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I’m gonna need two pair of shoes

Back home again after 9 days away, New York was amazing and in 4 days we couldn’t see or do everything. The four days in the Big Apple was spent walking miles doing a few touristy things and seeing a lot of what the city had to offer.

Highlights were the Radio City Music Hall tour with a meeting with a Rockette, the Top of the Rock with its magnificent views and also the horse and carriage tour of Central Park. We bought 3 day passes for the hop on and hop off city sightseeing bus and this was definitely the cheapest way to get around the city and the guides all gave different perspectives to the sights, sounds and smells of NYC.

We followed the hectic stay in NYC with a 4 night stay in New Orleans, celebrating the 300th anniversary of its founding in the French Quarter. In 1718 there were two tribes of Native Americans trading on what is now the French Quarter and that was why the city was founded there. It is interesting to see the differences between the old city (French Quarter and Garden District) with the new city which now covers a massive area. You can walk the French Quarter in around 2 hours going up and down every street, the highlights however are Canal Street (the widest Street in the USA) and Frenchman’s Street, Bourbon Street is touristy and adult themed, the locals stay in Frenchman’s and, apparently the best food is served in this street.

There is also a flea market which contains a wide selection of souvenirs and gifts for the folk back home. For my money The Big Easy is the ideal way to finish a trip to New York City as it really relaxes you and makes you more likely to arrive back home refreshed and not needing another holiday to recover from New York. Pictures attached and apologies for those on their side but they looked fine in preview on my laptop.

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Music today is from Fats Domino and courtesy of YouTube I do not own the copyright to this.

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And for all the little piggies Life is getting worse

Well, I have been trying to get my legs used to doing a lot of walking just to get ready for sightseeing this coming week in New York. The pain when I got home yesterday was excruciating and I ended up taking my pain meds like they were smarties again. This is going to be an interesting few days in New York then if I’m going to be flying most of the time in order to see the sights I’ll have to take loads of pictures to remember my time there.

The biggest points of interest on my itinerary are the 911 memorial (a reminder of the day we all became Americans), a visit to the Dakota building and Strawberry Fields, just to say a fond farewell to John Lennon, although he still lives on. I would also like to visit SoHo and bid David Jones a fond farewell and to say thank you for all the fantastic things he gave me the courage to do. He was the first person to say everyone was different and that was a good thing, I had thought that way for years before he said it but he told me I was right in my thinking. What a brilliant mind he had, he kept re-inventing himself every few years so no-one knew what he was up to until he released another album. Unusual for someone to be such a huge star and yet remain anonymous in between touring and releasing an album.

He was not a star in the normal sense as he was always one of us. When I went to see him for the first time in Edinburgh he was huge and there were too many outside the theatre waiting for him to arrive so I never got a chance to speak to him. However I did grab his hand and went to whisper in his ear when he gave me a full on kiss on the lips. I was stunned but returned the kiss before he moved onto someone else. This was in Ziggy mode and he was wearing full make up and a mini-dress but even so it was the highlight of my 1973.

He was such an amazing person and it would have been great to meet him in and around SoHo. I bet his spirit still haunts those streets, after all he had lived there since 1999 and New York was the place he finally called home after decades spent travelling around from city to city and country to country.

My New York odyssey will be followed by a trip to New Orleans but that is still not the end of my American dream, I want to visit Lubbock in Texas, Clovis New Mexico, Seattle and Minneapolis. Just to complete my musical heroes of the USA there will have to be a visit to Nashville which would have to be more than just a brief hello/goodbye trip. Also a visit to Dollywood, preferably while Dolly Parton is still around.

Leaving you today with another one of the maestro’s songs recorded by the Fab Four while they were falling apart, copyright is not owned by me so it is only here in deference to YouTube.

 

I’m gonna give you my love

I received some feedback about my post from yesterday and it seems that everyone feels the same way I do that we all need one another and everyone impacts on everyone else.

