bigjohn

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

  • Warning! Elderly Person Blogging

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  • My Life and Times

    I was born in 1939 BC.
    That’s ‘Before Computers’.

    Luckily I survived the following events in my life, such as

    World War II, The London Blitz, Rationing, and worst of all… Archbishop Temple’s School.

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    During the mid 1950s I was enjoying Rock ‘n’ Roll and being a first generation teenager, when suddenly, just like Elvis, I found myself in uniform during ‘The Cold War’…and then

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    I became ‘a family’. Which meant that I sort of missed the ‘swinging sixties’, but still managed to look a complete prat in the 70s, just like everyone else.

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    During the ‘Thatcher Years’ I lost my hair and a lot of people lost a good deal more. My career fluctuated to say the least as I was demoted, promoted, fired and hired a number of times, but still I managed to stagger on into a welcome retirement and to celebrate 56 years of happy marriage.

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Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

No offence meant … Just my little rant !

Posted by Big John on September 5, 2017

It’s been a few days since my last post, so it’s about time that I had a little rant about something, although it’s hard to find anything in the press other than Kate’s expecting a new royal brat, and that none of our esteemed leaders ‘political pygmies’ seems to have a bloody clue about how to deal with the ‘gravy train’ boys in Brussels over ‘Brexit’. .. Oh! .. and we may be about to see the start of World War III !

Let’s start with ‘Lidl’ supermarkets who have been caught removing the crosses from a picture on its ‘Greek’ range of foods which shows blue-domed churches on the island of Santorini – but only their domes as the crosses that surmount them have been digitally excised so as not to offend, dare I say, Muslims ?  … and …

Whilst on the subject of ‘people being offended’, I’m pleased to report that an Oxford professor has said that ‘generation snowflake’ students need to be taught how to respond to ‘views they find objectionable’ as there was no ‘right not to be offended’. She added: “And I say, I’m sorry, but my job is not to make you feel comfortable. Education is not about being comfortable. In fact, I’m interested in making you uncomfortable. And if you don’t like someone’s views, you challenge them’.” … “So, put that in your ‘PC’ pipe and smoke it” .. No, she didn’t say that. The last bit’s mine.

I’m just getting warmed up so before I offend someone (like those colourful Irish travellers) I must just mention the major topic of the day. Yes, of course … It’s gender fluidity and what it means to reject the male/female binary (whatever that is ?) and the need to dress our kids in ‘gender-neutral clothing’. I’ve just remembered … Little Prince George is about to start school. I can’t wait to see …

…. his school uniform !

 

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Posted in humour, political, rant, religion | 2 Comments »

Stifling free speech !

Posted by Big John on July 27, 2017

I see that my fellow atheist, Richard Dawkins, is in the news again after a radio station in Berkeley, California, cancelled a fundraiser and discussion with him, calling his comments about Islam “abusive speech”, after members of the Berkeley community brought Dawkins’ previous remarks on Islam to their attention.

Yes, Dawkins has been critical about Islam, but he has also made a number of equally critical observations on Christianity, and, as far as I know they didn’t lead to him being ‘de-platformed’ (what a silly word).

I realize that we now live in a crazy world where common sense and logic are often ignored and many delicate ‘snowflakes’ (and others) are offended by just about everything, but, as far as I know, everyone still has the right to express their opinions and beliefs, and equally, those who disagree can respond in like manner. It’s called “freedom of speech” and I’m still with old Voltaire on this one …

“I may disagree with what you have to say,

but I shall defend to the death, your right to say it”.

Posted in political, rant, religion | 2 Comments »

Easter is the New Christmas !

Posted by Big John on April 13, 2017

Public holidays don’t mean much to a retired old fart like me, as one day is much like another: so with this coming weekend being Easter I decided to visit my local Sainsbury’s before the ‘rush’ started, and discovered that the car park was full, there were queues at all the checkouts and the bloody place was heaving with people determined to pack their trollies (carts) full of all sorts of holiday treats, from turkeys to Easter cup cakes.

Can someone please explain to me what heaps of chocolate eggs, bunnies and fluffy chicks have to do with some poor sod being nailed to a cross around two thousand years ago ?

The nearest thing that I saw to the true meaning of this Christian religious festival were shelves full of hot cross buns, but, then again, they are on sale at this store …

… the whole year round !

 

Posted in humour, rant, religion | 5 Comments »

You’re not supposed to lick them !

Posted by Big John on April 1, 2017

I see that the Bank of England may use palm oil in the manufacture of the new £20 note because of the protests by vegans and others over the use of animal fat tallow in the manufacture of the new £5 note.

In my recent post about my medal collection I mentioned the medals awarded by ‘The Honourable East India Company’, the last of which was The Indian Mutiny Medal and was issued on behalf of the British Crown.

