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Is Anjem Choudhary The Voice Of Treason?

From his early days as a raucous, beer-swilling, lecherous youth, to his plump and puritan middle-age, Anjem Choudary has been a controversial figure in Britain, at least as far as non-Muslims are concerned. Choudary is a sort of inverse national treasure, a figure we love to hate.

The ‘reformed’ Choudhary says that sharia law will one day be implemented in Great Britain and that Islam will become the dominant force on these shores. This is his stated reason for remaining, (though he despises our ‘animal’ way of life).

Anjem Choudhary and the Islamic Council of Britain (Wikipedia)

Abu Hamza al-Masri created the Islamic Council of Britain to “implement sharia law in Britain,” on 11 September 2002, the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, primarily through funding from Al-Muhajiroun. Masri celebrated the establishment of the ICB and the 9/11 attacks by holding a conference in Finsbury Park mosque in North London, entitled “September the 11th 2001… Anjem Choudary, British spokesman for Al Muhajiroun also attended.

Choudhary describes himself on his website as “a thorn in the throats of the oppressors,” and his confidence is not entirely unfounded.

Anjem Choudhary the voice of treason?
Burka and book

Our pusillanimous Government seems incapable of dealing with Choudhary and his ilk.  Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Philip Hammond, (bless his cotton socks)  tentatively proposed charging British Jihadists with treason, (upon their return to Britain)

But why on earth are we letting them back in!  Personally I resent the Government squandering my tax contributions on court-cases that drag on for years, enriching the Jihadists’ human rights lawyers and impoverishing the British Tax-Payer.  Meanwhile British Jihadists (pending trial) will be free to go about stirring yet more hatred and dissent amongst their fellow Muslims.

Theresa May’s instincts are correct.  One way to neutralise the anti-West rhetoric is to cut off Anjem’s eternal supply of media oxygen. As Anjem grows fatter on freedom and democracy, young British Muslims risk their lives or die in Syria and Iraq. This is the dichotomy of his schizophrenic politics and his endless banter against Britain. Noxious, harmful, possibly even treasonous.

We really need to wake up and smell the coffee, we need to stop apologising for being Western, for being democratic, for being liberal, freedom-loving people? Isn’t it time for moderate Muslims to join hands with  us Kafirs  and demand the expulsion of hardline extremists from these shores?

As for Anjem Choudhary – who is supported by state benefits (he calls it “Jihadist-seekers allowance”) -  Anjem and his cronies envision a worldwide Caliphate where everything will be “free of charge”. Almost touchingly naive, this brainwashed belief in the purity and divinity of a worldwide Caliphate.

Successive leaders have squandered myriad opportunities to prick a hole in these helium-balloon, childish, medieval rants. He’s allowed to chunter on and on in the foreground while the hardline Salafists appear to be waiting for the Government in Britain to implode, leaving a heap of wet-liberal-mush in its wake.

Fast forward thirty, forty, fifty, or even ten years. Could Ayatollah Choudhary ascend the throne to rule over the people of Great Britain? Absoutely. Anything’s possible, and in case you are wondering what life will be like under sharia law, take a look at the video below.

New London Writers on Kindle

New London Writers Second Anthology is now available on Kindle!

 

Quantum Fiction

To aficionados of sci-fi, Quantum Mechanics is a well-known idea, however shouldn’t we think about Quantum Fiction? Could this be the new sci-fi supra-type? In the sci-fi universe Quantum Mechanics (or Physics) clarifies everything from teleportation to psychic phenomena, though in the realm of material science, Quantum Mechanics is the investigation of matter in movement through time and space. This antiquated limb of science has created the most critical revelations in mankind’s history, it is still a work in progress though with serious limitations. Customary material science can portray the movement of large items moving slower than the velocity of light. After that point, the guidelines get fluffy. That is the reason why physicists concentrate on the conduct of items at the most miniature levels. At these nuclear and subatomic scales it gets to be difficult to watch a few articles without changing their conduct. This demonstrates that we have a deficient understanding of reality. Those who study the paranormal, concur, and they also contend that Quantum Mechanics clarifies un-provable phenomena typically rejected as superstition or pseudo-science, might they be right?

Here’s where it gets insane. Researchers endeavoring to clarify the strange activities of matter at high speeds, or at subatomic scales, have found things that ought not exist.

Teleportation

In 1998, physicists at CALTEC effectively teleported a photon, the most diminutive measurable unit of light, utilizing a technique known as Quantum Entanglement. At the point when two photons are entrapped on a quantum level, the progressions in one make changes in the other, paying little mind to the physical separation between the two. This has been demonstrated at the molecular level and shows that teleportation is a basic level reality, if much less exceptional than the teleportation  in Star Trek. In 2009, researchers at the University of California exhibited Quantum Entanglement by interfacing the electrical ebbs and flows of two superconductors which were big enough to be obvious to the naked eye. Before this, QE had just been seen at the atomic level. The trapped particles some way or another transmit data with no contact and each one particle contains the whole data framework of the other. The only other structures that behave so are three-dimensional images.  3D images are two-dimensional surfaces that show three-dimensional pictures of matter. In other words, a hologram. To physicists like Neil Bohr this implies that the whole universe could be one tremendous hologram. The difficulty we have is that hyper-exploratory science becomes excessively theoretical, excessively speculative, excessively surreal, now and again skirting upon mysticism.

