Tuesday, 26 August 2008

It's Simple Really: No British Football Team in 2012 Olympics

In the last few days much has been made - 'papers, radio, politicians, bloggers - about whether or not a British football team should be entered for the 2012 Olympics and about the reasons why so many Scots (and I assume Welsh and Irish) are very much against the idea.  So much comment has been uninformed guff and mischief-making. 

My position and, I assume that of many Scots, is very straightforward but, firstly, let me say what is not involved.  That I am against the idea of a British football team for the Olympics has:

-  nothing to do with never supporting a GB team

-  nothing to do with not supporting a team full of English players

- nothing to do with Scotland having few, if any, players in a GB team

-  nothing to do with any other sport.  Comparisons with, for example, the British Lions are invalid.

-  nothing to do with the Olympics being in London

-  nothing to do with politics.  Politicians, regardless of what they say are playing politics

-  nothing to do with devolution

-  nothing to do with independence for Scotland

BUT has EVERYTHING to do with not putting at risk Scotland's independence as a footballing nation.

Only in football, as far as I am aware, has there been any suggestion within the ruling body - in football's case this is FIFA - that the four "home" nations should play as one in international competitions.  Entering a unified team for 2012 could be taken as a precedent for having a unified team in other major competitions.  Despite Sepp Blatter's assurances that this would not happen I am not prepared to take that risk.

I make no comment on why the English FA and, apparently, many English, have a different view.  I am in no position to understand their thinking.

I cannot ever risk - however unlikely -  Scotland's right to play football as a separate nation. 

Monday, 25 August 2008

British Aerospace Bin 'Green Bullets'

Yesterday's Observer carried a couple of paragraphs about BAe one of which stated.

"Britain's biggest arms manufacturer has abandoned plans to produce 'green bullets' two years after promising major investment in ecologically sound weaponry. British Aerospace had wanted to produce bullets tipped with tungsten instead of lead but sources say that higher production costs made the venture unprofitable."

'Green bullets'  - an oxymoron if ever I saw one.

Would I / should I feel better to know - if I could - that I have been killed by a green bullet rather than a normal bullet.  It doesn't really matter what kind of bullet or whose bullet has killed me.  I'm dead!

What comes after green bullets?

free-range artillery?

organic ordnance?

I looked up the original BBC story from 2006 and BAE were quoted as saying that they were trying to develop:

"products that reduce the collateral damage of warfare."

It's easy! Get out of this market! Don't make weapons!

Somehow I don't think this is what they meant by reducing collateral damage.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Not PhotoHunt - Wrinkled

I'm not part of PhotoHunt nor do I wish to be because I couldn't be bothered with the hassle of finding a photo every week.  I do, however, enjoy, the wide range of images which others present each week.
Regardless, I'm putting up one pic this week simply because I stumbled across it and it fitted in with the current keyword - "wrinkled".

This 20 year-old photo shows a wrinkled rock formation from the Craignish peninsula in Argyll.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

How Not to Apply

After my two very long posts it's time for another short and light post.  On the same page of the print Guardian as my Nosing About post was an article giving advice on how to, and how not to, apply for jobs.  This post lists some of the "funnies" seen in applications.

One applicant wrote the following in a covering letter:

"Hope to hear from you shorty."


Another boasted:

"I possess excellent memory skills, good analytical skills, memory skills..."


Yet another, who, it seems, wasn't as sure as they believed, said:

"I am someone who knows my own destiny but I have no definite long-term plans."


One must be careful not to claim to have had too much responsibility in a previous job.  The following candidate did not follow this advice.

"I was closely involved in every aspect of my former company, right up to its bankruptcy."


I think it is safe to assume that none of these four applicants was offered a position.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Nosing About

Writing Part 2 of my post on the case of Mr G is taking quite a while and so I need a post for today.  Unfortunately, once again I demonstrate my poor taste when it comes to blog posts.  Today I reproduce in full an article from yesterday's Education section of the Guardian.

As the 21st century arrived, two distinguished psychiatrists offered mankind proof, written proof - in a study called A Preliminary Survey of Rhinotillexomania in an Adolescent Sample - that most teenagers pick their noses.

Dr Chittaranjan Andrade and Dr BS Srihari, colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India, were inspired by an earlier published report by scientists in the American state of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin research claimed that more than 90% of adults are active nose-pickers. But it was silent as to whether teenagers are less or more picky than their elders.

Andrade and Srihari decided to find out. They had a serious purpose. Virtually any human activity, if carried to excess, can be considered a psychiatric disorder. Nose-picking is no exception. "While nose-picking behaviour in general appears to be a common and normal habit," they wrote, "it is necessary to determine the extent to which rhinotillexomania amounting to a disorder exists in the adolescent population."

