Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Month: November, 2017

YOU CAN SEE THE BITE


a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bite/”>Bite</a&gt;

You can see the bite

“Daddy! Daddy! You can see the new bite on our computer. I think the dog must have done it.”

I had a good look and it was just as I thought. Yes, there was an odd scrape mark on the side of the laptop but no way could a Labrador puppy have done it. He’s only three months old and has not yet got teeth or claws that could do that to a thick metal surface. I was inspecting it more closely when four year old Augustine – actually his seven year old sister Persephone is already threatening to sue us as the nicknames at school are getting worse – asked me whether computers could feel pain.

“No, of course not. Why, Gussie, what made you think they could?” He looked relieved,

“Well the manual says it’s got trillions and I couldn’t believe it could write in that much pain.” I made a mental note to remind my wife that teaching young children to read very well was only worth it if they understood what they were reading. My son looked glad as he said,

“It’s lucky I asked you before telling Ostramonious he was a bad little dog.”

I took only a few seconds to decide that ‘Persie’ and ‘Gussie’ could choose their new brother and sister’s names. My wife is expecting twins very soon and we know it’s one of each.

All that was six weeks ago and the twin babies are lovely. Persephone adores her sister Ermyntrude and Augustine is very proud of his brother Hyacinth. They want to get them a puppy of their own. They’ve decided on a sheep dog which they would like to name Vercingetorix.

My wife sighed as she looked at me today and said, “You know it’s nearly thirty years since we met at infants’ school, aged five, and we were always being put together to do everything because we were called John and Jane!”

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A SOFT TOY STORY


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/clutch/”>Clutch</a&gt;

A SOFT TOY STORY

Oh heavens, you won’t believe this. I wasn’t drunk or anything, but today I bought my wife a really lovely Teddy Bear. You see I’d taken my youngest son and his wife, and my wife out to dinner a few days ago to celebrate something or other, her new promotion to a leading nursing role in our main Cancer Hospital I think, and on the way out of the restaurant we passed a charity shop. It sold donated items to support a chidlren’s  hospice at the hospital.

Well, when we got home my wife said, “Ton”, she always calls me that, “did you see that sweet Teddy Bear in the charity shop window? Well she’d make a super friend for that enormous cuddly bear you bought at the Scouts auction a couple of weeks ago. I’ve sewn his bad eye back on properly, and he was telling me how grateful he was as he could now see the other stuffed toys clearly, and was very sad because amongst the 79 animals there was no female bear.”

Now if you love your wife much as I love mine, the first chance you get you go in and buy the bear she wanted and tell her it’s a little girl bear, and a super friend for ‘Gladly’. Did someone say “Who the hell’s Gladly?”  Look its complicated, but the bear I bought at the auction was given that name after one of the worst jokes I’ve ever been told by a nun. My youngest son’s godmother is a nun and she told me once she’d had a Teddy as a small child and said she had to call him Gladly. Wait ’til you hear why.

“My mother asked me,” my nun friend said, “Why I’d called him Gladly and I replied, ‘after the bear in the hymn.You know the one with the lines,

“Dear Lord if it would ease your pain, Gladly my Cross I’d bear.” Well you see my Teddy is cross-eyed!” As you will have guessed so was the one I bought at auction, actually my wife was so sorry for it and with no one else bidding, I had to buy it didn’t I?

Anyway, this evening we took our little girl bear upstairs to the playroom, the kids are all married and left home but even though there  are only two of us we still keep the playroom properly for housing the toys. We called her Clare, after part of the children’s hospice name. My wife placed her on the sofa next to a very correctly sighted ‘Gladly’ and introduced them. You could tell it was love at first sight. And when we popped in to say goodnight to all the toys, you know before going downstairs for the evening’s telly, we could see that Gladly was clutching Clare to his  chest both of them in a state of total bliss.

By the way, I’m 75 and my wife, Pammie, is 70!

AWE

 

OH NO! YOU IDIOT!


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/gremlins/”>Gremlins</a&gt;

Oh No! You Idiot.

I once did the most stupid thing thanks to a very unusual Gremlin. You see I have a great way of keeping up my polyglot appetite for inexpressibles abroad. As some of you know I am totally bi-lingual in four languages – hang on that’s wrong. If I speak four that’s not bi-lingual it’s quatro-lingual, or is it? Avaunt all such irrelevances – and can write and get by in five more. But how do you think I keep up with them when my health stops me travelling much now? Listen.