In India this bloody rebellion is often referred to as ‘The First War Of Independence’ and came about for many reasons, one of which involved a new type of rifle which required that a soldier had to bite off the end of a lubricated cartridge in order to load it. A rumour spread among the Hindu and Muslim troops that the grease used to lubricate the cartridges was a mixture of pigs’ and cows’ lard; thus, to have oral contact with it was an insult to both religions.

I wonder if the use of palm oil in the new bank notes will ‘plant the seeds’ for a …

‘tree huggers’ uprising  ? 

Posted in History, humour, political, religion | 4 Comments »

Emblems of Empire.

Posted by Big John on March 28, 2017

As you may recall, I have a great interest in the Victorian era, and in particular the lives of the military ‘rank and file’. Some of these soldiers’ and sailors’ histories I have researched after acquiring their ‘named’ medals over a number of years …

(click on image for a better view)

… I now have medals from the early days of Queen Victoria’s reign, such as The China War Medal of 1839-1842 (The Opium War) and The Cabul Medal (same place, different spelling) of 1842 awarded to a young Scottish corporal who served in the 1st Anglo-Afghan War (we never learn) and was discharged “in consequence of a gunshot wound to his right forearm”. He returned safely to Scotland and married his sweetheart (say Ahh!).

The latest medal I have, The Queen’s South Africa Medal, is from the time of Victoria’s death and belonged to a rather ‘posh’ young volunteer in The Imperial Yeomanry who served in The Boer War. He lived until 1966 and died at the age of 83.

Obviously I could write pages of this stuff, but I suspect that some most of you are already yawning, so I will restrict myself to saying that I have medals awarded for campaigns in Afghanistan, China, Abyssinia, Egypt, Southern Africa, The Crimea, Canada, Syria, The Sudan and India (including those issued by ‘The Honourable East India Company’).

Most of these medals were issued by the British Government and a few by The Ottoman Empire, and were awarded to British and Indian troops, from drummer boys to lancers; and one medal stands out from the rest, for it is The Queen’s Sudan Medal (1896-1898) and the details impressed around the edge are in Arabic, as it was presented to a Sudanese Infantryman, serving in The Khedive of Egypt’s army.

Now comes the question, for although most British soldiers were happy to wear their Ottoman medals with their Islamic symbols and Arabic script. How would a black Muslim, with little or no knowledge of Britain or it’s Empire, feel about wearing a medal that must have seemed very strange to him, as Islam discourages the depiction of the human form, and both the obverse and reverse faces of this medal shows the figures of two …

sudan medal 

…  women ?

 

Posted in History, humour, nostalgia, religion | 3 Comments »

“Trigger Warnings” ! … but no bullets.

Posted by Big John on January 7, 2017

I see that ‘Generation Snowflake’ is in the news again because theology students at the University of Glasgow are receiving advanced warnings that they might be upset by seeing distressing images while studying the Crucifixion of Jesus, so that they can avoid this harrowing experience by leaving lectures if they are unable to cope with reality outside of their ‘ivory tower’ which provides them with ‘safe spaces’ where they also need never fear someone from the real world offending them in any way or not using their ‘preferred gender’ title when addressing them.

How on earth did previous generations of 18 and 20 year olds cope with the ‘reality’ of their lives ?

In my case, I, and many thousands of others of the same age, had to spend two years in the armed forces and I can’t imagine our sergeants and corporals saying ..

“Fall out all those who want to be excused bayonet practice as it makes them feel a bit queasy” .. or .. “Please don’t cry if I call you a nasty name or be offended if I appear to doubt that you are ‘equipped’ as a man”.

Now I’m pretty sure that today’s students are not all ‘precious little souls’ and my experience of military life took place nearly 60 years ago. However, although the world of the young has changed almost beyond recognition, one thing remains somewhat the same, for I did have my own ‘space’ to which I could retire, although it wasn’t exactly ‘safe’ as it was called a bunk and was situated in a barrack room …

… alongside 23 others ! 

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant, religion | 3 Comments »

So, who is this Noel geezer ?

Posted by Big John on December 22, 2016

merry-xmas

(click on image to enlarge)

Posted in humour, religion | 5 Comments »

Sounds about right.

Posted by Big John on December 6, 2016

The following is my list, in no particular order, of my favourite ten quotations …

  1. “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” – Denis Diderot
  2. “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” – Bette Davis
  3. “Youth is wasted on the young.” – George Bernard Shaw
  4. “Hell is other people.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
  5. “A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.” – Rudyard Kipling
  6. “Anyone who hates children and animals can’t be all bad.” – W.C. Fields
  7. “Conceit is an outward manifestation of inferiority.” – Noël Coward
  8. “You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you’re down there.” – George Burns 
  9. “Work is the curse of the drinking classes.”- Oscar Wilde
  10. “If I had no sense of humour, I would long ago have committed suicide.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

Oh ! .. and one epitaph, on the grave of Spike Milligan …

“I told you I was ill”

 

 

Posted in humour, political, religion | 2 Comments »