Notepad on Life

January 11, 2016

Universities and now sport the symptoms of a society gone soft

There may be something in the theory that the opponent most demonised by his critics is the one they’re most afraid of.

I’d heard a lot about Rush Limbaugh before I started listening to him, all of it from those whose politics are at variance to his, and whose withering dismissal of the American radio talk show host had me braced for some ranting demagogue who would display only the most fleeting relationship with Planet Earth.

And then I listened to the man himself, courtesy of his weekly highlight show broadcast via TuneIn. The reality was one of the more evenly spoken of all the conservative radio voices, which for the great majority of his airtime seemed to articulate little other than eminent common sense. Presumably, we are both insane together.

See what you think, once you read this transcript of a segment in which he considers how the Pollyanna mindset of so many millennials, to whom happiness is an entitlement that must not be tarnished in the slightest degree for even one second, is now seeping into both supposed seats of learning and professional sport.

The opening five paragraphs are largely preamble. It’s when Limbaugh turns his attention to ex-New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin that he really starts warming to his task.

The money quotes…

“I shouldn’t have to be upset, which seems to be the rallying cry of Millennials. Don’t upset me! I don’t have to be upset. I don’t want to be upset. Don’t microaggress me.”

“It’s what all this college campus rot is all about. They don’t want to hear things that upset them, be it anything they disagree with or anything that might slightly offend. They don’t want to hear it. They shut people up…It’s childish, spoiled rotten childish. But it’s not just the kids…we have adults now who have been raised with that culture, who have now assumed positions of responsibility and authority where you would expect some wisdom and the ability to offer guidance to some of these people and push them to man up, advance their maturity or whatever.

But…there are fewer and fewer people capable of this.”

January 8, 2016

We build ’em up and we knock ’em down…

Filed under: Consumer,Finance,Health,TV — - @ 9:44 pm

Ah, those dark alleyways of human nature. Watching the accomplished star of The Martin Lewis Money Show this evening, a man who might have found a silver lining to the Great Depression, had only he been born a century earlier, I realise that I won’t be able to help myself should the day ever come.

Martin Lewis filing for bankruptcy would trigger my guiltiest ironic chuckle since I learnt that Jim Fixx had died while jogging.

It will probably never happen. As I’m sure the Fixx family assured themselves more than once.


January 7, 2016

Whom did Live Aid aid, exactly? Beware the pontificating celebrity

Filed under: Charity,History — - @ 4:48 am
Tags: , , , , , ,
Loudmouth – The Best of Bob Geldof & The Boomt...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe you fell for it.

You were denounced as “racist” by Emma Thompson, or harangued by Benedict Cumberbatch and you walked straight into the trap. You assumed that people who breathe such life into scripts written by others are just as authentic when speaking for themselves.

Or you’ve never watched Steve Coogan on Question Time, so still cling to the notion that entertainers make natural social commentators.

If so, you need to read this chilling account of where the money raised from Live Aid may have ended up. For those of you born after the most famous fundraiser of all time, the whole event was driven substantially by the passion and resolve of Boomtown Rats bandleader Bob Geldof, who relentlessly badgered all and sundry, great and small, to get their hands into their pockets.

His efforts made him far more famous than his music would have done and there is no suggestion that his intentions regarding the Ethiopian famine that prompted Live Aid were anything other than admirable. If Spin‘s reporting is accurate, however, he may have been monumentally misguided. Something at least to bear in mind next time Hollywood grandees are damning your reservations over mass migration, particularly from Islamic nations.

Just because they can wipe the floor with us when it comes to acting, it doesn’t follow that their grasp of what’s what in this complex world is any firmer than our own.


Live Aid: Bob Geldof’s Original Response to SPIN’s 1986 Exposé 

Geldof, Guccione square off over money

January 4, 2016

Back to work after Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 10:45 am
Tags: , ,

Emphasised by living in a country town, maybe, the difference is unmistakable.

Three days ago, the dawn of a new year, waking up was like one of those sci-fi dramas where a man finds that he’s the last living soul on the planet. Take away the gently swaying tree-tops, visible through the gap in my bedroom curtains, and the occasional passing fleck of a bird on the wing, and nothing stirred. Just a leaden, comforting stillness; silent but for the breeze.