If you know all the instructions on your computer, ie which keys do what, or which spaces mean ‘fill here with this type of information’ etc, you soon realise that you know instinctively what commands mean in other languages because they are in the same place as they would be in English. An example is that list of commands you get when cutting and pasting articles or just single words. I know where the command ‘paste’ is situated on my instructions list, so when I want to paste something in Italian I just hit the word ‘incolla’, because it’s situated where paste usually is. Note the use of ‘usually’ it’s the point of this post. Also note my computer is set up in Italian, like my Facebook page.

It also helps if you’re a sports fan, and if you follow a favourite pastime with a foreign commentary. You can see what’s happening on the TV so you know what the commentator is saying – as good as anyway. But there are times when these methods of expanding your vocabulary don’t always work.  For instance, I can read Korean well enough to scan a newspaper, especially photo captions, as I had a Korean girlfriend in Seoul who taught me their pictographic alphabet. It was a revelation. It’s based entirely on the 26 letters of the English alphabet and, around 1560AD, the king of the country devised a way of using a symbol to represent each of our letters. Clever man, but he did a rather obtuse thing. If he had a six letter word, say ‘friend’ he didn’t write the six Korean icons out in a line as we do. No, he put them in a box to make them look like a pretty picture. Hence friend translates as 친구 (the little man’s arms are actually two separate symbols incorporated in the whole). You should see some of the letters I wrote to Choi after my trip to Korea with President Thieu of Vietnam in the summer of 1969. She said she hadn’t had such a good laugh in years.

But I married a Vietnamese girl, Anh, her tragedy is told elsewhere in these ramblings, and she taught me the similarity between Vietnamese, as written in Western script, and French. Vietnamese simply has about ten more accents. But she was amazed at my almost perfect pronunciation of her language. I was no genius, I merely had a mother brought up in Glasgow whose native speech was incredibly similar to Vietnamese in its guttural accentuation of every second or third word.

But what has all this to do with gremlins? Yes, I remember, I was showing off about how one can appear to know words in another tongue by cheating on guessing their finger positioning. The worst gremlin that ever attacked me was when I was covering the world ski-ing championships in Chamonix in the French Alps in 1962. My Sorbonne university life included such short absences to earn a small fortune covering sports events for my father, Paris bureau chief of the largest US news agency at that time.

After the men’s special slalom we all sped for the press HQ, no instant communications in those days, everything had to be written and handed to a teleprinter operator as fast as possible. But as we entered the Press room there was a power failure. No communications via electronic cables for at least fifteen minutes, we were told, as the generator had to be started up and we were  all left in the pitch dark. But was I going to wait and not be first with the results? No way. I sat at the nearest typewriter, picked up what typing paper I could feel on the desk, and wrote the first four pages of my epic account of the day’s events, certain I had beaten everyone.

As the lights came on, I whipped up my four pages and was first in the queue to file my copy. Then I looked at it. It was some five hundred words of rubbish. Yes, in the dark I had sat at a typewriter with a Polish keyboard! At least my colleagues were so amused they helped me out when they stopped laughing.

AWE

LOVE NEST


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/nest/”>Nest</a&gt;

LOVE NEST

 

“Nest is the only four letter word in English of which you cannot make an anagramme,” James said to Peter. Peter thought he was slightly unhinged.

“James,” he observed, “I should imagine you could be sent a whole lot of them, tens in fact.” Peter felt a bit of an idiot. He worked it out. What was it you did again, start with each letter and add the other three in order, like a four horse accumulator in gambling at the races. He tried it.

“Nest, Nets, Nste, Nset, Ntes, Ntse, Esnt, Estn, Etns, Etsn, Ents, Enst, Snet, Snte, Sent, Setn, Stne, Sten, Tens, Tesn, Tnes, Tnse, Tsne, Tsen.That made 24 combinations, the maximum for four letters. Let me count the actual words. 1. Nest:  2. Nets: 3. Ents (well Tolkien allowed it): 4. Sent: 5. Sten (as in gun probably): 6. Tens: 7. Tsen (well the English way of spelling a Chinese name): Yup, that’s the lot.

