Friday, 29 October 2010

Six months and still learning...

Toady I have been in Germany exactly six months and I'm now feeling quite at home. The topography is starting to make sense, and I find I'm understanding enough of the language to make sense of what is said around me, on the radio and even on the TV. It's still quite a challenge and I set aside time each day to do my language lessons. It would be great if I could have joined a class of course, but the take up seems a bit low, so now I'm waiting until the end of November when there is another class I have booked for. Hopefully this one will run.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Religious decline

I had a very interesting discussion recently with a former ministry colleague who moved to north England to work in a very difficult parish and diocese, one now in the heartland of the area now populated by Islamic immigrants. It was a very working class area, one deeply and possibly irreparably affected by the power struggle between militant unionism and government in the 1980s. Trying to make a church, much less the message of the Gospel, relevant to people who have seen their communities destroyed, their way of life changed irrevocably and who now must compete for wealth with people of a different culture, with different expectations and different desires for the future, makes life for a vicar difficult to say the least.

My interest was really fired up though, when he mentioned that their muslim neighbours are more friendly than the supposedly Christian ones and certainly more generous when it comes to helping those in need. But, when we came to discussing the young people and their attitudes to religion I was surprised by his statement that Islam faces the same decline in the UK as Christianity. For most young folk, it is a 'folk religion.' Young people now only attend the mosqes regularly if they want to make a point, but for most, its the religion their parents follow and they just tag along. In his view, Islam is perhaps twenty years behind Christianity before it starts to decline dramatically. Clearly the strife between the fanatics has begun to appear as stupid as it is to the youth - who aren't that gullible or stupid!

Even more interesting though is the news that a recently published sociological study identifies an interesting trend. While religion is in decline in Europe, it is on the rise in every other continent. What is also identified is that it is changing, with less growth among the 'traditional' structures of church or mosque and far more on the fringes among small groups, communities and even totally individual explorations. No one seems to know why Europe is bucking the trend. Are we ahead of the rest? More aware of the scientific debate? Or are we actually behind the curve and the rest are onto something our thinkers and educators have not yet spotted?

I think this will be a very interesting area to watch in the coming years. It will also be a challenge to the churches to discover why it is that the traditional dogmas, doctrines and strutcures are so unappealing. Interesting times ahead I think for those who still hold a faith and practice it.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Ploughing ahead with the new textbook

Progress with the new textbook for the Insititution of Fire Engineers is slow, but steady. Lot's of it is already there in a sort of framework, but there are a few gaps, moreexpansions of information and a lot of words still to be checked, edited, sometimes taken out and replaced and so on.

Deadline is early 2011...

Back to the grindstone.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Slow Progress.

My German lessons are progressing slowly. I seem to make progress only to get myself completely tangled in a simple sentence at the first opportunity to try out my language skill. Pronunciation, tenses, articles and the personal pronouns all get muddled as soon as I try to string them together. Still, most of those I deal with are understanding and try to help.

I'll get there, perhaps its just that patience has never been my strong suit.

Brilliant explanation of Climate Skepticism

Found a fascinating video of Climate Skeptic The guy is a young college and university graduate and a skeptic of the "Global Catastrophe" the Global Warming lobby are trying to promote.

I heartily recommend visiting his site and watching and listening to this explanation, particularly those who have young kids who may be being fed the Al Gore/ Mike Hansen version.

I wish guys like this could actually get aired on the mainstream media. Unfortunately, they are all controlled by the AGW propagandists.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Sleepless in the Taunus

Madam Paddy has a bladder problem and had a bad night. So did we.

This is a recurrence of a problem she had in January and we had a bout of it last week. Last night we noticed she seemed to be showing the same signs and sure enough, found she has a problem again. She is now 20 years old and I suppose is entitled to a few health problems. The bigger problem is the vet is in Bad Schwalbach and it needs a car to get there.

So this evening she has another visit scheduled. Hopefully this one will contain the problem.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Differing responses

I have watched with fascination, the different responses to the austerity measures being announced around Europe. The French Unions seem to be in open rebellion over their government's attempt to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the Greeks went wild over an attempt to move theirs from 55! With people in Britain having to work to 65 and in a few years to 66 to reach Pension age one does wonder how some of these State's expected to fund the early ages they originally set.

