Friday, December 30, 2016

Intentional Interconnections

“Their roots are interconnected,” she explains, her long fingers reaching forward and intertwining, “and they sustain each other!” Around us the patrons of the ‘Goats on the Roof’ market peck at the produce; the place is a swirl of customers, most of them, like ourselves, tourists from afar. My brother, recently arrived for a visit from South Africa, leans forward across the table in the restaurant section, and adds, “Yes, in Africa there is a tree that when being eaten by giraffes, sets off a distasteful chemical in its leaves and relays the message to the surrounding trees so that they change their leaves too.” We three nod. It is a moment, like the Christmas song, in which we indeed conspire. After all, which of us living things do not breathe together? Oxygen is shared by all. And for my friend who drove to interconnect with us (as my brother and I stopped there on our way back from the furthest west Pacific Rim National Park,) there remains that impending consideration, “until death o’erwhelms us.”

2016 leaves us with an awful amount of bad news. The list of famous and well-known and significant and not-so-well-known persons who ‘departed’ this life in 2016 is astounding (see below*). Psychologist Dolores Cannon, after her gleanings from mankind, has very many works published on the intriguing assertion that we are visited by successive waves of alien beings, fundamentally connected in the universe, and not only taking human form, but being unconscious of their precise origins, until subjected to deep hypnosis. Client after client has revealed to her that their mission in life is to advance the collective good of our earth, for there is fear that humans will blow up the planet in a nuclear explosion that adversely will affect the entire universe. And so the first wave has been and gone, but those aliens of the second and third wave are here, breathing among us! And their chief objective is to contribute toward the health of the whole. Yet, it would appear, with the 2016 departure of so very many of our most precious souls, influential souls, there is “something wicked that this way comes”?

The rise of Hitler has been likened to the rise of Trump. Yet rational humans have chosen him as their champion. And there are rational arguments for his succession. In order for a paradigm shift to occur we needs break down the old paradigms. Trump represents the spearhead that not only pricks and prods but also cleaves open the walls of the self-containment of The Old Guard. New and fresh approaches to detente, to government, to politics, to economic welfare, to social and education constructs, and to being a citizen are about to be formalized. Whether four years or eight, the presidency of Donald Trump is bound to influence the progress of the whole human race. Already, very many little girls are being told how to overcome. And very many little boys are being bolstered. Role models abound! After all, which of us is not affected by the leadership and pronouncements and behaviour and inclinations of a significant other? (Indeed, like those trees in the forests of all our history, we remain interlinked.)

When the ship in the bottle finally reached me, for this Christmas, it’d sailed its way from the early 1940’s, since before my birth. For very many years it’d rested in Australia on M’Lady Nancy’s fireplace mantle, near Perth. In an old Haig whiskey bottle (three sided and pinched in at the sides), the frigate within sails sublimely in unchanging air on an azure sea. Protected from all the weathers without, the triple-mast vessel sails in a world of its own independence; dependent only on not being dropped. Not so for mankind. We are very much linked to the fortunes and welfare and considerations and care of one another. We conspire in air that allows for us all to breathe. And like brothers and sisters to and for each other, our connections ripple across the waves, reverberate underground, and conspire under the light of our sun, the stars, and the moon. Yes, may we attend to the very roots of our gardens, indeed!


