Thursday, 31 May 2007

YesBut which one?

How do you choose which computer or camera to purchase?
The idea for this blog came to me earlier in the week, when I saw litter bins full of discarded self-destructing folding umbrellas. You know the type, made in China, one gust of wind and they turn inside out with the spokes buckled.

The choice is between buying a cheap umbrella for a £1 or a good quality folding umbrella for £30. Which one would you buy and why?
In the winter a cheap umbrella might last a month. So for a six month winter period you’ll have to buy six umbrellas. That means you could buy 5 years worth of cheap umbrellas for the cost of one good one. However that has to be offset by the annoyance of an umbrella junking itself in the middle of a rain storm. So it’s a question of balance between cost and satisfaction of usage.

The choice of umbrellas is simple and a low cost investment. But how do you choose a computer, or some other piece of technical kit?

I took for ages, (and I really mean ages and ages, measured in years rather than months) to decide which computer to buy. It was like trying to run up a down coming escallator. New computers with improved specifications were being released weekly. My eyes glazed over and my mind went into comatose state on reading:

Intel Celeron-M 370 1.5G Hz chip
1 GB DDR2 RAM, 60 GB hard drive
Multiformat DL DVD +-R/+- RW

What in the name of sanity did it all mean?

Pointless asking the “expert” in the shop or even a friend for advice. There explanations just flew straight over my head.

I finally did take the plunge and bought a computer. Based on that experience I discovered the Golden Rule of Buying:

If you can afford it buy the cheapest.

That’s it - If you can afford it buy the cheapest.

But you might say, the rule should be “buy the best you can afford”. Yes but what is the best?

Let me explain:

If you are buying your first computer or digital camera, friends and acquaintances can recommend the one they use. They can eulogise on speed, compatibility, functionality etc. But these are merely words. You will not know what piece of technical kit suits you until you try it for yourself.

What is the difference between a “Dummy” and an “Expert” - knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge costs time and money.

Hence the golden rule, buy the cheapest, use it become frustrated or satisfied by its functionality. Get to know, through experience what you consider to be essential, optional and unnecessary. Become aggravated or be contented on how long it takes to boot up, or how long it takes to do things. Learn about its limitations and importantly the reasons for those limitations.

For £250 ~ US$500 you can buy a very basic PC, £350 ~ $700 for a laptop. Even if within months you become dissatisfied with it, it will never be wasted money. You can always sell it, or keep it to back up (store) your files.

PC or laptop? If you are only going to use a computer in one location in your home, go for a PC. If you want mobility of use both in your home and at other locations then it has to be a laptop.

What about buying a digital camera? That will be the subject of tomorrows blog.

But in the mean time you can help me. Click here and suggest a caption for YesBut’s Image of the day.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

YesBut the Duke was special

In yesterday’s blog, I said I had decided to declare each Wednesday for the next couple of months “Memorial day”, and feature one memorial each Wednesday. Not the grand well known memorials such as the Statue of Liberty, Nelson’s Column, Mount Rushmore or even the Gateway to the West. Today’s blog should have been about the first monument to be featured that to Henry Fawcett.

They say it doesn’t pay to plan, because you never know what is going to happen next. How true. Change of plans, Henry will have to wait to next week, because I can not let May pass without paying tribute to Marion Robert Morison, who had he lived would have been 100 years old last Saturday.

Perhaps you don’t know Marion Robert Morison, that’s understandable. His name was changed, when his parents decided to call their next son Robert, so he became Marion Michael Morrison. Twenty or so years later he changed his name again to John Wayne.

After two years working as a prop man at the Fox Film studios, John Wayne had his first staring role in 1930, in the first western epic sound picture made, “The Big Trail”. He went on to star in 142 films. He only won one Oscar, that for “Best Actor” in 1969 for his role as the tough Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn in “True Grit”. He was nominated but didn’t win an Oscar as Producer of the “The Alamo”.

While he played in a range of films from various genres, he was at his best when he had a six gun strapped at his waist and mounted on a horse. He courted controversy when in 1968 he directed and starred in “The Green Berets” - the only film made during the Vietnam War to support the war. In real life he wasn’t the great hero. At the start of World War 2, when other Film Stars joined the forces, Wayne chose to take advantage of their absence and stay in Hollywood, in order to boost his career.

What was his best film? It might not be the best, but my favourite is the 1939 western “Stagecoach”. The 32 year old Wayne plays the Ringo Kid, a young rancher who has broken out of jail. He joins a stagecoach carrying a group of passengers, each with their own story: a prostitute driven out of town, an alcoholic doctor, a banker absconding with his client’s savings, a cavalry officer’s pregnant wife, a whisky salesman who is, humorously, the object of the drunken doctor’s attention, and a US Marshall. The stagecoach is attacked by Indians - all good stuff.

If I see one actor in a cowboy film, I know I will enjoy it. That actor is Andy Devine who played the stagecoach driver Buck - who could possibly mistake his raspy voice - sounding like a schoolboy on the brink of puberty.

The other actor I love in cowboy films, though he wasn’t in Stagecoach, is the toothless bearded Gabby Hayes.

Back to John Wayne his last film was “The Shootist” made in 1976. The film plot about an aging gunslinger struggling with terminal cancer, reflected in part John Wayne, who died three years later of stomach cancer, aged 72.

Click here to see and make a suggestion of a caption for today’s YesBut’s Image.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

YesBut look

Antony Gormley’s “Event Horizon” exhibition consists of 31 life size casts of the himself located on top of buildings around central London. The objective of the exhibition is to encourage people to stop seeing and start looking at their surroundings. It certainly has worked. Walk over Waterloo or Hungerford bridges and you see people “figure spotting”. But are they just looking for the figures and ignoring the environment they are located in?

People look at the Gormley’s figures, but other figures, some of which have been in location for over a century are ignored - I refer to memorials and public statues erected in most towns. So I have decided to declare each Wednesday for the next couple of months “Memorial day”, and feature one memorial each Wednesday. Not the grand well known memorials such as the Statue of Liberty, Nelson’s Column, Mount Rushmore or even the Gateway to the West in St Louis.

If you have a memorial or statute you think should be featured then please let me know. The first monument to be featured tomorrow is to Henry Fawcett. Henry who? (Don’t look up Henry on Google, control your excitement, all will be revealed tomorrow).

YesBut how do you cut the grass?

Click here to see a gardening challenge.

Monday, 28 May 2007

UK Spring Bank Holiday - yuck

In early April I was in Wales; I posted a blog to say how un-seasonal the weather was. More like July - children eating ice cream, women in short sleeved tops. It turned out to be the warmest April on record. People were talking about a long hot summer with the inevitable restrictions on water use.

