Search

Paul's Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
Recent blog posts

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Well, the blog you've all been waiting for is finally here. The2022 Book of the Year is being announced today. In reality, it would appear that even the winners don't care. My Boys' Book of Successful Authoring told me it might be good idea to let the winners know. Only a handful ever got back to me. The noticeable thing was that the ones who did respond were also the ones who wrote the best books. I doubt if that's a coincidence. 

Continue reading
Hits: 34
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Years ago I worked for a newspaper with a lot of satellite offices. It was a fact of life that the emergency services in each office's area were often reluctant to mention what they had been up to because they didn’t want the extra work that would be generated by media interest. But many were happy to mention events involving neighbouring stations. So, reporters used to call their colleagues in those neighbouring areas just to make sure they knew about these happenings. Except for one guy. He used to call the assistant editor-type people at head office. Guess who got the promotion to assistant editor type person. And who was the biggest creep at head office? As well as being a creep and all round nasty piece of work, he was also a pretentious snob of the first water. I remember once, after his ill- deserved promotion, reporting to him that for once there was nothing doing in my neck of the woods. "Nothing will come of nothing; speak again," he said to show off his expensive private education. I didn't have the heart to tell him they teach Shakespeare in the state schools too.

Continue reading
Hits: 41
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

There’s nothing like a common adversary to create a sense of community. Maybe that’s why there is so much nostalgia for the Second World War and The Blitz – whether in London, Coventry, Liverpool or Clydebank. I encountered this phenomenon recently. A bunch of wicked capitalists bought the building I lived in and evicted all the tenants. By final few weeks beforeeveryone had to be out, the sense of community, especially for those who hadlived in the building for more than 20 years, had undergone a massive revival. There had always been some community spirit, folk often gave neighbours a lift to medical appointments and stuff like that, but as the last few long term tenants scrambled to find new homes, it soared as soon-to-be-former- residents tried to help each other out. I was reminded of when I was little and all the houses on my street were brand new. The adversary in that case was builder. The shared fight got a sense of community in the street off to a flying start.

Continue reading
Hits: 112
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

I heard a listener's comment on the BBC World Service that made me wonder about education standards in India. By the way, the World Service in its enthusiasm to be The World's Radio Station would appear to be prepared to sacrifice Truth and Commonsense. This guy claimed that before the arrival of the British, India was a united Garden of Peace and Tranquility. In fact, the British managed to take control because the sub-continent was riddled by rival warring states. What I wonder is, do this idiot's comments reflect how history is taught in India? And what is the BBC thinking airing such distortions? Does it have so few listeners that they feel obliged to air all comments no matter how stupid in the hope of encouraging more audience participation? The BBC has a cheek criticising social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter for propagating racial  hate-inspired lies. 

Continue reading
Hits: 76
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

The  press used to sit behind the witness box when the High Court was held in Inverness. So, the reporters could see something that that the jury couldn’t. That was the leg, or legs, of the witness shaking as they gave evidence. To me, that suggested they were not telling the truth. Then one night in the pub a lawyer came up to me and asked if I was the Paul Cowan who had seen a fatal accident on Ness Walk two years earlier. I said yes and he asked me to appear as a witness next day at Inverness Sheriff Court.  Imagine my surprise when I found one of my legs shaking like crazy. I was telling the truth.

Continue reading
Hits: 181
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

I'm hearing hurt feelings on the radio coverage of the World Cup as English people are reminded that there are Scots out there who want to see Anyone But England win. Part of the hurt is that many English people cheer on the other Home Countries when they are not playing against England in sporting events.  This ABE thing is getting tiresome and is damaging Scotland's relationship with those who are still our overlords. It's not worth it. But I would remind people that when it comes to the Football Association there are grounds for a grudge. It killed off the oldest annual international fixture in the world because it declared Scotland was not worth playing anymore. And let's not forget the insufferable BBC coverage of that annual fixture. The arrogant and ignorant Jimmy Hill was only the worst feature of a game day that made a nonsense of the BBC's claim to be a national broadcaster. It was difficult not to transfer the disgust aroused from the BBC to the England squad and the FA. 

Continue reading
Hits: 319
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

I heard a disturbing item on that font of racism and intolerance, the BBC World Service, about a group of African female trainee car mechanics who planned to go into business - businesses that only employed female car mechanics. Is that not sex discrimination? I would hope the said African country if it allows this discrimination also permits all male car repair businesses too. And that the BBC approves of the all male businesses as much as it evidently supports the all female versions. All too often supposed Equality campaigns are really demands for special treatment. These female car mechanics almost certainly  want the right to work in any car repair workshop facilities while denying men the same employment opportunities. I bet if they tire of a female only operation they will complain bitterly if they are refused a job elsewhere on grounds of gender.  I would not want to join a golf club, for instance, that banned women. But  as it seems acceptable for there to be female only golf clubs, surely men who do not wish to share a green or a clubhouse with women should be equally indulged. 

