Posts Tagged ‘teenagers’

Thought I’d share a couple of this morning’s news items with you.

The first concerns James Bond and a team of medical researchers from Nottingham University. During six months of intensive study, two medics have had to read all Ian Fleming’s novels about the British agent and record every time 007 takes a swig from a cocktail glass. I’m sure we have been waiting for this evidence for decades: James Bond is a drunkard. And what’s more, his drinking habits are so out of control that, conclude our intrepid researchers, in no way would he be able to perform the feats of heroism outlined in each and every story. This could have serious consequences for MI6’s recruitment drive. Hopeful young wannabe spies will be disappointed to learn it’s not all about swanning around in tuxedos quaffing a never ending supply of martini and green olives.

Picture: Daily Mail archive

Picture: Daily Mail archive

What I’d like to know is this. Who paid for this crucial research and when will they be ruining the fantasy further by analysing 007’s ability to stand upright on a fast moving express train? Perhaps when they have finished with 007 they could turn their attention to Superman. I have always wondered how Clark Kent manages to change so quickly within the confines of a telephone box. Every sane person knows it is impossible to put on a pair of tights in an upright position.

To be honest I’m shaken and visibly stirred.

The second news item that caught my attention (and which, I might add, made me late for work) was the notion that all contact sports (including football, rugby and hockey) should be banned for children under the age of fourteen. In case they become concussed. Now, while I am well aware that any head injury is potentially dangerous how can anyone in their right mind (or possibly concussed one?) think that a complete ban is the answer? As long as correct emergency procedures are followed in the event of an accident, are we no longer covered in this overly cautious society we are living in?

Tell you what, why don’t we all just keep our infants strapped into their car seats, stick them in front of a screen, supply them with a handset, wire them up to a pure oxygen supply and leave them there till they’re teenagers. It’s what they’ll be doing from thereon in anyway.

Might as well give them a head start.

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You know that phrase – ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?’  Well, take heed, because I didn’t and there has been much gnashing of teeth and frustration here this week, I can tell you. Like a teenager with troublesome spots, I couldn’t leave it alone and the more I picked at it, the worse it got. (Excuse the simile but I’ve been surrounded by them this week. Teenagers, that is, not spots).

 I thought it might be fun to change the appearance of my blog pages – and while I was at it, to try and rid my Community pictures of a few prospectors who appeared a while ago and whose presence was beginning to irritate me. You know the type – ‘professional’ bloggers who click once expecting you to think they are your new best friend. You never see them again.

 Now, whether it’s my inherited chunk of healthy cynicism or the fact that I used to work in publicity and know the value of its free worth, I soon cottoned onto the fact that by clicking back on their site out of curiosity, earns them payment for no effort on their part other than to sit in front of a screen all day, clicking ‘likes’ on every conceivable category in the WordPress reader. Well call me downright mean, but I’m not about to help some lazy slob earn money.  Go and get a proper job.

 (Phew – I think I’ve made myself clear: I feel better for that).

 So, wanting to refresh my page I started fiddling around with the widgets. For any non-bloggers reading this, widgets are the little devices provided by WordPress so that us bloggers can personalise our pages, have pictures down the side, a category box, social media links – that kind of thing.

 When I first started blogging I was fascinated to see from the stats provided just how far flung this World Wide Web thing is. Tim Berners Lee was onto something with this, wasn’t he? However, I realised, for similar reasons to the ones above that the number of followers recorded is in no way commensurate with the number of actual followers, so I removed that statistic from my page. Easy!

I then experimented with the word cloud but couldn’t get it to look as I wanted, so binned it; I juggled around with several picture gallery ideas – didn’t like them – and then I altered my Community widget. Everyone disappeared. That wasn’t supposed to happen – and when I frantically tried to retrieve them, they had gone.

 I panicked a bit and then got really cross; then shut the computer down for the night in the hope they would miraculously reappear. They didn’t. More fiddling ensued the next day, and the day after that when a few familiar faces began to pop up. Because I wasn’t approaching this with a methodical plan, I couldn’t remember what I had done to get the few back in the first place.

 However, as you can now see – doggedness paid off: everyone who should be there hopefully is and any cheapskate random clicker has been banished for good.

 At least, that’s the plan.

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I have a mobile phone, obviously. I hate the damn thing. I use it rarely, even though last year, I fell victim to fashion and technology and exchanged my old-fashioned, easy to use brick for a streamlined smart version. Smart? Only as smart as the user who, in this case, remains stubbornly Luddite. The child who served me in the Mobile Phone Store was very helpful and reeled off a complicated spiel as to the merits of one phone over another; explained the ins and outs of having a contract over pay as you go, then asked me how many text messages I send in a month. On average. Give or take. When I replied probably less than twenty, his expression was one of pity followed by a glazing over of the eyes as it dawned on him that the lack of commission made from this particular sale was hardly worth the bother.

I left the store with my new phone, on the cheapest tariff available which didn’t include a user’s manual but gives me 100 minutes of call time, 500 free texts a month and 250 MB of mobile internet.

The efficacy of this new bit of kit is questionable. Apparently I can download as many apps as I like – whatever they may be – the cost of which goes straight through and inflates the account I was forced to set up, but I can’t get through to people I want to speak to on account of poor network coverage. I concede that texting is useful and I do use the facility, usually in reply to someone else or to confirm an arrangement, but as far as chatting goes, I prefer to do that F2F. (text-speak for face to face, FYI).  While the Sofa Loafer holidayed in America it was good to know that he’d reached his destination safely. Or it would have been had he been able to get a signal in El Paso. I received a one word text – ‘here’ – when he landed at JFK in New York and then nothing for six days. For all I knew he had been kidnapped and bundled across the  border to Juarez, which, as he was so fond of reminding me before his trip, is supposed to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world. As no ransom request was forthcoming during the next few days, I assumed that he’d met up with his friend.

I have two theories; the first is that mobile phones are contributing to growing anxiety prevalent in today’s society. The fact that Sofa Loafer had his phone and I expected him to keep in touch just served to make me more nervous when I didn’t hear. Later during his trip, after I had received a few brief but reassuring messages, I received a text in the middle of the night to tell me he was stranded at Atlanta railway station, the tone of which, I felt, implied that I was somehow culpable. Great! Four thousand miles away, all I could do was offer sympathy and advise patience. He discovered that American trains are even less reliable than British ones, and that having a decent book while travelling is essential. When my husband and I travelled around India in our early twenties, would it have been any comfort to my mother to know that I’d contracted Delhi-belly on the first day and that our hotel was full of cockroaches?

My second theory is that far from making our children more independent, having a mobile phone clamped about their person at all times actually makes them more reliant on someone at the other end of the phone telling them what to do. Whatever happened to initiative? Oh, sorry, not on the National Curriculum. Interestingly, Multi-Modal Language is. I’ll be picking this fascinating topic to bits in a future post. BFN.

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