Monthly Archives: January 2014

Out of the Mouthes of Babes – Religion

When picking SC up from school the other day, his teacher beckoned me over.

Gulp!

The she proceeded to tell me what had happened in RE that day.

Apparently, the class were discussing what it meant to be Catholic.

Cue, SC putting his hand in the air.

“I’m not Catholic. I’m a Christian!” he pipes up.

His teacher thought it was hilarious, especially, as she added “I’m not either!”

Then, the other day when we were walking out of school with some friends he suddenly turned to his friend and asked “Are you Catholic or Christian?”, to which his friend (being a year or so older) replied “both!”

SC was a little puzzled to say the least. It would appear that in his world you can either be Catholic or Christian, you cannot be both!

Maybe we should have a little chat…

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What does the new Ferrari F14-T remind you of?

So, today, Ferrari unveiled their new F14-T Formula 1 car on which the title hopes of Alonso and new team-mate Raikonnen rest.

Aside from it looking fabulously Ferrari red, as I looked at it, a vague flicker of recognition spread across my face.

Mmmm, thought I, it looks like Ferrari may have been watching Pixar’s “Cars 2”, check out Lightning McQueen’s Italian rival “Francesco Bernoulli”

f14tCARS 2

 

Or is it just me that thinks this?

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Friday Poem – Solitude

This is the poem that starts “laugh and world laughs with you” – a line which everyone knows.tears

The poem ‘Solitude’ is the most famous work of the American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919).

“The inspiration for the poem came as she was travelling to attend the Governor’s inaugural ball in Madison, Wisconsin. On her way to the celebration, there was a young woman dressed in black sitting across the aisle from her. The woman was crying. Miss Wheeler sat next to her and sought to comfort her for the rest of the journey. When they arrived, the poet was so depressed that she could barely attend the scheduled festivities. As she looked at her own radiant face in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow. It was at that moment that she wrote the opening lines of “Solitude”:

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.

She sent the poem to the Sun and received $5 for her effort. It was collected in the book Poems of Passion shortly after in May 1883″ [source: Wikipedia]

Solitude

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain

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Mid-January Update…

Well, it’s the middle of the first month of the new year – how’s it going so far?

Of my “10 things to do in 2014” list, I am going great guns with exercising every day.

I am doing the 10 minute exercise DVD – one for my abs and one for my legs and bum – I have done them religiously every day. I’m also doing a 30-day arm challenge designed to tone up my arms (no bingo wings or muffin tops here!)

And yes, sometimes it is hard to motivate myself to do them. Any form of regular exercise, be it going to the gym or doing stuff at home, does require motivation and an inner discipline to get on and do it even though your chimp part of your brain wants to take the easy option and slouch on the couch in your pyjamas.

But, my discipline is, if I can take a 20 minute coffee break during the day, I’ve got time to do 20 minutes of exercising.

So, for the past 17 days I have exercised – abs, legs and bum, and arms.

And guess what?

I’m beginning to notice a difference.

Any form of exercise is going to take a while to see any change – and I think that’s where some people can get disheartened as they may expect to see instantaneous results after 100 crunches – I believe that it takes 2 weeks for you to begin to see a difference and 4 weeks for other people to start noticing.

So you have to keep going if you want to see results.

And aside from the obvious toning up aspect, the other advantage to exercising is the release of happy hormones 😉

I’ve also started reading Tolstoy’s “War & Peace”.

I downloaded it onto the kindle as it’s the kind of thing I can pick up and read a little bit of whilst waiting for SC at any one of his various after-school things.

I’m 8% in, so far.

To be honest, I have had to force myself to read it.

Up until 6% I was thinking it was possible the dullest book in the history of books, but the action seems to have picked up a bit now.

Drunken debauchery resulting in a bear being tied to a policeman and both being thrown in a river – the offenders being sent home in disgrace, some Count has died whilst people were squabbling over his will, literally over his death-bed, and there are letters which give the merest hint of forbidden love between women in 19th century Russia…who knew it was a forerunner of 50 Shades of rubbish!

