Tuesday, 26 May 2020

I don't understand the movies any more!



I've been watching a lot of TV lately. Mostly various movies and reality shows. Better than watching the dust settle on the screen I suppose. Why doesn't someone clean around here? Is there a button on the remote control that clears away the dust from the TV screen?
I've learnt a lot from watching TV.

For example, in a fight the enemies will always wait patiently to attack the hero one by one, dancing around in a threatening manner until the hero has knocked out their predecessors. The hero must never show pain whilst fighting but he must always wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

In bedroom scenes it is important to have a special L-shaped sheet that reach the armpit level of the woman, but only the waist level of the man lying beside her. If staying in a haunted house, women should always investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear. Even if it is freezing outside and the wind is howling through the open windows.

In Apocalypse type movies, or Doomsday films, when all is destroyed and only a few people remain alive; I have noticed that the first shortage of items will be razor blades. Because immediately the men have stubble or beards growing on their faces.

Women, however, always seem to have a hidden supply of razor blades or electric shavers, because they do not have armpit hair or hair growing on their legs. They somehow remain beautiful throughout. Even if their clothes get dirty and torn; they're still good to wear to cover their modesty.

The peoples' ordeal in such dire situations as the end of civilisation may go on for days; but their clothes remain fit to wear. Men might lose their shirts, but definitely not their trousers. For they are made of different hard-wearing material which remains intact right through Doomsday and beyond!

I've also noticed a new reality type program on TV called "Naked and Afraid". The idea is to put two individuals, (1 man 1 woman), who never met before, naked in some kind of wild environment. It could be a forest, a jungle or whatever. And they have to survive, naked, for 21 days. I said naked, not baked; although in that heat some parts would be well baked all right!!!

To be honest, I am not sure I understand the purpose of this program. We are shown two naked people in the jungle. The title of the program would no doubt attract people who want to see their nakedness. Yet their private parts are hidden from the viewers at home.

Although the contestants are naked at the time of filming, the interesting bits are always covered in pixelations. You know, those blurred areas on the TV screen that cover the person's naughty parts.

I looked closely to see where those blurred areas were hanging from. Perhaps there's a thin invisible string that hangs the blurred square on the body like a photo hanging on the wall.

Whenever the people moved, that annoying blurred square moved with them covering the whole purpose of the program.

Let's imagine for instance that they meet a wild animal, like a lion; is their nakedness a relevant factor in the danger the situation presents? Surely if you meet a lion, or a bear, the danger is the same whether you're naked or not. If they were attacked, would the film crew continue filming until they die and then say, "Oooops ... perhaps we should have helped them instead"?

I am told that the blurred squares, or pixelations, are put electronically on the film afterwards by the computer.

The people are really naked throughout when filming them!

Really?

Now I remember years ago I made some training films for an organisation I worked for. I didn't actually operate the camera, but I hired a film crew. I was the producer I guess. The person who pays for the whole thing.

The film crew consisted of the camera man and his team, the sound engineer and his team, the lights engineer, the director shouting "cut" every now and then, the director's assistant and so on. You get the idea. About a dozen people or so including actors. And they all often interrupted the filming because the light is not OK, or the sound is not clear enough, or the actors forget their lines and so on. I recall a half-hour film used to take all day to shoot with umpteen stops and restarts and edits.

I presume that a similar number of crew are also in the jungle with these two naked people. They are not on their own, otherwise there would be no one to make the film. 

There's also a whole orchestra there with them to play the incidental music when required. How many people do they need to carry and move the grand piano to different parts of the jungle, I wonder? There's at least another 50 people or so in an orchestra. All out in the jungle with their various organs - musical ones.

And are all these film crew totally naked as well? Or are they clothed?

It would be unfair if they are all dressed and the only naked people are the two contestants airing their differences for all to see.

What if a mosquito bites their backside? Do they have a special ointment to put on in between filming?

And is it fair that we, the audiences watching them on TV at home, are fully clothed whilst those two in the jungle are not?

In honour of those two in the jungle, and as a sign of respect, I too shall join in and watch them naked.

Now then ... where's my pixelation gone?

Monday, 25 May 2020

The Reindeer has landed


TV ANNOUNCER: We interrupt this episode of Downton Abbey to bring you a very important breaking news story. Let me introduce Mr Ivor Sorebottom, a senior top Government Spokesman ... Spokesperson!

IVOR SOREBOTTOM: Hello. I have been asked to advise you that creatures from outer space have landed on earth. There is no need to panic ... don't panic ... DON'T PANIIIIC!!! Remain seated where you are and listen carefully. Creatures from outer-space have landed and have made contact with us.

TV ANNOUNCER: You ... you mean you spoke to them?

IVOR: Yes we have. We met in a secret Government location. We shared a cup of tea and cucumber sandwiches. And it was agreed that we should allow them an opportunity to address the nation and the world. Let me introduce you to Mr ... ehm ... I mean Ambassador Ivan Itch from the planet Scratchit in the beyond our solar system.

Ivan Itch enters and sits next to Ivor Sorebottom.

TV ANNOUNCER: Ehm ... hello Mr Itch ... I mean Ambassador Itch. You are from the planet Scratchit are you?

IVAN: That is correct.

TV ANNOUNCER: But ... but you look very much like us. You look human. Apart from the fact that you have antlers on your head and hooves instead of hands.

IVAN: That is part of our disguise. We landed on earth several years ago and have been observing and studying you and your human behaviours. We landed in Scotland and we thought the best disguise is to appear like reindeer and blend with the surroundings. We are shape-shifters you know.

