Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Curfew (Cover Fire)

William the Conqueror set a curfew (from the French couvre-feu or cover fire) at 8:00 p.m., which was widely adopted across medieval Europe. 

Though this was ostensibly imposed to prevent fires from catching while people slept, those who will have read "William I – 1066 by Eleanor Farjeon" will recall that it was more likely about preventing candlelit late-night public plotting.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Let's be clear about this - immigrants and refugees.

Let's be clear about this.

1. The current expressions of xenophobia, paranoia, fear-mongering, ill-informed, anti-immigrant, Islam hating, Islam fearing, Mexican hating, deceitful pronouncements by "would be" 
 presidential candidates in the U.S.A. will bring about nothing that is good.

It will bring about  much which is  bad.

2. This vile rhetoric, especially as espoused by Mr. Donald Trump and Dr, Ben Carson (both Republicans) is tacitly supported by the silence of "would be" Democratic presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Silence = Complicity.

3. My beloved native land (The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is also in the grip of unthinking xenophobia, anti-immigrant, anti-Islam rhetoric.

4. If (in the U.S.A.) your main source of news is Fox News, CNN, or CNBC  do understand that you are being fed a dangerous diet of Islamaphobia and anti immigrant rhetoric,  much of which poses as "news",  but  which in fact is biased propaganda,  masquerading as commentary.

5.  If (in the U.K.) your main source of news is one of the popular daily newspapers (i,e, "The Sun" or  "The Daily Mail")  do understand that you are being fed a dangerous diet of Islamaphobia and anti immigrant rhetoric,   much of which poses as "news" but which  in fact is biased propaganda, masquerading as commentary.

6.  If you think that I am being politically unrealistic then you are correct, For my thinking is not rooted in that which is politically popular or expedient.

Indeed it is rooted in the Jewish biblical tradition which mandates a generous welcome to the alien, and in the Christian biblical tradition in which Jesus tells his followers to welcome the stranger.

I much prefer the pure  teachings of the Torah, and of Jesus of Nazareth as opposed to the temporizing of politicians (left and right), and the propaganda of news sources in the U.K. and the U.S.A. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

I, together with my brothers-in-law Bern and John are notoriously bad...

.. at parking in the marked spaces in parking lots.  It's often the case that we do not move forward enough, and that we park at strange angles which take up the whole of one parking spot, and a bit of another.

We always fail the validation test.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Book recommendation . "The Theft of Memory"

The Theft
of Memory

Losing My Father,
One Day at a Time

This is a lovely memoir by Jonathan Kozol (author of "Amazing Grace", "Death at an Early Age" and others).  The book is published by Crown Publishers, New York, 2015. $26

Mr. Kozol writes with tender affection, deep insight, and loving honesty about his father Dr. Harry Kozol.

Dr.  Kozol was a nationally noted specialist in disorders of the brain.  He was, the book jacket says, "an unusually intuitive clinician with a special gift for diagnosing interwoven elements of neurological and psychiatric illnesses in highly complicated and created people".

But, (to quote from the book jacket again) "... The Theft of Memory in not primarily about a doctor's public life. The heat of the book lies in the bond between a father and his son and the ways in which that bond intensified even as Harry's verbal skills and cogency progressively abandoned him".


I was intrigued by Jonathan Kozol's discussion of  memory, not as "a bank account, or storage box, in which our memories are waiting for us to retrieve them - to reach in and pull them out - but that there is, instead, only the act of remembering itself, in which electrochemical activities of the brain re-create portions of a memory that may be accurate reflections of or previous experiences, but frequently are not."  

"Memory is not a literal reproduction of the past:, writes Daniel Schacter, the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University........... It is, instead, a "constructive process"  by means of which "bits and ices of information" that may come from a variety of sources are reassembled, as it were, into a new reality".

Previous two paragraphs heavily dependent on the book pp 234/235.


We re-create and reinvent some portions of our memories! (p  235)

Jonathan Kozol was fortunate enough to have a vast store of his father's documents and letters (i.e written sources, contemporary to events in his father's life)  through which he was able to corroborate many of his memories


One again:  Mr. Kozol writes with tender affection, deep insight, and loving honesty about his father Dr. Harry Kozol.

My went back to Sarasota's Fruitville Library on Saturday 22nd November 2015