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Racial Identity and Happiness

September 18th, 2010

I want to let you in on something. My new project that has been keeping me from posting here as often as I should and want is called 'Mixed In Different Shades' and is about the history of inter-cultural relationships and mixed heritage people around the world. How are these two things related you might ask, a blog dealing with trying to find happiness and a history of various small populations around the world? Let me explain.

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'Mixed' History In The Making

September 16th, 2010

A recent study by Leeds University that spawned a score of news stories (BBC, Guardian) estimated that numbers of ethnic minorities in the UK will grow from 8 to 20 per cent of the population in 2051.  Apart from the 'other white' ethnic group which will be the fuelled by expected high levels of immigration from Europe, Australasia and the US, the percentage of people identifying themselves as being of 'mixed race' is expected to grow substantially.

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Self Doubting's Purpose

September 14th, 2010

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."  Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970).

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Worry About Our Education Sector

September 13th, 2010

My daughter just came back from her old college where she had been asked by them to attend to request a letter confirming her leaving date.  The letter is required by the Job Centre and you would expect it is a common request by ex-college students.  She was told it would take up to 2 weeks to have the letter issued.  Considering that fact that the letter is usually required by other bureaucrats to allow some to for example, sign on as unemployed, you would think they would have their act together.

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Zimbabwe: Predictions of Chaos After Mugabe

September 8th, 2010

Apparently Zimbabwe's President Mugabe's health is deteriorating and now the analysts are predicting a chaotic handover to whoever follows him.  You don't need to be an analyst to work that one out!  Any chance that the ZANU-PF factions would resolve the issue internally and relatively peacefully is no longer possible with MDC in the picture.  The army is likely to be the king-maker.

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China and India will make the west poorer?

August 25th, 2010

"The current financial crisis could bring about a change in the international economic order with countries like China and India becoming the dominant global economic powers."   The Chief Economist of one of the world's biggest banks, HSBC, believes Asia's rise poses a threat to prosperity in the West.

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Junk Food & Drugs

August 13th, 2010

Fast food outlets should hand out  a statin pill, a cholesterol-lowering drug, to customers to combat the effects of fatty food, say an Imperial College London team.

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Dancing Happiness

July 21st, 2010

When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. [Lee Ann Womack - I Hope You Dance*]

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Rent A Friend Week

July 20th, 2010

“I am available on most weeknights, not degree educated but well versed in matters of politics, economics, religion and the like. Personal disasters like career disappointments and failed romantic encounters can be discussed and I am not too averse to bouncing balls, kicking balls and hitting balls with a bat but much prefer the kind of play available at the local night club. I can hold my liquor quite well and am unlikely to return any curries eaten under the influence. Being a little on the large side enables me to fireman lift any friend to whom the excitement becomes too much. All this for the price of a taxi ride home! Bookings being take now, form an orderly queue please, we’re British.”

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Racism, Tribalism, Classism - Prejudice without Substance

July 19th, 2010

My 60 year plus mother holds some very set view about certain sections of society that may have some basis in experience but most likely does not. Since she comes for the generation of the great –isms, I assumed that my siblings and I just brushed off these prejudices, sometimes with argument. Imagine my surprise when discussing a certain serious family issue with one of my siblings when they strongly expressed an opinion consistent with one of my mother’s which I know is not based in their experience.

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Child Maintenance Arrears over £3,761 million

July 18th, 2010

Single parent charity Gingerbread recently published a nationwide league table of child maintenance debt showing a child maintenance ‘debt mountain’ of £3,761 million owed to children by non-resident parents, mostly fathers, across the country. Gingerbread’s Chief Executive Fiona Weir urged the ‘Child Support Agency has to do its job too in collecting debts and enforcing payment’.

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The Changing Face Of Marriage

July 16th, 2010

We do not need to look for statistics to prove that the rate of marriage breakdowns is growing. Many of us have many have experienced it ourselves or have close family and friends who have and those of us with children will know that a significant proportion of their classmates come from ‘broken homes’. Some of those classmates will come from ‘single parent’ families where a marriage was never entered into in the first place but may have been a co-habitation or ‘break-up before marriage’ scenarios.

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When The Oppressed Become The Oppressors

July 13th, 2010

“Set me free so that I may do to others what you did to me.”

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The Simple Things....

