Prince Harry and normality.

So Prince Harry has been on active service in Afghanistan, good for him, however, according to the Guardian he thinks that being on active service is about as normal, as his life is going to get. I wonder if he actually prefers active service, to his royal duties, must be very difficult, because in reality, he is a target for terrorists on a day-to-day basis, something that perhaps many people forget. The only difference the secret deployment really makes to him is the fact that everybody round him is a target as well. They get to step into his shoes not perhaps exactly how they would wish to compare lifestyles, but nevertheless it may give many more people than normal an insight into the pressures of being a member of the Royal family.

Not every aspect of a leap year is good fun. A couple of stories below, to point up the less comical side.

Learners Permit to drive a car
When I turned 16 we lived in a small country town and it was possible for me to sit for my Learner’s Permit to drive a car.
I arrived at the Police Station to sit my test (very nervous) and the Police Officer proceeded to fill out the necessary forms,
asking me my name, address, d.o.b etc. When I told him my date of birth, he stopped and thought for a moment then
said, “I’m sorry but you are too young, you’ll have to come back in the year 2016”. Being used to all the practical jokes
every 4 years played by my mother I looked him in the eyes and said to him “my mother has rung you hasn’t she?”.
He couldn’t keep a straight face and confessed. I passed my test too!!

Security Risk
We were on a Cruise in the Baltic Sea when September 11, 2001 happened. All flights had been cancelled to get back
to the states. When it was time for us to return home, of course, the airports were a mess. Security was at high alert
and the lines were incredibly long. To make matters worse, Gary shows up with a February 29th birth date and for some
unknown reason, the computers in Europe would not recognize this date. He was considered a security risk. They could
not get a boarding pass printed for him so they had to manually write one up. It was very stressful and we were afraid we
were going to be stranded even longer. After a couple hours it all worked out and he was able to board the plane.
Such is the life of a leaper!

Happy 29th of February, and any lady who intends to pop the question. Best of luck.

Are numbers, the answer to ‘life the universe and everything’.

What would we do, if we could produce a computer to answer the question what is ‘life the universe and everything’ to quote from Douglas Adams The hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy. Well we may never know what we would do, Edinburgh Universities £14 million intelligent computer has failed, after three years churning through billions and billions of calculations per second, to come up with an answer. It was probably really trying to work out where to go on holiday this year. Interestingly, Douglas Adams came up with the number 42 as the answer and guess what, apparently our Galaxy weights, three times 10 to the power of 42 kg. It’s official. spooky isn’t it, I reckon all we have to do is get everybody in the world to give us one number and then divide by the number of people in the world and we will have the answer. It will of course inevitably be 42.

Half the 42, and you get 21. The magical age at which most people reach majority, although I do have to admit in my head, 18, being the legal drinking age, in my part of the world, seemed far more important as a milestone. Divide 21 by 3 and you get the number of years from birth that the Jesuits reckoned they needed to mold a mere mortal into one of God warrior’s.

Have numbers replaced the certainty of religion, books like the Wisdom of crowds ,The undercover economist, The logic of life are fascinating with their pure logical answers. Sometimes I think I should have paid more attention in maths and actually learnt a little bit of algebra, I could then decide the odds of having a good time if I went to the pub as opposed to going to the pictures or reading a good book. I think perhaps this evening, I’ll leave the numbers and calculations to their own devices apart from ensuring that my Guinness is a full pint.

Daniel Day-Lewis and the Oscars. There will be Blood

Okay everybody seems to think Daniel Day-Lewis was fantastic in ‘ there will be blood’, not me, I actually think that the character he played was transplanted directly from the gangs of New York, which was from my point of view a much more interesting, entertaining and exciting movie than There will be blood.

I remembered very little about the movie half an hour after I came out, which would indicate that the stickability of its message was at best slight. The best performance I felt came from Paul Dano who played both Paul Sunday an Eli Sunday, Paul Sunday having by far the biggest part but I think the subtle characterization of Mr Dano was the best piece of acting in the movie. Maybe as a Brit the historical significance of the land grabbing oil tycoons at a turn-of-the-century was a bit lost on me. I’m afraid I didn’t find it interesting at all to be told that the megalomaniac greed of one oil tycoon could lead to so much tragedy. Modern-day oil companies can do far more damage with a lot less effort, Iran? I think to get the best out of the story the movie would have had to be twice as long to allow time to explore the characters as individuals, within their own lives, before they were thrown together in what often seemed pointless conflict. But time is money and one certainty in this world is that Hollywood is driven by cash.

The most notable aspect of the movie for me was the musical score which hit me right at the opening of the movie and stuck with me throughout, well done Radiohead, you allowed me to come away with one memorable highlight. Go see the movie it’s worth it for Paul Dano’s acting, and the young Dillon Freasier as H.W. Plainview , the kid, as well as the score.

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