Brothers From Different Mothers? .. #RobertBurns

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A mans a man for aw that?

Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that,
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

Or ..

You see that fancy dressed poser called a lord
Who struts and stares and all that
Although hundreds worship at his word
He is but a fool for all that
For all that and all that
His fancy style and all that
The man of independent mind
He looks and laughs at all that

A Mans A Man – Robert Burns

 

What do you think of the poetry of Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s national Bard?

At times in the past, I hated it. Sitting at school being forced to learn it by wrote and how to pronounce these old Scots words and to understand their meaning.

It was pretty dull and dry and certainly not a labour of love, when you’re 12.

Back then I resented being forced to learn this crap, it meant nothing to me.

The only entertainment was listening to Mr Linus in P7 at Saint Constantine’s Primary School Govan, getting excited as he enacted every line from Tam O’Shanter.

My old dad would often and still does quote the wisdom of Bums.

E.g. A rose by any other name still smells as sweet.

My brothers and I would look at each other as if to say .. What the F**k is he talking about?

In our house, you dare not curse in my father’s presence, even today, he’s old and frail but a stern look quickly lets you know what he thinks of any industrial language.

But the years change us, experience gives us wisdom and a perspective to look at life differently from our younger selves.

“What a gift the lord to gie us, tae see ourselves as others see us.”

Do you ever look back at yourself and think, look at the state of my clothes or my hair, which were the height of fashion at the time and think what a plonker.

Continue reading “Brothers From Different Mothers? .. #RobertBurns”

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To Thine Own Self … #Kiss

4am, awake again …

Just watched Gene Simmons, the frontman of the band Kiss on BBC HardTalk.

I was never a fan, but as an 8 year old Hungarian immigrant to the USA, he has had a life and a half and gives an interesting perspective on the music business, sex, drugs, immigration and Trump.

Well worth a watch.

Here’s a snippet of the wisdom learned from experience – To Thine Own Self Be True.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09hmc1j

Wolf – Stench

The stench was appalling.

You could smell it from 100 yards outside the three story apartment block.

No wonder the neighbours were complaining.

It was two weeks after Christmas and they had thought it was due to the increased volume of refuse and lack of collection over the festive period.

But now the rubbish had been collected and the smell lingered, so they called it in.

Even my probationer Stevie knew what it was the moment we parked up outside the dilapidated council block.

Stevie pressed the button on the secure entry. The caller a Mrs Armstrong lived in Flat 2/2, directly below the flat we were about to visit.

It’s not hard to guess why the smell would be worst in her place.


I’d already noticed the curtains twitching when we parked the car and she answered the buzzer within moments, opening the door to the building without the need for introductions.

I could hear her unlocking her door as we walked up the stairs. Two mortice locks and a Yale.

Stevie had checked the history of the block and there had been a number of break-ins over the years. Mrs Armstrong had been broken into twice.

Kevin McLeod, the occupant of the flat we were about to visit was suspected. He had a habit that he funded by a petty crime and a list as long as you’re arm.

But suspicion isn’t proof and who knows if it was Kevin shitting on his own doorstep or some other junkie acquaintance.

The door was open by the time we reached the last turn on the stairs. Mrs Armstrong, 60 and looks it, cigarette in hand, standing arms crossed, ready to greet us.

“About fucking time” she spat the words at us.

Maybe the community policing officer should have made more of an effort charming this old boiler.

I’ll try and remember to bring that up at the next community policing team meeting.

Stevie did the formalities, not that Mrs Armstrong was interested in our names, ranks or badge numbers.

“I don’t give a fuck son, but you too aren’t going to clean up this mess with stupid wee car of yours.”

I left Stevie to explain that we were just the initial response team and if there was a need to call for backup then we would have more resources on the scene as necessary.

I allowed myself a brief smile at Mrs Armstrong’s retort to Stevie’s by the book explanation of police procedure.

“What-fucking-ever son, just get that wee bastard out of here.”

No love lost there then.

I gave the door the cursory police style knock, three rapid thumps, a three second pause and then and another three thumps, already knowing that it was a pointless exercise and there might be a body here but nobody was home.

Stevie arrived with a quizzed look on his face. This was his first attendance at a death scene and he was keen to know the procedure on the drive over.

I stepped back from the door.

“Have a look through the letter box”. I told him.

He bent his knees slowly, placed one hand on the letterbox and used the other to push the metal flap of the letterbox inwards.

I took a step back, I knew what was coming next.

The sickeningly sweet pungent aroma of death was carried on the air by a micro swarm of flys and bluebottles.

Stevie jumped to his feet and was three steps down from the landing in an instant, bent double, one hand on the wall holding himself up, the other over his mouth as he retched through his fingers.

I gave him a minute to compose himself then shoulder charged the door.

Facebook Stalkers!

David Bowie

4am and wide awake, browsing the web and checking social media.

A cousin of mine shared the following potentially scary post –

This is creepy. Go to your Facebook account settings, then blocking, then block users, and type in “following me” without the quotes into the text box then hit the “block” button.

You will find 15-20 or more people

FOLLOWING YOU that you do not know! I just blocked about 17 accounts from random Middle Eastern and Asian countries that were following me, who I do not know. You have to block them one at a time.

Check your followers and tell your friends and family to check theirs as well. Feel free to share this or copy/paste.

This is not a joke. How many foreign “followers” did you have?

Try it yourself. You’ll be surprised.

At first I was a bit concerned, I followed the instructions above and sure enough there were all sorts of weird foreigners following me.