Indeed, mystics have started utilizing QE to back their convictions much to the scorn of established researchers, but our understanding of the world is limited to our five senses. When we attempt to comprehend things that are subatomic, or that go at hyper speeds we are lost, winding up with more inquiries. Why does reality seem to change? How do these contortions influence us? The sci-fi essayist and novelist, Arthur C Clarke, 1960′s, said that any praiseworthy technology is no different to a form of magic, and as we move past the cutoff points of our understanding, into a world where teleportation is conceivable, and the whole universe may be a multi-dimensional image, we need to seriously ponder about what happens next.

Arthur C Clarke – Science Fiction Writer

Trying to predict the future is a hazardous occupation, because the prophet invariably falls between two stools.  If his predictions sound at all reasonable, you can be quite sure that in twenty or fifty years the progress of science and technology has made him seem ridiculously conservative. On the other hand, if by some miracle, a prophet could describe the future exactly as it was going to take place, his predictions would sound so absurd, so far-fetched that everyone would laugh him to scorn.  This has proved to be true in the past and it will undoubtedly be true, even more so, in the century to come.  The only thing we can be sure of about that future is that it will be absolutely fantastic.

Exercises To Kick Start Your Writing Day

The Next Ten Exercises 

 After a few mouthfuls of All Bran, you may stare at the laptop’s blank canvas in despair.  Don’t panic!   There are a number of ways – I’m going to give you the second ten – to kick start the writing brain.  The idea is to get the creative mind into ‘flow’.  Write for only seven minutes before you start work on your oeuvre.

Taking the mind away from the task in hand, to mix my metaphor and use a cliche, can fire us into action.  It’s rather like limbering up at the gym before starting the real workout.  We need to flex those writing muscles and prepare them for a stretch of sixty minutes’ worth, or hopefully more, of concentrated pen pushing or typing.  So this is the hors d’oeuvres to your main course.  Digest that All Bran slowly now, for there is travail ahead.

These should be helpful if you are working on a novel or a short story

Novel Ideas and Encouraging Dialogue

Meet your central character in a café and ask him/her some questions.  Draw up a list of questions and make believe you have to write a commissioned interview feature.  Put a deadline on that commission (editors do this) and then return to the exercise every morning for seven minutes until you have finished the task.

  1. Ask your central character, “What is your problem?”
  2. And, “What is your central character’s secret?”
  3. What does your central character want?
  4. What do they have at stake ie what are they in fear of losing?

Do they tell you?  Do they know?

  1. Write the theme of your book in one word.  (Arthur Miller would type this at the top of every A4 sheet of paper as he was typing.)
  2. Create the perfect ‘target market’ reader or viewer for your oeuvre.  Give them a name and then write a blurb/pitch in 100 words to read out loud to them.
  3. Write the plot of your oeuvre in 50 words exactly.
  4. In one sentence, write the question which arises early on in your oeuvre and is not answered until the end.
  5. Create a document on your laptop files which is an ongoing discussion between you and your central character.  (You might want to start and finish the writing day in this way.)

 Next time Firing the Mind

 www.janmoranneil.co.uk  www.janmoranneil.co.uk/blog

 

 

Theme by Jan Moran Neil

Arthur Miller wrote the theme of his play at the top of every A4 typescript page. It was a constant reminder of what he was writing about. The theme is the purpose of your words. Why are you writing this oeuvre? What do you want to say? Whose thinking and what thinking are you trying to change?

Theme can be reduced to one word. It can often be one of those ‘shun’ words. Arthur Miller might have put ‘persecution’ at the top of each page when he was writing The Crucible. Of course the theme of a play or novel can mean something different to each member of the audience or reader. And it isn’t always necessary to know the theme before we begin writing. Themes can emerge.
The theme then can be developed from one word to one sentence. For example, one might suggest that the theme of Hamlet is ‘procrastination’ but we could elucidate by saying in contemporary terms that ‘slow drivers can cause as much havoc on motorways as rash, impulsive ones’. Then the sentence can be developed further still in the scene and so the play overall. And similarly in the chapter of a novel.
Like the light refracting from a multi-faceted and well cut diamond, the theme should bounce off of every scene or page written and be observed from different angles. That’s where sub-plot comes in. You can develop a sub-plot alongside your main plot. The job of the sub-plot is to throw a different light on your theme. The sub-plot looks at your theme from a different angle. For example, the two characters of Lydia and Wickham in Pride and Prejudice gallop off and are arguably irredeemably proud and prejudiced. Whereas the protagonists Elizabeth and Darcy have the capacity to learn from their flaws. And of course, the sub-plot eventually meets up with the main plot to provide a denouement. Thus plots can be made from themes.
Very often the title will contain the theme. The Crucible? It’s a container in which substances are heated to high temperatures and then evaporate into thin air. Neat when you consider Miller was using the witches of Salem, Massachusetts, as a political analogy for the McCarthy trials of the fifties in America. Artists with certain political sympathies simply disappeared.

Check out Jan’s Creative Ink writing workshop

Timothy Leary’s Philosophy, Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

According to some, Timothy Leary was the high priest of LSD, and his assertions about chaos being the natural state of the human brain are not far off, especially given new discoveries in Quantum Physics and our modern understanding of the unreliability of matter.

Leary saw the human brain as a massive neurological  computer. The human brain contains 100 billion neurons with each neuron having around 10,000 connections with other neurons.

