Chris Croft's Personal Blog

April 28, 2014

PS Collection part 7

Filed under: Gadgets, Happiness, Lists, Music, News and Politics — chriscroft @ 12:36 pm

 

PS – Christmas music:  Rod Stewart’s Christmas album failed to move me. Solstice Bells (Jethro Tull) remains the best Christmas song closely followed by Fairytale of New York. But the Tull track I keep coming back to is Fire At Midnight http://grooveshark.com/#!/search/song?q=Jethro+Tull+Fire+at+Midnight   Even more romantic and perfect is this: http://grooveshark.com/#!/search?q=paul+mccartney+valentine (choose the LSO version not the cover).  If you want something more crunchy, try the amazingly powerful and also clever ‘For Your Life’ by Led Zep, who still stand above the world as the best heavy band ever, and always will do: http://grooveshark.com/#!/search?q=led+for+your+life   Others come and go, but Led Zep will always be there.

PPPPS – Last week I did a course in The City and my chair cost £3,000 (it was leather and it swivelled – it was quite comfortable) (there’s a photo at https://chriscroft.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1114&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2 ) and they had 15 of them in the board room. How scary is that?? Still, maybe the company that made them pay their workers really well and the workers spend the money in their local economies and so it’s all OK in the end……

PPPPPS – Several people have recently been amazed by this tip when I show it to them, so I’m thinking there may be more of you out there who I can make happy: if there is no wifi for your laptop then use your iphone (probably similar on android, I don’t know) as an instant wi-fi hub. Go to settings and select Personal hotspot and slide it to On, and then on your laptop you’ll see “Fred’s iPhone” as a wifi source, so just log in with the password that is shown on your phone. Magic! (Though you are now using up your phone’s data allowance. But for just emails that will be minimal).

PPPPPPS – sorry to all the people who asked me to sponsor them this year – I get several a week and can’t do them all, or in fact any of them really. I did my own thing last week though, I ran 2 miles dressed as Santa (I was quite relieved I could do it without collapsing, in fact it wasn’t too bad) so if you want to laugh at photos or even give some cash to the British Heart Foundation then it’s here http://www.justgiving.com/Croft-Centre   As you can see, we’re not quite in the league of Pudsey, but still, everything helps.    This is an interesting site too – http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/ – check out their unusual model of buying things on line from places like amazon via this site so that a portion of it goes to charity.

PPPPPPPS – Free talk on the radio, which you can Listen Again at any time – me answering the question “Does money make you happy” http://www.letstalkbusinessonline.com/ltb/lets-talk-business-5th-november-2012/   (seven and a half minutes in) (hey, shout out to JB!)

 

PPPPPPPPS –  thanks for all the replies about Retired4hire – I’m going to do it. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

P -lost count-S  – British Airways let me down hugely on my (work) visit to Budapest last week – 2 hour delay sitting on the runway waiting for de-icing, not even a cup of tea or a sandwich, and on the way back, flight cancelled completely, when other people were still flying to Heathrow, stranded in Hungary, no explanations, had to pay more to get home (to Luton instead of Heathrow where my car was), no idea if they’ll pay the price difference, no email or text, either before to say “cancelled don’t come to airport” or after to say sorry. They just don’t appear to care at all. Certainly not worth paying extra compared to the other airlines. Budapest great though.

PPPS – Favourite phone apps at the moment: Sleep Cycle, which allows you to view your sleep patterns during the night (the phone is under your pillow monitoring your movements) and it wakes you up at the best point in your sleep cycle. The other day I was deeply asleep at 7 and then almost awake at 7.30 so that’s when it woke me up. You set a range of time for it to use. It seems to really work.  I also like Cadence which picks music from your collection at any desired BPM, so I just walked up a hill at 113, listening to Garbage followed by Deacon Blue and then Scritti Politti … mmmm, nice!

PPPPPS – Pet hate of the month: Ramekins. Are you supposed to each it out of the little bowl, or tip it out onto your plate? (bowl is too hot to pick up). And you always get smaller portions when they come in little bowls.

PS – Lewes Nov 5th celebrations verdict: good fun, a nice family evening out, (though for children and fragile people you might want ear plugs for the loud fire-crackers), great costumes, a few amusing effigies of politicians etc, amazingly long / large parade of people. Not as scary and full-on as the Ottery St Mary burning tar barrels which is still the most amazing thing I’ve seen.