TV ANNOUNCER: Not much of a shape-shifter if you've now shifted into a human form but you still have antlers. Somewhere to hang your hat, I suppose!

IVAN: Are you mocking me?

TV ANNOUNCER: No, of course not. This would be above my pay grade ... I notice that you speak in perfect English. I would have thought you'd be speaking in some Klingon type language that we would not understand. You know ... like in Star Trek.

IVAN: Och aye ... ye ken. When we landed, at first our ack cent was a lot more Sco'ish ye understand? But then we couldna understand each other, ye see?

TV ANNOUNCER: So you adapted to the proper English accent?

IVAN: No ... I am speaking to you now in my native language which is Scratchitian ... Fortunately for you humans it sounds very much like English. We waited for years hoping you'd learn our language. Then we decided it would be quicker if we learnt yours. So we borrowed a dictionary from the local library and learnt how to speak in your language.

TV ANNOUNCER: Normally on TV programs when aliens land on earth they abduct one of our species and dissect them to see how they work. Then they put them back together again and give them a tour of the space ship? Will you be doing that to us humans?

IVAN: My ... my what an intellect you have. It is as deep as the shallow end of a swimming pool!

TV ANNOUNCER: Are you mocking me?

IVAN: No ... merely observing a fact within my pay grade!

TV ANNOUNCER: Anyway, what do you want here on earth? Why don't you go back to your own planet?

IVAN: We want peaceful coexistence.

TV ANNOUNCER: What if we refuse?

IVAN: We have special powers of persuasion known as telekinetic.

TV ANNOUNCER: Telekinetic? What's that? Another TV Reality Show?

IVAN: It is the ability to move objects using only the power of the mind.

TV ANNOUNCER: What nonsense. I've a good mind to move you out of the studio. How did you develop such powers anyway?

IVAN: We started by sitting round in a circle and staring at a small feather on a table. In time, it moved by itself a couple of inches.

TV ANNOUNCER: Yeh? Total BS ... someone could have blown on it! By the way ... BS is an English abbreviation for ...

IVAN: I know what your abbreviation means ... and this had nothing to do with bovine output ... No one blew on the feather. We tried again with a dead dry leaf, then an empty potato chips packet. And they moved too. Now we have the power to move anything by just thinking about it. Including people.

TV ANNOUNCER: Oh yeh? BS to that ... I bet you could not move me from this chair. I'll hold tight to it; now try to move me.

IVAN: Let's think hard about this. Are you comfortable? Or do you feel a slight pain in your tummy? Getting stronger ... stronger ... even more so ... you need to go to the toilet ... no use fighting it ... you'd better go ... come on ... move!

TV ANNOUNCER: ALL RIGHT ... ALL RIGHT ... You've convinced me ... now stop it.

IVAN: It is stopped. But you see, it is a very persuasive ability of ours. Ask Mr Ivor Sorebottom here. He tried to resist us. Unsuccessfully I might add. And if you humans will resist us we will make you all go to the toilet. There just aren't enough toilets in the world for all of you. You'd be up to your necks in ...

TV ANNOUNCER: OK ... OK ... I get it ... this is still a family show, you know! What have world leaders decided about this? About you and your fellow Scratchit type reindeers being amongst us?

IVAN: They have decided that we can live peacefully together as long as you lot stop eating venison ... that is reindeer meat ... Oooops ... what a give-away ... I shouldn't have said that ... forget I said this last thing ... scratch it from your live TV program ... I never said it ... I ... I ... I have just received a telepathetic message from from our leader ... It seems we are to leave your planet quickly and go home never to return again ... ... ... ... ...

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Live For Today



Difficult as it might be; living one day at a time is a wholesome self-control mechanism which teaches us patience and genuine reliance on our Lord.

Of course, we all like to plan ahead, to be in control of our future, and to prepare for all eventualities. There’s nothing wrong in that, and it would be foolhardy to leave all to chance and do nothing.

Yet, at the same time, we should balance our every plan with the reality of what is now. We should live each day in gratitude for what God has given us today, rather than look ahead to what is yet to come.

They say, “You never know what’s round the next corner”. How true. All it takes is a sudden event, an illness, an accident, something out of our control, to put all our plans into disarray.

Thank you Lord for another today. Please teach me to walk closer beside you step by step every day.
FATHER FRANCIS MAPLE

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Guinea Pig Story

Man enters pet shop and looks around. Shop assistant approaches him.

Man: I would like to buy this Guinea pig please?

Shop Assistant: Certainly sir, let me get him for you.

Assistant picks up Guinea pig and puts him in a small box with holes on cover for it to breathe. Buyer looks at animal which instantly rolls over with feet pointing upwards.

Man: Hey ... this Guinea pig is dead. He is as stiff as a board. Look how he rolled over.

Shop Assistant: He is not dead, sir. He is hibernating.

Man: Hibernating? It is the middle of June!

Shop Assistant: Yes sir, he is from South America. They hibernate in summer in South America. If he was from Northern Europe he would hibernate in winter.

Man: So he will remain stiff until winter?

Shop Assistant: Not necessarily. A quick ten seconds in the microwave oven will soon revive him.

Man: I don't believe you. He seems dead to me. Look, his eyes are wide open, and his fur is beginning to fall off.

Shop Assistant: All right. I'll let you have it for half-price.

Man: Half-price? I'd expect a bigger discount for a dead hamster.

Shop Assistant: Guinea pig ...

Man: All right. A dead Guinea pig ...

Shop Assistant: I tell you what ... I'll let you have it for free if you buy another Guinea pig as well.

Man: OK ... I'll have that one too.

Shop Assistant places another Guinea pig in the box.