Then came May - it has behaved like an unruly mixed-up teenager, throwing in-turn sulks and tantrums. The beginning of last week it was wet and cold, but by mid-week it started to warm-up. But by Saturday afternoon it was back too heavy rain and cold.

Yesterday was Whit Sunday more heavy rain, and today is Spring Bank Holiday, which normally is the time when the UK starts to stir and prepare for hopefully an inrush of summer tourists. When I say hopefully, I’m reporting the tourist industries view. Me - well anybody who has read my previous blogs know I really detest tourists; they make my life a misery, blocking up: the pavements, access areas to Underground stations and shops. Sorry about that little rant - no I’m not sorry, if I can’t rant on my own blog, then where can I rant?

As I was saying London and the other tourist attractions around the UK start opening up. Deckchairs are put out in parks - though this year with the hot April they were put out a month early. In seaside towns small hotels wake up from their winter hibernation.

For future reference of overseas tourists to the UK, please take note - it doesn’t matter how much you read about it being warm and dry in the UK, remember, whether it’s the Spring or Summer Bank Holiday, in the UK,

Bank Holiday = guaranteed rain.

For years, why it rained on Bank Holidays, remained a mystery. Then YesBut’s top investigation reporter discovered the truth. The owners of London’s tourists’ attractions don’t want tourists to go window shopping in Oxford and Regent Streets or sunbath in the parks. They want the tourists to dig deep into their pockets and pay to go into their attractions. So for a week leading up to Bank Holidays they employ a group of shamans to do rain dances and cast rain spells.

Last Thursday and Friday Trafalgar Square was covered with turf, to convert it into a “Village Green”. The idea was to demonstrate how London is made up of a number of villages which have grown together to form an urban conurbation. But each retains its own individual characteristics; Chelsea is unmistakably Chelsea, while Hampstead with its heath has its own unique character. Well if they had left the turf there for yesterday and today the rain and trampling tourists would have converted Trafalgar Square into a Chinese paddy field.

This morning as well as the rain the tourists will have to cope with gale force gusts of wind.

YesBut global warming - easy solution declare everyday a Bank Holiday.

Click here to see YesBut’s Image of the day.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

YesBut is it appropriate language

Ozlady on seeing this photograph, on YesBut's Images blog suggested the caption

Hag drags bag while havin’ a fag!

Previously I had thought of the caption, “Dying for a fag”, or “Dragging on a fag”. But I rejected both- because the confusion the use of the word “fag” would have on American visitors to this site.

In the UK and Australia “fag” is slang for cigarettes. With the new law coming into force on 1st July in the UK banning smoking in all enclosed public spaces and work areas; more people will have to “Nip out for a quick drag on a fag”. The mind boggles at what an American will interpret that sentence to mean. Unfortunately Babel Fish doesn’t do an English (UK) to English (USA) translation.

The last couple of days I have been posting blogs on the topic building blog traffic. I highlighted if you blog in English, you are going get the majority of hits from the USA and UK. In an effort to increase bog traffic, its pointless broadening and tailoring the topics you blog about, unless you also use appropriate language.

The use of slang and obscenities is likely to be offensive to a large number of readers. However on occasions their use might be unavoidable - when blogging about politicians!!

Similarly you should be mindful of the difference in meaning of words, such as fag; and the difference in the names of things, UK pavements, US sidewalks. Describing “walking down the sidewalk in your new grey pants“, would be OK in the USA. But pants in the UK are men’s undergarment - Y fronts, jockey shorts, briefs, boxers.

The largest age group logging onto the internet are youths. Now that’s one group which has its own language beyond my comprehension. The trouble is when I get to understand what “bling” means its no longer “cool” to say “bling”, but I suppose by now its no longer “cool” to say “cool”. YesBut all very confusing.

Why not click here and make your suggestion of a caption for today’s image

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Growing and nourishing blog traffic.

Yesterday I identified three key factors to be borne in mind when considered the content of your blog:

  • Know your likely and your target readership
  • Know what image of yourself you want to project
  • Know your subject and tailor it to suite your targeted readership.

Once you have decided on the subject you want to blog about, even if it is a specialist subject, try to broaden the coverage to make it interesting to Europeans and Americans alike. Present yourself in an appropriate persona for the subject covered.

Now as promised the most important factor to consider - the hook.

Your blog must have a hook, to encourage readers to make repeat visits. It doesn’t matter how good the blog might be, it will not grow a readership without a hook.

It’s like trying to fill a bucket, with a hole in, with water using a cup. Even if it’s a gold cup it will not fill the bucket.

Once someone has visited your blog, you have to, not only get them to bookmark your blog, but give them something that will make them want to pay return visits. How can this be done?

When you are reading a novel, and you are about to get to the end of a chapter, you might decide to finish the chapter then put down the book and do something else. A good author writes into the last paragraph a hook which makes you want to keep on reading the next chapter.

If your blog is about your family, you must make the reader interested in each member and care about them. Don’t build a wall at the end of the blog. Leave a half open door, tantalisingly showing what might happen next, encourage the reader to return. All the better if you can start a dialogue using the comment facilities. If a reader makes an interesting point, then try to use that, (giving due credit to the reader), in your next entry.

If you are blogging on a specialist subject, provide relevant, accurate and up-to-date information. Make your blog a reference resource for your readers.

David McMahon has devised a novel hook for his blog, with his Aussiejourno’s Weekly Blog Awards, it encourages bloggers to visit the blog to see if their blog is ranked in the top 50.

The above and yesterday’s blog entry was provided in the hope it will assist dedicated bloggers increase traffic to their blog. But remember most bloggers blog to satisfy their creative urge. Enjoy the blogging process and let the number of hits be of secondary importance.

At this point I could gently slip in a hook, and say there is one guaranteed way of ensuring having a high hit rate to your blog. But I’m sure as a serious blogger you wouldn’t be interested in adopting the tactic.

Good luck with your blog - enjoy.

Click here to see YesBut’s Image of the day.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Methods to increase traffic to your blog

As promised yesterday I present to you YesBut’s public relations department’s think-tank team's inspired analyses and “methods to increase traffic to your blog”.

There are three interrelated key factors that must be considered.

Look at the photograph on the left and you will see a map of the recent hits on this web site. It highlights the first of the key factors. If you blog in English then your readers are going to come mainly from the UK and USA. O.K. there are three computers in Australia - one owned by David McMahon, the other by ozlady and the third by someone with an interest in surfing. Forget about New Zealand, it hasn’t got electricity no need any computers. Seriously you are going to get the majority of hits from the UK and USA - remember this when considering the relevance of the blog content.