Makes no difference what you do or where you live, we all impact on those around us without realising it. We come into contact with so many people, some are with us briefly others become friends or acquaintances and we touch each other for weeks, months or even years. Then suddenly they are gone and we are “alone” in our bubble again.

Everyone stays as long as we need them, some remain with us for years and others for a season. We need others to survive as left alone we will wither and lose hope for humanity and ourselves.

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done, push yourself to the limits and we can all benefit from your achievements. There’s nothing you can see that isn’t shown and some have the ability to see beyond the possible and strive for the impossible which they will achieve and push human achievement to new heights and push back the boundaries.

Whether or not you believe that we landed on the moon in 1969 the advances in computing have improved so far that the computers around in 1969 took up entire rooms and warehouses and had less memory than we have on modern phones. They used tapes where now we use digital hard drives. Mankind has moved so quickly in the last 50 years that things we take for granted today had not even been thought of 50 years ago.

In my lifetime I have seen vinyl give way to cassette tapes as they were easier to store although just as prone to damage. Then came cd and digital music. Now we have returned to vinyl, although it is more expensive than digital music on cd or download some say it is much better than it used to be as the vinyl used today is sturdier and not as thin as it was before the advent of cassette and cd.

Technology isn’t the only change I have seen in my lifetime. When I was born there was racism and victimisation of anyone different to the norm. I never understood this since we are all human and if we are cut we will bleed and the blood is red. I wanted an end to segregation in the USA and South Africa and that has come to pass. There are still ignorant people who will victimise women, blacks, and anyone else who dares to be different.

I was called queer at school and took this as a compliment since we are all unique. I have also been called weird but again this I take as a compliment. Some even called me nigger lover (no apologies for the n word as that was what I was called) and I accepted they knew I loved everyone. The n word has been outlawed yet it is making a comeback among blacks in America. It is a word which means absolutely nothing, it is made up like Kike, Wop, Paddy and other made up names to denigrate human beings.

If we refuse to allow it to denigrate then we show we are more powerful than those idiots who use made up words to put people down. People are people and it makes no difference if they are black, white, yellow, brown, red or purple with red spots. If you allow yourself to be put down (I did and I realised eventually that the idiots doing it were just that – idiots) then you give credence to those idiots.

We should remember that we all have the power to hurt and the power to love. What is the most powerful to use? If we hurt someone then we invite them to hurt us back, if we love someone even though they are trying to hurt us, we remove their power from them and become more powerful than they will ever be.

Today’s music is taken from the era when all four Beatles were still together and alive, showcasing new advances in recording techniques and a heavier sound (although the Beatles showed they could be just as heavy). Led Zeppelin II started Side 1 with Whole Lotta Love so here it is from YouTube and the copyright isn’t owned by me.

Back then long time ago when grass was green

I’ve been thinking now for a long time about the reason why we’re all here. Surely it’s not to live in pain and fear? There’s too many people trying to get as much as they can, taking and stealing from their fellow man. So why not sit down, have a drink and let’s try to understand what we’re doing here my dear reader.

I try not to think of people in terms of black or white as that isn’t how the world works, it’s all shades of grey. Skin colour, gender, sexual preferences, who we love, who we let go, all shades of grey.

Take for an example a friend of mine, he was a good friend at school, we hung out and did things after school and before school. At dinner time and breaks we would disappear out of sight of the school and roll up then smoke a couple of joints. Last I heard he was getting himself straight, he’d got a good job, lovely partner and he was happy. I was pleased for him and remembered the good times we had at school. I don’t know if it is him or not but I just read an obituary about someone with the same name and approximately my age who died suddenly following a heart attack.