Man: He seems rather slow moving to me ...

Shop Assistant: That's because he has a bit of a migraine. He was at a party last night. You know ... all that dancing and singing ... and the drinks and the girls ... He must have a bit of a hangover this morning.

Man: A party? He was at a party?

Shop Assistant: A funeral actually. And a get-together afterwards to celebrate the deceased's life.

Man: Who died?

Shop Assistant: This other Guinea pig. But he did not turn up to his own funeral.

Man: Why not?

Shop Assistant: He was up for sale at a reduced price!

IF YOU LIKE MY KIND OF HUMOUR
WHY NOT TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT IT ON YOUR BLOG?

Friday, 22 May 2020

How not to carry fruit and vegetables.



Yes ... I know that some of you, my dear readers, do not believe every thing I write here. But I don't blame you really. There are times when I don't believe what I write either.

They say that truth will out. And honesty is the best policy.

But then ... "what is truth?" as Pontius Pilate said.

Or ... "you can't handle the truth!" as Jack Nicholson said.

So, I'll tell you the story and leave you to decide whether it is true or not; and whether you can handle it once you've decided on its veracity.

I had gone to the green grocers about half a mile or so from our house. I bought some apples, some pears, some potatoes and some carrots. They were quite heavy. About two kilos each of apples, pears and carrots and three kilos of potatoes.

The green grocer put them in a plastic bag which I carried back home. It was a long walk with all that weight.

Then suddenly the bag burst under all this weight and there were apples, pears, potatoes and carrots all over the ground.

How do I carry them home, I thought. Then genius struck.

I took off the shoe laces from my boots and tied them very tight round the legs of my trousers; just above the ankles.

Then I put the fruits and vegetables down my trousers. I put them in from the waist ... I can read your minds, you know.

When they were all tucked in my trouser legs I tightened my belt even more so as not to lose my trousers and held on to them by putting my hands in my pockets.

My legs were swollen by the weight of the fruits and vegetables therein.

I started my walk back home. It was like walking in the sea with water up to my waist. Very slow and very tiring.

Because I had no shoe laces I risked losing my boots if I lifted my feet up.

So I slid one foot a few inches forward; then slid the other foot next to it, then slid my foot a little further forward again, and slid my other foot near it.

Because my legs were swollen to more than twice their original size; the sliding forward was done in a semi-circle fashion rather than straight ahead as you would expect.

This walking, or sliding forward a few inches at a time, with my hands in my pockets was quite tiring, I tell you.

Everyone was watching me and wondering what was wrong with me. People coming up ahead towards me, suddenly stopped and crossed the road on the other side. They did not want to meet me in case my swollen legs syndrome was catching.

Others wondered why I had my hands in my pockets and shouted obscenities at me.

Cars nearly bumped into each other as they stopped to look at me rather than the way ahead.

Some drivers wound their windows down and shouted something unrepeatable here.

I eventually got home. My wife was not impressed by my ingenuity at carrying the fruits and vegetables home.

So what do you think? Truth or lies?

Whilst you're thinking about it ... why not just smile and let's sing this song together.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Car Wash In Heaven



I like it when my readers engage in conversation about the posts I publish here. Sometimes I am questioned in the comments box, and sometimes readers prefer to write me privately by e-mail; in which case I respond privately.

Yesterday, JoeH asked an interesting question. He said: "So, is it either Heaven or Hell? Punishment is not commensurate with the sin?"

This train of thought has been debated amongst theologians and intellectuals for years. If someone dies with small sins, like me, having a penchant for chocolates and being a little too greedy. Does that mean going down fast without a parachute? No redemption or forgiveness?

Enter the Catholics with their invention.

PURGATORY.

Many Catholics and non-Catholics have wondered about Purgatory. Does it exist? There's no mention of it in the Bible. Is it just a Catholic invention to make money by asking people to pay for prayers and Masses to be celebrated for the repose of dead family members and friends?

How long do souls stay in Purgatory? Is it a day for every venial sin? A week? A month? Longer?

How many days off do they gain when we pray for these souls or celebrate Mass for them?

What does Purgatory look like? Does it have a fire like hell? Is it hot or cold there? Or is it perhaps just warm so you feel uncomfortable but you don’t burn?

Does it have devils looking after all the inmates; like in hell, or are they a little kinder perhaps?

Are we in pain when in Purgatory? Like the fire in hell?

The notion that Purgatory is some sort of Purification Centre or Car Wash where all souls with venial sins go to be made clean before entering Heaven has long vexed many wise minds.

The Catholic Church bases its teaching from Scripture. In Revelation Chapter 21 Verse 27 it says ‘Nothing unclean shall enter Heaven.’ So, strictly speaking, if we die with venial sins on our conscience we’re not spiritually cleaned; and that’s why we go to Purgatory.

The belief in the existence of Purgatory goes back to the early Christians; and other Christian denominations also believe in such a place where souls go before they are ready to enter Heaven.

Given that very few of us will die with no sins whatsoever on our conscience, the Church teaches that there must exist a place, or a state of being, or a state of purification, where we are cleansed of our sins and we can enter Heaven. This place, or state of being, is known as Purgatory.

Jesus did describe Heaven at one time as a mansion with many rooms. So it follows, perhaps, that in our imagination we visualize Purgatory as a physical place too.

The pertinent point, however, is that the Church teaches that there is a stage where souls destined for Heaven undergo a period of purification. 

St. Therese of Lisieux, who is a doctor of the church, has her own view of Purgatory.  She maintains that one does not need to go to Purgatory. While still only a novice, she spoke to Sister Maria Philomena, who believed in the near impossibility of going to Heaven without passing through Purgatory.

