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Published September 16, 2012 More Info »
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ColoursAug 8, '12 6:01 PM
for everyone
Colours©
By Michael Casey
I don’t know about you but I find BBC4 has some really good stuff on it. Today I was catching up on a programme about colour in Art, then tonight I caught the final episode which was really interesting. We all have a favourite colour, mine is blue, not too blue but blue enough, and then there is the Virgin Mary blue that you see on statues of Mary in church. The show on tv explained how the Church wanted to keep a monopoly on the colour, and in fact how only She should be coloured in that blue. So it was heresy for Mary not to be painted in the right colour so to speak. This is the European tradition, for Faiths all over the world I imagine there are and still are rules and so forth, so I’ll stick to Europe.
I’ve always liked paintings, I saved up and bought a few for my walls many years ago before I was married, you know when you don’t have to think about children’s shoes and so forth, now you think about the colours of the shoes at your daughter’s school and not about paintings for your wall, though both my daughters are artists. Colours are Life, they really are, we have the beauty of girls all over the world and the traditions of hair and the colour of clothing, to be honest a girl’s smile and eyes are the most important thing in my opinion. Girls being girls like or should I say adore a bit of colour, it really does control men, if you like colour is the bait that gets a girl noticed and a man hooked. Yes I know that sentence may annoy some, but you can write your own essay and let people judge your writing. Colour is soft, colour is cold, colour is warm, it is matched and mixed, and when every aspect of colour comes together it stops the show. How do I know this? I have a Shanghai wife and two daughters, they have taught me! However for me its just the eyes and smile which I look for.
In the tv show it talked about artists’ ideas and beliefs, their feelings are so intense, a factor of 100000 compared to you and me, Don McClean’s Starry Starry Night explains a lot, even Dr Who when he met Van Gogh, colour means so much. We can hate a colour for many reasons, it may have been your school uniform or your work uniform. I wear rugby shirts a lot, so bright orange with a polo scene on my Polo is my favourite, I can wear office wear when I have to, but otherwise its big brash colours for me, on my site and on Facebook you can see my use or abuse of colours.
On the show they talked about architecture and the use of scale and colour, why do dictators like themselves so much, North Korea has giant statues, Fascists had statues galore and giant imposing buildings to match their egos. To me its like the Emperors New Clothes, we the people should laugh at those kind of people, their worth and intellect is in inverse proportion to their monuments. In North Korea the new boss’s wife has her fancy handbag worth 1 year’s salary compared to the average person in that country. Laughter should be used to bring those people down.
Banksy leaves graffiti all over the place making a statement about stuff, perhaps he should do a tour of all these totalitarian places and draw moustaches and chads all over the loved leaders posters. The trouble with leaders is that they see things in black and white, colours are forbidden.
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Food and PandaAug 2, '12 1:33 PM
for everyone
We've just come back from a family meal at Wing Wah, the one by Wing Yip supermarket. Its a bit like doing bingo, you get a list of up to 80 and you tick off what you want to eat. You have a sip of your drinks while you are waiting. Then wave after wave of food arrives, its more like snacks, very tasty. Jing Jie, the wife, ordered 11 items, including chicken feet. We did not finish everything so we took two items home, and Jing Jie ordered half a duck too as take away. All in all good value, and best of all she paid. I'm all for equality where women pay. We then paid a visit to Costco to get some books for Annie our daughter, Eve wanted a giant teddy bear, 53inches tall, but we did not get it for her. You can also get a cheap snack at Costco should the need arise.
I'm also on Facebook, in the vain hope of getting noticed as a writer, hasn't worked yet. There is another Michael Casey on Facebook, but he is a porter at Heartlands hospital. And to add to the confusion on Amazon Kindle there is another Michael Casey, but he is a Monk and writes spiritual texts, so that's not me. I have 4 photos of myself on the covers, those are me.
Cheerio from Birmingham, I'm listening to Usher on the computer as I talk to you, I got a free CD when I bought some aftershave. Usher is good, I just hope his aftershave is, or I'll give it to the wife instead.
I forgot to say one of our pandas is a bit dizzy, he was looking manky so we popped him in the washing machine, we watched as his face appeared and disappeared as he tried to swim around the washing machine. Panda came out all bright and clean, the white whiter than white and the black all nice and black, Bold really does work. He said he's talk to his cousin Ted about it. Now the panda is sitting on top of a chair with his bum in the air to dry it.
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And the Gold Goes toJul 30, '12 9:06 AM
for everyone
And The Gold Goes To ©
By Michael Casey
It’s the Greatest Show On Earth and after years of being a couch potato its every sports fan’s chance to shine. So it’s off to the off-licence for crates of Stella Artois and multi-packs of crisps and a load of chocolates. Then there must be pizzas, 20 pizzas to share, no arguing Pepperoni Rules ok? And after all this eating and drinking there must be toilet paper, so a 48 role multi packet from Costco will do the trick, just in case the host’s house gives you the squits, at least a full role ready with 3 more ready on the shelf.
So all is ready and you have a spare set of batteries for the Sky remote control, the chairs are in the best position in front of the 42inch lcd tv, cushions are ready and crisps are at hand and 16 cans are ice cold and ready in the fridge. So let the games begin, everything is ready, apart from air freshener and domestos.
“Pass us a can, and a packet of cheese and onion crisps, ” you shout before burping and lifting a leg to fart. You flick through the 35 BBC digital channels of sport, technology is great, Elvis used to have banks of TVs you only need one a 42inch lcd tv monster. Pizzas are passed out and faces are decorated with tomato sauce, and the sport has only been on for 30minutes. Then it’s time for another can and a visit to the bathroom, the toilet paper is ready, see everything is planned to perfection.
You get down stairs only to discover you’ve missed your favourite sport, but with 35channels you’ll soon catch up. Then disaster strikes, no not a sprain of a crash of athletes, you cannot find the remote so everybody has to stand and search for the remote. Then it’s back to the crisps and Stella, but then another disaster, you cannot find the matches to light oven. Somebody has an idea, then you lean over the garden fence with a twisted piece of paper and like an Olympic torch you lead it into the house to light the oven for more pizza.
So welcome to the 2012 London Olympics, your friends and you have already won the Gold for pizza, Stella and laddish behaviour.
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FlowersJul 24, '12 1:07 PM
for everyone
Flowers ©
By Michael Casey
I was talking to Ana and we got talking about flowers and gardens and such like, I told her to look at www.rightmove.co.uk and enter B67 with a radius of 1 mile, then she could see what Birmingham looked like. As quick as a flash she showed me a house on the site, I told her it was a ten minute walk from my house and that there was a park and then a wood nearby. All a world away from her own homeland, every country has its own treasures.
I told her what my garden looked like, the grass was cut yesterday as it happens, what kind of flowers we have. I forgot to mention our small front garden with roses, fuchsia and pink hydrangea too. Talking to Ana made me think of my mother, she had green fingers all the way up to her elbow, she even left a surprise after her death, white daisies sprung up in my sister’s garden weeks after our mother had died, a kiss from Heaven so to speak.
Flowers remind us of loved ones and bring smiles and sometimes tears back, but most of all flowers bring us pleasure. Flowers are given on Mother’s Days and Birthdays and on Wedding Anniversaries, and at Funerals too. There is a lot of love connected with flowers, kiss from a rose Seal sings, daisy daisy give me an answer true, if I am remember The Good Old Days correctly. The thing is flowers mean something and flowers mean more to women than men. Flowers are symbols, they are even on some National flags, the humble Shamrock is a symbol of Faith and of a Nation too.
Flowers were used in the English Civil War hundreds of years ago, the War of the Roses, white and red roses, if I’m remembering my History correctly. Flowers have a scent, they are soft to the touch, as soft as a lover’s first kiss, flowers hide the stench of death, ring a ring a roses a pocket full of roses means something. Flowers are spread on a wedding bed, a bride’s delight with the scent of roses.
Flowers can also be false, a traitor, a trap, hiding behind smiles of love when really it is lust. Me am I all romantic, do I bring flowers for my wife all the time? No never, I never bring flowers, even though I have a painting of red and yellow roses on the wall behind me. No, because she has hay fever.
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Saturday with the girlsJul 14, '12 1:22 PM
for everyone
Took the girls on a mystery walk this afternoon. They had been swimming in the morning, then singing in the afternoon, at a wedding and they got a few quid too. Then it was time for our Saturday afternoon stroll. I had been looking at www.rightmove.co.uk with area B67 and 1 mile radius. So I knew that near my daughter's new school there were some great houses, only 4 times tyhe value of ours, but maybe one day I'll win the lottery. So we went for a walk and the girls tried to guess where we were going. When we got to the top of the main shopping they guessed I was taking them to the new school. I told them it was a mystery, and we walked past the school. The girls said I was in league with the fairies and I was taking them nowhere. I promised a shop and a treat from the shop when we got there. The girls did not believe me. I knew from Google exactly where I was going, I kept on saying keep right on to the end of the road, then keep looking right, they did not believe me at all, more comments about fairies and fairy dust. Finally we arrived and there was 7 shops in a row with a newagents at the end. So we had tiptops from the shop and then headed back. Tip tops are plastic bags full of flavoured ice, if any of you not from UK have never heard of tip tops. I was transported back 45years. I really enjoyed the tip top, we'd walked 3 miles nearly 5k to reach there. Going back is always faster, so we got back with 10k under our belt, or should I say under our shoes. We did stop off for a lottery ticket, so maybe we can afford to move there IF we win. Now the girls are watching Charlie and The Chocolate Factory for the 10th time, as they eat mint flavoured chocolate. Twilight is on afterwards so we'll watch that together. I hope you all had a good family day today. Michael in a dry for a day Birmingham
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Facebook the new Pen PalsJul 13, '12 6:33 PM
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Facebook the new Pen Pals ©
By Michael Casey
I used to have a SW radio and I’d listen to all the foreign stations from all around the world, in English as I’m not multi-lingual, though one of my brothers is, and a very old friend from grammar school too. The quality of the radio reception was truly amazing, I had a 30foot round room antennae made from old electrical wire. I had a schedule and I’d listen religiously to all the programmes, I even got a request on Radio Brazil, and one on radio Switzerland. That was 30years ago and more. I even heard radio Australia. This was before computers and Internet.
People will probably laugh when they hear of SW radio, it was the bees’ knees back then, BBC world service is SW radio still. Reaching out, or listening out was very interesting for me. My first radio was a blue plastic radio with a small square battery in it, the kind of battery you have in your 2 smoke alarms. I listened to BBC Radio4 on an old Bush radio for 20years before I tried writing, so you can understand just how important radio was/is to me. Radio brings another dimension to your life, as children we listen under the bedclothes so dad cannot hear. Or we’d save up for an earphone, which went in one ear only, headphones did not exist back then, 1960s what an era to grow up in. We had a white plastic radio for the living room, my dad heard my brother’s request on Tony Blackburn, long live Tony Blackburn.