The next factor is persona. Persona? Some bloggers post under the guise of being a cat or dog. Fact the world is divided into:

  • People who love dogs but hate cats.
  • People who love cats but hate dogs.
  • People who hate both cats and dogs.

So if you blog as a cat you are going to alienate two-thirds of the potential readers. Therefore the character you assume is important. If you post as a young mother and housewife interested in sport, you are going to attract readers with the same interests.

What character should you assume? Be yourself - even if it results in narrowing your potential readership, it is better to communicate with like minded people, who you feel comfortable with.

The third key factor is the relevance of the subject. In my own case I didn’t take into account the first key factor. A large number of my blog entries refer to British politics - consequently they are of no interest to readers in the US, and lets face it, UK politics is of little interest to the Brits! That accounts for the low number of hits!!!!

Do as I say not as I do!

You might be interested in only blogging on one specialist subject - that’s O.K. But remember the broader the coverage of the subject, more likely you are to attract an additional readership. If you blog about the design of chairs, you are likely to appeal to more readers if you write about British and American chairs.

The final and most critical thing you must do to build a large readership base, is so important it deserves a dedicated blog entry and that will be posted right here tomorrow.

So bookmark this page and return tomorrow.
In the mean time remember the three key factors:

  • Know your likely and your target readership
  • Know what image of yourself you want to project
  • Know your subject and tailor it to suite your targeted readership.

Click here to see YesBut's Image of the day

Thursday, 24 May 2007

YesBut’s think-tank strikes gold

Last week David McMahon in his blog answered the question asked by Owatalk “Could you please tell me how to increase traffic to my blog?”.

David started his reply with “Mate, they'll be giving out Nobel Prizes (and marketing awards) to the person who cracks the one-step method of getting 100 hits a day.” He then went on to provide some useful tips.

Since reading the blog I’ve had members of YesBut’s public relations department think-tank team work on the question day and night. I am not one to readily give praise, but on this occasion I have to admit they have done a brilliant job of analysing all the factors and coming up with some inspired suggestions.

I must apologies, but unfortunately due to time constraints their solution cannot be posted today. However I promise “methods to increase traffic to your blog” will be posted tomorrow.

So bookmark this page and return tomorrow,

YesBut softly softly

Following a number of incidents which have resulted in the Police incurring bad publicity, The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, has order his officers to exhibit more of their feminine side.

Click here to see the result.

YesBut thinking aloud - how can an individual’s loyalty to community be established?

Click here to read more of YesBut's thoughts

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

YesBut a slideshow

I have replaced the blog’s title header with a slide show. What do you think about it?

Is the slide show a distraction? All views welcome.

I’m quite pleased that I managed, unaided, to install a slide show. If you want to inbed a slideshow into your blog its relatively easy.

If you are not a member of Photobucket, click here to register with Photobucket.

Membership is free.

Once you are a member you can upload your photos.

With your photos uploaded to your album you can now create a slide show. Click on the “create slideshow tab

Click on the + button of the photos you want in your slideshow.

If required you can drag the photos to alter the order they appear and add captions to each photo.

After you are satisfied with your slide show, save it.

Click on the HTML Tag this will copy the HTML code for your slide show.

Now to get the slideshow placed in your blog.

Open another Window and log into your blogger account and click on “Layout”

Click on “Add a Page Element” and select Add To Blog “HTML/JavaScript”

Paste in your slideshow HTML code.

Save the changes.You can then move the element to the position you want it to appear on your web page.

Click on preview and if you are not satisfied move the element to a new location or by clicking on “Clear Edits” to remove it completely.

If you look at the html code you will see:

You can alter the dimension of the slideshow by editing the width and height figures.

Hope the above has been of some use.

And finally if you have the “time” click here to see someone who has more than HTML codes to sort out.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Free newspapers

Free newspapers serve three purposes:

  1. To increase the risk of global warming, resulting from the number of trees that have to be cut down to provide the paper.
  2. To incease litter in the streets and public transport when copies are discarded.
  3. To mask the inefficiency of the National Health Service appointments system.

They serve no other purpose.

You have an appointment to see a doctor at 11:20, (not 11:15 or 11:30 but precisely 11:20). Don’t kid yourself all appointments are created by a random number generator and are pure fiction. Turn up by 11:20 and if you are lucky you’ll see the doctor at 12:30. When he’s in a rush to get rid of you so that he can go for lunch. But that’s where the free newspapers comes into play. Left around the waiting room, you pick it up and turn to the Sudoku - caught again, concentrating on the puzzle you don’t notice time passing.

Yesterday I finished the Sudoku. All the magazines in the waiting room were pre World War 2, so I had no alternative but to read the paper - I use the word ‘read’ loosely. Turned the page, and my blood pressure shot through the roof. There in the paper was a photo of the face that was on TV screen every day during the months leading up to the Iraq war.

Supercilious, arrogant, lying, those are only the flattering epithets for Geoff “would you buy a second hand car from me” Hoon, the Minister of Defence at the time Britain went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was giving a “60 Second Interview”.

The first question was . . .Sorry I can’t even think about this heap of steaming dog excrement’s opinions. Only to say, in his opinion the Iraq insertion was a success. Asked why, if it was a success there are still British troops in Iraq? He replied, “The aftermath has been more difficult than expected”.

Its just like a surgeon saying, “Mrs Blogs, I have good news for you and not so good news. The good news is we successfully removed your husbands ingrown toe nail. The not so good news, he bled to death".

Now I can’t make up my mind, is this pathetic excuse of a politician so dim-witted that he thinks Iraq was a success, or does he think that we are so stupid we will believe him? The only glimmer of hope is at least we will soon be free of Blair.

I must finish with a classic quote from the interview.

What’s Donald Rumsfeld like?

Hoon: “He’s very straightforward. He said what he thought. He was always very clear.”

Rumsfeld the man that sounds like a maladroit randomly farting Babel Fish

  • There are speeches I have made
  • There are speeches I haven’t made
  • There are speeches I have made which I should have made.
  • There are speeches I have made which I shouldn’t have made.
  • There are speeches I haven’t made which I should have made.
  • There are speeches I haven’t made which I shouldn’t have made.
  • There are speeches I know I have made
  • There are speeches I know haven’t made
  • There are speeches I know I have made which I should have made.
  • There are speeches I know I have made which I shouldn’t have made.
  • There are speeches I know I haven’t made which I should have made.
  • There ar speeches I haven't made which I should have made
  • There are speeches I don’t know haven’t made
  • There are speeches I don’t know I have made which I should have made.
  • There are speeches I don’t know I have made which I shouldn’t have made.
  • There are speeches I don’t know I haven’t made which I should have made.
  • There are speeches I don’t know I haven’t made which I shouldn’t have made.