Perhaps the answer can be gleaned from a statement I caught earlier, from the spokewoman for the CGT in France. She declared that raising the retirement age of existing workers harmed the prospects of school and university leavers seeking work. Her argument seemed to be that by allowing older people to stay in employment meant that jobs would not become available for those starting out. This has echoes of the socialist pipe-dream of "Full Employment" so much trumpetted by the chattering classes who tried to seize the assets and investments of individuals in their "Nationalisation" programmes of the 1940 - 1970 period. The idea was that by centrally "managing" commerce and industry you could create job expansion programmes and ensure that there would always be jobs and everyone would be employed somewhere.

This is, of course, why they never allowed for investment of Pension Contributions and continually collected money for this and the health services which was then spent on social engineering schemes in all sorts of wasteful and now failed projects. And now that the population who paid for a pension would like to receive them, thank you very much, there is nothing in the bank.

Full Employment was a dream of the Communist planners and it works, assuming you can keep factories running on out of date machinery, producing goods no one wants to buy and which end up being recycled endlessly to make new appliances which end up being recycled... This is the sort of thinking which led, in the 1970's, to ports in the UK having to employ a "stevedore" to sit in the cab of every straddle carrier at container berths. He didn't do anything, there was nothing for him to do anyway, but why pay a man who could have retrained to do something economical? The same thing happened in the UK's shipyards, with demarcation between Unions which caused disruption and delays to new building and maintenance of ships to the extent that buyers went elsewhere. Apart from anything else, the Unions wouldn't allow the introduction of new building techniques - because these required fewer workers. One by one the Yards closed ...

The same happened in the mines culminating in the Thatcher years which saw mines, that had the ability to be viable and productive, closed, because the Union refused to allow any modernisation and the losers are still bitter and resentful - but they misdirect their resentment. It is the Union that destroyed thier jobs, not the government. Had the Miners Union allowed the modernisations and been less embedded in Soviet style thinking, many would now still be mining.

The French have evaded addressing these and other problems for several decades now. It may be too late, it may already be heading toward and fullscale civil war and that will be bad for the whole of Europe.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Trafalgar Day

Today is the day that Admiral Lord Nelson broke forever Napoleon's hope of invading and conquering England. As I write this, he lay dying in the orlop of HMS Victory. The battle itself set the Royal Navy as the dominant Navy for the next hundred years and even in 1914 it's fleets numbered more ships and spread across more oceans than any the world had seen before or since.

Nelson, Collingwood, Rodney, Howe, Hood and all those who made Britain great must be turning in their graves at what the nation they fought and, in Nelson's case, died for, has been reduced to.

As one Admiral is on record as saying, the Navy's greatest enemies have never been those they fought, but those at home in Westminster who will sell their soul's and everything the nation has, in order to hold onto power. They will discover soon that without the means to back it, it has a way of slipping out of their grasp.

It cannot escape the notice of those who study the great sweep of history of nations, rather than tiny segments, that Britain ruled a worldwide empire with half a million soldiers and sailors and just three thousand civil servants. They now have no Empire, no armed forces to speak of and five million civil servants.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Hefty cuts

It looks increasingly as if Mr Cameron is going to make some serious cuts to Whitehall, and many would say, not before time. Whitehall seriously needs pruning, one of the major problems in the UK is that, under Labour, the Civil Service has expanded to a size and been given powers it should never have reached or had. The UK Civil Service employs more than one fifth of the UK workforce. Since they are paid by the taxpayers, they are almost now reaching the point of being self employed.

The attempt to 'save' £83 billion will be unpopular, but is the inevitable result, as it was in 1974, of the Labour Party penchant for spending way beyond the National income. As one commentator has put it, the annual cost of debt repayments Gordon Brown has committed the UK to for the next generation, would pay for three aircraft carriers (Probably to be deleted in this review), several hundred schools, hospitals and even the teachers and medical professionals to staff them. It would fund some real growth and some real investment in the future of the country.