 

PPS – ‘The Nasty Alphabet’ – thanks to Cathi Driver for finding this clever collection of words that you can use when spelling out your postcode in order to make it very hard for the other person to understand (though that’s a fairly niche market!) http://www.ooblick.com/text/NastyAlphabet.html   “A as in Aubergine” – hilarious!

 

PPPS – Inspiration Corner – a brilliant little audio clip about forgiveness and friendship:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/the-listening-project/conversation/p010nswp

 

PPPPS – I’m being plagued by texts from PPI insurance people – very irritating and not sure what to do about it. Joined TPS but I think that doesn’t cover texts. Any suggestions welcome!

 

PPPPPS – Sorry that some people got their emails filtered last time, I think it was the mention of the special IAT mug in my Christmas present ideas list. Anyway, the mug and all the other things, plus a few new additions, are all viewable at https://chriscroft.wordpress.com/tag/xmas-christmas-presents-suggestions-ideas-list/

 

PPPPPPS – Enjoying the new Killers album, Battle Born. They are slowly changing into Bruce Springsteen, but I think that’s OK, as long as they still preserve that fragile Killers essence too. For example, Deadlines and Commitments – very nice.

PS –  Time Management: you can hear the first of a series of 20 ‘Management Moments’ by me on the radio here: http://www.letstalkbusinessonline.com/ltb/lets-talk-business-29th-october-2012/   I’m on first but the whole show is pretty interesting so why not listen to it all?

PPS – James Bond and The Rolling Stones – why are they both suddenly cool again? And did you know that I am the same height as Daniel Craig with the same eye and hair colour. Just saying….

PPPPPS – Negotiating: written by my daughter so I’m a bit biased, but this is a great list of tips for bartering when shopping abroad (or even possibly in the UK?) http://pauper-to-princessreviews.blogspot.no/2012/10/how-to-barter-abroad.html Somehow you can tell that she really has done them all!

PPPPPPPS – Inspiration corner – great speech on Leadership and Success performed by Al Pacino http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyiohbbM51g&feature=fvwrel with sporting video clips behind it.

PS – Why can Italian men look cool with a man bag when I can’t?? Very annoying!

 

PPS – Wow – music: reviews of any album by every reviewer!   Very useful but might be expensive – for example I think I might have to get the new Bob album…. http://www.anydecentmusic.com/review/4849/Bob-Dylan-Tempest.aspx

 

PPPS – things to do in Siena: See if you can find and photograph all 17 of the fountains – each part of the city has one. Clues here if you want to cheat a little bit, but it’s still quite a challenge in a day

https://sites.google.com/site/betsydonnelly/siena%27scontradafountains

What would be a London equivalent? Email me!

 

PPPPPPPPS – if you’ve not heard this then blow your mind here, Sunscreen Song, and do everything he says without arguing – and then make your kids listen to it!

 

PS – if you don’t have an electric blanket, on a timer, then you’re missing out on an autumnal treat. They might even stock them at Robert Dyas, I’m not sure.

 

PPPS – an interesting checklist: http://wrightcreativity.com/2011/04/are-you-easy-to-work-with/

PPPPPPS – Inspiration Corner: the Olympics already seem an age away, and you may feel that getting fit is too hard, but look at this: http://www.godvine.com/Man-Barely-Able-to-Stand-on-his-Own-Does-the-Unthinkable-Amazing-1476.html

 

PPPPPS – ‘Worst ever album cover for an album that is actually very good’: The Poet 2 by Bobby Womack http://www.zemaitisclub.com/bobby-womack-the-poet.htm   Can anyone beat that?? Every track has a little bit of cheese but is still a classic, for example http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/If+You+Think+You+re+Lonely+Now/4sNzAM?src=5   Love his voice too! He’s still releasing albums and produced a pretty good one recently. Check him out if you like music with soul.

 

PPPS – And in DIY Corner this week: I successfully fixed two torches (with the help of my dad – What is it about dads and torches?) and in both cases the fault was the same – old batteries had leaked, and the bottom end cap (other end from the bulb) was where the circuit was broken. Capillary action seems to pull the battery acid inbetween the spring and the casing, where it then solidifies and blocks the current. So you need to pull out the spring, scrape the white powder out the end cap with a screwdriver, and reassemble. Done!