Click here to see why I am so very very confused

Monday, 21 May 2007

YesBut where are the men

Some noise woke me up in the early hours of Sunday morning, got out of bed pulled back the curtain looked outside, rubbed my eyes, looked outside, pinched myself, looked outside, hundreds of women in bras were running past. Was this some fantasy? - If it was I’d better not tell Mrs YesBut!

Then I remembered it was the London MoonWalk.

Walk the Walk started 10 years ago when a group of women walked the New York Marathon in their bras to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. Since then it has grown into a world wide organisation raising funds for cancer charities. What I witnessed was the thousands of women who had started their walk at midnight from the Mall, London. The 2006 London MoonWalk raised £6,944,280, ($13.7 million).

I salute the efforts of all women, who not only have raised funds for breast cancer research, but more importantly raised awareness on the subject. As a result of their efforts, women are aware of the steps they can take to examine their own breasts for early signs of cancer. Women are encouraged to participate in breast and cervical cancer screening programs. Thousands of women have been saved from suffering the pain and psychological trauma of breast and cervical cancer.

But my question is “Where are the men?”
In the UK in 2005 there were 10,000 deaths from prostate cancer. Approximately 13% of male deaths are from prostrate cancer and after lung cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men. There was a publicity campaign last year to raise awareness of prostate cancer; but is seems to have fizzled out. Why aren’t men collectively, like women, forming groups to raise funds for cancer research? Is prostrate cancer not regarded as a killer disease? Is it thought too embarrassing to talk about it? Or is it considered to be an “old man’s affliction?” Perhaps that’s it - as can be seen from the Cancer Research UK statistics, the majority of deaths occur in men over 80 years of age.

I have a second question.

In 1982, 24% of boys aged 15 smoked while 25% of 15 year old girls smoked. In 2006 the figure for boys had dropped to 16%, while the figure for girls was virtually unchanged at 24%.It is noticeable when passing office blocks, the majority of the smokers “having a quick drag” are women. It’s the same when you see people emerging from non-smoking areas; the majority of people who light up a cigarette are women or girls.

Why when women have been so successful in raising awareness of breast and cervical cancer, have they failed to persuade young girls not to start smoking?

In my opinion the most repulsive and obscene sight is to see a mother smoking while nursing her child.

Click here to see smoke gets in her eyes

Sunday, 20 May 2007

YesBut not a good week to be British

Three events occurred last week which brought no credit to the British Establishment:

In interviews at the beginning of the week Gordon Brown was overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the forthcoming election for leadership of the Labour Party. He stated the election would give the opportunity for the party to discuss policies. In the meantime his henchmen were applying pressure on Labour Members of Parliament to ensure John McDonnell, who wanted to stand against Brown, didn’t have sufficient number of MPs to nominate him. The result Gordon “I’m a control freak” Brown was elected unopposed.

So when Brown takes over from Blair, nothing will change - more spin, “watch their lips say one thing, while their actions do something else”.

The British Ministry of Defence is either accident prone or inept. In the second fiasco in five weeks it has done a 180 degree turn and decided Prince Harry should not serve with his troop in Iraq.

The consequences:

  • The Iraqi rebels can quite rightly claim victory that they prevented Harry from being deployed.
  • The parents of British soldiers sent to Iraq, question whether their children are considered expendable?
  • It puts the lie to Blair’s claims that the British are in control in Basra.
  • What if any use will Prince William & Harry be in the army, if they cannot be placed in any danger?
Is the Ministry going to employ a school road crossing warden wherever William and Harry are posted to ensure they cross the road safely?
What should have been done?

  • A risk assessment should have been done before they joined the army.
  • If Prince Harry was to be deployed, it should have been done with no publicity.

The other debacle was The Ministry of Defence’s handling of the fifteen naval personnel captured by Iraq.

My bog of 20 April took as its subject the squalid attempt by members of the British Parliament to exempt themselves from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Fortunately on that occasion opponents by the use of filibustering foiled the attempt.

When it comes to looking after their own interests MPs don’t give up. On Friday, the Bill was again debated in the House of Commons. To their eternal shame it was approved by a majority of 71 votes. It now goes to the House of Lords for consideration. Hopefully they will have more integrity.

And we return to where we started Gordon “two face” Brown has made a pledge to “bring more open Government”. Supporting the revision of the act to make Members of Parliament exempt from the Freedom of Information Act - a good start Gordon.

YesBut even if all that wasn’t enough, going shopping is like negotiating an obstacle course, click here to see.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Antony Gormley bringing art to the people

On Thursday I set a quiz asking the link between a photograph of Waterloo Bridge and an Angel. The answer posted on, YesBut’s Images blog, was Antony Gormley.

There are British artists who are more notorious than famous, viewed questionably, if at all, by the British public - “Is it art?” Damien Hurst with his sharks and sheep in formaldehyde - what’s that all about? Tracey Emin and her unmade bed - she didn’t wash her bedclothes very often!

But one artist has reached out and not only communicated with the British public, has also got them intimately involved with his work. Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North dominates the Gateshead landscape. In my opinion his best work is the 100 casts-iron life-size figures of himself located like dead trees along three kilometres of Crosby Beach near Liverpool.

On Thursday his latest work “Blind Light” was put on view in London’s Hayward gallery; consisting of a large glass room filled with fog. In conjunction with the exhibition a second work “Event Horizon “ has been installed on roof tops surrounding the Hayward Gallery and on Waterloo Bridge. It consists of 31 cast-steel life-size figures of Antony Gormley. In places they merge with the skyline in others they stand out tall and proud. Gormley’s objective is to encourage the viewer to really look at the surroundings not merely to see it.

In the few days the figures have been in position, they have been taken to the heart of Londoners and tourist alike. You only have to stand on Waterloo Bridge to witness the reaction of passer-by. People can’t resist interacting with them, either through photographing them, or dressing the figures.

Again Gormley has successfully brought art into people’s everyday lives - art is no longer the province of the minority, to be enjoyed behind closed gallery doors. It is there standing proud and free to be experienced by all.

Click here to see reaction to the art work.

Friday, 18 May 2007

YesBut its a bad hair day

Preparing Wednesday's blog I was sidetracked by hair or rather the lack of it.

I think I’m fortunate that I am happy with my hair - the lack of it or how it is styled seems to cause a lot of anxiety.

Elton John, and before him Frank Sinatra, has spent thousands of dollars on toupees and hair transplants. I suppose being an entertainer he feels he must maintain an youthful image. I thought the purchase of a wig was a one-off expenditure - wrong. It appears a wig needs to be cleaned and the scalp underneath treated at least three times a month; this can cost £100 per month. That’s only for men.

