Monday 29 June 2020

I believe

I wonder ... if you were to go out in the streets and ask people at random to finish this phrase, what would they say:

I believe ... ... ...

I guess some would say I believe the world is in a bad state right now.

Others might hope for better times and believe that all will be well soon.

Some might believe that there's too much fake news in the world and we don't know what to believe as true or lies.

Maybe people believe that they should keep their heads down, work hard and look after their families.

The pessimists may believe that the economy will get worse and people may lose their jobs and homes. This may lead to further problems ahead.

The optimists may believe that all will be well, they'll do well in life and get what they hope for - be it a good job, home, car or whatever.

The conspiracy theorists will believe whatever conspiracy theorists always believe at any moment in time regarding whatever subject we're discussing.

I wonder ... ... ...

How many people would say - I believe in one living God. The Creator of all things. Who is in control of all things no matter what mess we make of this world.

It seems to me, (correct me if I'm wrong), that people these days are distancing themselves from God. You know ... just like when a politician, or a celebrity, a well known personality, does or says something we don't approve of, and his friends and colleagues distance themselves from the statement or the person.

People are distancing themselves from God.

It is not fashionable these days to say we believe in God. It's not the done thing. We keep our beliefs and religion to ourselves. We don't discuss them openly, in public, at work, or in the pub, the gym or elsewhere. Some of us don't even discuss religion at home.

There was a time when people prayed as a family at home. There was a time when people prayed in schools before lessons began. There was a time when people made the Sign of the Cross before meals, or said Grace.

What? Say Grace before meals in a restaurant? You must be joking. People will think I am weird.

People will think I am weird.

That is why we distance ourselves from God. That is why we don't openly talk about Him. That is why we don't pray so often. Or teach our children about God. It's the school's job to teach about God - but - the school does not, because it sees this as the parents' job. And the children grow up not knowing God.

You cannot distance yourself from Someone you do not know.

And generations grow up not knowing God breeding more generations not knowing God even more.

And a world without God is chaos.
That's what I believe.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Time for Reflections

Another short recording (9 minutes) from my time on the radio.

Saturday 27 June 2020

I am not worthy

We know we are loved by Jesus. We are told so many times in the Bible. By Jesus Himself.

But do we trust these words? Do we believe them? And are we truly worthy of that love? Do we trust Him enough to be by our side at all times of our lives; especially when things are difficult ... very difficult?

Thank you Lord. I am a sinner. I am not worthy ... thank you ...

This "must-see" short video (3 minutes) shows us an example of someone who thought he was not worthy. Do we have as much faith as him? Do we pray and believe Jesus will respond?

Friday 26 June 2020

Perception is truth

I used to have a notice on the wall in my office which read: Perception is Truth.

It helped my team focus on the fact that how they are perceived by our customers, (efficient, knowledgeable, professional and so on), will implant in the customers' mind a positive image of the whole team and organisation.

It also signified that there was a notice on my wall and if you have perceived it then it is in fact there.

And that's the problem with perception.

What you see, or imagine you have seen, is implanted in your mind as something that exists or has happened.

The same applies with sounds. You may have heard something, a conversation in a pub or on the bus, or half-heard it, and then it plays on your mind as to whether you heard and understood it correctly or not. Especially if what you have seen or heard is so astounding and "out-of-this-world" that it challenges your own beliefs and realities.

Let's take this Blog as an example. I've been writing it for some years now and I've had many readers come and go over the years. I'm grateful to the loyal ones who continue to visit me and support my writings. But then I ask you. Do you believe everything you read here?

At the end of the day, who are you going to believe? Your common sense or me?

The other day I checked something or other on Google and it said "This is a falsehood invented by Victor S E Moubarak on his Blog". Talk about my own words coming back to bite me in the backside!

And that's the problem with perceptions. People see something and it is implanted in their minds.

The advertising industry and the fashion and beauty industry have been capitalising on perception for years. They tell you what is glamourous, fashionable, beautiful and something to aspire to.

Many a photo has been touched and re-touched to smooth away any wrinkles or body fat which should not be there in real life.

