Odd One Out

Forum Novelties womensCostume Costume - - Default: Amazon.co.uk ...

Image: Amazon


Can you remember – back in the 80s

When cell phones looked like a brick?

Strawberry lip gloss – was all the craze –

Unless you went for bright cherry lipstick.

Shoulder-pads – on femme power-suits were worn

And bright coloured tubes – to keep your legs warm

Then to top off – the whole enchilada

Big hair was the thing of the day

But I’ll bet ya’ your very last sand dollar 

That Stallone looked odd – dressed in that way





Paint Chip Poetry Prompt #32:

“The prompt words and phrases are lipstickbrick, the whole enchiladasand dollarpeachynectar, and coral. . . .  Since the usual game of One of These Things Is Not Like the Others has only four choices, that’s how many of the paint chips I’m challenging you to use in your poem.”

Who Owns History? An Open Question

imageedit_0_8058394484 (1)

Dachau Gate: Copyright Padre’s Ramblings

I have spent over a decade conducting research on Holocaust memorials and commemorative sites.  I have seen the use and the abuse of public art, and public memorial.  I have seen homeless people camped on Ghent’s memorial, and people picnicking on monuments in London and Amsterdam.  I have also seen people brought  to tears at Auschwitz and at Yad Vashem.  Some memorials are for “good” lives lost, like the Korczak Memorial in Warsaw, but I have also seen the Meine Ehre heißt Treue mural perfectly preserved at Breendonk in Belgium.

I think the idea of history belonging to the victor might be overstated.  History belongs to everyone, but the interpretation of it is often sectarian, and even personal.  So to be clear, in light of contemporary events, I am not suggesting that there are not historic landmarks, and statues that shouldn’t be removed, but I do think they need to thoughtfully scrutinized.  Was the vandalism of the Robert Gould Shaw monument justified (whoever the perpetrator is), or the attacks on images of U. S. Grant?

Who owns history?  According to my Philosophy of History professor, so long ago, the present generation does, as they inherit and interpret in light of their own times.  If he was right, let us in this age do so thoughtfully, and deliberately, and not reduce our actions to mere emotions, no matter how justified.   If history is the possession of the victorious, then we need to be prepared for the rise of new victors, and that will bring change.  Who owns history?  Your guess is as good as mine.


A video for consideration

Key Discovery

Photo by NEOSiAM 2020 on Pexels.com

“According to the Research guys, it’s something called a kizit tape, some sort of ancient data retrieval system.”

“And those markings?” the Director asked.

“Old Earth, type J they think, but it could be C2.  Research say, there isn’t enough of it to tell for sure.”

“Do the know how the access the data?”

“No, they have a theory, but don’t know for sure.  There is a magnetic residue on that spooled film, but Research isn’t certain if it purposely there, or if its just environmental contamination.”

Just then a sterile-suited crew member approached.

“Excuse me Director; Sub-Director.  We found one,” the Research technician said.  The crew member then produced a battered hot pink device from a museum pod.

“Excellent, this might be the breakthrough we’ve needed to unlock the secrets of Old Earth culture,” the Sub-Director said.

Taking the device, the Sub-Director, scanned it and then asked, “What do we do with it?”

The technician set the Sony cassette played on a console and pressed a button, and a small panel popped open.  Then taking the “Kizit” from the Director, they placed it into the opening, and then pushed it shut.

“Press on this button when you are ready,” the technician said to the Sub-Director, and then stepped back.

“Well, here it goes,” the Sub-Director announced, pressing the indicated button.

The stillness of the briefing room was shaken by “No future, No future, No future,” from a pirated copy of The Sex Pistol’s God Save The Queen.

“Sorry Director,” the Sub-Director said mournfully.  “It seems to be just environmental contamination after all”




Photo Challenge #320



That’s Hollywood For You




The studio executives sat at the conference table with the creative staff.  They were in need of a blockbuster in order to reverse the companies declining fortunes.

