Archive for March, 2017

Friday 31st March 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 31, 2017 by bishshat

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I took the train to London from Warwick the two buses 29-27 on to Stuarts where we were ready for our trip to Mexico and Cuba. We went to The Sailsbury. Disaster! I decided to have the fish and chips. The fish and chips arrived and to my horror it looked dreadful. A small piece of cod that to me looked old but it tasted ok.
Also for the cost it was poor all around. I was right in my thoughts. But as I had always had good food here I did not complain and ate it. Mistake. During the next 24 hours I was in big trouble with food poisoning.

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Thursday 30th March 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 30, 2017 by bishshat

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Wednesday 29th March 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 29, 2017 by bishshat

Scissors Cut

Jimmy Webb

“If they ever drop the bomb, ” you said,
“I’ll find you in the flames.”
But now we act like people
Who don’t know each other’s names.

Well, sometimes it makes me sad, you know.
Sometimes it makes me smile.
‘Cause you know how the game goes, honey.
We all eat it once in awhile.

Scissors cut, paper covers rock
Breaks the shining scissor
You hurt me
I hurt her and she goes and we will miss her

Now, I look around at people
Playing children’s games.
And I wonder if you’re still thinking
You might find me somewhere in the flames.

Scissors cut, paper covers rock
Breaks the shining scissor
You hurt me
I hurt her and she goes and we will miss her

The Battle of Towton

The Battle of Towton was fought on this day during the English Wars of the Roses on 29 March 1461, near the village of Towton in Yorkshire. It brought about a change of monarchs in England, with the victor, the Yorkist Edward, Duke of York—who became King Edward IV (1461–1483) having displaced the Lancastrian King Henry VI (1422–1461) as king, and thus drove the head of the Lancastrians and his key supporters out of the country.
It is described as “probably the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil”, though Boudicca’s defeat at the Battle of Watling Street is also a contender. According to chroniclers, more than 50,000 soldiers from the Houses of York and Lancaster fought for hours amidst a snowstorm on that day, which was Palm Sunday. A newsletter circulated a week after the battle reported that 28,000 died on the battlefield.

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Contemporary accounts described Henry VI as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, such as the War of the Roses. He had periods of insanity while his inherent benevolence eventually required his wife, Margaret of Anjou, to assume control of his kingdom, which contributed to his own downfall. His ineffectual rule had encouraged the nobles’ schemes to establish control over him, and the situation deteriorated into a civil war between the supporters of his house and those of Richard, Duke of York.[3] After the Yorkists captured Henry in 1460, the English parliament passed an Act of Accord to let York and his line succeed Henry as king. Henry’s consort, Margaret of Anjou, refused to accept the dispossession of her son’s right to the throne and, along with fellow Lancastrian malcontents, raised an army. Richard of York was killed at the Battle of Wakefield and his titles, including the claim to the throne, passed to his eldest son Edward. Nobles who were previously hesitant to support Richard’s claim to the throne considered the Lancastrians to have reneged on the Act — a legal agreement — and Edward found enough backing to denounce Henry and declare himself king. The Battle of Towton was to affirm the victor’s right to rule over England through force of arms.

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On reaching the battlefield, the Yorkists found themselves heavily outnumbered. Part of their force under the Duke of Norfolk had yet to arrive. The Yorkist leader Lord Fauconberg turned the tables by ordering his archers to take advantage of the strong wind to outrange their enemies. The one-sided missile exchange, with Lancastrian arrows falling short of the Yorkist ranks, provoked the Lancastrians into abandoning their defensive positions. The ensuing hand-to-hand combat lasted hours, exhausting the combatants. The arrival of Norfolk’s men reinvigorated the Yorkists and, encouraged by Edward, they routed their foes. Many Lancastrians were killed while fleeing; some trampled each other and others drowned in the rivers, which are said to have made them run red with blood for several days. Several who were taken as prisoners were executed.
The power of the House of Lancaster was severely reduced after this battle. Henry fled the country, and many of his most powerful followers were dead or in exile after the engagement, letting Edward rule England uninterrupted for nine years, before a brief restoration of Henry to the throne. Later generations remembered the battle as depicted in William Shakespeare’s dramatic adaptation of Henry’s life—Henry VI, Part 3, Act 2, Scene 5. In 1929, the Towton Cross was erected on the battlefield to commemorate the event. Various archaeological remains and mass graves related to the battle were found in the area centuries after the engagement.

Cortez The Killer

Neil Young

He came dancing across the water
With his galleons and guns
Looking for the new world
In that palace in the sun.

On the shore lay Montezuma
With his coca leaves and pearls
In his halls he often wondered
With the secrets of the worlds.

And his subjects
gathered ’round him
Like the leaves around a tree
In their clothes of many colors
For the angry gods to see.

And the women all were beautiful
And the men stood
straight and strong
They offered life in sacrifice
So that others could go on.

Hate was just a legend
And war was never known
The people worked together
And they lifted many stones.

They carried them
to the flatlands
And they died along the way
But they built up
with their bare hands
What we still can’t do today.