They prepared themselves by reading other medical reports about nose-picking. With few exceptions, those reports dealt with spectacular individual nose-pickers, most of whom were psychotic. Andrade and Srihari learned that nose-picking, as practised by disturbed individuals, can be chronic, violent and associated with nosebleeds. The two psychiatrists studied Gigliotti and Waring's 1968 report, Self-Inflicted Destruction of Nose and Palate: Report of Case. They scoured Akhtar and Hastings's 1978 report, Life-Threatening Self-Mutilation of the Nose. They marvelled at Tarachow's 1966 report, Coprophagia and Allied Phenomena, noting from it that "persons do eat nasal debris, and find it tasty, too".

Those cases all had their points of interest, but they could serve only as background material for the work Andrade and Srihari had in mind. To determine the nose-picking who, what, where, when, why and how of a community, one must statistically sample the picking practices of many individuals.

Sampling is what the Wisconsin researchers did with adults. Sampling is what Andrade and Srihari knew they must do with adolescents.

Their meticulous survey of 200 students revealed that:

· Nose-picking practices are the same for all social classes.

· Less than 4% of the students claimed they never pick their noses.

· Half of the students pick their noses four or more times a day. About 7% say they indulge 20 or more times a day.

· 80% use their fingers exclusively. The rest are split almost evenly in their use of tools, some choosing tweezers while others prefer pencils.

· More than half said they do it to unclog nasal passages or relieve discomfort or itching. About 11% claimed they do it for cosmetic reasons, and a similar number do it just for pleasure.

· 4.5% said they ate the nasal debris.

Those are just a few highlights.

Andrade and Srihari were awarded the 2001 Ig Nobel prize in the field of public health. At the ceremony, Andrade explained: "Some people poke their nose into other people's business. I made it my business to poke my business into other people's noses."

Couldn't they have picked a more appropriate subject for their  research?

I don't imagine many of you reached here. I guess most will have picked their spot and pulled out much earlier.



83! Bloody Hell !

A nothing post despite the tempting - possibly - title.

A month or so ago I posted about a personal best on my blog (40 page views in one visit) but another unknown visitor has blasted that apart and set a new Olympic and world record. OK, OK, I know that's a bit OTT.

83 page views in one sitting!  Poor soul! 



I've removed the IP address just in case anyone recognises it.









Thank you for visiting and spending so much time here.  I hope you found the visit interesting.  I don't think your record will be broken for a while!

Hope to see you back again.

Oh No!

For 7½ weeks of school holidays I've had today -  20th August  - etched in my brain as the day the schools re-started after the summer holidays and I'm just back from Tesco at 22.50  having had to buy a pencil case for C2 ..... but wait ..... what's this?

Oh no!

Industrial action!

Some schools closed!

C2's school is closed - my break doesn't start until Thursday.

Oh shit!

C1's school is open.

One at school says, "Not fair!!!"

One off says, "Yes!!!"

Result: conflict


Isn't life just wonderful!!!!!!


Deep breath, Calum.

Friday, 15 August 2008

No Option But To .....

show more holiday pics.

Since we've returned I've been both too laidback and too busy to post but now I want to post.  Unfortunately my brain is empty of anything serious and so I have to resort to photos ...... again.  Sorry about that.  Soon I'll get back to what I enjoy most but in the meantime feast your eyes on a few photos I've been able to save from the many with smeary marks.



This photo shows the marina in Ardfern just as the early morning calmness is breaking up.



I think this overlooks Loch Craignish.  Two basics of photography broken here: firstly, not being certain of the location and secondly, grossly under-exposing the shot.  Despite this, I think the photo works.



Monbretia grows wild in huge clumps.



I didn't get the exposure quite right but I liked the mixing of the trunks and branches.



One of the great sheepdogs on the farm.



One of the many prehistoric sites in Kilmartin Glen.  [sorry about the smeariness]

Undiscovered Scotland says of Kilmartin village, "There are at least 350 ancient monuments within six miles of the village, of which around 150 are prehistoric. They include burial cairns, rock carvings, and standing stones, as well as the remains of the fortress of the Scots at Dunadd and three more recent castles."


Well, that's the rescuable, or almost rescuable, photos - Is there such a word as "rescuable"?.  There is now! - except for the little taster below. 


My little "accident" happened within the area covered by this photo. 

Will I tell the story? 

Certainly not tonight - if ever!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Wanderer Returns


Back home safely after a wonderful holiday.  Despite the wet weather I've had an absolutely fabulous time and been wetter inside than out!  Looked after brilliantly.  Wonderful setting.

C1 was riding every day,  C2 quad-biking.  Me?  I just relaxed - Kakuro, crosswords or nothing.

Only downer.  Got home and found most photos ruined because of greasy marks on skylight filter giving light smeary patches on photos.  BIG lesson.

But this doesn't detract from our holiday.