Maybe when I’ve finished this, I’ll settle down with “Gone with the Wind” – just as long a book and film!

 

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Friday Poem – A Mathematical Problem

An amazing poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) about maths, of all things!Equilateral

Interestingly enough (or not), this was how I was taught to draw an equilateral triangle. I am a maths geek to the core.

Coleridge believed that with the help of muses and a splash of imagination, mathematics could be rescued from isolation and people’s lack of interest in it. (It appears that even after 222 years attitudes to maths remains the same!)

The introduction to the poem is a letter to his brother, the Reverend George Coleridge:

Dear Brother,

I have often been surprized, that Mathematics, the quintessence of Truth, should have found admirers so few and so languid.–Frequent consideration and minute scrutiny have at length unravelled the cause–viz.–that though Reason is feasted, Imagination is starved; whilst Reason is luxuriating in it’s proper Paradise, Imagination is wearily travelling on a dreary desart. To assist Reason by the stimulus of Imagination is the design of the following production. In the execution of it much may be objectionable. The verse (particularly in the introduction of the Ode) may be accused of unwarrantable liberties; but they are liberties equally homogeneal with the exactness of Mathematical disquisition, and the boldness of Pindaric daring. I have three strong champions to defend me against the attacks of Criticism: the Novelty, the Difficulty, and the Utility of the Work. I may justly plume myself, that I first have drawn the Nymph Mathesis from the visionary caves of Abstracted Idea, and caused her to unite with Harmony. The first-born of this Union I now present to you: with interested motives indeed–as I expect to receive in return the more valuable offspring of your Muse–

Thine ever,

S. T. C.

A Mathematical Problem

This is now–this was erst,
Proposition the first–and Problem the first.

I.
On a given finite Line
Which must no way incline;
To describe an equi–
–lateral Tri–
–A, N, G, L, E.
Now let A. B.
Be the given line
Which must no way incline;
The great Mathematician
Makes this Requisition,
That we describe an Equi–
–lateral Tri–
–angle on it:
Aid us, Reason–aid us, Wit!

II.
From the centre A. at the distance A. B.
Describe the circle B. C. D.
At the distance B. A. from B. the centre
The round A. C. E. to describe boldly venture.
(Third Postulate see.)
And from the point C.
In which the circles make a pother
Cutting and slashing one another,
Bid the straight lines a journeying go,
C. A., C. B. those lines will show.
To the points, which by A. B. are reckon’d,
And postulate the second
For Authority ye know.
A. B. C.
Triumphant shall be
An Equilateral Triangle,
Not Peter Pindar carp, not Zoilus can wrangle.

III.
Because the point A. is the centre
Of the circular B. C. D.
And because the point B. is the centre
Of the circular A. C. E.
A. C. to A. B. and B. C. to B. A.
Harmoniously equal for ever must stay;
Then C. A. and B. C.
Both extend the kind hand
To the basis, A. B.
Unambitiously join’d in Equality’s Band.
But to the same powers, when two powers are equal,
My mind forbodes the sequel;
My mind does some celestial impulse teach,
And equalises each to each.
Thus C. A. with B. C. strikes the same sure alliance,
That C. A. and B. C. had with A. B. before;
And in mutual affiance,
None attempting to soar
Above another,
The unanimous three
C. A. and B. C. and A. B.
All are equal, each to his brother,
Preserving the balance of power so true:
Ah! the like would the proud Autocratorix do!
At taxes impending not Britain would tremble,
Nor Prussia struggle her fear to dissemble;
Nor the Mah’met-sprung Wight,
The great Mussulman
Would stain his Divan
With Urine the soft-flowing daughter of Fright.