PPPPPS – Wondering what sport would suit you best? Why not compare yourself with the top people and find your Olympic doublehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19050139   It reckons I ought to be a fat bloke on a horse. Oh well!

PPPPPPS – Music: Did I mention The Fall? Criminally I only discovered them recently, (thanks Adam!)  thinking they would be too inaccessible and tuneless, but on the contrary, they have a great groove and the vocal is hilarious and brilliant – for example, a cover of the old Sister Sledge classic http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Prague+91+Mr+Pharmacist/3k1LfO?src=5 which feels like it’s being jumped on by a tramp but still strangely wonderful.

 

PS – As a couch potato for the last two weeks I have discovered that the best cook-your-own-from frozen pizza is Pizza Express’s Sloppy Giuseppe, available from Sainsburys and others – excellent!!  http://www.ocado.com/webshop/product/Pizza-Express-Sloppy-Giuseppe-Pizza-12/23100011    Don’t forget to drizzle on some olive oil before you cook it! Does anyone else have a recommendation? Most frozen pizzas are rubbish!

PPS – Problems with neighbouring cats  digging and dunging in your flowerbeds? Someone on a course told me they buried a fully-inflated balloon just under the surface, and when the visiting digging cat burst it with its claws it decided not to visit that particular garden ever again…..! Sorry if you think this is cruel – I think it’s not as bad as many other methods people use….

PPPS – A time management related jazz title: Make A List, by Art Pepper. Also a completely brilliant performance:  http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Make+A+List/46mGM7?src=5

PPPPS – Dog years aren’t as simple as just x7. It seems that I am a ten year old dog (that’s quite alarming!) and my dog is a 37 year old (lucky thing!). http://www.onlineconversion.com/dogyears.htm

 

 

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November 24, 2013

Conspiracy or Stupidity?

Filed under: News and Politics — chriscroft @ 3:27 pm

Let’s not worry about the big ones – JFK, Landing on the moon etc.  there are small ones happening now which are more important and insidious.  Here are some areas where I think there may be more going on that meets the eye…

Giving the NHS to the GPs to run – surely something as stupid as this must have an ulterior motive?  Many people within the NHS believe that the government is deliberately trying to destroy the NHS and can do it without getting the blame by handing it to the private sector.  They have already effectively privatised dentists without anyone really noticing.  Why would they want to destroy the NHS?  Because it’s too expensive for the government to pay for, and with the population ageing the problem is going to get worse, so ideally (for the ruling class) the poorer classes would have to pay for their own care via private insurance etc and then the rich only have to look after themselves – they won’t miss the NHS because they can go private in luxury, without having to support the poor.

Could the focus on the state of the economy and the public sector spending cuts, particularly the Local Government cuts, have been a problem that’s exaggerated in order to pursue a right wing agenda of reducing the public sector so that there can be more central government control and a shift towards less state spending on the poor?

Speed cameras certainly aren’t a safety thing, there are a money making exercise.

Iran / Iraq / Afghanistan – we all know it’s about the oil.  Getting control of supply and getting our oil companies in there to get the profits.  A shame that some of our brave soldiers have had to die in the process.  There’s also the USA poodle factor – we have to stray on side with the US because we need their support for trade and in military terms, so we are their poodle but don’t’ want to admit that, so various lies have to be told in parliament.

Global warming – or is it climate change – or is it ‘more extreme weather events’ (though we’ve always had these!) (and ones that don’t fit are written off as just short term weather while ones that do fit are ascribed to showing the trend towards climate change).  Maybe the climate is changing, maybe it’s not – and if it is, then maybe it’s not entirely or even partly due to human activity.  And even if it is, can we do anything about it?  Could it be that it suits the government to have us worried about something, – it takes our minds of other problems like over-population and fish depletion and pollution and the dumbing down of education and government incompetence – and gives them permission to do certain things, like reinstate the nuclear industry, or whatever?  I’m not clever enough to know what their ulterior motive is, but something smells fishy.

“Flying isn’t green” – do they want us to travel left, for control reasons or to reduce congestion of airports so the rich can use them more easily?  I just don’t believe that planes are a significant user of fuel or polluter, in fact they use less fuel per passenger mile than cars, and there are a LOT more cars around.  No, there’s something else going on here.