2016 deaths: The great, the good and the lesser known
30 December 2016
From the section Magazine
The year 2016 has been called that of the big celebrity death. But alongside notable names such as Bowie, Muhammad Ali and Victoria Wood, were others - many of whom had not lived in quite such an intense public glare.
With the first months of the year seeing a flurry of death announcements, it has been suggested that 2016 has seen a higher than normal number of "famous deaths".
Now, at the year's end, take a closer look at the lives of 34 people - some better known than others - who died in the past 12 months. And then scroll on to see who else we said goodbye to in 2016.
Colonel Abrams - US musician and singer, best remembered in the UK for his 1980s signature hit Trapped
Ernestine Anderson - US jazz and blues singer
Pierre Boulez - French composer and conductor, he also spearheaded the music venue The Paris Philharmonic
Pete Burns - Dead Or Alive lead singer who had a UK number one hit in 1985 with You Spin Me Round. He later became a reality TV star
John Chilton - jazz trumpeter who lead the Feetwarmers, the band that accompanied George Melly
Leonard Cohen - Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist - his work includes the song Hallelujah
Padraig Duggan - one of the founding members of Irish folk group Clannad
Keith Emerson - musician and composer - founding member of progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Emile Ford - musician who had a UK number one with What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?
Glenn Frey - US singer and musician, and founding member of the US rock band the Eagles
Valerie Gell - guitarist and singer with the 1960s all-female group The Liverbirds
David Gest - US music producer and reality star on UK television
Craig Gill - drummer with the Inspiral Carpets at the heart of the "Madchester" scene of the late 1980s and early 90s
Dale Griffin - drummer and founding member of the 1970s glam rock band Mott the Hoople
Nikolaus Harnoncourt - celebrated Austrian conductor considered to be the "pope" of the baroque music revival
Merle Haggard - American country music legend credited with helping to define the "Bakersfield sound" that influenced future country performers
Joan Marie Johnson - American co-founder of the 1960s pop trio The Dixie Cups, who recorded such classics as Chapel of Love and Iko Iko
Sharon Jones - American singer who spearheaded a soul revival movement with her band the Dap-Kings
Paul Kantner - American singer-guitarist, and founding member of the rock band Jefferson Airplane
Greg Lake - fronted both King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Also known for his solo hit I Believe in Father Christmas
John D Loudermilk - American singer and songwriter best known for writing the 1960s hit Tobacco Road
Sir Neville Marriner - conductor and violinist who established the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, one of the world's leading chamber orchestras
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies - celebrated for his prolific and often unpredictable compositions, later to become Master of the Queen's Music
Scotty Moore - pioneering rock guitarist who was a member of Elvis Presley's original band and helped Presley shape his musical sound
Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman - founder member of Thunderclap Newman, best known for their 1969 hit Something in the Air
Rick Parfitt - one of rock's most recognisable guitarists, he remained, with Francis Rossi, at the core of Status Quo - from their early psychedelic-inspired incarnation in the late 1960s, to their later brand of foot-tapping boogie-rock
Billy Paul - American soul singer best known for his 1972 US chart-topper Me and Mrs Jones
Harry Rabinowitz - composer and conductor, who conducted the scores for more than 60 films including Chariots of Fire
Leon Russell - American rock'n'roll hall of famer. Writer of hit songs including Delta Lady
Frank Sinatra Jr - American singer who carried on his father's legacy with his own career in music
Dave Swarbrick - folk musician, singer and songwriter best known for his work with group Fairport Convention
Rod Temperton - British songwriter best known for Michael Jackson's Thriller and Rock With You
Maurice White - founder of US soul group Earth, Wind & Fire, whose hits include September and Boogie Wonderland
Guy Woolfenden - long-serving musical director at the Royal Shakespeare Company
Colin Vearncombe - singer-songwriter who performed under the name Black. His 1987 single Wonderful Life was a top 10 hit around the world
Bobby Vee - US singer best known for hits including Rubber Ball, Take Good Care of My Baby and The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
Alan Vega - co-founder and frontman of the 1970s American electronic band Suicide, which used early drum machines and synthesisers and was known for chaotic and violent shows
Joe Alaskey - US voice artist who, after the death of Mel Blanc in 1989, provided vocals for Looney Tunes characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck
Jean Alexander - famous for playing Coronation Street's Hilda Ogden, one of the best-loved soap characters in British TV history
Sylvia Anderson - voice of Lady Penelope in the 1960s puppet series Thunderbirds - which she produced with her husband Gerry
Kenny Baker - starred as the "droid" R2-D2 - alongside C-3PO - in six Star Wars films from 1977
Ken Barrie - voice of the children's TV favourite Postman Pat
Charmian Carr - played the eldest von Trapp daughter Liesl in the 1965 film The Sound of Music
Alan Devereux - played the role of Sid Perks in BBC Radio 4's The Archers for nearly 50 years
Hazel Douglas - best known from her seven-decade career for the film role of Bathilda Bagshot in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Larry Drake - best known for playing office assistant Benny Stulwicz on the US show LA Law in the 1980s and 90s
Patty Duke - won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker in 1963
Ronnie Claire Edwards - best known for playing Corabeth Walton Godsey in the 1970s US show The Waltons
Ann Emery - veteran actress who played Ethel Meaker in children's show Rentaghost, and Grandma in the original stage cast of Billy Elliot
Frank Finlay - stage and screen actor, who earned an Oscar nomination for his role as Iago opposite Laurence Olivier in Othello in 1965
Zsa Zsa Gabor - Hungarian-born Hollywood actress, she appeared in more than 70 films but was more famous for her celebrity lifestyle and nine marriages
Bernard Gallagher - enjoyed a six-decade career, known for playing consultant Ewart Plimmer in the first three years of BBC series Casualty
George Gaynes - played Commandant Lassard in all seven Police Academy films
Vivean Gray - played the interfering busybody Mrs Mangel in the Australian soap Neighbours
Dan Haggerty - rose to fame starring as frontier woodsman Grizzly Adams in a film and TV series in the 1970s
Florence Henderson - from 1969 played matriarch Carol Brady in the US TV series The Brady Bunch
Robert Horton - played frontier scout Flint McCullough on the US TV western Wagon Train which ran from 1957 to 1965
Barry Howard - best known for his deadpan role as ballroom dancer Barry Stuart-Hargreaves in the holiday camp comedy Hi-de-Hi!
David Huddleston - played the title roles in The Big Lebowski and Santa Claus: The Movie
Frank Kelly - stage and screen actor best known for playing the ranting Father Jack in the Channel 4 comedy Father Ted
George Kennedy - won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "Cool Hand Luke" in 1968, and also starred in The Dirty Dozen and The Naked Gun films
Burt Kwouk - most of his roles were straight ones, but best known as Inspector Clouseau's karate-kicking manservant Cato, in the Pink Panther films
Madeleine Lebeau - French actress who was the last surviving cast member of the 1942 classic film Casablanca, in which she played the part of Yvonne
William Lucas - played Dr Gordon 1970s equine children's drama The Adventures of Black Beauty
Valerie Lush - veteran actor who played Auntie Flo in the 1970s sitcoms And Mother Makes Three and And Mother Makes Five
Noel Neill - the first actress to play reporter Lois Lane in Superman on screen
Bill Nunn - best known for his role as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing
Hugh O'Brian - starred as Wyatt Earp in the first US television Western aimed at adults, which began in 1955
Louise Plowright - played hairdresser Julie Cooper in EastEnders, and co-starred in Mamma Mia! the musical on the West End stage for five years
Debbie Reynolds - leading lady in a succession of Hollywood musicals and comedies after rising to fame, at the age of 19, in the 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain opposite Gene Kelly. She died a day after the death of her daughter, Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher
Doris Roberts - played meddling mother Marie Barone in US sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond
Andrew Sachs - his long and varied career was defined by his role as Spanish waiter Manuel in the classic BBC TV comedy Fawlty Towers
Sheila Sim - film and theatre actress, the wife of the actor and director Richard Attenborough
Morag Siller - actor known for her TV roles in Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Casualty, she also also appeared on stage in Mamma Mia! and Les Miserables
David Swift - perhaps best known for playing news anchor Henry Davenport in the Channel 4 newsroom comedy Drop the Dead Donkey
Gareth Thomas - best known for the title role of Roj Blake, in the BBC science series Blake's 7
Van Williams - played the masked crime-fighter The Green Hornet in the 1960s American TV series
Peter Vaughan - an ever-present figure on stage, screen and television, he gained huge audiences with sitcoms such as Porridge and more recently the Game of Thrones series
