Tuesday, 25 September 2018

BEWARE - Emergency Alert System Scandal

I have a dilemma that needs resolving and your advice would be appreciated. This post has been inspired by a discussion with one of my loyal and welcome readers.

Down the road from us, say three or four houses away, (not to be precise), there is a man in his seventies living alone. His closest relatives live in the same town some five miles away. He is visited by a nurse every now and then to check he is OK. He also has an Emergency Alert System. You know the kind; he wears a panic button type gadget on a chain round his neck. Should there ever be an emergency he presses a button and we are warned in our house and we rush over to check on him. We have a key to his house. His relatives are happy that we call on him in an emergency because they live too far away to rush should there be any need; and anyway they also work and are not always at home.

This emergency gadget he wears is very clever. Should he ever fall and become unconscious and not press the button, the gadget recognises he is in a horizontal position and it warns us.

So far we have never been called out to his house on an emergency. Until a few days ago.

I was alone at home. The electronic contraption on the side board started flashing and bleeping.

I put on my shoes and rushed outside. I then realised I was wearing no trousers. I got back home. Took off my shoes and put on my trousers, and then I put on my shoes again.

I rushed outside. Half way there I remembered I did not have the old man's house keys. I returned home. Got the keys and rushed back out.

I arrived at the man's house totally out of breath. My heart was beating 1000 beats a minute. I opened the door. I looked in the living room to see if he was lying on the floor there. He was not. I looked in the kitchen and the other room. He was not there either.

I rushed upstairs.

He was lying horizontal on his bed ... making love to the nurse.

He was wearing nothing but the collar with panic button round his neck. She was wearing nothing but a smile.

I froze. I slowly and quickly reversed. Then I moved forward and looked again to make sure I was not seeing things. I had not imagined it. He was there in bed receiving medical attention ... of sorts!

I got down the stairs and out of the house.

I don't think either of them noticed me.

Now I don't know whether to tell his family or not. I am concerned that all this exertion might be bad for the heart. I mean ... rushing all the way there in a hurry is quite a task you know!

What do you think?

Monday, 24 September 2018

A Night At The Opera

I inadvertently mentioned at home that my boss had given me two tickets to the opera followed by a booked table at a great restaurant. I really shouldn't have done that. I really shouldn't ...

Next thing … we were sitting in one of those private balcony seats watching a lot of people on stage shouting at each other in song and walking about as if they’re constipated.

What was all that about?

I've never understood opera, and after that performance I understood it even less.

I smiled and feigned enjoyment. In order to educate myself in one easy lesson I quickly read the brochure we were given at the entrance to find out how many intervals there were, and whether this theatre had a bar or not.

As there wasn't much else of interest to read I resigned myself to glancing at the summary of the plot of this play, or musical, or whatever it was that we were watching.

Now please pay attention. This is quite complicated.

Apparently there's this fellow called Gelato. He's the one with tight trousers and a squeaky voice as if his ... are caught in a bear trap. He is a knight and he loves the lovely Princess Miranda.

One day as Gelato was riding through the forest on his way to visit Miranda he bumps his head against a low lying branch from a tree and falls unconscious from his horse. And it's good night for our brave squeaky knight.

Gelato is later found dazed in the forest by a young and beautiful peasant girl called Amnesia. She takes him home to her lover Memorandum. She and her lover look after the handsome Gelato and nurse him back to health. But sadly, his forest experience has wiped his memory of the love of his life, Princess Miranda. He now has eyes only for Amnesia ... no wonder he's so forgetful.

Amnesia is confused and doesn't know who to love more. Her faithful Memorandum who stood by her all this time, or the forgetful Gelato who has declared undying love for her but doesn't even know who he is.

Meanwhile, Princess Miranda back at her palace, not having seen her squeaky knight for such a long time, presumes him dead; eaten by a vegetarian dragon; and feels that her love for her Gelato cooling off as each night passes.

So she gives up hope of ever finding a knight with whom to spend a night.

Eventually, she falls in love with a restaurant waiter called Risotto. Their love develops into a recipe for happiness ever after. Princess Miranda decides to marry Risotto.

On the day she was to marry Risotto, the waiter, she invites the whole town to the palace and ... as it happens ... Gelato the forgetful knight, Amnesia his peasant girlfriend, and Memorandum who originally loved Amnesia, are all invited as guests.

