Wednesday, 29 November 2017
I went to hospital yesterday. It was a routine visit to check that I still had a sense of humour. At the waiting-room I took a ticket with a number on it from the dispenser and waited for my number to appear on the big screen overhead. Meanwhile I read some of the newspapers lying around. Terrible news about that ship called the Titanic sinking. There was no mention of it on the TV News but there it was as a headline in the newspapers.
Eventually my number came up and I entered the doctor's insulting room.
As soon as he saw me he asked, "Are you a private patient who will pay for treatment or are you on the Government's Free Treatment Scheme?"
I asked, "What's the difference?"
He said, "If you're on the Government Scheme I am allowed to insult you and hurt you!"
"Oh ... In that case I am a private patient," I said.
"OK ... sit down fish face!" he replied.
I was upset by what he called me and I protested, "I thought you would not insult me if I am private!" I exclaimed.
"I am allowed to insult you," he replied, "because I don't like you."
"But how about doctors having a good bedside manner and being kind and caring and sympathetic?" I asked.
"Oh that's all phooey! Just nonsense to advertise the profession and attract new people to become doctors. In reality we doctors can do anything. From when we take the hypocritical oath we can miss-diagnose, give the wrong but more expensive treatment, or do unnecessary operations; and all our mistakes are buried six feet deep!"
I was astounded at his laissez-faire attitude, and he wasn't even French. I thought I'd better say nothing in case I made a faux-pas.
"What seems to be the problem fish face?" he asked.
"I feel a bit run down."
"I'm sure the police will catch the driver who ran you down," he said. "When did it happen?"
"Oh ... yesterday evening, a mile up the road from here," I told him.
"Did you have a good look at the car which ran you down?" he asked.
"No," I said, "But I can tell you exactly which tires he had. He left an imprint all over my shirt!"
"Are these the clothes you were wearing at the time?" he asked looking me up and down.
"Yes, why do you ask?"
"Because I have found a piece of cloth exactly like the shirt you are wearing caught in my front car bumper!" he declared.
"That's a coincidence," I said, "you must have driven past a few minutes after my accident and the torn cloth from my shirt got caught in your car!"
"Yes ... that's probably what happened. What did you do after the accident?"
"I went home and watched the football on TV," I told him.
On hearing this he put his hands on his ears and shouted, "say no more ... say no more ... I have recorded the game and I have not watched it yet!"
"What about me feeling run down? What shall I do?" I asked him.
"I suggest you got home and destroy the shirt you are wearing," he advised, "and all will be well."
I got up and thanked him, and as a special favour he reduced my private patient's bill which came to £126.
Monday, 27 November 2017
The question is somewhat academic since the devil would not engage in such a discussion or game-play with you. And in any case, in this day an age not many people believe in him anyway; (to his undoubted delight). They see him as a euphemism for evil rather than an actual living being, albeit in a spiritual sense.
The devil exists all right. We cannot possibly believe in God and not believe in the devil. But he is cunning in camouflaging his existence from a sophisticated modern world which does not know what to believe any more.
The devil will use your past and your future to ruin your present.
He will take an instance or an event from the past and let it prey within your mind weighing down your progress and enjoyment of life today. Say for example you have had a disagreement with someone in the past. Something serious that has hurt you badly and has been left unresolved. The devil will use such hurt to make you resent what has happened and perhaps withdraw any forgiveness you might have given. Or, if you have indeed forgiven, he will use such hurt to remind you that the other person has never sought, nor cared for, your forgiveness. This is particularly poignant if such a person has passed away and therefore there is no opportunity for reconciliation.
But you must remember this, such a person is now in another spiritual world and has seen the instance of disagreement in all its clarity. If indeed he has been in anyway remiss, this is now a matter between him and God; and has nothing to do with you. There is no profit in allowing the devil to torment you further. If, on the other hand, some blame is attributable to you, then admit it and seek forgiveness from God; and accept such forgiveness lovingly given. To do otherwise would allow the devil an opportunity to overcome you; for our regrets of the past are the toys he uses to suppress us.
As for the future, we all have our doubts, fears or concerns as to what will happen then. Be they worries about old age, sickness, or our fears for the safety or well-being of our loved ones. This too is fertile ground for the devil to manipulate and lead us astray from God our Creator; and to spoil our enjoyment of the present. Giving way to such fears is both playing poker with the devil and a great disservice to God Himself, since it betrays a lack of trust and faith in Him on our part.
Christ too was tempted and tormented by the devil many times. He overcame such attacks through prayer and strengthened faith in God His Father. Let that in itself be an example for us.