I wonder how much a woman will spend in her lifetime on hairdos - quick guess £30/month, £360/year for say fifty years £18,000. And that’s only for the hair on their heads, on top of that there is the question of body hair. It was inevitable that I’d get back to the question of “to shave or not to shave?”.

Now I’m not an expert on this subject, but there was a program on TV a couple of weeks ago, where some comedienne advocated women should not shave, but go all natural. French women do not shave their armpits - which is thought repulsive by British women. Nothing new there, most of the things the French do, or don’t do, are considered repulsive by the Brits.

With care shaving can be painless, but waxing!! Women actually choose to subject themselves to this torture. If it was done to animals, the animal rights activists would be up in arms. The thought of my pubic hairs being ripped out . . . (I had to stop typing because I couldn’t see the screen for the tears in my eyes).

You have a higher chance of survival if you don’t depilate. Fact, hair grows on areas of the body where blood veins are close to the surface, this results in greater heat loss from these areas. So if you happen to fall into a cold river, you core body temperature will drop rapidly due to heat loss from the head, armpits and crotch. So if you have a natural fur coat you are bound to remain warm.

Now you know why Elton John wears a wig, and Paris Hilton never goes swimming in the cold sea.

Click here to see photo of the day.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Quiz of the day

STOP look very very carefully at the photograph.

What connects this photo with an angel?

I look north where the Kinks gazed on the sunset,
I should look south for the answer.

But the question is North.

For the answer and a futher puzzle click here

YesBut thinking aloud - what is conscience?

Click here to see YesBut’s Thinking Aloud latest posting - What is conscience?

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

YesBut who?

Typical, as soon as I reveal my method of identifying the day’s blog subject, it fails (see "Tag that" 11th May). Well that’s not quite accurate; it did come up with a subject, but totally inappropriate - “To shave or not to shave?”.

I know how it came about. When I was looking at Technorati’s Top Tag list I saw a photo of Paris Hilton getting out of a car and revealing, perhaps more, of herself than she intended.

Apart from sounding like an hotel in the French capital, who is this woman? Now that question might be why Paris Hilton appears in the list of Top Searches. As far as I can determine, apart from being a rich self publicist, her only other claim to fame is being famous for being famous.

The non-celebrity celebrity is a Twenty-first century phenomena generated by the proliferation of reality TV shows such as “Big Brother” and “I’m a Celebrity get me out of here”. They annually spew out another batch of talent-less nonentities who have their 15 minutes of fame.

I still don’t know very much about Paris Hilton, except she has a shaved crotch. Too much information!!!

Click her to see a combination of manmade and natures beauty.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

YesBut no more UN

There’s been a gradual build up of internal pressure since I posted my blog “YesBut the United Nations is the pits” on 12th May. As is the way of such things, uncontrolled it could have manifested itself as a fart, but harnessing the energy its become a rant.

Do you know what the United Nations annual budget is? Unfortunately one click on Google doesn’t give the answer. But the current operating budget is estimated at $4.19 billion. There are three budgets:

  • The UN regular budget covers among other things the cost of the General Assembly, Security Council and the Secretariat.
  • The “Voluntary funding” pays for UN Development Program, World Food Program and the UN Children’s Fund(UNICEF).
  • The UN peacekeeping budget.

It’s unnecessary to get bogged down in too much detail; because it’s universally accepted that the United Nations has ceased to function - doubt if it ever did.

Why if there is such unanimous agreement is it allowed to continue? There are only two parties with sufficient power to instigate change: the USA and the European Union (EU).

France and the United Kingdom will stop the EU doing anything. Why? Their veto in the UN Security Council is the only vestige they have of their former “World Power” status. They know in any reorganised UN or replacement organization they will be ranked among the minnows. The USA makes a whopping $423 million (22%) contribution to the UN Regular Budget, why doesn’t it do something to get its money’s worth? Simply, it doesn’t have the moral authority to propose change. All it can do is withhold payments.

The United Nations will proceed in its usual corrupt inept dysfunctional manner, until there is a USA President with enough courage and moral gravitas to call a halt.

The World does need a forum, where hopefully arguments between nations can be settled, through discussion not war, unfortunately the Security Council and before that the League of Nations have failed. For it to function it must operate above the influence of individual countries or power blocks. It must also have the power to enforce its decisions - without that its merely a talking shop. Though people would be happy with “jaw, jaw, jaw rather than war, war, war”.

It would be perverse to say everything about the UN is wrong! There is one arm of the UN which does function - the International Court of Justice. As for the rest, scrap the lot. You might protest: what about the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the UN Environmental Program or the UN Development Fund and UNICEF. Undeniably their objectives are sound and desirable, but in practice their implementation is bogged down in corrupt inefficient bureaucracy - they function primarily on who you know rather that what you know.

YesBut's hard life, pressure build-up on the inside, rain on the outside, click here to see.

Monday, 14 May 2007

YesBut I blog on in hope

I was nearly on the point of deciding to put this blog on ice, switch off my radio and TV and go on silent retreat in a Trappist monastery for seven weeks. Anything to get away from seeing Gordon Brown trying to convince the British populace he is going to be a touchy feely empathetic Prime Minister. Of course he’ll never achieve it, he looks too sinister.

Tragically as a child he lost an eye in a rugby football accident. Also he has the habit of pushing out his jaw as if he is trying to dislodge a piece of gristle stuck between his teeth after eating a small baby. Using the good Scottish word he is “dour”. He literally is and looks to be the child of the manse - someone who is suffering, having sat through too many hell and damnation sermons. He is a suit and tie man, not for him casual wear.

In the mean time the lying slimy toerag Blair is going to spend the next seven weeks flying around the world. He will be trying to improve the image of the “Blair Legacy”. He wants to be seen as a bringer of peace and understanding. The only thing his trips will achieve is to increase global warming. Even if in the next seven weeks he manages to walk on water and change water into wine; he and Bush will always be remembered for being responsible for one the biggest foreigner policy blunders of all time, and being the architect of suffering, death and destruction in Iraq.

Click here to see even the London sky feels depressed about the thought of the next seven weeks.

YesBut blog on blog on with hope in your heart and you’ll never blog alone.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

YesBut it's Sunday

Have I gone deaf? No, it’s Sunday and the City streets are quiet. Commuters are in their homes, performing their Sunday rituals: sex with the wife, reading the Sunday newspapers, washing the car and then a gentle stroll to the pub for a pint, then home for lunch. Another typical English Sunday.

I drawback the bedroom curtains, dull grey day. The river Thames flows by green brown. Sunday Monday Tuesday, May June July, 2007 2008 2009, all the same for this historic river which has witnessed over a millennium the building of a city on its banks, passed by unconcerned as angry Members of Parliament have debated world events in the Palace of Westminster. Now tourist boats bob on its service where previously tramp steamers have brought goods from a far distant Empire.