And society copies what they perceive as the norm. Whenever people describe themselves in Dating or Match-Making websites they often gloss over the unflattering truth and describe themselves better than they really are.

As a young man I sent a dating agency one of my real life photos (untouched and not changed in any way). They returned it with a note saying: "We're not that desperate!"

Eventually I managed to get a date with a young lady through another agency. When I met the lady in question she said I did not look like the photo on the dating website. She said the photo looked as if it had been  drawn by Picasso, and added, "I thought you had a cricked neck. And why in the photo do you have an ear on your forehead?"

I told her that as a fan of Star Trek this was the Final Front Ear!

She then commented that I was much shorter than I had claimed on the website. I replied that I was not that short really, but I was still far away.

It was a question of perception.

She left without even offering to pay for half of the meal we had shared together. A hamburger and a bun can be quite expensive you know!

So you see, "Perception is Truth". She had read something about me on the dating website and I was not as described in real life. Perhaps it was my fault for dating her at a badly lit restaurant ... in a back alley somewhere ... in the poor side of town.

Mind you, she was no picture of beauty herself. In fact she was so ugly that I guess Peeping Toms would ring her door bell and tell her to draw the curtains shut.

And that's perception, be it in a badly lit fast food outlet or in the bright light of day.

How about you? How do your family and friends perceive you?

More important. How does God perceive you? You can't fool Him you know.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Not so close encounter of the priestly kind

I was home alone, working in the front garden. One of the priests I know drove by and stopped to say "hello". He did not get out of the car but chatted for a while from his driving seat.

I did not invite him in. Not with a houseful of pole dancers in the front room!

No ... seriously ... I did not invite him in because he said he was in a hurry about an appointment he had to go to.

He said, "I have not seen you at Confession lately!"
I replied, "Just as well, I thought the purpose of those wooden confessionals is that you don't see us!"

I could see his brain thinking for a while and then he said, "You should go to Confession regularly, either in our church or another one. But you should go regularly!"

"But I don't sin, Father," I said, "my wife sees to that!"

Again, the cogs and wheels in his brain turned slowly and he said nothing. So I had to continue with, "living with her is like being in Purgatory!"

His eyebrows rose suddenly. Obviously, he knew a thing or two about Purgatory. "Is everything all right ... with your marriage?" he asked.

"Oh yes ... yes ..." I said, "all's well, Father ... in fact it was my wife who introduced me to religion ..." I added to re-assure him.

He smiled.

So I continued, "I did not know what hell was until I met her!"

The smile was wiped off his face quicker than you can say anything you care to say at a moment like this. My sense of humour had gone too far this time. I could see he was worried.

I tried to re-assure him but made things even worse by saying, "Oh, it's not her, Father. It's the mother-in-law ... she keeps leaving her broomstick in the lounge whenever she lands unannounced!"

He stepped back in his car and said, "just as well I am in a hurry for my next appointment. Otherwise you would have got a special sermon for one!"

He waved good-bye and left. I did not know whether to feel sorry for him, or for myself.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

The Truth about Aliens from Outer Space

The other day I saw an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO). I know you will not believe me, and that is sad, because this time I am telling the truth.

I was out in the park walking the dog when I saw this white spherical item flying high in the sky. By the time I identified it, the golf ball hit me straight on the forehead.

When I came to, this man said, "Did you not hear me shout fore?"

"Good Lord," I said, "are there three others on their way to hit me?"

"No ..." he replied, "fore is a term we golfers use to warn people when a golf ball is about to hit them. It's like lumberjacks shouting timber before they bring a tree down!"

"You're not going to fell a tree on me now, are you?" I asked him.

"Of course not," he said rather worried, "tell me ... do you know where you are ... and who I am ... and what we're doing here?"

It was obvious he was trying to check whether I had concussion.

I replied, "We are at the Municipal Golf Club, or to be precise the park near it, you are James Fordisque, and we are here because God created us and gave us this earth on which to live and enjoy its beauty and plenty!"

"Good Heavens," he said, "how did you know my name? We've never met."

"It is written on your Golf Club badge which you are wearing!" I replied.

He looked at his badge and appeared relieved that I was OK. He offered to drive me to the hospital for a check-up but I refused.