And I know she’s living there
And she loves me to this day
I still can’t remember when
Or how I lost my way.

He came dancing across the water
Cortez, Cortez
What a killer.

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Monday 27th March 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 27, 2017 by bishshat

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Speedy Gonzales

Buddy Kaye, Ethel Lee, David Hess

It was a moonlit night in old Mexico
I walked alone between some old adobe haciendas
Suddenly, I heard the plaintive cry of a young Mexican girl

You better come home, Speedy Gonzales
Away from tannery row
Stop all a your a-drinkin’
With that floozy named Flo
Come on home to your adobe
And slap some mud on the wall
The roof is leakin’ like a strainer
There’s loads a roaches in the hall

Speedy Gonzales, why don’t cha come home?
Speedy Gonzales, how come ya leave me all alone?

“Hey, Rosita, I hafta go shopping downtown for my mother
She needs some tortillas and chili peppers.”

Your doggy’s gonna have a puppy
And we’re runnin’ outta Coke
No enchiladas in the icebox
And the television’s broke
I saw some lipstick on your sweatshirt
I smelled some perfume in your ear
Well if you’re gonna keep on messin’
Don’t bring your business back a-here

Mmm, Speedy Gonzales, why don’t cha come home?
Speedy Gonzales, how come ya leave me all alone?

“Hey, Rosita come quick
Down at the cantina they giving green stamps with tequila!!”

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Sunday 26th March 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 26, 2017 by bishshat

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Saturday 25th March 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 25, 2017 by bishshat

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You are your life, and nothing else

Antonia Case

Existentialist philosophers teach us that we alone are responsible for creating a meaningful life in an absurd and unfair world.

Standing on a cliff, a sense of disorientation and confusion cloud you. Not only are you afraid of falling, you also fear succumbing to the impulse of throwing yourself off. Nothing is holding you back. Dread, anxiety and anguish rise to the surface.

Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard describes this as a case of “existential angst” because here, at the cliff face, you are experiencing your own freedom first-hand. You can do whatever you please – move forward into the yawning abyss or remain where you are. It’s up to you. The realisation that you have absolute freedom to decide the course of your life – jump or don’t jump – is as dizzying as vertigo, explains Kierkegaard, who suggests that we face the same anxiety in all of life’s choices. Every action we take is a choice, decided upon by us and no one else.

Kierkegaard’s argument that life is a series of choices – and that these choices bring meaning (or not) to our life – is a cornerstone of existentialism. Rather than offloading the responsibility onto society or religion, each individual is solely responsible for making their life meaningful and living it authentically.

The subject of authenticity was a favourite of German philosopher Martin Heidegger: why is it that when faced with death our daily projects seem meaningless? A friend or relative dies and this will propel us on a new course; we quit our job and in turn stop worrying about everyday concerns and start taking an interest in areas that we had previously ignored.

In his book, Being and Time, Heidegger suggests that the meaning of our being must be tied up with time. We are temporal beings – born into a world that existed before us with its religion and culture, its history already written, and to make sense of this world we engage in various pastimes to get by. We might have a family, build a career or a house, and in doing so we place ourselves on a trajectory towards some sort of future. But there’s a limit to our projects, a point at which everything comes to an end, whether finished or unfinished, and that limit is our death. This is what Heidegger calls “beingtowards- death”. However we are so absorbed by our pastimes and distractions that we simply forget that there’s an outermost limit to our pursuits; and in so doing, says Heidegger, we live an inauthentic life. It’s not until we project our lives onto the horizon of our death that authentic life can be found.

Authenticity and the media

Kierkegaard argues that the news prevents people from living authentically; it is an intervening agency, blocking our way to true experiences. Mass culture creates a loss of individual significance, which he calls levelling. According to Kierkegaard, instead of engaging in authentic thought by forming our own opinions, most of us passively adopt the opinions constructed by the news.

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Reality exists in action

French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre tells us that we’re alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of infinite responsibilities. We have no other purpose than the one we set ourselves; no other destiny than the one we forge.

Yet many of us remain in denial of our responsibilities, writes Sartre. We fall into bad faith, deceiving ourselves about this radical freedom. In Existentialism is a Humanism, Sartre is blunt and unforgiving. “Our doctrine horrifies people,” he asserts. “They have no other way of putting up with their misery than to think: ‘Circumstances have been against me, I deserve a much better life than the one I have. Admittedly, I have never experienced a great love or extraordinary friendship; but that is because I never met a man or woman worthy of it; if I have written no great books, it is because I never had the leisure to do so; if I have had no children to whom I could devote myself, it is because I did not find a man with whom I could share my life. So I have within me a host of untried but perfectly viable attributes, inclinations and possibilities that endow me with worthiness not evident from examination of any of my past actions.’

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“But for existentialists there is no love other than the deeds of love… there is no genius other than that which is expressed in works of art; the genius of Proust resides in the totality of his works; the genius of Racine is found in the series of his tragedies, outside of which there is nothing.