Leary said;

Within our foreheads, there is a chaos, inside our brains a galaxy of information …

Such gigantic numbers are hard for the human mind to grasp.  Leary compared the human-mind-computer to outer space, with its multitude of galaxies and star systems.  He considered the human brain to be as chaotic and incomprehensible  as outer space, the magnitude of which is certainly beyond full human understanding.

In his lifetime Leary was imprisoned multiple times for his advocacy of illegal psychedelic drugs.  Leary claimed that he wasn’t an advocate of psychedelic drugs any more than he was of nuclear fusion, which exists as a useful tool for humankind.  As a psychologist, his contention was that psychedelics (used wisely) can act as a tool to liberate human consciousness, and free us from a rigid dependency on ‘order’.

Throughout his life Timothy Leary argued that human beings are afraid of the natural chaos that exists within all life, and beleived that we purposely limit our experience with an over dependence on order, and on rules.  In order to reprogramme (or restructure) our brains towards greater conscious awareness, it was necessary first to break down the unconscious limitations set up in our minds.  This meant tearing down the rigid rule-based systems that block our understanding.

On the question of religion and politics Timothy Leary was unequivocal. Throughout his life he was against authoritarian systems.  Leary advocated finding a personal religion based on a personal understanding of events.  The safety valve to cultish-type behaviour was the idea that one must never blindly follow another’s perception or ideology, but work it out for oneself.   He was against religious orders of any kind.

Accused of misguiding the young and of fostering a dangerous drug culture, Leary claimed that his motivation instead was to teach people how to operate their brains.  In this sense, LSD was an instrument to achieve greater knowledge and understanding of the human mind, not a substance to be used for recreational purposes alone.

At Millbrook, the experimental ‘college’ set up by Leary in the late 1960′s to explore the realms of LSD, his aim was to teach people how to “surf the waves of chaos” and to “learn how to redesign your own realities”.

With his mantra of  “question authority, think for yourself,” Timothy Leary fell foul of Nixon and the establishment in the 1960′s.  He was quoted by Nixon as being the “most dangerous man in America.”

In the 1980′s Leary coined the phrase, “power to the pupil.” He understood how the focus of one’s vision affects one’s reality, and in our hyper-televised age, his concern was that human beings are stupefied and brainwashed by manipulative media imagery.

Leary’s invocation to question authority and to find one’s own religion was not without precedent.  In the time of the ancient Greeks, Socrates called upon his pupils to think rationally, to free themselves from the shackles of religion, and to reject the notion that their lives were ruled by Gods.

Tim Leary

 

 

 

 

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

A leading High Court judge is faced with making both a private and a public decision. It’s a perfect juxtaposition. Does this fifty nine year old wife end her marriage to a faithless husband of thirty years? That’s, unfortunately, not an unusual dilemma. But at the same time the woman has to make the extraordinary decision. Does she allow a young seventeen year old to refuse medical treatment for his own religious reasons or force a life giving blood transfusion on him?
The decisions run concurrently but for Adam, the young seventeen year old, time is running out. One also has a feeling that time is running out for Fiona Maye. There’s a powerful twist but it made me consider the bleak fact that at some time in our lives most of us are forced into making life changing decisions for not only ourselves but for others. The novel’s a close analysis of our private and public personae.
There’s also a moment of a madness …

Published by Jonathan Cape

How To Write A Book Proposal

Part One – Title Page 

The title page is a very important element to your book proposal, think of it as your advert or billboard for the book. Spend time on your title, make it stand out.  Don’t forget to add your name and personal details at the end of the title page. The title of course should go right in the middle of the title page.

The publisher will quickly see whether your book is something they might want to read, and whether or not it is in alignment with their publishing goals.

Part Two – Table of Contents

Table of Contents.  Very simply, this is a list of the chapters in your book.  This should contain the essence of the book within one to two pages depending on the amount of chapters in your book.  By looking at the TOC the reader will be able to see very quickly the logical flow of your book, and of course, catchy titles are a great help too.  The publisher can see how well you’ve organised your thoughts, and that you have some good content in each chapter and it piques their interest in the rest of your proposal.

Part Three – Chapter Synopsis – Overview 

This a quick overview of what the book is about. One page should suffice. Imagine you are sitting down with a friend or acquaintance in the local pub, and you have one minute to tell them what your book is about.  There is your synopsis, a condensed, high impact account of your book’s content.

Part Four – Chapter by Chapter Synopsis

This is a four or five sentence paragraph – or if you like – mini-synopsis – for each chapter of your book, outlining what that chapter is about.  Chapter synopses are vital, they can quickly give the reader a sense of the essence of the book.  So for example you might start off a chapter summary or synopsis as follows;

In this chapter we are going to show you the four things you need to do to market you product effectively.

This breakdown shows the reader the content of the whole book in a nutshell, and gives them a feel for the book.

Part Five – Attach a few Chapters to Your Book

Take one or two chapters of your book.  For first time authors it’s best to attach two chapters rather than one.  The publisher needs to know you can write, that you have a way with words and that you can engage the reader in your subject. Ideally, the publisher will think, here is a great idea, and the person submitting it knows how to write it! Wow!

Part Six – Marketing Plan *

This is where many book proposals fall down.  A publisher needs to know where this book fits with their list. Who do you think the readers are for your book? Where do you see it getting out there and making a difference in the world?   Give your perspective on all the different ways in which you see this book making a difference, perhaps it is a self-help book, how does it help people?  The publisher needs to know he can at the very least cover the cost of the first printing. The second printing is where he begins to make a profit.