The problem I see coming for the UK from today's budget is that it will have been prepared in Whitehall by the same vested interests that created this mess and have a vested interest in protecting their power base. That means that the armed services, police, fire services, ambulance services and real jobs will be lost while the non-jobs such as Equalities Monitoring Units, bureaucrats shuffling paper and never accepting responsibility for their failures, more social engineering and more waste will continue unabated. Companies like KPMG will earn even bigger profits and even more senior civil servants will find comfy homes and offices in the KPMG, Price Waterhouse and other "consultancy" businesses.

Its all in the nature of the beast. Only one thing will stop it - kill it completely.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Medical visits

Today has been 'interesting' as Madam Paddy had a small medical problem last night and had to spend the night shut in the bathroom, in her travelling box, with a soil tray. Given that earlier in the evening I had been diagnosed as having Diverticulitis and have been in a little discomfort now for several days, I needed a little sleep as I prepared to face the Gastrologist today...

Madam got first go, with the vet. She accepted our ministrations with reluctance and a slew of bad language, fortunately all in English Cat so the Vet wasn't that offended. Then we whipped Madam home, gave her a treat and the dreaded 'pill' the vet prescribed, and dashed into Wiesbaden for my appointment.

The Gastrologist proved to be very friendly, did a brief examination and discussion and declared that I needed an endoscopic examination but that I first had to get rid of the infection so she could do it without risking further damage. Then I had some blood samples taken - and confess to thinking of the famous Hancock sketch "The Blood Donor" in which he declares, "A pint? That's almost a whole armfu!" I think the irony was lost on the young lady taking the samples from me though...

Now I await the new antibiotics and have to start taking an 'interesting' drink which is supposed to 'flush my system...' Quite.

And all for a bit of a pain in my side... At least Madam Paddy seems to be making a swift recovery!

Monday, 18 October 2010

"Multi-Culti" ist Tot!

It's official, the Kanzellerin herself has said so and so have a procession of Federal Ministers in the last day or so. It has failed spectacularly, according to the Federal Government which has done extensive research and uncovered a hopeless mess. The policy has not resulted in better integration or understanding. Instead it has fostered division, resentment, abuse of the system to take advantage of over tolerance of minority 'rights' and deeper division than ever. Immigrants are failing or refusing to integrate or to learn to speak German - something I'm struggling to do, but which many immigrants feel is unnecessary as long as they are allowed to do their own thing and set up isolated "communities" of their own in their host country.

I sincerely hope that the UK takes note of this study and the decision - a brave one in the face of left wing/liberal 'horror' at this revelation that one of their cherished articles of faith is now shown to be a monumental failure and sham. Somehow I doubt that the current coalition will have the same courage, especially in view of their having allowed the Harman driven "Equalities Act" which is divisive, a complainers charter and gives powers to the Civil Service to impose quotas for employing women, ethinic minorities and gays to stand. That Act alone will drive a coach and horses through any pretence of "Equality" as it will be a recipe for the "Multi-Culti" Gauleiters of the Left to continue their dream of a Britain practicing the new Apartheid.

For those who don't know, "Apartheid" was supposed to foster a "Multi-cultural Society" in which each "Cultural and Ethnic Group" could develop at its own pace and follow its own path. It couldn't be made to wrk then, it cannot be made to work now and thank God, the German government has had the guts to say so. What will it take to get the British Political Establishment to acknowledge this? Probably a Civil War, after all they wrote the Constitution for South Africa which provided the framework on which the Apartheid policy was built...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Faithful future...

I sometimes wonder if the Roman Catholic Church, with its moving back into it's medieval enclave and rolling back of the detente that Vatican 2 allowed, has actually thought this through. It cannot have escaped the notice of those in the pews that the last fifteen or so years of John Paul II's reign saw the unchecked rise into key posts of the most hardline organisations and their spokesmen. Benedict XVI was, without doubt, something of an eminence grise behind the Papal throne and while I do not agree with the hysterical lobby in the UK who seek to make him personally responsible for the abuse of children, I do take leave to doubt that his reign will either advance Christian unity or be good for his own Church.

