Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A late christmas story

The sun was already risen into the clear winter sky over Bethlehem.  A young boy with long blond hair galloped down the stairs to greet his parents for breakfast.

Turning to the old folk, he said unto them,  "Yo! sorry, Lo! its 12 AM and I'm hungry"

Mary glanced at the sundial through the kitchen window, and turning to the boy said,  "Verily verily, thou art a trifle confused this morning - it's just turned nine"

And Jesus, smiling said  "Ha!  you fell for that one - it's 12 AM, Anno Me, for I am 12 years old today"

Whereupon Joseph turned from his cornflakes saying  "Get outa here - haven't you got a miracle at 9.30?"   Muttering into his beard, Joseph said  "Jesus! Precocious brat!  Thinks he knows when he was born already"

"Leave him alone whispered Mary, he is a smart lad and is going places - no thanks unto you may I add.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Be Happy Friends

Never mind bad pennies - some old bloggers are liable to turn up when you least expect them too.   You have been travelling - some to exotic bits of America, some to Greece.  Some of you have been invaded by family, others not. Some of you have been wondering what the hell it's all about, some not (who's perfect?).  Some of you have come out and started using your real name.  Oh yes, I have been watching from the sunny shadows of the Corfu Hovel, but next year they promise me 4 times the bandwidth, or whatever it's called, and so I'm sure to be back interfering generally and being polite to the wealthy ones among you - just in case.  Some of you have been throwing clutter out of your lives.  
Bad Hair Day
In October 10 days in Brighton,England were generously spent immortalising my daughters and grand-daughter.  I can see Biba getting herself No2 clipper jobs when she is old enough to take matters into her own hands.  How we suffer for art.  In my case it was having to develop film in nasty wet chemicals for exactly the right time at the exact temperature.  And as for black&white printing - you (probably) have no idea of the anguish involved.  I'm not kidding - very very few photographers could print properly, even for the inflated prices we charged.  Ask me about it.
See how I wind my mum up

Yesterday a nice Greek lady from the village braved the elements, and the old floorboards of the Hovel, to bring me a serving of Turkey with prune sauce, and trad. Greek sweets. Wonderful, I forgot to buy anything to eat when I went to the supermarket on Christmas eve. If milk, Weetabix, instant coffee for cold shakes, bread (or flour), and Greek semi-hard cheese, are in stock I am content. Of course that's not all I eat, and last month was the first time for about 14 years when 40cm. (waist) trousers were required to accommodate my expansion.

Oops - dawn is breaking. I had better see if there are enough bps to stick some images in.

Coffee-bar Artist
The pay-out
Brighton Breakers.

NO! This is not a self-portrait - I don't wear sunglasses.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Benefits who?

"While the poorest will be hardest hit by austerity, today's announcement on child benefit shows no-one is immune from the government's unwarranted rush to cut," said (U.K.)TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.
"This is a big blow to the principle that has served Britain well for decades that welfare should be available to all, not just the poorest."
From BBC news, this little quote shows you how well trained by the wealthy Mr Barber actually is.  It has NOT served 'Britain' well Mr Barber, it has served the better off well, who have been pleased enough to take benefit they did not need from those who did, particularly the disabled, old, and otherwise unemployable.

As much as I personally hope the right-wing of the political spectrum are forced to turn left significantly, it is sickening to read the quote above from someone supposed to be leading the Trade Unions' Council.  Silly me.  Why should working people support those too sick, old, and inadequate to find employment?  Answers below please.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The old idiot