 Part Seven – Author Bio

Show why you are qualified to write this book, what makes you unique as a writer.  Attach your resume, writing background, prior publications and so on.  If you don’t have any prior publications, explain why.  Perhaps this is your first foray into writing, or perhaps you are picking up the pen again after several years. What matters is that the publisher gets a sense of who you are.  Most important, if you have an outlet for this book, an audience or platform, this gives you an amazing edge. The publisher will think, this author can sell this book on his or her platform. Naturally then, the publisher will be more inclined to want to work with you on the sale of this book.

 Part Eight – Cover Letter 

Make sure you send out a hard copy letter on good bond paper, emails can be deleted, but letters tend to stick around for longer.  The publisher can put it in his briefcase and look at it later.  If the cover letter is exciting, the publisher will open the rest.

How To Find The Publisher

Go to the bookshop and find all the books that are similar to yours. Write down the names of the publishers, which are usually found on the back page of the published book.

 Lastly

Enjoy yourself and have fun! Think how exciting it will be when you get your manuscript accepted!  Good luck!

Grace Metalious, A Victim of Peyton Place

grace metalious victim of peyton placeAt the time of writing her best-selling novel ‘Peyton Place’  Grace Metalious, a New Hampshire, housewife, lived in a dilapidated bungalow she’d wryly nicknamed “It’ll Do.” Her three kids were existing on lettuce-and-tomato sandwiches. At 30 years old she was poverty-stricken, parched, depleted, and frantic.

At last, she’d composed a book. She titled it ‘The Tree and the Blossom’ full of insider secrets, deceitful morality, petty mindedness, and vicious town gossip in a narrative about a fictional New Hampshire town much the same as her own town of Gilmanton.

Continue reading Grace Metalious, A Victim of Peyton Place

Pamela Moore And The Not So Sweet Chocolates For Breakfast

chocolates for breakfastTouted as a very grown up novel by 18 year old American writer, Pamela Moore, and published during the repressive post war era, Courtney – the protagonist of the novel – exists in a world of shallow euphoria. Yet by the end of the book, you hope that the character (by now firmly imprinted on your psyche) grows up and figures out how to break through the cycle of alcohol addiction and bad company.  The writer, Moore, produced a remarkably astute novel with suspiciously mature observations, and it’s easy to imagine that her mother, the writer Isabel Moore (or another interested adult) may have had a hand in constructing some of the more corruscating passages about coastal American society.

Continue reading Pamela Moore And The Not So Sweet Chocolates For Breakfast

THE CYNIC’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING

Written a book have you? Your first, I hear you say? Well done you! No, truly, congratulations. You’ve spent long, lonely hours banging away on your computer with only your cat (or dog, if you’re of the canine persuasion) for company. Your friends and family think: (a) you’ve emigrated to Outer Borneo; (b) you’re dead; or (c) lost your wifi and/or phone connection (which is as good as being dead anyway). You’ve survived on more caffeine than is healthy for your liver (and other soft tissue organs), nicotine (if you weren’t a smoker before, you’ve most probably flirted with the idea) and dreary ready meals (by the way, how is it that microwaved food can singe the roof of your mouth and freeze your tongue simultaneously?).

Now, if you will, cast your mind back. To the day that you first, (perhaps misguidedly), decided to write the book you always said you would. You thought of an ingenious title and proudly opened a file on your computer. You hunted dementedly online for a cover picture, and then typed those magic words that were going to reinvent your life as an author: “Chapter One”. Your initial enthusiasm may have been somewhat dampened when, diddling around on the internet, you stumbled upon the fact that you needed to write at least 80 000 words to publish a credible novel. However, determined to follow your calling (an overrated idea, if you ask me) you toiled on and on. Word followed word, sentence followed sentence, paragraph followed paragraph etc. (you know the drill) until (after dawdling around a tad aimlessly mid-plot), you typed those words that filled you with unrivaled joy: “The End”. You felt like Cathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. Remember how she typed those words with great satisfaction, then opened a celebratory can of tuna for her cat (and topped it with a spring of parsley, yet?). That feeling.

Aaw bless. Now you’re envisioning thousands of copies of your novel in its snappy cover gracing the shelves of the most illustrious book shops throughout the world – it will, naturally, be translated into 50 languages, including Tagalog (Google that, I had to). You’ve practiced your signature for book signings for your adoring fans, and maybe even dared to go so far as mentally choosing a designer gown/suit for the red carpet on your way to collect your Pulitzer or Oscar (oh, and you’re also eagerly awaiting that call from Steven Spielberg offering you a movie deal). In other words, you’re on the cusp of literary uber-stardom. Step aside Ms Rowling and Mr Ludlum, your successor has been born! Continue reading THE CYNIC’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING

John Kennedy Toole

confederacy of duncesJohn Kennedy Toole was craftsman who comprehended the unreasonable nature of things and through his Pulitzer prize-winning novel uncovered the very essence of New Orleans. He depicted its characters, its corners, its mysteries, and feeling of rot, that wanton flavor that he knew so well. This is a standout novel amongst modern American writing and the story of how it came into existence is as disturbing as the untimely death of the author.
Toole was an insider and captured dialect like no other, none could match his remarkable gift for voice, for character, not Sherwood Anderson, Tennessee Williams, nor Faulkner, as these writers were all writing from outside, whereas Toole was New Orleans through and through, he was part of the fabric, and he depicted it in a way that nobody else ever has.
In letters he showed that he was constantly planning books, writing characters, imagining scenes. He had an extremely sharp eye and an exceptional gift for comedy that helped him to reproduce New Orleans in the zaniest and funniest of ways.
His Southern gothic novel, a grand comic fugue, features a wonderfully offbeat cast of insane characters.
Sadly, the book almost never made it into print. Suffering constant rejection by New Yorker editor, Robert Gottlieb, (initially enthusiastic) who tragically lost interest in the novel, calling it pointless. Gottlieb insisted that the book had no meaning, and essentially, no plot. This verdict from a major publishing house (Gottlieb worked for Simon and Schuster at the time) caused J K Toole finally to give up on his masterpiece and stash it away.
Luckily, after his death, his mother, Thelma Toole resurrected the original manuscript, and Toole went on to win the Pulitzer Prize For Fiction.
RIP JK Toole.

Interview With Richard Hilton, Musical Arranger/Keyboardist With Chic

Richard Hilton
Photo taken by Glenn Bracke

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH CHIC

The best things about playing in CHIC include getting to make music with some of the finest musicians I’ve ever known, including the band we’ve had for the past five years, and getting the opportunity to share in the happiness of the audience. I’ve also gotten to see a lot of really amazing places that I’d likely never have seen otherwise.

WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST CHALLENGING?

The rigors of travel, which are at an all-time high these days.

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH CHIC/NILES? AND HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

I started working with Nile in March of 1988. I had been interviewing for about two years for a number of different jobs with a company called “New England Digital” that made a proprietary computer music instrument called the Synclavier. They never did hire me, but when Nile Rodgers called them (being a user of their instrument) asking about a qualified programmer who could play keyboards, they kindly recommended me and that was it, I was in.

IF YOU WEREN’T WORKING WITH CHIC, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?

When I started with Nile, I was teaching at a small college and going back to grad school to get a master’s degree. I hope to get back to teaching someday. I’m very keen to work with young people.

CHIC ARE ALWAYS A JOY TO WATCH, WHAT’S THE SECRET?

A tireless dedication to delivering the best possible show every night. There’s a lot of trust and love on the stage, and it seems to translate to the audience, based on the things they say to me. One cannot underestimate the value of the amazing repertoire we’ve given to play as a major contributing factor to making all this possible.

RUMOUR HAS IT CHIC ARE WORKING ON BRINGING OUT AN ALBUM IN COLLABORATION WITH DAFT PUNK? IS THIS TRUE?

I can’t talk about projects in progress.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TECHNIQUE?

Adequate, but not great. I do a lot of things pretty well, but maybe none of them “great”. The players in CHIC are all far more accomplished than I. My abilities are spread across a number of different disciplines in my job, so my playing technique sometimes doesn’t get the attention it might otherwise deserve. I’m lucky in that music has always come pretty easily to me.

YOU ALWAYS LOOK SO HAPPY AND UPBEAT ON STAGE! WHY IS THAT?

Because I find the privilege of playing this music and sharing in the audience’s happiness to be quite overwhelming. Playing this music in CHIC is a pretty amazing thing, and I try to let that wash over me as much as possible while we’re doing it.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?

I’d try to tap less into anger and more into the love that I feel. There are a few other things specific to my relationships that I wish I’d done better.

IF YOU HADN’T BEEN BORN IN THIS CENTURY, WHEN AND WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE LIVED?

I’m happy to be here now. I don’t think in terms of “what if” very much. That said, getting to hear Art Tatum, Beethoven, and Chopin play would’ve been very nice.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE ARTISTS/MUSICIANS AND WHY? Continue reading Interview With Richard Hilton, Musical Arranger/Keyboardist With Chic

Queen of The Funkin Drums

Listen To Mikey Flynn reading about Jojo Ruocco the Queen of The Funkin Drums, this piece features Ronnie Wood Ronnie At The Rah

Kindle, King of Readers

There are three main reasons why Kindle is the King of Readers.
Electronic readers (e-readers) are a popular alternative to traditional paper books. They are small and portable, but can store hundreds of books, magazines, and newspapers. Owning an e-reader is like having a library in the palm of your hand.
There are many different types of e-readers available, but the Amazon Kindle stands above the rest as one of the best electronic reading devices on the market today.

Here are three reasons why Kindle is so awesome:

1. It’s easy on the eyes!

Kindle has an electronic paper screen that mimics the look of ink on paper. Electronic ink (e-ink) technology provides a high contrast screen that makes it easy to read, even in bright light conditions. Kindle is the first e-reader to use e-ink technology and it still has the highest screen resolution in the business. Other e-readers use a backlit LCD screen that can cause glare, eye strain, and even melatonin suppression, which disrupts sleep.

2. Tons of books!

Kindle gives avid readers direct access to the Amazon library of over a million books (including the books published by New London Writers). You can seamlessly download books, magazines, and newspapers via Whispernet (Amazon’s free wireless download service) directly to your Kindle e-reader. No additional syncing or file transfer is required as is the case with other e-readers.

3. Super long battery life!

Since Kindle uses e-ink technology that doesn’t require a backlit LCD screen (except for the Paperwhite and Voyage models, which use a front-lit LED display), the battery usage is drastically reduced. The battery is only used for initial startup, book downloads, and then for turning pages while reading. And, if the WiFi is disabled, it is possible to extend the battery life for weeks and even months, depending on the amount of usage (number of book downloads and reading time). Other e-readers have a much shorter battery life due to the backlit LCD screen, which uses a lot of power and thus requires frequent charging.

