The Plastic Hippo

September 1, 2014

Grandma`s footsteps

Filed under: History,Media,Politics,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 12:59 am
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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 15, 2014

Deepening like a coastal shelf

Filed under: Education,Literature,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 1:00 am
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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…)

August 4, 2014

All over by Christmas

Filed under: History,Politics,Rights,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 4:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
Ypres 1918

Ypres 1918

Today, the beginning of the First World War will be marked with solemn remembrance of the soldiers who fell and the civilians who perished; there is little point in commemorating the 1918 Armistice.

On 3 August 1914, the then Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey delivered a rousing speech intended to prepare the nation for war. Filled with tub-thumping patriotism extolling honour and courage and sacrifice, the Viscount Grey of Fallodon`s call to arms displayed the time-honoured and continuing skill of a politician to say one thing and know the exact opposite. On the evening before war was declared, safely in the privacy of the Foreign Office, Sir Edward Grey is reported to have looked out of the window at the gathering dusk and said; “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time.”
Now that his time has long gone, the lamps are still going out and not just all over Europe but all over the planet. The only light in this terrible history are candles lit to the memories of lives lost in Guernica, Coventry, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Hanoi, Halabja, Basra, Vukovar, Kosovo and so many other attacks on civilian populations. (more…)

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