My September Post – Journey of Faith 9

My September column is published today (Friday 27th September) in the Scottish Catholic Observer. This month I look into how missionaries share the Faith. I talk about an African village and Magongo – a forest spirit. See the video below.

Get the paper this weekend for the full story.

My New Tablet

Nexus7 tablet computer

The new Nexus

No, it’s not a sugary confection – that’s my old tablet. This one is the second version of last year’s hit from Google. It’s the new Nexus7. I’ve waited for this version, hoping it would include the features I was looking for in a tablet and waiting ’till I had the money.

Well I got it yesterday and it’s got the features. It has all my Google stuff right there in my pocket. It has a good camera with superb image software. Photoshop in your pocket?

I can post to my blogs with this beauty and Twitter can keep me up to date . I’ll get all my email here too. I wonder if I need my Kindle now with a kindle app on the tablet? It is light and will fit in my inside pocket. Oh boy, am I going to bore you with this!

I gave away my netbook which was certainly more portable than my laptop, but it didn’t fit in a pocket and would have pulled the jacket out of shape if it did. Talk about a kid with a new toy? I’ve got a box of new toys in this beauty.

It has no space for an SD card but comes with cloud storage; everything is wifi now! I wonder how long it will be before they make wifi trousers and what exactly will they do? I has a mini usb socket and a charger, but it is set up for wireless charging too. That could be interesting!

I found you can buy an adapter that gives HDMI connection without drawing power from the tablet. That lets me plug it into the TV for slideshows, movies – you name it.

I’m going to buy a slim case to protect the screen. It has scratchproof glass, but I’m not sure how scratchproof that actually is. No sense in taking chances, eh?

I’m still figuring out all the bells and whistles – it gave another whistle just there, but Ill be back to bore you rigid with more news of my Nexus.

What do you mean I’m getting over excited?

Bedroom Tax and All That

Lord Mayors State Coach 1

Worried about the rent? (Photo credit: Gauis Caecilius)


I’ve been puzzling over the bedroom tax or whatever the government call it. They argue that it all about fairness. It’s only fair to withdraw the benefit money for the rooms the poor in social housing don’t need. That sounds fair. They could be living in  a smaller place that is cheaper and let a larger family move in to the bigger house. Very fair – if you don’t look any closer.

Nobody has produced figures to show where these smaller houses are and they haven’t show where the overcrowded families are either. The closer you look the hollower the argument becomes. Now I thought that a government with lots of civil servants to work these things out would have all the data to hand to explain their arguments. – They don’t, perhaps because they have paid off the civil servants, perhaps because they really don’t want to look to closely at the facts.

It seems to me that they are picking on the poor, putting them out of their homes or cutting their income – because the benefit bill has to be cut – because we are in a financial fix. Why are we in a fix? I think we are in a fix because the big bankers trousered large amounts of cash in bonuses for dodgy deals that collapsed eventually. The bulk of us have our incomes restricted or cut while the rich get more money.

That might sound like a good idea – especially if you are rich. For the economy it is bad news. Most of us – especially the poorest spend the money we get. It keeps the economy going. If we have less, we spend less and businesses fail – the economy goes down. So why hit the poor? Simple: the government are not poor and the poor can do little about it. The government can blame them for the fix we are in.

At Mass yesterday we had a reading from the prophet Amos. I’ll quote it here.

Listen to this, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country, you who say, “When will the New Moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and Sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?

Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel, by swindling and tampering with the scales we can buy up the poor for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals, and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.” The Lord swears it by the pride of Jacob, “Never will I forget a single thing you have done.”

The word of the Lord.

Now Amos must have been some prophet, he could see these guys coming two thousand years before or is it just that nothing has changed over all that time? The Lord will not forget and neither should we.

Remember what is being done to the poor and remember who had a part in it. You will be faced with a choice in two years and you will be responsible for calling them to account.

The Missing – Who Were They?

I was working today. I had a class at Glasgow University in the morning and another in the afternoon. It’s a hard life!

I had a two hour break in between and had a wander out to look at the buildings in one of the drier spells (less wet to be more accurate). Looking at the south face of the old buildings I noticed something strange.

Glasgow University

Do you see what I can’t see?









I noticed that there were spaces for statues. You can see the places where they should be on either side of the main window here. There are about two dozen spaces on the south face of the building and more in the quadrangles inside. There are no statues.

I wondered which statues were supposed to be there. If it was a cathedral then I would expect saints, but a university? Glasgow University was founded by a Papal Bull so there are religious connections but these buildings are definitely post reformation so – Saints? – probably not!

Was it intended to have statues of scholars or great Scottish heroes? Who were these missing celebrities? Why were they never put in place? It cretainly looks as though there were never any statues in place.

I was puzzled but I had to move on; another class awaited. However, there must be someone out there who knows something about the ‘missing’. It’s time the truth was told. In the words of the great Ali McCoist, “We want to know the names of these people.”

Lib Dems in Glasgow

English: Dover and Deal Liberal Democrat Prosp...

Keep smiling Nick

The Liberal Democrats are having their conference in Glasgow today. As I type this Nick Clegg is speaking to the collective body. It is being broadcast on television.


This has been spun as the preparation for the 2015 election. Why Bother?

This conference boasts as the only really democratic conference in British politics. Policy is voted on and decided here. Why bother?

Before the last election the Liberal Democrats voted on and decided poilicy. After the election this was mostly abandoned in Nick Clegg’s dash for power – well a wee slice of power. In the end he only managed to make possible a minority Tory government that could inflict severe damage on the poor and working people of this country while boosting the fortunes of the rich and powerful.

He backs the Tory policies on the economy, disagreeing with his business minister Vince Cable who has some track record of being right about these things. He wants to put forward a picture of success of which he is part.

English: Vince Cable, British politician and f...

Don’t rock the boat with good economic sense Vince

He is looking forward to the next coallition and seems to be willing to join either side. Which raises the question –

Why vote Liberal Democrat at all? Why vote for a party that will decide which of the other parties to side with? It’ like having a ballot paper that says ‘Tory or ‘Labour’ or ‘Just you decide for me’. Give Nick Clegg your vote to do with what he will.

Of course Nick fails to realise that we have seen through the scam. They will decide policy in Glasgow and go away and put it in the bin in Westminster. We can not believe anything they say. The party is, in fact, dead. Nick left a suicide note behind when he signed up with theTories.

This is, of course, all just my opinion, but I am not alone. Even members of his party seem to agree with me. They also feel betrayed by Nick. They would desperately like to change, but it is too late. Their party was stabbed through the heart, bled away its policies and died.

I think the funeral will be announced sometime in 2015. I wonder if anybody will bother to attend?

So, have a great conference. Enjoy your visit to Glasgow, then go off and find something worthwhile to do, knitting, macrame, train spotting. Forget politics – it has forgotten you.


A Walk in the Park

I had a class to take yesterday (Thursday 4th) and it was such a beautiful morning I decided to take my camcorder and record my stroll through the park. I get the train to Charing Cross (Glasgow) and walk through Kelvingrove park to the university. It is so pleasant I felt I had to share it.

I held the camera in my hand as I strolled through and, of course, the video is bumpy as I walk. I used the YouTube skake corrector which steadies the picture. I didn’t realise the side effect. As I pass near to stationary objects they seem to be alive, bouncing like objects in a Pixar cartoon.

I kept it like that because I think it’s funny and adds something to my walk. Have a look and see what you think. I’d be interested to know.

Glasgow is really a beautiful city. I love the old buildings and the open spaces. It has a sense of history for me and I know many visitors enjoy the same feeling as they walk around.

Enjoy your mornings. Enjoy today.