Energy Prices – a bit like Emilie Sande and Mylie Cyrus who seem to have brilliant PR managers, this story keeps getting pushed into the news, and why would that be?  My guess is that they are paving the way for nuclear power (which I personally am in favour of anyway, but that’s not the point, most people are against it), but there may be another reason too.  Certainly the coal mines were closed down for political reasons rather than economic ones, and maybe this is part of some longer game. Getting us to frack the north west? Getting us to buy EU power so the MEPs can stay at the trough?  Getting us to keep paying lots of tax on our energy while blaming the price on the producers?   I guess the real reasons will be clear once it’s too late…

So people, what did I miss?

Moderation

Filed under: News and Politics — Tags: , — chriscroft @ 12:21 pm

I just watched a rather irritating TV programme where they had people phoning in to say whether immigration is good or bad, and in fact the TV programme had done some research and it was something like 80% of people thought immigration was a bad thing. (Well done to the 20% of people who had managed to realise that we’re all immigrants if you go far back enough, and our uniquely rich culture comes from the diversity of adding up everything from nordic language to curry, reggae music to genetic variation).

So the question was “Is immigration good or bad?”

But of course that survey totally missed the point which is that too much immigration is bad, but too little is ALSO bad. The question we SHOULD be thinking about is “What’s the optimum point?” or at least “How much is too much?” – what’s the acceptable range. And then we can work out how to aim for that.

I do fear unlimited immigration, and I do fear that next January we might get overloaded with people from Romania and Bulgaria, or that we gradually get swamped over the next 5-20 years, because there is a maximum rate that we can assimilate new people, but I don’t know what that maximum rate is, and I don’t know if my fears are founded or unfounded. And nobody is even allowed to talk about it without being branded racist.

So the thinking person’s position should be:
a) it’s not about race, it’s about numbers – of any type / colour / race / creed.
b) it’s not about keeping people out, it’s about working out what is the maximum number of people we can welcome in.

August 22, 2013

Charities – project or process?

Filed under: News and Politics — chriscroft @ 9:37 pm

Why are children still starving in Africa, after all the money we’ve sent?? Ideally charities would make a difference, rather than be self-perpetuating organisations.

So to find out whether your Charity is a project or a process, ask them these:

1 – When is the project that I am contributing to due to end?
2 – When it ends, how will you measure its level of success?
3 – How will you communicate this success (or not) to me?

No decent answers to these? – No money from me!

August 7, 2013

Things just aren’t black and white

Filed under: Happiness, Lists, News and Politics — chriscroft @ 4:15 pm

When you’re young you know everything, and life seems so simple. Then a few shades of grey creep in, and before you know it, even the obvious stuff has a flipside.
Some examples that have happened to me recently:

1 – What are your kids doing?
I used to think “How could those irresponsible parents have been letting their wayward children run riot and steal/vandalise/whatever. That parents are clearly to blame!”. Until my kids reached teenageness, when of course you have to trust them, and they go to see their friends or go out shopping with friends, and you actually have no idea where they really are. Not quite as clear cut as I thought!

2 – Should the church allow gay marriage?
I’m totally 100% in favour of a person’s right to be gay, whether they were made like that from birth, or whether it’s a choice. The church is bigoted, discriminatory, and old fashioned, at least that what I thought until last week, when it dawned on me that the church has a right to be those things, hasn’t it? If an old fashioned club doesn’t want someone to join, what gives a person the right to force that club to let them join? In fact why would that person WANT to join that club? Let’s ignore that club, move on, and leave them behind. Forcing an unpleasant club to change seems just as unpleasant. Hmm, tricky!

3 – I want my kids to get good grades at school
This seems obvious, but then, will good grades lead to a better paid job, and will the extra money make them happier? Will good grades lead to a more enjoyable job? They won’t do any HARM, but then, they will make you more likely to be tempted into the rat race. The links are really hard to prove, and I’m not convinced that anyone really knows the answers.

