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Dark November

Dark November takes the helm

For 30 days Earth will be his realm

Dimming the light and stripping the trees

Driving rain before his hefty breeze

 

Dark November sends animals to burrow

Trying to escape his malicious furrow

But he’ll penetrate field and hill

Trying to achieve the record chill

 

The TV forecast is crisp and clear

Overcast, no sunshine here

Frost and ice, so coat on body, hat on head

November looks to freeze you dead

 

November, he will make us haggard

Drained of energy, spirit daggered

He’s a sadist to the core

Laughing at his deadly score

 

November, you are cruel and mean

With nothing to mitigate your extreme

What was it made you so bitter?

Are you jealous of the summer big hitters?

 

Global warming he ignores

To him, the pundits are narcissistic bores

If they claim he’s getting milder

He’ll tune his dial to weather wilder

 

November will hold sway

But like all, he must give way

He’ll take his leave, but remember

Next comes that darker lord, December

 

Copyright: David K. Bryant, October 30th, 2018

 

 

Tyred (tired)

What a stress it is to put air in tyres (American translation = tires). You sit there waiting behind some lame-brain who can’t figure out how to work the machine, what the pressure should be, what to do with the caps once removed, how to fit the hose to the valves, doing contortions trying to watch the screen, fumbling around to retrieve the caps, giving the tyres a kick, climbing back aboard, fiddling with the seat belt, setting the GPS, at last chugging away. Then it’s your turn. Wait, how do you work this damn thing? Oh God, I’ve forgotten what the pressure should be. This damn hose won’t fit the valve. Can’t see the screen. What did I do with those caps? Better kick the tyres coz I’m not sure I did it right. Hell, there’s some impatient driver staring at me like I’m taking too long. For God’s sake, seat belt, will you please clip in. GPS, I do not want to go where I went last Friday. I want to go somewhere different today. For God’s sake, find it. Well, it’s time to chug away.

Europe doesn’t exist.

So here in the UK we are arm-wrestling with Europe, trying to get out of its stranglehold and yet wanting to be just good friends.

Europe, what’s that?

Is it Belgian chocolate, a la carte, saurkraut, spaghetti, ouzo, Guinness, pastries? Well try putting that lot together – at least it could be an exciting meal.

Let’s think about some places that are geographically defined – North America, South America, Australia. They all have their idiosyncrasies, but they look like they were designed.

Europe? Is it a place at all? It’s stuck on to Asia, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense as a single entity.

Ok, well something must join it together. A common language? Nope. A common currency? Well they had to invent one and not all the 28 of the European Union went along with that.

Well, maybe it’s a place that can be brought under one regime. Ask the Romans, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin how that went.

Where does this Europe start and end? To the West is it the UK and Ireland? Seems not. The UK voted out, the Irish want to stay in. To the East, oh that’s easy – the Turkish Straits are the Europe/Asia boundary. So why, then, does Turkey want to be in Europe?

In the 50 states of the USA, different as they are, there are things that bind them – the dollar, the flag, the FBI, the president’s executive power.

In Europe there is no natural bond. It’s hard to see what a frozen Finn and a sunburned Spaniard have in common. What about Switzerland – sitting in the middle of it all, yet not part of it?

There is no Europe. That’s why those who have tried to create one have buried themselves in bureaucracy and trivia, and why they spend an awful lot of money trying to make an homogeneous thing out of something that is not.

Please, countries of Non-Europe, keep your wonderful individuality. Pasta should be forever Italian, Gouda should be forever Dutch, Danish bacon should be forever …

Britain, you would die without fish and chips and warm beer.

 

 

 

The day Fake News took over

Fake news is not new. It was used by both sides in the Second World War to play down their failures and exaggerate their successes. Indeed, the manipulation of the truth in the 1940s may have been directly responsible for the rash of conspiracy theories that have thrived ever since: Was Diana murdered? Did the Americans stage the Moon landings? Are the aliens being entertained in Area 51?

The media that is supposed to find its way through all of this only makes the problem bigger. Every newspaper and tv station is biased politically one way or the other. So the theories or happenings that support the outlet’s affiliations are magnified; those that give the other side of the story get ignored or trodden on.

On May 30th 2018 we reached a citadel of official deceit and misinformation. For two days we had been led to believe that a journalist critical of President Putin had been assassinated, with the finger pointing firmly at the Kremlin. Then, lo and behold, he’s not dead after all. The whole thing was a sting to catch a real would-be assassin.

Okay, that operation may have worked, but where were we, the people of the world in those two days? Sympathizing with the journalist’s family;  fearful of how bad Russian espionage was getting; expecting that we were moving into a World War Three of widespread stealthy murder that was a bigger threat to freedom than the terrorism which, sadly, we now accept as part of Life.

The moral high ground of the West was removed with Guantanamo Bay. No longer could we claim to be above the level of those we previously accused of barbarism.

Now Real News is on its deathbed. Who knows, maybe Elvis is alive and pumping gas, maybe President Kennedy was really the victim of  a lone nutter and not the CIA, FBI, Russia, the Mafia or who knows who else. Maybe Marilyn Monroe did simply kill herself and nobody else was involved.

In future, I won’t be reading or watching the news. I’ll be looking for the flaws in it, and I’ll expect that tomorrow or the next day, or maybe years hence, I’ll find out that it wasn’t that way at all.

The truth will out – but when?

 

Passing Times, Number 2

May 19th 2018 will probably be seen in history as a day of tangible change. If it had been a day in any year of the 20th Century, that Royal Wedding would never have happened. The men in gray suits would have gone to see Harry and told him that there were two major reasons why he could not marry Meghan. (I think you can guess what those two reasons would have been.) Maybe the men in suits did say that to him, and maybe he told them where to go, which would only further underline the breath of fresh air in the UK’s Royal Family. Diana started it. Her two sons are continuing it. The Royal Family is coming out of stodge and into the real world where it connects with the people. It’s such a powerful change that you can see it has infected the older members of the family. Prince Charles made a point of chatting to Meghan as he led her to the altar. In the olden days it would have been a rigid and formal walk. In those olden days, I was one of the growing number of republicans in the UK. I’m happy now to be saying that I believe we have a Royal Family with purpose. God save the Queen.

Scam

I like the word “scam”. It sounds like its meaning. I first came across it when reading the biography of Steve McQueen – not the SMcQ who’s a film director now, but the actor of that name who made classic movies like “The Magnificent Seven” and “The Great Escape” in the 1960s-70s.