The devil will never show his poker hand, but rest assured he is holding at least five aces!
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
A young friend of mine surprised me the other day by asking me for advice on a first date. Why he chose me for advice I do not know. He is in his early twenties and I would have thought it more appropriate to ask someone his own age; but there you are. For some reason he asked me. Maybe he was testing me to see whether I was modern and sophisticated, as one should be in this day and age; or perhaps he was genuinely seeking help and advice on matters of the heart.
Anyway, his reasons aside, I decided to take his request seriously and give him the benefit of my experience. We went out to a quiet pub where we will not be disturbed and told him all I know. In case any of you readers may benefit from what I had to say, I record my thoughts here:
First of all you must remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression. The way you appear when another person first sees you is what will stick in their mind as a first impression. Any subsequent meetings will be a second, third or more impressions. That is if you are fortunate enough to go on another date with that person.
So bearing this in mind, make sure that the first impression is what the other person will remember. A flamboyant tie, a handkerchief in the top pocket of your jacket, or a cravat round your neck are all examples of a first impression. Personally, I have found that wearing underpants on my head really hit the mark when I used to date.
Making conversation is also important to get to know the person you are dating. Ask the lady you are with questions and show interest in her answers. Women generally like to talk about themselves. No woman has ever said, "What a bad date that was. All I did is talk about myself!"
Ask deep meaningful questions, this will make you know your date better and, should you be fortunate enough to have another date you can use that information to good effect.
Questions which in the past I have found effective are:
What is your favourite colour?
Do you like ants?
What is your opinion about investing in the automotive industry as opposed to banking or insurance?
If the person you are with happens to be Catholic; ask her what she thinks of Vatican II. Otherwise, ask her if she believes there are animals in Heaven; and if so, what would she say when she came face to face with the Sunday roast admonishing her for having eaten it.
I once asked a lady whether she liked ants, and used that information when we subsequently went on a picnic in the park by taking with me a can of ant spray. Unfortunately some spray went in her face and I had to rush her to hospital. I never saw her again after that.
Another lady told me her favourite colour was red. On a later date I met her wearing a red nose like a clown. This is because our local gas station shop did not have any red roses; so I thought a red nose would do. I never saw this lady either after that.
Always be careful about what you order during the meal. Some foods are a real no no on a first date. Spaghetti is a good example because as you slurp the long snake like pasta you risk showering her with splatters of tomato sauce. Also, be careful not to order a whole poussin (small chicken), or half a chicken. They are notoriously difficult to cut, especially if you have a blunt knife, and they are likely to slide all over the plate or even fly off the table. This happened to me once when the chicken flew right onto the floor and a passing waiter got his foot caught in the large aperture at the bottom of the bird. He walked away with my meal in his foot, and the lady I was with thought I had already eaten the whole bird bones and all.
Also, be very careful not to order foods that have a special connotation in peoples' mind. Venison for instance reminds people of Bambi; or at Christmas of Rudolph and his companions. Rabbit remind them of a pet rabbit they may have had as a child, or some cartoon character or other like Bugs Bunny; or in the case of duck, of Daffy Duck or Donald Duck.
Ordering of food is such a delicate subject full of elephant traps and you can so easily get it wrong and upset the young lady you are dating. That is why I always take my dates to a fast food outlet where they can have a hamburger and French fries, or if she is a vegetarian she can have a fish cake in a bun or a salad sandwich. It is cheaper too than a proper restaurant and you can flamboyantly pick up the whole cost of the meal.
Ordering drinks on a first date can also be tricky. These days there are so many different cocktails with confusing names that you can easily order the wrong thing without meaning to. And then there's the wine list with just as confusing names like Chateau Expensive or Chateau Exorbitant; which to be honest all taste exactly the same and the only difference is the label on the bottle and the price thereof. That's why I always go to a fast food outlet where the milk shake, or the fizzy drinks prices are reasonable. Be careful, however, not to drink too many fizzy drinks as you'll need to go to the bathroom during the meal giving your date an opportunity to escape.
Finally, be a gentleman and after the date never let the young lady go home alone. That's why I always go on first dates with a bicycle meant for two.
Hence the song:
Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do
I’m half crazy over the love of you
It won’t be a stylish marriage
I can’t afford a carriage
But you’ll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.
I’m half crazy over the love of you
It won’t be a stylish marriage
I can’t afford a carriage
But you’ll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.
Friday, 17 November 2017
Life isn't always as it seems. We might be going on with life as normal, or so we think, and then suddenly something unexpected happens.
