Terry

A while back I started talking about my two favourite authors. The first was Carl Sagan and now it’s time for the second. Many guessed correctly.

The wonderful and sadly missed Terry Pratchett.

Back in 1983 my mum bought me a book for Christmas. She would always buy me a book as a present. I had no idea who Terry was. Mum had heard him on the TV and thought maybe I would like his new book. I loved it….. He became my favourite author.

That was it. A tradition. Every new Terry book would be given to me at either Christmas or on my Birthday. She never missed a release. Apart from one. His last book. She never got round to buying that one, she would have if she had more time.

The Shepherds Crown was a tough read. Memories of mum and Terry. I decided to not read the last page. I can still say I’ve still not finished reading all his books….

Terry now has his own international day. April 28th. Let’s indulge in a bit of Pratchett wisdom a bit earlier than that.

In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they haven’t forgotten this.

Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.

Evil begins when you start to treat people as things.

Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.

And what would humans be without love? RARE said Death.

If cats looked like frogs we’d realise what nasty, cruel little b*****s they are.

Always be wary of any helpful little item that weighs less than its operating manual.

The enemy isn’t men, or women, it’s bloody stupid people and no one has the right to be stupid.

The presence of those seeking truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they have found it.

So much universe and so little time.

International Day

Sometimes the soul needs those familiar things. Those things which are uniquely special to you. Things which have been with you through thick and thin. Things which will grow old with you. Things which have become a part of you.

Last night I just needed some of that.

I picked out two books. One from each of my two favourite authors. Randomly opened the books somewhere in the middle – and read.

The first author was Carl Sagan. A brilliant mind, a free thinker, a modern day philosopher and someone who understood the true potential the human race has to offer. He could bring science to life. I would listen to his wonderful, poetic voice and he made me hopeful for the future. He made me dream big.

He is greatly missed.

Yesterday (9th November) was his birthday. Now the 9th November is the annual celebrate Carl Sagan day. I know I’m late but we can always bend the fabric of time just a little.

So while I read a few pages of his novel Contact and watch an episode of Cosmos, I will leave you with a few of his quotes.

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is only bearable through love.”

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality”

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.”

“It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English – up to fifty words used in correct context – no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese.”

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

“Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.”

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”

So Carl was the first author can you guess the second. I will celebrate the other wonderful author in another post. As a clue his International Day is the 8th April.

Pink legged German

He survived his challenges today. Staggeringly our French telling the time trick probably picked up a few marks. To be fair to school son was provided with a scribe for the English exam. No scribe for French. Will have to find out why.

I survived today’s challenges. Made it out in one piece from the bizarro world which was work. Then made it round the 12k run. Once again the view helped lift the soul.

Well clearly the bizarro work world had rubbed off on to me. On the run I was listening to my German language course. It seemed to be the right thing to do as son would be currently sitting his French exam. It was basically going in one ear and straight out of the other one. A passing cyclist then flagged me down and asked if I knew where the nearest cafe was. I suspect he wasn’t expecting the following response.

Guten Tag. Es ist diese Straße runter. Über 5 Kilometer

As I noticed the cyclist’s bewildered I just repeated my amateurish German but this time a bit slower and a bit louder. Then it dawned on me. What a wally. All very embarrassing. What was even more embarrassing was that when I finally switched to English I’m not sure the cyclist was any more the wiser. Although we where in Yorkshire he clearly didn’t understand my Yorkshire accent. As we speak the poor man is probably lost somewhere on the moors cursing that useless German in his pink leggings. Still it took my mind off Son’s ongoing French based anxieties.

I will leave the last words to a modern day Philosopher.

Well Dad I survived. The problem with the French Exam was that it’s basically in French. English is hard enough but French. It might as well have been in a foreign language.”

Ducks

It’s been several years since we fed the ducks. It’s back to a time before our world changed. A family of 3. Every Sunday we would go to the lake armed with food left overs from the week. Often our son would be surrounded by hundreds of ducks and swans. He would carefully try to ensure all those impatiently waiting received a share of the food parcel. Then we would go to the local cafe for a freshly baked cheese scone. So many great moments sadly stopped one August three years ago.

Maybe this weekend will be a good time to rectify our absence. It wasn’t the birds fault that the bad stuff happened. Maybe we can rekindle some of those feelings. Maybe we will create new feelings. We won’t know until we try. I suspect the ducks won’t mind us trying.

So I’ve started filling a large bucket with out of date oats, some cheap tinned sweet corn, seed and of course a little bit of bread. Even ducks need a balanced diet.