“Sorry, Peter there are only seven possible words. How do you make it ten?” Peter had a rather romantically wistful look on his face as he came out of a daydream and replied,

“Oh, I was thinking of all the girls Ilove and there are so many. How can I work out the number of girls who might yet be true to  me?” When you said ‘nest’ I immediately added a word and thought of my future love nest. Just for fun, what can you come up with for love?

You have probably gathered by now that James adored challenges. “Hang on a tick, I’ll see. I’m sorry, but let me do this. Love, Loev, Lvoe, Lveo, Leov, Levo, Ovel, Ovle, Olev, Olve, Olve, Olve, Vole, Voel, Vloe, Vleo, Veol, Velo, Evol, Evlo, Elov, Elvo, Eolv, Eovl. That only gives us three possibles. 1. Love: 2. Vole: 3. Velo (if you allow a French bike). I’ve ruled out Olev as I don’t think the Scandinavians spell it that way.” Peter stared at him in awe.

That night James had the oddest dream. He was being chased by a vole on a velo sent by Tsen and armed with stens as they attacked the Ents protecting the nest by the tens of nets sent with love from Peter .

AWE

 

 

AGE OF CONSENT


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/particular/”>Particular</a&gt;

 

AGE OF CONSENT

You once said you wondered how old I am.

Please never ask me that, I’ll tell you why.

I am very particular about being truthful,

But that’s the one time I always tell a lie!

 

When I was eleven and going to the movies

I told the ticket seller I was well past sixteen

Though particular in all matters of veracity,

I’d have missed all those adult films I’ve seen.

 

Then when my eyes beheld a Parisian beauty,

Whom I particularly wanted gently to seduce

I could not tell her I was barely past eighteen,

“Trente”! My conscience said, we made a truce.

 

In later life, when sixty, I once again dissembled,

Some insurers are particular and fussily insistent,

I would never have earned so generous a pension

Without five extra years typed on their document.

 

But whenI die I must be honest on my gravestone.

The dates will be etched in gold and shining clear.

I shall be particular when telling the undertakers,

It’s 1942 to 20** How can one lie about that year?

AWE

 

WHEN IT MATTERED


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/atmospheric/”>Atmospheric</a&gt;

When It Mattered

“I say, have you ever been up in a plane, old boy? Eh? You know one of those four winged, dangerous looking things that people say can fly. Never even seen one myself, but I’m sure it’s all a lot of bosh really. I mean we are already in 1915, surely people in the modern world don’t believe fairy stories like that, do they?”

Cuthbert looked at Humphrey and surprised him enormously.

“Humpy, old man, actually I have. And they do fly through the air, and I’ll tell you something else. We are going to win this war with them too. I know. I am in the flying corps and pilot one.” His friend looked scared more than anything and merely replied.

“How do you mean? What can we do to soldiers on the ground when we are so far away from them up in the sky? It’s nonsense. No, give me a cavalry charge any day.”

Four years later the two friends were sitting in their club in London, Cuthbert being one of the small handful of pilots who had served throughout the 1914-18 war and survived unscathed to tell the tale. He explained why he had been right. “It’s all down to a thing called ‘atmospheric pressure’, my dear chap. Keeps us up there shooting, bombing and reporting on troop movements to the army generals. The Germans didn’t have a chance.”

“Oh,” said Humphrey, “didn’t the Germans have atmospheric pressure then, my dear fellow? I mean why did we have it and not them?”

“I haven’t a clue,” Cuthbert answered. “I only flew the planes, it’s the boffins who told us we did it due to atmospheric pressure, whatever that is. I suppose the Germans couldn’t make any.”

But the fact that it happened again in 1945, left none of the club members in any doubt that the British always invented the most important inventions when things really mattered and the chips were down.

AWE

FOR US


I wanted to entitle this post ‘Pro Nobis’ but remembered that few people know much Latin now and it would have looked like showing off. But you’ll see why I wanted to when I explain the reason for this blog. It’s a few short words about prayers.

Whenever we want to have a chat with someone we love we always do one of four things. Firstly we in some way say I love you. When praying this is usually called praise.

Secondly we often want something and so ask for a favour of some kind. In prayer this is called rogation or asking. The most common reason for any communication.

The third thing we have to do a lot is apologise. ,’I’m sorry’ is an expression of sorrow at having upset someone in any way at all. If it is someone we love it is normally accompanied by a plea for forgiveness. This is probably my most regularly necessary form of prayer.

