The Plastic Hippo

September 1, 2014

Grandma`s footsteps

Filed under: Politics,Media,History,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 12:59 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Napolean Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David

Napolean Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David

What`s the time Mr Wolf?

Suffused with a comforting aroma of lavender and loose leaf tea, my dear old and now long gone Grandma was as kind and loving and gentle and as reassuring as only Grandmas can be. She could also, when necessary, become absolutely bloody terrifying.

Like many women of her generation, having lost brothers in the First World War and watched sons march off to the Second World War, she was never likely to tolerate the random slapstick buffoonery of little five-year-old me. A genius at contradiction, her word was unbreakable law and she would defend her “own” against any threat real or imagined. It seems that of her many grandchildren, I was something of a favourite. I have no idea why I should be so blessed but it was always a treat to stay with Grandma as she made the best bread and butter pudding in the world and had a piano in the parlour. For years, I thought the phrase “you little buggeroo” was a term of affection that only applied to me and when Grandma said it was bedtime it was definitely bedtime. (more…)

August 28, 2014

Sutton Hoo?

Something fishy

Something fishy

He might have a lot on his tiny mind at the moment, but it is possible that South Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright is considering making a large donation to the election fund of the bringer of earthquakes the mighty Douglas Carswell.

As the media hoards exit Rotherham and descend upon Clacton faster than an ex-cabinet minister caught in a boys` home, Mr Wright`s sigh of relief at seeing an empty doorstep when peeking through his curtains can probably be heard as far away as Wormwood Scrubs. Along with missing Nigerian girls, missing Malaysian airliners, missing Prime Ministers, children in Gaza with missing limbs and editors completely missing the point of the Alexis Jay report, by tomorrow the media will be asking Shaun who? (more…)

August 26, 2014

Lesbian lizards from space

Via bbc.co.uk

Via bbc.co.uk

It is surprising how quickly the world returns to normal after a week or so away and once the front door has been forced open against the pile of correspondence and once the countless emails have been ignored, it is almost as if the holiday never actually happened.

Not so this time however. Something in the glue that holds the universe together had changed and something odd seems to have provoked the entire planet to jump the shark. The first clue that the reality bill was overdue came when an anxious teenager deprived of television phoned a friend to find out what happened in the latest episode of Dr Who. Others suffering from cold turkey demanded that the call be placed onto the speaker and we heard this:
“Well the lizard lady and her maid are in a lesbian marriage and living in Victorian London with a miniature version of Eric Pickles, a T-Rex spontaneously combusted and a cyborg that looked like David Cameron was impaled on the top of Big Ben and then went to heaven.” I retreated to the comfort of news websites only to find that the surrealism was pandemic. (more…)

August 17, 2014

Bright young things

Via Getty Images

Via Getty Images

There has been some rather lurid speculation that a small group of Old Etonians are formulating the manner, style and objectives of government but this conspiracy theory is as unbelievable as the outrageous allegations made against famous, white, wealthy middle-aged men and their innocent leisure activities. The power does not derive from Eton but from a little way up the M40 amid the dreaming spires of Oxford.

As sinister Conservative grandees, ambitious cabinet ministers, a scheming opposition and powerful media figures connive, plot and sharpen knives to see who will inherit Cameron`s mess, it is tertiary education rather than an elitist private school than is informing policy. When Boris Johnson was questioned about his feelings that David Cameron achieved a first but he was awarded a lesser degree, the Mayor of London helpfully pointed out that his degree was in Classics and Cameron`s degree was in the “Mickey Mouse” subject of Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Boris seemed to infer that a PPE from Oxford carried as much gravitas as a degree in Media Studies from the University of Oakham and Greater Rutland. (more…)

August 15, 2014

Deepening like a coastal shelf

Filed under: Education,Literature,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Diving for pearls

Diving for pearls

Of all the important things taught at seats of learning both great and small, how to be a parent stands little chance of being included on the curriculum. Like parachuting, deep sea diving and mating, all the manuals, theory and research in the world cannot replace the hands-on experience of on-the-job training. Failure seems inevitable as attempting to channel positivity, hope, compassion and basic human decency without imposing anxiety, fear and an all consuming ambition is a balancing act that is almost impossible to carry off. Thus, misplaced and erroneous reflected parental glory came a knocking on the door on AS-Level results day.

We have tried our very best not to impose pressure in the pursuit of top examination grades preferring to allow young minds to chart their own course. We failed on occasions and with hindsight comments such as “what do you mean you can`t grasp the concept of filial piety in King Lear” and “for heaven`s sake, child, it`s only a quadratic equation” barked across the dinner table did not exactly help. After a while, the stock question “have you done your homework” was always replied with “yes” even though we knew the answer was always “no”. As one wag many years ago wrote on the wall of the gents at my student union; “knowledge wilts in the greenhouse of academia”. (more…)

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