Sometimes, late at night you do some of your best (or worse) work, depending on the wine .. here is one from last night.
I thought it was time,
to write a rhyme ...
No particular theme.
no particular time,
Just that, for some reason I'm
wanting to rhyme..
Never done it before
can't think why,
It's not that hard,
just a stage in my ...
My lovely wife,
I never gave it a try
again .... life..
seems to get in the way,
takes over your day,
sunshine but no hay
...need to make some
and go, and though
we are busy we are also
life's not that protracted
that we can't redact
some of our daily routines
that are meaningless acts
Disdain for routine, wonder why?
getting older - new things to try
before the bucket and its list run dry.
Bucket list - now there's an idea.
how many events
in our crazy career,
did we really miss out on?
nearly .. really, ?
Probably not many, if honesty's a thing,
you navigate through life,
you see what it brings,
roundabouts and swings, mostly
forks in the road, avoid the ghostly
experiences, wherever you can
tell yourself you've been your own man,
..... carried the can .. or was it the bucket
nearly got that one to rhyme too, damn it.
Dont think I'm able to jump out of a plane,
get older, bloody vertigo,
plays with your brain.
even, it seems,
if only in dreams.
You know, those ones where you climb
to the highest bit
then you look down,... oh-oh, i think I'm ...for it!
then you wake up, that was close ..
...nearly got that to rhyme, too ..
This is becoming otiose.
never mind the iambic pentameter
that was a close and frightening parameter,
..whoops!, but I digress
mind's scrambling, bit of a mess.
motorbikes, need for speed,
no, should have done that
when I was sowing my seed
a long time ago,
fast cars, never a thing
happy to be prince, but never the king
Horses, boats, gadgets, disdain for all
but one majestic sport makes them all pall ..
Early in life, discovered the magic.
a lifelong Rugby tragic,
played it, coached it, involved every way
love it, and live it every day
Knees are shot, brain is not,
I think I'll take my writing skills
out for a begrudging, limping trot.
Write about anything,
we've got plenty of time,
Maybe some of it will rhyme.
Time .... will tell ...
[copyright John Gates 2019]
NEWS DESK - THE JAKARTA POST
Jakarta / Tue, April 23, 2019 / 03:04
The Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Shutterstock/DiegoMariottini)
World Book Day, celebrated every April 23, is here. Online travel booking platform Agoda has listed nine places in Asia, Europe and the Americas that all bookworms who want to follow in their favorite authors’ footsteps should visit.
1. Kobe, Japan
Author Haruki Murakami´s hometown Kobe used to appear in some of his stories, including in his debut novel in 1979, Hear the Wind Sing. His works, such as Kafka on the Shore and 1Q84, are known for surrealist elements and melancholic themes.
The quiet beauty of Ikuta Shrine, Arima Onsen and Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Kobe is often captured in his books. A recommended place to stay in the small, seaside city is Arimakoyado Hataya Ryokan.
A row of torii at the Ikuta Shrine in Kobe City, Hyogo prefecture, Japan. (Shutterstock/Scenes from Japan)
2. Camarines Norte, the Philippines
Author Ricky Lee grew up in Camarines Norte in the central Bicol region of the Philippines.
Lee has worked with Filipino directors Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, and his screenplay manual Trip to Quiapo is used in communication colleges in the Philippines.
Camarines Norte has beautiful beaches such as the Calaguas group of islands, Apuao Grande Island and Bagasbas Beach. Enjoy the Philippines at the One Platinum Hotel.
3. Belitung Island, Indonesia
Fans of Andrea Hirata´s best-selling novel Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops) should visit Belitung Island in Indonesia. His childhood was spent on the island, as was his path to fulfilling his dream.
Enjoy the picturesque white sands and clear blue waters of Tanjung Kelayang Beach, then stop by at the Traditional House Belitung as well as the literary Museum Kata Hirata, set up in 2010 to inspire people to pursue their dreams. Stay at the Arumdalu Private Resort in Tanjung Pandan, Belitung.