Things are beginning to stir, a group of cyclists pass south over the bridge on a sponsored cycle ride - £1 may be £5 collected for charity for every bridge crossed. The walkway by the Thames is still tourist free; they are still ensconced in their Hotels and Bed & Breakfast establishments. Grease is wiped from chins dribbled there while eating their full English Breakfast of bacon, egg, sausage baked beans and to ensure their cholesterol gets a boost fried bread.

“Where shall we go?”. Too dull for a walk in Hyde Park,. The shops in Oxford Street don’t open until 11 o’clock. “How about Tate Modern or Petty Coat Lane Street market?”

May, it started so warm and sunny now it’s so dull. Let’s go back to bed.

At least one person is out and about. Click here to see more.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

YesBut the United Nations is the pits

This morning I read that Zimbabwe has been elected to head the United Nations commission on Sustainable Economic Development (CSD). This I find obscene, an insult to Zimbabweans and a condemnation of the UN.

I have been examining the concept of morality in my blog YesBut Thinking Aloud. I felt compelled to deliberate on the subject, by the apparent decline over the past decade of a moral code in public life.

Inflation in Zimbabwe is currently running at 50% per month, the highest in the world. This means the price of a loaf of bread doubles every two months. Or put another way, the value of people’s wages halves every month. Despite reporting restrictions the outside world has seen the suffering of the populace.

At independence Zimbabwe was the Garden of Eden of Africa, with a flourishing export trade to Europe in fruit, flowers, vegetables and tobacco. Yes at the time of independence there were fast inequalities between the minority white farmers and their black workers, which had to be addressed. But Mugabe took the opportunity to transfer ownership of the farms to his friends and supporters who had no farming experience. Within a few years the farming sector and the economy had been decimated.

But the target of my indignation is the leadership of African nations. The majority of which are corrupt. When taking decisions they have two criteria the first: maximising the amount of money they can channel into their private bank accounts, the second not to be seen to be doing anything in support of former Colonial countries. This is particularly the case in the UN, African countries vote in block, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the case.

The United Nations is a toothless talking shop devoid of all moral authority, a complete waste of money. Corruption and miss-management in the organisation is endemic, it is beyond hope and should be disbanded.

What is this man guarding?

Friday, 11 May 2007

Tag that

To aid falling asleep some people count sheep. For many years I’ve used the practice of:

“Fall asleep thinking of a question,
wake up knowing the answer”

It works. I lie in bed thinking “what will be the topic of tomorrows blog?”, and invariably I wake at 4 o’clock not only knowing the subject but quite often with a draft of the blog in my head. This morning the idea rattling around in my brain was “write about the subject most blogged about”. The next step was obvious - identify the top blogged about subject.

Problem - not as easy as I thought it would be. Entered “most blogged about subject” into Google and got no definitive answer. Under such circumstances there is only one solution - drink a cup of Chai and ruminate.

Lateral thinking - if there is no direct answer, look for clues. Obviously, blog tags would give an indication of the subject. Looked up Technorati’s Top Tags list, the top twelve tags were: baby, blogroll, bush, computer, gaming, me, mobile, money, opinion, tags, tecnologia and usa. So the challenge is now to write a sagacious blog incorporating those twelve tags.

I know bogroll is toilet paper, but I had no idea of the meaning of “blogroll” until I Googled it. Years ago people would look in a dictionary to find the meaning of a word, but in the “computer” orientated world information and language is evolving so quickly Google seems to have become the fountain of all knowledge, the place you turn to first for information. So blogroll is a list on a blog of other blogs. As you can see I haven’t got one!! Perhaps you can help me out; if you think your blog should be the first on my bloglist let me know.

Tecnologia” yet another word I have never heard of! Entered it into Google and got referred to “Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre“. There was only one thing I could do - Babel Fish it. French - English no, Italian - English no, Spanish - English no, Portuguese - English = technology. Now that I find very interesting. Not that tecnologia is technology in Portuguese, but rather a Portuguese word is 11th in the Top Tag list. I would guess the majority of blogs are written in English - next French, Chinese, Spanish? Anyone out there know how many blogs are written in each language? What ever answer you give will be wrong! With the number of blogs doubling every five months, your answer will be out-of-date before you finish typing it.

Technorati indicates there are 15,248,367 blogs about blogs and 20,300 blog posts containing the word tecnologia. I’ve just checked its gone up to 20,304.

Just a thought, do more people use their computer for blogging than “gaming”? I guess it’s the latter with children ensconced in their bedrooms. When young kids ask where they come from, they are often told they were found under a “bush”, for the parents sake I hope it was a “money” tree. When a mother gets a “baby” she can now expect to have to buy as soon as the child is out of nappies, a computer, game counsel and the ubiquitous “mobile”.

The list did say “bush” not Bush. But on rechecking some of the blogs with bush “tags” it should have been Bush. George W that is President of the “USA”. I really would appreciate it if someone could tell “me” how a country like the USA could elect such shulunk as its leader. That’s just my “opinion”, obviously the majority of Americans thought he was the best thing since sliced bread.

I made reference earlier to how things are changing so quickly, this is particularly true of the London skyline. As I look out of my window I can see 29 tower cranes, they are busy demolishing buildings built in the 1960s and replacing them with click here to see an example.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Tony Blair is going

No he hasn’t resigned yet, today was yet another announcement of his intention to resign as Prime Minister.

All I want to say is THREE CHEERS, can’t wait for the 27th June to arrive, when we finally getting rid of the lying slimy toerag.

In the 1st May blog, I predicted the devious, deceitful Government would use the toerag’s announcement to sneak out bad news. True to form, the Home Office slithered out a statement that the estimated cost of the project to introduce compulsory identity cards in the UK has risen by £400 million ($793 million), from 4.9 billion pounds to 5.3 billion pounds.

I wonder what other bad news they’ve managed to hide?

The Queen of Hearts

I saw a report on TV of the State Banquet given by President Bush in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. In his tailcoat and white tie Bush looked like a constipated stuffed penguin. The Queen looked so old.

We forget that she is 81 years of age - though it does seem she has been around forever. When she ascended the throne on 6th February1952 two of the Wartime leaders were still in power: Joseph Stalin in the USSR and Harry S Truman in the USA. The third leader Winston Churchill didn’t return to office as Prime Minister until October 1951. George W Bush was 5 years old and as for Tony Blair, in 1951 he wasn’t even a twinkle in his father’s eye, (how most people wish that had remained the status quo).

She has been around a long time, during which there have been eleven US Presidents and she will soon accept the resignation of her twelfth Prime Minister (Harold Wilson served two terms).