Therese’s response was, “You do not have enough trust.  You have too much fear before the good God.  I can assure you that He is grieved over this. You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask God to take you straight to Heaven. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. It is then you can be sure that you will not have to go to Purgatory.”

So, as you can see, even Catholics had their different views and disagreements about Purgatory.

May I add that when Jesus was hanging on the Cross He turned to Dismas, the Repentant Thief and said, "I promise you this very day you will be with me in Paradise!"

He didn't say, "But you'll have to spend some time in Purgatory first!" 

I don't know if this answers JoeH's or your questions. Does Purgatory exist? Do people with minor sins go straight to hell? Or do they go somewhere to be made clean first before entering Heaven? Is it either Heaven or hell. Or is punishment, (if punishment it is), not commensurate with the sin?"

NOTE: I am grateful to Father Francis Maple for the information this post contains. Father Francis publishes a daily homily - Please click HERE.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Hello Sinners !!!


Hello Sinners ... how are you?

I've often wondered. If I were to hold a Sinners Convention, how many people would turn up?

I guess not many, and I'd lose a lot of money hiring the venue and having refreshments ready.

The reason I suppose is because most of us don't consider ourselves to be sinners. Not big ones anyway.

For the most part, we all believe we're good people really. Deep down we're OK and we will eventually go to Heaven. It's all a matter of time really. As long as we go on the way we always do, we will eventually get to Heaven. Those of us who believe in Heaven anyway.

The rest can go to hell. What do we care about them?

But most of us are OK. We'll get to Heaven one day. We're not big sinners.

I mean ... when is the last time you killed someone?

Or robbed a bank?

Or embezzled from your employer or business?

Or coveted your neighbour's wife/husband, or ass?

(I must admit I'm very envious of my neighbour's roses. Why does he grow better flowers than me?)

OK ... I know ... I know ... some people do partake in that coveting sin. They cheat on their partners and think nothing of it. Well ... you know how it is? It could be just a one off ... or sometimes because they are not happy at home anyway. I mean ... It's their right to be happy in life is it not? (Or so they think!)

And that's where the problem lies ... "or so they think".

They believe that a slight flirtation is OK.

They think that having a fixation on materialism is harmless really. What's wrong with having a big house, car, plenty of jewellery or whatever? I worked hard for it. I earned it. Why should I care about those less well off? They should work harder.

What's wrong with gossiping and telling tales about other people? It's harmless fun.

So what if they don't have time to look after elderly parents living alone? They live too far anyway, and life is busy these days with work, looking after the kids and so on.

And don't tell me that taking the odd bit of stationery home from work is wrong. Or some other bits and pieces from our employers. It's not stealing is it? Not like robbing a bank.

And what's wrong with having a long lunch hour? Or getting to work late or leaving early? Really! Everyone else does it. Even the boss.

And anyway ... all these are all small sins, if sins at all. Not like killing and really stealing from a bank which are mentioned in the Ten Commandments.

On reflection, no wonder not many people would attend my Sinners Convention ... there aren't that many sinners in the world today.

Perhaps some people are sleep-walking their way into hell.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Getting old is easy


Getting old is easy. All you have to do is keep living.

Right now it seems there is a great divide between the young and the old. Resentment even. The young consider the older generation as responsible for all the ills in the world today. The truth is that the world has always had its difficult time. Every generation it seems went through a crisis or more. And I don't remember me blaming the previous generation for inventing nuclear bombs, or the Cold War, or the Iron Curtain, or the Berlin Wall, or those dreary small screen black and white TVs.

Anyway, what exactly is old? When I was young I considered anyone over 35 as being old. But is that so? Or is it over 40, or 50, 60 or more?

There's some advantage to growing old, and, let's call it retired to give a focus on what age we're talking about.

For a start, once you're old you can not care any more. I'm quite an expert at it. I find I care less about more and more things every day. In fact I consider myself a professor in non-caring. I should run courses and give out diplomas in non-caring.

Also, once you're old you can behave any way you like, within reasons, and people will think you're eccentric. For example, you can wear tatty clothes and a pullover with a hole in it and no one seems to mind, as long as it's clean of course. Men can pull up their trousers all the way to their nipples and hold it in place with a tight belt as well as braces and it's acceptable. I have a friend who dresses just like that with a jacket with those leather patches at the elbow. Never understood those patches in jackets myself. He always wears a brightly coloured tartan shirt, red, yellow or even orange. Trousers pulled up high revealing white socks and sandals. He has teeth like the Ten Commandments; all broken. And always with a pipe in mouth. Now that's not very modern or fashionable is it? I've not seen any one smoking a pipe for ages. But he does. I think he is a sex symbol for women who do not care.

Despite his age his brain is as sharp as a pin. But he acts eccentric as a way of giving the finger to the world. And why not? He deserves it and should be allowed his moment of joy rather than feeding on the daily diet of bad news they serve on TV these days.

He has bought a cell-phone which he hardly uses. He keeps it switched on in case his wife or grown-up children ring him, and also for emergencies. But he also has fun with it. I witnessed it.

On the bus one day he took out his cell phone and pretended to dial. Then he started talking not too loud but loud enough he could be heard. He said things like "I think we should buy as many shares in this Company as we can afford. They've invented a cure for excess hairs growing out of one's ears you know. The ointment can be used for other un-wanted hair too in delicate places. Buy me about £300,000 worth please."

You should have seen the faces of the other passengers thinking they were sharing the bus with a millionaire.