“No doubt this thought may seem harsh to someone who has not made a success out of his life. But on the other hand, it helps people to understand that reality alone counts, and that dreams, expectations and hopes only serve to define a man as a broken dream, aborted hopes and futile expectations; in other words, they define him negatively, not positively.”

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For Sartre, we are nothing other than the sum of our actions.

The first principle of existentialism is that existence precedes essence, meaning that unlike an egg timer that’s created for the purpose of cooking an egg, human beings have no particular purpose. It is only through our actions that we later start defining what our purpose in life is going to be. “Man is nothing other than his own project,” he writes.

Yet, like mere physical objects, humans deceive themselves into thinking that they are predestined to be what they are, shifting the responsibility of their actions onto others or onto a moral code. Reality exists only in action, according to Sartre. In life, we commit ourselves and draw our own portrait, outside of which there is nothing.

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The manipulation of desire

To say that we have absolute freedom to pursue our life’s meaning presumes that there is nothing getting in our way. But this isn’t always the case.

In The Ethics of Ambiguity, existentialist author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir notes that as children we shoulder no responsibility; we live in a ready-made world with ready-made values. As we mature and become acquainted with our freedom we can begin to take matters into our own hands. However, many of us revert back to our childhood ways, trading freedom for security. Why? Some of us are cut off from our goals; many of us are manipulated into pursuing desires that are not ours. We can be willed towards fruitless endeavours and therefore excluded from creating a meaningful future for ourselves.

The problem is that the oppressed often don’t know they are oppressed; they view the world as one that cannot change, as “a natural situation”. The only escape, according to de Beauvoir, is revolt. “The oppressed can fulfill his freedom as a man only in revolt.” As de Beauvoir famously stated: “Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying.” For de Beauvoir, life is one of continuous change, an unstable system in which balance is continually lost and recovered. For her, inertia is synonymous with death.

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Gimme Some Lovin

Steve Winwood

Well my temperature’s rising and my feet are on the floor
Twenty people knocking ‘cos they’re wanting some more
Let me in baby, I don’t know what you’ve got
But you’d better take it easy, this place is hot

I’m so glad we made it, I’m so glad we made it
You’ve gotta gimme some lovin’ (gimme some lovin’)
Gimme some lovin’ (gimme gimme some lovin’), gimme some lovin’ every day

Well I feel so good, everything is sounding hot
Better take it easy ‘cos the place is on fire
Been a hard day and I don’t know what to do
Wait a minute baby, it could happen to you

I’m so glad we made it, I’m so glad we made it
You’ve gotta gimme some lovin’ (gimme some lovin’)
Gimme some lovin’ (gimme gimme some lovin’), gimme some lovin’ every day

Well I feel so good, everybody’s getting high
Better take it easy ‘cos the place is on fire
Been a hard day and nothing went too good
Now I’m gonna relax honey, everybody should

I’m so glad we made it, I’m so glad we made it
You’ve gotta gimme some lovin’ (gimme some lovin’)
Gimme some lovin’ (gimme gimme some lovin’), gimme some lovin’ every day

Gimme some lovin’ (gimme some lovin’) I need it
(Gimme gimme some lovin’) I need it
Ooh, gimme some lovin’, every day, every day

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Paula Rego

In my opinion Paula Rego is the last of the GREAT artists. Her narrative and her draftsmanship is unequaled. Not only is she a fine artist and and illustrator she can do it all.  This BBC programme is a unique insight into the life and work of celebrated painter Paula Rego directed by her son, film-maker Nick Willing. Notoriously private and guarded, Rego opens up for the first time, surprising her son with secrets and stories of her unique life, battling fascism, a misogynistic art world and manic depression.

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Born in Portugal, a country which her father told her was no good for women, Rego nevertheless used her powerful pictures as a weapon against the dictatorship before settling in London, where she continued to target women’s issues such as abortion rights. But above all, her paintings are a cryptic glimpse into an intimate world of personal tragedy, perverse fantasies and awkward truths.

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Nick Willing combines a huge archive of home movies and family photographs with interviews spanning 60 years and in-depth studies of Rego at work in her studio. What emerges is a powerful personal portrait of an artist whose legacy will survive the years, graphically illustrated in pastel, charcoal and oil paint.

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Friday 24th March 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 24, 2017 by bishshat

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Still Crazy after All These Years

Paul Simon

I met my old lover
On the street last night
She seemed so glad to see me
I just smiled
And we talked about some old times
And we drank ourselves some beers
Still crazy after all these years
Still crazy after all these years

I’m not the kind of man
Who tends to socialize
I seem to lean on
Old familiar ways
And I ain’t no fool for love songs
That whisper in my ears
Still crazy after all these years
Still crazy after all these years

Four in the morning
Crapped out
Yawning
Longing my life away
I’ll never worry
Why should I?
Its all gonna fade

Now I sit by my window
And I watch the cars
I fear I’ll do some damage
One fine day
But I would not be convicted
By a jury of my peers
Still crazy
Still crazy
Still crazy after all these years

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