"If I want to do something stupid and break my leg or neck, that's up to me. I don't need a council to tell me not to be an idiot”
Thus spoke Lord Young of Graffham, and quoted in the excellent BBC blog
Lord Young is probably not an idiot., even though his comment is idiotic, and insensitive.  Many good people without his advantages and education, can get carried away by exuberance, or otherwise find themselves in trouble that us wrinklies would avoid.  They are not always so able to pick themselves up afterwards as Lord Young is either.
I watched several videos of this cheese-rolling madness and was upset to see young people apparently injured, whether they chose to take the risk or not.  This event, however, is not a sport - it was not enlightening to watch - no athletes were being created, just a few young people crippled perhaps.
Well done Council in banning this nonsense.  What does anyone think?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

verse v prose

This post appeared on *hi* it's only me in May 2010, but comments do not get mailed to me, so I pasted it here along with some excellent comments.  The post aims to do two things - firstly to put over the very basic view of life and nature that has driven me along since leaving my mother's influence, and secondly to provoke thought about how verse and prose communicate so differently, whether we like it or not.

 Life? No mystery

The mystery of life and nature lies
With shimmering pebbles in a moorland stream.
While deeper than it seems to our poor eyes

A simple slate like lapis lazuli can gleam.
And in this river find deceitful stones
That hide their sparkle from a duller glance,

But make the eyes of others shine with lust
Of riches for the one who hones
This glassy rock to its refractive best.

But I digressed.
The wonder of a diamond stems
From qualities discovered at the hand of man;

While nature had, so many eons past
Pressed humble carbon into service as a jewel-to-be, 
it took a jeweler to add the essential polish 

The question that I really want to ask
is do you feel the need to ascribe nature’s hardest creation to a supernatural power?  Nobody has ever told you to believe that beautiful pebbles in a stream or on the beach prove intelligent design, have they?

And does the simple worm that moves only to eat and procreate speak of a ‘maker’ just because it is more complex than a stone? 

Where is the design here?  Molecules exist because atoms can combine according to strict rules – and do so whenever they meet because they must.

Even under conditions of heat and pressure where life cannot exist, complex molecules can replicate, and do so because they must.  These replicating molecules can organize themselves into ‘simple’ forms that can move and take stuff from their environment – which they do, because they are able. But the mechanisms within continue to operate because they must.

Fishes skipped on the mud and gills slowly changed to lungs – a whole new world rose from the water’s edge to be explored and exploited. Wonderful changes took place because they could. Forms changed slowly as small errors crept into the processes of replication.  Particles  
from space bombard us still and can make changes to the elementary atoms involved in DNA – the instructions for replication.  

To a very simple creature a simple change meant success or failure in the competition for resources, in the ability to recreate. The changed forms flourished because they were better, and nothing could stop them. For a while anyway.

 As creatures became very complex tiny changes had tiny effects, but over millions of years the complexities grew, and not for one second in the time it took dumb animals to evolve into even dumber humans (humorous episode) was there a need for an outside ‘designer’ to make something from nothing.  

My mother was a devout believer, and I respect the human need to fill in the gaps of understanding, and to praise something for the wonder of life (when it is wonderful) and beauty of nature (when it is beautiful).  

It is my position that simple christians are among the kindest and most selfless people by nature, and fundamentalists of all flavors among the most neurotic and dangerous.  There cannot be a single god that both groups believe in.  How can there be?


Carol said...

I want to thank you for the compliment about being faithful to God. And there can be a God for all, maybe we call Him by different names but he is all and for us believers it means that we love and trust. Even sometimes when we do not agree, because God created us and all and gave us differnt thoughts. Some good and some bad, that's up to us. By the way love the poem.May 27, 2010 6:01 AM

corfubob said...

Thank you for responding Carol, there is, it seems to me, great humility in believing god gave us our thoughts, but then you say what we think is up to us! Can both be true?

I think what unites us both is the desire to know the answers. For me, nature created the terrible diseases that infect children (for example) because nature is not given choices. You could say physical laws are god - but this god has no choices either!

Your god seems to be different - it/he/she created diseases that blind and maim children from choice, and can even cure them if they pray correctly. Am I wrong Carol? His 'mysterious ways' are not an answer for me. If I believed in god I would hate him for doing this. Are not little babies innocent?