“Well, I was reflecting back on my childhood, and was trying to think what might capture the hearts of young families,” the Creative Director said.

“What did you come up with?” the CEO asked.

“Cabbage Patch Kids.  They were all the rage when I was young.”

“Hmm. There might be some mileage in that,” the Executive Producer mused.

“Animation?” The CEO queried.  “Expensive, and a little risky with Disney and Pixar to contend with.”

“Yes, and we need at least a PG-13 for any profit,” the Marketing Director interjected.

“I still like the concept,” the Executive Producer interjected.  “What if we go with live action, and ramp it up to “R?”

“What do you have in mind?”  the CEO asked.

“A slasher, set in a small Vermont farming village.  Some disappearances, and gore should do it.”

“Yes, I love it,” the CEO said.  “Do you think we can get Steve King and Quentin T. on board with this?”

And thus, Cabbage Patch Kids: The Movie was born.



Photo Challenge #293



Abandoned Faith



photo credit: Karen Roe

A few years ago while I was walking through the woods in Nowton Park, near Bury St Edmunds, I came upon and archway door, and an upturned font. These religious relics, overgrown and neglected,  profoundly affected me.  The following is a reflection prompted by the memory.

Abandoned Faith

This is England –

Land of Anselm, Becket, and Bede.

Where “Hallelujah” so moved a king –

As to rise him from his royal seat.


But now gone is Lent and fasting,

and memories of the martyrs who died;

Lonely Lindisfarne,  now beset –

By a different kind of tide.


Football and Sunday shopping,

Now, our time requires,

Faith abandoned for “the new and now”  –

Leaving forsaken, empty spires.


This is England –

Home of Lennon, Dawkins, and Fry.

Land of no “Hope and Glory” –

“Above us only sky.”





Food on the Tube


source: Wikipedia

I have to confess that I have never seen a Bake Off programme. In fact, I am not big on the competition genre at all.  As a kid I did watch cookery shows. I enjoyed the over the top showmanship of Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet. I was also later a fan of Jeff Smith the Frugal Gourmet with his low cost, practical dishes.  I even have a copy of Smith’s “Three Ancient Cuisines” book.

As an adult, I divorced myself from cooking television. In fact, at present, I don’t even have a television. But sometimes the novelty of the tube has an appeal, especially when staying at a hotel. One reliable channel seems to be ever present at virtually every overnight venue, The Food Channel. But this is not to say that I get engrossed in the ingredient by ingredient construction of Jamie Oliver or the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

Here is my confession, I am far more interested in Adam Richman’s Man vs Food, and Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive ins, and Dives. It isn’t the venues themselves that interest me, or the eating challenges, but the fact that detailed recipes are not given, but rather general ideas of dishes, and what ingredients “go together.” As one who likes working out my own recipes through experimentation (and trial and error which thankfully has had more successes than failures), I find the general ideas and guidelines more useful than the A + B + C = quiche format.

Food competitions (like those of dance, or just general popularity), I find to be mind numbing. For those who are fans of Bake Off, etc, more power to you (in fact I acknowledge that I might really be missing something).  But for now in Food TV-land I will stick to “ideas” rather than “formulas,” and real food rather than gimmicks.




Demographics,technology, politics, and fashion seem to be perpetually changing. The pace of change appears to be moving ever faster. In my half century or so on this planet this is the case. A couple of years after my graduation, my high school was closed. It was later reopened on the same site with a different name, to be renamed again back to the original, but with a different school mascot.

My undergraduate college was renamed as a university. My first graduate school was renamed to sound even more important. My second grad school was amalgamated into a larger institution, and both “noble names” were blended, until the grander name, as cream does, floated upwards thus eclipsing the other.

