The Lives and Loves of Hana Lee

I’ve just read my first “real” e-book (or is it ebook like email. Perhaps, in time, it will become an ebook).

This is one written by someone I know. Well, I say “know” in that I’ve been following his blog (The Ugly Truth) and he came to stay one night at my place on his way somewhere else and we had a pizza and a beer.

Anyway, it’s good and you should read it and not only to support him in his first venture in self-publishing (but not his first book).

The book is The Lives and Loves of Hana Lee.

It’s rather good and I read it in a few days (which tells you that it’s good) even if I would have preferred a paper copy.

I warn you now that it has quite a lot of sex in it – but, for those of you who like sex, I guess that’ll be just fine.

I recommend it. Read the sample in the link above and then, of course, buy it. You will buy it ‘cos you’ll like the sample and you’ll just HAVE TO find out what happens. :-)

It should be good but isn’t really

Sorry I haven’t been posting or visiting your blogs but I am incredibly busy right now.

In the meantime, I SHOULD HAVE been delighted to receive the following message from LinkedIn:

Andrew, congratulations!

You have one of the top 10% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012 in Italy.
LinkedIn now has 200 million members. Thanks for
playing a unique part in our community!

Except, in my opinion, I don’t get that many viewers of my profile (like 9 in the last 90 days)! And so, if I’m in the top 10% for views, it doesn’t really say much for LinkedIn in Italy.


Oh yes, and Porca Vacca (one of the restaurants I have listed on the right) has changed hands. We shan’t be going back and I’ve downgraded it. It’s a shame.

Living in Italy has distinct advantages.

It was whilst talking with a colleague, the other day, that I realised how very lucky I am in this one respect.

A couple of days before, I’d read, in one of the British papers online, about a man of about 56. He had been made redundant a year or two before and had applied for over 3,000 (yes, three thousand) jobs in the time since his redundancy. He’d had one interview and hadn’t got the job.

And, whilst talking to this colleague, I realised that, actually, by living here, in Italy, I was, in fact, always employable.

Obviously, going back to teaching is not something I crave on the basis that the work pays very badly and the hours can be crap AND, there is little or no work for about 4 months of the year (meaning also no pay).

But, if needs must, I could go back to it tomorrow. What with that, editing work and website stuff, I may, even, be able to make more or less the same money as I do now – in any event, I would be earning something.

Compared, say, to the person I was talking to, who is slightly younger than I am but, if made redundant, would be less likely to be able to find employment.

And, as I talked to him, I realised that, if I were still in the UK, I would, actually, be less employable there, at my age, than I am here! So, by coming here, I have actually increased my chances for work in the future.

Now that’s something I had never thought of before. But, I have to admit, it’s a rather nice thought, isn’t it?

Piero is nearly as big as Dino!

Piero has grown.

In fact, everyone who hasn’t seen him for more than about a week comments on how fast he has grown.

And he has. His shoulders are now just a few inches below Dino’s. He hasn’t got Dino’s bulk (not that Dino is fat, jut muscled) nor power but he’s working on it. The games of ‘tug’ that they have every night prove this.

Piero is still very ‘cute’ though, even if he is nearly the same size.

And it got me to thinking about whether Dino was this big when he was seven months old. I thought I might have commented on it in the blog so went back a way to see if I could find out. I didn’t find it. Instead, what I found was the end of V and I (Dino was just about 10 months old at the time). I should go back, from time to time, to see what was happening then.

For example, I found the post where I had been to see the flat that I am now living in.

I found some posts that were quite well written. But then, a tortured mind seems to a requisite for good writing. Perhaps I should randomly go back and have a look at some posts I wrote? It’s interesting to see the change from a different year. After all, this blog has been going for nearly 7 years now and a lot of things have changed in those seven years.

Anyway, back to Piero.

He is cute, he is much bigger, he is more affectionate, he is very, very playful and he is a right little bastard.

But wonderful too.

However, Dino is still the best dog ever.

But I love them both, just the same. And, as my friend C, from London, wrote recently, F REALLY loves the dogs. So all is well.