Unfortunately, half-way through his pretend conversation the cell-phone rang as someone called him. He did not lose his cool. Without batting an eye-lid he said to his pretend conversation, "I'll have to go now. I have another call coming in on my other line!" Then he pressed a button and answered the real call. Now that's cool don't you think?

And he says the funniest things without seeming to care. The other day we were at the supermarket. I help carry his shopping.

As we were at the check-out, a woman standing behind us in line as we were paying for our goods, started a conversation just to be friendly. She saw a bag of "Woof Woof" dog food, and asked him: "Do you have a dog?"

I know he has a small dog, but he replied, "No ... this is for me. I am on a dog diet. I probably should stop because the last time I did it I ended in Intensive Care in Hospital."

I was puzzled at his response, and she was intrigued and asked him to explain.

He said that essentially dog food is the perfect diet which is nutritionally complete. He puts some "Woof Woof" pellets in his pocket and whenever he is hungry he eats a few.

By this time everyone in the queue was listening attentively.

Horrified, she asked him if he ended up in Intensive Care because the dog food had poisoned him.

"No ..." he replied, "I just stepped off the curb to sniff a poodle's butt and a car hit me!"

I could not keep a straight face, but had to, to give credence to his story which he related as seriously as the occasion demanded.

He resents having to go to the doctors or nurses for regular check-ups. He knows it is for his own good, but he logically confides that going to the hospital reminds him that there is something wrong with him. He told me he particularly dislikes a matronly type of nurse which he had to visit on a regular basis to check his blood pressure. The visit, once a week, lasts about 15 minutes or so but it seems like a lifetime to him. She always has a friendly, but seemingly patronising comment to make. Like, "My my we are putting on weight aren't we? I think we should diet!"

He replied, "I'll dye mine pink, which colour will you dye yours?"

She did not understand his joke and tried to explain what a diet is.

On another occasion she mentioned the fact that his clothes, albeit clean, are not colour coordinated. A red tartan shirt does not go with green corduroy trousers apparently.

The following visit he smeared a little yoghurt on his shoulder. Just enough to be visible. When he entered her insulting room he apologised that his parrot had diarrhoea. She stupidly asked where was the parrot. He replied, "I've sent him home to get cleaned up and have a shower!"

So there you have it. If you consider yourself old, remember that you are not. You are just mature enough to know how not act mature and to have fun at the world's expense.

God bless you, whatever age you are.

Monday, 18 May 2020

What are you?



You know, if you go out in the street and asked people about the Holy Spirit, I wonder how many will give a coherent, intelligent, well thought out answer?

I guess this is because we don't think much about our spirit. Our soul as it is more often called.

We think of ourselves as our bodies. Perhaps that is because when we stub our toe against something it is our toe that hurts, not our soul. From the moment we are born everyone thinks about the body. They talk about the weight of the baby, and that he is doing well. His body that is, not his soul.

As we grow up we get more focussed on the body. When we meet a pretty lady we look at and admire her body. It is the physical attraction that first draws us towards a person, or away from that person, if we don't like something in their appearance.

We focus on the body because that is the part that is visible. It is what distinguishes us from one another. We see the body and instantly recognise who that person is.

We don't often discuss a person's soul. I suppose we give it a different title. We call it a person's personality. Their character. Their temperament. Rather than their living spirit, their soul. What makes them who they really are.

It was C S Lewis, I believe, who said, "you don't have a soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body!"

I wonder how many people understood that he meant by we are all spirits.

There is such a thing as a spirit world. An invisible world all around us consisting of spirits. These are the spirits of those who have passed away.

When we recite the Creed we say that God is the "Maker of Heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

He is so almighty that He has made everything. Visible and invisible.

This bit is important. It says visible and invisible. Not seen and unseen. If I were to leave one room and enter another I become unseen. But I am not invisible.

The use of the word invisible is to underline the fact that there is an invisible, spiritual, world which we do not see. We are both visible in human form and invisible in our spiritual form - our soul.

There is also an invisible world of angels and spirits of those departed from this world. As well, of course, as the invisible Holy Spirit.

But at the same time, there is our world as we know it right now. It too consists of spirits. Also, invisible spirits because, for the time being, they are covered by a body.

Yes ... you and I are spirits. Our souls, spirits, abide within us invisible. What we see is the body that contains the spirit/soul and that's how we recognise each other. The way the body behaves and acts is controlled by the soul. The spirit within. Not by the brain, or by some chemicals or other; as some people would have us believe.

If a person is good and does good, it is because his soul/spirit is good. That person's soul has accepted God and he acts and behaves as God has taught us and commanded.

If a person is bad, it is because their soul has rejected God and His teaching.

This all sounds all too complicated. No wonder it's a discussion best left for another day. Or for other people to have.

Most of us consider ourselves as people with bodies and that is enough thinking for now.

Some even believe that when the body has ceased to function and it is known as being dead; that's it. The end of it all. To them, there is no such thing as a soul or spirit that goes on living in another world and in the after-life.

And that's precisely why, if you go out in the streets, very few people will be able to discuss the Holy Spirit. They may be able to talk about God; and perhaps Jesus as His only Son.

The Holy Spirit? What is that exactly? We heard about it, or Him, when young in church, or at school. We didn't understand it then, and understand it even less now.

Pentecost? What is that? Something to do with the church I guess. I don't go to church often anyway. Besides, if you'll excuse me, I'm a little busy doing the weekly shopping for the family.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

The Advocate


John 14:15-21

‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’

Who is this Advocate? Some might ask.

Jesus here is speaking of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God, and Jesus Himself, who will come down from Heaven at Pentecost and be within the disciples.

There's often confusion in people's minds about the Holy Spirit. Who is He exactly?