Continue reading
Hits: 107
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

I hate it when people lie to me. It's like they are saying they think I'm stupid enough to believe the lie. They say Truth is the first casualty in war. But do the Ukrainians have to be such crude propagandists? I didn't expect much from the Russians. Part of the problem is that the collapse of mainstream media means that we have to rely on cheap semi-amateur news stringers for news of the war. I encountered many of these sad characters in Kosovo and Afghanistan in ever increasing numbers as the years went on. The Blundstone boots were kind of red flag. So, sadly, I have very little idea of what is really going on in Ukraine. Much of the coverage makes little sense. And a good rule of thumb is if it doesn't make sense, it isn't true. There is no real need to embellish the terrible things happening in Ukraine. Have they never heard the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf? 

Continue reading
Hits: 109
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Well, if you don't want a speeding ticket, don't speed. I cringe everytime I hear that in Edmonton, Canada. I've had two speeding tickets and on both occasions I had to search for the speed limit sign afterwards. In one case the driver would have to ignore the traffic they were merging with and watch the opposite side of the street to see the sign; in the case of the other ticket the sign was frequently obscured by parked buses. The photo radar trap undercover trucks used to sit outside my block of flats. That was irresponsible because the industrial strength flash gun on the truck when activated blinded passing pedestrians when it fired in their faces. But trying proving in 20 years' time that your blindness was caused by the retinal damage done by that flash. The speed limit sign for that stretch of road was tiny. Most of my neighbours certainly didn't know the limit was dropped by 10 kilometres an hour at the end of the street. Then a bigger sign was put up and the speed trap vanished. Weeks later the photo radar trap trucks had returned. Right enough, the bigger  sign was gone and the tiny one was back. Recently, the trap trucks have been painted bright yellow but the speed limit signs are still tiny or badly positioned. 

Continue reading
Hits: 161
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

The Rememberence Day weekend approaches. Here in Canada November 11th is a public holiday. I suspect the traditional silence is slightly more often observed here than in the United Kingdom. The Silence I thoroughly approve of. Some of the Rememberence Day parades, not so much. There is a painfully thin line between commemoration and celebration. The Silence is purely about the folk who didn't make it back. Though perhaps it should also also be about considering those who did come back but were  never the same again. 

Continue reading
Hits: 144
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

A wise man once said that was a lot of money in poverty. I think he meant that there are a lot of people who make a good living from supposedly helping the poor. Here in Canada a lot of people make some money from collecting up bottles and cans and claiming the deposit money at the Bottle Depot. The depots are commercial operations and make a profit. Our Wise Man set up a bottle collectors co- operative and that way they got the deposit and a share of the profit. But the money in poverty notion also includes those who get their pay from charities and agencies which are involved in helping the poor. No poor, no job. I think the same is true when it comes to supposedly fighting racism. No racism, no job. It must be tempting to torque up the issue.

Continue reading
Hits: 126
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

I've  heard a couple of reports of people pretending to be something they are not, often a member of a "minority" group,  in order to get a job. These were jobs that were awarded on the basis of skin tone or some other kind of form discrimination. I had to laugh. Though sometimes well intentioned, this supposed “poHsitive discrimination” is misguided. Fighting discrimination with more discrimination is wrong. The job should go to the person who will do it best. In many cases that might involve being a member of the group the organisation concerned serves. I’m left wondering how come the interviewers failed to see through the deceptions and lies perpetrated by these bogus claimants. But then those involved in discrimination are seldom the best, or smartest,  of people.

Continue reading
Hits: 172
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

OK. I'm getting fed up with Canadian so-called "historians" , many of them for some reason taken seriously, informing me that Canada fielded the largest volunteer armed force during the Second World War at 250,000 men. Canadians are the first to claim that their part in the conflict is too often minimized or ignored by British and American writers and film makers. So you would think that they would be the last people to display such ignorance. The Indian Army was by a massive stretch the largest all volunteer force during the conflict; 2.5 million men. Full stop. No dispute. The 21st Army group in Northwest Europe was made up of the 2nd British Army and the 1st Canadian Army. Somehow many of the same "historians" ignore the fact that until the very last few weeks of the war about half of the 1st Canadian Army was made up of British soldiers on loan from the 2nd Army. Canadians are left with a very distorted view of what they achieved and what the British troops under 1st Canadian Army command achieved. As I said, you would think Canadians would be amongst the last to indulge in this sort of puffery.

