Windows Eight Doors Two


Windows Eight Doors Two ©

By Michael Casey

Today is 29th July 2015 its Windows 10 rollout day, so Bill Gates is sat at his PC answering emails and cut and pasting the new operation system into each letter, so that when he replies the world population gets their free copy. His fingers will be bleeding by the time he finishes, that’ll teach him to be not so popular. He could have employed a few of his friends to answer all those emails and cut and paste Windows 10 into the emails and hit RETURN.

He could have had a Windows 10 party, like a Sleepover, but for geeks. He could have invited his Google friends over too, they’d tell him just how trendy he was, though the idea of Bill Gates being trendy is a bit beyond belief. I’d spend a bit more on clothes if I was him, and get some that are a better fit, not the bargain bin from Macys. Though I am like a pot calling the kettle black. However since I’ve lost all this weight after my operation and giving up meat and frozen food I can now fit into clothes at the back of the wardrobe, it was like Narnia back there.

It is exciting I suppose getting Windows 10, and for FREE, it says  worth 100quid on the icon, or 99 something, which is 100quid in real money. Perhaps I could pay in Bitcoins, if I had any, though silver paper covered chocolate may have higher value. I have got up early to switch my computer on and be ready, like a kid waiting to go on holiday. A computer is a very important thing, I use mine to write on, as my penmanship as Americans call it, is so bad being able to type is a godsend. I’m hoping the music function is great, I have background music constantly.

I’ve got Crowded House playing, I’ve got 4 hours of their music, so they will be there to welcome Windows 10 to our house. Totoro our cat is dancing around the house, chasing some scrunched up paper. A writer’s cat adores paper and comes running if you squeeze paper, sounds daft but it’s true, my cat just loves paper, if I scrunch up the till receipt when I come home from Aldi then Totoro loves to play football with it.

Windows Eight Doors Two, that’s the number of windows in our house, I just spotted another one so I’ve just changed the title of this piece, I had forgotten the window above the front door, and as for doors we have two. I was going to write in one direction and I ended up going in another. That’s the joy of writing you can start one way and then take it another way, like being pollen blown by the wind, or the windmills of your mind, which is my favourite song.

So Bill I hope your day wasn’t too tiring, a couple of pints of Stella Artois to wash down your chicken dinner should sort you out. Just get Melissa to walk all over your back, but make sure she takes down the washing from the indoor washing line and scrubs down the kitchen table first. Otherwise while she’s walking on your back while holding onto the washing line she’ll bring down your Y fronts on top of you. And if she if she hasn’t wiped the kitchen table first then with all the extra virgin olive oil on the table you’ll just slip off the table.

All the best with “God’s work” Bill, my nine books may amuse you and your kindle, if not you can use them as kindling, but don’t get too close to the fire or you’ll burn with all the extra virgin olive oil on you, just like a modern day witch.

My shoes 23rdJuly2015

9 books on Amazon

A Typical Saturday in Our House


A  Typical  Saturday in Our House ©

By Michael Casey

Today 25th July 2015 is a Saturday, its Totoro our cat’s 4 month Birthday. My chest pain is reminding me that heart bypass has a price, to make me well, to stave off a potential fatal heart attack I had the Triple Heart Bypass 6 months ago now. Only I was told a few days ago that actually they did 4 grafts. I felt perfectly well before the op, I was reading Don Camillo. Now I feel 50% the man I was before the operation, then there is the chest pain. However in the end I’m not pushing up the daisies. I’m telling you all this as it’s hard to concentrate when you are in pain, and sometimes your very breath is taken away. So forgive me if I stumble as I tell the tale.

Watch the cat, or he’ll sneak out, so we shut the back door, so she’ll not sneak out. Our cat has confused gender, we were told she was a he when we got him, but he was not a him, but a she. If you find and count the nipples under the fur you have the final proof, Totoro is a girl.

Who wants tea, I ask like a dirty spoon chef,  no reply so I ask again, nobody answers me, none of my 4 girls. Then the cat sneaks up and rubs himself, sorry herself against me, this both frightens and alarms me. I have scars up both of my legs where the surgeon harvested veins for my heart bypass. They are still very tender even after 6 months.

My left chest is still extremely tender too, if I brush the sheet against it while in bed then I scream. Getting up in the night means getting out of my bed naked, then getting dressed in pyjamas to avoid a Ninja Cat assault when I go downstairs. Totoro has discovered the fridge, she jumps on top of it so that she has high ground, 6 feet, from where she can pounce on anything that comes downstairs in the night.

But now it is morning and I’ve made my own breakfast, I am in fact chewing the 1st piece of my toast as I pop my 7 morning pills. You have to have them with food so my pharmacist told me, it’s a morning ritual now, a bag full of pills. My wife chirps up, can you give Eve her breakfast, she wants French Toast. Yes Daddy, you make it better than mum. And what are you doing? I ask. I’m reading the Bible is her reply, and so she is a big green covered on, printed in Mandarin. Converts will be the death of us.

So I get my daughter to get 2 eggs from the fridge, the cat having vacated her high vantage point. Then while she gets a bowl to mix the Polish eggs in I wolf down the last of my toast which has a covering of garlic and herbs mixed in the reduced fat cheese spread. The Polish eggs are like the Maltese eggs, the yolk is very bright yellow, not anaemic like some supermarket eggs.

My small daughter is pleased as she can now reach higher into the cupboard, in fact soon the cupboard door will hit her on the head, this is great news as it proves she is finally growing, at 11. Now I have the tools so I can get on with the job. French Toast for one, crack and whisk the egg in the bowl, add a splash of milk and a dab of butter. Then just stir.

