Archive for the ‘Greetings’ Category

Ring in the new!

Ring in the new!

Happy New Year! Wishing all my readers a prosperous and peaceful new year.

As a new circuit of the blazing fusion reactor begins and we hurtle through the infinite Stygian void I will share some wisdom for you to ponder.

I think I have cracked the secret for world peace and harmony.

It is a three fold answer to global brotherhood, a trinity of universal humanity. What is this elusive trinity you wonder?

Aircon, beer and bacon sandwiches.

Before you scoff and shake your head in derision. Seriously consider. Name any trouble spot in the world, go on any one. Now tell me, is it in a hot place? is the local drink of preference something other than beer? and are they prohibited bacon sandwiches?

I bet the answer to at least one of those questions is yes.

So there you have it. World peace, achievable and in our time. Our Creedo shall be

Avoid the heat for it makes man angry and shouty, slake his thirst with the golden liquid of the hop, and fill his hunger with the sauce laden sandwich of the pig. Then you shall have peace and brotherhood.

Particular beer, bacon type and sauce I leave entirely to your taste. I’m off to do my bit for world peace, so crank up the grill, spank the bottom of that sauce bottle and drink up those brews.

Here comes 2013… Do your bit!

Apologies for lack of blogging recently, but a SQL server update meant loads of database and wordpress fun… Only hindered a little bit by the fact I know very little about SQL databases!

Anyway, I’m back! Normal service to be resumed. In the meantime something to make you smile, unless you’re a nutbag creationist type.. in which case this is more your level. Disturbing, but more your thing I’m guessing.

For anyone interested, my burgeoning pastime of after dinner speaking… the toast from last weekd Burn night supper where I was asked to provide the toast to the lassies (can’t be that bad, third year running – although I suspect mroe that no-one else wants to)… so without further ado.

Gentlemen, and most especially ladies,

My thanks for allowing me the honour to toast the lassies on this august occasion.

I’d like to start by giving thanks for you allowing a humble sailor amongst so much distinguished soldiery, and an even rarer southerner who has no hope of managing a Burns accent, not to mention that despite many unaccompanied gentlemen being present you choose the only person here with both wife and mother in law within arms reach yet again. One could begin to become paranoid of a conspiracy to ensure I try out the sofa yet again…

So obviously I attempted to craft this toast without the aid of my beautiful wife, and therefore since she wasn’t on hand to tell me my opinion I was forced had to resort to the modern font of knowledge the internet…

Now I know over the last couple of years we’ve discussed Burns many lovers, abundance of children (which I finally pinned down to 12 – although one estimate was 18….) 9 of which were to Jean Armour, who not content with the brood he endowed her with also took on the daughter Elizabeth, a child he had with Anna park… Given his proclivities surely a candidate for the Jeremy Kyle show…

So back to my trawl of the internet

The internet as I am sure some of you are aware is awash with 2 things…Funny animal pictures and a more educational type of imagery. Well certainly biology in any case.

So first off I began with the mucky stuff..

We are amazed that Burns accomplished so much literary prowess whilst pursed by women… perhaps they had heard of another kind of prowess? After all Burns’ good friend, Maria Riddell, wrote of Robert in her memoirs that:

“None certainly ever outshone Burns in the charms, the sorcery I would almost call it, of fascinating conversation, the spontaneous eloquence of social argument, or the unstudied poignancy of brilliant repartee; nor was any man, I believe, ever gifted with a larger portion of the vivida vis amimi”

Now ladies my poor latin aside, I am sure that I do not need to interpret that for you? How large was Burns’ vivida though I cannot say. I do know though that Maria and I dare say the many loves of his life thought it worthy of comment

Please remember ladies and gentlemen that we are talking of a time before the automobile, the cell phone, radio and television. No fancy restaurants or shopping mall in Robert’s time, no movie or rock stars just authors and poets. Robert was a poet and a local celebrity. Articulate, eloquent and handsome and apparently gifted with a large vivida vis amimi.