The music rises to a crescendo. (That's Italian for a gradual increase in loudness in a piece of music; and not the name of another character in this opera. Please pay attention!)

On one side of the stage stands Princess Miranda with her beloved waiter Risotto whom she is about to marry.

On the other side of the stage stands the dazed forgetful knight Gelato, his newly beloved peasant Amnesia, and her previous lover Memorandum.

In the middle of the stage is a crowd representing the whole town folk singing in unison something in Italian which I do not understand. Hopefully, it is the menu of the restaurant we are due to visit later after the show.

Upon seeing Gelato, Princess Miranda recognises him and falls in love with him all over again, pushing her Risotto to one side. (How fickle can you get?) I don't blame her though ... a Risotto isn't much fun when you have Gelato on the menu; is it?

Anyway ... somehow, on seeing Miranda, Gelato suddenly regains his memory and declares his undying love for his Princess. After all, better marry a rich Princess than a pauper like Amnesia ... what?

Amnesia is beside herself with indignation and embarrassment. (I never understood what beside yourself means; do you?)

Anyway, Amnesia now turns to her former lover Memorandum for affection and forgiveness and a bit of a cuddle and hugs and ... However, Memorandum who is now rather angry at having been spurned by Amnesia turns his amourous glances towards Risotto. Or was it Gelato? By now I was totally confused and getting rather hungry. Maybe it was Princess Miranda he fancied.

As you would expect in any good opera; an argument erupts between Princess Miranda, Gelato the squeaky knight, Amnesia the peasant, her ex Memorandum and the side-lined Risotto the waiter.

They all break out into song each out crying each other louder and louder.

At one point a chorus of about thirty people standing in the middle of  the stage join in the screaming as if their lives depended on it.

"Do you love me?" screams Princess Miranda in Italian. "Mi ami?" she sings at the top of her voice.

"Ti amo. Ti amo. Tu mi ami?" responds the handsome squeaky knight Gelato even louder.

"Mi ami? Mi ami? Mi ami?" Amnesia and Memorandum ask each other over and again accompanied by the choir of thirty or so town folks.

"Ti amo. Mi ami?" scream Miranda and Gelato.

"Doesn't anybody love me?" screams the side-lined waiter Risotto who feels rejected like a half-eaten meal.

At this point a duel breaks out between the knight Gelato and the waiter Risotto. I can't quite make out the reason for this duel. But apparently you must have one in each opera. It says so in the brochure they gave us when we entered the theatre.

Gelato uses his sword and shield whilst Risotto uses his serving tray as a shield and an Italian breadstick as a sword. He also keeps throwing bits of mortadella at Gelato. (Not cool - nor sporting thing to do).

At one point in this duel accompanied by a crescendo of music and singing, Gelato is hit in the eye by Risotto's Italian breadstick.

Gelato falls to the ground holding his chest and singing ever so loudly.

“Son morto … son morto …” which means I am dead.

Instead of calling for an ambulance and taking him to the ER room at the hospital; the rest of the cast, including the chorus, join in the singing.

The more they sang, the more Gelato screamed "son morto" still holding his chest although I clearly saw he was hit with the Italian breadstick in the eye.

Suddenly Risotto breaks into the finale song ...

"Mangerò Mangerò Mangerò ..." he sings " All'alba Mangeeeeeeeeeeròòòòòòòòòòò !!!!!!!!" 

(Caruso and Pavarotti would have been proud of him. But they were not, because they are both dead).

The audience stands up on its feet to rapturous applause which lasted over 7.58 minutes.

I really enjoyed that evening at the restaurant afterwards. Best chianti I had for ages.

NOTE: Lulu (see below) is sharing this post with her friends. Why not do the same and share the laughter around with your loved ones? 

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Who's the sower?


When we read the parable of Jesus about the sower and how some seeds ended on the footpath, and others on rocky ground, and others among thorns and only a few on good ground, we think of the Word of God spread amongst many who would not listen. (Luke 8:4-15).

But let's consider who is the sower? Is it God teaching us? Or Jesus preaching throughout the Holy Land? Or the prophets and Disciples?

The sower is of course all of these. But he is us too. Yes ... you and me.

We have a duty and responsibility to evangelise and spread the Word of God to everyone, far and wide. Not just Christians.

