Walk This Way

What´s the story with infrastructure of the current European standard type in Ireland, and why does there appear to be such opposition to it? When, after decades of delay and multiples over budget, projects of this standard are completed, the hubris of the government is palpable, seemingly unaware that such offerings are common place in the common market. Though standards vary, you will find that most of western Europe countries have a functioning; road / bicycle / pedestrian / public transport system, in, and out, of the cities.

Clearly, fantastic projects have been completed, and in a really cool way that is unique to Ireland, other times the approach is just plain odd. When the new speed limit signs started to appear some years back, some of them were no bigger than a dinner plate adorned with completely inappropriate speed limits in relation to the roads in which they were planted, whether it was the 50KM limit attached to a dual carriageway just outside of Galway city, or the 80KM sign in Clarenbridge village, on a road which ended 100 hundred meters after the sign.

Then there is the curious incident of the newly installed bicycle path on the 10KM stretch of road between Kilcolgan and Kinvara, which carries a lot of tourists and a lot of tourist money. This is a particularly treacherous stretch of road and has taken more than a few lives of those trying to leisurely make their way to Kinvara or the Burren Beyond. So when it seemed that out of nowhere a bicycle path was to be installed there was a sense of relief. Though that relief soon turned to confusion when it was discovered that this path would take up no more than one of that ten km stretch, starting somewhere in the middle and ending abruptly, though clearly posted so, in the bushes. What must these tourists think?, likely that this is a mad little country that doesn’t really believe in reinvesting tourist revenue into even semi safe access to the places that have drawn that tourist Euro here in the first place.

As Ireland is not a developing country, the level of poor infrastructure planning and implementation that exists is unacceptable. Higher tax rates are often cited as a reason why neighbouring governments have been able to provide so much more for the people. But the myth of higher taxes, for example in Sweden in relation to Ireland is soon dismantled, on the level of actual tax paid, and the incomparable `bang for your buck´. It would be interesting to know what for example has Holland produced with the equivalent billions that the Irish government received from the EU + Irish Taxpayer over the past few decades. It certainly smells like corruption on a monumental scale – while conducting a survey earlier in the millennium on European road building projects, a Danish firm discovered that Ireland was an average of 85% over budget.

A lot has been done and things are getting better, and its important to have a positive outlook, but all the positive development in the world shouldn’t negate the responsibility for the current lack of imagination, or the billions that were squandered, badly managed, or just plain robbed by those in control. And, if it is just an extreme lack of knowing (it´s not), why not simply emulate what other countries have successfully provided, `decades´ ago.

This small country has produced some of the best athletes, artists, musicians and creativity on the planet, clearly Ireland is capable of so much more, so why is it that more often than not, so much less is the result. Cliches such as; cronyism, cute whorism, and “ara she´ll be grand” are no longer amusing nor charming enough to validate the crime that is the lack of value for money that Ireland receives for its infrastructure spending. It would at least be something if the problem was lack of funding, but Ireland has at the very least equalled the infrastructure spending of its European neighbours, with a vastly different ROI. Spend a few days in the neighbouring countries to `really´ compare what they have been provided.

Imagine if they stopped building unsightly and poorly designed housing estates, and instead focused on creating modern versions of sustainable and community friendly villages. What if instead of gambling the country´s future on the tax revenue of other countries companies, we developed a dynamic eco tourism industry, protecting what´s left of our beautiful landscape while generating essential and ethical revenue. Why not instead of spreading the plague of grotesque shopping malls and foreign super chains, we aggressively promoted and supported the return of organic growers, suppliers and retailers. Why not instead of allowing beautiful countryside robbing speculation buildings, we focused on designing a comprehensive, non intrusive, path system all over the country.

A system of paths that would provide easy access to the wonderful places in this country, with paths along the rivers, commuter routes to work and school, creating an invaluable asset to an invaluable country, not to mention providing simple joy for all the walkers, hikers, cyclists and dreamers of Ireland. That one could walk or cycle all over the country, or to just simply walk to the shop without taking your life into your hands. Imagine what that would do for; tourism and healthy lifestyles, reducing pollution, road deaths and traffic congestion, improving workplace production, while simultaneously increasing quality of life. They don’t have to build the beauty, it´s already there in abundance, just some non combustion type means of accessing it.