While trying to find the old duck feed bucket I came across a couple of old concert T-shirt’s and ticket stubs. Days of hair, tight trousers and Thunderbird Cider. Looking at the names on the shirts it was very sobering. Many of those I went to see are sadly not with us anymore. So while I worked this afternoon I listened to a music from these fallen heroes. I tried to recall seeing that person on stage – in their prime. How they should be remembered. The roll call included

Cozy Powell

Richard Wright

Lemmy

Rory Gallagher

Ronnie James Dio

John Lord

Gary Moore

Lou Reed

Kirsty MacColl

David Bowie

The more I think about it the more heroes I can add to the list. That’s really sobering. As you get older more and more of your heroes depart. But they have left so many lasting memories for us to enjoy. They left a positive mark on this world. That’s a life well lived. I will leave the last words to Lemmy.

Death is an inevitability, isn’t it? You become more aware of that when you get to my age. I don’t worry about it. I’m ready for it. When I go, I want to go doing what I do best. If I died tomorrow, I couldn’t complain. It’s been good

Silverback

Must cut my grass…..

One of those days where you line up a full day of work and then son wakes up with a temperature…. One too many coughs and he’s off sick. One too many sneezes and he’s contaminated me. Deep joy.

Still a day off from school will delay yet another bust up with the teachers. Maybe get my stress levels down to just below meltdown level.

In one subject last year he had a great teacher who seemed to get dyslexia. At the Parent Evenings she would tell us that in her opinion our son was as good as anyone in the subject in the school. She would say ok he struggles to write the knowledge down on paper – but we can find ways round that to suit him. It was refreshing to hear a teacher say that the key thing is the actual subject matter not the written English – that’s got its own subject anyway.

Unfortunately that teacher left. The replacement teacher seems to follow the school line. Neat handwriting and spelling come first, subject matter second. So now son is seen as low attainment in the subject. This terms homework project requires many pages of handwritten essay work. Points will be given for the quality of the presentation and points lost for things like spelling mistakes. So kids with dyslexia who struggle to write are being set up to fail. The school must know what a huge disadvantage this places on some kids. Oh I forgot – those kids are low attainment so it just proves the point. That’s modern education in England.

So once again I go through the finances to see if I can find a way to homeschool. Once again I fail. It’s at times like this that I feel so frustrated as a parent. It’s like constantly wading through treacle. Every step forward is such an effort. I’m so knackered – lord only knows what our son feels like. Everything seems to be stacked up against us. But sadly I bet if you asked virtually every parent and child dealing with a learning disability then they will say the same thing. It’s a never ending slog. And like all these wonderful parents and kids – we fight on. We love a quote which is maybe from Einstein, but if it isn’t, then it’s still a belter.

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing that it is stupid”

Or the other belter which comes from Spongebob.

“Patrick, you’re a genius!”

“Yeah, I get called that a lot.”

“What? A genius?”

“No, Patrick.”

Talking about genius. Then there is our sons Dad. I’ve been struggling with a Rhomboid injury. I had the bright idea of strapping it up with kinesiology tape. First of all – what a stupid place to put a muscle group. When you don’t have a partner – how in all that is holly am I supposed to get my hands back there… Then having dislocated my shoulders just enough to get my hands next to the Rhomboid I somehow need to attach this super sticky tape neatly across my shoulder blades. With a physio it’s a piece of cake. In my case think disaster. So several strips went on in the wrong place, creased or just badly twisted. But here’s the final insult. Now these useless attempts need to come off. Where in the instructions does it say in big letters – whatever you do if you have a back as hairy as a Silverback Gorilla on no account buy this tape. And if you are stupid enough to apply it to hair then change your name to Mr Stupid from Stupidville.

That’s me and my postal address.

3 2 1 Quote Me

Thank you to King Ben’s Grandma for the 3 2 1 Quote me tag. Rory (A Guy Called Bloke) created the weekly challenge.

Once a week, l will pick a random topic, post two quotes on that topic and tag 3 bloggers, who in turn will post 2 quotes on the topic and tag 3 bloggers of their own.”

This week’s the quotes are all about confusion.

“If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” Harry S Truman

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“May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house” – George Carlin

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And one more quote for free.

“In the ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this” – Terry Pratchett

Going to open this up to anyone who has a cracking confusion quote. Remember to tag Rory.

Imagination

It doesn’t have to be big to have a bucket full of atmosphere.

This is Skelton Tower on the North Yorkshire Moors.

It’s almost 200 years old and is a former hunting lodge.

If you time your arrival at the Tower correctly then you can enjoy the passing Steam Train coming down the North Yorkshire Moors railway. Unfortunately this walking muppet has never managed that. Still you still get views of the haunting Newtondale.

