Saturday 18 September 2021

15 more out of 5000


Welcome to a sunny South Manchester on day 62 since Covid-19 restrictions were eased. Infection rates are actually starting to drop again over here in the UK but hospitalization and deaths are still slowly rising, even though they are nowhere near as bad as they were during the previous spikes. 

I expect them to start falling too soon.

This is all due to the vaccination program and now we are starting to give over 50’s and vulnerable people a third booster jab. I will be eligible but not until six months after my second jab, which will, in theory be in December, just before Christmas. 

I still have to do a lateral flow self-test this weekend for another day in the office on Monday. I have to say these tests are quite unpleasant because they trigger your gag reflex and make your eyes water as you poke a swab in places where swabs aren’t supposed to be. 

It’s worth it I guess, even though there are no signs of Covid; after all I could be one of those lucky people who don’t actually know they have Covid – you never know. 

Shall we answer some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. If America is one nation under God then are atheists citizens?

One nation under God? There is something I don’t quite understand about America. I love the place but it is a little bit of a paradox, especially when it comes to religion. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with people who choose to immerse themselves into religion of any kind because, ultimately, in most cases, it provides comfort. 

I am a Roman Catholic but I have not practiced the religion since the age of 16. I was indoctrinated until I actually realized that perhaps there was something else out there. I will never say anything bad about people for whom God is the single most important feature of their lives.

Yet in America, I think religion is taken to extreme and sometimes used to exploit people. The President who fails to say “God Bless America” is the person who will be ousted at the next election. Even the Orange Goblin, a man who I doubt believes in anything but himself, pretended to embrace religion when he somehow reached that pinnacle. 

It is obvious he has never read or studied it but people would have believed him. His favourite book? Not a bloody chance.

When I talk about people using religion to exploit the masses, I mean guys like this charlatan:

Don’t get me started on these arseholes!

Sorry for rambling but to answer the question – of course atheists are citizens. And America doesn’t have a monopoly on God. I think most nations in the world would agree with me.

2. Is there anything that you believe should be banned for any reason?

Absolutely. This is something I could write a book on many things I think should be banned. Let me just start with one so-called religion: Scientology. Now there’s a start.

3. How often do you eat too much?

Probably every weekend. I am slightly overweight but not so much that I couldn’t get back to a healthy weight in a month with some willpower. From Monday to Friday I eat really healthy diet, with fruit for breakfast, a fish or chicken salad for lunch and a healthy meal in the evening. I do not drink alcohol from Sunday to Thursday either. Yet on the weekend, starting with Friday evening, I usually drink a couple of beers and have a lovely fried breakfast on Saturday and Sunday with a large lunch, though the evening meal is reasonable usually. This year I have managed to reach my lowest weight for about two years, although I am above that now thanks to it being Saturday and having had bacon and egg for breakfast.

4. If you died tomorrow, what mark would you have left on the world?

I doubt that I will leave a mark whenever I die (although as I keep saying, I plan to live forever). I guess some people might still read this blog in the unlikely event of my demise; it’s been around for thirteen years and people still stumble across older posts, probably thinking “who is this weird nutcase?”

I am sure that I will be remembered by friends for a few years, and my name will crop up in family conversations for a few decades. And maybe, a future descendant will unearth me in a century or two and realise that he is descended from a weird nutcase. 

We’ll see. 

But, of course, if I come back as a ghost, I will see this all for myself, won’t I?

5. Are you a city person or a country person?

I am primarily a city person but I love the country too. 

The city is vibrant and I love being part of a huge community with everything you need at your doorstep. Manchester is an amazing place to live. I also love London, and I am off there next week for a university reunion and again in October for a four day trip being a tourist before visiting other friends. London is huge and a great place but a little too big and busy for me, I think. Manchester is more compact and perfect for what I need.

That said, I love to escape to the countryside too. When I need to escape, I can easily just drive for about half an hour and find peace and tranquility in more rural settings. In fact, that is another reason why Manchester is great – city life on your doorstep and countryside just a small drive away.

6. What annoys you the most about yourself?

I am actually very fond of myself but I know that I am, like every other human being on this planet, a flawed creature.

Despite boasting about conquering shyness, I am still shy. I am sometimes overly cautious when perhaps I should take more risks. 

Also, I am heading towards 60 years of age and although I am quite fit in terms of walking most days, I can feel the pull of old age – and that annoys me. 

But generally I am happy with who I am.

7. Who was your childhood hero?

I would probably say my dad. 

8. With nearly 100 channels why is NOTHING ever on?

There is always something on, but there is an awful lot of absolute garbage available to laugh at or mock. My TV viewing habits have changed dramatically over the past five years or so. Here in the UK I subscribe to Sky, which gives me access to movies, sport, the freeview channels and a lot of other weird and wonderful channels from all over the place, most of which I don’t watch.

I share this with my two sons. Who in return have shared their access to Netflix and Amazon Prime. So rather than watching things in real time, I tend to record stuff to watch later or simply tune into Netflix or Amazon to carry on with one of the hundreds of offerings they have.

I am also tempted by Disney+ - the only reason being that they have the Marvel series ( I am a huge geeky fan of Marvel) – but I am resisting the pull because I really don’t want to end up as a couch potato. One day I might but probably not until the only thing I can do is dribble in my soup.

9. Would you adopt a stray kitty wandering through your neighborhood?

Absolutely. In fact, the two wonderful black cats I own, Ziggy and Star(dust) were rescue cats when some heartless cruel bastard left them in an alleyway for a couple of days in a cage where nobody could find them. When an old lady eventually found them and took them to a cat charity, they were covered in shit and very ill. They were only about a month or two old.

How could somebody do that?

I was so angry and I would love to meet the perpetrator of that particular crime.