In addition, Kindle is constantly improving the e-reader technology and periodically introducing new models. Currently, there are several Kindle models available in varying price ranges to suit every budget and provide lots of reading pleasure!

Article written by Lenka Podzimek, a freelance writer and editor from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Finney

 In the two decades he had been on this earth he has passed through three distinct arched doorways—the first he entered often, the second twice and the third only once, fortunately just that once. In each case he entered a primeval chasm aligned somewhere between a tumbling heaven and a gaping hell, a lapse suffuse with all the uncertainty of a limbo.

What the three had in common was a heart, at intervals sacred and rent, caged and cold. He never intended for it to be cold but it was life or death.

The first entry was Church of Sacred Heart in Greensburg. He was an altar boy, committed to the service of Our Lord. He not only memorized the Latin required for mass but he learned the language. One Sunday before the 11 o’clock high mass he told Father George Sefl that he wanted to be a priest. The juvenile admission arose when a colleague of the priest mused aloud where the next generation of clergy would come from. Sefl turned to Finney and the second altar boy, both decked out in their red robes and seated on a bench with their legs swaying unable to reach the floor. He asked if the priesthood was something that they wanted to pursue. Immediately Finney’s partner said yes. For his part Finney hesitated. The nuns had always told him that because of his high intelligence and empathetic soul he would make an outstanding servant of the Lord. The way Finney saw it Sacred Heart’s three Benedictine priests had little to do except on Saturday afternoons with confession and Sunday with mass. He feared such a calling would bring him to distraction and possibly sin. Despite his misgivings he surveyed all the inquiring faces in the sacristy and uttered a yes.

“See,” said Father Sefl proudly to his colleague, “it’s boys like these who will follow our lead. They will take the church to greater heights.”

That response set the groundwork for Finney to embrace his future as a cleric. Warming to the idea was made easier after Father Sefl told all the nuns and Finney’s parents of the boy’s decision to enter the seminary. He literally could do no wrong and when he realized this he tested the waters. First he masturbated. He enjoyed it so much that he did it often and questioned why it was a sin. He waited for the warts. When they failed to materialize he took to shoplifting. This was an altogether different thrill. The more he probed its limits, confiscating merchandise while standing in front of proprietors and clerks, the greater his enjoyment. From there he took to drinking, to sneaking out at night while his parents slept. There were Sunday mornings when he showed up in the kitchen reeking of booze. Neither mother nor father said a word. Even in the crowded church there was not one glance cast.

All these sins, most venal but some mortal, never affected him or how he was perceived. He was still the future Father Finney. Perhaps that was not entirely true, for Finney felt at times guilty such as when he broke into the coin box under the votive candle stand in front of the statue of the Blessed Virgin. In confession Finney mentioned none of this, intoned the usual litany of taking the Lord’s name in vain, of thinking bad thoughts, of minor disobedience infractions, nothing major like the miscellany of theft and debauchery or tours through self pleasure and lust. He laughed at the notion of telling a priest he paid a black woman a dollar for the thirty minutes it took to ejaculate. The imagined reaction of the priest was downright risible. The episode with the black woman was so overwhelmingly divine that he propositioned Jessie, the house maid. He offered her a nickel. She accepted. Before long he didn’t have to pay her. The performance of white girls at school paled in comparison to Jessie.

Finney’s religious education ended when he entered Greensburg High School. He not only abandoned his uniform but his beliefs. The latter proved extraordinarily easy to forget. What wasn’t forgotten, though, was the future Father Finney. He was still the pride of the parish and lest the pedestal crash, he willingly told anyone of authority, be it religious or otherwise, that his plans called for life-long service to the Roman Catholic Church. There was actually a small going-away ceremony at the rectory when Finney departed for Georgetown University to learn the Ways of the Cross under a Jesuit regime.

The second portal was Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart. A now very serious-minded Finney took note of how similar the two entrances were; the same color brick, the same pointed arch. The one difference was the stained glass window over the door; Dahlgren’s splayed like a fan while in Greensburg it was a circle. Finney wondered if this was why he chose Dahlgren over all the other chapels on campus. The truth probably resided more in its proximity. It was a short walk to McDonough gym where he boxed.

In the short time Finney had been at Georgetown he, like all his peers, changed, not necessarily for better or worse but in outlook. A dark reality loomed; America was going to war. The uncertainty was when; it made men do strange things. Such as enter Dahlgren Chapel.

Like the church back home, the confessionals in the chapel were on the right and left as you entered. He chose the one on the left only because he always went to the one on the right at home.

“Bless me, father, for I have—I have lied… I lied twelve years ago in the sacristy of the Church of Sacred Heart …. And in so doing, I have lived a lie. I no more belong here in this Catholic institution than Satan in heaven. I can’t—“

“Is it really all that bad?” asked the priest from behind a dark screen.

“That’s the point, father. It’s neither good nor bad. It is worse, it is nothing.”

“What was the nature of this lie?”

“I told a priest that I planned on becoming a priest.”

“So?”

“I had no intention of becoming a priest. I became a sinner quick enough.”

“Young man, I am having trouble following this line of thinking.”

“Father, when I was growing up everyone saw me as perfect, so I rushed toward imperfection. I lived a Dorian Gray life. And I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t lied to Father Sefl.”

“Are you sorry for this and all your other sins?”

Finney paused. “No. I am neither sorry nor unsorry.”