Like for instance that day I went upstairs to visit the bathroom only to find out I live in a bungalow.
That really threw me that did. And then there's the time when my neighbour and I went to an antique auction. Let me explain. We have this program on TV over here where they invite you to go somewhere locally, like a stately home, museum, or such like with your old possessions and they value them for you by experts and then, if you agree, they auction them for you.
We had one of those events locally and my neighbour, who is 85 years old, wanted to go and show them a collection of old dentures which had been bequeathed to him by his grand-father who used to be a dentist. As my neighbour could not drive, I took him to the stately home and subsequent auction. What I did not expect is that the dentures did not sell; but they sold my neighbour for £10.
And that's what I mean by a totally unexpected turn of events.
Like the time I bet on a horse that did not even exist. Let me tell you straight-away that I do not bet. Never have, except this once. A friend of mine took me to the races and suggested I put a small bet on a horse just for fun. I did not know how to do it. He said, "Just go to the betting window over there. Tell the man what horse you think will win, and give him a £1. A small bet just for fun."
I went to the window and the man there told me my horse does not exist. To be fair, he asked, "Name?" I told him, "Vic Moubarak." He replied, "There is no such horse racing here today!"
I looked at him in a dumbfounded way and asked, "Why would anyone name a horse after me?"
He said, "Who?"
I replied, "The people who own, or race the horse!"
He searched through his booking papers and said, "I have looked everywhere. There definitely is not a horse called Vic Moubarak."
I said, "I didn't expect there to be. This is my name."
He told me to step away from the window or else he will call security. And that was an unexpected turn of events. What are the chances do you think that there is no racing horse bearing my name, yet that betting man thought there was, because he searched for it in his books. I can't understand why he thought someone would name a horse after me. It's not as if I am famous or anything like that.
I also remember another unexpected thing that happened to me some years ago. We were on holiday at a sea side resort and we went out on a tourist boat out to sea to swim with dolphins. As soon as I got into the water all the dolphins swam away. They said, "We don't want to swim with him!" and left. Now you wouldn't expect that in a "swim with dolphins" tour, would you? I should have taken the cheaper tour and swam with sardines instead.
But I tell you folks, the most unexpected thing that ever happened to me. And only recently too. It is fashionable these days that instead of moving home to a new larger house, people tend to expand or extend their present homes instead. It is cheaper building an extension than having to move to a bigger house, pay removal expenses, lawyers' fees and government taxes, estate agents costs and so on. And even in the new house, there will always be things you need to do, like decorations, new carpets and so on which will cost money. Better to extend the house you live in.
So I called an architect and explained that we needed some extra room and asked him to design something that will look nice, modern and fit with the local environment.
He suggested we put a couple of motor homes on top of the roof. We took off the wheels, welded the vehicles back to back to make one open space, and with a big crane we fixed them on top of the house, and hung a rope ladder at the back of the house so we could climb up there when we want to.
That architect explained that as an optional extra, for £53, we could have a helicopter landing pad on top of the motor homes. We did not go ahead with this because we thought it would be too ostentatious, and anyway, we do not have a helicopter.
So we got an instant expansion of our present house with two motor homes on the roof. An unexpected outcome and a tourist attraction also, I gather!!!
Have you had anything unexpected in your life?
How about clicking HERE for some.
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
THE ANCIENT ROMANS
History can be a dull subject to learn and teach depending of course on who’s doing the learning and the teaching.
As a child I once talked in class and the teacher threw a piece of chalk at me. He then said: That’ll teach you to talk in class!
And as it happened a long time ago it is history; so I learnt then a history lesson which I remembered to this day.
If you pay attention; you’ll learn a bit more history in the next few minutes or so.
Let’s go back to Roman times. When men were tough and strong and women told them what to do. Women always had the ability to make men obey their wishes by hiding the remote control even then. But I digress.
In ancient Roman times there were a lot of sculptures of Roman emperors and famous people; these were usually sculptures of their heads and busts and faces, although you could also get sculptures of the whole person if you were rich enough to have one done.
The history behind all these sculptures is quite fascinating I must say.
You see, in Roman times there were a number of check-points by the Roman guards along the Appian Way. That’s the strategic main road connecting Rome to Brindisi and Apulia. The road was named after the Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus.
He it was who held a census in the year something or other AD, and having discovered that most Romans did not like broccoli was frightened out of his census.
Anyway, the Roman Centurion guards along the Appian Way always stopped all chariots and checked that the drivers had a driving license.