We are all mortal, sooner or later we are all going to die. I only have one regret in my life and that is that I didn’t travel when I left school but I didn’t have the guts to go to the other side of the planet on my own. My friend and I had talked about going to work in Australia for a couple of years after we left school, then other people were going to come with us, we even knew where there was work we could get and, although the work was hard it was well paid. We kept this talk going for about 3 years and more and more people were going to come with us both. Then one by one they dropped out until it was only my friend and I who were left when he told me he had got a girl pregnant and was going to do the right thing and get married to her.

That left me, alone, with the dream of going to another country to work for a couple of years and earn a fortune doing it. I started thinking about the distance I would be away from family and friends. I thought about not knowing anyone over there. I thought about getting home sick and wanting to travel home. In the end I decided not to go. I regretted that ever since. My friend’s marriage fell apart 2 years after his son was born. He moved away to Edinburgh and that was the last place I saw him, he moved there just after I did.

Would we have lasted 2 years in the middle of nowhere where everything was trying to kill us? Who knows, we never got there. Anyway the thing I’m trying to say is, we rarely regret things we do. Usually it’s things we don’t do. I’m determined that I’m going to live the remainder of my life doing things that I want to do. I want to live and have fun, sod the pain I can up the painkillers and try to live in the moment.

Life is too short and we all need to seize the day and remember that every day could be your last so live it to the full, grab the bull by the horns and get out there, meet people and, if you can, give them a helping hand. If you can’t help them at least try to lighten their load by sharing a smile with them. Smiling makes others feel positive and it makes us feel good.

On a different note I heard about a man in Nashville who went into a waffle shop and started shooting when a young man stood up and disarmed him, no thought for his own safety he just didn’t want anyone dying while he could do something to stop it. People are recognising this man as a hero, and he is, but we can all do this. Someone with a gun expects people to run away from him (or her). Take them by surprise and run at them and they will panic. You may get shot but isn’t it better to be shot while trying to protect others? This man has a lot of love in his life and his heart, we should learn from him but only if we think we can make a difference. In my case it would be to distract him and make him focus on me to give others a chance to get out.

If we see someone hurting another, trying to kill others, don’t we owe it to ourselves to try and protect them from harm? If enough people stand up and shout Enough! Then we surely can turn the hatred that is so rife these days into something resembling love for each other and help our fellow human beings to feel safe anywhere on this planet.

The music today is from one of the two heroes of mine who are no longer with us yet both wished me a happy birthday on 27/04/2018 when I turned 64 (an age celebrated by the other 2 of the group remembered in this song).

What the holy bigwigs failed to mention: spirituality’s missing ingredient

This makes more sense than the God who leaves children in dangerous situations.

Pam Grout

“Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence everything is alright forever and forever and forever.”—Jack Kerouac

Molly Ivins laughter

The God most of us believe in is an invention of man, fabricated for the sake of convenience. We accept this human-made God as an indisputable fact. But it makes no sense. If God is love, if God is perfect and if God is all the other beneficent descriptions we ascribe to him, why would he toss anyone into a lion’s den?

And pardon me for being cheeky, but why would anyone in their right mind want to hook up with a capricious and unjust god who gets his jollies from punishing them?

ACIM Lesson 103 is another attempt to set the record straight. It tells us that joy is what we should expect from God. It tells us that perfect happiness…

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I’m talking all about how to give They don’t act with much honesty

Funny how time seems to slip away when we have so much to do. Then when we can have some time to ourselves we tend to use it selfishly. One of the reasons I chose the song for this weeks post is the thoughts running through this week is that I will soon be off to New York and one of the sights I want to see is Strawberry Field, the tribute spot to John Lennon in Central Park. I also want to visit the 911 memorial and museum just to pay my respects to those who died that sad day when we all became Americans and I lost touch with quite a few people who I had been chatting to online and playing games with.

The death toll never tells the full story as some of those I lost touch with I think I would have lost touch with anyway, others may have been caught up in the tragedy and lost family in the devastation. Anyway, going back to my upcoming travels I have never been to NY before, in fact I have only once before been to the USA and that was to Anaheim CA, I also visited Santa Monica and other coastal areas before heading home again. That was two wives and three decades ago. I enjoyed the day trip to San Diego and the visit to Sea World, I know we have a Sea World near here but there aren’t the same attractions although the price is comparable to enter both.