IV.
But rein your stallion in, too daring Nine!
Should Empires bloat the scientific line?
Or with dishevell’d hair all madly do ye run
For transport that your task is done?
For done it is–the cause is tried!
And Proposition, gentle Maid,
Who soothly ask’d stern Demonstration’s aid,
Has prov’d her right, and A. B. C.
Of Angles three
Is shown to be of equal side;
And now our weary steed to rest in fine,
‘Tis rais’d upon A. B. the straight, the given line.

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Friday Poem – Cinderella

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) is one of my all-time favourite authors.charming

If you get a chance to read his first autobiography”Boy: Tales of Childhood”, do. It’s brilliant, especially the bit with the dead mouse, and you will never quite look at liquorice in the same way again!

Anyway, not only is he the author of such classics as Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, James & the Giant Peach and Matilda, amongst others, but he also wrote some rather revolting rhymes 😉 and seeing as we are still in Pantomime season (just) I thought I would use this fabulously funny poem about Cinderella, which reminds us that sometimes Prince Charming may not be quite so charming underneath!

Cinderella

I guess you think you know this story.
You don’t. The real one’s much more gory.
The phoney one, the one you know,
Was cooked up years and years ago,
And made to sound all soft and sappy
just to keep the children happy.
Mind you, they got the first bit right,
The bit where, in the dead of night,
The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all,
Departed for the Palace Ball,
While darling little Cinderella
Was locked up in a slimy cellar,
Where rats who wanted things to eat,
Began to nibble at her feet.

She bellowed ‘Help!’ and ‘Let me out!
The Magic Fairy heard her shout.
Appearing in a blaze of light,
She said: ‘My dear, are you all right?’
‘All right?’ cried Cindy .’Can’t you see
‘I feel as rotten as can be!’
She beat her fist against the wall,
And shouted, ‘Get me to the Ball!
‘There is a Disco at the Palace!
‘The rest have gone and I am jealous!
‘I want a dress! I want a coach!
‘And earrings and a diamond brooch!
‘And silver slippers, two of those!
‘And lovely nylon panty hose!
‘Done up like that I’ll guarantee
‘The handsome Prince will fall for me!’
The Fairy said, ‘Hang on a tick.’
She gave her wand a mighty flick
And quickly, in no time at all,
Cindy was at the Palace Ball!

It made the Ugly Sisters wince
To see her dancing with the Prince.
She held him very tight and pressed
herself against his manly chest.
The Prince himself was turned to pulp,
All he could do was gasp and gulp.
Then midnight struck. She shouted,’Heck!
I’ve got to run to save my neck!’
The Prince cried, ‘No! Alas! Alack!’
He grabbed her dress to hold her back.
As Cindy shouted, ‘Let me go!’
The dress was ripped from head to toe.

She ran out in her underwear,
And lost one slipper on the stair.
The Prince was on it like a dart,
He pressed it to his pounding heart,
‘The girl this slipper fits,’ he cried,
‘Tomorrow morn shall be my bride!
I’ll visit every house in town
‘Until I’ve tracked the maiden down!’
Then rather carelessly, I fear,
He placed it on a crate of beer.

At once, one of the Ugly Sisters,
(The one whose face was blotched with blisters)
Sneaked up and grabbed the dainty shoe,
And quickly flushed it down the loo.
Then in its place she calmly put
The slipper from her own left foot.
Ah ha, you see, the plot grows thicker,
And Cindy’s luck starts looking sicker.