Computers and Internet have changed the ball game. We can speak and see folks all over the world, we broadcast to Ma in Shanghai all the time, MSN messenger does the trick, its all so easy. You’d be burnt as a witch if you predicted all this years ago, but technology does bring all of us together, that is truly wonderful.
Now what about Face Book. It does bring people together, even if Mark Zuckerberg never answers my messages, and has never bought any of my books. Face Book is the modern short wave radio, it brings people together from all over the place, and best of all it’s a 2 way communication. So in my case I contact writers in the vain hope that they’ll think I’m a great humour writer and tell their agents and hey presto I’ll have a 4 book deal and be on Opera telling her about my latest oeuvre, and I promise I won’t jump up and down on the couch, I weight more than a heavyweight boxer. Another side to FB is the sharing experience, so as I did some Esol English teaching I can give a few tips, share a few websites with people. LearningEnglishWithMrDuncan on UTUBE is a great resource, 150 short lessons with subtitles. Mr Duncan is now working in Shanghai, this amuses me because my mother-in-law could end up as his landlady. I would still like Mark Z to buy my 4 books and tell the world to do the same, then I could live in Palo Alto, and who knows Mark Zuckerberg could be my landlord.
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We all just love call centres (c) Jul 12, '12 3:31 PM
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We all just love call centres ©
By Michael Casey
We all just love call centres, we all just love it when they call when we've just sat down on the toilet and we're expecting a call from grandma in Shanghai. So the phone rings and we dash for the Andrex and the sink to wash our hands in. Then still pulling up our pants, we fall down stairs just as Norman Wisdom or Brian Rix would do, then pulling up our pants and doing up our trousers’ belt we pass by the hall mirror and see the black eye we've just got. We answer the phone, there is a long long pause, as if the call centre guy is having a final drag on his fag before answering, "hi I'm Guy, could I interest you in cable tv, I've got such a great package to offer." his voice oh so so sexy, in his imagination anyway. Has he not heard of Sky, the best package. So we swear in Shanghai dialect, and hang up the phone. Then we notice our trousers are split, the one's grandma in Shanghai had made for us, the trousers for her Panzi, her Fat Fat Boy son in law.
If only we could get revenge, just like in Bruce Almighty. A bottled water company rings, so we click our fingers and its as if the Dam Busters had breached that dam, a sodden girl will NEVER ring your number again. Then there's a knock at your door, its the Mormons, you smile and smile, and they start running away, only asking which way is the airport. Why? Well I'll leave that to your imagination. The phone rings again, so you do heavy breathing, only for a voice at the other end of the phone to say "I'm Sergeant Dixon, would you be interested in joining the neighbourhood watch scheme." "Sorry Wrong Number is your reply." You decide to change, you're half way up the stairs when the phone ring again, you turn and fall down the stairs again. Your wife is just in the door and she answers the phone, she can see you over her shoulder, "I told you you were too fat for those trousers" You trip over again, "bloody call centres is all you can say."
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What Uniforms Say About UsJul 9, '12 8:54 AM
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What Uniforms Say About Us ©
By Michael Casey
Our eldest daughter is off to Secondary School in the Autumn, so she has a few taster days at the school, so it won’t all be a big surprise when she gets there. The parents are all invited too, so we can see what the school is like and what the school expects of the students. Some say the new school is strict, I just think its like my old Grammar school 40 years ago, so it’s good.
The new school had a uniform display and uniform shop so the parents could get ready for the new school term. It’s quiet expensive, but we have a younger daughter, so she can have the hand me downs. She is always happy with caste offs, we are lucky to have such a daughter. She’s seen the new school and decided she wants to go there too, so all in all a good deal.
Why do we have uniforms, to be uniform is the answer, though I never want to be uniform myself, I want to be me. In schools it’s to give an identity, or so the tell us; rich and poor alike look the same, so no envy can show its face. When you follow a football team you buy the strip because you want to look like your “heros”, the fans have a uniform, and a uniform appearance. The players wear a uniform so they don’t pass the ball to the wrong player, only to somebody in the same strip. As players they have lots individual traits, lots of different tempers playing together to win the game. When the team is successful the rewards are mind boggling, they have an off the field uniform, made up of Bentleys and bling, and vacuous trophy girlfriends, each with their the same body, the same uniform body.
We have uniforms in other areas of life, such as DHL and other courier people, it’s a brand so people know immediately how the man is knocking at their door. The Police have a uniform too, so we all know who the man is walking down the street, we feel protected by his uniform, it gives us reassurance on a Friday night. A priest has a uniform too, the clothes he wears when he says Mass, or the collar with the white bit in the centre instead of a tie. Uniforms help us connect with those who serve us, who protect us, who love us.
My dad had a uniform too, size ten steel toe capped boots, a small leather bag to carry his lunch in, an old Russian soldier overcoat to keep him warm once he left the warmth of the furnace in Brasshouse Lane. People have to be safe at work so there is a uniform to keep them safe, maybe a harness while they clean the windows on the 30th floor.
Teachers have their uniform too, shirt and tie and maybe a suit trousers and jacket. In my teaching days I wore chinos, blue chinos and a shirt and tie, though away from a classroom I wear rugby shirts, like an orange Polo with a Polo playing scene on it, it’s my off duty look. I always wear comfy Clarkes, your feet are important, especially if you stand all day. During my 3 years as a Concierge at CPNEC I was supposed to wear a uniform, I was too fat so I ended up wearing some decent trousers and an almost matching jacket. People always though I was the manager because I was not in a uniform like the reception crew, I was the silver haired guy, 20 years older that the reception people, so I must be the manager.
Everybody’s style is their own uniform, the pants falling off hips is a modern uniform, they want to be individuals but they all end up looking the same. Listening to the same music and wearing baseball caps back to front, holes in jeans, bad haircuts which are good, and bad means good now, its confusing. Music is a uniform too, all so very same, no never as good as decades before, pick your own decade. Flick through the music channels on Sky and its all so very samey, yes there are some great new people, Lady Gaga for example, but just how much is the music all the same, so uniform.
It’s our words that stop us being so uniform, how we speak and what we actually say, and then do. It’s when we step out of the uniform that we can make change. If you look at my photo what do you see and what do you think? “He’s an old fart, he can’t do anything .” You’ll have to judge for yourselves, I hope in the end you do realise, I’m not uniform.
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Tombstone (c) By Michael CaseyJul 5, '12 10:05 AM
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Tombstone (c) By Michael Casey
What do we leave when we leave this life? We leave a wife and grieving children, we leave a few friends. If we have had a long life we don't leave any friends because they have gone before us. All that remains of us is our tombstone, our name etched in gold on a stone.
Some have the job of erecting these stones, what do they think of as they put the stones in place? Do they think of the poor dead person lying dead below in the grass. Do the tombstone installers think of the lives gone before? Do they think of how old or young the deceased are. That man was the same age as me, or whatever?
The words chosen can reveal a little about the deceased. He was a dad, he was an uncle, he was a man without a name. He was the unknown soldier. She was a Jane Doe with nobody to mourn her, she had lain in a fridge for 6 months and now finally she was buried. Nodbody came to her funeral, just old Mrs Casey who hitched a ride with the priest so the dead were not buried all alone. A stranger saying a pray for the unloved.
Tombstones are not always sad. Spike Milligan had "I told you I was unwell" etched on his stone, written in Gaelic so not to offend English speakers. My own Chinese dad, my father in law his stone is all black marble with gold writing in Mandarin, but also on it is one small piece of English "MichaelgCasey" its almost as if my email address is on his tombstone, has the Internet reached Eternity? No, but it has reached one small corner of a Shanghai graveyard.
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From a Father to a DaughterJul 2, '12 6:47 PM
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From a Father to a Daughter ©
By Michael Casey
We took our small daughter swimming today, Monday is her day and Saturday is her big sister’s. As me and big sister watched the swimming we talked about the future, Secondary school. My daughter wanted to know what exactly Physics was, and could I help her with the Maths once she started secondary school. I promised to do my best but now it was a long time since I was at school.
I told her she could do anything she liked, she could be an architect or a designer, I mentioned the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing; here was a great design that was world famous, she was ½ Chinese after all so who knows what great things she could achieve. I don’t believe girls are restricted in their career or life path, in fact I do believe that girls are best.
I explained how it was when I was at grammar school, I was the 3rd brother in the same grammar school, GD as we called it. I said how we had some really clever people in my class, one Dr Peter as still a friend after 40years, I hoped she could make friends that would last a lifetime. I have told her to make friends especially with those who can help her with her weakest subjects, be honest and open about it, they can help each other, a trade if you like.
I explained that technique can beat brains, the chicken and the hare I miss said, it’s the tortoise and the hare, in the swimming baths they have a giant turtle on the wall as big as a bus. My big daughter has loads of technique, she has a great work ethos, she works so hard she could be a Protestant. Clever people can get lazy or bored, that’s when the technique of the worker beats them. My girl has beat the Maths wiz in her class because of her technique, so the little boy is cross, he is not the winner any more. I told her how her uncles used to stop up past Midnight that’s why they went to the best Universities in the world.
In two days time she will have an induction lesson at her new school, then in the evening we all go up to say hello and buy the school uniform. At home, the family home we have a photo over 35years old on the wall, its of my sister in her old grammar school uniform, so I will recreate that photo and give the photo to my sister so she can put it on her wall.
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PerspectiveJun 26, '12 12:51 PM
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Perspective ©
By Michael Casey
We were walking home after school and we decided to take another road instead of our usual one, it’s a quieter road and it’s a curvy road. What this did was change our perspective when we hit the main road again. In fact my daughter couldn’t recognise our street because of our view, we were higher and looking down at our street, the trees framed it, so it looked prettier than the normal view. I suppose every street has a good end and a bad end, we are at the good end I suppose and the bad end is the route to and from school. You could live your life and never see the other end of your street because you always take one route and never another, the quickest route to the bus stop or the shops.