Opening my eyes this morning, on the other hand, and the difference assailed me before I’d even come fully to my senses. That low, relentless distant drone, hovering stubbornly in the air like morning mist.


The party’s over; it’s time to call it a day.

April 5, 2015

And the difference between this and grave-robbing is…?

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 1:43 pm

Gratified as I was to note how many people still hold this country’s history dear, when Richard III’s remains were re-interred at Leicester Cathedral last month, it didn’t take long for contemporary thought to add a disturbing footnote.

The most charitable thing I can say about Prof. Francis Thackeray, from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand, is that he appears to be a little giddy with the excitement of the moment. Now that Richard III has unexpectedly returned to the forefront of modern British consciousness, he suggests, wouldn’t it be grand if we could do likewise with another of our famous names; William Shakespeare?

Not by opening a museum dedicated to him or brushing up his plays with a modern twist and sending them out on tour. Oh no: Mr Thackeray would have us dig up his coffin and remove the lid.

“‘Given the extraordinary success of the study of the skeleton of Richard III, we recognise the potential of undertaking forensic analyses of the Bard,’ he said.

“Prof Thackeray believes analysis of his bones could reveal new information about how the playwright lived, what he ate and drank, whether rumours are that he smoked cannabis are to be believed, The Times reports.

“However, he acknowledged that the epitaph on Shakespeare’s grave might prove to be a stumbling block.

“The Bard is said to have lived in fear of exhumation and had an unusual obsession with burial and the mistreatment of corpses.”

Apparently, thank heaven, objections have already been raised to this notion.

.”..sceptics include Stuart Hampton-Reeves, the head of the British Shakespeare Association, who questioned the value of the proposed investigation.

“‘None of the big questions — how he worked, how he put the plays together, what it was like to be at a performance — are going to be solved by examining the bones. It would produce a lot of publicity, and not much research,’ he said.”

Despite the different opinions, you may notice a rather odd similarity. Neither man even hints at the considerations of morality or common decency that would persuade many of us not to touch this idea with a 10-foot pole. It is as if that aspect hadn’t even occurred to them.

Would Thackeray talk so glibly about the mortal remains of someone buried in 1985 or 1999, I wonder? Especially were it someone he knew. What year would represent his cut-off date, beyond which people cease to be people and become artefacts, fair game for ghouls in lab coats? I give him the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he actually has a cut-off date.

No doubt there are fine lines to be drawn between Man’s investigate spirit and respect for the dead but it would be comforting if people presumably not lacking in grey matter actually acknowledged that fact. The past may be a foreign country but its natives were flesh and blood human beings. They had a sense of right and wrong and no doubt a hope that the phrase ‘rest in peace’ would mean exactly that.

Give it another four hundred years and we shall have all emigrated to that land ourselves. Should our own coffins cross paths with archaeological endeavour, we can only hope the guys holding the trowels are a little more nuanced than Prof Thackeray seems to be.

November 1, 2014

After a chicken**** week for the Left, a plea for grown-up politics

Filed under: politics — - @ 10:10 am
Tags: , , , ,

If this is ‘progressive’, you can keep it.

A representative of the President of the United States of America denounces another head of state as “chickenshit” in a public forum (we must admire Team Obama’s consistency, if nothing else) and now a Labour front-bencher this side of the Pond rolls up in the Houses of Parliament wearing a T-shirt that bears the legend This is what a feminist looks like, amid a ridiculous spat over whether the Prime Minister should have worn one for the benefit of the cameras.

Labour, too, has ‘form’ when it comes to dress wholly inappropriate to the occasion. When your outlook on life is of the liberal, anything-goes variety, I suppose it’s inevitable that you see the word ‘standards’ as referring simply to a pile of London newspapers.

When it comes to the tiresome collision between gesture politics and social media, on the other hand, is it too much to ask that supposed grown-ups move beyond it?

“Wear my T-shirt or me and my mates will slag you off on Twitter”. It’s rare that I praise the Prime Minister but his refusal to join in with this tosh is commendable. The man has a country to run, for goodness sake. Judge him by his policies and the execution thereof if you’re concerned about his attitude to women, not by the wearing of some silly T-shirt.

What have things come to when, whatever your hopes as to which party wins the White House or Number Ten next time around, they take second place to prayers that it will consist of adults with a firm grip on the word ‘statesmanlike’ and what it entails?