We are taught about God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit … He doesn’t seem to have a title or description.

St Hilary of Poitiers, a Bishop in the 3rd Century AD, described the Holy Spirit as “the Gift”.

He is the gift given to us by God after Jesus ascended into Heaven.

He is the very Spirit of God, God Himself, come back to us on earth to dwell within us and to help us in our Christian life.

That’s why He is sometimes referred to as the Helper, the Counselor, God’s own Being living within us.

The Holy Spirit didn't just descend on the disciples at Pentecost and that's it. A once in a lifetime event. He is present here and now today and is within some people who ask for His presence within them.

Now that last fact itself, God's own Being living within us, causes even more confusion amongst Christians and non-Christians alike.

Sure, Christians believe the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples at Pentecost teaching them what to say in various languages and how to proclaim the Good News to all. But now? Today? Does the Holy Spirit enter our very souls today?

Can you imagine that?

God. Living within us. Guiding us. Helping us. Teaching us. Advising us when to speak and when to remain silent. What to say and what to do.

Isn’t that wonderful? Or is it too difficult to imagine or believe?

If you were to say to a non-Christian that God is living within you in the form of the Holy Spirit they would most probably scoff, or smile politely or perhaps think you've lost your mind.

The very concept is difficult for many Christians to believe; never mind those who don't believe at all.

And yet ... Isn’t it a tragedy that in this day and age, when many are too willing to believe that the devil can possess an individual unwillingly and reap havoc in their lives; many people find it difficult to understand that the Spirit of God is willing to abide within us and lead us to an eternal better life in Heaven.

But only if we ask Him.

Unlike the devil, the Holy Spirit will not abide in a person unless He is asked. Unless He is invited.

All we have to do is to believe and to invite the Holy Spirit to be within us.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Cats!!!

YOU'VE SEEN THE FILM
NOW READ THE BOOK
PAPERBACK HERE
KINDLE HERE

Friday, 15 May 2020

What's your worth old one?



There's one thing I don't understand that maybe you clever people could enlighten me on. Why is it that people have a love for ancient antique things but don't care very much for old people? They either put them in senior citizens homes, or worse still, they are left to live alone in their homes. The children have grown up and left the nest and never get in touch or visit. And the neighbours, for the most part, either don't take any notice of the elderly lonely person living next door, or are too busy to care anyway.

Not me though. I care for my elderly neighbour who lives alone a few houses down the road. I visited her the other day to see if she wanted anything bought from the supermarket. She needed a number of items which she had run out of. So I gave her my shopping list too. There's no point in both of us going out is there?

Anyway, that is not the point of this post today. And something without a point is pointless. Especially a pointless pencil. What's the point in that?

What I wanted to talk about is real antiques. Not antique people with wrinkles so deep they look like an ancient Roman or Greek urn. Do you know what's a Greek urn? About 200 Euros a month, depending on what work he does. A Roman urn might cost a bit more.

Let's talk antiques. Why do we value old things so much? Old paintings, old furniture like Louis XIV furniture, Stradivarius violin, pottery, jewellery and so on?

There are so many programs on TV devoted to valuing, buying and selling antiques, and it surprises me what people are willing to pay for some items that are hundreds or more years old.

Let's say for instance that you own a famous Van Gogh. It would be worth thousands of £s, or $s, plus an ear I'd guess.

But why? Why is it that your ownership of such a painting would value it so high? After all, he painted other paintings owned by other people. And they are all also worth a fortune. And other painters like Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Constable and Picasso also painted many paintings. Why is each one of them worth a different fortune? It is after all paint on canvass or wood or whatever.

Or that old Chinese vase, or the antique watch, or the Chippendale chair, or whatever else you care to mention. Why are they worth so much?

And what do you do when you have them?

You have a unique painting. Someone else has a unique marble statue. Another person has a unique antique cell-phone used by Shakespeare.

So what? What is the point of having this unique item? And once you have it, you have to take care it is not stolen from you. You have to care it is not damaged or broken. Some painting I understand can be ruined by moisture, dampness, sun light or whatever.

Although it does not seem to have affected the painting I did years ago which has been stored in the garage for years. It is covered with dust (or patina) but it is still worthless.

Some people even collect wine as an investment. I don't mean wine you buy at the supermarket; but expensive ancient wines from ancient vineyards and crops. Wines with names like Châteaux Expensive, or Châteaux Exorbitant. And the bottles are kept in special cellars with the right temperature and dampness and dust. It will never be drunk but kept as an investment. Some organisations will buy and sell the wine on your behalf and charge you a fee. You'll never see the bottles you own as such, the organisation will do all the buying/selling work for you and send you the paperwork informing you of your investment.

Why is it if you own such an item as wine, antique or whatever it is valued at a fortune? I appreciate that it is unique. But then, so is the impression I made the other day when I sat on a newly painted garden bench. The size and shape of my bottom on that bench is unique. There is no other bench like it. Why is it not worth a fortune? Should I take it to the Antiques Road Show do you think? The bench, not my bottom. Although my bottom would accompany me as well.

You see my point. Why is it that the age, and rarity, or uniqueness of an item is worth so much to some people?

But then ... each one of us is unique. Each one is different? And some are more ancient than others. Why is it we do not appreciate each other more? Why is it we do not appreciate old people more?

I don't understand. I believe each one of us is priceless. Yet we do not appreciate our true value and worth. We should invest in people not things!

I think I'll paint the shape of my bottom on a framed canvass and make a fortune.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Lady Godiva - English History


It is perhaps unfair that Lady Godiva is best remembered for one act which historians dispute whether it actually happened or not. But that's the way of the world isn't it? You do just one thing and everyone is talking about it for ever on end. But more of that later.