As a non-driver I take a smaller amount of routes, because I’m on foot or I’m on the bus, so when the wife drives me places it’s a different perspective. Birmingham does have a good bus service so I get where I need to go without discovering too many different roads. Back streets stay off my radar, though I do go walkabout and enjoy our local woods and I dream about being able to live just besides the woods, I even have a name for a dog, Subway the dog will be our dog if ever I sell some books. I will enjoy daily walks in the woods with Subway, though its more likely I’d winn the lottery first, which means it’ll probably never happen, but dreams are dreams.
Perspective is a thing we have in life too, having a Shanghai wife has changed my perspective, a whole new world has opened up, I have an Eastern eye now. Having two daughters does change your perspective too, Disney Channel and girly tv, not to mention Fashion and girls knickers cluttering up the bathroom. This reminds me when I make some money I want my own bathroom too, a male only bathroom, with no lotions and potions in my way. The girls are far too young to shave, but I don’t want to share my razor with leg shaving girls in the future.
A tragedy is a very swift changer of Perspective, if only we knew this, if only we knew that, I would never have said this if I knew. Augustinian thinking talks about putting the other person’s shoes on, I didn’t learn this, it was part of a sermon I once heard at Saint Mary’s. Having an awareness for others’ views or feelings before blundering in, this is a mark of sensitive thinking. Lads may laugh and say you are “soft” but girls like the softer side, and the “drippy” one may end up with the Belle. In Tears for A Butcher the drippy lads will get the twin Belles, why will I write it that way, because I want to highlight what is truly best. So a man with a stammer and a man with a limp will get the two Princesses, these two blokes are the real men, not mouthy ignorant types that you see on Reality tv, its all about seeing Perspective after all.
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Crockery or Cups and Saucers to You and MeJun 19, '12 8:21 AM
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Crockery or Cups and Saucers to You and Me ©
By Michael Casey
A cup, a glass, a mug. What do you drink from? I have a mug with a cat on the front with a mouse on its head, on the back is a reverse view. Its in a saucer like thing that came from a fancy mug, its either used as a saucer or you put it on top to keep your tea warm, so really it’s a lid that I use as a saucer.
Why do I ask you this? Well what we drink from or how we describe it denotes our Class or how we see ourselves. Politicians leaving with a mug of tea in their hands is a load of rubbish, its pretentious and I know I just say “I hope he spills it on himself the silly man” We used to have decent cups for visitors, and mum would say, “don’t give him one with a chip in”, all those years ago. The Royal Wedding, the Charles and Di one, led to mugs plastered with their picture. We had a cousin visit from Cork, he remarked that his kids would love one, so my mum emptied the dresser of the cups, mugs I mean. He had 6 kids so six mugs went back to Cork, you couldn’t miss out any of his children.
A visiting priest would get a cup and saucer, now that is posh, anybody else would get a mug, this was way back in the past. You’d have a sideboard in your middle room and the best crockery came out on important occasions, such as Christmas. We’d have a sugar bowl too that made an appearance at Christmas as well. Plates with fancy patterns and the plates had a design on the edge, so they weren’t exactly circular, they may have even had gold on them. A bottle or port was also in that cupboard and it came out on special occasions, that one bottle of port may have lasted 7 years.
I was still living at home when I came across a fancy crockery set, the love bird Chinese design on it. I bought it for a fiver of a tenner in West Brom. Six of everthing, cups, saucers, plates, side plates, and bowls. I told my mum the next person to get married in the family could have it. So it gathered dust in the sideboard in our middle room, we never had a lounge or dining room. We had front, middle and living room, no fancy names for us. The years moved on and nobody else got married, we all ended up marrying in our fourties. So I took the fancy crockery to my new home, the Chinese love birds design in blue, years later I married a Shanghai girl….
What you have in the dresser can say a lot about a family, how many in the family for example. I remember 40years ago and more my brother was looking for something, he thought it was on top of the dresser in are old, very small kitchen before the extension. He climbed up and leant on the indoor washing line we had across the kitchen, CRASH. The dresser fell over and everything was smashed, cups and saucers and plates the lot, we could have been a Greek family celebrating by smashing the crockery. Dad came home and he had to go back out again to Malcome’s on the Dudley Rd to replace everything. Dad returned with thick, really thick plates that might be strong enough to celebrate any Greek like celebrations.
In my kitchen cabinet I still have some of the Chinese love bird crockery, I even have some fancy thin plates with gold pattern on. I have my sister’s left overs, crockery not food that is. Now I have my own family things do wear out, you also get fireworks in your microwave. Gold pattern plates don’t mix with microwaves, it’s like lightning in the microwave. We have a lot of mugs too, Easter eggs in mugs means we have a new mug once the chocolate is eaten.
What about fine dining, we see all the cookery shows on tv, and we see fancy people all dressed up with all the knives and forks in front of them. I think you start from the outside and work your way inwards, though if anybody thinks to invite me, they should know this I eat with a fork in my right hand, so the crockery needs to be the other way around.
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One DimensionalJun 16, '12 5:57 PM
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One Dimensional ©
By Michael Casey
One Dimensional, what does that mean to you? To me it’s when you come across somebody or thing that is flat. No personality, no comprehending of anything other than itself. You may meet a maths geek, who can even get a PhD in maths very early in his/her life, but do they know anything else? Do they know about History or Art or Music, or about anybody else's Faith or belief? Do they even care for anything else, are they stuck in a rut. It really saddens me when you meet such a person, that person is only half a person. Their parents may be proud parents and he is even the joy of the village, but really the "genius" is just 1/2 a person. Think back to Good Will Hunting, the genius in the end throws it all away so her can chase after his girl and find love. I support that view entirely, I've heard of somebody like that who was lost, all alone, a prisoner in his own mind. I remind my girls they should have lots of different things in their lives, be observant, watch and observe life all around them. They may make it as writers where I have not so far. Life is Lego, you mix and match experiences and friends and things to build something new, then you take it apart and make something else. With one friend we are like this, we another we are like that. If we drink we may be more relaxed or we may just be terrible and chase the girls and get our faces slapped or get beaten up by husbands and boyfriends. Life is a mixture of happy and sad or even tragic events, it shapes us or moulds us. We are not rock, we are like sponges that soak up life's events. I hope I'm never called One Dimensional, with the size of my chest and belly that will never happen. I know a man who travelled all around the world, he came back to our company and he was exactly the same as before he left, dull. I'm not asking people to deny what they are, to abandon their faith or their loves, or what they are good at and enjoy. I just want people to see the world with bigger eyes, to talk to walk, to sing and shout, not just to smirk when they have a PhD in maths at 17 years old. Go and do something different, experience more of the world, you cannot make love to a calculator. You can travel in your mind and you can be a writer, you can touch people with your words, you can bring them hope, you can bring solace. Just be more than One Dimension.
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Growing Up For DadsJun 12, '12 5:28 PM
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Growing Up For Dads ©
By Michael Casey
Does anybody remember Algebra? My daughter is doing lots of maths and she asks me to help. Arithmetic I can do and I remember getting 4 of the best on my behind by the teacher with a pump, for not knowing my times tables. Next time he asked I knew them. I was 8 at the time. I did do my Maths exam one year early along with English but that's a long time ago. My wife was a toddler then, I do have a young wife. But its at the edge of my memory when I am asked questions by my daughter. She moves to 2ndary school in September and having an 11year old in the house is amazing. And it only feels like seconds ago when she was born in the middle of the night. So time and tide and algebra waits for no man. Arithmetic is spontaneous, I don't even know just how do I know the answers. I just do, and that's great because I can help my daughter. She looks exactly like me, a I look at her face its like looking into a magical looking glass and I'm seeing myself as a child, though she is a femine version of myself. So I have grown older with silver hair, a sign of wisdom I hope, but in her face I see the future again. I hope I'll be of use as she progresses through 2ndary school. I had to visit the school today to fill a few forms in, I walked it so I could tell her just how much time she'd need to get there. I ended up walking 5miles or 8 k today, good for my fat belly no doubt. I was able to answer questions on Quakers and The Society Of Friends, I was even able to tell her that Dame Judy Dench, M, James Bond's boss was a Quaker. So I'm not totally useless after all.
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Look in the mirror and what do you see?Jun 8, '12 3:12 PM
for everyone
Look in the mirror and what do you see? ©
By Michael Casey
Looking in the mirror what do you see?
Do you see yourself looking back at you?
Do you see grey hairs or are you still black?
Do you see yourself pretty and young?
Are you 20 or 30 or 40 or more?
Does a mirror show your age or just your rage?
Does your bust stand proud, or has it sagged?
Does your stumble look white, are you balding and white?
Is your hair receding to match your pot belly?
Does your corset hold everything in?
Do younger men still look at you, are you still young enough to
blush?
When you look into your eyes are you sad and grey?
Have the lights gone out in your eyes?
Or is there a glint, a bit of mischief too?
Or are your eyes sad and lonely, all hope gone?
When the kids come home do you dispare?
Or is there joy and life in your eyes and heart?
Does a kiss make you want to hold her tight and ask for more?
Is your spirit like a leaf blowing across Autumn skies?
Does your spirit reach for the sky?
When you finish putting on a tie and you look into the mirror to
see if it is straight, do you smile or do you frown?
The eyes are the mirror of the soul, so be you man or be you
woman let the lights flicker in the mirror of your soul.
1 Comment
From Bedworth to Bookshelf and BeyondJun 5, '12 7:04 PM
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From Bedworth to Bookshelf and Beyond©
By Michael Casey
The title sounds like a Buzz Light Year saying in Toy Story but its not. I’m just wondering why when I Google stuff it keeps on popping up and saying I’m in Bedworth when I’m always in Birmingham. Any offers? Am I a botneck or whatever where your computer gets taken over? I don’t think so, and its not all the time, its just irritating. I have antivirus and so forth, so why oh why does Google say I’m in Bedworth.
Perhaps there’s a GCHQ in Bedworth, perhaps they have an interest in my writing. But michaelgcasey.multiply.com has all my stuff on it, and I annoy Daily Telegraph readers by posting there and on Facebook too. So why Bedworth, can’t they wait to read my bi-weekly posts?
I also stumbled on something during my regular random Google searches, don’t do a writing course, just write. A famous SciFi writer is quoted as saying that, I’ve never heard of him myself, but he’s never heard of me. I think if you haven’t got an imagination no amount of courses can give you one. As for style, that just makes me sick, people are all taught to write with the same style, the teacher’s style. Watch some American tv and read a little, and see how the style is all the same, I’m not just talking about writing but about reporters reporting style. They all sound like undertakers with a death wish, “hey man be happy you are still alive” I want to shout at them.