Robert Vaughn - an elegant presence in film and television for more than 50 years, best-known for playing Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Abe Vigoda - played Sal Tessio, an old friend of Marlon Brando's Don Corleone, in the classic mafia film The Godfather
Anton Yelchin - played Pavel Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek films released in 2009 and 2013
Alan Young - actor and comedian who starred alongside a talking horse in the popular sitcom Mr Ed in the 1960s
Sir Ken Adam - famous for his work on Dr Strangelove and seven James Bond films, he also designed the car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Hector Babenco - Argentine-born Brazilian director best known for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985
Robert Banks Stewart - created the Jersey-based detective Jim Bergerac and radio-DJ-cum-private-detective Eddie Shoestring for the BBC
Michael Cimino - director of the 1978 Vietnam War film The Deer Hunter
Jim Clark - British film editor who won an Oscar for his work on the 1984 movie The Killing Fields
Vlasta Dalibor - Czech-born British creator, with her husband Jan, of the squeaky-voiced puppets Pinky and Perky in 1956
Howard Davies - Olivier award-winner, known for his work at venues that included the Old Vic and National Theatre
Tony Dyson - British designer who built the R2-D2 droid model used in the original Star Wars films
Reg Grundy - television producer behind the Australian soap operas Neighbours, The Young Doctors and Prisoner: Cell Block H
Robin Hardy - best known for cult British film The Wicker Man, starring Sir Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward
Guy Hamilton - directed four James Bond films: Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever
Earl Hamner Jr - created the 1970s television show The Waltons, which was inspired by his own childhood
Arthur Hiller - Canadian director of Love Story who went on to be president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Sir Antony Jay - co-writer of the BBC TV political comedies Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister
Garry Marshall - writer, director and actor behind Hollywood blockbusters Pretty Woman and Beaches, and sitcoms including Happy Days and Mork and Mindy
Gordon Murray - creator and puppeteer of the BBC children's series Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley
Jimmy Perry - one of the greatest British TV comedy writers best known for BBC series Dad's Army, It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Hi-de-Hi!
Douglas Slocombe - British cinematographer who shot 80 films, from classic Ealing to the Indiana Jones adventures
William Smethurst - editor credited with revitalising BBC Radio 4's The Archers from 1978 to 1986
Robert Stigwood - Australian impresario who managed Cream and the Bee Gees before producing the rock musicals Saturday Night Fever and Grease
Tony Warren - created the UK's longest-running television soap opera Coronation Street, inspired by the strong female figures around him when he was growing up in Salford
Michael White - British producer behind The Rocky Horror Picture Show film and Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Vilmos Zsigmond - Hungarian-born cinematographer known for his work on The Deer Hunter, for which he won a Bafta, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, for which he won an Oscar
Paul Daniels - brought a new dimension to the art of the stage magician, mixing complex tricks with jokes and non-stop patter on primetime Saturday night television
Garry Shandling - American stand-up comedian who played the title role in the Emmy award winning Larry Sanders Show from 1992 to 1998
Liz Smith - won a Bafta in 1984 for her part in the film A Private Function, she is most fondly remembered for her parts in the BBC sitcoms Vicar of Dibley and the Royle Family
Peggy Spencer - dancing legend known to millions of viewers for her role on BBC TV's Come Dancing
Sally Brampton - founding editor of Elle magazine in the UK and newspaper columnist, who had spoken of her struggle with depression
Dave Cash - veteran broadcaster who started with pirate Radio London, saw the launch of Radio 1 and Capital Radio, and since 1999 worked at BBC Radio Kent
David Duffield - passionate cycling commentator who worked for Eurosport across two decades
Ian McCaskill - popular BBC weather forecaster for 20 years, who even had his own Spitting Image puppet
Cliff Michelmore - anchor of the BBC's current affairs show Tonight in the 1950s and 60s, who went on to host the Holiday programme
Michael Nicholson - veteran war correspondent who joined ITN in 1964, and reported on the fall of Saigon in 1975, the Falklands War, the Balkans conflict, the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq
Sylvia Peters - BBC television announcer for the Queen's 1953 coronation, and also helped Her Majesty prepare for her first Christmas broadcast
Denise Robertson - resident agony aunt on the ITV show This Morning
Ed "Stewpot" Stewart - radio and television presenter best known for his radio request show Junior Choice and the children's TV series Crackerjack
Gerald Williams - one of the voices of Wimbledon, who commentated on tennis for BBC television and radio
Richard Adams - author who turned a story he told to his two daughters on a long car journey into the best-selling novel Watership Down. The book, about a group of rabbits trying to escape from their threatened warren, was turned into an animated children's film in 1978
Martin Aitchison - produced technical drawings for the bouncing bomb ahead of the Dam Busters raid in World War Two, then an illustrator for the Eagle comic and Ladybird's Peter and Jane books in the 1950s and 60s
Edward Albee - Pulitzer prize-winning US playwright who wrote Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
ER Braithwaite - Guyanese-born British-American writer who wrote, based on his experiences as a black teacher in a London school, the 1959 novel To Sir, With Love, which was turned into a successful film
Anita Brookner - art historian turned author who wrote 24 novels and won the Booker prize in 1984 for Hotel du Lac
Pat Conroy - author whose best-selling novels include Prince of Tides and Water is Wide
Umberto Eco - Italian writer and philosopher best known for his novel The Name of the Rose
Dario Fo - Italian playwright and actor known for his cutting political satires and for winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997
Margaret Forster - award-wining writer best known for her novels Georgy Girl and Diary of an Ordinary Woman
Barry Hines - author and screenwriter whose best known book, A Kestrel for a Knave, was turned into Ken Loach's 1969 film Kes
Jim Harrison - American writer best known for his 1979 novella Legends of the Fall, which was made into a film starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins
Robert Nye - author and poet whose 1976 novel Falstaff won the Guardian fiction prize and the Hawthornden
Sir Peter Shaffer - playwright Sir Peter Shaffer, who won an Oscar for Amadeus and wrote Equus
King Bhumibol Adulyadej - seen as a stabilising figure in Thailand, the world's longest-reigning monarch, he died after 70 years as head of state
Lord Avebury - Eric Lubbock, later Lord Avebury, was the Liberal MP for Orpington for eight years, but went on to become a staunch human rights campaigner in the Lords
Lord Taylor of Blackburn - a dominant figure in Lancashire politics, Thomas Taylor led the Taylor report into school governing bodies in 1977, and entered the Lords as a life peer a year later
Rabbi Lionel Blue - a regular on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day and the first openly gay British rabbi, he was known for his liberal teachings and supporting other gay members of the Jewish faith
Boutros Boutros-Ghali - Egyptian-born UN Secretary-General between 1992 and 1996 who sharply divided world opinion
Sir Robin Chichester-Clark - former Ulster Unionist MP for Londonderry, a moderate who served in Edward Heath's government but, as sectarian violence worsened in Northern Ireland, he left politics in 1974
The Most Rev Edward Daly - retired Catholic Bishop of Derry, remembered as the priest who helped those under fire on Bloody Sunday in 1972
Harry Harpham - Labour MP, a former Nottinghamshire miner who was elected member for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough in 2015
Luc Hoffmann - Swiss conservationist who was a co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund
The Right Rev David Jenkins - former Bishop of Durham dubbed the "unbelieving bishop" after saying he did not believe God would have arranged a virgin birth and the resurrection
Islam Karimov - long-serving and authoritarian president of former Soviet Central Asian state of Uzbekistan, accused of repressing his opponents
Lord Mayhew - former Conservative cabinet minister Patrick Mayhew served as Northern Ireland secretary and attorney general
Willie McKelvey - Scottish Labour MP from 1979 to 1997, and a mentor to politician George Galloway
Lord Parkinson - Conservative politician given much credit for the Tory landslide election victory in 1983, Cecil Parkinson quit the cabinet soon after, when it emerged his ex-secretary Sara Keays was carrying his child
Lord Prior - former Conservative cabinet minister Jim Prior served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles in the early 1980s
Ken Purchase - former Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East, who represented his Black Country constituency for 18 years after being elected at the second attempt in 1992
David Rendel - Liberal Democrat politician who won the Newbury seat from the Conservatives in a by-election in 1993, and held the town until 2005
