ask her to bring some copy keys to me and just then, my mobile battery died (isn't that bloody typical?).

So there I was, car-less, key-less and phone-less (and cd-r less for that matter). Fortunately, I had taken my card with me, so I was at least able to get into the store and buy the accursed disks. I also met someone I knew who let me use their phone to call the wife. Things were looking up.

Until it started raining.

I swear, you couldn't make this up.

Fortunately, less than an hour later, thanks to my shining knight in metallic-green armour, I was re-acquainted with the inside of my vehicle. SuperDana as usual, saved the day.

In retrospect and in light of recent events, I really do wonder if someone up there has a problem with my buying recordable cd's....

Sunday, 8 July 2007

The Computer Swallowed Grandma

My mother sent me this (and she's one of the few of her friends who has actually kept up with the rest of us!)


The computer swallowed grandma.
Yes, honestly its true.
She pressed 'control' and 'enter'
And disappeared from view.

It devoured her completely! ,
The thought just makes me squirm.
She must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.

I've searched through the recycle bin
And files of every kind;
I've even used the Internet,
But nothing did I find.

In desperation, I asked Jeeves
My searches to refine.
The reply from him was negative,
Not a thing was found 'online.'

So, if inside your 'Inbox,'
My Grandma you should see,
Please 'Copy,''Scan' and 'Paste' her
And send her back to me!

This! is a tribute to all the Grandmas who have been fearless
and learned to use the computer........ They are the greatest!!!

We do not stop playing because we grow old;
We grow old because we stop playing.
Never Be The First To Get Old!

Backwards Britain

I've just had an extraordinary encounter.

I turned up to a mega-supermarket just after four o'clock. According to British Sunday Trading Legislation, all shops can be open for a maximum of six hours. Fair enough.

However, the doors were still wide open and I could customers milling around inside, whilst others were queuing. The security guard who was standing there (who didn't look too bright) refused me entry because it was after the allotted hour (he said that if he did, he would lose his job) I explained that I only needed to go in quickly to buy some recordable cd's and I would be out. He refused and was soon joined by another Einstein who informed me that the customers inside had to pay for their shopping and vacate the premises by 4.30

So let's get this straight. I am standing at the door, wanting to make purchases. People inside are at the tills waiting to pay. The doors are wide open and I'm being denied access. The Manageress came along and spouted the same line. I offered to let her get the items for me (we're talking two packets of CD-R's for Heaven's sake) whilst I waited at the door. She refused. She even told me to go to another shop to buy what I was looking for!

I could go on, but what's the point? Another heavy turned up to intimidate me (he didn't) and having stood my ground, I realised that I was dealing with a bunch of jobsworthy imbeciles. I wouldn't have had a problem if they had closed the doors, but to deny me access whilst other people are wandering around, not looking particularly fussed, really pissed me off (particularly as it had taken me over half-an-hour to get to the damn store).

Unfortunately, that's why British commerce will never match the level of the Americans. I guarantee you that had this happened over there, I would be have been let in and told to "hurry up". The British do not understand the concept of customer service. These people were more concerned to stick to the "line" than use their miniscule brains to think creatively. They would make crap teachers!

It is extraordinary that a potential customer has to have an argument with staff to go into the store to spend money.

Rant over.

250 Reasons To Vote Olmert Out

I would say that by now, on this site, I've pretty much established my political leanings. I'm conservative, right leaning (but not too far, although it's all relative anyway) but ultimately pragmatic.

Carrying this baggage, I really can't understand how Olmert can even consider releasing 250 Palestinian prisoners to help bolster Abbas, when Gilad Shalit and co are sitting/lying in captivity, one year on from that war.

So Olmert frees these people and then what? Does Gilad go back to his family? Do Ehud, Ron et al, go back to theirs? What will we get from this "exchange" (a inaccurate term if ever there was one).

I understand that the prisoners don't have "blood on their hands". Yes, I get it, Olmert. But why not use them as bargaining chips against our boys? Why are you doing the so called decent (but naive) thing when you know that Abbas is no better than Haniyeh, despite the facade he presents as being a moderate - why why why?

You know that Olmert or anyone else involved in this lunacy won't be reading this, but it doesn't stop a nobody like me venting his frustration - especially in respect of the poor parents of Gilad Shalit. Rachmanut.

It is time that Olmert made his first correct decision as Prime Minister of the State of Israel and resigned his post to someone who will have nous to know how to deal effectively with the Palestinians - instead of making idle promises in desert resorts.

I can think of 250 reasons to get rid of Olmert and not one of them would think twice about killing Jews to further their bloodthirsty aims.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Happy Independence Day!

To all my friends and family Stateside - have a great July 4th and may G-d bless and protect America over the next twelve months.

Calling All Zionists - We Need You Right Now

I've added a new link to the left hand column, which is represented by an Israeli flag and the legend "support Israel".

Please take a moment to click on it and show that you too are a supporter of the incredible State of Israel. As our enemies do everything in their power to demonise and de-legitimise our precious little country, please join me and others in our struggle to fight this blatently anti-Semitic movement.

There will always be boycotters and their ilk who use their intelligence to push through their misguided and malevolent agenda but as long as we stand tall and united, they won't succeed.

These people, by their actions are standing shoulder to shoulder with the kind of vermin who drove a flaming car into the entrance of Glasgow Airport. Remember, the Holocaust didn't start overnight - Jewish businesses were boycotted first and professionals were denied jobs.

Does this sound familiar?

By clicking the link, you are standing up for the only true democracy in the Middle East - the only country in the world where both Jew and Arab sit side by side in Parliament, representing their respective communities - which openly ridicules the ludicrous claim that Israel is an apartheid state.

Fellow Zionists - we need you guys and gals to play your part and....

....click the link!!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

You Gotta Laugh

I just had to post this funny about the terrorist attack in Glasgow (and apologies for the language)


Sunday, 1 July 2007

Quo's Quest

If you cast your mind back half a year or so, you might remember my review of a Status Quo concert that I attended (you can read it again here).

I wasn't too impressed with the music (to say the least) but I have to give the group credit for the wonderful cover displayed on their forthcoming new album and concert - In Search Of The Fourth Chord.

Quo might have given me a migraine...but they do have a fabulous sense of humour!




Dispatches From The Front

It looks like the UK is in for another summer of fear, if the events of the last forty-eight hours are anything to go by. Miraculously, no-one has been killed (aside from one of the bombers and he doesn't count) , but these events remind you that we are not safe, irrespective of how cocooned we imagine ourselves to be.

The new PM has ratcheted up the warning level to "critical" which means diddly-squat to the average man or woman on the street. I'm just grateful that I won't be flying out of any British airport over the summer as I can imagine that its going to be a hellish experience.