As a builder myself I know that there would of course be challenges, but most definitely not unsurmountable ones. It could be quite rudimentary to begin with, continuing development over time. The farmer question is of course front and center, their concerns are legitimate, though the safer roads and increased tourist revenue alone might be a reason enough to make a deal.

Looni

Losing our own natural instincts fosters vulnerability to persuasion by external forces, benevolent and not, most likely not though, as benevolence tends not to interfere with free will. Free will of the organism being of the upmost importance, as it is appears to be a central factor in long term development, long term for an organism is `not´ a hundred years.

Everything that exists in Man today has most likely always existed. Albeit slowly, we were finally making progress in moving away from a period in time where some of those ways of being were not publicly acceptable. Then it seems that all of a sudden, boom, everything needs to be accepted right now, without any reservations, by everyone, lest you be a bigot, or a racist, or a …., or a ……., hardly what one would call a superb negotiation tactic. So what has changed bar another direction of bigotry?. There are many on this planet whom will never accept (choose your thing) and so be it, others may just need a little more time, why not let them have it, I mean, are we going anywhere?

That forcing someone to accept in totality what you believe to be righteous is a 100% failure rate, is probably one of the safest bets that exists. This of course doesn’t mean that we should accept any level of intolerance, for there are of course `levels of intolerance´. For example, “While I support same sex marriage, I choose not to include gay people in my social circle” to “I do not support same sex marriage and will use the courts to express that” to “I believe that homosexuality is an affront to God and deserves to be punished by death” Two of those levels should be tolerated.

Point being, whatever is pushing this agenda certainly does not in actuality support the individuals they claim to be championing. It seems that there is more and more schooling these days from the mainstream media and the like on how we should think, what we should accept, and whom are the righteous, all of course in the name of equality and freedom for all.

That the MSM is just one tool of TPTB (five corporations hold 80% of the market space) shouldn’t at this point in time be a surprise to most. If we believe that these mega corporations really do have our best intentions at heart, and we should therefore accept their word as dogma, than we really have wandered a little too far down the Yellow Brick Road.

Justifying perpetual war and the disruption of society with touch feely subjects that seem hard to deny is one of the oldest tricks in the book. No, these entities have something else in mind behind the endless jamming together of the unwilling.

A Decent Recipe

Chop finely; one large onion, four garlic cloves and three celery arms. Sauté for ten minutes in heated olive oil then add a cup of grated carrots  and two spoons of sesame seeds, sprinkle that with a little curry and cumin then leave to colour for ten minutes. Once all that has fried and mixed well, add a can of tomatoes with the juice removed (save it for soup) leave that simmering for twenty minutes to reduce. In the meantime add two cups of readied chick peas, two cups of corn and a handful of coriander to a large bowl, then blend the hell out of them. For a binder, add a few of spoons of flaxseed, mix well and leave in the fridge for half an hour or so. Add the ingredients from the pan to the bowl and mix together. Once you start to form the patties there is little else that you can do without getting everything everywhere, so best to have all at the ready. Fry lightly for ten minutes (five + five). Serve on a toasted quality bread with fresh lettuce, avocado.

David Copperfield

There are far too many twists and turns in David Copperfield, each one packed with detail and drama, to allow even the lightest touch on all of them without burning through many pages. Here is just a glance, at what is in my opinion, a remarkable book.

I would hazard a guess that David Copperfield is the boy that always lived inside Charles Dickens, nothing like unresolved issues to keep the past lingering. His overtly affectionate presentation of young David is perhaps his way of repairing with care the more prominent wounds.
Mr. Dickens was skilled to the point as to draw from this reader flesh and blood emotions from his words on a page, the satanic like intrusion of the Murdstones being case in point.

Davids unfortunate young Mother was as much a maddening figure as one to be pitied. She is presented as a meek woman, with the maturity of a child. Though clearly against every will in her frail bones, that she so easily relinquished responsibility for David to the stone cold Murdstones was infuriating. As is most often the case, the parasite will only retreat when the host is totally overcome with infestation, she eventually succumbed and gave in to sweet death. Though it was in effect as a result of a difficult birth, her being had long since been drained of life by the skilled parasite. She simply never stood a chance against them, even in the defence of her only child.