Antonin Scalia - influential and conservative justice of the American supreme court who defended the original text of the US Constitution
Elie Wiesel - Romanian-born US Nobel peace laureate, political campaigner and author who wrote about his experiences as a teenager in Nazi concentration camps, where he lost his mother, father and younger sister
Lady Elizabeth Longman - friend and bridesmaid to the Queen
Margaret Rhodes - Queen's first cousin and one of her most trusted confidantes
The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne - Queen's cousin, Michael Fergus Bowes Lyon, who enhanced Glamis Castle
Raine, Countess Spencer - daughter of the romantic novelist Barbara Cartland and stepmother of Diana, Princess of Wales
The Duke of Westminster - billionaire landowner and philanthropist Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor was said to be the third richest person in the UK
Lord Briggs - Asa Briggs worked at the Bletchley Park code-breaking station during World War Two, and would become a leading historian and adult education pioneer, helping to set up the Open University and Sussex University
Denton Cooley - American surgeon who implanted the first totally artificial heart in a patient in 1969
Donald Henderson - US doctor and epidemiologist who led a successful World Health Organization campaign to wipe out smallpox worldwide
John Glenn - the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, who later became a Democratic senator
Henry Heimlich - US doctor credited with inventing, in 1974, a lifesaving anti-choking technique, which uses abdominal thrusts to clear a person's airway
Valerie Hunter Gordon - mother-of-six who invented the disposable nappy after having her third child, Nigel, in 1947
W Dudley Johnson - US heart surgeon who developed coronary bypass operations and performed thousands of operations
Vijay Kakkar - surgeon who moved to London in the mid-1960s and revolutionised treatment of blood clots in patients undergoing operations
Edgar Mitchell - US astronaut, sixth man to walk on the Moon, who went on to claim in 2008 that aliens had visited Earth and there had been government cover-up
John Murrell - theoretical chemist who pioneered a colour framework for chemical compounds, with his research into molecules and how they absorb light
Simon Ramo - US aerospace pioneer and architect of America's intercontinental ballistic missile system
Vera Rubin - US astronomer whose work on galaxy rotation rates led to the theory of dark matter
Piers Sellers - British-born Sellers joined the US space agency Nasa in 1982 as a scientist - but switched to the astronaut corps and made three Space Shuttle flights to the International Space Station
Joe Sutter - US aeronautical engineer considered the "Father of the Boeing 747"
Carlos Alberto - Brazilian footballing legend who captained the 1970 World Cup-winning side
Chris Amon - Formula 1 Ferrari driver from 1963 to 1976. Although considered one of the best drivers of the era, he never won a Grand Prix
Jack Bannister - BBC TV cricket commentator and Warwickshire seam bowler who took 1,198 first-class wickets during a 368-match county career from 1950 to 1968
Alastair Biggar - rugby player capped 12 times for Scotland between 1969 and 1972, and part of the victorious 1971 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
Jack Bodell - former British and European heavyweight boxing champion who beat Joe Bugner in 1971
John Buckingham - jockey who became part of horse racing folklore in 1967 by steering the 100-1 shot Foinavon through a mass of fallers at the Grand National's 23rd fence, which was later named after the horse
Beryl Crockford (previously Mitchell) - World-champion and Olympic rower who later became an inspirational coach
John Disley - post-war Olympic steeplechaser and co-founder of the London marathon
Mel Charles - Swansea, Arsenal, Cardiff City and Port Vale footballer who played 31 times for Wales, including in the team that reached the quarter-final of the 1958 World Cup
Tony Cozier - West Indian cricket commentator remembered for a career in TV, radio and journalism spanning 58 years
Martin Crowe - former New Zealand cricket captain widely regarded as one of the team's best players, scoring 17 centuries and 5,444 runs in 77 Tests
Roddy Evans - former Cardiff, Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby lock, who won 13 caps for Wales and played 18 times for the Lions on the 1959 tour to Australia and New Zealand
Anthony Foley - Munster rugby coach, who also captained Ireland three times and made more than 200 appearances in the back row for Munster as a player
Andy Ganteaume - former West Indies batsman, the only Test cricketer with a better average (112 in one innings) than Sir Donald Bradman (99.94 in 80 innings)
Trevor Goddard - South African cricketer, an all-rounder of the 1950s and 60s
Sylvia Gore - pioneering women's footballer who scored the first official goal for the England women's team - in 1972 against Scotland
David Green - 1960s Lancashire and Gloucestershire batsman who also played rugby for Bristol, Sale and Cheshire, and wrote about both sports for the Daily Telegraph
Ken Higgs - Lancashire and Leicestershire bowler who made his England debut at The Oval against South Africa in 1965
Enzo Maiorca - Italian spear fisherman who became a record-breaking free diver
Cesare Maldini - former AC Milan defender who managed Italy's national side at the 1998 World Cup finals
Hanif Mohammad - Pakistani cricketer who in 1958 played the longest innings in Test history - 16 hours and 10 minutes. In a first class match a year later, he made 499 - a record that stood for 35 years, until Warwickshire's Brian Lara made 501 in 1994
Gardnar Mulloy - US No 1 tennis player who played in his country's Davis Cup team in the 1950s, and in 1957 at the age of 43, became the oldest player to win a Wimbledon title
Christy O'Connor Jr - Irish golfer who helped Europe retain the Ryder Cup at the Belfry in 1989 - nephew to Christy O'Connor Sr
Christy O'Connor Sr - Irish golfer who competed in every Ryder Cup between 1955 and 1973 - uncle of Christy O'Connor Jr
Arnold Palmer - American golfer, one of the sport's greatest players, who won 91 professional titles, including the Open twice, the US Open, and the Masters four times
Tom Pugh - Gloucestershire captain and towards the end of his cricket career was shortlisted to play James Bond - but the role went to Sean Connery
Don Rutherford - rugby full-back who won 14 caps for England and went on to be the RFU's first paid national coach
Jackie Sewell - England, Notts County, Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Hull City forward - who, when he moved to Sheffield Wednesday in 1951, commanded a record transfer fee of £34,500
Gary Sprake - Leeds United and Birmingham City goalkeeper in the 1960s and 70s, who won 37 caps playing for Wales
Walter Swinburn - former jockey, three-time Derby winner and the rider of Shergar
Maria Teresa de Filippis - Italian racing driver who was the first woman to compete in a Formula 1 grand prix
Eric "Winkle" Brown - the Royal Navy's most decorated pilot, he witnessed the liberation of Bergen Belsen concentration camp in World War Two, and also held the world record for flying the greatest number of different types of aircraft, 487
Branse Burbridge - RAF night fighter pilot who shot down 21 German aircraft in World War Two, and brought down three of Hitler's V1 flying bombs before they hit residential parts of London
Jane Fawcett - worked at Bletchley Park in World War Two and decoded a message which helped locate and sink the German battleship Bismarck
John "Jock" Moffat - credited with launching the torpedo that crippled the German battleship Bismarck off the north coast of France in 1941
Molly Rose - joined the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1942 and became one of World War Two's "spitfire women", delivering 486 aircraft, including 273 Spitfires, from factories to the RAF
Denise St Aubyn Hubbard - worked as a translator at Bletchley Park in World War Two, competed as a high diver in the 1948 London Olympics, and sailed solo across the Atlantic in her 60s
Dick Bradsell - career bartender who helped revive the London cocktail scene with his concoctions, including the espresso martini and the bramble (gin, lemon, sugar, creme de mure and a blackberry garnish)
Jonathan Cainer - his astrology column appeared in the Daily Mail for 20 years. He remained adamant that astrologers should not look to predict the time of a person's demise, as there was a danger of creating "a self-fulfilling prophecy"
Peng Chang-kuei - Taiwanese chef who travelled to New York and created the much-loved sweet-but-spicy Chinese dish General Tso's Chicken
Michael "Jim" Delligatti - inventor of the McDonald's Big Mac burger which was introduced in 1967 with two lots of everything - "all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun"
Rose Evansky - London hairdresser who invented the "blow wave" in the 1960s, using a hand-held dryer and brush on wet hair to create a soft natural look
James Galanos - US fashion designer who dressed America's social elite, most notably Nancy Reagan
Viktor Korchnoi - Russian-born chess grandmaster who defected to the West in 1976, and was seen as one of the best players never to be world champion
Leonard of Mayfair - real name Leonard Lewis, he was hairdresser to stars and celebrities in the 1960s and 70s and his styling helped launch Twiggy's modelling career
Mark Taimanov - Russian chess grandmaster, among the world's top players from the 1940s to the 70s, who was also an international concert pianist
Henry Worsley - former army officer turned explorer who fell ill while trying to complete the unfinished Antarctic journey of his hero, Sir Ernest Shackleton
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016


