20 July 2005

Mobile blog

My first mobile posting :-) My mobile's dictionary did not have 'blog' in it!

Do we have bad teenagers or poor memories?

I think that teenagers get a really bad press.  Child curfew zones are an example of society’s paranoia with groups of teenagers.  I can assure you that people have been feeling intimidated by groups of teenagers for years but should that mean that we place a curfew on them.  We could place curfews on village pubs because strangers might feel intimidated and we might save some fights.  We can also prevent over zealous fans for any sport, political party, share holders, rights group or religion from congregating -  I’m sure we would cut crime.  In fact why not just have a police state, crime would be low.  


No, let’s just pick on the youngsters because we feel ‘intimidated’ by them.  And we all know that teenagers are violent and out to get us!  I’m sorry but my experience from Scouts is that teenagers are pretty much the same as when I was young, and I was pretty much the same as my Dad’s era and so on and so on.  So was it better in ‘our day’ or do we suffer from bad memories – and do our young people suffer from bad media coverage.  Well do Liberty and 15 year old ‘W’ who won a High Court challenging child curfew zones (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4699095.stm).


15 July 2005

0 Second Visitors - STOP

My visitor statistics tell me that two visitors to this blog viewed it for '0' seconds! Wow, how do you visit a site for 0 seconds? What kind of repelling force achieves zero viewing time of a blog?

There were two other visitors and one of them was me :-)

12 July 2005

A Safe Blog!

Watching the number of hits I get, this blog is almost as safe as a personal diary :-)

At first I sent a few people my Blog's URL but now I think I shall just leave it here for people to find. Am I addicted?

I have quite a few draft titles that I have not published but I'm a bit too busy at the moment.

10 July 2005

The Importance of a Cycle Helmet

Today my 12 year old son went cycling with some friends. One of his friends was knocked off his bicycle by a car going about 10mph. He is okay but he did hit the back of his cycle helmet as he fell and cracked it. I wouldn't like to think what would have happened had he not been wearing a cycle helmet.

I am the Group Scout Leader in our local Scout Group and I often have to tell young people that they need to wear a helmet to, from and during any Scouting event whilst cycling. This is one of the rules in Scouting in the UK and as a young person is covered by Scouting insurance from the time they leave home to the time they arrive back home then they must wear a cycle helmet when cycling.

But, of course, everybody knows that adults heads are much stronger that children’s heads! That an adults head is made of much, much stronger bone and their brains will just bounce back :-) Unfortunately, I ended up with a head a bit like a child's so I wear a helmet.

I never wore a helmet when I was a child but then nobody wore helmets. You never meet any adults who fell off and hurt their heads when they were children but sadly that is because those that did...

But I shall climb down off my soapbox.

09 July 2005

Dancing Dads

I actually quite like dancing but nobody else is that inspired by my attempts. My wife says that if I was more serious when I danced then maybe she'd think more of my dancing - she's probably right.

Well today at breakfast I started dancing near my youngest son who is 7.
"Stop it Dad"

"I'm just dancing", I said as I made what I thought was a particularly good move to a change in tempo that took me in front of the window.

A look of grave concern came over my 7 year old's face and he pointed to the window and said, "People walk passed our house you know .... they might see you!"

Oh well, I shall just have to dance privately - have you ever tried dancing when you're taking the dishes out of the dishwasher? Try it some time - just keep away from windows!

08 July 2005

Why do post resignation Tory leaders always seem more electable?

Maybe it is just me but it seems that the most electable leaders in the Tory party are the ones that have resigned. Perhaps the secret to success for the Tories is for aspiring leaders to resign and then return - but I suppose we wouldn't have an opposition then!

07 July 2005

The words of my 7 year old son, "Why don't they tell us what they want?"

At our family dinner time we discussed the bombings in London. I have three sons and my youngest son is 7 years old. With a furrowed brow he looked at me and said "Why don't they tell us what they want? If they told us then we could do something."

Well, that is the problem. We can't honestly appease them even if we wanted to. So I can't really see how John Derbyshire's comments can be remotely true.

But perhaps I'm just being ignorant - so can anybody tell me what the members of Al-Qaeda really want? What do I tell my 7 year old son? And just what do the members of Al-Qaeda say to their 7 year old sons?