Before he left, I asked him, "You mentioned trees being felled. If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to see it fall, does it remain upright?"

He asked me if I was sure I did not want to go to hospital. I assured him and he left.

On my way home with the dog I started thinking about Unidentified Flying Objects, (UFOs). Surely, they are unidentified until you identify them. Once you've identified them they are no longer UFOs. At first I did not identify the golf ball. It remained a UFO until it hit me ... or shortly afterwards when I came to.

Yet a lot of people see UFOs and identify them as UFOs. They say it was a UFO. They even describe it as a UFO. Sometimes it is shaped like a saucer, sometimes like a cigar, or a bright light or whatever. But it is always identified as a UFO. Maybe we should call them as such: Identified Unidentified Flying Objects (IUFOs).

And why are they always flying when they are seen by people? Why are they never parked in the supermarket car park in one of the Disabled Spaces, or the Mothers and Toddlers spaces, or such like? Maybe supermarkets should have spaces marked for IUFOs. That way UFOs could park there and people would identify them as such.

Have there ever been UFOs seen on the ground as if they have landed? Or floating in the sea, perhaps? Then they would be called Identified And Landed Unidentified Flying Objects, (IALUFOs). Or Identified And Floating Unidentified Flying Objects, (IAFUFOs). 

And why is it people sometimes say they have been abducted by aliens in UFOs and then lived to tell the tale?

They say they have been taken up in the spaceship and dissected on a laboratory table by aliens to see how we humans work, and then they have been put together again.

If an alien is going to cut somebody up like a worm or a rat on the table at biology lesson in school; then why bother put it back together again? Why not throw the bits away? Or use them in some meat pie or in a vegetable and meat dish? Is it because they have no vegetables in the spaceship?

And why is it when they've put the people they've abducted back together again; why is it they give them a tour of the spaceship? And get them to meet their leader and the crew? Why not wipe their minds clean so they cannot tell anyone else that the aliens have landed and they have abducted them? That would be the logical thing to do if I were an alien. I would wipe their minds so they could not tell anyone about me.

And why is it aliens always speak in perfect English to their abductees? You know ... the people they abduct!

Why not speak to them in Klingon, or French, or Italian, or German or any other language? Is it perhaps that they are speaking in Klingon but by some magical stroke of luck it sounds like perfect English?

And one more thing ... do aliens from outer space play golf?

Maybe I should have my head checked at the hospital!

Monday 22 June 2020

Things That Wind Us Up

Right folks, this is your chance and mine to vent on all the things that wind you up, make you angry, disappointed and upset, or, in my case, makes me want to bite hard on the leg of our dinner table.

Feel free to tell us in the comments box below all the annoying, stupid, frustrating, irritating things in life that make you wonder what this world is coming too. It could be big things, small things, whatever. It could be world events or even things that happen locally, in your town, your street, or even your home.

For example the ever lasting argument about whether the toilet seat should be up or down. I don't understand that. In our house, I have sawn the seat in half at the front bit; so now we have half the seat up and the other half down. Simple.

But I tell you what winds me up. All those TV cooking programs with half-wits showing you how easy it is for you to cook the most elaborate dishes instead of sitting there in front of the TV with a pizza in one hand and a pint of Guinness (or other drink) in the other.

The ingredients for a start: I was sitting there the other day watching this pretend chef cooking a Lobster Thermidor and I thought, "Damn ... where have I put my thermidor? I have a whole lake out there full of lobsters but no thermidors!"

Why is it these well-paid Z rated big-headed personalities assume that we all have a full cupboard of saffron, or caviar, or dried seaweeds in our larder ready for their half-witted culinary creations which would make a dog vomit?

And another thing ... they make it look all so easy and you're somehow inadequate if you can't do as they do. What you don't see on TV is the army of helpers they have behind the cameras who clean and peel and prepare the vegetables; who cut and dice it ready for them to pour in the pan; who clean and wash the pots and pans and cutlery, and who do all the things you have to do at home before you even start to spell the word thermidor.