The Tower is also a fantastic dreams portal. As long as no other walkers are in sight our son can spend hours here. Lost in another world. Talking animals and mythical creatures. Playing about with time and the laws of science. I must admit I often dream of rebuilding the tower and living here 200 years ago.

It’s really good to dream and stretch your imagination. I wonder how many inventions and leaps in understanding have come from doing this. That’s why it’s so frustrating that as soon as kids get past the age of 11 dreaming is often frowned upon. At school the kids have a predetermined and restrictive curriculum to get through (set by the Government – god help us). Hardly anytime is scheduled for creative thinking. Even in subjects like art the approach seems to be learn about this artist then reproduce one of the artists most famous pieces. More marks for getting close to it. Only occasionally are kids allowed to free draw. When our son tries to reproduce something then it’s a disaster. He just can’t do it. But allow him to draw from his imagination and suddenly he’s away.

Kids are not encouraged to explore logic and push the boundaries of thought. In science son has been told on a number of occasions to just accept the facts. Once he asked why science was seemingly so sure of its laws when we can only see less than 1% of the universe. He got the above response.

In maths the class had some questions to work out. Son found a quick way to get to the answer. It worked for every question but was told he was doing it wrong as it wasn’t the approach set out in the textbook.

In our area we are so lucky in terms of history. On our doorstep we can touch the Neolithic. The Stone Age. The Bronze Age. Roman History. Viking History. Medieval Times. The industrial Revolution. Victorian Times. World Wars. So much history to live and breathe. Yet do the schools make use of this. Not really. In his 5 years at Primary School he went to two historical sites. Currently at his present school he has spent one hour at a local archeological dig. What a waste. Won’t the kids learn more about history if they can actually live it. Apparently not – the only source of learning is from predetermined textbooks.

Imagination is the key to so much. It should be one of the key facets of modern education. When I was a kid the brilliant Carl Sagan ignited my passion for astronomy and thinking. I will leave you with his take on imagination.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. CARL SAGAN

Random Quotes

Things have been a crazy over last week or so. It’s either busy or being even more tired than usual. Can’t work out which. But I’ve been very remiss on responding to stuff. Sorry. Anyway let’s at least respond to one thing quickly.

Thank you to Rory (A Guy Called Bloke) for the Random Quotes. His quotes are epic. The subject is Attitude so let’s do some quotes.

Always try to get at least one of my heroes in. Time for some Carl Sagan.

“The really intelligent people have an attitude of fact finding rather than fault finding”

Next are from another person sadly not with us anymore. The one if a kind Lemmy (Motörhead).

I’ve been known as Lemmy since I was around 10. I didn’t always have the mustache … I’ve only had that since I was 11

“If you’re going to be a fucking rock star, go be one. People don’t want to see the guy next door on stage; they want to see a being from another planet.”

One from the brilliant Stephen Fry

“Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once. It’s an insult to creation not to experience it fully”.

My 3 tags for quotes about attitude are

Stella Bailey

A Pondering Mind

LOLSYS Library

321 Quote Me – Truth

Thank you to A GUY CALLED BLOKE for a 321 Quote Me nomination.

Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

Thank the Selector

Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.

Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

Note: Although this is the topic for today there is no specific deadline to it, meaning you can answer as and when.

Please Note I will be reblogging your responses unless you wish for me to NOT do so.

Topic For Today: ”Truth”

If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth” – Carl Sagan

“Truth resides in every human heart and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth” – Mahatma Gandhi

Nominations

Bruce Goodman

Mom Life With Chiari

BooBooSoo

Words of Wisdom

You’re only given a spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it” – Robin Williams

For all autistic people it mustn’t any longer be about what we can’t do, it’s got to be about what we can do” – Chris Packham

You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other” – Carl Sagan

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength” – Dalai Lama

“It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village” – Elaine Hall

It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone” – John Steinbeck

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim“- Vicki Harrison

You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.” – David Mitchell

We’re out of our comfort zones with depression. I certainly was and whenever I have bad days now I speak to someone to get it off my chest. I have no shame telling that and that’s why I’m here today” – Ricky Hatton

Once you choose hope, anything is possible.Christopher Reeve

I didn’t succeed despite my dyslexia, but because of it. It wasn’t my deficit, but my advantage. Although there are neurological trade-offs that require that I work creatively/smarter in reading, writing and speaking. I would never wish to be any other way than my awesome self” – Scott Sonnon (World Champion in Martial Arts)

There is a time to live, a time to die, a time to laugh, and at no time are the three of them very far apart” – Spike Milligan

Life is too short to do the things you don’t love doing” – Bruce Dickinson

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow” – Jeff Valdez

The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma” – Patrick from Spongebob

“Bums to big” – Our son on why the Dodo couldn’t fly. Probably explains why I can’t fly as well.