So you write and you put 4 books on Amazon Kindle, you have 300unique blogs on your site, but you don’t make a bean. Why is this? Because the only people who make money are those writers who cannot write and just write writers self help books. Or coffee table books written by Z listers boasting about their sex lives with Y listers, so of course they sell 2, 000, 000 copies. Though 1, 000, 000 copies are remaindered, and you can buy the 20quid opus for a fiver in the Works.
Perhaps I should write a sex on the coffee table book, which would sell 3, 000, 000 copies, but that would be too boring to write. Perhaps I should go on the after dinner speaking circuit, I could warm up the audience for Tony Blair or George Bush, I’d do an hour and get 100quid, they do 30mins and get 20, 000. My speech would be funnier but nobody would come for me, I’m just the warm up man, but at least I’d get a great free dinner.
See its nice to dream, I hope it proves I have an imagination, which might mean I should be a writer after all.
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Ad Skipper - Life SkipperMay 29, '12 1:30 PM
for everyone
Ad Skipper – Life Skipper ©
By Michael Casey
I read in the news that Dish TV wanted to skip the ads in the tv it bought for its viewers, really its trying to get a discount from Fox, but this is their bargaining ploy. They have a machine that will skip the ads, now as in all things American its in the hands of the lawyers.
We have a Sky+ box at home and we use it to skip the ads, we record a lot of tv so that we as a family can watch it at a later date. A one hour show is really 50mins, we skip the ads when we watch the show at a later date, its fun watching ads at x30 when we are skipping back to Glee, skipping and Glee do go together, don’t forget the 90min show in 3 days time. Films not on the BBC can have 20mins of ads in the middle or at the end when the film has really finished but the next show has not started. So perhaps Dish subscribers should just watch everything an hour later and then use a Sky+ box or equivalent to avoid the ads. With the US Election in full swing that in itself is a good reason to time shift.
But what if you could Life Shift or Life Skip, what would you avoid? Would you fast forward past your first broken heart, fast forward through the month of tears, a month of cuddling up to your old teddy bear, fast forward calling all men “BASTARDS” or all women “WHORES”? Would you fast forward past all the comfort eating, the days of not shaving and not caring, the days of tears? What about when your pet gerbil died and it was buried with full honours in an old shoebox in the garden, you had plucked a few rose petals and thrown them over its grave. In the night you hear the foxes in your garden and your beloved gerbil had become their take away or rather dig up and take away.
Would you skip your first bump on your brand new car, a 10 year old mini, your pride and joy, you spent days polishing it, and then you had a run in with old Mr Jones a 85 year old, and it was your fault. These are the events that mark us, the events we wish never happened, your mum says it’ll all come out in the wash, and all you want to do is drown yourself, in the bath. Instead you compromise and drown your sorrows and then get done for drink driving on your way home from the pub, you get banned for a year and have to sell your car.
If there was a machine just to edit out the bad parts of our lives that would sell. We’d all have perfect lives, we’d all be like Hello Magazine people, perfect just perfect. No beer bellies and 5 days worth of growth and not enough deodorant, we’d be perfect just like Prom Kings and Queens in Glee.
Do we learn from the bad bits, the unedited bits of our lives, the slow and painful bits, the embarrassing bits that seem to last forever? I’ve had more than my fair share of less than perfect times, learning the hard way is the best way, even though at the time I wished it was over. There is a Shakespearean sonnet where he speaks of the value of a good friend or partner who will stick with you through thick and thin, a bit like wedding vows, for richer for poorer etc. You DO know who your friends are when things get sticky, we cannot fast forward real life, only tv can be fast forwarded. That’s why art imitates life, and not the other way around.
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Pens and PenmanshipMay 23, '12 11:22 AM
for everyone
Pens and Penmanship ©
By Michael Casey
I just read a piece in the BBC magazine online, it was all about fountain pens. Now I immediately have to confess my writing is terrible, and no I’m not pretending, as far back as 40 years ago at grammar school I was told off for it. In fact I was told off in Primary school too, they even got me to write a few rows of “a” and of “b” and so on, it failed to improved my writing, I was a massive reader at the time, for one year I was practically left alone to read, perhaps it was then that my writing died. In grammar school my friends said my writing was like drunken spiders, or in today’s world my writing is like spiders on acid. So there you have it, my writing is bad, very bad. So bad perhaps I should be a doctor.
Once you have bad hand writing people take the mick when you tell them you are a writer, as did the nice lady from the neighbourhood office a couple of weeks ago when my daughter went to collect a prize for drawing. Both my daughters draw and paint, they are very very good at it, they have a collection of 700 crayons and paints and pencils, not to mention felts and gel pens and all things that can make marks on paper. My daughters always need more, so that’s dad’s job to provide more artists material. I am of course very jealous of their skills, if I bit the top off my thumb and used that to sign my name that would be an improvement on my signature.
So what can a writer who cannot write do? He can type, I remember learning to type in 1978, I stood at the bus stop moving my fingers and trying to remember the qwerty keyboard. Now I’m a fast typist, when I’m writing my stuff, I’m not so fast as a copy typist, nothing is more boring than typing up somebody else’s stuff. I remember one of the more mature ladies at the law firm who said “I was once clocked at 100wpm” and so she was, and that why one of the partners gave her two crates of champagne as a personal thank you for her typing, at that speed the paper would catch fire no doubt, if we still used the old typewriters.
So how can this writer improve his writing? I use different fonts on Word, and hope people like the look, looks do make a difference. If I can give a silly example, the ASDA near us uses a big bold font, but the size is too small and the letters touch other. This means to my eyes it’s terrible, and that’s the only complaint I have about the store, but I’m sure if any ASDA people read this they may change it. A sign encourages us to buy or to laugh, when we leave stuff out in the entry for Sky Burial I leave a note encouraging people to take our junk away. “Sit on Me” for a chair, and “sleep with me” for a bed, as I look out the window our gay neighbours are getting a new bed.
We get loads of junk email, if we had an open fire we’d never need to buy fuel, we’d just toast our bread on junk mail. Junk mail tries to look appealing and is printed on glossy paper, glossy paper is very heavy as I can remember when I carried bags at CPNEC, homes abroad salesmen had cases and cases of the stuff. So writing and communicating all needs words, good words from a writer, but how those words are written and displayed has a massive impact, ask any politician. When contracts are signed it’s done on quality paper that is bound together with a heat bind seal, and it’ll be a red seal if the contact is for Chinese clients, I know I’ve done 1000s. So presentation is king, you don’t want “thank you for your pieces of paper” when you send stuff to a publisher, and yes 25 years ago I did get that putdown. I hope you are all enjoying this Bookman Old Style, but I know just how important type setting is, another putdown a really good snide one was when I was turned down for a job and the HR lady replied in flowewry type face and yes I do know her name.
All I can say is thank God for word processors, 1988 was the year I bought an Atari520 just for the word processor and it was very very expensive, it did play a big part in my life, I had Shoplife accepted by a theatre, I wrote it in Aug 1988 when the Olympics were on. Yes I’d love to be able to write, but I can write but not handwrite, so I hope any future readers will accept a rubber stamp when I do any book signings, my daughters will be on hand to draw a cartoon on each book.
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Alternative SwearingMay 15, '12 12:29 PM
for everyone
Alternative Swearing ©
By Michael Casey
Swearing is the norm nowadays, but if it defuses anger and prevents physical violence then I’d say it’s a good thing, it’s a safety valve. In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe “Belgium” was the worse thing that could be said. Nowadays everybody swears in films, American TV is very strict so that when it comes to films all the swears that could not be said on tv are said on film. I remember watching Saturday Night Fever when it first came out and thinking they don’t need all this swearing, and later the film was edited so that it got a lower certification and more people could enjoy John Travolta, as you all know I am Birmingham’s answer to John Travolta.
Now how to we prevent the air going blue, so that the ladies don’t blush and aren’t offended by all the language. I was talking to Bernard Manning the other day, well in my imagination anyway, and he gave me loads of ideas, as did Lennie Bruce, they share a cloud together in Heaven, it’s a blue cloud of course. You aren’t calling me a “flowering petal” are you? I’ll be very angry if you are, “you’re just a custard cream anyway” Now don’t look at me with that tone of voice or I’ll “dip your biscuit in my tea” and there won’t be any “sugar in it either” Are you calling me a “Politician, take it back you table you” ok, so we’ve all calmed down a bit.
“Politician” is the rudest word of all in the alternative swearing dictionary, though don’t broadcast this but I was once called “A lollypop lady”, I nearly used a “liquorice” on the person who called me it. Our local MP is a bit of a “custard pie” it must be true it’s written on all the bus shelters. Tell me why he is a custard pie, that I cannot deny, he really IS a custard pie. What do politicians, real politicians call themselves? Honest as the day is long is what politicians call themselves, but in reply the press corps call them “A bunch of Daylight Savings, fiddling with the minute hands” which sounds about right. Just a moment I can hear my phone ringing, no not another metaphor, my phone really is ringing.
I’m a bit flustered, that phone call was the worst I’ve ever had in my life, an hour of heavy breathing, then the lady called me, I can’t bring myself to repeat what she said, it was so shocking, an hour of heavy breathing from a lady I can handle, but she just called me a “political WRITER”.
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Bring Back BarterMay 10, '12 1:39 PM
for everyone
Bring Back Barter© By Michael Casey
Should we bring back barter? I got an ad for something a few mins ago, so I offered to trade my 4 books for some nice Adobe software. Could I write a poem for a loaf of bread and some shopping. Could I pose as a George Clooney lookalike in exchange for some orange juice, and I do love my orange juice. Could I hop 100yards in exchange for some vegetables or stand on my head for a bottle of milk. Should I wear my clown hat in exchange for a nice Jorg Gray watch, the nice blue hands one on Amazon, President Obama has one but the one I like is cheaper, 84quid. Should I sit on the wall outside my house and tell stories, I was once called Jackanory when I was at a law firm, no I'm no lawyer. Would people leave scraps in a bowl for me, would I earn coins and maybe notes, food of all kinds as a reward for being a modern fool. Would Prince Charles say "off with his head", would I be thrown into a dungeon, would I be chained to a wall till my beard was 10feet long and my nails were long and curly. Would people people come and mock me in the dungeon. Or would I just be ignored, the fool on a hill, and I do live on a hill. Who knows or do I have a talent to amuse, just as a book on Noel Coward was called. Maybe I'll be famous when I'm dead, and no don't send a hitman to get me, my girls need me, if only to get the bike out from the shed.
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Published September 16, 2012