A single word killed thousands. In 1945 the difference between 'ignore' and 'consider' was not translated appropriately. The Japanese mokusatsu, which can mean either word, was incorrectly interpreted, delivered to the Allies, and so, with Truman, Churchill, and Stalin's ultimatum 'ignored', the great bomb fell. Had the translator but understood mokusatsu to mean 'we are considering your ultimatum', much of history would be different. Words. Does not a person living, and some dead, have so much impact on others? Do we not all want a win-win?

We are buoyed by words. We float or sink by them. We wrestle with the poet's meanings. We find ourselves smiling, or frowning, or turned off. Chaucer and Shakespeare, or Marlow and Bacon can still seem dreadful to some. (Yes, even those who like bacon can be confused). Much of the wordsmith’s meanings rely on the listener, the reader, the interpreter, and the interpretation to be accurate. Or as Romeo said, we can “jest at scars that bear no wounds.”

So we can find ourselves discombobulated. There grows a great plethora of multiple meanings and double-speak, of double-entendres and metaphor and symbolism. Accuracy and precision are not the purview of most politicians. They certainly are not the tools of the poet. Hemingway would call a spade a spade. But Tolstoy, that inimitable interpreter of the human condition, as well as Wordsworth, or Jung, make much of the ontological differential. We prefer a clear stage direction, as in the final imperative of 'Waiting for Godot’: (They do not move.) Yes, the esoteric can be upstaging, off-putting, frustrating. Knowledge relies on the connections we have made with another's contentions. With what else might we prick the consciousness into yet more light?