Terrorist Attacks in London yet London remains calm

I must say that if Al-Qaeda believe that we in Britain are 'burning with fear' then they are mistaken. Naturally the British public find these actions shocking and disruptive but what is remarkable is the sense of calm and control that exists here.

Everybody is grateful to all the emergency services. The real sense of calmness that exists at this time is a reflection of the professionalism and preparedness of our emergency services, and the good planning by our leaders - I think sometimes we forget to say thank you to leaders when they get it right.

My thoughts and prayers, like many others, are with those families who have been affected by these atrocities.

For more up to date information see BBC News.

Clive Davis - My Blog Dad

Clive Davis is my Blog Dad ;-) His enthusiasm about blogging at our school fete has given birth to this blog and for better or worse he is responsible for bringing this blog into webworld.

Anyway, I saw Clive this morning and I told him that I hadn't tried links in blogs so I thought I'd give it a go - here is a link to my Blog Dad, Clive - without him this blog wouldn't be here!

Thanks Dad :o)

G8, Live 8 and Making Poverty History

The problem I have with Live 8 is that it hasn't gripped me as I expected it might do. Somehow the event seemed to overshadow the cause. Maybe it was all the talk about tickets and the lack of them, scramble for them, selling of them on Ebay. Perhaps it was the rumblings of criticism surrounding the event that has targeted the egos and pockets of those involved.

Please understand that I agree in principle with controlled debt cancellation, fair trade laws and increased aid - I just don't think that Live 8 has quite worked how I hoped it might. What we really needed was to capture the hearts and minds of everyday people as happened after the tsunami disaster. Then it was celebrities that were running to catch up with the immense generosity expressed by the public. Looking back at the tsunami appeal there seems to be no individual that stands out that we the public rallied around, perhaps no individual could keep up or perhaps no individual can ever wear the shoes.

So where does this leave the Live 8 crew? I see no point in doubting the sincerity of the celebrities involved with Live 8 - what does it achieve? Sincerity can not be proved and we are in danger of damning our celebrities if they do and damning them if they don't!

"He's rich and famous why doesn't he help? "
"He's only helping because he's so rich and wants to boost his ego /career."

I'd rather be seeing the rich and famous helping and I honestly applaud the Live 8 crew. I believe they are doing all that they can but this is not enough.

So what is different between the Tsunami Appeal and Live 8. Well, the name for a start. Live 8 is a mix of the names G8 and Live Aid. But why mix those two names up when the real catch phrase is 'Make Poverty History'? The algebra doesn't quite work:

G8 + Live Aid = Live 8 = Make Poverty History

Trying to add 'Live Aid' into the title of this event is unnecessary when most people are familiar with 'Make Poverty History'.

I'm not really into marketing but surely there was a better way of mixing 'G8' and 'Make Poverty History'? Because that is the message – the men in suits at the G8 have the power to help make poverty history. Or do they?

I think they can play a major part but it is really only the public that can make it happen. But to achieve this we need to harness that public flow of generosity and compassion for those that are in more pain than we are in this world.

But how?

The Tsumani Appeal worked and I think it worked because we saw the pain from many angles and it was obvious what we had to do so we responded. The media reported the tsunami disaster honestly and nobody could dispute what we needed to do. Making poverty history is a little more complicated and here lies the problem – on a large scale we do not fully understand or agree as to what we need to do to achieve and sustain ‘no poverty’.

Many people fear that cancelling debt and increasing aid will only make corrupt leaders wealthier. But then making sovereign states jump though hoops seems patronising. I’m not saying this is not a solution but it is a solution that seems a little complicated, and that normally says to me that it is less likely to work.

So what if a micro model was used instead or together with debt cancellation etc. A micro model whereby impoverished communities were linked with wealthier communities – the twinning concept. Surely as individuals identified with another community then generosity would follow. The main issue with twinning is that it needs an effective mechanism that sets up the communication and helps each community understand its twin.

I’m not saying this is the solution but I do think we need to think of a believable and effective model that the majority of the public will buy into. Perhaps a little more imagination might give us the formula that will truly make poverty history.

But in the short term, on the eve of the G8 let’s not get caught up with the rights and wrongs of Live 8 but …

Back debt cancellation
Increased aid
Create fair trade laws

and freeze the assets of leaders that squander and plunder.

If we lose some money along the way then it is better than doing nothing at all.

What do you think?

06 July 2005

London Host the 2012 Olympic Games



Did my blog help or was it mental telepathy?