this is a sample from 300 and Not OUT, if you like it then go to Amazon Kindle to buy it


ColoursAug 8, '12 6:01 PM

for everyone

Colours©

 

By Michael Casey

 

I don’t know about you but I find BBC4 has some really good stuff on it. Today I was catching up on a programme about colour in Art, then tonight I caught the final episode which was really interesting. We all have a favourite colour, mine is blue, not too blue but blue enough, and then there is the Virgin Mary blue that you see on statues of Mary in church. The show on tv explained how the Church wanted to keep a monopoly on the colour, and in fact how only She should be coloured in that blue. So it was heresy for Mary not to be painted in the right colour so to speak. This is the European tradition, for Faiths all over the world I imagine there are and still are rules and so forth, so I’ll stick to Europe.

 

I’ve always liked paintings, I saved up and bought a few for my walls many years ago before I was married, you know when you don’t have to think about children’s shoes and so forth, now you think about the colours of the shoes at your daughter’s school and not about paintings for your wall, though both my daughters are artists. Colours are Life, they really are, we have the beauty of girls all over the world and the traditions of hair and the colour of clothing, to be honest a girl’s smile and eyes are the most important thing in my opinion. Girls being girls like or should I say adore a bit of colour, it really does control men, if you like colour is the bait that gets a girl noticed and a man hooked. Yes I know that sentence may annoy some, but you can write your own essay and let people judge your writing. Colour is soft, colour is cold, colour is warm, it is matched and mixed, and when every aspect of colour comes together it stops the show. How do I know this? I have a Shanghai wife and two daughters, they have taught me! However for me its just the eyes and smile which I look for.

 

In the tv show it talked about artists’ ideas and beliefs, their feelings are so intense, a factor of 100000 compared to you and me, Don McClean’s Starry Starry Night explains a lot, even Dr Who when he met Van Gogh, colour means so much. We can hate a colour for many reasons, it may have been your school uniform or your work uniform. I wear rugby shirts a lot, so bright orange with a polo scene on my Polo is my favourite, I can wear office wear when I have to, but otherwise its big brash colours for me, on my site and on Facebook you can see my use or abuse of colours.

 

On the show they talked about architecture and the use of scale and colour, why do dictators like themselves so much, North Korea has giant statues, Fascists had statues galore and giant imposing buildings to match their egos. To me its like the Emperors New Clothes, we the people should laugh at those kind of people, their worth and intellect is in inverse proportion to their monuments. In North Korea the new boss’s wife has her fancy handbag worth 1 year’s salary compared to the average person in that country. Laughter should be used to bring those people down.

 

Banksy leaves graffiti all over the place making a statement about stuff, perhaps he should do a tour of all these totalitarian places and draw moustaches and chads all over the loved leaders posters. The trouble with leaders is that they see things in black and white, colours are forbidden.

 

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Food and PandaAug 2, '12 1:33 PM

for everyone

We've just come back from a family meal at Wing Wah, the one by Wing Yip supermarket. Its a bit like doing bingo, you get a list of up to 80 and you tick off what you want to eat. You have a sip of your drinks while you are waiting. Then wave after wave of food arrives, its more like snacks, very tasty. Jing Jie, the wife, ordered 11 items, including chicken feet. We did not finish everything so we took two items home, and Jing Jie ordered half a duck too as take away. All in all good value, and best of all she paid. I'm all for equality where women pay. We then paid a visit to Costco to get some books for Annie our daughter, Eve wanted a giant teddy bear, 53inches tall, but we did not get it for her. You can also get a cheap snack at Costco should the need arise.

 

I'm also on Facebook, in the vain hope of getting noticed as a writer, hasn't worked yet. There is another Michael Casey on Facebook, but he is a porter at Heartlands hospital. And to add to the confusion on Amazon Kindle there is another Michael Casey, but he is a Monk and writes spiritual texts, so that's not me. I have 4 photos of myself on the covers, those are me.

 

Cheerio from Birmingham, I'm listening to Usher on the computer as I talk to you, I got a free CD when I bought some aftershave. Usher is good, I just hope his aftershave is, or I'll give it to the wife instead.

 

I forgot to say one of our pandas is a bit dizzy, he was looking manky so we popped him in the washing machine, we watched as his face appeared and disappeared as he tried to swim around the washing machine. Panda came out all bright and clean, the white whiter than white and the black all nice and black, Bold really does work. He said he's talk to his cousin Ted about it. Now the panda is sitting on top of a chair with his bum in the air to dry it.

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And the Gold Goes toJul 30, '12 9:06 AM

for everyone

And The Gold Goes To ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

It’s the Greatest Show On Earth and after years of being a couch potato its every sports fan’s chance to shine. So it’s off to the off-licence for crates of Stella Artois and multi-packs of crisps and a load of chocolates. Then there must be pizzas, 20 pizzas to share, no arguing Pepperoni Rules ok? And after all this eating and drinking there must be toilet paper, so a 48 role multi packet from Costco will do the trick, just in case the host’s house gives you the squits, at least a full role ready with 3 more ready on the shelf.

 

So all is ready and you have a spare set of batteries for the Sky remote control, the chairs are in the best position in front of the 42inch lcd tv, cushions are ready and crisps are at hand and 16 cans are ice cold and ready in the fridge. So let the games begin, everything is ready, apart from air freshener and domestos.

 

“Pass us a can, and a packet of cheese and onion crisps,” you shout before burping and lifting a leg to fart. You flick through the 35 BBC digital channels of sport, technology is great, Elvis used to have banks of TVs you only need one a 42inch lcd tv monster. Pizzas are passed out and faces are decorated with tomato sauce, and the sport has only been on for 30minutes. Then it’s time for another can and a visit to the bathroom, the toilet paper is ready, see everything is planned to perfection.

 

You get down stairs only to discover you’ve missed your favourite sport, but with 35channels you’ll soon catch up. Then disaster strikes, no not a sprain of a crash of athletes, you cannot find the remote so everybody has to stand and search for the remote. Then it’s back to the crisps and Stella, but then another disaster, you cannot find the matches to light oven. Somebody has an idea, then you lean over the garden fence with a twisted piece of paper and like an Olympic torch you lead it into the house to light the oven for more pizza.

 

So welcome to the 2012 London Olympics, your friends and you have already won the Gold for pizza, Stella and laddish behaviour.

 

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FlowersJul 24, '12 1:07 PM

for everyone

Flowers ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

I was talking to Ana and we got talking about flowers and gardens and such like, I told her to look at www.rightmove.co.uk and enter B67 with a radius of 1 mile, then she could see what Birmingham looked like. As quick as a flash she showed me a house on the site, I told her it was a ten minute walk from my house and that there was a park and then a wood nearby. All a world away from her own homeland, every country has its own treasures.

 

I told her what my garden looked like, the grass was cut yesterday as it happens, what kind of flowers we have. I forgot to mention our small front garden with roses, fuchsia and pink hydrangea too. Talking to Ana made me think of my mother, she had green fingers all the way up to her elbow, she even left a surprise after her death, white daisies sprung up in my sister’s garden weeks after our mother had died, a kiss from Heaven so to speak.

 

Flowers remind us of loved ones and bring smiles and sometimes tears back, but most of all flowers bring us pleasure. Flowers are given on Mother’s Days and Birthdays and on Wedding Anniversaries, and at Funerals too. There is a lot of love connected with flowers, kiss from a rose Seal sings, daisy daisy give me an answer true, if I am remember The Good Old Days correctly. The thing is flowers mean something and flowers mean more to women than men. Flowers are symbols, they are even on some National flags, the humble Shamrock is a symbol of Faith and of a Nation too.

 

Flowers were used in the English Civil War hundreds of years ago, the War of the Roses , white and red roses, if I’m remembering my History correctly. Flowers have a scent, they are soft to the touch, as soft as a lover’s first kiss, flowers hide the stench of death, ring a ring a roses a pocket full of roses means something. Flowers are spread on a wedding bed, a bride’s delight with the scent of roses.

 

Flowers can also be false, a traitor, a trap, hiding behind smiles of love when really it is lust. Me am I all romantic, do I bring flowers for my wife all the time? No never, I never bring flowers, even though I have a painting of red and yellow roses on the wall behind me. No, because she has hay fever.

 

 

 

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Saturday with the girlsJul 14, '12 1:22 PM

for everyone

Took the girls on a mystery walk this afternoon. They had been swimming in the morning, then singing in the afternoon, at a wedding and they got a few quid too. Then it was time for our Saturday afternoon stroll. I had been looking at www.rightmove.co.uk with area B67 and 1 mile radius. So I knew that near my daughter's new school there were some great houses, only 4 times tyhe value of ours, but maybe one day I'll win the lottery. So we went for a walk and the girls tried to guess where we were going. When we got to the top of the main shopping they guessed I was taking them to the new school. I told them it was a mystery, and we walked past the school. The girls said I was in league with the fairies and I was taking them nowhere. I promised a shop and a treat from the shop when we got there. The girls did not believe me. I knew from Google exactly where I was going, I kept on saying keep right on to the end of the road, then keep looking right, they did not believe me at all, more comments about fairies and fairy dust. Finally we arrived and there was 7 shops in a row with a newagents at the end. So we had tiptops from the shop and then headed back. Tip tops are plastic bags full of flavoured ice, if any of you not from UK have never heard of tip tops. I was transported back 45years. I really enjoyed the tip top, we'd walked 3 miles nearly 5k to reach there. Going back is always faster, so we got back with 10k under our belt, or should I say under our shoes. We did stop off for a lottery ticket, so maybe we can afford to move there IF we win. Now the girls are watching Charlie and The Chocolate Factory for the 10th time, as they eat mint flavoured chocolate. Twilight is on afterwards so we'll watch that together. I hope you all had a good family day today. Michael in a dry for a day Birmingham

1 Comment

 

Facebook the new Pen PalsJul 13, '12 6:33 PM

for everyone

Facebook the new Pen Pals ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

 

 

I used to have a SW radio and I’d listen to all the foreign stations from all around the world, in English as I’m not multi-lingual, though one of my brothers is, and a very old friend from grammar school too. The quality of the radio reception was truly amazing, I had a 30foot round room antennae made from old electrical wire. I had a schedule and I’d listen religiously to all the programmes, I even got a request on Radio Brazil, and one on radio Switzerland. That was 30years ago and more. I even heard radio Australia. This was before computers and Internet.