Next day, the Prince went charging down
To knock on all the doors in town.
In every house, the tension grew.
Who was the owner of the shoe?
The shoe was long and very wide.
(A normal foot got lost inside.)
Also it smelled a wee bit icky.
(The owner’s feet were hot and sticky.)
Thousands of eager people came
To try it on, but all in vain.
Now came the Ugly Sisters’ go.
One tried it on. The Prince screamed, ‘No!’
But she screamed, ‘Yes! It fits! Whoopee!
‘So now you’ve got to marry me!’
The Prince went white from ear to ear.
He muttered, ‘Let me out of here.’
‘Oh no you don’t! You made a vow!
‘There’s no way you can back out now!’
‘Off with her head!’The Prince roared back.
They chopped it off with one big whack.
This pleased the Prince. He smiled and said,
‘She’s prettier without her head.’
Then up came Sister Number Two,
Who yelled, ‘Now I will try the shoe!’
‘Try this instead!’ the Prince yelled back.
He swung his trusty sword and smack
Her head went crashing to the ground.
It bounced a bit and rolled around.
In the kitchen, peeling spuds,
Cinderella heard the thuds
Of bouncing heads upon the floor,
And poked her own head round the door.
‘What’s all the racket? ‘Cindy cried.
‘Mind your own bizz,’ the Prince replied.
Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads!
How could I marry anyone
Who does that sort of thing for fun?

The Prince cried, ‘Who’s this dirty slut?
‘Off with her nut! Off with her nut!’
Just then, all in a blaze of light,
The Magic Fairy hove in sight,
Her Magic Wand went swoosh and swish!
‘Cindy! ‘she cried, ‘come make a wish!
‘Wish anything and have no doubt
‘That I will make it come about!’
Cindy answered, ‘Oh kind Fairy,
‘This time I shall be more wary.
‘No more Princes, no more money.
‘I have had my taste of honey.
I’m wishing for a decent man.
‘They’re hard to find. D’you think you can?’
Within a minute, Cinderella
Was married to a lovely feller,
A simple jam maker by trade,
Who sold good home-made marmalade.
Their house was filled with smiles and laughter
And they were happy ever after.

*********************

Don’t we all wish for a decent man 😉

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How important are the senses when it comes to food?

The world has people who are deemed ‘visual eaters’ – they eat stuff if it looks good, and if it looks bad then they do not eat it. (That’s why parents tend to try to make pretty cheesecakepictures with their children’s food in an attempt to get them to eat green vegetables and the such)

Can we, therefore, assume that other senses can come into play when approaching food?

And, if so, would it be possible that this sense reaction could have the same effect?

I was just wondering.

Now, I admit that I can be somewhat fussy in the food department – after all being a vegetarian is never a good starting point with potential boyfriends, especially if they are carnivores and they can’t seem to accept that you just don’t like meat – and I’m not very adventurous either really. Plain, wholesome cooking is a winner in my books.

But to get back to the point, SC is very much a visual eater. If he doesn’t like the look of something, savoury or sweet, he will literally crawl under the table in an attempt to avoid even smelling it, let alone trying it!

Whereas, I have come to the conclusion that maybe I am an “aroma eater” – if it doesn’t smell good I will not go near it.

As an example, I have never eaten Indian food in my life. The reason? Oh, that’s too simple. It’s purely because I cannot stand the smell that wafts out of Indian restaurants. I don’t know what it is, and I know, deep down, that individual dishes will not smell bad, but because of the smell I cannot bring myself even to attempt to cook a curry.

Similarly, parmesan cheese, to me smells like vomit, and I cannot bring myself to use it. Even though I have been told that fresh parmesan smells nothing of the sort!

On the plus side, it has helped me kick my addiction to biscuits. I have not had a biscuit in 2 years. After about a week the smell changed. It went from being a scrummy smell, to me being able to smell only the fats and other industrial components, and as a consequence I now cannot eat them.

This I believe is one the foremost techniques in NLP when trying to get someone to ‘kick a habit’, by getting them to give the habit a different smell or taste. So, if you like chocolate, I believe the idea is that when you take a bite instead of enjoying the chocolatey flavour, you train your brain into thinking it tastes of brussel sprouts, so after a few days when you reach for the afternoon ‘pick-me-up’, your brain screams “YUK! Brussel sprouts!” and you think twice about eating it.

But would it work the other way around?

So, for instance, if SC refuses to eat something because of the way it looks, should I try the blindfold test?

Similarly, should I try to cook a curry and hold my nose in the first instance of tasting?

After all, if you can train your brain to think one way, surely you can train it to think another?

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