Tanjung Kelayang Beach in Bangka Belitung Islands. (Shutterstock/Rudi Golden)
4. New York, the United States
The Big Apple is always worth a visit. Admirers of the romantic story To All the Boys I've Loved Before can see where author Jenny Han started her career as a young adult fiction writer.
The Jun New York Midtown III apartment is the best place to explore the vibrant city and its attractions, such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and Broadway.
Read also: Indonesian publishers short-listed for London Book Fair’s Excellence Awards
5. Aracataca, Colombia
Renowned author Gabriel García Márquez's hometown of Aracataca, Colombia, inspired him to write the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Along with Casa del Telegrafista museum, the Gabriel García Márquez Museum House is a must-see for all fans as it shows the author´s reconstructed childhood. The Agoda Home in Parque Los Novios is located in Santa Marta, close to Colombia´s famous Tayrona National Natural Park.
6. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh was where the Harry Potter series of author JK Rowling came to life, even though she is actually from Yates, England.
Feel the magic in cafés where the famous author went to write and see other attractions such as the Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Botanic Garden, Dynamic Earth, Underground Edinburgh and the Scotch Whisky Experience. Spend the night at Radisson Collection Hotel, Royal Mile Edinburgh.
7. Florence, Italy
Italy is well-known for its delicious pizza, dolce far niente (the art of doing nothing) and poet Dante Alighieri. It is highly recommended to visit the birthplace of the Renaissance and the capital of Italian culture: Florence.
It is where the poet met Beatrice, the love of his life and person who inspired his most famous works such as Vita Nuova and The Divine Comedy. Explore the romantic city and stay at Domux Home Repubblica.
8. Istanbul, Turkey
Orhan Pamuk´s most notable works are Snow and The Museum of Innocence, with the latter used as inspiration for a museum in Istanbul. The author was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006 and holds the prestige of being the first Turkish Nobel laureate.
His works are recognized for hints of politics and Turkish culture. Visit the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Blue Mosque and book your room at Fer Hotel.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. (Shutterstock/Artur Bogacki)
9. Dubai, the United Arab Emirates
Plunge into the world of Dubai where award-winning short story-writer Mohammad Al-Murr was born. He has published over 10 collections of short stories. One of them, Dubai Tales, captures life in Dubai and its contrasts of modern thinking and pride for tradition.
Visit the Palm Jumeirah and enjoy the view of the Burj Khalifa from your apartment at the Residences by Emaar. (sop/wng)
More on the theme of Childrens books - how to get them reading and loving it?
There is an old proverb that is applicable in many life situations, none more so than this -
"if you give a man a fish, he can feed his family for a day - but if you teach that man to fish, he can feed them all their lives.." (anon)
The same can be said for reading.. just giving a child a book might engender a love of reading, but working at it and teaching your child that reading is fun and worthy, can make them an avid book reader for life.
One post that I recently read, told of a man who got his little baby boy reading while in the cot. Got the child into such a routine that the baby demanded a book every morning. What a gift!
"... Research has proven, time and again, that reading is the key to success. It is a skill that crosses all barriers: economic, religious, ethnic and social. It requires little, if any, financial investment since public libraries are free to use...." [https://buffalonews.com/2019/04/17/letter-spread-the-joy-of-reading-through-books-for-kids/]
If you want a smart society, then make people smart. Teach children the joy of getting lost in a book, a great story. It doesn't matter if you are six or sixty six. I have struggled with my own kids to get their heads out of the smartphone or the tablet, and have had limited success. Fortunately, now they are writing songs, so at least some literary effort is being made.
So, I would like to suggest that it is up to our generation - (I am a baby boomer) - to generate younger peoples' interest in reading.
When I was a young Naval officer, I spent a lot of time away from home - no internet, no smartphones, not much in the way of TV or movies at sea, so, naturally you read - the Navy has a nickname for everything - a good story was a "dit" - various types of dits - 'warries', 'cowdy's' 'detective dits' - probably the most prominent - sometimes a biography or an autobiography, but anything you can read reasonably quickly from your bunk in your limited downtime (not forgetting of course, those highly literary articles that were the only reason we read "Playboy"). Well, it was more or less words on paper so that probably qualified.
