How To… Bring Us Closer Together

On a day when we’re likely to see the biggest defeat in Parliament of a government’s flagship policy ever, we really need to have a think about unity. It’s too late of course to coerce MPs into all voting the same way because of intransigence and deadlock and whatnot. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be actively trying to find a tract or two of common ground. A lot of people seemed to have enjoyed A Star is Born so maybe we should arrange a class trip to the cinema?

Or maybe we should be rallying around a common foe rather than trying to work out just what it was that the British people were voting for when they cast their ballot to leave. Brexit definitely isn’t bringing us closer together. As a consistent Remainer, looking at how the leave campaign flagrantly broke the law and spread blatant falsehood to get what they wanted makes me furious. But we have to stand by the razor thin margin of result on an illegitimate vote because anything else would be to subvert the course of democracy. Right? It’s a complete coincidence that ever since no one can agree on what we want or what we can achieve.

What’s clear is that politics isn’t what’s going to morph us all into one big happy family. Then again, maybe the prospect of happy families is a terrifying vision of the future for some. But I’m sure we can crack this and find an acceptable solution for the many, not the few. A puppy party? Although that might draw protests from people with allergies or who get unaccountably nervous around adorable bundles of fluff. Hundreds of hamburgers? No, that’s very obviously not a great idea for so very many reasons. No, I think we need to genetically engineer a hideously twisted monster just so that we’ve got something that will cause us all to huddle in fear together.

Bring us closer together –  Hooray for Earth


How To… Teach Your Children

As someone who hasn’t yet spawned tiny versions of myself (that’s how it works, right? Right?), I have to admit that I don’t have first hand experience in this area. However, as far as I’m aware though, kids are like sponges (just typed spongers by mistake but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation) who’ll soak up what they see and hear and turn it into lived experience.

It’s when you want to impart a slice of knowledge or information in particular, like maths, that you might start running into a little bit of trouble. Teaching children is easy and take it from me, I’m not a teacher and I don’t spend a lot of time around them so obviously I know a thing or two about it. So sit down and I’ll teach you a few things with wit, aplomb and huge helpings of modesty.

First of all, if you want kids to learn stuff you absolutely have to impress upon them just how important it is that they take it on board. If they don’t comprehend your wisdom then the children will become social pariahs, unable to hold down the jobs of their dreams and being cast out from all the institutions they think are relevant or important. And of course, if they don’t get what you’re telling them then it’s because they’re stupid.

Once you’ve got that across, you can get down to the teaching. Whatever you do, don’t brush up on the subject ahead of time. You know that you know whatever it is so why should you both relearning it or anything similar that would be such a waste of your time? Go a mile a minute in your explanations, give no background detail and refuse to take any questions until you’ve reached the end point of your presentation.

Teach your children – Crosby, Stills & Nash

How To… Dust in the Wind

Dusting is a noble concern. Keeping the world a little bit cleaner, polishing it around you until it shines, fighting the decay that sets in no matter what you do, it should be something worth trying to do. But, you know, time and a place for all worthwhile endeavours? Getting your house in order is all well and good but if you’re doing it at the same time as a hurricane is blowing through town you’re probably not going to be quite as productive as you think you are.

We could get into heavy things like trying to recognise when everything on the outside is crumbling all around you. But that would be to forget about the overwhelming amount of dusting that needs to get done. And the wind isn’t doing a whole lot to help out that situation. If anything, it’s stirring things up to the point of making even more of a mess.

So get out there and grab your dustpan. Scurry into every last nook and cranny to ferret out each singular speck of dust that plagues your existence. If you can’t banish the evil dust, no matter what the external circumstances are, then how will the grim monotony that is your life ever sort itself out too? Oh yeah, this wasn’t supposed to get heavy again. Maybe you shouldn’t zero in too closely on the little things, like those pesky grains of dust.

There’s probably a reason I don’t dust anything like as much as I should. But how could I possibly indulge in such a domestic activity when there are so many gusts whipping their way through my living room? I could close all the doors and windows and break out the dustpan but then I’d miss out on having an excuse. I think the largest component of being able to dust in the wind is to want to.

Dust in the wind – Kansas

How To… Remember the Future

They say that those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it. It’s always worth questioning where ‘they’ get their lines of reasoning from but this particular truism feels relatively sound. In order to know the future you just have to find the people who have an undue amount of power but don’t particularly care about what’s gone before there. Oh you know exactly who I mean.

And then there’s the plethora of science fiction literature that exists out there. Star Trek gave us handheld communicators and touchscreen devices. And then there’s the whole apocalyptic nature of a whole strata of fiction. But I’ve done enough talking about that on certain other internet outlets I happen to run (cross promotion: nailed. Referring to it only made it more effective, you know it’s true).

