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I climbed on the back of a giant albatross... and ended up somewhere in Scotland

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Feb. 17th, 2015

Really affected this morning... on Facebook I stumbled across a video of the Islamic State people marching the Egyptian Coptic Christians along the beach in Libya.

I thought, surely, it'd be some sort of edited version ... maybe it was... but it was graphic enough to be incredibly disturbing.


I also had a look, about a week ago, at the video they made of the Jordanian airman being burned in the cage... edited version from a news source on the internet.

Don't really know what to say, or exactly what I want to say. Nothing feels sufficient. But I just wanted to express my complete and utter revulsion at those people and what they've been doing. What kind of world is this? I can only see it getting worse.

I guess this is the sort of thing that goes on in conflict zones. Shouldn't be a huge surprise. Just that it's filmed ... with good production values... artistically... and splattered all over the online world... it's a disturbing thing.

Eve of Destruction

For my Song Hall of Fame... "Eve of Destruction" performed by Barry McGuire

It was a number one hit... trying to be a bit protest-mode Dylanesque, I think... but the poetry isn't great. I like some of it, tho. It has a bit of an attitude, for 1965.

It starts out good:

The eastern world it is explodin'
Violence flarin', bullets loadin'
You're old enough to kill but not for votin'
You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin'

but then after the chorus bit the next verses get a bit clunky, in my opinion:

Don't you understand, what I'm trying to say?
Can't you see the fears that I'm feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there's no running away
There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave
Take a look around you, boy, it's bound to scare you, boy

(Chorus bit) then it gets weird

Yeah, my blood's so mad, feels like coagulatin'
I'm sittin' here, just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation
Handful of Senators don't pass legislation,
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin'

(Chorus bit again)

Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space
But when you return, it's the same old place
The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace
Hate your next-door-neighbour, but don't forget to say grace

(Last chorus bit)

So, there are odd bits and good bits... I like that last line above, tho...


Another favourite song... "Zombie" by the Cranberries

It's about the troubles in Northern Ireland... a place I've been several times over the past year.

It's Just a Thought

For my growing list of favourite songs... "It's Just a Thought" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Not one of their best known songs, and I've only heard it within the past year or so I think... but one I really like. Sort of a church organ vibe to it... with vague, introspective lyrics about something. I'm not sure what.


We went to Glenkiln Reservoir today with Jenny, Andy and the kids... to roll Easter eggs. We parked where the John the Baptist statue by Rodin used to be, but all the statues have been taken away for safe keeping since one of the big Henry Moore sculptures got stolen several months ago. It's a shame they're all gone. I've only been there once before, a long, long time ago.

Anyway, we rolled eggs from the little hill where the John the Baptist statue used to be. Well, Adam threw them rather than rolled them. Some ended up in the river for the fish and some were left on the hill for the birds.

Swabian–Alemannic Fastnacht

Regarding my post I just made about a German "carnival" holiday I saw some of this week.... here are some excerpts from Wikipedia... :

The Swabian–Alemannic Fastnacht is the pre-Lenten carnival in Alemannic folklore in Switzerland, southern Germany, Alsace and western Austria.

It is also known in parts of Pennsylvania Dutch Country as Fasnacht Day and is celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the last Tuesday before Lent.


Fastnacht is held in the settlement area of the Germanic tribes of the Swabians and Alemans, where Swabian–Alemannic dialects are spoken. The region covers German Switzerland, the larger part of Baden-Württemberg, Alsace, south-western Bavaria and Vorarlberg (western Austria).

The festival starts on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, "Greasy Thursday", as remaining winter stores of lard and butter used to be consumed at that time, before the fasting began. Elsewhere the day is called "Women's Carnival" (Weiberfastnacht), being the day when tradition says that women take control.

etc etc

Ayla Christened

Grand-daughter Ayla was christened this morning at St. George's Church in Dumfries. It was a really good service... uplifting... and Ayla did great. There was a party back at Andy and Jenny's house later.

Everyone was there: Ayla, Adam, Jenny, Andy, me and Linda, Elspeth and David, Ian and Christine, G-Grandmother Marjorie, Robert and Rachel, James and Emma, Douglas, Ross and Lisa, Scott and Sarah, and Debbie (who also took some pictures for us).

Southern Man

Another for my personal Song Hall of Fame...  "Southern Man" by Neil  Young

From the great After the Goldrush album, this is Neil's well-known song about the injustices of the southern USA...

George Harrison Garden

There was a George Harrison Garden at Bhaktivedanta Manor.... interesting to me as I'm a big GH fan... Here are pix of the garden and the info board nearby, which quotes some songs I'm very familiar with:





Hare Krishna Temple

When I was in Watford earlier this week, I saw a sign pointing the way to a Hare Krishna temple, so I went to have a look. Different than I expected. It was a country estate... didn't look like a temple from the outside... and it was surrounded by nice gardens with a lake.