4 – Should Muslim women wear hijabs/burkas?
Surely having to cover themselves (whether it’s a scarf or a full body thing) is repression of women, right? The fact that they have no choice in the matter? But then I read something where a Muslim lady was saying that she likes to be covered – she can see out to the world from the safety of inside her burka. So now I’m thinking that it’s almost unfair that they get this option and we don’t – though I suppose I could wear one if I wanted. I still think that they should have the choice, but I can see that covering up is not all bad. Oh dear, is there no preconceived prejudice that I can fall back on??

Still, it’s fun to learn and change, and to think about things like this. By the way, I’m not asking for answers to any of the above, they are just examples, and they my own personal views and not views that I want to push onto you – I’m just saying that a lot of these issues aren’t black or white when you look into them.

October 22, 2012

Why I don’t like the Lottery

Filed under: Careers, Happiness, Lists, News and Politics, Time Management — Tags: , , , , , , , — chriscroft @ 6:29 pm

It’s a free country, but still, things like the Lottery are bad for the people and this is why:

  1. It builds false hopes which lead to frustration – “Why isn’t my life better?”
  2. It’s based on a lie – that you might win. You won’t! It relies on the fact that we exchange £1 for maybe getting £6 million, which sounds good, because we are human and can’t comprehend numbers over 100, it seems like 100:1. If we really could comprehend 6million (e.g. betting on a horse race with a slug in the outside lane) we wouldn’t bother.
  3. It replaces real plans and real actions – “I won’t bother to do anything except buy a lottery ticket, and hopefully my number will come up|” as opposed to “It’s my life, I’m responsible for it, and if I want to change it then I’ll have to face up to doing some real work”
  4. Once a week you’re told you’re a loser
  5. It’s a tax on the poor and the gullible – over time they gradually lose half the money they put into it, and it has been shown that it’s the less well off end of society that spends more on the lottery and scratch cards
  6. The government appears to be spending less on charity, sports and the arts because the lottery is paying for those things instead, so I don’t think it’s proved that the Lottery has increased the money available for these three good causes
  7. The addictive stress of having to bet each week in case your numbers come up on a week when you didn’t bet.
  8. Winning own’t even make you happy! – it’ll ruin your social life and within a year or two you’ll have blown all the money. Yes, that’s what happens.

Conclusion – get real, you aren’t going to win the lottery, and make a plan for whatever you want, and do the work yourself to get there.

October 15, 2012

Scotland – our fickle partner?

Filed under: News and Politics — Tags: , , — chriscroft @ 10:06 pm

Leaving aside whether it’s a good idea for the Scots and/or for David Cameron if the Scotland leaves the UK (I have no idea) and whether the English should get a vote as to whether they want to keep the Scots (too hard for me to decide that one!), I think the Scottish devolution referendum raises an interesting question of loyalty.

I’ll stick my neck out now and predict that the Scots will narrowly vote to stay as part of Britain, and I think this is the worst result for Scotland. Getting out – fine. Overwhelmingly want to be England’s ‘business partner’ – fine.  But deciding 60/40 to stay – well, what sort of half hearted vote of confidence is that?

Imagine your husband or wife saying they are thinking of leaving you and moving in with your next door neighbour, but they need a couple of weeks to think about it, and then finally they come to you and say they have very marginally decided to stay with you. Some marriage!

Surely in every relationship, whether it’s with a supplier, or someone who works with you, or for you, there should be a total and instant commitment. In fact, even if you have doubts, you shouldn’t show them, you should make up your mind and then give total support.

My fear is that the Scots will then be left looking feckless and disloyal, reluctant partners who don’t have their heart in the union, in which case the English will have a legitimate reason to despise them – and that’ll be a real shame.

CC

 

PS I think my name might have Scottish roots!

August 13, 2012

The Olympics – POD or POA?

Were you inspired by the Olympics?

They certainly were brilliant – the organisation, the crowds, the stunning opening ceremony, and of course the performance of the athletes – what amazing people they are, yet also strangely ordinary people – just people like us, who are somehow doing amazing things.

So many thoughts swirling in my mind about it…
Do I want to be like those athletes? If not a track cyclist, then at least a gold-medal-standard trainer! Do I want to be the best in the world? Do I need to be? Do I have the talent, the ability? Or the motivation? Would it make me happy?

I think the question is: What should a normal person do having seen the Olympics and been inspired by them?

