Ovid

Homer is gripping, Plato is readable and Julius Caesar chronicles major historical events with brevity.

So why don’t I get Ovid, hailed as a great classical and innovative writer of poetry?

ovid

Maybe it’s the 1986 translation by A..D. Melville. here’s a taste of a new translation by David Raeburn:

PROLOGUE

Changes of shape, new forms, are the themes which my spirit impels me now to recite.

Inspire me, O Gods (it is you who have even transformed my art) and spin me a thread from the world’s beginning

Down to my own lifetime, in one continuous poem.

THE CREATION

Before the earth and the sea and the all-encompassing heaven came into being,

The whole of nature displayed but a single face, which men have called Chaos…

Macca goes back to the Cavern

Sir Paul McCartney tweeted “It was fabulous and brought back loads of beautiful memories and reminded me of where we started” after yesterday’s gig at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

Here’s one of my favourite Beatles songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1967:

When I’m 64

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you
I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck and Dave
Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four

Tamil National Identity

The Sri Lankan government has opposed efforts by Tamils for national recognition. This brought about 30 years of armed conflict between the government and the Tamil Tigers.

Three years ago a national unity government was elected and it was hoped that reforms would address the grievances of the Tamil people (such as the right to communicate in their own language.)

Tamil professor

Unfortunately, torture and other human rights abuses have been carried out against the Tamil people under the operation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Ian Paisley, a DUP MP wrote a letter to the Prime Minister asking the UK government to  oppose a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to authorise “an international investigation which will uncover the truth about alleged violations on both sides of the conflict.”

It emerged that Mr Paisley had failed to register the luxury family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government. He has now received a 30-day suspension and apologised to the House of Commons for his transgressions.

The abuse and torture of the Tamil people continue.

Ireland is now a nation state

Ireland’s parliament has passed into law a controversial bill that defines the country as an exclusively Protestant state. The “Protestant nation-state” bill downgrades Irish as an official language and says advancing Protestant settlement is a national interest.

bull-gladstone-land-act

It also states that the “whole and united” Dublin is its capital. Ireland’s Republican MPs condemned the legislation but the Prime Minister praised it as a “defining moment”.
The bill, backed by the country’s right-wing government, says “Ireland is the historic homeland of the Protestant people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”.
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The above news story appeared on the BBC’s website. Just a few changes to the identity of the “nation state”, language and religion highlight the absurdity of declaring exclusive rights to one culture.

Newness on 2 wheels – heaven

Oh, the joy of a shiny new bicycle! No longer the tired struggle uphill on an old scrapper, but the easy changing of gears and the pleasant realisation that I have crested the slopes without effort.

I have bought a Ridgeback commuting bike through a cycle to work scheme. For £350 I have got a means of transport that is a pleasure to ride and the cost is spread over 12 monthly repayments.

I had dithered for a long while over getting a foldup bike. But it was pointed out to me that I would rarely need to fold my bike up. I don’t use public transport and a bike for my commute, and on holiday I can ride the bike onto ferries, put it in the guard’s van on trains or put the bike under coaches.

 

 

 

Rare archaeological find

A farmer in County Tyrone has unearthed a ‘potus’ of exceptional quality. This Roman chamberpot is largely intact. Archaeologists have discovered a mosaic marble floor nearby showing figures dancing around an odd looking goatlike character with horns playing pan pipes.

chamber pot

The farmer was lifting a crop of giant potatoes with his digger when he spotted the terracotta object. It will be on display in the Strabane Heritage Museum for a limited period before being included in the Royal collection of sanitary ware in North Piddle.

Palestine is now a Muslim state

Palestine’s parliament has passed into law a controversial bill that defines the country as an exclusively Muslim state.

The “Muslim nation-state” bill downgrades Hebrew as an official language and says advancing Muslim settlement is a national interest.

It also states that the “whole and united” Jerusalem is its capital.

Palestine’s Jewish MPs condemned the legislation but the Prime Minister praised it as a “defining moment”.

The bill, backed by the country’s right-wing government, says “Palestine is the historic homeland of the Arab people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”.

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If a country has been occupied by force of arms, does that take away the nation’s sovereignty? Palestine was occupied by the  Ottoman army and has now been dominated by the Israeli army for over 40 years .

The above news story appeared on the BBC’s website. Just substitute the words: Israel and Jewish for Palestine, Arabic and Muslim.