 

People will probably laugh when they hear of SW radio, it was the bees’ knees back then, BBC world service is SW radio still. Reaching out, or listening out was very interesting for me. My first radio was a blue plastic radio with a small square battery in it, the kind of battery you have in your 2 smoke alarms. I listened to BBC Radio4 on an old Bush radio for 20years before I tried writing, so you can understand just how important radio was/is to me. Radio brings another dimension to your life, as children we listen under the bedclothes so dad cannot hear. Or we’d save up for an earphone, which went in one ear only, headphones did not exist back then, 1960s what an era to grow up in. We had a white plastic radio for the living room, my dad heard my brother’s request on Tony Blackburn, long live Tony Blackburn.

 

Computers and Internet have changed the ball game. We can speak and see folks all over the world, we broadcast to Ma in Shanghai all the time, MSN messenger does the trick, its all so easy. You’d be burnt as a witch if you predicted all this years ago, but technology does bring all of us together, that is truly wonderful.

 

Now what about Face Book. It does bring people together, even if Mark Zuckerberg never answers my messages, and has never bought any of my books. Face Book is the modern short wave radio, it brings people together from all over the place, and best of all it’s a 2 way communication. So in my case I contact writers in the vain hope that they’ll think I’m a great humour writer and tell their agents and hey presto I’ll have a 4 book deal and be on Opera telling her about my latest oeuvre, and I promise I won’t jump up and down on the couch, I weight more than a heavyweight boxer. Another side to FB is the sharing experience, so as I did some Esol English teaching I can give a few tips, share a few websites with people. LearningEnglishWithMrDuncan on UTUBE is a great resource, 150 short lessons with subtitles. Mr Duncan is now working in Shanghai, this amuses me because my mother-in-law could end up as his landlady. I would still like Mark Z to buy my 4 books and tell the world to do the same, then I could live in Palo Alto, and who knows Mark Zuckerberg could be my landlord.

 

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We all just love call centres (c) Jul 12, '12 3:31 PM

for everyone

We all just love call centres ©

 

 

 

By Michael Casey

 

 

 

 

 

We all just love call centres, we all just love it when they call when we've just sat down on the toilet and we're expecting a call from grandma in Shanghai. So the phone rings and we dash for the Andrex and the sink to wash our hands in. Then still pulling up our pants, we fall down stairs just as Norman Wisdom or Brian Rix would do, then pulling up our pants and doing up our trousers’ belt we pass by the hall mirror and see the black eye we've just got. We answer the phone, there is a long long pause, as if the call centre guy is having a final drag on his fag before answering, "hi I'm Guy, could I interest you in cable tv, I've got such a great package to offer." his voice oh so so sexy, in his imagination anyway. Has he not heard of Sky, the best package. So we swear in Shanghai dialect, and hang up the phone. Then we notice our trousers are split, the one's grandma in Shanghai had made for us, the trousers for her Panzi, her Fat Fat Boy son in law.

 

 

 

If only we could get revenge, just like in Bruce Almighty. A bottled water company rings, so we click our fingers and its as if the Dam Busters had breached that dam, a sodden girl will NEVER ring your number again. Then there's a knock at your door, its the Mormons, you smile and smile, and they start running away, only asking which way is the airport. Why? Well I'll leave that to your imagination. The phone rings again, so you do heavy breathing, only for a voice at the other end of the phone to say "I'm Sergeant Dixon, would you be interested in joining the neighbourhood watch scheme." "Sorry Wrong Number is your reply." You decide to change, you're half way up the stairs when the phone ring again, you turn and fall down the stairs again. Your wife is just in the door and she answers the phone, she can see you over her shoulder, "I told you you were too fat for those trousers" You trip over again, "bloody call centres is all you can say."

 

1 Comment

 

What Uniforms Say About UsJul 9, '12 8:54 AM

for everyone

What Uniforms Say About Us ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

 

 

Our eldest daughter is off to Secondary School in the Autumn, so she has a few taster days at the school, so it won’t all be a big surprise when she gets there. The parents are all invited too, so we can see what the school is like and what the school expects of the students. Some say the new school is strict, I just think its like my old Grammar school 40 years ago, so it’s good.

 

The new school had a uniform display and uniform shop so the parents could get ready for the new school term. It’s quiet expensive, but we have a younger daughter, so she can have the hand me downs. She is always happy with caste offs, we are lucky to have such a daughter. She’s seen the new school and decided she wants to go there too, so all in all a good deal.

 

Why do we have uniforms, to be uniform is the answer, though I never want to be uniform myself, I want to be me. In schools it’s to give an identity, or so the tell us; rich and poor alike look the same, so no envy can show its face. When you follow a football team you buy the strip because you want to look like your “heros”, the fans have a uniform, and a uniform appearance. The players wear a uniform so they don’t pass the ball to the wrong player, only to somebody in the same strip. As players they have lots individual traits, lots of different tempers playing together to win the game. When the team is successful the rewards are mind boggling, they have an off the field uniform, made up of Bentleys and bling, and vacuous trophy girlfriends, each with their the same body, the same uniform body.

 

We have uniforms in other areas of life, such as DHL and other courier people, it’s a brand so people know immediately how the man is knocking at their door. The Police have a uniform too, so we all know who the man is walking down the street, we feel protected by his uniform, it gives us reassurance on a Friday night. A priest has a uniform too, the clothes he wears when he says Mass, or the collar with the white bit in the centre instead of a tie. Uniforms help us connect with those who serve us, who protect us, who love us.

 

My dad had a uniform too, size ten steel toe capped boots, a small leather bag to carry his lunch in, an old Russian soldier overcoat to keep him warm once he left the warmth of the furnace in Brasshouse Lane. People have to be safe at work so there is a uniform to keep them safe, maybe a harness while they clean the windows on the 30th floor.

 

Teachers have their uniform too, shirt and tie and maybe a suit trousers and jacket. In my teaching days I wore chinos, blue chinos and a shirt and tie, though away from a classroom I wear rugby shirts, like an orange Polo with a Polo playing scene on it, it’s my off duty look. I always wear comfy Clarkes, your feet are important, especially if you stand all day. During my 3 years as a Concierge at CPNEC I was supposed to wear a uniform, I was too fat so I ended up wearing some decent trousers and an almost matching jacket. People always though I was the manager because I was not in a uniform like the reception crew, I was the silver haired guy, 20 years older that the reception people, so I must be the manager.

 

Everybody’s style is their own uniform, the pants falling off hips is a modern uniform, they want to be individuals but they all end up looking the same. Listening to the same music and wearing baseball caps back to front, holes in jeans, bad haircuts which are good, and bad means good now, its confusing. Music is a uniform too, all so very same, no never as good as decades before, pick your own decade. Flick through the music channels on Sky and its all so very samey, yes there are some great new people, Lady Gaga for example, but just how much is the music all the same, so uniform.

 

It’s our words that stop us being so uniform, how we speak and what we actually say, and then do. It’s when we step out of the uniform that we can make change. If you look at my photo what do you see and what do you think? “He’s an old fart, he can’t do anything .” You’ll have to judge for yourselves, I hope in the end you do realise, I’m not uniform.

 

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Tombstone (c) By Michael CaseyJul 5, '12 10:05 AM

for everyone

Tombstone (c) By Michael Casey

 

 

 

What do we leave when we leave this life? We leave a wife and grieving children, we leave a few friends. If we have had a long life we don't leave any friends because they have gone before us. All that remains of us is our tombstone, our name etched in gold on a stone.

 

 

 

Some have the job of erecting these stones, what do they think of as they put the stones in place? Do they think of the poor dead person lying dead below in the grass. Do the tombstone installers think of the lives gone before? Do they think of how old or young the deceased are. That man was the same age as me, or whatever?

 

 

 

The words chosen can reveal a little about the deceased. He was a dad, he was an uncle, he was a man without a name. He was the unknown soldier. She was a Jane Doe with nobody to mourn her, she had lain in a fridge for 6 months and now finally she was buried. Nodbody came to her funeral, just old Mrs Casey who hitched a ride with the priest so the dead were not buried all alone. A stranger saying a pray for the unloved.

 

 

 

Tombstones are not always sad. Spike Milligan had "I told you I was unwell" etched on his stone, written in Gaelic so not to offend English speakers. My own Chinese dad, my father in law his stone is all black marble with gold writing in Mandarin, but also on it is one small piece of English "MichaelgCasey" its almost as if my email address is on his tombstone, has the Internet reached Eternity? No, but it has reached one small corner of a Shanghai graveyard.

 

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From a Father to a DaughterJul 2, '12 6:47 PM

for everyone

From a Father to a Daughter ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

We took our small daughter swimming today, Monday is her day and Saturday is her big sister’s. As me and big sister watched the swimming we talked about the future, Secondary school. My daughter wanted to know what exactly Physics was, and could I help her with the Maths once she started secondary school. I promised to do my best but now it was a long time since I was at school.

 

I told her she could do anything she liked, she could be an architect or a designer, I mentioned the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing; here was a great design that was world famous, she was ½ Chinese after all so who knows what great things she could achieve. I don’t believe girls are restricted in their career or life path, in fact I do believe that girls are best.

 

I explained how it was when I was at grammar school, I was the 3rd brother in the same grammar school, GD as we called it. I said how we had some really clever people in my class, one Dr Peter as still a friend after 40years, I hoped she could make friends that would last a lifetime. I have told her to make friends especially with those who can help her with her weakest subjects, be honest and open about it, they can help each other, a trade if you like.

 

I explained that technique can beat brains, the chicken and the hare I miss said, it’s the tortoise and the hare, in the swimming baths they have a giant turtle on the wall as big as a bus. My big daughter has loads of technique, she has a great work ethos, she works so hard she could be a Protestant. Clever people can get lazy or bored, that’s when the technique of the worker beats them. My girl has beat the Maths wiz in her class because of her technique, so the little boy is cross, he is not the winner any more. I told her how her uncles used to stop up past Midnight that’s why they went to the best Universities in the world.

 

In two days time she will have an induction lesson at her new school, then in the evening we all go up to say hello and buy the school uniform. At home, the family home we have a photo over 35years old on the wall, its of my sister in her old grammar school uniform, so I will recreate that photo and give the photo to my sister so she can put it on her wall.