July 9th, 2010

Here is one man's view of how the simple, not necessarily the easy, can make you happy.   Though written from the sense of the simple home in the Brazilian favelas compared to the high life in the USA, it is the emphasis on simplicity, difficulty and community that the sense of wellbeing is being found - What is Home?

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XXX-iting Fundraising

July 6th, 2010

A "big budget" pornographic film was shot in a London hospital when it hired out one of its wards to a film company.  The movie generated "substantial income" for the hospital, Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt said  BBC News - 'Big budget' porn film shot in London hospital.

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People Died For This!

July 2nd, 2010

"MPs in Kenya have voted to boost their own salaries, making them among the world’s best paid politicians."  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/10476388.stm.  Apparently 'the vote has provoked anger from the general public and the media, correspondents say'.  Well I’m not surprised.  The Kenyan PM will earn more than the Uk Premier and the US President and this is a third world country with much lower costs of living.

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Nairobi - One Of The Most Expensive Cities

July 1st, 2010

Nairobi has made it into the list of the worlds most expensive cities for expatriates, according to a new survey.  The continued slide in the Nairobis ranking, experts warn, could make the East Africas hub less attractive to international workers.The cost of living index compiled by Mercer, an international human resource consultancy, has ranked the city at position 88 of the most expensive cities in the world-- the first time it has made it to the list of the top 100. It was ranked at no. 114 last year, meaning it has dropped 26 places to edge closer to the most costly city among the 214 polled. (allAfrica.com: Kenya: Nairobi Ranked Among Most Expensive Cities).

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Hate Father’s Day.

June 21st, 2010

On Father’s Day (at least in most parts of the world) , one of the popular hashtags on Twitter was #FuckFathersDay and a search of the words ‘hate’ and ‘father’ or ‘daddy’ would have displayed a frighteningly growing results list.

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Jailed for breaking into Jail

June 19th, 2010

A Mozambican man, Macamelo Antonio, 28, was sentenced to 1 year for destroying state property after he used a hammer and crowbar to break back into prison. Mr Antonio had just been released for good behaviour from a 10 year sentence.

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MSP quits over 'attractive girl' remark

June 17th, 2010

"To be blunt, it is the job of the convener to ensure his committee is running smoothly and efficiently - not to ogle members of the audience." Brian Taylor,Political editor, BBC Scotland BBC News - Frank McAveety quits over 'attractive girl' remark.

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Get A Life, It Is The World Cup!

June 15th, 2010

"Allowing people to take time out to watch football during working hours is simply too costly, untimely, and unfair," so says Willem Smit, a researcher at the Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland. Smit has reckoned that if just half the workforce in contending nations knocks off to cheer their side on during the World Cup games, the cost to the global economy could be $10.4 billion in lost production time alone - Soccer’s Bad Influence on Brazil (notice the soccer reference in the title).

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Headline Figures Don't Make Happy People

June 8th, 2010

Exactly who are these people? Who are these analysts, forecasters and experts that come up with this kind of talk that dominates our news stories?

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Self Help Begins At Home

June 4th, 2010

If you walked into one of the most successful people in the world's home or office, would you expect to find row after row of self help DVDs/CDs and books? Have you seen any on MTV's ‘Cribs’ and 'Who lives in house like this?' Thought not.

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Stocktake Time Again - Big Changes on the Horizon

June 3rd, 2010

In exactly one month’s time, I will change my status once again from employed to self employed. Since it has been a long time since I have took stock of where I am, now would seem to be an appropriate time to do so.

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Lighting Woes - Funny World

June 2nd, 2010

As Swansea council have decided to switch off around 1,500 street lights in in search of savings up to £100,000 a year (BBC News - Swansea Council begins street light cut backs), Cape Town in South Africa’s city bosses are to keep the lights on round the clock to deter thieves of a surging crime wave involving the theft of electricity cables blighting the city (Cape Town lights stay on in daylight to deter theft)

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Africa Must Find Its Way Out Of Poverty

June 1st, 2010

Namibia’s Bishop Zephania Kameeta recently said "the poor and unemployed, who make up half of the Namibian population, still cannot believe that President Pohamba said we cannot dish out money for free to people who do nothing." The bishop was commenting on Namibia’s President's comments on the Basic Income Grant (see allAfrica.com: Namibia: A Way Forward for Big Initiative).