Lady Godiva, was an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who lived in Britain all that time ago. She was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia and they had a son called Aelfgar. (I suppose when you're rich and famous you can name your children what you want. Personally, I prefer "Hey You" as a name; but I digress).

Both Lady Godiva and her husband Leofric were very generous benefactors to religious houses. (Can you imagine being called Leofric? O Leofric, Leofric! Wherefore art thou Leofric? Doesn't sound right does it? But I digress once again. OK ... let's concentrate now and get on with the story).

As I was saying, they were both very generous and in 1043 Leofric founded and endowed a Benedictine Monastry in Coventry, England. Apparently Godiva was the persuasive force behind this generosity and she moaned and moaned "Leofric, build me a monastry. Leofric, build me a monastry ..." until he gave up and built her a monastry.

You know how persuasive women can be when they want something?

They go on and on and on ... clear the footpath of snow, don't forget to mow the lawn, the house needs re-painting, have you taken the trash bins out? Ehm ... sorry ... my mind was wandering a bit there ... thinking aloud what?

Well, at least I've never been asked to build a monastry. I suppose clearing the footpath is better and cheaper than having to build a monastry. Although I must admit, if it was a choice between visiting the mother-in-law and building a monastry, I would build a monastry any day. It is less stressful with much less moaning on and on in stereo !!!

But I digress yet again. Stop interrupting me!

In 1050 the couple also gave land for the St Mary's Monastry in Worcester and for the minster in Stow St Mary in Lincolnshire.They are also benefactors of other monasteries in Leominster, Chester, Much Wenlock and Evesham.

Lady Godiva also gave a lot of jewellery and precious metals to various causes over her lifetime.

So all in all, she was an all round good egg as we normally say; and the sort of person you would like to meet and befriend. Especially if you're short of a penny or two.

Until we come to the legend of what she once did, (or did not do, depending on who you believe). 

It seems that Lady Godiva took pity on the people of Coventry who were paying too much taxes imposed by her husband on the town. She appealed to her husband to lower the taxes and moaned and moaned for days on end "Please lower the taxes ... Please lower the taxes ... Please ... Pretty Please ..." You know how women go on and on when they want something? Have I mentioned that to you?  

Well this time Leofric would not listen. But she went on and on about lowering the taxes. Eventually, to shut her up, (he must have had a terrible headache poor soul), he said "I'll lower the taxes if you strip naked and ride a horse through the streets of Coventry!"

To his surprise she agreed. Now that's dedication for you. Would any of us go to such lengths for our fellow man? (Don't answer that).

Lady Godiva issued a proclamation that on a certain day everyone should remain indoors and shut all their windows because she was going to ride naked on a horse throughout town. (I wonder how many horses volunteered for the job).

Now how naive is that? Did she really expect everyone to stay indoors after such an announcement? Would you?

Are you really telling me that NO ONE was tempted to take a photo with their cell-phones and post it on Facebook?

On the day in question Lady Godiva rode naked on a horse and paraded throughout town.

But a tailor called Tom succumbed to temptation. He made a small hole in his window shutters and had a good look at what he should not have been looking at. And that's where the name Peeping Tom originates from.

Apparently he was struck blind after the event.

His friend Ivan Eyeful was wiser and more cautious because he chanced one eye through his peep hole.

Anyway, believe it or not, her husband kept his word and abolished the taxes.

Now why can't the wives of our politicians do the same thing and lower our taxes?

As I said, the veracity of this story is hotly disputed amongst historians.

But it raises an important question:

Assuming that Lady Godiva did as it is said in order to help the poor people of Coventry; is it OK to strip naked for a good cause? To help one's fellow man?

There are many instances of men and women being photographed nude for calendars which are then sold to raise a lot of money for a charitable cause.

Is this a good (fun) thing to do to help others; or is it wrong? Especially when we consider the amount of money that can, and has, been raised this way for causes like medical research, helping the elderly, ease starvation and so on.

If the cause is one that is very dear to your heart; would you go nude for charity?

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

The Hairy Dream



I dreamed a dream in times to come ... When hope will be high and life worth living ... again. And in this dream, when all this is over, throughout the world, there will be a shortage of hairdressers appointments. People will phone and call everywhere to book a time to have their hair cut. But no one will be able to book them in for every slot will be already taken.

People will walk the streets like zombies with hair as long as it could be. Growing from every place that one can fathom and never seeming to want to stop. People will be tripping and falling on their moustaches and beards. Women in search for a salon. Armpits hair so long that it is braided or in ponytails. And hair growing everywhere.

The queues outside hairdressers and salons will be miles long with people standing at least two metres apart to respect social distancing. Governments everywhere will try to shorten the queues by asking people to stand closer together again.

All will be well once more in this new dawn. People will be allowed to hug and kiss again except for the hair that comes between them. Hair uncut for such a long time encouraging others to grow unwanted.

And in my dream I drove up the highway in my sports car. My girl beside me with her hair blowing in the wind. And I had to stop to pick it up before it got entangled in the trees.

I also dreamt that I went to the hairdresser and asked him for a Tony Curtis hairstyle. He shaved my head totally bald. I was livid. Really mad. "You've shaved me totally bald," I cried, "do you even know who Tony Curtis is?" 

"Indeed I do," he replied, "I saw him in The King And I fifteen times."

A few weeks later I went to another hairdresser. He asked me how I’d like my hair cut. I looked at him and said, “Like yours!”

He shaved my head totally bald. I was livid again. I said, “that’s not like yours!”