So feeling suitably belittled it was back to the funny animals… one unfortunate chap with a similar level of burns knowledge as yours truly had the unfortunate mishap of carefully crafting a toast to lassie…

Now I am sure I am very much junior in my worldly experience to some of the gentleman gathered here – but even I suspect you should never compare a woman to a dog.

Then again I don’t know why women should be so sensitive. Dogs are loving, honest,…. even intelligent creatures. (standfast Moss) They give us much, and expect little back.

Indeed Burns loved dogs:

“He was a gash an’ faithful tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws’nt face
Ay gat him friends in ilk place;
His breast was white, his tousie back
Weel clad wi’ coat o’ glossy black;
His gawsie tail, wi’ upward curl,
Hung owre his hurdies wi’ a swirl.”
(The Twa Dogs)

But why should this be, really? Why shouldn’t women like being compared to dogs? Is there really anything more or less natural, more or less fitting, or more or less flattering about the comparison to “a gash and faithfu’ tyke” than to

“…a red red rose
That’s newly sprung in June.
O my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.”
(My Luve Is Like a Red, Red Rose)

Burns loved his wife. Burns also loved his dog. But even he dared not compare his wife to a dog.

And yet, the story is told, if not believed by all, of Burns’s first meeting Jean Armour. Burns was a shy young farm boy living in Mauchline, who had been taking dancing lessons to improve his poise, and perhaps to meet girls.

On the eve of the Mauchline Races, Burns walked to a dance, and was shyly standing against the wall, when his faithful collie dog, who had followed him, came in. As he removed the dog, Burns was heard to remark that he wished he could find a lass who would love him as faithfully as his dog did.

Evidently Jean Armour overheard. The next day, she was laying out some linens on the bleaching green, when Burns and his dog passed by. The dog began to run across the clean washing, but he was a good dog and returned to Burns when called. Jean made so bold to ask him “if he had found a lass to love as his dog did” yet, and the rest, as they say, is history.

To love a dog is a simple thing: a walk in the park. But to love a lassie – that calls for some careful stepping, if not several years of painful lessons. Burns wrote of his feelings of awe for women in a letter to Miss Chalmers, Sept 23, 1787i

“I look on the sex with something like the
admiration with which I regard the starry sky
in a frosty December night. I admire the beauty
of the Creator’s workmanship; I am charmed
with the wild but graceful eccentricity of their
motions, and – wish them good- night.”

And so, as Burns noted, there’s a kind of pride, a kind of tender laughter, that we men take in these mysterious creatures – the kind of pride that Burns his collie dog, his sharp-witted mother, his bastard bairns, and even in his wife:

Gentleman please be upstanding for a moment….

Their tricks and craft have put me daft,
They have taken me in and all that,
But clear your decks, and here is: – ‘The Sex?’
I like the women for all that!

(And I intend to make you stand for an extra verse every year from now on….)

Please lift your glasses in a toast to the lady by your side and say to the lassies . . . .cheers!

Happy New Year!

So the end is upon us. 2011 fades into the rose tinted archive of nostalgia and we face the impending wrath of 2012.

Round ups and resolutions seem to be the order of business, so what did 2011 deposit upon us? On the large scale it seemed to be the historical equivalent of the vomit the cat left on the stairs carpet for you to tread in. On balance it appears that the end should be in site for the continual financial cataclysms and foreign conflicts, but with the arab revolutions generally leading to opportunities for religious fanatics to grab power, the death of European democracy as puppet dictators are installed to ensure idealogical statism persists against the will of the people, and a fresh oil conflict looms on the horizon with the added excitement of nukes, I think it is safe to predict a year of greater turmoil, uncertainty, and a general backwards slide into corruption, conflict and chaos.

So is it all doom and gloom?

Of course not. And I do not just mean the glorious tax burden of the Olympics that I expect to be bored with hearing about by the end of January.