The other day the so-called chef was showing us how to make a cake with an ice-cream filling. Not just cream; but ice cream. Having made the cake he said it needs to "rest" for 10 minutes in the freezer. He opened the freezer to show us how ... just in case we're stupid and we might put the cake in the trash bin where it belongs. Guess what? The freezer was empty with plenty of space for him to put his cake. Yeah ... right, try putting the cake in my freezer next to the packets of peas and other vegetables, meat joint, fish sticks, shoes, reading spectacles and that car-tire iron I've been looking for for a month!

It is also particularly annoying when these cooks have celebrities on their programs Oohing and Aaaahing at everything they do, like breaking an egg into a bowl as if they're gold medal athletes who have just broken another world record.

Then the idiot-faced has-been celebrities are given a sample to taste and comment on. Well, what do you expect? At the end of a half-hour, or hour program, when the chef has worked hard to come up with one of his famous creation, the guest celebrity is hardly going to spit the food out and say it tastes like a crocodile's testicles, is he?

OK ... let me now calm down and sip a few drops of Guinness. I'm sure there are other things that wind me up and annoy me to extremes.

Experts for instance. No matter what happens in this world; be it political, environmental, medical, agricultural, or relating to the nether regions of one's body, there is always an expert on TV to tell you all about it. Where do these experts all come from, and why don't they go back to hell where they belong? No wonder the world is in such a mess with all these experts contradicting each other and raising my blood pressure.

Oh ... and politicians ... don't get me started about politicians. So I'll end here.

How about you? What does wind you up and makes you really angry? Is it something that happens at home, like your partner snoring, or vacuum cleaning whilst the sports is on TV, or any other habits or mannerisms? Or it could be something else outside the home, like family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues at work or even the priest in church.

My priest makes me go to sleep with his long boring sermons; and then I get a sharp elbow in the side to wake me up. I can hardly tell him that at Confession can I?

Tell us your pet-hates and anger makers in your life!

Sunday 21 June 2020

Time For Reflections

Another short recording (13 minutes) from my days on the radio.
This one contains three songs with a message so relevant to society these days

Saturday 20 June 2020

Don't critique my underpants

I want to be a critic. You know the kind? Like those professional people who work for a newspaper, or magazine, or even TV and they write critiques on cars; which make and model is the best and why.

Or they write critiques about books, films, plays in the theatre, or restaurants.

And what they say matters because they tend to influence many people. The buying public does take account of what they say, it seems.

So if any critic says something nice about my books, hopefully more people would buy and enjoy a copy.

Well, that's what I want to be when I grow up. A critic.

Not of cars for I know very little about cars. Or books, or films or plays or restaurants either. I have no time for any of these.

Far too busy writing my own books, you know.

I'd rather be a food and drinks critic.

For example, I like Guinness.
It's nice whether you buy it in a bottle, a can, or get it in draught from a pub.

There, that's one critical review to my name.

I could also say I like whisky, and my favourite liqueur is Drambuie; and I like a certain tomato ketchup but I get my finger stuck in the top trying to get the last drop out. Why is it there's always a little ketchup that will not come out of the bottle?

Positive critiques or reviews may influence people and encourage them to buy the product. I am grateful to many of you for your kind and generous reviews of my books.

But a negative review can be much more harmful.

It costs a lot of money to make a film, or to put on a production on stage, or to open a restaurant, or make a computer game. All it takes is one bad review to negate all the costs involved and possibly ruin the people or organisations behind the business venture. 

Sometimes, reviewers compete to outdo each other in their negative reviews. They don't want to be out of step with other reviewers, it seems.

I sometimes wonder whether such reviewers think seriously about the harm they are doing with their bad reviews. So they really care? Can they really do any better themselves? Have they ever produced a film or a play, or made a computer game or opened a restaurant? Have they ever risked their money in doing something only to find it is criticised by others?

And how about religion?

I could review different religions and Christian denominations and tell you what I think of each of them and perhaps recommend them to you.

As a Christian, I could also write reams of papers about Christianity, what it is, what it means, and why it is good for you.

You too, you can also do the same and write books and blogs and magazine articles about Christianity.

On the other hand, we could show Christianity by the way we live.

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." St Francis of Assisi.