Be careful what you wish for ……………..

There’s a lot going on at the moment in the British press about the BBC.

It’s almost like there’s some sort of witch-hunt and it seems as if some newspapers won’t be happy until the BBC is disbanded.

But, in my opinion, that would be a huge mistake.

If it were to be broken up, there would be nothing to stop Mr Murdoch and, as well, the ‘dumbing down’ of TV that is usually blamed on the BBC, would accelerate to, well, the standard of most Italian TV.

I always think ‘be careful what you wish for as it might come true’.

There do seem to be a few voices trying to make themselves heard amongst this clamour for the destruction of the BBC – but they seem to be fighting an uphill battle.

In any event, Joni seemed to sum it up quite well ……

Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi

Some short stories to bring a smile to your face for a Friday

David Sedaris is a very funny man.

Someone (AfC, I think) lent me one of his books. They are ordinary stories of him and his family but always funny.

Anyway, you can enjoy some of these short stories here.

But the bit that had me really laughing was:

A week after putting her to sleep, I received Neil’s ashes in a forest-green can. She’d never expressed any great interest in the outdoors, so I scattered her remains on the carpet and then vacuumed them up.


The end of the world?

Imagine a different world.

A world where everyone considers everything they do and say as to what impact it has on other people – and then they censor what they do/say based on whether there is someone, anyone, out there who will find it distatseful or, God forbid, offensive.

It’s a kind of utopia. Everyone will be nice and courteous. Nothing will be said that will ‘hurt our feelings’. Nothing, quite obviously, will be said in rage and, as a consequence, there will be no anger.

Without anger, there will be no need to defend anything and without the need for defence, there will be no war.

And everyone will live happily ever after.

Won’t they?

I mean, surely, that’s what we all want, sin’t it?

The problem with this, of course, is that the term ‘free speech’ becomes redundant. If you are only free to say nice things, what’s the point?

I try to be nice to people, espcially people I know. A friend I haven’t seen for two years or so was told by me that she ‘looked fabulous’. She did – but that’s not really the point. I am, of course, able to say ‘You look tired’ but a) it wasn’t true and b) I don’t think it’s very nice to say that. So I don’t. She’s changed her hair. It’s now short and blonde. I could have said a) your hair looks awful or b) you look like a prostitute. But I didn’t because it wouldn’t have been true and, anyway, it’s not a nice thing to say. Instead, I said ‘Your hair looks lovely’, which it did.

So, was I using ‘free speech’ and saying what I felt? Well, yes but, equally, even if they hadn’t been true, I may have said something like that anyway. And, at that point, I am no longer using ‘free speech’.

But, why not? Didn’t people fight for this right? And if people laid their lives down for this right, why the hell ain’t I using it?

But what if I DID? What then?

Well, most probably, old friends would, suddenly, be a little unfriendly. Now, if I didn’t care, that wouldn’t really be a problem, I guess.

And, at what point would something I said become genuinely offensive? And how do you measure offensive in the first place?

Does the feeling of ‘That’s not very nice’ constitute offence? What if something said makes you feel like bursting into tears? Does that make it offensive?

What if I made some joke about a person who had recently died? A sick joke? I mean, a really sick joke about someone who died very recently that I didn’t know? Well, the dead person wouldn’t be offended. But their family? There again, how would their family know if I just told this very sick joke to my friends who live thousands of miles away from the family?

But, what if one of MY firends was offended by it? There again, how can they really be offended. Are they just saying they’re offended because they think my joke is really sick and not something one should say?

And what is the difference between telling a really sick joke to my friends from saying, for example, that I’m going to blow an airport up should my flight be cancelled for the fourth time, when I’m really angry. I mean, we all say things in the heat of the moment. Things said in anger aren’t really meant.

How many times have you said, ‘Oh I could kill so-and-so’ but, in reality, and, even given a weapon and anonimity, you would NEVER do such a thing. It’s an expression to mean you are REALLY pissed off with a person.