One thing that has always troubled me about the Roman claim to exclusive validity of spiritual authority and exclusive possession of the 'true' Gospel is what this says about the faith of those who share the same creed, the same Bible and the same faith - except the bit about the Pope being the legitimate successor of St Peter and having the 'authority' given to Peter by Christ. It is simply this - their position to exclusive faith implies that anyone not within their Church wastes their time praying or worshipping. If Rome alone has the spiritual authority, then anyone else's prayers are pointless, since they will not be heard in heaven and no matter how good a life any non-Roman leads, they have no hope at all of Salvation.

To me, that is patently false. It is a complete misrepresentation of the Gospel and, interestingly, is founded not in the Gospels, though they constantly quote passages to support this claim, but in the medieval power struggles for control of the Church. Rome's claims were rejected outright by the Orthodox Church in the 10th Century after they first emerged in the 8th Century. Almost all the writings that are now quoted to support the claim of succession were written between the 8th and the 11th Centuries and are patently efforts to justify the Bishop of Rome's claims. Close examination of the list of Pope's reveals some interesting anomalies, not least the fact that at least one of them was a follower of the Arian Heresy (Modern Shia Islam is founded on this heresy) and others of the 3rd and 4th Century are equally dubious.

As I said at the outset, I have no reason to wish to see the Roman Catholic Church continue to be under attack from secularists, humanists and atheists, because it damages all of Christianity. I do hope and pray though, that Rome can be brought to the realisation that a retreat into the medieval practices and enclaves is not going to serve any Christian well and it certainly will not aid the spread or the teaching to the Gospel.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Chile's exercise in Faith

I cannot help but wonder at the effect of faith on the way in which the trapped miners coped with being incarcerated for almost three months below ground. Or the effect of knowing that their wives, sweethearts and friends on the surface were praying for their safe return. There can be no doubt that it affected to determination of those operating the massive drill which sank the rescue shaft. Nor can there be any doubt that the entire Chilean population joined in the call to pray.

A post by the Gorse Fox got me wondering, especially now that we have seen the rescued miners and heard fro their own accounts, that they had no doubt they were being "watched over" and would be saved, as to how our leading secularists and anti-faith celebrities would have responded or coped.

I somehow feel that packing something like thirty-three people with the mental attitudes of Richard Dawkins or the mental make-up and religious views of Stephen Fry, Polly Toynbee or any of the other articulate anti-Christian and anti-faith lobbyists currently publishing adverts saying things like "There is probably no God ...", would produce a very different response. I don't think any of these people would be able to deal with the uncertainty and the threat of imminent death. Of course, you could rightly point out, that none of these people would be down a mine anyway, and you'd be right. But you may also be certain that they are only able to exercise their supposed "intellectual freedom" and pursue their totally narcissistic lifestyles because there are people like the Chilean miners who do hold to faith and who are willing to work in these dangerous conditions to generate the wealth the likes of Dawkins, Fry and others enjoy.

No doubt Dawkins et al would tell you they have no connection with the miners, but they'd be wrong. The investments that pay Professor Dawkins generous annual stipend and fund his research is intricately bound up in commercial investments, some of them definitely linked to mining somewhere. Stephen Fry earns his living 'entertaining' and thus, is dependent on the wealth of others who can afford to go to the theatre, and they earn their money in ... Likewise the lady author who started the campaign of adverts on busses and in the Underground and Ms Toynbee's family wealth is founded on slavery, sweated labour and some pretty dodgy 'business' dating back to the 18th Century.

I have no doubt at all that the prayers, Masses and faith of the Chilean miners, their families and friends and even of their fellow countrymen has had an effect upon their survival and the health they are displaying now they are safe. I cannot escape the feeling that a bunch of faithless atheists placed in the same position and without the outpouring of faith and prayer, would not have done half as well and would, as of now, by in 'Counselling' and 'recovering from Traumatic Stress Disorder.' It cannot be a coincidence that the explosion of the need for 'stress counselling' and treatments for 'Traumatic Stress Disorder' has accompanied the determined assault on Christian Faith and the constant mantra from the Humanist Society that there is no God but man ...

Friday, 15 October 2010

Autumn rolling in...