Today, I had the Jehovah's Witnesses knocking at my door. They were preaching to a converted. But I must say, I admire their courage and perseverance knocking at one door after another and being told to go away, we're busy, we have no time to listen. For some reason, they seem to visit our street quite often. Usually once a month.

The other day, in town, there was a man standing by a table full of leaflets and preaching in a loud voice about Jesus. He was handing leaflets to passers-by. Again, I admire his courage and perseverance. People were passing by and ignoring him; yet he continued preaching.

I couldn't do that. I couldn't stand in the streets preaching; or knocking from door to door telling people about Christ. I did knock on many doors years ago for political reasons; trying to get people to vote for the candidate I supported. That was difficult enough. I couldn't do it all over again for Jesus. (What does that say about me?)

But the Word of God is meant for everyone.

If the Word of God was meant for just Christians we would dig a long furrow and make sure that the seeds are planted one by one carefully in the furrow and none are wasted. But Jesus does not say that in this parable. He spreads the seeds far and wide and if people do not want to listen that is their problem. Not ours.

Of course we're not all good at preaching from the pulpit, or standing in street corners, or knocking at doors telling everyone about Jesus.

But we could preach about Jesus by our actions and the way we live.

Say for instance someone invites you to go fishing, or playing golf or whatever on Sunday. And you say you can't because on Sunday you're in church. That comment alone is your sermon.

If you're in a restaurant and do the sign of the Cross before eating. That alone is your sermon.

Then there's social media. How many opportunities we have in social media to give our own personal sermons?

We don't need to have University Degrees in theology, religion or whatever to tell others about God. There are many learned people out there with Christian Blogs and websites that would put you to sleep in the very first sentence. Good luck to them. They're doing a great job curing insomnia.

Our Blogs need only be simple and speak about our journey hand in hand with Christ as simply as we can. We never know who might visit us and not leave a comment. To many people, our Blog may be the only opportunity to learn about God.

Let your Blog be the one Jesus would want to read.

Friday, 21 September 2018

What the ... ?


What are these people looking at?

Their feet?

Their knees?

Or something higher up?

Click to enlarge ... the photo I mean!!!

Check the size of the one on the right!!! He's got big feet hasn't he?

These creatures are satyrs. In Greek mythology, a satyr, also known as a silenos, is a male nature spirit. One of a class of lustful, drunken woodland gods.

These four large statues of satyrs looking down all standing in a circle are at the Louvre. Dating from the second century AD. Found in Rome.

Have you guessed what they are looking at?

How about Omphaloskepsis? 

These four statues are depicting Omphaloskepsis

No ... it is not what you think.

Omphaloskepsis or navel-gazing is contemplation of one's navel as an aid to meditation. They are looking at their navels ... and nothing else. 

It's something we should all do from time to time to help us think things through. I do it often !!!

Did you know, for example, that the male navel collects more lint than a female one? Now that's an interesting fact you could use in conversation at a party. As you're mingling there with your friends, drink in hand, just say, "The male navel collects more lint than a female one!"

That will really astound the rest of the guests. They will think you are really well-read and intelligent. You can then add, "The lint in men's navels is more differently coloured than that found in the female navel! This is because men wear different coloured underwear."

As more guests gather around you to learn about navels, you can tell them that there are many types of navels. Innies and outies for instance. Vertical/oblong shape. Horizontal shape. Oval shape. And off centre.

Navels can be fitted with light bulbs so that you can see your way around should there be a power cut whilst in the bathroom.

Adam and Eve did not have navels. That's why they were easily led by the snake. Had they had navels they would have considered their options by contemplating their navels before being tempted. Also, when they sinned, the reason they covered themselves up is because they were ashamed that they had no navels.

You should not play with your navel because it can get undone and then all the air inside you will come out and you'll fly through the air as you deflate like a party balloon that's been let go.

Well ... you can't say that you don't learn anything from this blog.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

My Unexpected Halloween

We were young and full of fun. We were prepared for anything but we knew our limits. We knew where to draw the line and where enough was enough.

It was getting close to Halloween. We were invited to a Halloween party on a Saturday night and we were asked to come in appropriate costumes.

Not my cup of tea. I do not like themed parties and especially parties where you have to dress up. But John and his wife Julie were colleagues from work and it would be churlish to turn up at their party wearing my work suit, or casual jeans and T shirt. So I hired a costume and arrived as Merlin the wizard from the times of King Arthur and his Knights of the round table. Not exactly Halloween costume, but it was the only one available at the rental shop that fitted me.