“Then why are you here?”

“Frankly, I’m not sure.”

“Would you prefer we discuss this outside the sacrament of Confession?”

“I don’t—I suppose we could…although I don’t see why we should. I mean, what’s the point? What’s done is done.”

“Do you believe in Jesus Christ’s mercy?”

“The vice-less one? He was a man like any other.”

“Oh, really?” The priest hesitated. “When you came in here the first words out of your mouth were bless me. Who did you think would bless you? Certainly not me?”

“Father, that was a formula, a format, just as my entire religious instruction was a formula.”

“The purpose of a formula is to solve, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to solve your guilt? Or better yet be absolved of your sins?”

“Not particularly.”

“Then, young man, I agree. There is no point. Please leave.”

At the gym that afternoon Finney knocked out his opponent in seconds, the protective headgear notwithstanding.

The third portal emerged over Normandy during Operation Overlord. The C-47 came in west of Utah Beach at night. With a freshly sculpted Mohawk haircut and war paint, Finney was first in his stick of 19 paratroopers. He assumed the proper exit position as he stood in the opening. The clacking drone of the Rolls Royce Merlin calmed him. He peered down at a cloud bank. What he saw amazed him. Although dark, a strange light parted the clouds, creating what he recognized as a doorway, an arched doorway. It came to him that he was either on a special commission or in the throes of exile. He had once been the pride of Sacred Heart parish, but then he had gone to war against such an angelic image. He fought then as hard as he was about to fight now. He asked himself if he had lost that war; succumbed to evil without any chance of ascension. Hovering at the opening with the engines, the wind, the tension roaring through his mind, he gasped for breath—his very soul was on the line. If he had fallen before and so easily, the question now was could he get up, could he fight for his soul as well as his life? He figured the answer was somewhere in the free fall; his headlong descent into the abyss. Some much depended on the parachute.

There on that precipice, waiting on the command to go and the Wehrmacht waiting below to cut him down, Finney resolved to reclaim his faith. Even to express such an aspiration was difficult, but to accomplish it now or ever was as fearsome an exercise as Mission Albany. Faith was not a paradise to be lost and regained; faith brought out all the hardships of paradise and made of itself something to be earned. Immediately Finney realized that earning back his faith would cost him a lifetime. He told himself that he had to go on living, that he so desperately needed the time; otherwise, he was truly lost.

Finney lowered his chin to his chest, braced his elbows against his sides. He placed his hands over the ends of the reserve chute, spreading his fingers. He bent at the waist with feet and knees together. This position, the exit position, was a safeguard against the jumper tumbling and his parachute not deploying. It mocked how casual was his leap from faith, one minute grounded and the next in a free fall.

Finney counted, “One one thousand, two one thousand…” At four he went out the door—at the behest of a beating, caged red light.

Anjem’s Perfect State

Party Political Broadcast – The Transformation of the Ruling System

There can only be one Caliphate – No opposition

I have to admit though, the man is a visionary, he has a very clear and concise vision of a future Britain, something our current leaders lack.  Anjem envisions a Britain ruled by the benign Caliphate, (if that’s not too much of a contradiction in terms).

In the post ISIS world then, when the Islamic rule of law is established peace will reign amongst Muslims upon the earth. In this video Anjem discusses his manifesto, the frameworks for society, taken from the documents of his esteemed mentor Omar Bakri Muhammad (OBM is well in the background now though).

I bet Anjem expects to be top dog when that happy day arrives.  Muslims will live in a corruption free, Muslim State where women and children and old people go first; where everyone works nine-to-five like perfect automatons;  where there is no such thing as Baksheesh).

Furthermore, “basic needs taken care of” and everyone fed and watered.  All very happy-clappy, unless you’re a thief, an apostate, a non-Muslim, an adulterer, a woman, or gay.

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Clouds In The Wind by Ian Mackenzie