Davids Nanny, Pegotty, his saving grace and constant guardian angel is a workhorse of a woman, with just enough sweet to complete the package of the perfect carer. It is of no surprise then that her brother and loyal nephew Ham, are of the same ilk, salt of the earth, tough as nails. A testament to his goodness, Mr. Pegotty´s little houseboat on the shore is inhabited by a mixed bag of the unwanted, though wholeheartedly welcomed into his humble home. One of this flock, when after finding herself devoid of any hope for retribution, grossly underestimated the unwavering love and sense of duty that Mr. Pegotty held for her. While at first glance Emily apperas as an unfortunate, she is truly blessed to have such a devoted protector, and albeit unknowns to herself, plays the very same role in a different but very real way for Mr. Pegotty.

David’s Aunt, whom we have an early and brief encounter with, appears a stern and slightly mad domineering type, with those prejudices somewhat demolished on her return a little further in, where she proves to be a caring and resourceful guardian of young David. A sometime chaser of donkeys aside, her compassion is in no doubt.

The Micawabers are a refreshing addition, with Mr. Micawabers humorous and undefiant approach to seemingly hopeless ventures. His wife’s unflinching support for every doomed from the start project is confusing if not inspiring, though despite any apparent evidence, to her he is the wisest of the wise. With their children completing the circle of warmth in the pioneering Spirit that is the Family Micawabers.

Agnes and her opinion is held with an almost divine regard by David. She appears at just the right moments to ground David and this reader with her sense of caring stoicism and righteousness. Watching the young Agnes care for her troubled Father, must have been a significant factor on the powerful impact the Majestic Agnes was to have on him. Her support through the illness of David´s Faery wife is a good example of her being where she is needed most. In a terribly sad but curious scene, as Agnes makes her way down the stairs with the heavy news, a distraught David perhaps conscious of the significance, gestures to Dora´s lifeless dog Jip, whom had only moments before been tweaking with life, as his eyes raise to meet Agnes he was thusly informed that the lovely Dora had also passed.

Uriah Peep never had the ability to hide the bitterness that he held of being `unworthy´. This sense of unworthiness was of course spawned and nurtured only by himself. He concealed his contempt for those he believed to be his oppressors for only as long as it would take for the opportunity to arise to seize some worthiness from them, whatever the cost. The trustworthy Traddles to the rescue, for beneath the odd exterior, Davids co survivor of that nasty boarding school does not come up short, with the loveable Traddles proving himself a sharp and learned lawyer.

Lacking positive male role models early in his young life, the innocent David is immediately taken by the Alfa Male in Steerforth, trusting him far beyond that which is deserving. As with all the characters that cross paths with David, Steerforth, while not quite a positive influence, as of course immediately detected by the wise Agnes, is invaluable to David learning the process of character analysis. Steerforth was raised without need, and his story and that of his Mother and her maid play an interesting part in this very easily read, though complex web of interlacing lives.

It is worth saying again that there are far too many dramas and personalities to allow them the space which they deserve in this little post, and that the amount of text they are given is no correlation to their value in the story. With trials and tribulations a plenty, David Copperfield is a nutritious feast of a book, never failing, always delivering. It was a pleasure to walk alongside David on the challenging path to his graceful years.

A Universal Hypothesis

Limits don´t apply to the imagination, so if the universe is determined to be 15 Billion Light Years in diameter, you only have to imagine it, and in the matter of a Light Second it becomes 2000 BLY.
Does the limitless of imagination have a relation to the endlessness of the universe? maybe our fantastical imaginings exist as a reality somewhere out there in never never land. It´s been surmised that less than 15% of the brain is utilised, maybe our imagination has access to the 85% that lie just beyond our cognitive grasp, deeming imagination not factually irrelevant, but some kind of a database?
It has also been surmised that the Universe began expanding from a single atom by means of an unfathomable explosion and has been expanding ever since. It may be that at some point the universe will retract back to that same point, from unimaginably small to unimaginably large, and back again, continuing this process over and over. Possibly, that single event 15 BLY ago was only one word in the story of a universe that has never had a beginning.
There are of course no words that can fully express the size of the universe – big, very large, immense, all fine words, though all fail miserably in the telling of the Universal Story. Almost as if it´s all `imaginary´, “Once upon a time, in a land billions and billions and billions of light years away, there lived a …….” In spite of the valiant efforts of the scientific community, humanity has not yet reached the point where a scale of such magnitude can be fully appreciated.
And if that wasn’t enough mumbo jumbo for one day – Pre big bang contemplation or `nothingness´ is a mind warping undertaking, this may help – If the Universe did in fact spawn from some kind of a Big Bang Event, maybe it wasn’t the beginning of all, just the beginning of matter.