The party was OK, I suppose. A lot of people in their twenties mingling together, talking, eating, drinking and generally having a subdued party of sorts. There was some soft music in the background, but no dancing. John and Julie's house was not big enough for dancing. So we stood, or sat and chatted about this and that and everything else.

Then Julie suggested we try something different seeing it was Halloween. Why don't we sit down quietly round the table and try to contact the other side on her Luigi Board, (it was made in Italy).

Now that is definitely not my thing. Getting dressed in a stupid costume is one thing. Getting involved with the other side is another. I do believe in the spirit world; I believe that when we die we still continue to live in a spiritual world. Yet I do not believe it is wise or prudent to try and contact spirits; certainly not for fun. Whether it is Halloween or not.

What could I do? I could not leave. I had been driven there out in the country by friends. They were keen to stay and try the Luigi Board. So I was trapped. I could not leave and to protest and not take part would be rather rude. Besides, I am a coward by nature; and too scared to walk in the countryside in the dark.

So we sat down round this table. Julie brought out the Luigi Board. We held hands, or the tips of the fingers on this heart shaped piece of wood, (planchette), on the board and Julie asked: "Is anyone there?"

Our fingers moved the planchette in unison on the board. The answer was: "No!"

We were all riveted in confusion. If there was no one there then who answered "No!" ???

Julie was not deterred. We moved the planchette to its original starting position and Julie asked: "Is there anything you like to say?"

Again, the fingers moved the wooden heart on the board in unison. I was not putting any pressure on the wood, but felt as if I was being "led" by the rest of the group.

The answer from the "other side" was: "Yoo ave no knew massages!"

We all stopped simultaneously and no one said anything. I could tell we were all wondering what was happening here. If there was no one there, then who is answering that there are no messages for anyone? Is it our collective subconscious making the wooden piece move? If so, how come we were all thinking the same thing? How come we all answered "No ... No messages"?

"This has never happened before," said Julie showing her frustration, "is there anyone here who does not believe in spirits, or thinks it is wrong to communicate with them?"

At first no one answered. So I dismissed my natural cowardice and said, "I believe in spirits. Both real ones and those in bottles. I don't think we should talk to them though!"

Julie looked at me in anger. I knew that if she had her dictionary with her she would have said something rude to me; since her swear words vocabulary was rather limited. But she retained her composure. She remembered she was the hostess; and her husband was my boss. She smiled and suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea if I did not take part.

I pulled back my hand and sat a little further back from the table. She replaced the heart in its original position and asked: "Is anyone there?"

Again, the fingers of the remaining participants moved in unison on the board. They spelled the word, "Nein".

"There's nine of them," said one of the guests.

"Either that, or the spirit is dyslexic," I joked.

Julie's husband, John, laughed heartily. Because he was the boss, the other guests joined in the laughter. Julie looked at her husband with one of those stares that said, "I'll sort you out later!"

You don't need a Luigi Board to translate what that look of death meant.

Her husband stopped laughing, picked up a bottle of whisky and asked, "Spirits anyone?"

I offered him my glass with a smile. He filled it and winked at me.

Julie said that perhaps the spirits were not being communicative this evening. She packed up the Luigi Board and suggested we try the trifle which she had made earlier. It contained a generous portion of sherry and port.

Another couple of spirits I am well acquainted with.

It was a great Halloween after all.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Close Encounter of the Ghostly Kind

There are times in life when you’re compromised in a situation and you have to do the best you can to get out of it.

This happened many years ago when three friends and I went out on a Friday night. Colin was driving his old Mini and Peter was sitting next to him. Harry and I were at the back.

I thought we were going to a pub somewhere in the countryside and was somewhat concerned when we stopped outside an old cottage somewhere remote.

“What are we doing here?” I asked, and was assured that it’ll be OK and I’ll like it really.

We entered the house and were greeted by a middle-aged lady who ushered us into a waiting room were another five people were waiting. An old man, two middle aged women, a young woman and a man in his thirties or so.

Eventually we were led into a darkened room lit by a couple of candles and asked to sit in a circle round a large table. It was obvious that we were to witness a séance where a medium would attempt to communicate with the other side.