Let’s take it apart a little:

Reasons for Post-Olympic-Depression

• It’s been really easy and fun just putting the TV on and wallowing in the spectacle
• Our normal lives and all their problems have been suspended for two weeks
• Now it’s back to reality
• We hope that the Olympics and their after-effects will somehow improve the country and our lives, but of course they won’t. Reality is still there.
• “I’ll never have a body like Tom Daley or Chris Hoy or Usain Bolt, and I’ll never get a medal in anything or be cheered on by an 80,000 crowd. I’m a failure compared to them”.

Reasons for Post-Olympic-Achievement

• “I can see that ordinary people can achieve their dreams if they are prepared to do the work”
• All it needs is a small step to get onto the Spiral of Achievement: motivation leads to effort which leads to results which leads to more motivation which leads to more effort which leads to more results which…… and the Olympic Effect just might be enough to get people to take this first step.

Are the Olympians ordinary, just like you and me, or not?

Well, with the possible exception of the godlike Usain Bolt, my belief is that they are ordinary people who had the luck to get onto the Spiral of Achievement, and then, perhaps with the help of others or through their own strength of will, had the strength to persist and keep doing the work to get there. And to reach the very top that work is very considerable. Did you see the video of Chris Hoy training, to the point where he collapsed off his bike and lay on the ground in lactic acid agony, groaning in the foetal position, while they just put a blanket over him and left him to recover. THAT’s doing the work! If you tell any successful person they are lucky they have every right to be annoyed – they have done the work!

It’s possible that to be the best in the whole world you need great talent as well as doing the work, but seeing interviews with the boxer from Hull, the canoe medallist, the Taekwondo and judo winners, and the rowers, I got the distinct feeling that they were ordinary people who had just really really focussed and then done the work. And certainly, if you wanted to be very good at something, as opposed to the best in the world, then it’s really not about talent, it’s about work. Anyone, including you (yes you reading this) really can do anything you want if you’re prepared to do the work.

I used to think that the challenge was to find the thing that you have a talent for. But maybe the
challenge isn’t to find the thing that you’ve got a talent for, but to find the thing that you enjoy enough to then be motivated to do the work required. If you have a talent but you don’t enjoy it then you’ll never do the work and so you won’t succeed.

So maybe the legacy of the Olympics will be that lots of people will take that first step onto the Achievement Spiral and find that they can get results. All that undiscovered talent! Maybe there is a future Usain Bolt living in Hull! However I suspect that

1 -the greatest evil of all, laziness, will again triumph and most people will plan to do something and then not bother, (like all those people who join the gymn in January and then stop going by February) and also that

2 – most people won’t make the leap from Sport to Everything Else. Why not decide to be really good at computers or music or languages or selling or…..? They are all the same, they just require you to do the work. But will people realise this?

I do hope that all over the UK people decide to be better at all sorts of things, and they get onto the Achievement Spiral as a result of the Olympics.

But then I think about Victoria Pendleton (or Queen Victoria as some commentators amusingly called her) – who is retiring from cycling, saying that she doesn’t enjoy it any more. She’s the best in the world, how can she not?? And I think the answer is that she is paying such a massive price to be the best in the world that it outweighs the happiness. Quite right Victoria, you’ve achieved enough, and you deserve to have some fun! We all remember Steve Redgrave saying after Sydney “If anyone sees me getting into a boat again would they please shoot me” and then within 2 weeks he declared himself in for Athens. It’s great to see him enjoying himself now, he’s more than earned it!

So, bearing in mind that you can achieve anything if you do the work, but you want to avoid the Pendleton Factor, here is my overall conclusion from the Olympics:

1. Set yourself at least one goal, based on something you enjoy doing – don’t worry about talent. It doesn’t have to be in sport, it can be anything you like.

2. Make your goal large enough to be exciting, but not so large that in order to achieve it you’ll have to give up the rest of the things that make you happy. So Olympic gold is probably out! (e.g. to be able to run 5k in 45 minutes, or to play in a band in your local pub, or to speak good enough Italian to joke with locals, or to be good enough at tennis to hit the ball hard and it still goes in).

3. Focus reasonably strongly on achieving your goals – this means giving up some things and fighting against the demon laziness. Focus strongly but not obsessively. Obsessive focus will reduce your overall happiness.