Anyway, they are now healthy cats, as cute as anything you could ever wish for, and amazing fun. Best of all, they are happy and have a loving home with us. 

When it comes to strays, in particular though, we did adopt a cat quite a few years ago. At that time we had two other black cats called Jasper and Poppy and one day we spotted a new black cat in our kitchen. He had come in for food. We gave him some, although he looked well-fed, and he gradually moved in. We called him Spike and he settled in nicely.

However, after about eight months, he came in with a collar on and a name tag. It turns out, he was owned by a woman who lived about four streets away and his name was really Hamish. I called the number on the collar and took him to his real home where she accepted him gratefully and said that he keeps going missing. Also, she didn’t have a cat flap so every morning when she went to work, she would just turf him outside and leave him out all day come rain or shine. No wonder he looked for a new owner. 

In the end, he just kept coming back to our house and we simply kept him. I gave the woman my phone number and address but she never came back to ask for him.

Sadly, he disappeared from our house too. He was older than Jasper and Poppy and Mrs PM thinks that he just went off somewhere to die. He was a lovely cat and we had him for about three years.

Sorry – another rambling answer.

10. Which Lord of the Rings movie has the best ending?

My favourite is The Return of the King.

This scene at the end always brings a tear to my eye.

11. What are you missing in your life?

At the moment I am missing travel. I am absolutely dying to get on a plane and go abroad – anywhere will do! 

12. What could you make a sculpture out of that's in the room with you right now?

Nothing. I couldn’t make a sculpture if I tried.

13. Do you believe in the lost city of Atlantis?

I love anything like this and I dearly hope that Atlantis really existed. Many people believe that it is in the Mediterranean Sea or nearby in the Atlantic Ocean and was a progressive and technologically advanced civilization on an island that was destroyed by a tsunami. I think that this is possible and I hope that somebody finds it.

14. Have you ever read The Little Prince?


15. What fantasy book would you like to see made into a movie?

I would love the Hyperion Cantos novels by Dan Simmons to be made into a movie or a series similar to Game of Thrones. I loved the books (there are four of them) and I particularly love the Shrike, a very powerful creature that is about nine feet tall, has four arms with an exterior skin that is metallic and covered with sharp spikes and blades, including its four hands with sharp blades as speakers.

It is a phenomenal creature and I would love to see it brought to life in a series:

Imagine meeting that on a dark night?


Bev Sykes said...

Loved your cat stories. I, too, can't understand people who do cruel things to animals. Our chihuahua obviously had a bad first year. She was about 18 months when she was picked up on the streets and it took her more than 8 years before she stopped cringing whenever someone tried to pet her.

Elephant's Child said...

Of course I would adopt a stray cat. Many of ours have come by, seen the light on, and moved in. At the moment there are a pair of ginger cats who visit often. They like Spike appear to be 'outside' cats whatever the weather. If Jazz would allow it they could have a home here in a heartbeat.
Religion is a very mixed bag. As you say, it gives comfort to many. It is also open to abuse. Our current Prime Minister (a Pentecostal) justified (well after the event) him touching a woman who made it clear that she didn't want to interact with him by saying that he was 'laying on his hands' to heal her.

River said...

#3: how often do you eat too much?
Every day.
#6:see #3

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

That's quite sad - poor chihuahua. My cats are still a little head shy, which means they cringe a little if you approach their heads - but they are getting better. It makes me wonder what happened to them when they were really young.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I'm surprised that Jasper accepted SPike to be honest - probably because they were both black.

I try not to get involved in religion because it is divisive. Sometimes it has to be aired though.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi RIver,

I am tempted to eat too much every day but somehow I manage not to.




Me, Myself, and I said...

Those first two questions were doozies, weren't they. I appreciate your thoughtful answer on #1, and agree--I just don't understand why we as Americans think we have some sort of monopoly on God. Must be those puritans that came over and started the whole thing, who knows. It was interesting going to Plimoth when I was on my Boston trip last's changed quite a bit and they did talk a bit about what a sort a batty bunch the colonists were--not so much the "brave and persecuted" but just plain nuts and not very nice.

Kwizgiver said...

Your video clip denouncing Covid scared me. People believe that ridiculousness?

CountryDew said...

I always cry at that scene in Lord of the Rings, too, and I've seen the movie every year since it came out. I also cry in The Fellowship of the Ring when Boromir dies. I would love to be a Marvel movie fan too, but the movies never show up on any channel I can get, so I don't see them. I used to read the comics all the time when I was a child (in the 1970s) but have not seen many of the movies at all. I dearly loved the Black Widow when she was in the comics in the 1970s and would love to see that movie.

Stacy said...

Annoyed with feeling the pull of old someone about the same age, I agree. It is very annoying. LOL

We gave up cable TV last year and do the same as you. We subscribe to a couple of streaming services and our daughter subscribes to a couple and we share passwords so we all have much more than if we were paying for all of it ourselves.

I barely remember watching the LOTR movies. I enjoyed them, but they weren't something I "got into." Your clip reminded me how powerful they were. It may be time to rewatch them.

Have a wonderful week!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Me, Myself and I,

The first two were worthy of a post in themselves, as you say. I think it must be a puritan thing; the UK can be regarded as religious but we don't take it anywhere near as seriously as you guys, and unless you count vicars and priests, we don't have foaming at the mouth evangelists monopolising TV channels. I just think they are funny - but they are menacing too in that they are just in it for the wealth in my opinion.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

Yes- people do - and men like that exploit them. I have seen that bozo before and all he does is below about Satan, Hell and Jesus - without saying anything other than "give me your cash".




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

The movies are absolutely brilliant. Some are better than others but if you ever get the chance just binge watch them in order. I am really looking forward to the forthcoming ones.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Stacey,

The pull of old age - it's the aches that suddenly appear and then disappear that annoy me.