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Brazil - Party Country of the World Cup

May 28th, 2010

"Brazil, the world's fourth largest beer consumer, has slashed imported beer duties to avoid shortages during the World Cup, after local brewers warned they would be unable to meet surging demand despite sharply increasing production."

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Dieting Misery

May 9th, 2010

Apparently Naomi Campbell goes on the maple syrup diet – syrup mixed with cayenne pepper, lemon juice and water – three times a year. Beyoncé is said to have done that one as well adding laxative tea every night and a sea-salt water in the morning. Jennifer Aniston is, allegedly, on a new baby food diet and Liz Hurley once lived on a bowl of cabbage soup a day. These tit-bits cam to me courtesy of Naomi Campbells maple madness and my favourite quote in the article is “The awful thing about these diets is the joylessness of them. The sheer, sapping unhappiness they must involve.”

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The Money Obsession

May 8th, 2010

"This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and powerful, and to despise, or, at least neglect persons of poor and mean conditions, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments." (Theory of Moral Sentiments 1759)

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Brazil's Sexy Image

May 7th, 2010

Someone told me in the recent past that Brazil and in particular Rio, wished to clean up their 'sexy' reputation as it gave foriegners the impression that Brazil is full of sex crazed people, especially the women. Not sure that President Lula'sreinforcement of theBrazil Health minister's call to have sex for better health (http://en.mercopress.com/2010/04/29/more-sex-to-combat-high-blood-pressure-recommends-brazilian-minister) will help that reputation much. Couple that with my earlier post 'Sexy Brazilian Males Need Help!', this is a country where sex appears to be a national obsession.

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Reading and Driving Bus Driver Suspended - Next Taxi Drivers

May 6th, 2010

A bus driver has been suspended after a passenger filmed him reading while driving.The West Midlands Travel driver steering with his elbows while holding a small boook. (BBC News - Bus driver filmed reading while driving in Birmingham).

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Mexico’s Immigration Dilemma

May 5th, 2010

Immigration, the world over, causes no end of unjustified hysteria and problems. Our politicians and newspapers in the UK love to take a swipe at immigrants every time they need someone to blame or just to give a good kick.

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Africa’s Continued Dependence on Europe

May 4th, 2010

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently boasted that Brazil does the same amount of trade in Latin America and it does with the US and EU. (see http://is.gd/bY48J).

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"Vote Clegg, get Brown."

April 20th, 2010

Here is one of the reasons why 'elections' don't work for many people. When the leader of a party is urging voters to use tactical voting to elect them or to 'keep someone out of office' (Here’s what Labour can do about the Lib Dem dilemma), it would appear to me that my vote does not count for much in the grand scheme of things. What if I do like Clegg and genuinely want him to win, how do I do that without voting for him?

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Step Family Troubles

April 18th, 2010

"The leader of Manchester City Council has been cautioned by police after an allegation of assault against his 16-year-old step-daughter. Police attended and spoke to the girl who had sustained a minor injury to her ear." (BBC News - Manchester City Council leader held over assault claim).

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Unexplained Dreams

April 10th, 2010

‘I am going to be a star’.

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Radical Thinking for Africa

April 4th, 2010

Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi recently angered Nigeria when he suggested that Nigeria should be divided into several states along ethnic lines (BBC News - Gaddafi says Nigeria should split into several states) after apparently initially suggesting a Muslim and a Christian state should be created. Colonel Gaddafi, no stranger to controversy and being called ‘mad’, is also a supporter of the ‘United States Of Africa’ and is reported to have said "I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa," in his inaugural speech as Chairman of the African Union (see Gaddafi urges pan-African state). Maybe he has given up on the idea after failing to get African leaders to seriously consider the idea for so many years.

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Sexy Brazilian Males Need Help!

April 3rd, 2010

I hope I am not the victim of an April Fool’s joke but I heard that Brazil is the third largest consumer of Viagra. Now, I went to Brazil this year and let me say that Brazil, particularly Rio, has the highest number of sexy women (any colour, shape and size) per square meter on the planet. I do not see any reason why one would require some chemical help.

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Negative Friends and Yes Men

March 31st, 2010

If you happen to be one of the millions of people who either read or listen to the success self-help gurus that the USA seems to be able to generate in their thousands sprouting such terms as NLP, the Secret, 10 habits and other such like, the you would recognise the advice that you do not need to have negative friends.