The temperatures are definitely falling now and today it is cold - under 10*C and damp, with mist a light rain. So much for the weather forecast...

That said, this is a nice time of the year, lots of amazing colours in the forests, Red Squirels collecting nuts and goodies to store up, birds building nests and, as Mausi has pointed out, the geese and the storks migrating south. The Siberian Swan population moves south at this season as well, though not as far as the geese, just to the relative warmth of a European winter...

Madam Paddy has expanded and built up a thick undercoat of furand is scoping out the warm spots in the house where she can stay out of the drafts - there aren't many, but she's making sure - and keep comfortable between meal breaks, snack attacks and toilet visits...

I begin to suspect a cold winter ahead.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Language lessons...

Are taking up quite a bit of my day at present, probably not helped by trying to figure out what the Exercises actually want me to do! Still, progress, though slow, is being made...

Speaking of languages, I'm going through the Galley Proofs for a new book, Their Lordships Request and finding that the little gremlin built into Word for Mac or Microslosh Word has been a busy little beastie. It removes spaces between words and at the end of sentences on a completely random basis when you transfer a Word for Mac file (Office for Mac 2008) to a Word equivalent on a PC. It is random and so, when the publisher inserted my Word files into a Word Pagemaker program - guess what. Now I have to comb the whole document and mark up all the little gaps that have gone missing...

Oh what fun it is to be struggling to learn a new language and to have to deal with a difference in "computer languages" which messes up the format in such a subtle manner.

Monday, 11 October 2010


That's Dentist Day to the rest of us. Me, to the dentist for some dental checking and cleaning up. Urgh, I'd rather go fight a fire in an oil refinery.

Mind you, the dentist is nice, wants to sell me some more caps for what's left of my teeth and certainly knows what he's doing. So now all I have to do is psyche myself up for the visit at 10.30....

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Preparing for winter

The forest has turned gold and brown, with occssional shades of red. The migratory birds left some time ago, but the other animals are busy growing their winter coats and the horses around us are munching grass and enjoying the sunshine while we have it. Our local Red Kites are apparently making the most of the stripped fields and thinning leaves and can be seen - alongside the Merlins and kestrels - hunting and feasting busily.

This afternoon, after yesterday's efforts to clear our drainage ditch and cut back our hedge, we took a long walk in the forest. It was cool, but refreshing. A Jay landed near us as we walked, unconcerned until Mausi tried to take a photo. It immediately vanished. But one encounter in our garden has surprised us - Lady Birds (Bugs to the US reader!) were busy on a bush near our front door.

The skies have been beautifully clear for the last two days, which means, of course, wonderful starscapes at night, but a distinct chill as well. Any day now the wild geese and swans will pass over on their way south. For us though, we have isolated the outside tap and drained the pipes. The hose is put away and so is the BBQ, the cushion box for our patio recliners has come indoors and we are almost ready for the winter. Only the car tyres need to be swopped over to our snow tyres at the end of the month and we're ready.

It's going to be interesting to see the change of season to winter now.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Book Fairs

I spent Thursday and Friday on a stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair. This is held annually at the Messe Centre in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany and is the world's largest Book Fair. Believe me, it is huge. It occupies eight large Halls and six of these are multistorey. The site itself is so large it has moving walkways and a bus service.

These Fairs are really bunfights for the publishers and the insiders of the industry, authors are, one gets the distinct impression, an unfortunate necessity. As at the London Book Fair, the publishers don't want to talk to you if you are not accompanied by an agent or are one of their "best sellers." The agents for their part don't want to talk to you unless you've made an appointment at least six months in advance and even then it depends on whether they are actually interested in anything you have written. It is all about selling the books they have already got in production and not about finding any new talent or products.

This Fair was very interesting because I met several other authors like myself, in that interesting limbo of trying to sell their work and being already published in various fields. Why were we there at all? Quite simply because we were all on the books of a company that is trying to sell the publishing 'rights' to our work into countries and languages that we are not currently sold to. In that regard we may well - at least some of us - have been lucky. Certainly there were several enquiries from Indian Publishers for my work and that of a couple of others.