 

 

 

 

 

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PerspectiveJun 26, '12 12:51 PM

for everyone

Perspective ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

 

 

We were walking home after school and we decided to take another road instead of our usual one, it’s a quieter road and it’s a curvy road. What this did was change our perspective when we hit the main road again. In fact my daughter couldn’t recognise our street because of our view, we were higher and looking down at our street, the trees framed it, so it looked prettier than the normal view. I suppose every street has a good end and a bad end, we are at the good end I suppose and the bad end is the route to and from school. You could live your life and never see the other end of your street because you always take one route and never another, the quickest route to the bus stop or the shops.

 

As a non-driver I take a smaller amount of routes, because I’m on foot or I’m on the bus, so when the wife drives me places it’s a different perspective. Birmingham does have a good bus service so I get where I need to go without discovering too many different roads. Back streets stay off my radar, though I do go walkabout and enjoy our local woods and I dream about being able to live just besides the woods, I even have a name for a dog, Subway the dog will be our dog if ever I sell some books. I will enjoy daily walks in the woods with Subway, though its more likely I’d winn the lottery first, which means it’ll probably never happen, but dreams are dreams.

 

Perspective is a thing we have in life too, having a Shanghai wife has changed my perspective, a whole new world has opened up, I have an Eastern eye now. Having two daughters does change your perspective too, Disney Channel and girly tv, not to mention Fashion and girls knickers cluttering up the bathroom. This reminds me when I make some money I want my own bathroom too, a male only bathroom, with no lotions and potions in my way. The girls are far too young to shave, but I don’t want to share my razor with leg shaving girls in the future.

 

A tragedy is a very swift changer of Perspective, if only we knew this, if only we knew that, I would never have said this if I knew. Augustinian thinking talks about putting the other person’s shoes on, I didn’t learn this, it was part of a sermon I once heard at Saint Mary’s. Having an awareness for others’ views or feelings before blundering in, this is a mark of sensitive thinking. Lads may laugh and say you are “soft” but girls like the softer side, and the “drippy” one may end up with the Belle. In Tears for A Butcher the drippy lads will get the twin Belles, why will I write it that way, because I want to highlight what is truly best. So a man with a stammer and a man with a limp will get the two Princesses, these two blokes are the real men, not mouthy ignorant types that you see on Reality tv, its all about seeing Perspective after all.

 

1 Comment

 

Crockery or Cups and Saucers to You and MeJun 19, '12 8:21 AM

for everyone

Crockery or Cups and Saucers to You and Me ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

A cup, a glass, a mug. What do you drink from? I have a mug with a cat on the front with a mouse on its head, on the back is a reverse view. Its in a saucer like thing that came from a fancy mug, its either used as a saucer or you put it on top to keep your tea warm, so really it’s a lid that I use as a saucer.

 

Why do I ask you this? Well what we drink from or how we describe it denotes our Class or how we see ourselves. Politicians leaving with a mug of tea in their hands is a load of rubbish, its pretentious and I know I just say “I hope he spills it on himself the silly man” We used to have decent cups for visitors, and mum would say, “don’t give him one with a chip in”, all those years ago. The Royal Wedding, the Charles and Di one, led to mugs plastered with their picture. We had a cousin visit from Cork, he remarked that his kids would love one, so my mum emptied the dresser of the cups, mugs I mean. He had 6 kids so six mugs went back to Cork, you couldn’t miss out any of his children.

 

A visiting priest would get a cup and saucer, now that is posh, anybody else would get a mug, this was way back in the past. You’d have a sideboard in your middle room and the best crockery came out on important occasions, such as Christmas. We’d have a sugar bowl too that made an appearance at Christmas as well. Plates with fancy patterns and the plates had a design on the edge, so they weren’t exactly circular, they may have even had gold on them. A bottle or port was also in that cupboard and it came out on special occasions, that one bottle of port may have lasted 7 years.

 

I was still living at home when I came across a fancy crockery set, the love bird Chinese design on it. I bought it for a fiver of a tenner in West Brom. Six of everthing, cups, saucers, plates, side plates, and bowls. I told my mum the next person to get married in the family could have it. So it gathered dust in the sideboard in our middle room, we never had a lounge or dining room. We had front, middle and living room, no fancy names for us. The years moved on and nobody else got married, we all ended up marrying in our fourties. So I took the fancy crockery to my new home, the Chinese love birds design in blue, years later I married a Shanghai girl….

 

What you have in the dresser can say a lot about a family, how many in the family for example. I remember 40years ago and more my brother was looking for something, he thought it was on top of the dresser in are old, very small kitchen before the extension. He climbed up and leant on the indoor washing line we had across the kitchen, CRASH. The dresser fell over and everything was smashed, cups and saucers and plates the lot, we could have been a Greek family celebrating by smashing the crockery. Dad came home and he had to go back out again to Malcome’s on the Dudley Rd to replace everything. Dad returned with thick, really thick plates that might be strong enough to celebrate any Greek like celebrations.

 

In my kitchen cabinet I still have some of the Chinese love bird crockery, I even have some fancy thin plates with gold pattern on. I have my sister’s left overs, crockery not food that is. Now I have my own family things do wear out, you also get fireworks in your microwave. Gold pattern plates don’t mix with microwaves, it’s like lightning in the microwave. We have a lot of mugs too, Easter eggs in mugs means we have a new mug once the chocolate is eaten.

 

What about fine dining, we see all the cookery shows on tv, and we see fancy people all dressed up with all the knives and forks in front of them. I think you start from the outside and work your way inwards, though if anybody thinks to invite me, they should know this I eat with a fork in my right hand, so the crockery needs to be the other way around.

 

3 Comments

 

One DimensionalJun 16, '12 5:57 PM

for everyone

One Dimensional ©

 

 

 

By Michael Casey

 

 

 

One Dimensional, what does that mean to you? To me it’s when you come across somebody or thing that is flat. No personality, no comprehending of anything other than itself. You may meet a maths geek, who can even get a PhD in maths very early in his/her life, but do they know anything else? Do they know about History or Art or Music, or about anybody else's Faith or belief? Do they even care for anything else, are they stuck in a rut. It really saddens me when you meet such a person, that person is only half a person. Their parents may be proud parents and he is even the joy of the village, but really the "genius" is just 1/2 a person. Think back to Good Will Hunting, the genius in the end throws it all away so her can chase after his girl and find love. I support that view entirely, I've heard of somebody like that who was lost, all alone, a prisoner in his own mind. I remind my girls they should have lots of different things in their lives, be observant, watch and observe life all around them. They may make it as writers where I have not so far. Life is Lego, you mix and match experiences and friends and things to build something new, then you take it apart and make something else. With one friend we are like this, we another we are like that. If we drink we may be more relaxed or we may just be terrible and chase the girls and get our faces slapped or get beaten up by husbands and boyfriends. Life is a mixture of happy and sad or even tragic events, it shapes us or moulds us. We are not rock, we are like sponges that soak up life's events. I hope I'm never called One Dimensional, with the size of my chest and belly that will never happen. I know a man who travelled all around the world, he came back to our company and he was exactly the same as before he left, dull. I'm not asking people to deny what they are, to abandon their faith or their loves, or what they are good at and enjoy. I just want people to see the world with bigger eyes, to talk to walk, to sing and shout, not just to smirk when they have a PhD in maths at 17 years old. Go and do something different, experience more of the world, you cannot make love to a calculator. You can travel in your mind and you can be a writer, you can touch people with your words, you can bring them hope, you can bring solace. Just be more than One Dimension.

 

 

 

 

 

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Growing Up For DadsJun 12, '12 5:28 PM

for everyone

Growing Up For Dads ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

Does anybody remember Algebra? My daughter is doing lots of maths and she asks me to help. Arithmetic I can do and I remember getting 4 of the best on my behind by the teacher with a pump, for not knowing my times tables. Next time he asked I knew them. I was 8 at the time. I did do my Maths exam one year early along with English but that's a long time ago. My wife was a toddler then, I do have a young wife. But its at the edge of my memory when I am asked questions by my daughter. She moves to 2ndary school in September and having an 11year old in the house is amazing. And it only feels like seconds ago when she was born in the middle of the night. So time and tide and algebra waits for no man. Arithmetic is spontaneous, I don't even know just how do I know the answers. I just do, and that's great because I can help my daughter. She looks exactly like me, a I look at her face its like looking into a magical looking glass and I'm seeing myself as a child, though she is a femine version of myself. So I have grown older with silver hair, a sign of wisdom I hope, but in her face I see the future again. I hope I'll be of use as she progresses through 2ndary school. I had to visit the school today to fill a few forms in, I walked it so I could tell her just how much time she'd need to get there. I ended up walking 5miles or 8 k today, good for my fat belly no doubt. I was able to answer questions on Quakers and The Society Of Friends, I was even able to tell her that Dame Judy Dench, M, James Bond's boss was a Quaker. So I'm not totally useless after all.

 

 

 

 

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Look in the mirror and what do you see?Jun 8, '12 3:12 PM

for everyone

Look in the mirror and what do you see? ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

 

 

Looking in the mirror what do you see?

 

Do you see yourself looking back at you?

 

Do you see grey hairs or are you still black?

 

Do you see yourself pretty and young?

 

Are you 20 or 30 or 40 or more?

 

Does a mirror show your age or just your rage?

 

Does your bust stand proud, or has it sagged?

 

Does your stumble look white, are you balding and white?

 

Is your hair receding to match your pot belly?

 

Does your corset hold everything in?

 

Do younger men still look at you, are you still young enough to

 

blush?

 

When you look into your eyes are you sad and grey?

 

Have the lights gone out in your eyes?

 

Or is there a glint, a bit of mischief too?

 

Or are your eyes sad and lonely, all hope gone?

 

When the kids come home do you dispare?

 

Or is there joy and life in your eyes and heart?

 

Does a kiss make you want to hold her tight and ask for more?

 

Is your spirit like a leaf blowing across Autumn skies?

 

Does your spirit reach for the sky?

 

When you finish putting on a tie and you look into the mirror to

 

see if it is straight, do you smile or do you frown?

 

The eyes are the mirror of the soul, so be you man or be you

 

woman let the lights flicker in the mirror of your soul.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

 

From Bedworth to Bookshelf and BeyondJun 5, '12 7:04 PM

for everyone

From Bedworth to Bookshelf and Beyond©

 

By Michael Casey

 

 

 

The title sounds like a Buzz Light Year saying in Toy Story but its not. I’m just wondering why when I Google stuff it keeps on popping up and saying I’m in Bedworth when I’m always in Birmingham. Any offers? Am I a botneck or whatever where your computer gets taken over? I don’t think so, and its not all the time, its just irritating. I have antivirus and so forth, so why oh why does Google say I’m in Bedworth.