But why? .. I thought.


So I checked a few of them out from different parts of the world.

All strangers with no reason to follow me.

Then it clicked that it was a hoax or someone was being really stupid.

Here’s why!

It’s a hoax. FB doesn’t work like that as there is no “following me” keyword built into the system.

Try doing the same search only using “following”. You’ll probably get one user with name “following the lights”.

Now do the “following me” again and look at the list of names.

They all have “me” in them.

These people are not following you.

Basically you just did a name search and they happen to be first on the list.

If you blocked them , then searched again, you’d have another list of “me”‘s.

Keep blocking and searching. You’ll be there a long long time.

And nobody is that popular! 🙂

It’s a hoax, a wind up or originally posted by someone who doesn’t know anything about search systems.

Wolf – Once?

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I hadn’t heard from her in over a year, since that last mad Friday before Christmas when Glasgow goes nuts for the day.

Just like everywhere else.

The city centre is full of drunken works party nights, fights erupting because the alcohol has lowered the inhibitions and given the pent up frustrations a voice, or a fist.

Guys making complete arses of themselves trying to get off with that office girl they fancy, who isn’t really interested, but he’s hoping to catch her in a weak moment.

Worse .. the office girl giving it to the lecherous and probably married boss, then regretting it the next morning after she wakes up alone to find that he’s disappeared back to the wife at 3am.

She called me drunkenly at 1am asking me to join her and her friends at some club in town.

She swore down the phone that she loved me, despite that fact that she was 6 months pregnant with her and her husband’s fourth child. Continue reading “Wolf – Once?”

#McMafia? Anti-Semitic?

First off, happy new year and all the best to you for 2018.

Have you came across or watched the new BBC 8 part big budget thriller McMafia?

If not, please do, having watched the first two episodes I found it particularly gripping with its plots and subplots involving drugs, human trafficking, money laundering and interactions between Russian, Israeli, Czech and Indian gangsters.

It’s not particularly surprising that in this twisted tale where capitalism meets criminality that the UK element is a fund manager who’s family have been expelled from Russia.

Is it coincidence that this family are Jewish and that his family escaped the Russian mob with enough funds to set up the fund management company?

Or is that an example of a possible real world situation?

Having worked in investment banking, I have personal experience of fund managers who were Jewish and whose family were from Russia and whose business was set up with family money.

It doesn’t make it dirty, it doesn’t make them bad people. Far from it.

In the situation in the story, the family were driven from Russia because of the mob, not because they were in the mob.

Alex Goldman, the main character played by James Norton, is a good, clean living, privileged guy, privately educated and running his fund cleanly until it gets in trouble, ironically by rumours put out by his uncle with the intention of Alex accepting Israeli investment with motives of getting back at the Russian mob who stole the original family business.

It’s a good yarn, full of intrigue and plot twists.

So why do various Jewish bodies think that it’s Anti-Semitic?

Apparently it’s stereotypical, uses gratuitous slurs, uses material not in the original book and misquotes the motto of Mossad, the Israeli secret intelligence service.

What a surprise eh?

The problem with these people is that they perceive that anything that contains content showing Jews or Israel in any perceived bad light is a slur.

Actually the biggest stereotype is probably that of Russians being gangsters or corrupt.

As for the Mossad motto “For by wise guidance you can wage your war” apparently misquoted as “by deception we will do war”.

Is wise guidance to deception that much of a difference? Particularly when it refers to one of the most efficient and connected intelligence agencies on the planet?

Deception is exactly how any intelligence agency wages war. It’s not a slur.

If anything, the lead character Alex Goldman and the Israeli businessman Semiyon Kleiman played by David Strathairn are the “good guys” in this story with the Russians being the nasty baddies.

Now how stereotypical is that?

Personally, coming from glasgow I was a bit disappointed with the title McMafia and it didn’t refer to any Scottish gangsters.

I’m so offended! 🙂

If you get the chance, give it a watch, you won’t be disappointed unless you’re a person who goes out of their way to be offended by any perceived slur.

BBC anti-Semitic claimshttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5232503/BBC-hit-complaints-anti-Semiticism-drama-McMafia.htmlMcMafia critics review http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42540514—-

On a related note, this has vastly increased the chances of James Norton becoming the next James Bond.
He’s got the right build, tall, athletic, good looking, charming, brooding with cutting delivery of a sarcastic barb here and there. Additionally he looks as if he has been working out in the fight scenes and would be good in the JB role.

I’m glad it isn’t #Christmas every day!

So that’s that for another year.

Spent a fortune on presents and food.

Enough left over to feed the 500.

Blessed to have family and young kids around to make it special.

Home made soup and a big dinner, a few bottles of prosecco.

Played charades and watched the new Billy Connolly DVD.

Cosmopolitans with the girls.

Had a nap.

A wee whisky for dad and large port for me.

Cheese board all to myself!

It wasn’t perfect.

But it was perfect enough and some times you just need to count your blessings.

1:45am and time to empty and refill the dishwasher.

Whoever sang “I wish it could be Christmas every day”. Was a complete fucking idiot! 🙂

Chances are that it was a guy with a wife who did all the hard work of planning, organising, preparation, cooking, serving and tidying up afterwards and went largely unappreciated while he sat back, ate like a king. drank wine and beer, fell asleep in front of the tv and enjoyed his day.

Whats the chances? 🙂

Merry Christmas one and all, I hope that you had as good a day I had.