Sunday, 8 September 2019

Initiation rites. Political language. Babies. Dietary stuff.

I read that there is a lot of concern about initiation ceremonies. This is not as a means of joining secret societies but apparently joining sports teams and clubs and societies at university. Some of the mildest seem to be just disgusting - drinks mixed with dog food - while many are just plain dangerous - swimming teams that tape bottles to the hands of new members. I don’t remember any of this from my time at university. Drinking games at parties, yes, but seriously dangerous stuff if you joined a club or society, no. Maybe I am just too old, for it seems that some of the dangerous stuff comes from films and from Youtube videos.

What a strange world!

Almost as strange as the political situation.

It’s very hard to keep up with what’s going on as MPs are expelled from the Conservative Party or walk across the House to join the opposition or resign as Amber Rudd has just done.

The language used by politicians themselves - Johnson apparently calling Corbyn a “big girl’s blouse” - and by those who write about the political situation is interestingly colloquial at the moment. Fintan O’Toole in the Observer wrote:

“Nobody with a stim of wit has ever believed that Johnson tells the truth about anything.”
While I can understand the gist of what he has to say, and even go along with it, I find myself wondering what a “stim” is. Is this an Irish expression? Mr O’Toole does write for the Irish Time after all.

Then Andrew Rawnsley’s comment and analysis headline today reads,
 “Like Macbeth, the PM is too stepped in blood to turn back. Where next?”

“Stepped”? Does he mean “steeped”? Maybe it’s a Shakespearean thing. He does refer to Macbeth, after all. So I looked it up and found that Macbeth says,

 "I am in blood
 Stepped in so far that should I wade no more.
 Returning were as tedious as go o'er."
But Macbeth says “ stepped in”, not just “stepped”. So I think Andrew Rawnsley has been a bit too clever there.

On the subject of Labour’s refusal to back a call for an early election, Andrew Rawnsley also writes, “Tories hope, and some on Corbyn’s from bench are nervous, that Labour will pay the price for appearing “frit”.” A little bit of northern English creeping in there.

Here’s something unrelated to the above. An Indian woman aged 74 has given birth to twins. A donated egg and her aged husband’s sperm, and of course modern medical techniques, made this possible. Asked about the care of the twins, given that the new parents are a little on the old side, they said it was in the hands of God. I must say that I like the mix of faith in both religion and modern technology!

Here are some related statistics, courtesy of today’s Observer:
  • The previous record holder for the oldest women to give birth was a Spanish woman called MarĂ­a del Carmen Bousada de Lara, who was 66 when she had her twins. Her name alone is enough for me. 
  •  Dawn Brooke, from Guernsey, was the oldest recorded woman to conceive naturally. She became a mother at the age of 59.
  •  In 1765 the wife of Russian Feodor Vassilyev reportedly gave birth to her 69th child. I reckon she must have had a fair few sets of twins, even if she started having children at an early age, which is probably the case. No doubt she was married at a very young age. Even so, she must have spent most of her life pregnant.
  •  In 2009 in California Nadya Suleman gave birth to a record eight children. Known in the media as Octomom, she has 14 children altogether.
And we thought our daughter was a little excessive as she is about to give birth to her fifth.

Further my having written about the eating disorder ARFID and the dangers of a severely restricted diet, here is something by Barbara Ellen:

 “Warning to lazy vegans: you may be harming yourselves.

 A study published in the BMJ says that while vegan and vegetarian diets are linked to a lower risk of heart disease, they may increase the likelihood of strokes, partly due to nutrient deficiency. Which reminds me that I need to embark on my clamoured-for food memoir: “Confessions of a Lazy Vegetarian”. The first chapter could be titled “The Crisp Years”, the second “Children of the Quorn” and so on.
My problem was that, as someone who turned vegetarian young because of animals (third chapter: “Virtue Signalling for Dummies”), I didn’t give much thought to nutrition. Actually, that’s a lie: I didn’t give any thought to nutrition. Hence, over the years, I’ve had some health problems that were most probably linked to being a gormless, vitamin-deprived vegetarian.
But that’s my own fault, isn’t it?
Vegetarians and vegans can’t blame their diets for health problems – they can only question if they’re eating properly. Vegetarians and vegans who are scrupulous about nutrition wouldn’t invite needless problems, while also reaping the genuine health benefits. The fact is, doing vegetarianism or veganism properly takes effort, which can be boring, but it must be done. Though really this applies across the board.
No diet (meat or meat-free) is automatically healthy – you always have to work at it.”

Which reminds me of when our daughter decided, aged 13 or 14, that she was an ethical vegetarian. We were prepared to support her. After all, we had been vegetarian for health reasons as well as ethical and environmental. Even now I don’t eat red meat. Our daughter, though, was difficult. Well, picky and particular. Being vegetarian for her meant eating almost nothing but Linda McCartney prepared packet vegetarian meals.


No comments:

Post a Comment