It was useful as well, because I learned a great deal and got several leads to follow up, so while it isn't about authors, it is certainly a useful experience. Now I'd better get back t selling my work the hard way...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

I'm with this guy all the way...

"I'm 63 and Im Tired"
by Robert A. Hall

I'm 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I'm tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes." Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I'm willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.

I'm tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe , the freedom of the press of China , the crime and violence of Mexico , the tolerance for Christian people of Iran , and the freedom of speech of Venezuela .

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to.

I'm tired of being told that "race doesn't matter" in the post-racial world of Obama, when it's all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois.

I think it's very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.

I'm tired of a news media that thinks Bush's fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama's, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush's military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America , while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore's, and if you're greener than Gore, you're green enough.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don't think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I'm tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.

I'm tired of illegal aliens being called "undocumented workers," especially the ones who aren't working, but are living on welfare or crime. What's next? Calling drug dealers, "Undocumented Pharmacists"? And, no, I'm not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it's been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I'm willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn't have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military.... Those are the citizens we need.

I'm tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close. So here's the deal. I'll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we'll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.

I'm tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I'm tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois , where the "Illinois Combine" of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama's cabinet.

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

Speaking of poor, I'm tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn't have that in 1970, but we didn't know we were "poor." The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!
This is your chance to make a difference.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Frankfurt Book Fair

This is billed as the biggest in Europe and I have linked up with a company called Strategic Rights Services to be an "Author in Booth" on Thursday the 7th October. I'm going in with my portfolio, though they are promoting The Enemy is Within! and I have no idea what to expect, but, fingers crossed, prayers said, and plenty of hope that it will give me some openings into the mainstream.

I'll post more on the outcomes and the experience - perhaps even some photographs - in a day or two...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Thought for the day...

Something for all our left-leaning socialists to consider carefully ...

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out
of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person
must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody
anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When
half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the
other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the
idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what
they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You
cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

Monday, 4 October 2010

Sometimes you wonder...

I came across this on a site, called "Icanhascheeseburger" that does nothing but post pictures of cats doing some of the cutest "cat" things. Sometimes when you raise an animal from a very young age, they adopt characteristics and behaviours which are untypical of their species. Psychologists call this "imprinting."

With cats I'm not so sure. Personally I think they are doing some serious evolving and anyone who lives with them in close proximity will know what I mean. Ever since I saw an X-ray of a cat's forepaw (Madam Paddy Cat's actually) I have wondered about a number of things - their forepaws have a bone structure that could be a child's hand...

So this rather cute pair of images should not amaze us, though I suspect it will make us wonder.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Apostolic Authority

In a recent exchange of views with another commentator on another blog, the point was raised as to only a priest consecrated as a bishop by the Roman Church is a true bishop in the "Apostolic Succession." In short, only someone approved by Rome as the successor of St Peter, and therefore claiming the "authority vested in Peter by Christ" can be said to have the "spiritual authority" for his Office.

I think the point is a moot one, since it hinges on the claim that the Bishop of Rome has always exercised that authority and historically he has not. In fact there is considerable doubt as to whether the likes of John the Divine, James the Great or any of the other Apostles recognised it. There is no suggestion in the New Testament or in any of the writings of that period which suggest he did. It is even doubtful whether Peter actually consecrated anyone as a successor or even claimed the title of Rome's Apostle for himself. The eastern Churches rejected these claims comprehensively in the 8th Century and the majority of English Bishops saw the break as an opportunity to reform and eradicate the abuses that arose from that authority.

Rome won no adherents from the excesses of Bloody Mary and her Spanish husband in England during her thankfully brief reign and the restored church flourished under Elizabeth despite many Papally backed assassination attempts. Of 40 bishops prior to the break, 30 remained in post after Henry's 'reform' which, in essence, was as simple as refusing the Pope the right to interfere with the administration of church or state and justice in England. No wonder so many bishops welcomed it. In Edward VI's reign the protestant faction, influenced heavily by Calvin and Zwingly had the reins, but that came to an abrupt end when Edward died. During Mary I's reign, some twenty of the bishops fled abroad, returning after her death to restore the church to something resembling Henry's original idea. During Cromwell's ghastly reign, twelve bishops remained in England, though they were under threat of death if captured, and the rest were restored when the King returned. The remainder 'retired' or went into exile though some died for their faith.

