Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Diet Update

Now you may find this difficult to believe but I have to say my diet isn't going well. And I think they've slightly downplayed the possible side effects of increased body hair...

Monday, 26 March 2012

See No Evil...

hear no evil, speak no evil. Three monkeys, certainly...

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Respect and The Press

I seldom read newspapers these days. Occasionally, snaking my way through Edinburgh's never-ending tramworks with its network of roadworks and diversions on my way to work, I may scan the pages of the free Metro paper on the bus. But that's usually only to read about yet another Hearts win in the Edinburgh derby.

The internet provides up to the minute news and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook can give you instant updates on important news stories. Newspapers are old hat which, in my view, is no bad thing given the 'quality' - and I use the term loosely - and standards of some of the downmarket tabloids.

Much was made last year of the demise of the News of the World. This was a publication that couldn't spell decency far less demonstrate it and it simply didn't care who it trampled on to provide its 'world wide exclusive'  tittle-tattle on some D list 'celebrity'. The phone hacking scandal brought its closure but it was inevitable its owner Rupert Murdoch, the News International supremo, would resurrect it in some other guise. Lo and behold, the Sun on Sunday was launched just a few short weeks ago.

The Sun, a daily newspaper, has been at the forefront of tasteless journalism in this country for more than 40 years. However, it's a sign of the moral decline in this country that people still buy the rag in their droves. Now it has a Sunday edition, those who get their fix on such tat can have it seven days  a week.

Private Eye magazine - a fortnightly publication that helps me maintain some form of sanity during these difficult times - has a story in its latest edition about two senior Sun reporters attempting to commit suicide in recent weeks - both had been arrested by police investigating illegal payments made by newspapers for stories. The Sun and its ilk have claimed it would be insensitive to publish details of the hacks involved (although Private Eye has named the pair) Insensitive is not normally a word one would associate with The Sun or the NoTW - one of the journalists who attempted to take his own life has written dozens of stories over the years about people who have attempted suicide with thoughtful headlines such as 'Canoe Cheat's Suicide Watch'; 'Jo Suspect on Suicide Watch in Tough Jail'; and 'Crossbow Killer Slashes His Neck'. Clearly, a sensitive approach towards the families and loved ones of those involved...

Unlike those at News International, I have no wish to trample over the feelings of the two journalists who contemplated taking their own life. But there's a lack of respect in this country and some of the blame for the moral decline I mentioned above must lie with the insensitive, tacky and downright shameful reporting of some of this country's tabloid newspapers. And their damn lies which seldom stops them from publishing a 'good story', as the relatives of the 96 people who lost their lives at the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989 will testify - The Sun is still detested by most people in Liverpool as a result.

Only when it relates to their own journalists, does the likes of The Sun display any kind of decency and respect. What a sad reflection on journalism - and life - in this country.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

15 Years On

My father, daughter Laura and wife Pat at Laura's 1st birthday in 1987

I find it remarkable that today marks 15 years since my father died. He was taken away from us very suddenly following a heart attack in 1997, at the tragically young age of 58.

Despite three marriages and three sons to two different wives, he died alone  - indeed, police had to break into his home in Paisley after no one had heard from him for a few days.

Given the events of this year, I wish more than ever he was still around to offer me advice on a difficult personal issue. Tonight, I sit alone with just a bottle of brandy for company. I raise a glass and offer this little tribute to him.

If I could write a story
It would be the greatest ever told
Of a kind and loving father
Who had a heart of gold

I could write a million pages
But still be unable to say,
Just how much I love and miss him
Every single day

I will remember all he taught me
I'm hurt but won't be sad
‘coz he'll send me down the answers
And he'll always be 'My Dad'

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Talking Dog

A fella in Edinburgh is walking home one night and sees a sign in front of a house:

"Talking Dog for Sale."

He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a large Alsatian just sitting there.

"Do you talk?" he asks.

"Yep," the dog replies.

The fella is incredulous "So, what's your story?"

The dog looks up and says, "Well, I discovered my gift of talking pretty young and I wanted to help the government, so I told the them  about my gift. In no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies eight years running. The jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was awarded a batch of medals. Had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

The owner says, "Ten pounds"

The fella is gobsmacked, "This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him, so cheap?"

"Because he's a liar. I've had him ten years and he's never left the back yard...."

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

I Have to Say...

...that was one hell of a party...