Unfortunately, as cameras had not been invented at the time, all owners of chariots, such as emperors, senators and the like, carried a sculpture of their heads or faces with them as a form of Roman Identity Card.
That’s why there are only Roman sculptures of famous people and not the peasants and plebs.
As I said, some Romans were rich enough to carry a sculpture of their whole body with them in their chariots rather than just the head or face. Unfortunately the statues were so heavy that they often broke the chariots and fell to the ground.
This happened to a Roman lady called Venus whose statue fell off the chariot and the arms got broken. Historians have still to work out why she was not wearing any clothes when her sculpture was made; and exactly where her arms were when she posed for the stonemason.
When asked by Venus’ angry husband whether she had posed in the nude for him, the stonemason tried to deny it and said that he did the statue from memory. This didn't help his case and the husband punched him on the nose.
History also teaches us that ancient Romans collected urine. By that I don’t mean that they resisted going to the toilet and walked around cross-legged. I also don’t mean that they collected it like you or I would collect stamps, or books or whatever else people collect as a hobby.
No … they collected urine in large tubs left around in the street. People would walk by and when nature called they deposited their half-pint in the tub – there in public!!!
The collected deposits were then used in washing all those white togas. Apparently the ammonia in the urine acted like a bleaching agent and turned the togas extra clean and white.
And when all the senators met and debated in the senate and some jeered at one of them making a controversial speech by shouting “You stink!” – they meant it quite literally as well as referring to his speech.
And whilst we're on this subject ... what subject?
Keep quiet and pay attention!
I want to mention another person born in Italy who was a famous Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, astronomer and all round big head know-it-all.
His name was Archimedes and although he was a Greek he was born in Syracuse in Southern Italy. No doubt his mother was on vacation there at the time; but the least said about it the better!
Anyway, one day this Archimedes fellow was asked by King Hiero II to find out whether a crown he had made was pure gold or whether it contained silver; which is cheaper.
Archimedes thought hard about this problem, especially since he was not allowed to break or damage the crown in any way.
One night as he got home tired he decided to have a bath. Now in those days they didn't have baths like we do today with running water and drainage. All they had was a metal tub which they placed in the middle of the living room and sat in it washing themselves and watching TV.
As TV had not yet been invented they normally put a statue in the corner of the room and watched that instead.
Anyway, as Archimedes entered his house pondering about the crown dilemma he discovered the tub there in the living room with water already in it. He was so tired that he gladly took off his clothes and jumped in the water thus displacing some of the volume therein.
Unbeknown to Archimedes, his wife had filled the tub with sea water and put a few crabs there to keep them fresh until lunch.
Archimedes jumped out of the tub and ran in the street naked shouting "Eureka" which in Greek means "I've found it". However, he also added a few other choice words in his native language which loosely translated mean "Who is the **** who put crabs in my bath? My manhood will never be the same again!"
Later on, as he calmed down a little and nearly got arrested for indecent exposure, he realised that as a body, (his and the crabs), is placed in a tub of water it/they displace an equal amount of water as the volume of said bodies. That didn't mean much to him; so he Googled his crown problem and solved the mystery of how to ascertain whether it was pure gold or not. He could of course have checked for any Hallmarks as we do now and save himself all the trouble of an encounter with a dozen crabs.
This concludes our history lesson for now. I hope you’ll remember what you’ve learnt here today.
More funny stories HERE
Monday, 13 November 2017
Just think about it. Why is the earth the most important planet in the universe? Simple. If there were no earth we would all be flying through space and bumping into each other. This would make dating very difficult, as well as meeting a partner in life, and having children. All you would have is a lot of people floating through space and no sooner you meet someone you might like that person would have flown away bumping their head into someone else.
With the existence of the earth we can all have our feet firmly planted on terra firma, (or is it terra cotta?) and feel safe once more. The presence of the earth is like having a tree in your garden. It is comforting. Imagine placing a ladder against a tree and climbing to the top. If the tree was not there then you would be climbing up the ladder and finding nothing.
Years ago, people wondered how big the earth really is. They saw the moon at night and deduced that it was smaller than the earth. They believed that the moon was no larger than a few feet in diameter and had completely not taken into account that distance made it look small. On the same principle they believed that the stars were no bigger than a couple of millimetres in diameter.
So these ancient people decided to measure the earth. They quite rightly deduced that the largest part of the earth would be in the equator; because they had noticed that as some people get a little (or much) overweight, usually the area that is the largest is around the middle - near the belly button. So they bought a very long measuring tape and started measuring the earth, at the equator, six metres at a time. This task took too long, putting the tape on the ground, measuring its length, marking the spot, moving the tape over and measuring once again, and adding it all up. Unfortunately, this task was never completed because they reached the sea and many of the people measuring the earth drowned in the process.