‘They should just bomb the place’ – another expression which I’ve heard said because someone doesn’t like what they’ve heard of about or seen at a place. It doesn NOT mean that they would actually do it. And, if the murder or bombing were to actually take place, most normal people would be horrified that they had said it.

After all, these are just words, however tasteless and disgusting they may be.

And, if we go back to our utopian idea of having a world where no one says anthing that will offend anyone else – what kind of monstrous world have we created?

And yet, this is what ‘they’ seem to be trying to achieve.

And it would be as boring as hell or worse. Even if I don’t agree, or even like, what people say and even if I am outraged by some of the stuff that’s said or done in this world – at least it is premitted to be said or done.

Anyway, for more of the same, read this little article.

Let’s just say that mob rule is the real offensive thing here. And even without the prison sentence, I think that, maybe, Matthew Woods has learnt a valuable lesson – as we all do when we are young and say things that may be considered offensive or crass. Most of us, nearly all of us, don’t go to jail for it, though!

It should be in the job description.

I guess you’ve seen something about it. It’s certainly all over the British press.

First there was some drunken party games which involved stripping and, surprise, surprise, there was someone with a phone and the next thing you knew it was everywhere.

Then, we have some woman with her tits out and people are outraged. Well, the media is outraged – people can, of course, think what they like.

Now, if I get a job, say, as model, a job in the public spotlight, I don’t want to be caught gorging on burgers. Or a married TV presenter – I really don’t need to be caught kissing one of my colleagues in the park.

And, if you get a job as a royal, you don’t want to be caught with your bits out for all to see.

OK, for Harry, he didn’t get a choice about the job – he can’t really say ‘no’. Even so, can you imagine Charlie having a party like that and permitting someone to take a photo?

And, in any way, can you imagine the Queen being more than semi-naked (and by that I mean with a swimsuit on) in any place except the bathroom?

So, whereas one can argue that the photographer was wrong to take the pictures and that the magazine (or is it magazines, now?) was not really being nice by publishing them, the real question is this:

If Kate took the job of being the future Queen of England, what was she thinking of getting her bits out in anything other than a very private place (like the bathroom)?

Worse, still, is thinking that you should be suing the magazine! Come off it, you were there, without a top, outside. Act like a Queen – after all, you took the job when you married William and, I’m afraid, with the job (for which you will never have to actually work or be short of food or worry about what you can wear or anything that normal people do), come some responsibilities.

And, if the ‘thought didn’t cross your mind’, then you’re quite stupid.

Lost respect, now, I have.

p.s. not that the pics were any good anyway.

Religion, Lies Part 1 (and THAT newspaper.)

The DailyHateMail is at it again.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK, apparently, in a speech that was issued (but not actually made), called the people opposing the right of marriage for gay people, bigots.

Today, the headline in the DM says I apologise for my gay marriage ‘bigot’ slur, says Clegg as he tries to limit fallout caused by remark

Clegg wrote a letter which, apparently, says:

‘Those extracts were neither written or approved by me. They do not represent my views, which is why they were subsequently withdrawn.

‘While I am a committed advocate of equal marriage, I would never refer to people who oppose it in this way. Indeed, I know people myself who do not support equal marriage and, although I disagree with them, clearly I do not think they are bigots. Nor do I think it is acceptable they, or anyone else, are insulted in this way.

‘My views on this issue are no secret, but I respect the fact that some people feel differently to me about marriage, often because of their religious beliefs.

‘I hope this explanation helps clarify what happened yesterday as well as my position, and I hope that the serious error that occurred will not cause lasting offence.’

Well, a couple of things here.

1. Clegg didn’t make the speech. And, in any event, these people don’t actually write their speeches. So, someone (but NOT Clegg) wrote the speech which was issued ahead of the event at which Clegg was going to speak. The to-do that occurred as a result meant that the words were changed (or, perhaps it really WAS a mistake).

2. The letter that Clegg subsequently wrote does not apologise for something that he didn’t say in the first place.

3. The definition of a bigot, namely a person having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of their own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others, seems to fit quite well. That’s religion for you.