clouds in the wind by ian mackenzieClouds In The Wind

The colonization of Africa started as far back as the 14th century when Arab traders from Asia occupied the east coast and set up communities from present day Somalia to as far south as Mozambique.
European explorers in the 15th century, primarily from Portugal and later from the Netherlands and Britain, established settlements along the west and south coasts of the continent, which were used as resupply stations for the trade routes between Europe and India.
The Dutch East India Company, under control of the Dutch government, established a settlement at the tip of Africa, known then as The Cape of Good Hope (now Cape Town) in 1652. This was essentially a farming enterprise established to provide fresh provisions to the trade ships travelling between Holland and the East. The inhabitants of the settlement were predominantly Dutch and French Huguenots.
In 1793, at the outbreak of war between Holland and France, Britain sent troops to the Cape to guard the colony against the potential of French invasion. In June of that year 5,000 British troops arrived at the Cape and in September, forcibly relieved the Dutch government representatives of their authority over the territory.
The British orchestrated migration of volunteer citizens to the Cape Colony starting in 1820, heralded the start of discontent between the Dutch and the British and in 1835 a large contingent of Dutch settlers at the Cape started out on The Great Trek into the interior of what is today South Africa, in an attempt to distance themselves from British rule.
Africa was a vast, sparsely populated continent of which little was known. The inhabitants, people of the earth, were largely nomads. They had been exposed to none of the progressive development of the world and it is generally reported that when the Europeans discovered these tribes, they relied on subsistence farming for survival.
Clashes between the indigenous population and the “Trekkers” are well documented and this entrenched the divide between the races of Southern Africa.
The unequal relationship that was gradually created as a consequence of enslavement of Africans was justified by the ideology of racism – the notion that Africans were naturally inferior to Europeans.
This ideology, which was also perpetuated by colonialism, is one of the most poisonous legacies of this period of history and the root cause of war and rebellion in Africa.
Under the influence of Cecil John Rhodes, the British South African Company was formed in 1889 to secure and exploit the mineral wealth of Southern Africa. In particular, they were interested in the Kimberley diamonds and the resources that had been unearthed north of the Limpopo River.
Rhodes was anxious to secure Matabeleland and Mashonaland before the Germans, Portuguese or Boers did. His first step had been to persuade the Matabele King Lobengula, in 1888, to sign a treaty giving him rights to prospecting, mining and administration (but not settlement) in the area of Mashonaland. However the conditions offered by Lobengula were reneged upon by Rhodes and under his direction a column of pioneers was sent to annex Mashonaland in 1890.
This, in addition to support given to one of Lobegula’s rivals resulted in the first of the Matabele wars which lasted from 1893 to 1894. The Matabele were subdued and Lobengula was forced to flee. He was never heard of again.
In 1896 the 2nd Matabele rebellion (1st Cimurenga) was launched and once again the natives were subdued and routed.
Between 1893 and 1923 under British Charter, the British South African Company administered the colony of Rhodesia which grew and prospered. Settlements grew to towns and later to cities. The favourable conditions for agriculture and mining drew hundreds of thousands of immigrants and a wilderness was transformed into a paradise for whites. The colony was granted “self governing” rights by the British Government in 1923.
Pressure brought to bear by the British Government after World War 2, demanding non-racial elections as part of their decolonization programme, resulted in the white government rebelling against the Crown in 1965, and a Unilateral Declaration of Independence was proclaimed. The then government of Rhodesia, under the leadership of Ian Douglas Smith rightly believed that the result of such an election would lead to black majority rule. They also believed it would lead to the demise of the country’s prosperity. It was generally accepted among the descendants of white settlers of the 1890s that they were “white Africans” with absolute right to govern the country that had been developed through investment and hard work. The dissention among black politicians in the wake of UDI led to violent uprisings and ultimately to the so called 2nd Chimurenga. (The Rhodesian Bush War).

Clouds in the Wind, is a story of one man who by tragedy of circumstance becomes involved in the Rhodesian war in a land ripped apart by racial injustices and political intransigence.
As the winds of change blow through Africa, Andrew Mason, an ambitious young financial executive is a symbol of Rhodesia’s slide from prosperity to war torn infamy. The tragedy of the time is embodied in his own prosperity, his confidence in the face of adversity and the progressive realization that everything around him is gradually decaying. As one tragedy follows another, Andrew’s emotional strength is sapped, and his decline into alcoholism and isolation leaves him vulnerable and reckless.

ian mackenzieIan Mackenzie, author of Clouds In The Wind, served with the Rhodesian Special Air Services during the bush war from 1975 to 1980.
He was born in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa and was educated at Queens College in Queenstown and at Parktown Boys High in Johannesburg. After leaving school, he studied business administration and accounting and had early success in his career as a banker.
Clouds In the Wind is by no means an autobiography, nor do any of the characters represent true life individuals. However, first hand experience together with an intimate knowledge of the history of Southern Africa has provided him with the tools to create a story that describes the true tragedy of the Rhodesian war and the effect it had on those whose lives were transformed by it.

Available on Amazon (Kindle)

Love Your Wine by Cathy Marston

Love Your Wine

 Most of us, I would guess, divide wine into these three classes: (a) Eye-wateringly expensive (for wine snobs and oligarchs only); (b) So cheap you’re convinced it would be more suitable in a salad dressing or as a paint remover, or; (c) reasonably priced and tastefully packaged enough so as not to embarrass yourself at the next braai, (the South African word for barbecue)  i.e. the wine I buy.

It is for these oenophiles – wine lovers (sorry, I couldn’t resist that) who may want to bone up on their reds, whites, pinks and bubblies that Cathy Marston has written this book. This is a highly informative and easy-to-understand (even after a glass or two) guide to Cape wines that clears up the mysteries of wine, wine-making and wine-pairing.
However, this is no stodgy ‘sniff’, ‘sip’, ‘swill’, ‘spit’ or ‘swallow’ book to be earnestly studied in dark, damp cellars amid dusty bottles of expensive reserves. Cathy’s style is relaxed and humorous, to whit, her introduction:

“Treat this book like a swimming pool – dip your toes in to test the water, leap in from any point that takes your fancy, splash about, enjoy yourself, then when you’re exhausted, lie down in the sunshine and sip a glass of something delicious.”

I knew I would enjoy her book when, at her launch at the Thursday Club at Buitenverwachting Wine Estate, she stated (and I paraphrase): “Don’t be intimidated when a wine you’re drinking is described as blackberry with a hint of chocolate, with notes of coffee, blah, blah, blah. If you think it tastes like baked beans, then that’s okay! For you it tastes like baked beans!”
CATHY MARSTON
Cathy Marston and Reviewer (Di van der Westhuizen)

I can heartily recommend Love Your Wine as a highly entertaining book. It would make a fabulous Christmas present for your wine-loving family and friends. If nothing else, it will help them choose reasonably-priced excellent wines (that could knock the socks off their over-priced relatives) to enjoy over the festive season and beyond.

The book is available at Bookstorm

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