It wasn't until many years later, at the time of Galileo in Italy, that a pizza salesman discovered that the earth's circumference, at its largest point around the equator, is just under 25,000 miles. Apparently he had read it in a book somewhere.
Now that fact is important - remember it. Around the equator, the earth's circumference is just under 25,000 miles - let's call it 24,000 miles.
Since we know that the earth goes round a whole revolution, from left to right, in one day, then it is right to assume that if I stood at the equator facing East, I would be travelling at 1000 miles and hour: 24,000 miles divided by 24 hours = 1,000 miles an hour. In fact, it is faster than that because as we said earlier, the circumference is just under 25,000 miles.
At that speed my wig would fly off. As I do not wear a wig, then my hat would fly off. And any lady standing there wearing a dress or skirt would have her own Marilyn Monroe moment.
And if I stood at the North pole, right at the top of the world, I would spin round ever so slowly and get back to the original point where I started in 24 hours - and I'd be very tired standing all this time without a toilet break.
However, if I stood at the South pole, right at the bottom of the world, all the blood would rush to my head because I would be upside down.
And if I were in Australia I would always celebrate the New Year first and all the fireworks seen on TV would show that country before all others.
Hence the saying: Do not worry about tomorrow. Because tomorrow has already happened in Australia.
And the saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. And if you want to keep everyone away try garlic.
More lessons for your education and edification and without obfuscation here soon.
Make sure you return otherwise we will start without you.
Friday, 10 November 2017
In Catholic churches we have incense burning at certain Masses - e.g. Christmas, Easter and special occasions. It's nice I suppose and reminds me of ancient traditions when people burnt incense in churches and homes. The wise men, as we know, brought incense to baby Jesus as a gift. Burning incense traditionally was part of worship. The smoke going up to Heaven no doubt took up our prayers with them.
Does your church burn incense during services?
Do you burn incense at home?
Monday, 6 November 2017
Here's a quick lesson you'll never forget.
Many years ago at the time of the Romans there was an Italian called Role. He was the tenth son of a tenth generation of men called Role - in fact he was known as Role the Tenth. Which in Roman times was written Role X.
Anyway Role X, and everyone else for that matter, noticed that it was sometimes daylight and sometimes night. "But how do we measure such a recurring occurrence to see how long is daytime compared to night time." thought Role X.
So he asked the opinion of his friend Galileo who at the time was looking up at the sky and wondering why the sun was always in different locations.
This is not the Galileo physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who lived between 1564 and 1642 - but most probably an earlier ancestor of his; which shows that the Galileo family were very clever for generations. But I digress.
Anyway, after a short discussion with Galileo, Role X planted a big candle which he had borrowed from his local church right in the middle of his garden. (The candle was in the middle of the garden - not the church. Just pay attention).
He measured the candle carefully. He waited until the sun was right above the candle, (i.e. no shadow), and he lit the large candle and left it lit until the following day when the candle had no shadow again. He then blew the candle out and measured the bit that was left. From this he deduced how much candle had burnt over the period it was lit.
He then got another candle with exactly the same dimensions and marked with his pen 24 equal segments from top to bottom. That's the candle's bottom not his bottom! Are you really paying attention?
He called each segment "hours". He quite rightly thought that if he lit the new candle at the same time as the previous day, (i.e. no shadow), he will call that MIDDAY and then every segment as it burnt down would be an HOUR, until the following day when there will be no more segments on the candle; and when there was no shadow (i.e. MIDDAY again).
Are you still paying attention? Good.
Role X decided he'd call the 24 segments one DAY.
He lit the candle and waited. But the experiment did not work because it was windy that night and the candle blew out.
He prepared a third candle which this time he kept indoors. That did not work either because the sun did not cast a shadow indoors.
So in total desperation, Role X bought himself a watch and solved all his problems about time.
Well ... I did promise you a quick lesson you'll never forget. Go buy yourself a watch and forget about lighting candles in the wind.
THERE WILL BE MORE HISTORY AND SCIENCE LESSONS HERE SOON
SO MAKE SURE YOU RETURN AND LEARN SOMETHING YOU DID NOT KNOW
THEN IMPRESS OR CONFUSE YOUR FRIENDS WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE
WHY NOT CHECK MY HUMOUROUS BOOKS HERE?
Sunday, 5 November 2017
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
Then He began to speak, and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.