While I was in military A school, American sailors lost their beards. I still remember how odd it was to see Chief Pinkerton without his. In infantry school and when first in the fleet we had flat green field jackets, and flat green flack jackets. These were later replaced by new ones in woodlands camouflage pattern to match our uniforms. We also had Vietnam era steel pot helmets with liners. These went the way of the dinosaurs, being replaced with Kevlar ones, with which we could not cook, dig, or wash with. Though the details are now vague to me, I think we changed gas mask models about then also. With the woodland and Kevlar change the make up of the flack vest morphed as well, to include both.

When I was at Third MarDiv, Division HQ I was issued a 1911 model 45. This weapon was the butt of jokes, and later was in turn replaced. This, however was not an issue for me as I had been sent to a battalion by then, where my TO weapon was the M16A1 or in my case a relatively well worn XM16E1. It was essentially the same as the A1 I had used in ITS, full auto and semi options, etc.  But then change struck again, and we all were issued M16A2s.  This weapon with its semi-auto and 3 round bursts took some getting used to, but was probably a good design change.

Where the world seems to have really run away with change though is in information technology.  The forces had taught me another strange and valuable skill.  I could type. I used a Selectric electric typewriter and it was quick and far easier to use than a manual. Then I went to university.  Mistakes in typing required rewrites.  So we gave in and got a Apple 2C.  Yes, 138 k of data.  We could correct mistakes without starting over.  The 5 plus some inch disks were a marvel.  But then Apple (like in the garden) led to a fall from grace. PC was everywhere, and the disks were smaller too.  Then came the what seemed annual Microsoft upgrades, and just when an operating system seemed to become second nature, they changed it.  Enter the laptop, etc, etc, etc.

Home movies gave way to video; beta to VHS; VHS to CD; and now downloads and streaming. The post office phone gave way to the home phone; the pay phone to the mobile.  Phones became cameras. Walkman became Ipod. Ipod was swallowed by the phone.  It goes on.

Education has followed suit. Many students cannot imagine “taking notes.”  “Can we take a picture of the board on our phones?” is a common question. Books are mystical things housed in a dungeon like realm known as the library.  Having to actually turn a page is an arduous task, and what if the particular book doesn’t have all you need? Might you actually have to search for another?  What a terrible waste of time. Doesn’t GOOGLE “have it all?” Okay, I am overstating (a little), but the implications are clear.

In the face of it all, I can take comfort. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever ( Hebrews 13:8).” God is “I AM,” who – was, is, and will be. When the world is a whirlwind, there is peace in the eternal. I choose to lean on the unchanging.  How about you?






Here and Now (2014): A Review


Wrapt Films

I have done a few film reviews in the past on movies with basically Christian themes. This film is not religious in nature, but presents a wide range of themes which bear considering. This is an incredibly under rated British movie, but one that addresses the very idea of what it means to be British, and sub-themes of bullying, death, and love.

A inner city girl, Grace (Lauren Johns) is taken on holiday by her parents to the rural west country, where she encounters culture shock, a lack of phone signal, and the emotional ride of her parents failing marriage. She discovers SAY, Sidney Arthur Young (Andy Rush) a local boy with country interests, and a very different outlook than her East Ham lifestyle.

This movie develops very slowly, but I don’t think there is a single wasted scene. Everything builds to the climax, and a reveal.  The sub-themes create a tapestry which is completed in the final scenes. There is also some wonderful camera work accenting the majestic landscapes of late summer.

This can be seen as a coming of age film, but not strictly so.  Grace develops and the changes in her are more a matter of quality than of maturing.  There is a fair amount of word play with her name throughout the film, all centering upon the hymn Amazing Grace, it is subtle and has much sub-text as well.

The developing romance of the two central characters is also in contrast with Graces’ previous West Ham boyfriend, which is based on sex and a lack of commitment.  Even the opening scene hints to the shallowness of modern relationship.  This is wonderfully contrasted with the simple sharing of Say’s experiences, interests, and controlled affection.

This is a great film, and one to make us take stock of modern life, our values, and our relationships.  It brings “what really matters” into focus.