I have not been to the Northern States before so this is not only the first East Coast visit it is also the first North visit. There are still more States and places I would like to visit, such as Seattle in Washington, Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit. I will just have to wait and see how money and time can manage to come together so that I may make further trips to the US.

So go away and leave me alone Don’t bother me

Well, here we are again, another Sunday evening and the panic is beginning to set in. If there was more support at work for dealing with the aftermath of some of our calls it wouldn’t be too bad. However, all the manager cares about is us hitting our target of 28 calls per day with an average call time of 15 minutes or less.

This call target is set on the proviso that we transfer 2 calls a day to the GC team so that will take 2 calls to 2 minutes and means the others can be slightly longer than 15 minutes to average out. I’ve started having counselling to deal with the stress of having to take call after call especially with some of the calls I deal with daily.

I hate the fact that we can’t discuss things with colleagues but then when everyone takes call after call there’s no time outside breaks and at break times we share our area with those coming for counselling, food bank clients and staff so there is no peace to discuss things. Management also don’t care what they promise, if your face fits you can get away with murder but if your face doesn’t fit then you get away with nothing. There are team meetings which some people never attend while others can’t even escape when they are ill. If you get a 1-2-1 meeting and ask for training to enable you to apply for other jobs internally and stand a chance of getting it then it will be offered at a “convenient time” which will never arrive – unless you are one of those who never do any wrong, even sitting in write-up for the last 15-20 minutes to force others to take the last call out of the queue so they can leave at 5 and not miss their early metro.

As you can imagine there is a lot of bad feeling within the team towards those few who never take the last call unless it is to get the team meeting started and finished earlier. Not that anyone enjoys the team meeting as we never find anything out at the meetings. We can find more information by talking to colleagues than is normally passed on via the team meetings and so they are a waste of everyone’s time.

He who knows does not speak He who speaks does not know And I go round in circles

Wow, Morgan Rice is a fabulous author. Her characters leap off the written page and become real. The stories are never straightforward there are twists and turns all the time. She merges heroes and villains with every twist and turn adding to the thrill of her writing. I have just finished the final book in the series “Of Crowns and Glory” and it gripped me so much I haven’t done anything else while reading it other than wanting to return to it and see how the main characters lives were intertwined and how things would pan out.

Some of the characters names were familiar (Thanos from the Marvel Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ceres from the (almost) name of a nearby town where I grew up). There was also a queen called Athena (familiar no doubt to any scholars), Claudius and Lucious. However, the story telling was absolutely brilliant and I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys action tales, heroic sagas and anyone who just enjoys a well written series of novels showing the dangers of keeping things going because of tradition.

Everything about Morgan Rice’s novels just flows and this series was not any different. Her characters are believable and the stories unfold in a manner that makes sense. She is self-published but don’t let that put you off as she is as good a story teller as anyone who has a publisher. Maybe not in the same league as Stephen King (the horror is believable but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of her stories). She writes as well as Jo Rowling and her characters are no less fascinating than others.

If I could write as well as Morgan I would be very happy indeed, yes there are one or two errors in the writing which may have been picked up by an editor but this shows how human she is. If you like fantasy novels, good characters and strong story lines with the characters intertwined all the way through the tale then give this lady a read.

Music as always is from youtube and isn’t mine, another George Harrison track written in 1968 but not recorded and issued until Gone Troppo in 1982.

I want a short haired girl Who sometimes wears it twice as long

If you were lucky/unlucky enough to wake to the white stuff falling from the sky again this morning I hope it didn’t lie where you are any more than it did here where I am. This afternoon the sleet turned to rain and the ground was wet and really slippy this afternoon when I went out to put our bins out (mine and the one for downstairs) it was also really cold so I thought the rain was going to turn back into either sleet or snow. Don’t know if it did either as I was so cold when I came back in that I sat snuggled on the sofa with a hot drink and wrapped up warm with the heating on.