Who cares ;-)

So will it be London or Paris?

The choice of host for the 2012 Olympic Games is down to London or Paris. Please IOC members remember my advice - could this blog sway the IOC? Now repeat after me London, London, London, London ... I'm sure it's getting through ... London, London, London ...

London's Olympic Bid

The IOC has started voting ...

So what is a 'blug'?

I'm on a roll here (or should go to bed). So what is a 'blug'?

blug - an advert on a blog (i.e. a plug).

So what would those in adverting be called I wonder?

Not that I have anything against advertising, just a bit of fun.

I suppose I should say 'not that I will ever have anything to do with advertising' as I have such a sorry number of hits. The blogness persists ...

When nobody reads your Blog

I’m feeling a little down as I’ve had a look at my hit counter and realised that all the hits are mine! This is like Mr Bean sending himself a birthday card, you see the change in the hit counter and realise that it’s because you’ve looked at your hit counter. I think that I will start keep refreshing my blog to increase the hits – did I say that? So sad :-(

Writing a blog that nobody reads is like streaking through an empty stadium.

I do hope the blogness will one day turn into blogdom. You see, from depression arises creativity – two new words.

blogness – when you get no hits on your blog, blog hit nothingness.

blogdom – when your blog becomes famous, blog stardom.

or what about

blogathy - when you visit a blog to help lift the blog from blogness by increasing the number of hits.

Blog world, please show some blogathy.

A Guide to Choosing Secondary Schools and Olympic Games Venues.

I think that choosing the best venue for the games has got to be like choosing a school for your children. I’m a Dad and we are fortunate enough to live in an area where in my analysis there only good schools – here lies a problem. How to choose the best school from a set of good schools?

So parents worry that one school has 0.7 of a child more per class than another, this school does more homework, that school is a Beacon school for maths and another is for languages, and another builds robots and yet another has a headmaster that smiles nicely.

Of course, when you stand back you realise that it doesn’t actually matter. No matter what choice the parents make, they’ve made the right one because the school is ultimately a good school. So what is the Jenks method of choice (particularly relevant for secondary schools)?

1) Is the school close and your child get there without a parent? If ‘no’ then forget it – you will harm the environment, your sanity, your time, your health, your wealth and your child. Children need independence and so do parents.
2) Has the school got a good name, and I mean ‘name’. You want a name that looks good on a CV.
3) Does the school look good?

And that’s it – forget everything else. One or two extra kids in a class really does not matter. Any homework is always too much homework for a teenager. Beacon schools always worry me as I’m always a bit concerned about the other subjects. The school that builds robots will probably loose interest and switch to needle work. And the headmaster that smiles nicely is probably leaving the school anyway.

No, just follow the Jenks method. Whatever you do, do not ask your child – rather present the evidence in a way that guides your child to the right choice ;-)

So choosing schools is like choosing Olympic Games venues and I expect confused IOC members are already using the Jenks method and will no doubt arrive at the only correct answer – London :-)

(for non Brits: Secondary Schools = High Schools)

05 July 2005

London’s bid for the Olympic Games – IOC members please read this before you vote …

Tomorrow we find out if London will host the games in 2012 – an exciting prospect. But why should we host the games rather than any of the other cities?

Well we can and we want to, but so does everybody else. So why choose London over anybody else?

I suppose our bid is a bit more interesting because we seem to be planning to build a lot more than the others. That’s got to be a good reason – far better than building more supermarkets, furniture and DIY stores.

And if we don’t build it soon it’s quite likely we won’t have the space for it in the future.

I wonder if that is in the bid proposal – Britain is so over crowded and such a magnet to people that if we don’t carve up a bit of the East End soon it will be gone forever. I’m rather amazed that there is an area big enough in London that does not contain a conserved building, is part of National Trust (or any other trust for that matter) or is a part of or expected to be a part of an airport. We Brits love to slap conservation orders on any building that’s old, a ruin, very pretty, amazingly ugly or just a bit odd – perhaps this is the recipe for quaintness.

I’m not criticising building conservation or the National Trust it’s just that given the time to put another bid together we might well find that the proposed chunks of land will have conserved chunks of building on it … or trees.

It’s more likely though that we’ll get a supermarket, shopping centre and DIY store or another airport – that has got to be the best reason for giving us the Olympics.

04 July 2005

Why the Thames?

Simply because I live near it - let's hope the words flow as well as it does ...