Did Peter have to approve the appointment of Timothy? I doubt it. I doubt too whether he was even consulted by any of his brother apostles when they appointed Episcopoi to oversee their churches across the Middle East and North Africa.

Prior to around 600 AD synods were regularly called and held by various bishops and Rome was not always present or represented. In fact, the Bishop of Rome was an adherent of the Arian heresy during the time of Martin of Tours campaign to counter it, though I note this is omitted from the Catholic Encyclopedia. Had Martin not succeeded in driving the Arians from office we would all be following a faith that looks something like Shia Islam.

Rome did not become the central power of the western church until after the collapse of the last Western Roman Emperor in the early 500's AD. The then Bishop seized the opportunity and adopted the Imperial Purple setting up his own version of the Senate - the Curia. That claim was more than enough to send the Orthodox churches off in their own direction and split the "catholic faith" fatally as far as the looming rise of Islam was concerned. While modern reinterpretations of the history of the crusades focus on the "Christians" attrocities against Muslims, they ignore the fact that much of this war was actually fought to bring the Orthodox Churches to heel under Rome. There was no theology behind this, just the Papal desire to assert political authority - and the desire of landless nobles to seize lands for themselves while ostensibly 'serving God.'

As I said, the Papal claim is a very moot point and one which the Old Catholic Church ( A sort of European version of Anglicanism) also dispute vigorously. The Old Diocese of Utrecht held the right, agreed by various Councils of the Church in the 6th Century and confirmed afterward at further Councils, to elect and appoint their Bishops. At the Reformation, the Protestants seized the churches and drove out the bishop, though he remained and continued to exercise a ministry. Rome saw his chance and declared the autonomous See of Utrecht as a "Mission Field" which allowed Rome to renege on the historic 'right' of that See to appoint its own bishops.

The argument is not, and probably never was, about spiritual authority. It is about political power and who wields it even in today's world. And while we argue about these details, Islam is making hand over fist advances in the west as the churches lose Christ's flock to the revived Arian heresy that is Islam because they cannot see any relevance in a faith that argues over even the fundamentals of what we believe.

Christ must be weeping.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

When I'm sixty-four ...

Today I'm sixty-four and that damned Beatles song keeps whirling around in my head...

At least my youngest daughter is here to celebrate it with Mausi and me and we have plans for a super evening meal. There is a "Medieval Fayre" in Breithart - a neighbouring village - today and we plan to visit that for some fun. There is also a Roman Market in another village tomorrow which should be great fun, especially as it is being held at a recostructed "Limes Tower" - the German version of Hadrian's Wall, much of it quite close to our home.

What's it like being sixty-four? I don't know, but I guess I'll find out as the year progresses...

Friday, 1 October 2010

Don't Grow Old in England ...

My currently favourite poet for his swipes at many sacred cows recently penned this -

Don't grow old in England
'Cos it ain't a lot of fun,
The government don't want you
When your working life is done.

You become a burden,
To the system and the State,
Something that our leaders
Really cannot tolerate.

They can't give you a decent
Despite what you've paid in,
Because you've become a problem-
You really cannot win.

The price of almost everything,
It seems, increases at will,
The pension, on the other hand,
Seems mostly to stand still.

Budgeting now is something
That really worries me.
Perhaps instead of a pensioer
I should have become an MP!

Darryl Ashton

The truth is that the unstoppable expansion of a civil service which does nothing productive costs so much that there is scarcely enough money to pay them, never mind defence, healthcare or social services. Once you add in all the unemployment 'benefits' being paid to people who don't want to take on the jobs that are available - and which the politicians frequently tell us mean we need to take in 600,000 immigrants per year to fill - you begin to wonder why you put in 40 plus years of effort to build a pension to sustain you in old age and which was squandered on all sorts of ideological things rather than invested. The 'Youff' Culture of the post 1960s has seen those with experience and qualifications pushed aside to be replaced by over educated filing clerks and it seems that the country now just wants to bury us oldies so they can look after their own pensions by not paying ours.