Responsibility relies on ethics. Contracts ensure a measure of obligatory actions; promises can otherwise too easily be forgotten. In the clouds of obscurity o'erwhelming the margins and the vocalizations of intent, there lies many a broken promise along the waysides; what else is a divorce, a betrayal, an obfuscation, an outright lie? We are brutalized by the actions that gainsay our words. We are eroded. We are bereft of character, of compliance, of honour. The desperation of hara-kiri, that Japanese extreme of doing away with the self, is indeed a tragedy.

Ethics has it that there be a win-win. Ethics does not imply absolute truth. One knows when the truth will hurt or betray. Just because a question is asked, does not mean it deserves the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Many a priest has to swallow the confessions of others; and so the identity of even a murderer can remain concealed. We humans make much of the words we parlay. Phrases sew up the tapestry of our lives, give meaning to the confabulation, and wend their way into our psyches such that we become variously religious, variously spiritual, and variously aptitudinal. Yes, neologisms create new words. Language itself entwines the frayed edges of our collages and evolves new meanings, new morphemes, new invigoration in order to adapt to the changing paradigms not only of our meaning makings, but of our evolution itself. Still, we do not easily seek a win-win. We remain rather keen on getting the best end of a deal.

That our world is shrinking, in terms of natural resources, forests, clean water, and arable land is no longer in dispute. Steve, the bush-pilot said, just today, "You'd hardly recognize Northern Ontario. The Kimberly Clark logging has decimated it. Pristine places I visited as a child when my father and I flew all over this land, British Columbia, have dwindled down to logging roads. The effect is dramatic. There are fewer and fewer places now to take the tourist for a visit." And yes, the oceans are absorbing our toxins. And yes, the miasma of despondency pervades. We are not making careful choices. The latest news of the daily toxins into the seas of Japan confirms it. With what then, as a single individual, is one to respond? There is but ethics, each for each, or are we but a collection of rock faces, frozen into petroglyphs; a passive record of our passing? Mokusatsu, to be considered rather than ignored, indeed.

Blue North (1976) by Richard M-Pentelbury

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Trumped by Trauma

“Trauma Farm,” suggests something awful. We go to the play with uncertainty. As individuals enter the hall we integrate them in feelings of camaraderie even before the drama begins; we all are submitting to an immersion in self-evident tragedy. Why else attend a play with such a title? But then the actor reads entirely from the script.* And the engaging story of a man and his woman dealing with the daily dictum of the difficulties of survival on a farm charms us. At the slaughter of animals, of the pigs, of chickens, and at the death of a favoured horse, I shudder. Life does end. Our killing of it is harder.

We create barriers wherever we go. Because of this, that. Fear trumps freedom. We fear snakes. We fear the unknown. And even more, we can fear the known too. Our perceptions, layered on by the feelings evinced by others, or even from stories like this one, let alone the images we see on the screen (if we do not become desensitized) surmount our innocence. So we progressively can become racist; become convinced that we can’t do something; become assured that we are religiously right; become inured to a group-consciousness that retains a moral stance. How else to express our humanity? How else not to be entirely bland? How else not to be so integrative that “anything goes”, utterly anything! No, it’s best to have a wall (or two) against our Southern Border, (if not the Northern Border too.)
Subjects of sex and subjects of intellect can bear an equal parameter of exclusion, of fear of entering, or entertaining. We “do not talk politics or religion or sex,” is the social didactic. “I’ll die if you mention that!” is the voice of our shame. We have private parts, private thoughts; we can have (perhaps not so) private beliefs; and we can even have private politics. The marriage of Hope and Self-Evidence triumphs over experience. How else to o’erleap the barriers that hold us back? We physically can learn to leap the fissures and the crevices, and can be so emotionally buoyed by our success that we say, “I’m going to do it again!” We can say, “I want more! Tell me more. How did you do that? How do you know that? Where can I learn more? What does that mean?” Or we can be like the house across the street, with its curtains drawn, its door always locked, and the interior beings hardly (if ever) seen.