 

Perhaps there’s a GCHQ in Bedworth, perhaps they have an interest in my writing. But michaelgcasey.multiply.com has all my stuff on it, and I annoy Daily Telegraph readers by posting there and on Facebook too. So why Bedworth, can’t they wait to read my bi-weekly posts?

 

I also stumbled on something during my regular random Google searches, don’t do a writing course, just write. A famous SciFi writer is quoted as saying that, I’ve never heard of him myself, but he’s never heard of me. I think if you haven’t got an imagination no amount of courses can give you one. As for style, that just makes me sick, people are all taught to write with the same style, the teacher’s style. Watch some American tv and read a little, and see how the style is all the same, I’m not just talking about writing but about reporters reporting style. They all sound like undertakers with a death wish, “hey man be happy you are still alive” I want to shout at them.

 

So you write and you put 4 books on Amazon Kindle, you have 300unique blogs on your site, but you don’t make a bean. Why is this? Because the only people who make money are those writers who cannot write and just write writers self help books. Or coffee table books written by Z listers boasting about their sex lives with Y listers, so of course they sell 2,000,000 copies. Though 1,000,000 copies are remaindered, and you can buy the 20quid opus for a fiver in the Works.

 

Perhaps I should write a sex on the coffee table book, which would sell 3,000,000 copies, but that would be too boring to write. Perhaps I should go on the after dinner speaking circuit, I could warm up the audience for Tony Blair or George Bush, I’d do an hour and get 100quid, they do 30mins and get 20,000. My speech would be funnier but nobody would come for me, I’m just the warm up man, but at least I’d get a great free dinner.

 

See its nice to dream, I hope it proves I have an imagination, which might mean I should be a writer after all.

 

0 Comments

 

Ad Skipper - Life SkipperMay 29, '12 1:30 PM

for everyone

Ad Skipper – Life Skipper ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

I read in the news that Dish TV wanted to skip the ads in the tv it bought for its viewers, really its trying to get a discount from Fox, but this is their bargaining ploy. They have a machine that will skip the ads, now as in all things American its in the hands of the lawyers.

 

We have a Sky+ box at home and we use it to skip the ads, we record a lot of tv so that we as a family can watch it at a later date. A one hour show is really 50mins, we skip the ads when we watch the show at a later date, its fun watching ads at x30 when we are skipping back to Glee, skipping and Glee do go together, don’t forget the 90min show in 3 days time. Films not on the BBC can have 20mins of ads in the middle or at the end when the film has really finished but the next show has not started. So perhaps Dish subscribers should just watch everything an hour later and then use a Sky+ box or equivalent to avoid the ads. With the US Election in full swing that in itself is a good reason to time shift.

 

But what if you could Life Shift or Life Skip, what would you avoid? Would you fast forward past your first broken heart, fast forward through the month of tears, a month of cuddling up to your old teddy bear, fast forward calling all men “BASTARDS” or all women “WHORES”? Would you fast forward past all the comfort eating, the days of not shaving and not caring, the days of tears? What about when your pet gerbil died and it was buried with full honours in an old shoebox in the garden, you had plucked a few rose petals and thrown them over its grave. In the night you hear the foxes in your garden and your beloved gerbil had become their take away or rather dig up and take away.

 

Would you skip your first bump on your brand new car, a 10 year old mini, your pride and joy, you spent days polishing it, and then you had a run in with old Mr Jones a 85 year old, and it was your fault. These are the events that mark us, the events we wish never happened, your mum says it’ll all come out in the wash, and all you want to do is drown yourself, in the bath. Instead you compromise and drown your sorrows and then get done for drink driving on your way home from the pub, you get banned for a year and have to sell your car.

 

If there was a machine just to edit out the bad parts of our lives that would sell. We’d all have perfect lives, we’d all be like Hello Magazine people, perfect just perfect. No beer bellies and 5 days worth of growth and not enough deodorant, we’d be perfect just like Prom Kings and Queens in Glee.

 

Do we learn from the bad bits, the unedited bits of our lives, the slow and painful bits, the embarrassing bits that seem to last forever? I’ve had more than my fair share of less than perfect times, learning the hard way is the best way, even though at the time I wished it was over. There is a Shakespearean sonnet where he speaks of the value of a good friend or partner who will stick with you through thick and thin, a bit like wedding vows, for richer for poorer etc. You DO know who your friends are when things get sticky, we cannot fast forward real life, only tv can be fast forwarded. That’s why art imitates life, and not the other way around.

 

 

 

0 Comments

 

Pens and PenmanshipMay 23, '12 11:22 AM

for everyone

Pens and Penmanship ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

 

 

I just read a piece in the BBC magazine online, it was all about fountain pens. Now I immediately have to confess my writing is terrible, and no I’m not pretending, as far back as 40 years ago at grammar school I was told off for it. In fact I was told off in Primary school too, they even got me to write a few rows of “a” and of “b” and so on, it failed to improved my writing, I was a massive reader at the time, for one year I was practically left alone to read, perhaps it was then that my writing died. In grammar school my friends said my writing was like drunken spiders, or in today’s world my writing is like spiders on acid. So there you have it, my writing is bad, very bad. So bad perhaps I should be a doctor.

 

Once you have bad hand writing people take the mick when you tell them you are a writer, as did the nice lady from the neighbourhood office a couple of weeks ago when my daughter went to collect a prize for drawing. Both my daughters draw and paint, they are very very good at it, they have a collection of 700 crayons and paints and pencils, not to mention felts and gel pens and all things that can make marks on paper. My daughters always need more, so that’s dad’s job to provide more artists material. I am of course very jealous of their skills, if I bit the top off my thumb and used that to sign my name that would be an improvement on my signature.

 

So what can a writer who cannot write do? He can type, I remember learning to type in 1978, I stood at the bus stop moving my fingers and trying to remember the qwerty keyboard. Now I’m a fast typist, when I’m writing my stuff, I’m not so fast as a copy typist, nothing is more boring than typing up somebody else’s stuff. I remember one of the more mature ladies at the law firm who said “I was once clocked at 100wpm” and so she was, and that why one of the partners gave her two crates of champagne as a personal thank you for her typing, at that speed the paper would catch fire no doubt, if we still used the old typewriters.

 

So how can this writer improve his writing? I use different fonts on Word, and hope people like the look, looks do make a difference. If I can give a silly example, the ASDA near us uses a big bold font, but the size is too small and the letters touch other. This means to my eyes it’s terrible, and that’s the only complaint I have about the store, but I’m sure if any ASDA people read this they may change it. A sign encourages us to buy or to laugh, when we leave stuff out in the entry for Sky Burial I leave a note encouraging people to take our junk away. “Sit on Me” for a chair, and “sleep with me” for a bed, as I look out the window our gay neighbours are getting a new bed.

 

We get loads of junk email, if we had an open fire we’d never need to buy fuel, we’d just toast our bread on junk mail. Junk mail tries to look appealing and is printed on glossy paper, glossy paper is very heavy as I can remember when I carried bags at CPNEC, homes abroad salesmen had cases and cases of the stuff. So writing and communicating all needs words, good words from a writer, but how those words are written and displayed has a massive impact, ask any politician. When contracts are signed it’s done on quality paper that is bound together with a heat bind seal, and it’ll be a red seal if the contact is for Chinese clients, I know I’ve done 1000s. So presentation is king, you don’t want “thank you for your pieces of paper” when you send stuff to a publisher, and yes 25 years ago I did get that putdown. I hope you are all enjoying this Bookman Old Style, but I know just how important type setting is, another putdown a really good snide one was when I was turned down for a job and the HR lady replied in flowewry type face and yes I do know her name.

 

All I can say is thank God for word processors, 1988 was the year I bought an Atari520 just for the word processor and it was very very expensive, it did play a big part in my life, I had Shoplife accepted by a theatre, I wrote it in Aug 1988 when the Olympics were on. Yes I’d love to be able to write, but I can write but not handwrite, so I hope any future readers will accept a rubber stamp when I do any book signings, my daughters will be on hand to draw a cartoon on each book.

 

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Alternative SwearingMay 15, '12 12:29 PM

for everyone

Alternative Swearing ©

 

By Michael Casey

 

Swearing is the norm nowadays, but if it defuses anger and prevents physical violence then I’d say it’s a good thing, it’s a safety valve. In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe “Belgium” was the worse thing that could be said. Nowadays everybody swears in films, American TV is very strict so that when it comes to films all the swears that could not be said on tv are said on film. I remember watching Saturday Night Fever when it first came out and thinking they don’t need all this swearing, and later the film was edited so that it got a lower certification and more people could enjoy John Travolta, as you all know I am Birmingham’s answer to John Travolta.

 

Now how to we prevent the air going blue, so that the ladies don’t blush and aren’t offended by all the language. I was talking to Bernard Manning the other day, well in my imagination anyway, and he gave me loads of ideas, as did Lennie Bruce, they share a cloud together in Heaven, it’s a blue cloud of course. You aren’t calling me a “flowering petal” are you? I’ll be very angry if you are, “you’re just a custard cream anyway” Now don’t look at me with that tone of voice or I’ll “dip your biscuit in my tea” and there won’t be any “sugar in it either” Are you calling me a “Politician, take it back you table you” ok, so we’ve all calmed down a bit.

 

“Politician” is the rudest word of all in the alternative swearing dictionary, though don’t broadcast this but I was once called “A lollypop lady”, I nearly used a “liquorice” on the person who called me it. Our local MP is a bit of a “custard pie” it must be true it’s written on all the bus shelters. Tell me why he is a custard pie, that I cannot deny, he really IS a custard pie. What do politicians, real politicians call themselves? Honest as the day is long is what politicians call themselves, but in reply the press corps call them “A bunch of Daylight Savings, fiddling with the minute hands” which sounds about right. Just a moment I can hear my phone ringing, no not another metaphor, my phone really is ringing.

 

I’m a bit flustered, that phone call was the worst I’ve ever had in my life, an hour of heavy breathing, then the lady called me, I can’t bring myself to repeat what she said, it was so shocking, an hour of heavy breathing from a lady I can handle, but she just called me a “political WRITER”.

 

 

 

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