Onwards and Upwards like a lightning bolt (imagine me assuming the position in front of my flip chart)

CC

June 18, 2012

My little rant against racism

Filed under: News and Politics — Tags: , , , — chriscroft @ 10:31 pm

There’s been some racism in the Euro football, as usual, and as always I’m baffled by it.  Totally baffled.

What do racists make of someone like Beyonce or Halle Berry, who is a) mixed race (where do they draw the line?  is 25% black OK?  1%?) and b) undeniably attractive?

What about Donna Summer or Ashwarya Rai or Sade or Tina Turner or Naomi Campbell, or any one of many beautiful non-white women – do they claim to not find any of them attractive?

And is Mexican OK?  (Salma Hayek, Eva Longoria).  If no, then what about Spanish or Italian? If no, what about Swedish?  Or Brazilian?  Venezuelan??

and do they hate Miles Davis or Jimi Hendrix despite their great music?  What if they like a band and then discover later that they are black – do they change their mind?  How do they live with that?

How do they feel about black footballers scoring for England?

I wonder if they know that Ryan Giggs is not entirely white….

How do they feel about the fact that they can’t tell if people are Polish or Scandinavian by the colour of their skin, so they can’t tell who’s foreign and who isn’t?  Are they against all immigrants or only ones who look different?

How do they feel about the fact than many non-white people in the UK are much more English than for example me (I’m only 50% English because I have a 100% foreign mother, but you can’t tell I’m only half English because my mother is white.  Does that make it OK, if so why, and if not, then does it worry them that they can’t tell?).  Many non white Brits were born here and have lived here all their lives, and have parents who were born here and have lived here all their lives.  Surely they are English / British?  At what point does someone become British?

Do they realise that their own blood lines all end up being from abroad if you go back far enough, (in many cases not very far at all) so how many generations does it take to be “properly British”?

Would they turn down a more competent (say) Indian doctor for a less competent white one?  Really, if their life was at stake?

How great it would be to have a pet racist that one could examine in a laboratory!

June 2, 2012

Planning for zero growth

Filed under: Managing People, News and Politics — Tags: , , , , — chriscroft @ 4:22 pm
Thanks to Mike for starting me along this path of thinking and reading….

Mathematics tells us that if something (e.g. the UK economy, or the world economy, and therefore the world’s use of oil) grows at 7% per year then it will double every 10 years.

The world’s use of oil has actually been doing this for many decades now, so it’s no wonder we are using up more oil than we are discovering. Reserves are maybe 50 years but if we keep doubling then they are only 20 or less. And we’re not going to discover double, or even the same amount each decade as we have done. Nothing major has been found since the north sea back in the 1970s. (and oil s important for more than just cars – it makes fertilisers which feed most of the world….)

If something grows by only 3 or 4 % then it doubles every 20 years – still an unsustainable rate!

If only the developed world has growth then it’s great for us because as a percentage of the world it’s small, and we can flog more and more to the underdeveloped world – but now that China India Brazil and Russia are booming as well we can’t all grow. We will run out of space, houses, greenery, fuel, roads, metals, water, things to pollute, etc. You may have noticed that a lot of this has already started…..

So we HAVE to discover a way to live with zero growth, and soon. Especially we in the developed world, since we are ahead of the curve and the others are going to carry on growing whether we like it or not.

What would zero growth be like? We currently think of it as teetering on a recession, but why is it so bad? Companies won’t grow but can still make a profit. In fact they will grow if they are better than their competitors or in a growing segment. Other segments will be contracting – but that’s life, and happens even when there is growth.

The stock market will have to get used to companies staying the same size. People will have to get used to their houses not increasing in value. We won’t have to keep spending money on new roads, hospitals etc.

All this would be fine if it wasn’t for one thing – people are living longer and the population is on average getting older. Who will look after them? At the moment we make more children, and we let immigration happen, (deliberate incompetence by the government?) so that we get enough younger people to do the work. But with zero growth we would have to find a way to keep things going with the people we’ve got. Maybe working until an older age, combined with great efficiency, and living off a smaller pension, will be how it has to be?

Pensions will have to be smaller because pensions are usually not a pot of money you have saved, but are taken from those still working and paying tax – a dwindling part of the population.

Could the economy cope with not growing? It’s going to have to, and I can’t see why not.

Thoughts anyone?

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