I did have another "accident" which I might tell you about later but now I've got some blog visiting to do.

See you around.

Monday, 4 August 2008

SOMETIMES I ........


...... wonder why I bother


and I .....  think awhile


then I ......   wonder why I bother.


Today I ...  wondered


and I ...... thought awhile


then I .....  wondered why I fucking bother!


Why do I?

Holiday Beckons - Last Post for a Week?

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we go off for another week's holiday to Argyll again.  I've so much to do before we go that I imagine I'll not post again until we return.

Having said last week that I have no more stories left and having had lots of requests for more - well two actually - I have found two more stories (possibly four if I split one into three). 

But will I tell you or should I keep them to myself?

Why should I continually expose myself - in the nicest possible way - to your possible derision when none, other than Liz, does likewise?

If a few more of you show your "nakedness" then I'll tell you more.  Is it a deal?

Who has got the "balls" to follow suit?

Enough of such matters. 


Where am I going on holiday?  Not saying other than it will be within 10 miles of the place I took these two photos twenty years ago.




and then a few minutes later



We're visiting a lovely part of the country and I'm sure we'll have a great time.  I will think of you - promise.  My blog is too important to forget about for a week even if I can't post.

Shitty End!


What a way to end the day!

Except not finished yet 

More work then post

Deliberately cryptic

Want to say this

Need to say this


Saying no more.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Football Starts Today: Come On Ye Pars

A new season; new hopes; new fears; old butterflies. Nothing ever changes. I guess all football supporters feel the same but today I wonder and worry how the season, which starts today, will pan out.

Many of you won't know who are the Pars and of those who do know many probably don't care. But I care ..... so much. The Pars = Dunfermline Athletic, my local team, the only club team I have ever supported: the only team I will ever support.

More than 50 years ago my father took me through Piggies Lane and along to East End Park. I never looked back. I think on that first day I had "The Pars" tattooed on my heart. I've seen good times, bad times, great times, the depths, the heights but through them all they've been my team. The success of larger teams has never drawn me away, never even tempted me.

To be so attached to one club, as I assume most supporters are, is illogical. What is it which ties us for a lifetime? I don't know and, to be honest, I don't care. Whatever it is, I have it - in bundles.

Until the late 1980s I was a regular, a season ticket holder but marriage and children pulled me way from attending. To many this might disqualify me as a supporter but they're wrong. Every season I dream, every game too but every game brings worry - from a distance now but I'm there kicking every ball, cheering every goal scored and despairing at each goal lost.

I remember in the mid-1990s the last game of the season, Dunfemline were on the verge of promotion to the Premier League, we were returning from holiday on Harris, I think it was, and driving south of Kyle of Lochalsh when I heard the result. Y .... E .... S .... S !

I stopped the car, got out and danced up and down this deserted country road arms in the air, punching the air, shouting, CHAMPIONE, CHAMPIONE, Y .... E .... S .... S !

Perhaps I was lucky in that the team had its most successful spell when I was a teenager: Jock Stein as manager, winning the Scottish Cup twice (1961 and 1968), beaten finalists in 1965, beating Everton in 1962. If I my memory serves me correctly the Cuban crisis "blew" up around the time of the Everton two-legged tie and I remember thinking, "Just let us get this game played, please."

Enough reminiscing. I may write a full Childhood Reminiscence post later. Today we play Partick Thistle in Glasgow, 3pm kick off. I'll be on edge. I'm on edge now. If I can't keep up-to-date on the radio I'll be checking a Pars website because they normally run an update service. On edge I'll remain until the end or until the outcome is settled and then it's up or down, read the newspaper reports if we won, miss them if we lost.

Crazy but that is life as a Pars supporter.


UPDATE 19.00 Saturday Inauspicious start: 1- 0 defeat. I should have kept my support to myself and my "mouth" shut..

Friday, 1 August 2008

Microsoft Live Writer: Update

A lightweight practical post before another heavy mental health effort.  At least, I plan another post but whether it appears or not ....

For 10 days or so, and 7 posts, I have been using Live Writer to produce this blog - see here and my initial view was that the software was brilliant.  I still feel this!

Live writer is billed as a WYSIWYG word processor for blogs.  Well, I would say that for my blog layout that it is very nearly WYSIWYG.  I find that my published posts may have 1 word more or less in a line than I see in Live Writer but this is still such an improvement over Blogger that I'll happily live with this.

The key benefit to me is the total ease and confidence with which I can add photos, format the post, change font, font colour, add links.  In my original post I said that I didn't think one could add Blogger labels but I was wrong - they are called categories and Live Writer downloads all one's previously used labels.

As long as I have access to Live Writer I will not go back to using Blogger and I recommend it to all.


Give it a go.


Blogging - well the typing part - has become so incredibly easy.