My first mobile phone was an analog “brick” given to me as a “hand me down” as part of my job as a union organiser.
At the time, I thought about how I had managed to do my job quite successfully over the years without a mobile phone.
Then my son Danny taught me how to use a laptop, with very little explanation I might add.
After some time I signed up with Twitter only because 140 characters for a tweet seemed achievable even for me. Nowadays, I don’t use Twitter.
Facebook was a disaster because my account was soon hacked and people were receiving all sorts of strange messages from me that made me sound like a raving loony pervert.
What annoyed me about Facebook was I was swamped with useless bits of information about people’s lives. I didn’t want to know if they had tomato sauce on their pie for lunch or whether they had a decent bowel movement that morning. I no longer use Facebook.
“Truthfully though, I do find a mobile phone useful in emergency situations and texting people is practical because no-one seems to answer voice mail anymore”.
Only God knows what it is like for some of my older friends.
If they have a query with a Government department they ring the relevant section and after waiting for an hour they are told by a voice it’s quicker to look it up on their home computer.
What bloody computer?
Most of my friends who are over 80 don’t have a computer.
It’s cruel you know to put that sort of pressure on older people who are just trying to stay alive.
No wonder there are so many scams committed against older people on the internet.
Luckily, I have an eight year old grandson Seamus who is a kind boy and helps me out, whenever I need help.
A clown ran for public office – and no, that’s not the beginning of a joke.
On Sept. 15, 1864, America’s most famous circus clown, Dan Rice, accepted the Democratic nomination for the Pennsylvania State Senate.
And it was just his first foray into politics: Even while continuing his career as a clown, a state convention later considered him as a candidate for Congress, and, in 1867, he made a brief but legitimate run for president.
While the idea of a clown running for office sounds like a gimmick, in the 1860s it was taken seriously — because circus itself was taken seriously, as adult fare.
Long before it was relegated to children’s entertainment, early circus in this country combined what appealed to grown-up tastes: sex, violence, political commentary and, in a horse-based culture, top-notch horsemanship.
George Washington attended the first circus in 1793 in Philadelphia not for family-friendly amusement — a notion that didn’t emerge until the 1880s — but as a horseman keen to see animals and humans working together at a peak level.
Sex and violence enhanced the appeal. Like later burlesque comedians, talking clowns told dirty jokes in a titillating whirl of the scantily clad: Circus acrobats and riders showed more skin — or flesh-colored fabric that seemed to be skin — than could be seen anywhere else in public life.
Joey Grimaldi, the greatest clown of the 19th century, made his debut at the age of four in The Triumph of Mirth.
The triumph was hard-won. His father, a fine and original clown himself, was a monster Dickens would have been proud to have invented, a savage brute (known as the Signor, but more generally referred to as Grim-All-Day) whose idea of training children for the theatre was to put them in the stocks or suspend them in a cage 40ft above the stage.
He routinely beat his wife and terrified the household with his obsession with his own death. The devil had informed him in a dream that he would die on the first Friday of the month, whereafter the Signor kept vigil on that day, every month, in a room filled with clocks, gibbering till dawn.
His favourite reading was The Uncertainty of Signs of Death; his dread of being buried alive led him to stipulate in his will that when he died his children should sever his head from his body, a task duly performed by his daughter, who kept a hand on the saw worked by the surgeon hired for the purpose.
Anyone who could survive Grim-All-Day could survive anything, you might think. Andrew McConnell Stott, in this great big Christmas pudding of a book, almost over-stuffed with rich and colourful life, notes the cost to Joey of his upbringing, but also observes that it was at the core of his work.
If you wanted to breed a clown, the Signor was perhaps the perfect parent, whose “arbitrary justice and irrationality had led him to understand the world as a shifting plane of ambiguities, void of the anchors of reason and authority a parent conventionally provides”. Well, yes, but was he funny?
The answer, for his contemporaries, was ear-splittingly in the affirmative. He was so irresistibly comic “as to put dullness to flight and make a saint laugh,” said one. “His acting and manner leave all competition at a very humble distance.”
The appeal was across the board: the famously severe lord chancellor Lord Eldon remarked that “never, never, did I see a leg of mutton stolen with such superhumanly sublime impudence as by that man” – impressive expert evidence.