Thursday 18 June 2020


It seems to me everyone is in pursuit of happiness to the detriment of everyone else. "As long as I'm happy then that's OK" seems to be the unspoken motto imprinted on some peoples' minds.

But what is happiness? And how long does it last? Once you have happiness does it stay with you for ever? Or does it run out like the last drop of coffee in your cup?

Remembering my managerial days at work, I recall that happiness is a transient state of being. If an employee is, (or believes), he is not well paid he would be unhappy. He may demand more money; or even strike with other employees and bring the work to a stand-still.

If he is then given more money commensurate with what he feels he is entitled he is no longer unhappy. But that does not necessarily, or always, mean that he is happy. He may remain in this state of being no longer unhappy until such a time when he desires more remuneration; at which point he would revert to being unhappy and start the process all over again.

So it could be said that happiness is a state of not being unhappy, and it comes and goes for varying periods of time depending on the circumstances and the individual involved.

In other words, happiness is different things to different people.

For me, happiness is waking up in the morning and finding there is no one else sleeping in the park bench beside me. I often lose my way home when I've been out with friends to the pub late at night. So we walk to each other's homes and drop each one to his home in turn. I'm often the last one to get home, and I lose my way, and end up in the park.

Happiness to a Catholic like me is a resisted temptation. But then, also when yielded to, it gives greater happiness.

Happiness to me is getting home and finding a piece of cheese in the mousetrap. This is double happiness because it means we have no mice. And also I can have some cheese and biscuits for supper.

The other day I experienced a lack of happiness when I caught my tongue in the mousetrap as I was licking the remainder of some Brie or Camembert. We use expensive cheese in our traps to attract a higher class of mice. None of those common riff-raff mice around here.

Happiness to some is being recognised, loved and appreciated. The other day a man in the street recognised me. This did not make me happy because I did not recognise him. He said, "Don't you remember me?"

I looked at his face for a while, then looked at the pretty lady he was with for a longer while, but still did not recognise her. There was something vaguely familiar about her curves, but I could not put my finger on it in case he hit me.

He interrupted my admiration and said, "Do you still not recognise me?"

I replied, "I make a point of never forgetting a name or a face. But in your case I'll make an exception. Who are you?"

He said, "I'm the plumber who fixed the leek in your house three years ago! Don't you recognise my face?"

I replied, "When you look at the mirror every morning, you see your face and you recognise it. But when I look at the mirror every morning, I don't see your face. How do you expect me to recognise you? I remember the bill you sent me though!"

I doubt he was happy after that. And neither was I, remembering how much I paid him to fix the leek.

People say money can't buy happiness; but I guess it can rent it for a while. Does love bring one happiness? I tell you, happiness is when you marry a beautiful woman and then discover she has money too.

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family, that lives in another town far away.

Happiness is getting home and not finding a broomstick in the lounge; and mother-in-law is not here.

Happiness is the interval between disappointments.

Happiness is when your dentist says it won't hurt, then he cuts his hand on the drill.

I never really knew what happiness is until I got married; by then it was too late! (I hope she's not reading this).

I'd better stop here ... but why don't you join me in a song about happiness.

Wednesday 17 June 2020


How would you like to wake up in the morning and finding you're sitting there next to those men?

The photograph depicts 11 men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling 840 feet (260 meters) above the New York City streets. The photograph was taken on September 20, 1932, on the 69th floor of the RCA Building during the last months of construction. (Wikipedia)

Can you imagine waking up one morning and finding yourself sitting on that girder 840 feet high, between two men holding you and saying, "don't make any sudden movements or we'll all fall off!"

Tell us honestly, how would you feel then?

Have you ever dreamt as if you are falling and you wake up suddenly with a start? What's all that about?

I have invented a remedy against falling out of bed in such circumstances. I have fitted seat belts from an old car to the bed. We just tie ourselves in and we're safe from falling. It's a problem though when having to go to the bathroom in a hurry. It's not easy to find the release mechanism of the belt that quickly. I once rushed to the bathroom carrying the whole mattress and my wife with me. She thinks I'm an idiot.

What do you think?

Sleeping and waking up are odd phenomenons - or phenomena if that is the plural of phenomenon. It only matters when you're awake anyway; who cares what the word is when asleep?

You go to bed, you lie on your back, you think of this and that, mostly that. Perhaps you count sheep to get to sleep; or perhaps you do risk assessments in your head regarding the health and safety of the sheep. Is the hedge too high for them to jump over? Do they have to jump anyway? Why not have a gap in the hedge for the sheep to go through?

And suddenly ... it's time to wake up again.

No one understands how it happens. One moment you're lying there thinking. The next you're asleep and you don't even know it. Because when you're asleep you do not know whether you're asleep or not, do you?

No one really knows the precise time they go to sleep. It just happens. And then they're up again.

Isn't that glorious? Just ask anyone what time they went to sleep. They won't know. They'll tell you what time they went to bed, and what they did in bed; but not when they went to sleep.

Sleeping is one thing. Waking up can be different for different people. Of course, it depends on the circumstances in which you wake up from your sleep.

Sometimes in the morning I wake up grumpy. At other times I leave her sleeping and get down and make breakfast.

I hate it when I wake up and discover I have missed my exit on the Highway and I have to drive miles further to the next exit. Don't you?

I once woke up and hit the car parked ahead of me. A short man came out of the car and came towards me and said, "I am not happy!"

"All right," I replied, "which one are you?"

On another occasion I woke up totally soaking wet. The man in the boat said, "if you punch the shark on the nose he'll go away!"

Another time, after going to the pub with my Keep-Fit Trainer, I woke up in the gorilla enclosure at the local zoo. The trainer was outside and he said, "I told you you're so fit you COULD fight a gorilla; not SHOULD fight a gorilla!"

The gorilla held me tight and would not let me go. I think she liked me and wanted to marry me. I was probably the best mate she'd ever seen. I tried to explain I was already married but she did not understand.

My trainer threw in some peanuts and she preferred them to me. Can you imagine that? The rejection still hurts to this day.

Some people sleep alone whilst others sleep with other people. Some people read before going to sleep; others sit there eating or reading. Some read books. Some read newspapers or magazines. Whilst others read a Kindle. I read a Kindle once. It seems such an expensive way to read a book, having to buy a new Kindle every time you want to read another book.

As I said, some people like to sleep with someone else. Some people even like to sleep with their pets in bed. I slept with my pet in bed once. When I woke up the bed was totally soaking wet; and my goldfish had died.

Some people like to sleep in their pajamas. Others in their night-dress whilst others sleep in the nude; which can be hilarious if you wake up and see yourself in the mirror.

In England some people sleep naked but with their hat on; You've got to keep proprieties after all! Just in case you meet someone in your dreams and you can take your hat off by way of salutation.

How about you? Do you sleep with your hat on?

One day some Angels were looking out of the window in Heaven and counting, "One ... two ... three, four ... five ... six ..."

Jesus came by and asked them, "What are you doing?"

They said, "We are counting how many people thank God as soon as they wake up for seeing them safely through the night!"

Tuesday 16 June 2020

More fake news

I have thought long and hard about posting this article. I do not intend to offend anyone; but this is an example of what I was writing about yesterday.

Yesterday's post entitled Facts, Truth and Lies was making the point that in these days of social media one can post anything and it seems to be reposted time and again regardless of whether it is true or not.

Here's a story that's been doing the rounds which I have received. It is alleged that apparently the story is true.

It seems this young lady got out of the building in the nude and entered a taxi. The driver was amazed and flabbergasted as well as astonished.

She said to him, "What's the matter with you? Have you never seen a naked woman before?"

He replied, "Sorry Miss ... I was wondering where you keep your money to pay me!"

Personally, I doubt that the story is true. But this is immaterial.

Whether the story is true or not does not matter. What is true is the photograph.

I ask myself, what made this woman take off her clothes in public and get in a taxi for all to see ... and photograph?

Was it a bet at a party? Was it a dare? Was she drunk perhaps? Did she get paid for this stunt?

Whatever her reasons, the photo has been taken and is doing the rounds on the Internet.

No doubt, one day she will regret taking part in this exercise.