Continue reading
Hits: 149
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

A couple of years ago I tried to get a Christmas job with a major chain bookshop. The interview brought together in one room about 20 people, a surprising number of them with some amazing qualifications, of a branch on the southern outskirts of the city. There were a number of tests and challenges, including playing something called Pictionary. I didn't get the job. I suspect in an effort to standout I came across as an obnoxious know- it-all. That's just a guess because after jumping through so many hoops the guy conducting the recruitment didn't respond to my request for "lessons to be learned" feedback. The thing is that the whole process was probably unnecessary. We were all gathered in a corner of the shop floor before things kicked off. All the guy really had to do was hide around the corner and watch how the job seekers interacted with each other. No silly Pictionary required.

Continue reading
Hits: 159
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

I saw it argued that the Highland Clearances were ultimately a good thing because economically things couldn't go on the way they were. Maybe, but there's a big difference between reluctantly bowing to the inevitable and buying passage to Canada or the Antipodes as against a bunch of the landowner's thugs turning up at your door with blazing torches and crow bars. Losing your home due to compulsion at hands of the rich is a bitter bitter pill to swallow.

Continue reading
Hits: 175
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

As I've said before anyone who calls football The Beautiful Game doesn't know what they are talking about and almost certainly have never played it. Now the half wits have decided that tournaments do not have a Cup Final. They have a Cup Finale, as in an opera. Where do the media find these people?  And even more importantly why do they give them a job or a platform? 

Continue reading
Hits: 233
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has seen renewed discussion about several Caribbean nations declaring themselves republics. And also a renewal in demands for compensation for Slavery and further payment for the end of slavery. There is a degree of racism here. It seems to the United Kingdom is expected to pay all this compensation. I have a feeling that it wasn't the British who snatched the ancestors of large portions of Caribbean nations in question and conveyed them to the coast. Surely the descendants of the African slavers and their collaborators should also face demands for compensation. And as the kleptocracies that run most African countries are often actual descendants of the slavers, it's hard to see why they don't. A few billion pounds diverted to the Caribbean rather than into their Swiss bank accounts doesn't seem unreasonable. They continue  to enjoy the benefits of the slave trade to this day to a far greater extent than the average  British taxpayer. 

Continue reading
Hits: 198
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

I heard a PhD candidate on the radio declare that a woman in medieval England "appealed" a man of rape. This came on top of a couple of dubious assertions that I didn't feel qualified to challenge. But I strongly suspect that the woman "accused" the man of rape. Sadly, this is yet another symptom of how higher education has gone down the toilet; along with the BBC 's confident assertion that Glasgow and Amsterdam are respectively the capitals of Scotland and the Netherlands. Now that a university degree is required to get even a job as a waitress, education has become a commodity to be bought and sold. No matter how lazy or stupid a person is, they have paid for their degree and by golly they are going to get it, even if it means suing the university. I have been told by a university teacher that failing someone is now a no-no because of the potential legal costs. The supposed, and aggrieved,  student can easily find a rent-an-expert, usually a retired professor,  who will testify in court that the paper should have merited a pass. Faced with losing such cases, the university has decided to avoid pointless legal costs by simply allowing pretty much everyone to pass. 

Continue reading
Hits: 175
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Far too often these days, particularly in writing or the arts, projects are being cancelled because someone says something other people don't like. Shame on those who cave in. I want to hear what people think. But now a lot of vile thoughts and opinions are being driven underground. I want to know that so-and-so is a balloon. But I can't do that if they are silenced by Cancel Culture.  Let these idiots condemn themselves with their words. It is good know that your English boss refers to Scots as "Oatmeal Savages".  Down With Self Appointed Censors. 

Continue reading
Hits: 183
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

I have a definition of Hell. It’s a sort of Flying Dutchman thing. It would be a flight from Boston to Glasgow that never touches down. The ingredients would be first of all the addition several extra rows of seats on the plane. This ensures that if the person directly in front of you reclines their seat it rests against your forehead. Then don’t upgrade the air circulation system to cope with all the extra passengers crammed into the Smartie Tube with Wings thanks to the added seating. Make it as stuffy as possible.  But here’s the kicker. Offer free booze to the passengers as compensation for something. This will ensure that many of the male adult passengers become pissed and obnoxious. And that their wives and girlfriends start nagging and rowing with them.  And there you’ve for your recipe for a Living Hell.

Continue reading
Hits: 189
0
Go to top