October 28, 2014

Michael Fallon commits modern politics’ greatest crime – listening to the public

Filed under: politics — - @ 1:46 pm
Tags: , ,

You always know when a politician has come dangerously close to telling it like it is. He’s backtracking like crazy within 24 hours.

In touch with the mood of his people? Then he should damn well keep it to himself…

I wouldn’t mind if there wasn’t something so predictable about those who objected to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s weekend comments that the UK is in danger of being swamped by immigration. The Liberal Democrats would object to anything these days, such is their desperation to show that they still have a pulse, while Labour understandably won’t brook any swipe at the people who form the lion’s share of their vote.

Throw in the usual nicey-nicey knee-jerk brigade, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose promising start to his tenure is fast becoming a distant memory, and Fallon’s best reaction would have been to ignore the lot of them.

But no, in any clash between the mood of the so-called elite and that of the Great Unwashed, the former must prevail and so yet again we see one of our leaders on the back foot for the dreadful faux pas of giving public opinion a voice.

Because here’s how it is: this country IS being swamped by immigration, as even those of us who believe in immigration – as long as it is planned and implemented by people with a backbone and half a brain – can see with our own eyes.

I was at church on Sunday. Part of the service was the christening of a Lithuanian baby and part of the order of service was read in both English and Lithuanian. Fifteen years ago, I would have thought it a delightful touch, just as I would the occasional sound of foreign voices in my town or a shop that specialised in eastern European food and drink. Nowadays, though, all I could think on Sunday morning was “thin end of the wedge”.

This change in outlook occurs not because some inner Nazi has simply been waiting for any old excuse to show itself, but because I see what is going on around me, as do millions of people in Britain. An immigration free-for-all that is neither thought-out nor managed and that generates its own ugliness. You put a people in fear of losing their country’s identity and social tension is inevitable.

How many times must this be spelt out? It’s not about race, it’s about numbers.

October 21, 2014

Movie credits could use a spoiler alert

Filed under: Cinema,sex — - @ 9:10 am
Tags: ,
Sasha Grey Accepting the AVN Award For Best Or...

Cultural apocalypse: they have awards for this kind of thing… (Photo: Wikipedia)

I’ve grumbled before about the surfeit of useless information once closing credits roll up the big screen.

Believe it or not, my evening’s enjoyment is not enhanced one iota by knowing whom the unit accountants or standby plasterers were.

Having sat through Gone Girl at the weekend, however, I believe there is one item of small print that really should go into more detail. The age certificate at the start.

‘Adult language and sex themes’ doesn’t help me make a fully informed decision, you see. What I really needed Saturday night was something like this:

“Contains two scenes of oral sex. The first one not so bad, because you can focus furiously on your popcorn and act like that’s the only reason you’re there in the first place. The second, however, comes late, when the popcorn is long gone and you have nowhere to hide, leaving you to squirm uncomfortably in a room full of complete strangers.”

I don’t say I’d have walked out and demanded my money back. I could have at least braced myself, however.

October 16, 2014

Peter Hitchens on what design tells us about ourselves

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 1:36 pm
Tags: ,

You thought the spartan, minimalist look was just a trend? Maybe not…

“I am fascinated by the assumption in so much modern design that people no longer know how to behave – the public loos of my youth were ornate affairs of porcelain, glass, brass and wood, now they are increasingly Spartan, armour-plated, unbreakable and unadorned. It’s the same trend that has led many pubs to serve drinks in plastic containers rather than glasses…

“We cannot be trusted to behave in a civilised fashion, so we must have our hands kept away from dangerous materials, we cannot be allowed to have breakable or delicate facilities in public places…” – Peter Hitchens, Mail Online

September 18, 2014

Where madness crashes into sanity – Mark Levin and stinkin’ San Diego cabs

Filed under: Radio — - @ 6:20 am
Tags: , ,
Round about the 1hr 46m 20sec mark of this broadcast, the Ranter’s Ranter Mark Levin picks up on a story from San Diego, in which the city fathers have ordered cab drivers to attend to their personal hygiene with greater vigilance, after a swathe of complaints about smelly taxis.

Surprise, surprise; some drivers have tried to turn this into a racial prejudice issue. Mr Levin proceeds to – as I believe Americans put it – ‘rip them a new one’…

This man is my hero.

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