Peter had mentioned the subject a few days earlier and Colin had shown an interest in attending such an event. I had made it perfectly plain at the time that I did not approve of such things which explains why they had not told me where we were going.

So there I was, sitting round a table with Harry on my left and the old gentleman on my right.

The woman who greeted us when we arrived entered the room and sat opposite me. We were asked to remain silent and hold hands.

After a few seconds the so-called spiritualist asked “Is anyone there?” and at that very moment, as bad luck would have it, my stomach started to rumble. I had not eaten for a while and I was somewhat hungry.

“I heard something,” said one of the women “it sounded distant and from a great depth!"

“Yes, I heard it too …” said someone else “it was creepy ...”

My stomach rumbled again in response.

“Please remain silent” said the medium sternly.

And my stomach gurgled yet again defiantly.

The medium then started breathing heavily and deeply.

“What’s the matter with her?” asked the old man sitting on my right; and the young lady sitting on his right whispered gently “She’s in a trance!”

“She’s going to dance?” he asked, “why is that?”

“In a trance …” I whispered emphatically under my breath.

“In France? How can she be in France and sitting right there?” he asked loud enough to be heard by one and all.

“Please be quiet!” reprimanded the medium.

It was then that I noticed Harry on my left sniggering and having great difficulty stifling a laugh.

This didn’t help me one bit as I too tried hard not too laugh. I looked at Harry and noticed in the dark his shoulders shaking uncontrollably in silent laughter. I closed my eyes tightly and tried to think of something serious … something dire and terrible to make me stop laughing.

But no … my vivid imagination got the better of me. I could see in my mind’s eye the medium doing a dance in France. The cancan it was. There she was kicking her legs high in the air as the lively music which usually accompanies that dance whirled round in my head ever so louder.

The harder I tried to suppress my laughter the worst it got, especially as I heard the old man on my right say to his companion “this chap here said the medium is going to France!”

I blurted out a laugh and pretended to sneeze. Harry did the same and “sneezed” too as the old man said “bless you!”

It was then that I felt a presence in the room. It wiped any shred of hilarity within my body as I froze solid.

I kid you not … there definitely was a presence in that room.

Something brushed gently against my left leg and then seconds later against my right leg … ever so gently but forcefully enough to turn my suppressed laughter into total panic.

It certainly stopped my stomach gurgling once and for all. In fact it was the best cure to stomach noises in the whole universe albeit it could have triggered other natural reactions!

I opened my eyes and looked at Harry and the old man on my right. Harry had stopped laughing and the man on my right was silent too. No one had noticed the evil presence in the room. They silently looked ahead at the medium still breathing deeply and heavily in and out.

The presence brushed against my legs once again.

I was petrified with fear.

I looked down and saw a cat walk past my legs and out of the room.

The séance ended soon afterwards with no spirits calling on us that evening. I suspect they were all in the pub enjoying a drink!

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

WARNING ABOUT VACUUM CLEANERS

WARNING to all of you using a vacuum cleaner. NEVER use a vacuum cleaner indoors with the windows shut. The vacuum cleaner will suck in all the oxygen in the room with dangerous dire effects to all there.

This happened to me the other day. I was at home alone, except for the cat, and I decided to vacuum clean the carpet in the front room. The windows in the house were shut. After a while I felt a little light-headed, then I felt rather faint. I must have lost consciousness and fell to the ground.

Unfortunately, the vacuum cleaner was still on and it tried to suck me and the cat within it.

In seconds, the cat had gone into the vacuum. I gripped tightly into the carpet to try and save myself as I felt I was being dragged into the infernal machine. I was afraid that once inside no one would hear my cries of help since sound does not travel in a vacuum. Especially if the dust bag is full.

I slowly eased myself forward an inch at a time until I reached the electric socket in the wall and I unplugged the vacuum cleaner.

I opened the window to let in some air in the room as I was gasping for breath.

I then reversed the vacuum cleaner controls from suck to blow and switched it on. The cat shot out of the nozzle at speed and flew out of the window upwards, past the tree in our front garden, and into the open window of our neighbour's bathroom, and landed into our neighbour's lap as she was lying there in a warm bubble bath.
Her screams could be heard for miles around as she shot out of her bath tub.

I'll leave the rest of the scenario to your imagination as I stood there watching at her window and asking for our cat back!
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