So looking back means that you’ll have the capacity to be able to see into the future but of course there are no guarantees. The only surefire way to be able to remember the future is after it’s happened. By which point it will have become the past. So you’ll have to designate a point in the present after which will be the future you’ll want to be remembering at some point down the line. Sure, it’ll get pretty complicated when it comes to tenses but you’ll be able to chalk up a technical victory over the English language. And time.

I am starting to question why you wanted to undertake this particular mission. I know things are going a bit wrong in the world and it’s important to you to try and fix it but that’s not your responsibility. You might be trying to remember the future but I suppose if that’s all you do you’ll probably be alright. It’s if you try and do anything about it that you might run into trouble.

Remember the future – Shpongle

How To… Make it Rain

Well, at least climate change can be counted on to make something of a positive impact. At this time of year, whenever the weather is a bit rubbish (i.e. cold or rainy) it’s a relief. It shouldn’t be warm in December and yet it was, trumpeting crude reminders that the planet is broken and it’s all our fault. There’s a limit of course. If it starts chucking it down with snow, I probably won’t be quite so sanguine.

Trying to get the weather back in whack is a tall order. But I’ve always believed in you. If anyone can hold back the tides and get stubborn governments around the world to reverse their regressive climate policies then it’s you. Somehow, in spite of all my ardent flattery, you’re not looking quite convinced. Fine, I’ll let you off the hook if you can just start a worldwide movement to push back against the environmental ravages of humanity.

Or maybe we should set our sights on something a little bit less ambitious, just to start off with. If we can figure out a way to make it rain around about now, we could have a banked skill that might come in handy down the line. So, the classic way of making the rain come is a particular dance (once you’ve made an enthusiastic study of the pressure patterns to ensure that a cold front or whatever is needed is on its way).

Otherwise, I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to bring on precipitation from the skies. Don’t rent a rain machine because no one likes a smart ass who cheats their way to technical victories. Send up prayers to the rain god of your choice and concentrate very hard on likely looking clouds. It’ll be chucking it down before you know it. Probably.

Make it rain – Foy Vance

How To… Hang Onto Your Ego

There’s something to be said regarding UK and US politics at the moment. On both sides of the ocean, things look to be hopelessly deadlocked but at least the US situation is pretty straightforward. The President has to build a wall because he said he would during campaign speeches and has waited until his foes have control over Congress and the purse strings to kick up a stink about it so he has someone to blame. He doesn’t seem so fussed about the 800,000 federal workers whose lives he’s messing up by withholding their paychecks.

Over here, the Speaker of the Commons did something that bucked Parliamentary precedent, allowed an amendment that the government didn’t want to get voted on and everything’s a bit of a mess. I think. It’s been a confusing time in British politics and various antiquated notions have been highlighted recently (like the fact that we absolutely have to have a golden stick present to represent the Queen at Parliamentary meetings).

We’re divided, stalemated, stuck in the mud and there’s little hope of anything constructive going down. There’s no real message here, I’m just finding it difficult to keep up with everything that’s going on. Certainties keep sliding away. May’s deal was on a collision course for a rounding thumping which made it ridiculous for the PM to keep on delaying. Now there’s a chance it won’t be quite such a battering (still not going to be a win though, probably) but there will be less time to run out the clock.

It’s so much easier to look at what’s going on over the other side of the world. Temper tantrums and suggestions that the President’s been snorting drugs make our parade of nonsense seem so much less problematic. Well, it means that we’re not the only fools making a scene on the world stage.

Hang onto your ego – Black Francis

It’s Thursday so a new post is over on my other blog about what sort of end of the world scenario we might end up living in. No idea where I got that idea from.

How To… Sail On Sailor

This might be a teaching your grandmother to suck eggs scenario. However, all my grandparents have shuffled off the mortal coil so I’ll have to settle for this instead. Anyway, sailing is a lot more complicated than just popping an egg in your mouth (that’s how you suck an egg, right? It’s such a commonplace phrase and suddenly I’m afraid to Google it to check just in case something weird comes up) and there can be a whole host of reasons why someone’s suddenly gun-shy about something you’d assume would be a regular activity for them.

So maybe the sailor in question is in need of a little bit of encouragement. They might have clipped an iceberg on their last outing or got port and starboard confused (raise your left hand right now. If you had to make an L with your finger and thumb then I’m sure you can symapthise with this particular plight). But they’d never have been granted the rank or position of sailor if they weren’t capable of it in the first place. We all believe in the sailors. They can weigh anchor and swab the deck with ease and aplomb (yes, all my knowledge of current sailing comes from books from quite a while ago. Like Treasure Island).

But there could well be a bit more going on than a mere crisis of confidence. Or perhaps you just want the sailor in question to sling their hook and move on from whatever enforced tête-à-tête you’ve been unwittingly plunged into. Wave them off with a sigh that the interaction is well and truly over. Then again, you might be keen for the sailor to bring you back stories or something shiny from the exotic places they’ll visit over the course of their sailing journeys. You know the sort of exciting locale I’m referring to, like Portsmouth.

Sail on sailor – The Beach Boys