The really important things are still there. Friends and family (well, the ones you like anyway). The advent of ever more inventive methods of communication allow us to stay in touch or reconnect with friends we would otherwise lose. Instead of worrying about inflation stopping us buying yet more tat, cancel the shopping trip and spend it talking to a friend.

Go try something you never would have considered, ignore that nagging voice that stops you with the threat of embarrassment or failure and just give it a go. If nothing else, you’ll have a good story for when you see your friends.

In essence become more childlike. How many over Christmas have seen a small child ignore the big expensive present to become full of joy at a small insignificant thing that when combined with their imagination opened a new world of play.

Their ability to simply enjoy life is something we all had. We either cast it aside or lost it somewhere along the path to careers, mortgages, and council tax demands. I suspect it’s still there somewhere, so if I have to have a new years resolution, it’s that. So I hope to become more childish. I shall try to enjoy life more and not let the pointless rubbish get to me as much.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

Welcome to the new home of  Spiders ramblings…

Glad you found us. As this experiment enters it third year (first post way back on 1st Sep 2008!)  you can see I’ve moved digital house. As I upgraded my net connection I had to find a new webspace – so I took the chance to take more control of the blog. Still hosted on wordpress as it does everything I want easily, but now at it’s own domain name….

So tell your friends, (or warn them if you’ve been here before!)

As for the scheme. I’ve tried to make it a bit simpler and a bit easier to pick out the text. Please feel free to comment upon it if it fails in this regard!

I’d like to pretend to quality of the content will improve and become a bastion of erudite wit, wisdom and humour, but we both know that would be a lie don’t we? So let’s just hope the world improves to give me less to moan about… well, we can hope.

Onwards to glory!

Back online. Sorry for the hiccup, wordpress update managed to wreck some structure and in my heavy handed fashion I deleted/moved/swore at files for a bit until it worked. Anyway seems to be working again so here we are!

Anyway, as a result of digging around and testing stuff I checked some of the spam comments my filters have caught so far… I haven’t laughed so hard in a long while! Some even make sense until you check the email addresses and websites for the user. If anyone really wants links for shares/dresses/bondage/apple apps/cheap cigarettes/perfume/yeast infections/mattresses and our old friend viagra then please just let me know and I’ll forward the links… although I would suggest putting your virus protection to Armageddon setting first..

However, a couple did make sense but I don’t trust either the email/web address attached so they’re not going on. But to answer a couple of questions.

Feel free to use anything you find here on your own blog/website/bedroom wall/hamster bedding provided that a)you attribute either myself or if I’ve reposted the original author and b) you cannot use for anything remotely commercial without my express consent – and I’ll want a slice of the action! Further info here

Lastly, to the many and various that start “your blog/website/posts are great, I have learnt/enjoyed a lot”… nobody likes a kiss-arse. I know I’m great already thanks.

Now then. Something about a wedding and some elections?……

So did we all enjoy our break? Did the UK economy slide into oblivion as the doom-mongers predicted wince we all took some time off? Did it hell… sales of beer, beef and BBQs are through the roof, especially the Chiminea/BBQ I’ve been after can’t find one for love nor money… Hope you’ve all had a cracking break.

So 2 weeks trying to force myself to ignore stuff. Has anything been happening?

Blogging and ranting will be light for the next week or two as, like the rest of you hopefully, I take it easy and enjoy the time off work.

So enjoy the weather, enjoy not working too hard, and see you back in a bit!

Well, not quite. But heartening to see a few nearly fell for it on April Fools Day (1st Avril d’ya geddit?!)…

I thought there were enough clues besides the fact that my mental faculties have not given up the fight just yet. So kind readers, you can expect more of the usual ascerbic comments you are used to!

On a housekeeping note, the bug with the comments form has been fixed, feel free to leave stuff again – and cheers to Swampy for reporting the bug.