He replied, “Yes it is, but mine has grown again now!”

A few weeks later on I went to yet another hairdresser. He asked me how I’d like my hair cut. He had a photo of Gary Cooper. I pointed at the photo and said, “like him!”

He shaved my head totally bald. I was really livid, more than before. I said, “That’s not what Gary Cooper looks like!”

He replied, “He would if he came here for a haircut!”

In this dream there was hair everywhere. As it was cut there became a problem of disposal or re-cycling.

What can you do with all this hair that has been growing uncut for weeks on end? It gathered and rolled everywhere as tumble-weed in cowboy films.

To find a single hair in your soup in a restaurant became a dream to aspire to rather than the norm.

A hair's breadth was measured in miles.

I dreamed a dream in times to come.
When hope will be high and life worth living ... again.
I dreamed, that love had never died.
I dreamed that God would need a calculator to count the hair on our head.

Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows! (Luke 12:7)

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Recorded for posteriority

You know, I read the other day that if you drive non-stop for 23 hours and 55 minutes you’ll be 5 minutes from Tulsa!

Anyway … as I was about to tell you before I interrupted myself, what an eventful day today has been.

I started the morning by visiting my doctor.

The poor man was not well and I thought it’s kind to visit the sick.

As soon as I entered the doctor’s surgery he asked me to lie down on the couch. I asked him why and he said: “I want to vacuum clean just where you’re standing!”

Then he looked at me and asked “Do you get severe headaches in the morning, followed by stomach pains and trembling of the knees?”

I replied “No … why?”

“Because I’ve been getting these symptoms for a week and I wondered if you knew what they were!" he said.

“Anyhow … what are you here for?” he continued.

I showed him my arm and said “I’ve hurt myself in three places.”

He replied, “Stop visiting these places!”

“And another thing doctor,” I went on, “when I drink tea I get this very sharp pain in my eye.”

“Take the spoon out of the cup before drinking!” he said.

I hesitated for a bit and then told him what I was really there for.

"You see, doctor," I started, "sometimes I feel I am a dog."

"How long has this been going on?" he asked.

"Ever since I was a puppy!" I replied.

"OK ..." he said, "get on the couch."

"I'm not allowed on the couch," I replied. He sighed a little and threw his pen in the corner of the room. "Go and fetch it yourself," I said, "I'm not your dog!"

As I got off the couch the doctor asked me, “Tell me, do you have a horse?”

“No I don’t!”

“Pity,” he said, “I have some horse pills I got from a vet … you wouldn’t like to try them do you? You’ll soon be off at a gallop!"

I refused his pills, so he asked me "Do you have problems passing water?"

I replied, "Only when I cross a river ... I get a little dizzy".

"Anything else?" he continued.

"Yes ... I have water on the knee!" I said.

"That's because you're not aiming straight," he said, "tell me ... what are the symptoms?"

"They are yellow cartoon characters on TV ... there's Homer, Bart, Marge and Lisa ..."

He looked me straight in the eye and asked, "How's your libido?"

I hesitated and then replied, "I've had enough of them Italian cars, I now have a BMW!"

At this point a depressed moth flew in through the window. "Help me help me," it said, "I'm so unhappy!"

"Sorry I can't help you," said the medic, "I am a doctor. Not a psychiatrist, or psychologist, or hypnotist or any similar medic that can help you with depression".

"Yes, I know," said the depressed moth.

"Why did you come in and see me then?" asked the medic.

"Because the light was on ..." replied the moth.

(Oh well ... it made me laugh anyway.)

Anyway ... When I returned home I found the postman in my front garden.

“Is this letter yours,” he asked, “the surname’s obliterated.”

“My surname is Moubarak” I replied.

He gave me the letter. It was from a lawyer. I had been left two valuable items in Aunt Matilda’s last will and testament.

I took the items to an antiques dealer and he confirmed them as a genuine Stradivarius and a Rembrandt.

Unfortunately, Rembrandt was bad at making violins and Stradivarius was a terrible painter!

As I was heading back home, just by the beach, a seagull flew above me and emptied its load on my head. I asked a passer-by if he had a paper handkerchief. He said "It's too late mate. The seagull must be miles away by now!"

And that's how my day was today. What was yours like?

Monday, 11 May 2020

Life as it was for me.




We were on holiday and we decided it would be a good idea to hire some horses and go for a ride on the beach. There was a farm nearby which we knew from the day before that they hired horses, because we saw the sign saying so. We went there and the owner showed us the horses available. "This is a good horse for beginners," he said. 

"How about that horse there?" I asked, pointing at one of the horses in the paddock, "what's his name?"

"Oh ... we haven't named him yet," he replied.

"Good" I said. "We'll have the horse with no name!"
At this point a young lady came out of the farmhouse followed by a boy about ten years old. The owner greeted them both and picked up the child and put him on his shoulders. They all giggled happily.

"You must be strong," I said, "carrying him like that so easily!"

"Oh ... he ain't heavy, he's my brother," said the young lady.
"This is my fiancée," said the owner of the horses, "we hope to get married soon. She likes animals very much. She would like the wedding reception to be held at the local zoo. Just by the monkeys cage!"

I thought he was joking; then I saw her face ...
At this point, the magic of wedding bells and happiness ever after was suddenly shattered as one of the horses let off an almighty fart that turned the air blue. We were all gasping for breath by the smell.
I must have been in quite a state and very shaken by the experience ... and violently shaken I really was ... as I woke up from a most disturbed dream.


Sunday, 10 May 2020

Footprints in the sand - New Version.



FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND - A NEW VERSION