Anyone who has been in the public eye for over eighty years is bound to have been the subject of a wide range of comment - from adoration through apathy to hatred. The Queen attracted the greatest barrage of criticism in respect to her relationship with Princess Diana. She has been accused of hating Diana. That is absolutely incorrect; the Queen neither hates nor loves anyone. When she became Queen she had the equivalent of an “emotional lobotomy”. She decided that the only way she could survive as Queen would be to become emotionally dead. Why did she do that?

We are all the product of our nurture. Historically the Royal family has always been emotionally dysfunctional, none more so than in the Twentieth century. The Queen’s grandmother Queen Mary was “a cold fish” who if not ruling the country ruled the Royal Family with a rod of iron. She was so remote from her children that she did not notice they were being abused by their nanny.

But the greatest influence on the Queen was her father George VI, the man who should not have been King. He became King in 1936 on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. He was extremely shy and suffered from stammering. For him public speaking was a nightmarish burden. The strain of office undoubtedly contributed to his premature death aged 56. The young Princes Elizabeth was very close to her father and witnessed the effect being King had on him.

Queen Elizabeth II has one guiding unwavering belief, that it is her Devine inescapable duty to rule. Irrespective of her health or events surrounding her private and public life, her first and only duty is to act as Queen. So when she became Queen she relinquished all personal feelings. But the emotional coolness only applies to humans, she loves dogs and horses, so she can‘t be all that bad.


Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth

People pass it by, but when the sun strikes the white marble bust and torso it becomes the most arresting public sculpture in London.

Click here to see today's image.

Back home is where I want to be

In the words of Paul Simon “Gee but it’s great to be back home”.

The last couple of days, posting the blog has been a challenge. Firstly I had to use a borrowed Apple Mac, which I am unaccustomed to - no right click, no scroll wheel and a whole set of keys either missing or different. But that was nothing compared to the problem caused by everything on screen being in Dutch. Even though I was logged into my own Google Blogger account it was all in Dutch. But things went from bad to worst, I must have clicked on the wrong key, for suddenly not only was everything in Dutch but in Russian Cyrillic alphabet!! From “Double Dutch” to “All Greek to me” in one fair swoop. What a nightmare.

Its great sitting here in front of my familiar PC, never again will I curse you when you freeze on me.

By necessity this is going to be a very short blog, having travelled by coach all last night I feel absolutely knackered. The French customs and immigration made us take all our luggage off the bus, and pass it through an x-ray machine. My hand luggage caused suspicion. I had to open it for inspection. You would think they had never seen a packet of mixed nuts and dried fruit before! After the French, the British had us all off the bus for yet another inspection of passports. There’s always a high probability of problems when you see a large percentage of passengers having to fill-in immigration card because they are non-European Union Nationals. And so it was last night a West African couple were questioned and requisitioned - result we missed the 05:29 Eurotunnel Shuttle and had to wait for the 06:49. The knock on effect being the coach encountered the London rush hour - slow crawl for the final 5 miles.

Enough enough, I’m off to bed.

A moral need?

Click here to read more of YesBut‘s thoughts.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

YesBut its time to go home

Mrs YesBut is starting to pack her bag ready for the journey home tonight.

I’ve failed to acquire ear plugs, but remembered to buy an orange. So if a passenger starts snoring on the homeward journey, I’ll have a solution.

Because the coach starts from Amsterdam, it’s normally given extra special attention by the UK Customs and Immigration. Our passports will be examined by UK Immigration Officers based at Coquelles near Calais. Invariably most passengers don't hold European Union passports, so there is a lot of scrutiny. Last time we travelled, we were delayed for over an hour while a West African gentleman, searched through his luggage to find documents to prove the two year old child travelling with him was his son. Of course any delay means we miss the Eurotunnel shuttle, so the coach and passengers have to wait for the next train with free space. Fortunately this time of the year, the trains aren’t fully booked.

When we finally arrive at Folkestone, our passports will be examined yet again by UK Immigration. Then we will have to unload all our luggage, lug it into the Customs Hall. While it’s being examined sniffer dogs search the coach for drugs. I’m still waiting for some hippie type dude approaching me to ask “Help me out man, carry my guitar and this potted plant, I bought as a present for my dear old mother, through Customs for me”. It just goes to prove you shouldn’t judge a person by appearance. There I had assumed the long haired bearded individual was a drug smuggler, while all along he was a devoted son!

Last time I flew into Heathrow Airport, I was minding my own business walking through the “Nothing to declare channel“, when the passenger in front of me was stopped by Customs. He completely lost his cool and accused the Officer, “The only reason you have stopped me is because I’m black. You wouldn’t have stopped me if I was white”. It was just my luck! As a gesture and to shut the complaining passenger up, I was stopped and asked, very apologetically, to open my cases. I have no problem with being stopped, the only annoying thing is, despite the combined efforts of Mrs YesBut and myself we can never seem to get all the contents back into the cases! It’s really embarrassing trying to pack your underwear and things in public. I suppose it’s even more embarrassing for passengers who have purchased items from Amsterdam sex shops.

So its going to be another sleepless night tonight

Click here to see today’s image - others making their way home.

Monday, 7 May 2007

YesBut its so so flat.

Holland is so boring! No bumps lumps, no need a hill or mountain - just flat. And so uniform - the Dutch do not close their curtains so you see into their tidy neat houses. If they have a potted plant on the right side of their windowsill they must have an identical plant on the left. Tall vase on the right, tall vase on the left. And the little gardens in front of their houses are laid out in geometric patterns of shrubs and heathers. Streets and streets of boring uniform sameness. Even when they look different, they give the impression of conformity.

The small towns look so clinical, as if they are reconstructed every night. Perhaps as a reaction to their inherent uniformity, they indulge in nonconformity. It is jarring to see the streets of the prim little towns polluted with dollops of dog shit. The Dutch make no effort to stop their dogs fouling the pavements, and wouldn’t dream of cleaning up the disgusting mess.

And their Capital city - well which is it Amsterdam or De Hague? How could the good Burghers of Amsterdam allow their city to degenerate into Europe’s brothel, overrun by drunken British hen and stag parties - they leer at the prostitutes flaunting themselves in red lit brothel windows, and ogle, like children at a sweet shop, at the videos and toys in the sex shops.

You have no idea how difficult it has been postin this blog. The computer thinks I'm Dutch and I'm faced with the choice of Archief, Wijzig, Weergave and a lot more words i have no idea what they mean.

I have learnt the hard way, verwijder means delete!

YseBut this is the country that gave the world: Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh and Gouda cheese.

Click here to see today’s image - an apple a day

Sunday, 6 May 2007

YesBut what a journey.