Here are a few pix:




Here's what Wikipedia says:

Bhaktivedanta Manor is a Gaudiya Vaishnava temple set in the Hertfordshire countryside of England in the village of Aldenham near Watford. The Manor, as it is called by those familiar with it, is owned and run by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, better known as ISKCON, or the Hare Krishna movement. It is ISKCON's largest property in the UK, and one of the most frequently visited Radha Krishna temples in Europe. It stands in 70 acres (280,000 m2) of landscaped grounds consisting of lawns, flower gardens, a children's playground, an artificial lake that attracts many water fowl, and a substantial car park.

The property was converted from a country mansion called Piggott's Manor, the name that still shows on older maps.

In 1973, Beatles musician George Harrison gave the Manor as an offering of devotion to the founder of ISKCON, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Harrison had a close relationship with Prabhupada and met and stayed with him on several occasions. "Bhaktivedānta" is Sanskrit for "devotion-Vedanta", that is, "the Vedanta which is about devotion".


Here are excerpts from Matt Bors' perspective on the various people involved in the Syria mess....  I found it interesting / entertaining...

I've snipped some small parts out (but to make it easier to read, I'm not indicating where. mmkay?)

"Free Syrian Army — 

Saw you dudes on the front page of The New York Times last week lining up a bunch of shirtless, whip-marked prisoners for execution.

Had me thinking: You’re not gonna, like, massacre everyone in Damascus once you take it over, right? You’re going to have elections when this is over? Set up some public schools, run for county treasurer?

Because I’m starting to think the leftover weapons we gave you won’t be melted down to build swing sets.

John Kerry —

A young man once asked, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” He was you! So maybe stop asking people to die for yet another war that is bound to be a mistake.

Oh, it’s not going to be a big deal, you say, just a couple of explosions here and there. No boots touching no ground. You know which conflict started out like that? THE VIETNAM ONE.

Now you’re dragging your droopy face around, casting anyone who opposes this garbage idea as some pro-Iran Jew hater and comparing Assad to Hitler. You think you’re in the comments section of the internet, bro? Because this is not how you make arguments.

Barack Obama — 

Remember when you said “red line” out loud a year ago? Fortunately, is wasn’t a magic incantation that compels us to go to war. You can actually just not do this. You see Micronesia eager to bomb Syria? You see Chile ready to launch missiles on a country its citizens know nothing about? Okay, the main reason for that is they don’t spend a trillion dollars a year on their military. But the other, closely related cousin of that reason, is they don’t see themselves as the Judge Dredd of Earth with a need to pepper the entire planet with military bases.

We’ve invaded, bombed, and/or occupied dozens of countries in just the last few decades all in the name of increasing our “national security interests.” Haiti, The Philippines, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan; none of them really turned out super great. America’s done enough wonders for the world, buddy. Let’s sit this one out.

John McCain — 

What is with you. Why are you on tv so much. Why do you want to invade ten more countries. Last year you said the military would fall apart if we allowed gay people to serve.Today you want them to level Syria.

You’re considered some moral authority because you were a prisoner of war, but for a while now I’ve been sort of feeling like the exact opposite is true. Like maybe when it comes to the delicate issue of dropping explosives on people’s bodies from the sky, we should do the opposite of whatever you’re grunting about.


You really hate this black president so much you’re going to thwart him from killing brown people in the Middle F*ing East. Have to say: I’m floored. Probably was a real crisis of concience for you. You’re typically on the ball about people dying as a result of your decisions, be it aerial bombardment, denying them health care, or just the small systemic measures put in place to crush poor people into dust.

Republicans who eagerly support the president: I know that was difficult for you, but sometimes you gotta reach across that aisle to kill folk.


Finally! An opportunity to rein in the executive, end a decade of idiotic warmongering, and focus on jobs, jobs, jobs. Was fun while it lasted but we can’t kee—Oh wait. You’re not doing that, are you?

If George W. Bush wanted to do this crap you’d have already drown me in Operation: Non-Stop Fundraising Emails. Think you can muster up the courage to rebuke your man? I doubt it. You’re that useless; a bunch of noodly-spined flip floppers from waffle town. Can’t even believe you made me type that sentence.

Bashar Al-Assad

Chomp on a cyanide capsule. You’re through. Gassing kids like that. That was evil. Not that bullets are all that more humane or anything, but Christ, be overthrown in a civil war like a man. I’d say I hope Al Qeada chops your face off in their stupid Sharia court but then I’m actually in favor of the rule of law, which seems to be the main problem for everyone in this goddamned conflict.

Adam christened

Grandson Adam was christened today at church and had a party back at his house. Here he is with him mum and granny.

Sweetheart Abbey

A few images from Sweetheart Abbey the other day...

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