Tag Archives: news

‘The problem with quotes on the internet is that you never know which ones are real.’ Abraham Lincoln.

pinocchiI laughed when I read that statement.  It seemed entirely appropriate, considering we pretty much find ourselves in the position now of not knowing whether anything we read these days (on-line or off) is actually true.

And then I stopped.  Why am I laughing?  It’s really not all that funny . . .newsman

I used to think that there was the ‘news’ and the ‘not news’.  The reputable newspapers or the nightly TV news bulletins were for the real news.  You got honest, unbiased reporting on what was happening locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.  Sources were cited and stories substantiated and verified.  Journalists and their agencies could even be sued if they got their facts wrong!

mag1Then there was the ‘not news’—the lightweight, fluffy, entertaining stuff—opinion pieces, TV shows, tabloids, magazines etc—some of whom did indeed market themselves as news-worthy but were, shall we say . . . a little less vigilant in their fact-checking.  But that was okay, because these entities were in the business of selling stories, and we knew it.  We could tell the difference.

celebrity1I am not knocking the not-news by the way—I love my trashy magazines.  I look at the pictures of the rich and (in)famous, scoff at their style choices (really, all her money and she is wearing that!); read about their trials and tribulations (I had no idea how hard is was to get a diamond-studded collar for your cat these days) and marvel at how celebrities manage to spend so much time ‘hooking up’ with each other in between jetting between continents, special appearances, award shows and the occasional making of a blockbuster movie.

(I see Brad Pitt has been a very busy boy over the last couple of weeks.  Not only was he seen getting very flirty with Courtney Cox but he also seems to be in a hot and heavy relationship (and expecting a baby) with Kate Hudson—all the while fending of the ‘I’m sorry I made a mistake’ advances of Angelina Jolie!  No wonder he is looking a little weary these days . . . )

newspapersBut now we also have ‘fake news’ to contend with (ooops, sorry—I believe the expression is now ‘alternative facts‘)  and the problem is we can no longer easily differentiate between legitimate reporting and something that has been totally fabricated.  Fake news is not like not-news.  Fake news is deliberately manufactured to look like credible journalism and then used to manipulate the public.  Now, I am not entirely naive. It’s not like we (the public) have never been manipulated before, I’m pretty sure it happens a lot, but previously the purpetrators at least had the decency to look somewhat embarrassed when they were caught out, instead of just trying to feed us more crap.1984

It pisses me off (in case you hadn’t already guessed . . . ) and I am pleased to see that it seems to piss a lot of other people off too.  Of course being pissed off about it doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s a step in the right direction.  The very last thing we can afford to do is be complacent, or we might indeed one day be faced with our very own Orwellian future.

crankyAnyway, I’ve had my little vent and so I’ll stop now.  Mostly because there are plenty of other people out there already venting on exactly the same subject—but also because I have a day off today and I don’t particularly want to work myself up into a really bad temper this early in the day.

You really wouldn’t like me when I’m in a really bad temper . . . 


Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Uncategorized


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‘I feel a very unusual sensation—if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.’ Benjamin Disraeli.

Over the last couple of days I have been struggling with what I should write next.  With the New Year now upon us it would seem the obvious thing to write about, but I have been hard pressed to come up with any ideas.

janus1‘I could write about the history of New Year,’ I thought.  Something like—the origins of celebrating the New Year can be traced back over 2,000 years to Mesopotamia, although the Romans really made it their own much later on.  Ancient Romans worshipped Janus for whom many believe the month of January was named.  He was the god of beginnings and endings, and for all the gates, doors and passageways in between.  Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.

Are you riveted yet?  No, me either.

resolutionsOr, perhaps I could write  something about New Year’s Resolutions?  Really?  Like that hasn’t been done to death.  Besides, I don’t make ‘resolutions’.  I learned a long time ago that I am lousy at keeping promises to myself.

So—what about writing something about the local celebrations?  Nah.  That wouldn’t work either.  I have no plans to be going to any of them.  Sigh.

If you hadn’t already guessed, New Year’s Eve always leaves me a little cold.  I find it all a bit difficult to get enthusiastic about.  All this happy, happy, rah, rah just doesn’t really ring true for me. For whatever reason ‘New Year’ usually makes me melancholic, and this year is no exception.

So, after sitting and staring at the blank computer screen for much longer than I intended I finally made the decision that I wouldn’t write anything this week.  I was not ‘inspired’.  (Besides, no-one would notice anyway as they would all be out partying.)

cutting_lawnInstead I would go and do the other thing I was feeling totally uninspired about—mow the lawn.  That alone should tell you how discouraged I was.  I hate mowing the lawn (or at least the patch of scrub and weeds that likes to pretend it’s a lawn).  At least I was managing to making myself feel slightly better about the task by having a good old bitch to myself as I mowed.  ‘Bloody thankless task . . . back and forth, back and forth . . . stop, pick up sticks . . .  back and forth again . . . stop, pull up weeds . . .  wouldn’t mind so much if it looked any different once I had finished . . .  bloody hell it’s hot . . . ‘

And then, as I marched ‘back and forth, back and forth’ and muttered to myself, a random thought‘At least I have a lawn to mow’ completely stopped me in my tracks.  (I swear it literally stopped me between a ‘back’ and a ‘forth’.)  

Whoa.  Where did that come from?  Well, actually, I know exactly where it came from.  I watched the TV news early this morning and it was all about the bushfire devastation in South Australia; and the flood, snow and tornado damage across the United States; and scenes of most of northern England underwater. Add to this earlier stories of the European refugee crisis and escalating terrorism around the world and 2015 was a truly horrifying year for a lot of people.

gratefulAnd here I was grumping about having to mow the lawn.  I should be ashamed. Unlike all those people on the newcasts, nothing horrible or traumatic has happened to me this past year.  I still have a roof over my head.  I have a job I like and consider the people I work with as friends as well as colleagues. My family and friends are all safe and well, and my girls and I are healthy and happy.  And I am grateful for that.  For all of it.  And I am also certain I take it all far too much for granted.  I apologise.  I am going to try and stop doing that.  (Damn—that sounded suspiciously like a ‘resolution’.)

smiling-dog-hurry-take-the-pictureSo where do I go from here?

I want to wish everyone well for  2016 but how do you say ‘Happy’ New Year to people who have lost their homes, their possessions, their loved ones?  It seems trite and insensitve.  So I won’t.

What I will do is wish everyone, from me and my girls, a ‘Safe’ New Year, along with the fervent hope that  2016 is a better year for everyone . . .


Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Uncategorized


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