I think Eurolines must have a group of highly trained individuals whose sole reason for existence is to make my life a misery.

Mrs YesBut and myself left London by coach last night to travel to Holland. As soon as the coach moved off from Victoria Coach Station, the woman seated in front of us started a series of phone conversations. I don’t know why she used a phone, because she was speaking so loud her relatives in the North of Scotland could have heard her. It was incessant yak yak until we reached the Channel Tunnel. Thank goodness phones don’t work in the tunnel.

I don’t particularly like travelling through the tunnel. It’s like being broiled in a cigar tube. I prefer when the coach crosses by ferry from Dover. OK sometimes the crossing can be rough, and in really bad conditions sailings are delayed. But at least on the ferry you can walk around, have a cup of tea, wander around the duty free shop and go to the toilet. But going by the Eurotunnel you just have to sit on the bus as it is transported by train.

As soon as we got into the tunnel, the snorers started. Why is it ever time we travel, there is a World Champion Snorer on the bus? They are normally fat men whose snore starts at their toes and gains in volume as it resonates up through their body, until it is finally expelled with gusto out of their cavernous wobbling foul smelling breath flabby mouth. The one we had on last nights coach was a real champion, he could simultaneously snore and whistle.

I sat there getting more annoyed devising ingenious plans to shut up the snorting pig. I could tap him on his shoulder to wake him up, and ask him politely not to snore. Or I could stuff an orange in his mouth, (I’ll have to remember to add an orange onto my list of essential requisites). Perhaps I could shout “stop”, the driver would break, and the snorer would be catapulted out of the bus.

Absolute torment sitting there for six hours feeling wretched, exhausted but unable to sleep because of that ##### snorer. What a relief when he got off the coach at Breda.

But would you believe it, the coach stopping at Breda woke up the woman in the seat before us. Suffering from withdrawal symptoms having not made a phone call for eight hours, she was immediately on the phone.

What dastardly act did I commit in the past that I am punished now?

For the return journey, as well as an orange I’ll need to put ear plugs on my must get list.

Click here to see today’s image - please sit here

Saturday, 5 May 2007

YesBut pack up

Mrs YesBut and I are going to Holland tonight.

For a week Mrs YesBut has been rehearsing her packing. Every time we travel, she goes through the same ritual. Mrs YesBut collects, on the spare bedroom bed, all the cloths and things she thinks she will require. She then packs all the items. Then unpacks. Then repacks all the items in another case. Then unpacks. This cycle of activity continues until she is satisfied she has selected the most appropriate bag.

Then she asks me to put on the bed, all the things I want to take, with strict instructions to keep them to a minimum. Then she goes through the process of deciding whether one bag will be sufficient or whether we should have to take two separate cases. All very time consuming, that’s why she has to start a week before the departure date.

After she has finished I have a rummage through what she has packed. “Why do you want to take a box of salt?”. “And what’s this jar of Lemon Pickle doing here?”. ”Bananas!?”. All the contraband is removed.

After the final pack is completed I add the essentials: a box of Twinings Chai teabags, a jar of honey to sweeten my chai, a container of drinking chocolate for my bedtime drink, a box of coffee mate for the chocolate drink and finally a jar of peanut butter for breakfast - the absolute minimum essentials.

Click here to see today’s image - memories of wetter days

Friday, 4 May 2007

YesBut Passing moment, present moment

When I go out I carry a small digital camera with me. I’m not a good photographer because I miss the moment. As I walk along I see an image and think:
“That will make a good photo, YesBut”.

But that’s as far as it goes, I don’t convert the thought into action. If I was a goalkeeper I’d see the ball being kicked, but would stand still as it rolled by my feet into the goal.

If only I had stopped and taken the photo I would be a famous photographer by now. But invariably I see the image and walk on. Sometimes I would try to salvage the situation and go back, but “The moment” has past.

Same with topics for this blog. Have a thought in the middle of the night, instead of writing it down on a notepad, I scratch myself turnover and go back to sleep. Another literary masterpiece lost for ever!

Life is like that, a series of missed moments. The only comfort is the realisation if I had responded differently to any of those moments I wouldn’t be where I am now - and frankly I am very happy with this present moment typing this blog - its just as well that I am, because:

“Right here, right now things cannot be other than as they are”

Click here to see today’s image - a bridge to culture

Thursday, 3 May 2007

YesBut’s carbon footprint.

“Those who tell us what we must do” say to stop global warming we must reduce our individual carbon footprint. This can be achieved through reducing our dependence on fossil fuel, by among other things installing loft and cavity wall insulation, double glazing windows, using low energy light bulbs and lowering the thermostat setting on central heating systems.

No one who has been in the UK the last month would deny the existence of global warming; some days the temperature has reached 23 ~ 26°C, over 10°C higher than the average for April.

April is normally the time when the number of central heating radiators in use are reduced but this year the heating system has been turned off completely since March. Some days widows have had to been opened to let in a cooling breeze. If the climatic trends continue, air conditioning will have to be installed. So the question arises, why install thermal insulation?

We arrogantly assume we are in control, we think we can manipulate and exploit nature. One day we will appreciate science does not provide all the answers, it has limitations and its exploitation can and does have detrimental consequences.

Despite humankind’s involuntary efforts at self-destruction, the time is approaching when the dominance of science will diminish. Then we will understand the benefits of having a balanced approach involving the arts, philosophy, spirituality and science.

I wish at the time of reading I had taken note of who wrote:

“The world does not need you or anyone else to manipulate and organize it.

It runs quite well by itself”.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

YseBut what’s the real news

Yesterday I wrote about the immanent departure of Tony Blair - firstly as leader of the Labour Party, and subsequently as soon as a new party leader is elected as Prime Minister.

Blair’s resignation announcement will become the main news story on the television and newspapers. But that will not truly be the main news story! After all it will not even be news - we have known it has been coming for over a year. What will be the true news? Well, answering that question is going to be the challenge.

It is anticipated that the Government will use the coverage of Blair’s resignation to sneak out bad news and announcements. The press are well aware of this, and the Government are well aware that the press are well aware. So it’s going to be a challenge for the Government to hide/camouflage the most embarrassing announcement, and for the press to identify it.

I anticipate the Government will try to hide the wood in the trees. On the day every Government Department will flood the news services with a combination of trivial announcements and hidden in the middle bad news.

Blair could make his announcement next Saturday, in order to dilute the undoubted disastrous news for the Government of the trouncing it will get at Thursday’s Local Elections and more importantly the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections.

It’s going to be interesting times for British politics watchers. YesBut I’ll be too busy celebrating Blair’s departure to care.

Click here to see today’s image - more wood and trees