“My body is my own,” we’ll say. Circumcision feels like a betrayal. Abortion feels like a most necessary alternative. Or why go through it at all? And so too for assisted dying. So too for euthanasia. So too for the necessary slaughter of cows and pigs and chickens and the plucking up of huge nets of struggling fish. We make choices. And we have a collective conscious that some things are necessary, are ok. Dreadful things. Cruel things. Horrid things. Why else go to war? Why else enlist? Why else kill and maim and harm and segregate and enslave and apportion? Individualism and individuals are not homogeneous. We can be, (as Michael Enright of the CBC News** put it): “...a dystopian nation cringing in fear.”

Entirely to lose the self “in a sea of troubles,” and get absorbed, is at once ridiculous. One does not step into the marching colonnades of red-ants. In my boyhood in Northern Rhodesia, on the farm, we learned that such a creepy-crawly army utterly overwhelmed any living thing in its voraciousness. So too in the South African Army did I learn that to be overwhelmed by Communism, and all its attendant atrocities of taking away the rights of the individual, was an anathema to “living free.” And one sets up walls of salt-trenches against red ants. One kills communists. “Him, or me,” goes the self-forgiving phrase. How else to end being subsumed? (Let the tears flow.) After all, “Love conquers all,” is such a trite phrase. Indeed. For those of us old enough to see where barriers need be, and where there is no need for a barrier too, hope indeed triumphs over trumped up fears. Hope. All else is action. Indeed.

* (as read aloud by Richard Newman, November 13th, 2016)

** Canadian Broadcasting Corporation news: July 20th, 2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

C'mon Sense (at 17:00hrs, on this Election USA Day!)

You'd think we'd know better. But we persist. Common sense is not what it's urged to be. The rallying cry, "C'mon man!" does not necessarily provoke sufficient hesitation; sufficient checking of facts; sufficient gathering of details. We tend, generally, to leap as though we were angels from cloud to cloud. And very many clouds have no substance. Very many clouds are but wispy and waspish and full of cotton-floss; we best examine carefully their silver-linings. Yes, common sense is not a thing to be taken for granted. After all, sensibility itself is often predicated on the groundwork laid down by one's forbearers. They determined that the snake, all snakes, are to be feared. They determined that the spider (that-sat-down-beside-her) would get in her curds and way. And not all of us have been taught (or have been made aware of) the distinction 'twixt whey, weigh, or way. We learn from our past. So, “C'mon man; you outghtta know more-better!”

What mistakes we continue to perpetrate! Lots of hurt and vengeance and destruction attends our emotional reactions. We hardly have time for response. Response is too cerebral, too calculating. It's not instinctual, nor even necessarily intuitive. We indeed cry, "C'mon man!" And we tend to have a gut reaction. Yes, we go from there. And so we easily accept phrases like "battle-ground", "war-room", and "enemy." But c'mon man, surely we can take pause to choose!

As I type the USA (all that North American territory under the 49th parallel,) is slowly filling up, choice by choice. Two houses stand divided. And the Red and the Blue pours in, blue ink drop by red ink drop, to see who first shall reach that magic 270 number, and break the tension in the withholding meniscus. Interesting word: men-is-cus. (No, it's not locker-talk.) It's the delicate skin that holds back the bulk of liquid potential from spilling over and pouring down the sides of a given containment. The combined States of the USA contain a total of 538 electors. When a single person votes, that ballot goes to their respective group of electors. These electors depend on the number of people in the state. Rep by pop! Each state gets only one elector per representative in the House, plus 2 for each senator. Who spills over first? California has the most electors, at 55. Important to win California. (And according to the pundits, North Carolina will make or break a candidate.) For the populace of the USA, that 270 number is the determinate margin by which so and so will be president, (or is that such and such?) And like ants, the shuffling lines to the polling stations grow and grow. Confusing enough, eh? But, c'mon man, get out there and vote!!

Thing is, history depends. A ferry captain today, reflecting on a dramatic accident, said over my car-radio: "There's a different point of view for each person who was there that day." Yes. Our sensibilities are not quite so common. Yet we'd expect honesty and decency and integrity and consideration and compassion and care and thoughtfulness and even self-control from our leaders. We would think that anyone dedicating so much of their time to the people would be altruistic, operating from the highest of principles. But then, like the proverbial Camelot of Cards, the whole shebang falls down. We do not always follow protocol. We do not always avoid graft and corruption and deceit and selfishness. We do not always trust. No, history, our own history, has taught us to be altogether more common-sensical than simply to submit to blind trust.

If the ship of state is about to set sail with a new captain at its helm, surely common sense would have it that we all (since much of the world is dependent on the mercies of this particular ship of state)... that we all be on board without undermining the captain? That we rally behind that head and do what we can to help keep the whole ship, well, ship-shape! Ha! But this is no laughing matter. It is clear that the starboard side and the port side of ‘our’ USA would have the vessel split in twain.  And the flags from the masts do not fly high and proud, no matter what the result may be; for dissension, like a serpent discovering itself shedding its skin, lashes at the very winds of progress, simmering in anything else but common sense. Really? C'mon man! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Impatient Immediacy

There is a tanker clogging up my bay. It’s a great monstrous thing dominating the horizon, parked parallel to the beach-line, about half-a-mile off. Been there five or more weeks now. (And yes, I am taking ownership of the bay. That’s how I feel about the swans and the herons and the gulls in the nearby lagoon; I feel a sense of ownership. When people walk their dogs along the shoreline of the lagoon, instead of taking them on the other side of the mile-long causeway, along the beach, it bugs me. Why not go where birds will not be disturbed?  Swans waste so much energy by dashing off and away from dogs; even though the brutes be leashed. Sometimes it’s children. Parents would be better to leash them too! At least with words that would have offspring be considerate and gentle and cautious, if not with actual tethers of constraint.) But that is just how that tanker remains so stationary amidst the glide and flow of shipping traffic, or against the bashing of the white-caps; it is tethered by constraints. Leastwise, it does not disturb the birds.