Finally, there is the fourth type of prayer. Today I had the most wonderful happiness I can ever feel when saying my prayers. I had just learned that something I had been asking God for was in the process of happening. After years of distress suffered by someone who had told me about their problem, and in doing so had come to mean a lot to me,they were at last seeing things improving enormously. I was able to look up to God and smilingly say “Thank you”. Believe me, whether in prayer or any human exchange, gratitude is the most loving and happy feeling of affection one can experience. Why? Because through it we know that someone we love reciprocates that love. So many people forget to say thanks, they don’t know what they are missing!

AWE

George’s Nightmare


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/honk/”>Honk</a&gt;

 

GEORGE’S NIGHTMARE

The worst continuing saga in the news these days is the ever growing list of girls and women who claim to  have been, or are being, sexually harassed. Just one case is too many, nobody would disagree with that. But then just one case of any type of sexual harassment by anybody on anybody else is totally unacceptable and inexcusable. Take the case of George.

A normal middle class boy of average looks, academic ability and pleasant if slightly shy personality, he always tried to get on well with all his peers male or female. The last thing George would ever do would be to make any type of unacceptable approach, verbal or physical to anyone. Touching up girls or boys, calling out names with sexual inuendos or any sort of groping were actions he would not even contemplate. He was quite normal in everything he did, or any games or social events in which he took part. And yet he had few friends. Not real friends, but it was no accident. The poor boy had the misfortune to celebrate his  fifteenth birthday in the year 2015.  His parents asked him if he wanted to ask any school friends to a party or do something special to celebrate the day and he thdought about it for just five minutes.

“No thanks, I don’t think so. I don’t think any of us would enjoy it very much”. The trouble was that he would not tell his parents his reason for his answer. He had a lot of children in his class whom he would have liked to ask to a party but just couldn’t. He was getting very annoyed with them and finally started to question their behaviour. He began with John, a boy very close to himself in age.

“John, when you and the other boys have late night parties and things, do you always have to do drugs and watch porn?” John thought he was raving.

“We don’t have to, we just enjoy it. The girls do to, so why not? Our parents are seldom around and most would understand even if they were. Why? Don’t you like porn and drugs and things that make you feel great? None of us think you’re gay or anything, are you a religious nut or something?” George shook his head.

“No John, it’s not that. It’s just that drugs are dangerous and although a lot of the girls turn me on I don’t want to upset them by having sex with them, maybe getting them pregnant or upsetting them by seeming to share in enjoying watching porn with them, which I don’t.” John just wandered off, bewildered.

Next George asked a well known siren in the class, fourteen year old Katie, why she behaved as she did? She was not so much surprised, it was George after all, but saw no reason why she shouldn’t be honest with him. “Look we’ve known each other four years now, George, and I’ve changed from a little girl into a young woman. What do you expect me to do. I enjoy most sexual activities so I go with a lot of boys. We enjoy it. I admit drugs are a bit dicey and I’m not really into them, but I pretend to be or I might not be invited to the all night porn show and sleepover dates. It doesn’t affect my school work so why should I worry?” George was getting seriously worried about himself. Finally he asked his headmaster if he could have a personal chat with him.

“Well of course, George, I have to uphold the standards of decency demanded at this school, but you can see it’s impossible. If I or any teachers tried to interfere with activities outside school we’d be in court on trumped up rape charges from the girls, or homosexual and paedophile charges from the boys. Parents never back teachers so we just keep our heads down and hope to survive from day to day without finding ouselves suspended or arrested. I wish all the pupils were normal and pleasant like you, but this digital age has made that a pipe dream.”

Poor George. There were 16 girls and 17 boys in his class all aged between 14 and 16. He could honestly name only two boys, both obviously gay, and four girls, one a mouse, two lesbians, and the fourth an academic genius who just got on with her own life, who did not indulge in fairly regular orgies of some description. When his seventeenth birthday came along he was thoroughly depressed and summonded up the courage to ask the ‘mouse’,

“Carla, it’s my birthday tomorrow and I wondered if you’d like to come out with me, you know, to a film or maybe a dance. Whatever you like, you say. She just stared at him. She was far more scared and frustrated than he was. The girls made fun of her because she would not join in their high jinx, and the boys just pinched her backside or made lewd jestures at her while making it clear they would never want to have any more meaningful relationships with her. Sheblushed and almost accepted George’s offer too fast.