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Joy is like sex

March 29th, 2010

"Money brings happiness. Fine. In that case, everyone who earns enough to have a high standard of living would be able to stop work. But then they’re more troubled than ever, as if they were afraid of losing everything. Money attracts money, that’s true. Poverty might bring unhappiness, but money wont necessarily bring happiness.I spent a lot of my life looking for happiness, now what I want is joy. Joy is like sex – it begins and ends. I want pleasure. I want to be contended, but happiness? I no longer fall into that trap."

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Love Being Alone

March 28th, 2010

“If you cannot be by yourself for an hour, or for a day, or for a week then you don’t like yourself” so rants ‘Payroll da Pimp’ in his ‘Rebirth’ audio book. [WARNING : Do not look this book up if you are easily offended – whilst the book is positive – the language used to deliver it is likely to upset, if you are over, say, 30 .] Dr. Wayne Dyer, internationally best-selling author of ‘The Power Of Intention’ is reported to have said “You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with.”

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We're not 'Know It Alls'

March 27th, 2010

For me, at least, the big story this week is about the discovery of a potential third cousin to humans who existed alongside Neanderthals and humans. This discovery has the potential to rewrite the ‘Out of Africa’ theory of our evolution. I don’t think we are likely to replace Africa as the origin of the human species but we are likely to find out that migration is a natural behaviour for our species and whilst they may have been 2 or 3 large migrations out of Africa, migration was a constant throughout our history and whilst out of Africa, hominids continued to evolve in different parts of the world. That’s just my 2 pence worth but Chris Stringer, a palaeoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London did speculate that "This is the tip of the iceberg".

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Facebook Helps You Get Syphilis

March 26th, 2010

But a facebook spokesman point out that "Facebook is no more responsible for STD transmission than newspapers are responsible for bad vision", a snide poke at the silly newspaper stories pointing to a link between the use of the social networking sites such as Facebook and the spread of sexually transmitted disease syphilis, because such sites make it easier for people to meet new partners.

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School Asthma Death Due to Negligence

March 24th, 2010

Considering that it is a known fact that the incidents of asthma are increasing in the UK, the death of Sam Linton last week is a scary issue for those of us who have children who suffer from it. The fact that it wasdecided that it was due to neglect makes this such a sad incident.

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Man on trial over airport bomb tweet

March 18th, 2010

Should we file this under "Waste of Taxpayers' Money"? Did Paul Chambers have the means to do so? Did he really mean it or it was said because the damn airport was closed? Doncaster has an airport? You learn something everyday.

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I'm Not Waiting for God.

March 17th, 2010

You see them after travelling peak hours in the UK, every weekday, shuffling on the buses with their free passes, in some places trying to get on the bus before off peak time. You see them once or twice a week queued up outside post offices and if you happen into a pub (bar), they are there, nursing a pint of something for hours sometimes playing cards or dominos or choosing horses or greyhounds from some broadsheet newspaper and sending the 'bookie' runabout to place a bet for them. You might also spot them in the local butcher or at the Wednesday market buying two sausages for 'tea'. My wife will tell you that nothing frightens her husband more that joining the ranks of the 'one foot in the grave' brigade.

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Pension freeze must be lifted.

March 16th, 2010

"Pensioners who moved to countries such as Australia and Canada only receive the level of pension paid at retirement - which might be only £6 per week. A court ruling from the European Court of Human Rights will decide on Tuesday whether they should receive increases."

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Malawi: Police Chasing Gays

March 14th, 2010

"Lilongwe — Malawi is quickly becoming unsafe for homosexuals as the country's police service recently launched a campaign to hunt down and arrest prominent people who are suspected of being gay."

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Donor's Mother Meets Saved Girl

March 11th, 2010

For the first time in Scotland a family who donated their dead relatives organs and the person that received one of them have met. See BBC News - Mother meets girl who received sons liver. This story made me feel good about the fact that I have chosen and made known that I wish to be an organ donor after I 'kick the bucket'. If you have thought about it and not done anything about it, now is the time and do it now.

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The Haunting Of My Heart

March 10th, 2010

"As you move into your forties and fifties, the recognition of your own mortality becomes more and more a part of decision-making. You realize that you're not going to be around forever. Your choices become a lot more precious. The gap between your dreams and what you're actually doing narrows, and you start living your life more directly. What you're doing is who you are. And who you are becomes more important to you." See the full article this was taken from @ Is Your Job Your Calling (extended interview) | Fast Company.

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