But I digress.
Thousands of new books published every day - how to read them all?
Who cares, you can never eat at every restaurant either, but you can have a good, old-fashioned go at it.
There is a finite number of letters in our alphabet, and virtually a finite number of words in our vocabulary, so, in theory you could say that there must be a finite limit to the number of books that can be written. Who, in their right mind, would believe that?
They say that if you put ten thousand monkeys in a room, each with a word processor, for a long period of time, then, statistically, one of them could write "War and Peace" - I'd like to see that. The human brain is not a logic super computer that works purely on statistical theory. The synapses of our brain don't work on pure logic, and thank goodness.
It is this absolute wonder of the human psyche that we need to impart to our children. Whatever intellectual stimulation we dish up they will soak up.
Happily, we are seeing a great new trend of people writing more childrens' books - it may be that that is because it is a relatively simple genre to write and is a vehicle that is loved and for which there is huge demand on the newer platforms like Amazon and the like.
Whatever the explanation, it seems that the Gen X and now Gen Y parents seem to be adopting it as they are the generations that grew up with social media and electronic platforms and are now seeing that it is important to start their offspring on the right path. If that engenders a love of reading in the coming generations, I will be their greatest admirer.
Kids are our future. Let's get them ready for it with the best start we can.
17 APRIL 2019
THE BEST NEW CHILDREN’S BOOKS FOR EASTER - FROM FLOWERS AND FRIENDSHIPS TO WOLVES AND WARS.
BYAMANDA CRAIG – New Statesman
Hope springs eternal, and in children’s books at least, spring’s hopes are eternal too. Flowers and friendships can banish the blues – even when you’re Cyril of Cyril the Lonely Cloud (Tim Hopgood, Oxford University Press, £11.99, ages 3+), always being blamed for ruining the day. Floating over picnics, cities and oceans, Cyril gets bigger and sadder until he comes to a hot new land. A joyful, witty celebration of rain and difference.
What Do Machines Do?
Some childrenare more interested in machines than nature, and for them What Do Machines Do All Day by Jo Nelson and Aleksandar Savic is riveting fun. Cranes, computers and vending machines have never looked more handsome (Wide-Eyed, £11.99, 3+).
But what about manners?
When a Dragon Comes to Stay
Caryl Hart and Rosalind Beardshaw’s When a Dragon Comes to Stay (Nosy Crow, £6.99 3+) has some excellent tips about what not to do when it comes to sharing toys, eating at table and being helpful. It’s funny, charming and not too twee.
More moving is Chris Naylor-Ballesteros’s The Suitcase (Nosy Crow, £11.99, 4+), one of the most empathetic children’s books on giving kindness to strangers ever published. A weary, furry stranger arrives with one suitcase, which it tells the other animals contains a chair, a table, a wooden cabin and a teacup. Be warned, this will make you burst into tears.
How to Light Your Dragon
As a metaphor for curing depression, How to Light Your Dragon by Didiér Levy and Frédéric Benaglia (Thames & Hudson, £12.95, 5+) is funny and inspired. A child tries to relight his pet dragon’s fire by bouncing, tickling, cheating at cards and more, but nothing stirs the despondent multicoloured monster. Could a kiss be the answer?
An outstanding picture book, Sophie Blackall’s Hello Lighthouse (Orchard, £6.99), is partly about loneliness. A lighthouse on the edge of the world is kept going by a man whose vertical, dutiful life, exquisitely conveyed, is brightened through the seasons by the arrival of a wife, then a baby. Give this to four-year-olds plus; it is perfection.
The Secret Starling
Judith Eagle’s heroine in The Secret Starling (Faber £6.99) is lonely without knowing it. Brought up in isolation in a crumbling manor house, Clara finds herself abandoned by her creepy uncle.
