Monday, March 27, 2017

More notes from a train

The guy across the way, diagonally has his two fingers up to me, he's lucky I don't take it the wrong way, they're just supporting his temple as he stares in deep concentration at the screen.
My baldy friend opposite has just answered his phone after zero rings. Talk of a hotel in London, 7 k a room, fuck off.
They both got on while I slept, and then I was woken by the ticket man, pesky ticket man.  I was all in a heap getting out this morning, 6 minutes later waking than I'd planned, nearly fell down the stairs, (last two steps of it at least), ripped the calendar and made an awful clatter, probably waking the kids.
I needed that hour of sleep that "they" stole from me at the weekend, "they" who decide these things, why don't "they" just leave me the hell alone...

They're building a funfair next to my workplace, honest to goodness, funderland, with a proper ghost train behind my bosses desk, and when we're at meetings upstairs there'll be people outside the window dropping from heights and screaming (and I don't work at Apple or anything).  This will go on for 3 weeks.  Can you believe it?  We had a lovely bit of wasteland beside us, there used to be a dairy there and it had been reclaimed by nature, was a real little paradise in suburbia, a haven for wildlife.  The fun fair is putting paid to that though. 

Yerman opposite has lost his call now 3 times in a row and last time hung up while shaking his head in disgust, all while I could hear the other person still talking.  Hates losing any bit of control I'd say.  Expensive headphones on him.  He'd love to think I was writing about him.

Anyway - so yeah, there was a poor little lost pheasant going around our car park yesterday, avoiding the diggers and construction, and I hope he'll be alright, but sure nature never really has a happy ending.  Wild animals don't live long lives, finally quietly and peacefully passing on surrounded by their loved ones. 

I'm very tired and have been up very early, so that thought is making me disproportionately sad.

So I'm going to think of sleepy puppies instead.

Though I daren't go back to sleep in case Mr Money decides to sell my laptop out from under me.  I'm fierce secretly passive aggressive to strangers though aren't I? 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

At the cutting edge of Milk

Two threads of research into milk have come to my attention in recent days... which I thought I'd share, being the kind sort of sharing type of person that I am.

One is in terms of milk's interaction with the microbiome* of a baby - apparently natural human milk encourages good guy bacteria bifidobacterium to grow like crazy in the baby's intestine (so it becomes 80% of what's there), and that in turn sort of gives the child a good micro "fingerprint" for want of a better description, it shapes how their guts will work and what types of bacteria will live there for a good while into the future - reducing a person's predisposition to all sorts of diseases and yukkiness.
Now, the scientists love the bifidobacterium, partly because it's "Y" shaped, and partly because when they give it in spades to prematurely born babies they are 15 times less likely to get a nastly gut illness called NEC. So Mam's milk encourages this good bacteria, got it? Right, so what the scientists are now trying to do is figure out what the good bacteria is making out of it - basically what is it excreting, so that they can mimic this, you guessed it, and add this product to formula, bug poop.  I think this is a little strange, but admittedly fascinating. 

Two is that there's actually a lot of research going into Equine milk.  Yep, horses.  I know there's a brand called Cow & Gate and a scandal called horse gate, so marketing might struggle a bit more with that.  We don't mind getting a helping hand from Daisy to feed our babba's cos we're used to that idea, but Black Beauty, or Shergar?  Would that only make the kids too bloody fast anyway? Any parent who has raced behind a toddler in a terrifying game of multistory carpark chase, knows this is possibly not the best idea.  The boffins are looking into it because apparently horse mammies are very like human mammies and feed their young more often than cows.  I also wondered if this one will ultimately lead to Monkey Milk, which would surely be closer again, but again marketing might stop this bright idea in its tracks, sure it's unlikely the monkey equivalent of veal will have such a ready market.

Maybe easier to support mammies who want to use their own home made stuff, family recipe, passed down the generations, freshly batch prepared every time, perfectly adjusted according to the weather, age of the child, time of day, growth spurts the child is going through, and infections going around.  Just maybe. 

* for the science bit - the microbiome is the family of bacteria that we all live with, that live on and in us, they outnumber our cell's 10 to 1, but scientists think that ratio goes down to 1:1 after a good poop.  (sorry - gawd I seem to be apologising in my posts a lot lately)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Poetry is mainstream now - and sorry but so is humongous horrible suffering.

Almost 7 years ago, I posted two groundbreaking and prescient reports on the popularity of poetry

and now dear readers, it has come true.

Poetry is so popular, the wonderful Stephen James Smith was at the pre-Oscar's party last week reading his specially commissioned poem "My Ireland" well worth checking out if you haven't seen it by the way... I knew him before he was famous but after he was 12.

Then, you know what happened, a young poet, like younger than 200 years of age, was on the Late Late show on Friday.
Just to put it into context:  The late late is our barometer of what is mainstream in the world of Ireland.  You hear about a trend of people wearing bottle caps over their eyes for example in new york (so this is the start of the trend, 0.0000000001% in Ireland even know about it), then you see it on a cutting edge arty magazine that the experimental fashionistas in the capital are into it (so the top 0.0000005% in Ireland have discovered it), then you see a cooler than cool looking hipster in the local tavern with one (we're at 1% levels), and eventually someone on the late late has it (totally mainstream - up to 40% of the population are into it)
Anyway yerman Emmet Kirwan he was called, was brilliant and talented, eloquent, engaging and overall a really good representation of the power of poetry.

So now, that must mean that 30 - 40% of Ireland are into poetry in a big mainstream way at this stage.  Which is lovely and aren't we all great.  I'll have to start writing again soon to take advantage of it!

Unfortunately after him, there was a lady with a too familiar story of abuse, and horrific neglect suffered at the hands of supposed care givers. Rosemary Adaser spoke about the terrible things that happened to her, and I'm glad she did, and I'm sorry they happened, and I hope her telling us about it helps somehow ensure it is way less mainstream into the future.
Ryan said to her at one point "I don't know what to do with what you're telling me".  This is a natural reaction - it's like, don't be telling me sad things, It doesn't make me any happier to know about your sadness.
I do feel like the very act of living in the first world and having first world problems is a bit like burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the suffering in worse places, especially that caused by our wasteful habits, greedy insatiable appetites and climate change, but sure, feck it.  At least poetry is getting mainstream, isn't that great?  I've loads of lovely little notebooks bought for when the muse strikes again.  All made from recycled and recyclable paper and sure there's a lovely resonance there as the poems will be recycled too when they eventually get wrote.