“Oh yes, George. yes please. I haven’t got a boyfriend at the moment, well I’ve never had one really. Do you mind that? I mean I’m still a virgin and everything, would it put you off me?” George had never felt so sorry for ayone in his life.

“Don’t be silly! I’m hardly Don Juan, am I? What would you like to do?” Then came the shock.

“We could have a bite at mine, if you like. Dad is away on business just now and mum walked out on us thee years ago. I’m on my own at the moment.” Somehow George felt uncomfortable but having cheered Carla up so much he couldn’t let her down. He just said,

“OK. I’ll come round about six, after my homework. Oh where do you live?” It  turned out she lived only four roads away. They had a very nice, friendly evening discovering they liked the same music and both enjoyed the football on the television. At midnight George thought he ought to be going and was sitting next to Carla on the sofa with his arm round her when he remarked on this.

“You don’t have to George, if you want to stay with me my bed’s a very large one,” and she kissed him very seductively as she said this. George wondered what on earth he should do. He could not bear the thought of disappointing her by not making love to her when she so plainly wanted him too, but also he did not have any feelings of love for her and genuinely thought it was something he should not do. In the end he gave her a goodnigt kiss and said he had had a lovely time and hoped they would soon feel more for each other. A very crestfallen Carla said goodnight to him.

Three days later a policeman called at George’s house asking to see him on a serious matter. It was early evening and his mother, but not father, was home. What followed left him staggered. The policeman said he had been accused of rape by one of his school friends as an i-phone had a video on it showing him snuggling up to her on a sofa and another series of still photos showed her in a state of distress with torn clothing. He had to answer the charges at the police station. One can imagine his nightmare. Carla, in her chagrin at being spurned, cried “rape.” She had a medical examination showing she had indeed been subjected to sexual intercourse, but nobody even thought she had phoned another boy and asked him round for a quickie just to substantiate her claims. No DNA tests were possible  because she had showered, bathed and cleaned herself too well. The magistrates court summoned George to answer the accusations, while most of the children at school thought the whole thing was a huge joke. The female magistrate,   asked him for his version of events. At last he could take no more,

“Madame,” he answered, “I am the victim of respecting the rights and personal wishes of my female colleagues and friends in all matters appertaining to any sort of sexual harassment or interference. I recently read on line eight tips of how males of my age should behave towards females of any age in such matters. Let me enlighten you:

  1. I should never drink so much alcohol that I feel uninhibted and indulge in any form of sexual harassment. I never have and I do not intend to. I see no question of this raised  in the charges against me.
  2. I should not boast of any worth or personal prowess to impress a woman or make sexual advances  following such behaviour. I never have , I never will, and I am not charged with this.
  3. Calling out lewd remarks or cat calls to women. This is not pertinent to this case and anyway it is the last thing I would do.
  4. Not to send pictures of my genitalia to a female. I never have, am not accused of it and ayway I consider it disgusting.
  5. Never treat a woman as if she owes me sexual favours. Well this whole case is about the fact that I did  not assume this, was home before my normal bedtime, and would never  treat a woman in such a way. If anything it was she who thought I ought to make love to her.
  6. Not to expect to be praised for NOT indulging in such practices. In short for being a ‘goodie, goodie’. I don’t, haven’t and in this case would hardly expect to be so treated  would I?
  7. In all relationships remember that sexual intercourse must be consensual and that if a woman does not want you to have sex with her at any time I should respect that. Well, what happened here was that it was I who refused to spend the night with her, but she did not accept my reluctance to practice fornication with her.
  8. Keep your hands to yourself. Actually this is the only one with which I disagree. Neither party should be allowed to stroke or fondle the other if it is against their wishes. Well the video showing us having a goodnight cuddle certainly does not infer that I was doing anything unpleasant or unloving towards her. On the contrary she wanted me to.

“There you have  my defence. I have since dicovered that she fabricated all the evidence against me out of spite and by coaxing another male friend to have sex with her so she could cry rape against me. I can no more prove or disprove my case than she can hers.”

Poor George was found guilty of attempted rape with violence and sentenced to six months jail pending time to appeal. Unfortunately, being a normal, consideate, pleasant and kind young man was not enough to allow George to retain his sanity. Two days later he took an overdose of sleeping pills and, as I write, his life is still in the balance.

AWE