Then Peter arrives with his rescue cat, and the children are swept into an irresistible adventure for eight-year-olds plus that draws on The Secret Garden and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
The heroine of Kirsty Applebaum’s debut The Middler (Nosy Crow, £6.99) has an unusual problem: she’s living in a dystopian world in which middle children are overlooked and unheard. Yet when Maggie meets another girl from beyond the town’s boundary, she finds that wanderers are not as she had been led to believe. Strikingly original and featuring a spirited heroine, it’s a great story for ages 9+.h
The Girl with the Shark's Teeth
Pair it with Cerrie Burnell’s engagingly fantastic marine adventure The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth (Oxford University Press, £6.99, 9+) for a pull of the Wild Deep.
Challenging authority is what Nicola Skinner’s delightful debut Bloom(HarperCollins, £12.99) is about, as two girls reap what they need from a trapped witch and her seeds. Humorous, original and just the thing for ages 7+ in need of a fresh start.
The Midnight Hour
A whole magical people is trapped in the secret world of The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder (Chicken House, £6.99, 8+) and Emily must find her mysterious parents there. Pursued by monsters, our sparky heroine and her hedgehog must save the night. I haven’t enjoyed this kind of caper so much since Harry Potter.
A Pinch of Magic
There’s another sort of trapped witch in A Pinch of Magic, Michelle Harrison’s spellbinding story for ages 11+ (Simon & Schuster, £6.99). The three Widdershins sisters can never leave their marshy island. Each inherits a deadly curse and a magical object at 13: how can they win a fresh start and become normal girls?
My favourite heroine this season is in Tanya Landman’s One Shot(Barrington Stoke, £7.99, 11+). Based on the famous American sharpshooter Annie Oakley, it tells how young Annie learns to use her beloved Pa’s rifle, and then to survive in a man’s world. Tough and almost unbearably honest about the brutalities of poverty and powerlessness, its deceptively simple prose and narrative drive are stunning.
Boys are still being ill-served by children’s publishing.
All hail, then, Pádraig Kenny’s Pog (Chicken House, £6.99, 7+) about a small (male) furry creature living in an old house where a brother and sister move after their mum dies.
The most appealing small magical creature since the Nis in Katherine Langrish’s Troll Fell books, Pog is up against evil forces and needs help.
A Wolf Called Wander
(Andersen, £6.99, 8+) concerns Swift, a young wolf who must survive without his pack. Like the classics written by Jack London and Michelle Paver, this is both a detailed evocation of an animal’s life and a notable exploration of courage, loneliness and family. Rosanne Parry’s prose and the lavish pictures by Mónica Armino are based on a true story.
Midnight at Moonstone
Lara Flecker’s Midnight at Moonstone (Oxford University Press, £6.99, 9+) has Kit defy her overbearing academic family to live with her grandfather in the decaying Moonstone museum, where at midnight feuding historical costumes come magically to life. How Kit saves them – and herself – makes for a charming E Nesbit-esque romp.
Now or Never
The heroism of non-white soldiers in both world wars is often overlooked, but Bali Rai’s excellent Now or Never (Scholastic, £6.99, 9+) helps redress this. His idealistic hero, Private Fazal Khan, endures bullying and bombing all the way to Dunkirk; when he finds “decency and honour, even in hell” it is through friendship not the British empire.
The best hero of all comes, however, in Anthony McGowan’s Lark(Barrington Stoke, £7.99, 11+).
The final part in his quartet about two brothers, Nicky and Kenny, it is a slim novel that stands alone as an exceptional piece of writing from the author and a dyslexia-friendly publisher that is consistently impressive. Poor, and with parents more absent than present, Nicky must look after his mentally handicapped big brother Kenny. But when they take their dog up on the moors for a picnic in winter, they have no idea how dangerous it could be.
As taut as Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Lark rings with truth, humour, humanity and pathos.
My hope is that it wins prizes.
Thanks to AMANDA CRAIG - New Statesman
Recently I set out to do some freelance writing. I wanted to do it because (a) writing is my hobby and I am good at it and (b) to make some money, in my spare time, when I would probably be on my computer, anyway.
So you join up with a freelancing site and register your profile, and one of the first things that you notice is that there are a lot of people registered as writers, from countries where English is not the native language.