I believe many things Carol, but take pleasure in being proved wrong, if this is a step towards a better truth. My beliefs are in my head - nature and truth are outside my head, living independently (lucky things!) Go well, and be happy, BobMay 31, 2010 1:40 AM 

Jen said...

Wow Bob, I am so tempted to argue with you (respectfully) but will refrain (mostly) because I do not have the time to do so in a quality way, so I would lose. :-)
Will just content myself with saying a few things ...
-You have only described HOW molecules exist, not WHY. The fact that atoms have these attractions and repulsions is a quality of theirs, not what caused them. It is an important detail of how the physical universe operates, not the reason for the physical universe. It seems to me that in the sciences, we are often told we will receive an explanation, when all we really get is a description.
-The Christian explanation for the universe is a complex one. The Bible teaches that we live in a world that was created completely good, but is now fallen, ruined, and so contains much pain. It's tempting to say, "But if God exists, that means He created either evil beings, or beings capable of becoming evil, so isn't that exactly the same as if He'd created sickness and pain Himself?" The answer is, No. It's complex. It all goes back to the mystery of free will. God is somehow able to create beings outside of Himself, who can take real actions that have real consequences, which left to Himself He would not have chosen, DESPITE that He knew what they were going to do beforehand. No, I don't understand that. It's reality. It's too complex to understand.
-About the form. I like the parts that scan and rhyme. The transition from poetry to prose was smooth (I thought). It's also appropriate that the poem leads you to contemplate beauty, but the prose sticks to the argument. However, it seems to me you have a lot more prose than poetry. If you want the form to be perfect, shouldn't it move back and forth more?July 14, 2010 8:03 PM 

Jinksy sai

Wish I'd come in at the start of this arguement... LOL :)August 28, 2010 11:13 AM 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Porgy and Bessie's page.

A few pictures for Caren at Cat Chat, some may have appeared before,
but to save scrolling -

Bess in a box

Porgy (Piggy) and Bess were sisters, and Socrates is Piggy's daughter.  Socs is a survivor.  She fell from her mother's jaws about 12 feet onto a wooden floor when a mere handful, and suffered possible brain-damage.  She was rejected by her tiny sister and Mum for a while and was given to walking in circles. She got better, started to feed again, but from then she never wanted to be touched or picked up, almost never purrs or makes eye contact, but follows me up and down the stairs whenever she is around.  A year later she lost her tail under the wheels of a car - well, it was damaged, it went black, got maggoty despite all the creams, and one day it disappeared except for the little black tuft at the end, which I found on the door step. The tail didn't fall off.

I should have been a pro. masseuse.
And I can tell you those hands went into Bessie's ample padding right up to the elbows.



I'm so very tired

Technical note.  Taken on an Olympus, at least 5 years old, these shots were actually in need of very little editing, and by chance little cropping. Every digital image from cameras of this vintage need sharpening, but more importantly, the ISO setting should be 400 or 800, standard, if the camera will allow, and the shutter speed should be 1000th sec. minimum if you like sharp pictures. (especially using maximum zoom).

Older and simpler cameras cannot deal with high lighting contrasts, especially in close-ups.  In the shot 'Gotcher' all detail is lost in the background, but it did not matter because lighting on the subjects was soft. A camera on auto exposure would have been dazzled by the background, and Porgy&Bess would have come out as silhouettes - editing 'levels' (brightness) later would not have worked very well.

The moral is:  Learn Manual Settings if you want to take nice pictures in other than very average conditions.  So-called 'programs' do nothing except sell cameras.  All poets learn the alphabet, and some even learn grammar.  

One to one instruction?  $7 a week?  Some of you need it.  Only joking! Probably.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Last Post

This is the electricity post outside the bar next door to the Hovel. And a very serious post for many of this old village. Each four of the staples you can see held a little poster giving the name of a villager who had passed away. It doesn't happen very often these days, and quite a few villagers are foreignors like me - we don't seem to get one of these.
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