I have started getting a lot of tweets in my timeline with pictures of beautiful asian women wearing sari’s and it got me thinking (again) of what it is that turns us on and attracts us to others. The first thing has to be looks as that is the most obvious first thing we notice. But what if you were blind, what would take the place of that initial aspect? Of course we are all different and no two people will be attracted in the exact same way to the same people. Not every two people will automatically be attracted to each other either. What is attraction, if we could work that out and bottle it we could make a fortune.

Is anyone aware of what it is they are looking for in a partner? Are they looking for something long term or just a brief fling? Is the person they are attracted to feeling attracted to them or just being friendly? Why do human beings flirt with each other? Is it just us or do some other animals flirt as well?

I have more questions than answers and that is probably normal when contemplating the intricacies of human relationships. There are people we can see every day at work and never give them a second thought as to whether or not they would make a good partner, long or short term. There are other people we can see once (just in passing on the street, bus, train or taxi queue) and find them occupying our thoughts for the remainder of that day, without fully understanding why this should be.

I find women attractive and love the smell of them, their perfume and their natural odour which could be the thing a blind man would notice when he can’t see the beauty on show. Any way, if anyone can offer any insight into attraction and why one person is attractive and not another when they are similar sizes, shapes and have almost the same hair colour please let me know in the usual manner.

Video this time is the Beatles original Old Brown Shoe which was a George Harrison B-Side. I don’t own the copyright to this song but feel free to listen and I hope you enjoy it.

The farther one travels The less one knows The less one really knows

Well, here we are again. I have just finished binge watching a documentary I missed seeing when it was shown last year on BBC1, the Ganges with Sue Perkins. It is an amazing river and it is dying due to the mistreatment of people for thousands of years. It is also at the heart of Hindu beliefs so this is a double tragedy. It was also an eye opener for other reasons, not least that women in villages have to hold in their bodily functions all day and then go in the fields to relieve themselves at night. Leaving themselves open to being bitten by snakes, stung by scorpions and being raped while relieving themselves. In the 21st century we should be doing more to help the newest developing country to take care of it’s citizens, especially women.

The women are amazing and the river that runs through most of India and Bangladesh is filthy and getting worse all the time. There are 18 women only colleges in India on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi, a city where life and death co-exist. The Ganges is heavily polluted here and there are people trying to educate the locals and visitors to try and reduce the level of pollution.

It was amazing to watch the way women (and in one case girls) talk to Sue (someone I have admired for a long time). They had no inhibitions about speaking through an interpreter and were open and frank in their conversations with her. She spoke to transsexuals, women waiting to die and girls at colleges and some at school, as well as boys telling her why they worked instead of going to school.

There is a lot of wealth in India, generated by an acceptance of new methods of earning money and gaining an education. The girls at the engineering colleges wanted to make a difference to their lives and inspire other women to dream they could do anything. They trusted their parents to find an ideal match for them to marry as, according to one, marrying for love was fleeting and a lot of the time ended in divorce. None of these “modern” women were superwomen but they were pushing the boundaries for those who would follow them. The journey started in the Himalayas taking in Rishikesh (with a visit to the Ashram, now overgrown, where the Beatles, Donovan and others were taught by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Sexy Sadie) himself).

For all the miles the river traverses there are people with amazing stories and Sue Perkins did her best to uncover them all. From the Hijra of Kolkata to the naked yogis offering blessings to pilgrims in the Bay of Bengal by beating with feathers she uncovered a lot of interesting people and talking to them teaching us so much of the history of the cities and villages along the Indian side of the Ganga.

Music today is courtesy of YouTube again and it is the copy of the Beatles song by George Harrison as performed in the Concert for George after his death in 2001.