So, naturally, I see an advantage. I put into my profile that English is my native language and I have been writing it for a long time. Not too long into my newfound career I picked up a couple of jobs to write on various subjects such as doing business in foreign countries and an article on renewable energy, which I assume was part of a much larger work, and I was being given the job to write as a sub-contractor.
No problems there.
So, off I went. I wrote the introduction free-hand (about 2,500 words). Completely unique content. Then for the technical material, clearly I consulted country guides and technical guides. This is where it begins to come unstuck, because obviously, when researching, you are going to have to use technical phrases, and if you use someone else's work you attribute it. Personally, I like to use detailed footnotes, but my employer wanted end-notes - no problem.
Then I discovered something that I have never needed before, nor come across in my writiing life - PLAGIARISM CHECKERS - tons of them!
I have been writing legal, business, trade and technical papers, opinions and advices for well over forty years, virtually on a daily basis and this has opened my eyes.
It seems that there is a thriving industry out there of people who will cheat on your behalf, and there is an equally thriving nest of software developers who develop anti-cheating software such as TURNITIN, PC CHECKER, GRAMMARLY and many more, both free and paid versions.
There are "do my assignment" sites such as:-
An absolute eye-opener!
I work through a legitimate freelancing platform. You post your qualifications, take some tests to raise your rankings and all communication is done via their chat bot.
However, and naively at first, I learned the hard way how not to get paid. So called "employers" find you on the freelancing site and immediately ask you to communicate outside of the freelance platform on Skype or What's App. Basically, if you fall for that you are likely to do a whole lot of work for no pay. Of course, there is always the sweetener that "...we have a great team of writers and there will be plenty of ongoing work..". Don't fall for it!
I was astounded by the number of people who contacted me to write assignments, and moot papers and basically to cheat for them. I cottoned on to that pretty quickly.
Anyway, I digress!
So, even though I am prepared to edit some of the material and do a bit of para-phrasing now and then, my unique content is just that - UNIQUE!- and my borrowed content is that which I borrow for the purposes of "fair dealing" and I ensure that I properly atttribute it and do not use huge slabs of other peoples' text, but that was not good enough for my employer, so I decided to invest in some paid Anti-Plagiarism software and I was horrified because my employer (from the Indian continent) would not accept anything other than 100% unique content!, despite the fact that I tried to explain that when doing research that is not the case.
Imagine writing a legal opinion and having to quote great slabs of law from cases and statutes only to have your employer tell you that it is plagiarism!! Ludicrous, and even more so when they are simply not understanding the concepts and asking for continual re-writes.
Even my professionalism backed up at that point, and I reminded my employer that the project was worth pennies and I was losing money. So, after running it through 3 different plagiarism checkers, I gave up and submitted copy that was apparently 10% plagiarism.
The irony is that many of the original phrases that I had written free-hand (straight out of my visceral armoury) were classed as "duplicate content"- imagine that - writing something like "solar energy is produced by the heat of the sun"- not particularly earth shattering, but good old plagiarism checker wants me to know that it is not UNIQUE - as if I didn't already know that.
So, I politely thanked my employer and reminded her that I no longer wanted to write for an audience of ONE - by that I mean Mr Google and his algorithms. I prefer to write for people who appreciate my work.
Now think about the logic behind this. If you take logical or authoritative writing and rewrite it so that no plagiarism checker can pick up any duplication at all, there is a very good chance that you have bastardised or "dumbed down" the work so much that it is very likely useless and, ironically, if you are going to take someone else's words and twist them into "uniqueness", then how morally honest is that anyway?
So that was a worthwhile experience and I will keep doing it, but not for people who only want me to write for their Plagiarism checker.
It's a new world out there, folks and the internet never ceases to fascinate me. You can still teach this old dog new tricks (attributed to Anon)!
Postscript: I ran this essay, which was written totally in freehand without reference to any source, through one of my plagiarism checkers and achieved a score of 100% , I am happy to say - from Duplichecker.... however, then I ran it through the dreaded PC X Checker and it turns out that my original thoughts are the same as 5 other peoples':