We find ourselves often wanting things to be different. Acceptance is hard come by. There are so very many things that can offend. We grit our jaws at graffiti. We snarl at the driver who cuts us off. We growl at the fact that we missed checking the milk-carton before we went shopping. We dislike the big clog of anything cluttering up our hallway. We rush about and clean and tidy the reality of our daily living just in order to treat a guest to an environment so pristine they may actually sit upright and stiff with discomfort, afraid to disturb anything. It is our way. We have inner-scapes that are determined by idiosyncratic proclivities. (To hear Lightning Hopkins over early morning coffee can really only be appreciated if you too were once in Cape Town, nearly fifty (!) years ago.) But already I have introduced foreign elements into my narrative, like letting loose the dogs to bark among the birds. (And it’s not always big things that arrest us!)

Herons are particularly patient. They seem virtual statues of intense staring through the water’s surface, as if mesmerizing the little fish to come up and see. And then, with an ecstatic suddenness, they strike so swiftly that from stasis to action takes all by surprise. Perhaps that’s what will happen one morning. I shall wake up and the tanker won’t be there. It’ll have slipped its knots and slid away. But in the meantime, like a great monster at repose, hibernating in the grays and the rains and the winds of this winter weather, it sleeps and broods, still there!

Not all things move. Some people have lived in one place for years and years! Only their interiors change, and even then, not much. Some new picture on the wall may make for subtle changes of perspective, but essentially things remain the same. “Mitch, just look at this room!” (Morrie says in ‘Tuesdays with Morrie.’) “Everything in here has been the same for the past, oh, thirty years. The newest things in this room are You and my wheelchair. But now [‘since my disease,’] everything has changed. This room has filled up with warmth and honesty and tears. This is a wealthy home!” Indeed. It is our inner perspective that matters most. And big as the obstacles may be that prevent flow and grace and usefulness and care and considerations, and even compassion for others, so we may well remain clogged up and victims of our own recalcitrance.

Yes, trapped in body though one may be, we need not necessarily always tug at the tethers, yearning to be free. We can still feel vital and wealthy. Unless truly immobile, and not changing, we may but brood, endlessly. Ha! Now therein may the bulk of a disturbed and disturbing pair-a-dox be! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Walled Within

As organisms we are easily identifiable. Contained by the very skin in which we find ourselves, we hardly change. Yes, we grow older. Yes, we learn. Yes, we become more mature. We adapt and integrate and assimilate and make of our inner world a more complex organism, while perhaps simultaneously coordinating with our outer worlds as a simple order of constructions. We go to work. Cook. Sleep. And make do. Yet few, like caterpillars, are entirely metamorphic.

Trumpean pronouncements of "building a wall," and the Brexit isolationism are symptomatic of the fears that wall us within. We hardly can expand into other realities. Like maggots, or fruit flies, bees or wasps or flowers, we find ourselves identified by our species. Like rats or bats or dogs or cats; like horses or dolphins or whales, we are self-contained within the very molecules that go toward making our identity. Evolution is very slow. It takes several millions of years to make a man from a monkey. It took many millions of years for an elephant to arise from the rock rabbit. We find Neanderthal or Rudolfensis or Erectus identities and traits deep within our ethnic genes. We trace our ancestry online and sign in to DNA testing all in a search for our origins, all in the interest of discovering the far flung shores to which we owe some allegiance, some badge of identification; albeit solipsistically. So the kilt gets replaced by Romania. Or the rice-paddy-hat gets supplanted by a bowler. We are surprised that we are not really German. The Irish in us come out. After all, we want a sense of 'true' identity, at last, on which we may hang our hat.*

But the faults in my analogies in the above lie in my not championing the evolution of the individual. There is a natural tendency to presume that all elephants (in the room) materialized simultaneously: Poof! That one day we were apes, and the next day not. That Neanderthals suddenly, on April first, in the year 2 million BC, woke to find themselves more intelligent and humanoid than ever before, as though a Quantum Leap had taken place: "Everybody in the pool; last one in is a rotten egg!" Remember those games? Remember the strictures and the acculturation of how to advance in society, the adoption of language, identity, dress, religion, and traditional habituations to which you yourself became inured? We identify quite readily with 'the group", even though we may be urged to be at the forefront of it. Yet the fault-cracks in our collective-composite are created by the evolution of individuals, until each finds new community, coming out of the closets of self containment. Indeed, not all closets are kept closed by others.

A friend wrote: "Hello Richard, Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on your acting. You were good. (Indeed, one emotionally touched reviewer wrote: "The best acting seen in 20 years of attending Victoria theatre." Another wrote: “Incredibly powerful and moving.”) But we became friends because we were honest with each other, that was our bond, and I know that is what you would expect from me now. So let me say that while you were good, you were not stretched. It was as if you pulled on a familiar piece of clothing, an overcoat that felt comfortable on you, that was safe. You knew which button was loose, where the hem needed stitching, where the stain was that wouldn't come out. It felt agreeable. But I would like to have seen you pushed into the red zone, because that is where the creativity lies. We would have seen magic, my friend. You did the best you could with the material, but the play was dated. We have seen and heard this all before. The jokes were weak, the dialogue banal, the character development obvious. It was not raw, not edgy. And we're dealing with life and death mate! But I'm glad I saw it. Thank you for inviting me."

Yes, we are contained by the scripts we are given, walled within. (I wonder what Mitch Albom, the author of Tuesday's with Morrie, would think of my friend's critique?) Yet as Morrie himself asks, "Are you at peace with yourself? Are you trying to be as human as you can be?" Yes, it is one thing to exercise being "raw and edgy," to suit some, but also at the same time to be, as Morrie would have it, "filled with light." Or do we remain year after year, as individuals, as an identifiable organism, unscratched at the core, carefully closeted, and perpetually walled within?

* See: Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari.