Michael Palin v Fat Watchdog Conman

Did anybody watch any Monday night TV and see the chauvinistic socially awkward dodgy facial hair mobile car repair conman on Watchdog?  The stuff coming out of his mouth about women made me cringe.  And, never slow to take the moral high ground, the Rogue Traders presenter made an absolute fool of him.  The message – how dare he make comments like that about women!  And I totally agree…

…however, just minutes later up pops Michael Palin on his well publicised travels around Brazil.  The first thing he does is take a trip down the beach with some sort of guide to go, as he puts it, ‘girlwatching’.  The guide says how you have to look out for girls with backsides like melons and Palin guffaws along.

Why is it wrong for an eccentric, ugly and socially excluded guy to make these comments about women but it’s ok for one of our national treasures to be just as bad?  I think it shows that if the packaging is trustworthy and charming then we’re easily fooled into missing the blatantly offensive and oppressive.

Palin’s attitude goes back to before my time, to stories that are rife now of sexual harassment in the work place in the 80’s and before.  In everyday life today I don’t think Palin’s attitude would be tolerated yet as a nation we’re quite happy to watch along and turn a blind eye – what we let in through our eyes and ears influences us massively.  Everything needs to be watched with discretion otherwise out integrity, judgment and attitude will easily get damaged.


Some thoughts on abortion

Everybody’s favourite politician, Jeremy Hunt, announced over the weekend that he would like the law on abortion changed from 24 to 12 weeks.  I have a few thoughts on abortion – these comments are not aimed at individuals who have chosen to have an abortion.  It is a powerful and emotional subject and I don’t want to pretend to understand what dilemmas or pain any individual is going through as they choose whether to have an abortion or not.  These brief comments are aimed at the argument regarding abortion – not at indiviudals:

  • A mother was recently charged with murder for killing her baby after 36 weeks of pregnancy by poisoning it.  I presume the same is true for any fetus over 24 weeks?  If abortion is legal then there has to be a line somewhere but it seems crazy that after 168 days of pregnancy a medical procedure has been carried out, but at 169 days of pregnancy somebody has been murdered.
  • I really hate the argument that abortion should be legal because backstreet abortions would be dangerous.  This argument suggests that abortions are unethical, but should still be allowed because of the negative consequences of prohibiting them.  Since when was it a logical argument that an immoral act should be encouraged in order to stop other bad things happening?  Should we provide an NHS murder service for people who are annoyed by others because putting murder underground runs the risk of infection if it goes wrong, injury to bystanders and costs a lot of money in terms of policing and the justice system?
  • My opinion that abortion is wrong is weak because I don’t know where to draw the line at the other end.  What about terminating a fetus before it’s heart beats?  What about the morning after pill?  What about contraception?

I strongly believe that every unborn child is a human being and has the right to life, no matter what circumstances they were conceived in, or what struggles they may have in life because of a known disability or the colour of their hair – it is not for us to choose.  Did you ever meet someone who had an unplanned pregnancy, kept the child, and regretted it?


Procrastination is bad!

We’re in the season of dissertations and revising.  Millions of us are trying to be productive at work every day.  Countless gardens need tending.  Unlimited letters need writing and emails sending.  All the kids across the country need someone to spend some time with them.

But loads of these tasks don’t get done because of procrastination.  Sometimes we can glorify this with comments on facebook similar to the cartoon above (courtesy of Dave Walker).  However, we really should be overcoming this habit of putting off till tomorrow what should be done today.

I was reading a devotion from Joyce Meyer earlier and she stated that if we can avoid procrastination then we can really enjoy our leisure time so much more.  I totally agree with this!  Cull the distractions, be determined, find some ways to be disciplined, get your work done, and then…..RELAX!

Have a productive and relaxing day!

If you tolerate this your children will be next

Tough words from David Cameron today.  I bet Gaddafi is bricking it.  “The world is watching you!” says our daring PM.

Yeah, and I bet the colonel is loving every moment of attention he receives.

I think the thing that has struck me about this chain of Middle East crises is how we in the West love to celebrate the freedom and revolution as the regimes fall, yet for decades we have stood by and done nothing.  What is it about Libya’s atrocities now that causes all the sensationalisation?

I’m sure there are all sorts of political answers but if we can discard those for a while we can see that, as a collective, we are very good at standing by and watching others do wrong.  My understanding of conflicts we have got involved in is that we generally wait until our own interests are fairly directly threatened until we take action.

I wonder if it is possible to help others from almost altruistic motives?

The Promise

I thoroughly recommend that you see The Promise.  The first episode is available on 4 On Demand for the next few weeks.

Mum recommended it to me.  It is a moving look at life in Israel and Palestine and Britain’s role in the establishment of the Israeli state post World War II.  All this through the eyes of a naive yet open minded British 18 year old as she lives with a middle class Israeli family whilst reading through her grandfather’s war diary – he liberated Belsen and then was posted in Palestine to manage the entry of Jewish immigrants.

If you don’t understand the politics of ‘The Holy Land’ then this drama will stimulate you and provoke you and enlighten you.  And who can say they truly understand?

Here’s a glimpse to tempt you:

Jesus was born so I wouldn’t kick the cat

We’re celebrating Christmas today, but we’re not exposed to the traditional lead-up that is experienced in the UK.  So it doesn’t feel at all like a normal Christmas.  Nevertheless, Rada’s parent’s gave us one of their turkeys (ready to cook!) and we’ll have the family round later today for a half traditional British Christmas Dinner.  We’ll have another set of celebrations Montenegro style on 7th January – the Orthodox date for Christmas.

So I was lying in bed this morning, asleep, when I was awoken by a big crash from the kitchen.  I went through to see our stuffing breadcrumbs on the floor and the glass bowl they were in smashed.  It was the cat, she had been ragging the bag of tomatoes around and knocked the bowl on the floor.  I was really really angry.  I must admit my instinct was to take off my slipper and throw it at the guilty creature hiding under the table.  But I remembered…

…today is the day we celebrate the Son of God coming to earth as a human.  Although he was God and had authority over all creation he chose to come in the humblest human form.  A vulnerable baby.  Remember what comes a few months after Christmas?

Easter.  When Jesus was resurrected he defeated death and he also defeated the power of sin in our lives.  I wanted to lash out at the cat because I was angry.  I wasn’t just angry because of the breadcrumbs.  I was angry because I’m a human and often anger is lurking under the surface waiting for an excuse to pop out and vent itself.  But to lose control of your anger is wrong and damages yourself and others.  But I follow Jesus and God’s presence is in me, so I can choose not to lash out.  I can choose to ask his God to give me self-control and peace…

…and remember what we’re celebrating today.

Russia & Qatar to host World Cups

Congratulations to the people of Russia & Qatar (and the rest of the Middle East).  I am really pleased for you and hope you enjoy the World Cups and that your nations benefit in a positive way.

Of course, being an Englishman, I was gutted that England did not win the vote.  And my favourite for 2022 would have been Australia.  But never mind there is no point having sour grapes and I am not writing this post out of bitterness.  However, I am disappointed with the outcome of the FIFA voting and especially that Qatar won.

Reasons Qatar should not host the World Cup

  • They have no football heritage
  • They have never qualified for a World Cup and only once got past the first round of the Asian Cup
  • There are huge amounts of commercial opportunities for FIFA through choosing Qatar – this is not a viable reason for choosing a nation to host a tournament
  • Travelling and staying in Qatar will be a nightmare for the average fan
  • Qatar are super-rich and can simply build the best stadiums and complexes and would have been able to put on extraordinary hospitality for FIFA delegates – it goes against everything that was great about the World Cup in South Africa

Reasons why Qatar should host the World Cup

  • It will be great for the people of the Middle East to have a home tournament.
  • The stadiums look incredible!

Doha Port Stadium, Qatar

Reasons Russia should not host the World Cup

  • Few people would dispute that Russia is a nation full of corruption – given the recent accusations towards FIFA one wonders if there are some dodgy dealings going on
  • They have not qualified for the last two World Cups – I hate nations getting free places at tournaments when they would have been unlikely to qualify otherwise (eg Ukraine & Poland at the next European Championships)

Reasons Russia should host the World Cup

  • They have a great footballing heritage – from 1958-1972 USSR made it to eight major quarter-finals and won the European Championships in 1960 (something England never did!)
  • They have never hosted a major tournament before
  • Many cities will benefit from hosting matches

I think us English need to get over our superiority complex.  We have no divine right to host or win major football tournaments.  Only 2 delegates voted for the England bid!  And I think we can assume one of those was our own Geoff Thompson!  That’s pretty embarrassing and shows that we must have had a very poor bid.

What are your thoughts…..?