Being a Shanghai Birmingham family once the bread is soaked in the egg I put it into the wok for cooking. We only had wholemeal bread in the house, so it was a new experience of French Toast a la wholemeal. Luckily my small daughter liked it, otherwise she would have been lumping it.

Twenty different conversations going on at the same time, the girls are off singing at a wedding later on, so a few lines of this hymn and that hymn. I’m just happy that my small daughter is getting taller, the plan is for my wife to be the midget of the family, my small daughter just has to out-grow her.

I think they sound worse than seagulls, another protected species, so I take refuge in the Italian barbers. I decided to give the Russian one a miss and go back to the Italian. I had tried the Polish barber before as well, I even had the mad witch Shanghai wife cut my hair a few times too. If only I could be Rapunzel, and not have to cut my fast growing but fine hair, which is everso everso silver.

The Italian was busy with a customer so I had to wait my turn, it was only 10.30am. It’s always interesting to listen in to conversations, you are sharing, or even stealing part of somebody else’s life. The Conversation Thief could be a future book title of mine, while I have that thought in my mind The Book Thief, the book, is the greatest book I have ever read, I would just love to have a pint of Stella Artois with the author.

So the customer was talking about Sky packages and how he nagged them and got a few deals out of it. His gripe was that long serving customers did not get the new deals. Which reminds me, Sky I’ve had you for 16 years plus now. It was the fact that my satellite had Phoenix Chinese tv which encouraged a young girl to come to my house.

So I should “blame” Sky for my wife and 2 bilingual daughters. Anyway Sky how about giving me, our house a free package of Sky. I’ll even write for Sky too, though Rupert will have to pay me for my words. to HEAR 50 examples.

But back to the barber, a half bald guy had his hair washed and cut before it was my turn. I told the Italian to shear me like a sheep, it’s the quickest way. He was very quiet at first then I told him my tale. He may not have seen me for a year. It turned out that his mother had died back home in Italy.

So I offered sympathy and suggested that he talk to her photo on Sundays, which was the normal time he phoned her back home in Italy. She was 98, but as he said , your mama is your mama, even if she was a million years old. He showed me the photo of his mama on his mobile phone. This was a touching moment for him, and me too. This week a family friend a contemporary of my dad has just died, aged 90. The older generation, the war generation, the better generation, is dying out.

I came home shorn of my hair, looking years younger, apart from the fact that I needed a shave. So I had a shave and trimmed my eyebrows, we have a scissors with teeth in the bathroom. It’s a very dangerous thing, but I survived.

Aldi is next on my list, I have to shop everyday as I cannot carry tons of stuff anymore. It’s also a way of getting my exercise, a trip up the road and see if I can raise a laugh from the staff on the tills. Aldi staff really really work hard, that’s why they have “high” rates of pay. I asked the guy on the till was the manager slumming it by working the till next to him.

Then I get out my conversation starter purse, yes purse. A GorJuss  purse, with a girl riding a horse printed on it. My daughter gave me it when my wallet sprung a leak. I always say it’s my daughter’s purse but my money. I did have my wife’s purse, then I said it’s my wife’s purse but it’s my money. Before that for years I had a plastic 35mm film canister, see how I have progressed, and digital cameras have taken over.

The guy on the till is smiling, so my mission is complete, so I balance out the weight of my shopping and prance home just like the horse on my purse. My dad, a blacksmith and a steel worker had a purse too, made from tick material, so I suppose it’s a family tradition.

I get home and cat jumps down from the fridge giving me a fright, if she ever gets inside the fridge it will be her having the fright. Then it’s the madness of getting ready for the Wedding, and reminding mum they need a lift to the church, its 2 miles away.

They drive off and the morning madness is over, just me and Totoro the cat home alone. Totoro decides to go and have a sleep in her basket, I feel tired too now, so I have a rest. Totoro purring in her sleep and me talking in mine. If only Sky gave me a free package and Rupert used my 9 books over 2901 pages, him paying me, now that’s something to sleep on.

My shoes 23rdJuly2015 

Looking Back


Looking Back ©

By Michael Casey

Well today is the first full week of the school holidays, so mum’s at work while I “supervise” the girls. This involved taking our smallest to the doctors’ as she had bumped her elbow a few weeks ago and now, only now did she tell us. There had been no bruising just a little pain, enough for her finally to tell us. Luckily I got an appointment and the nurse had a feel before saying she could feel a small swelling. The nurse then went and got a prescription signed by a doctor, while we waited I told my daughter it was because of her she did not now have a dog. I had said before Christmas that the girls could have a cat if I had a heart attack and a dog if I died. It was the very prompt action of the nurse that got me my first cardiac appointment which lead to my bypass. I only discovered the other day that I had 4 grafts not the 3 I’d been told. So I have had my money’s worth from the National Health Service.

After a trip to Aldi we went and got the prescription filled at my local pharmacy, there I could drop some news into the conversation. My other daughter had got 100% in a Chemistry exam, not forgetting 2 Astars in 2 mock GCSEs, 2 years before the real ones will be taken. I told him it was just a ruse to get more pocket money. She even got a distinction in her Grade One Piano Music exam, even though she has to be dragged kicking and screaming to the piano. But 91.3% is nothing to be scoffed at. The cat Totoro likes to dance on the piano, otherwise it may gather dust. No more piano lessons until she practises of her own free will every day for a year. Then we will know she is motivated. If we could bribe our musician neighbour with chocolate, to give free lessons, then maybe they’ll resume. Or if Ed Balls is ever in the neighbourhood…

All these exam results make me look back at my own school days, I was Head Boy at primary school I can boast, but really it was chief jailor locking up the school at dinner time so the kids could not run amuck. For one year I was left alone to read at the reception desk in the school, because I was ahead of the pack. Once you go to Grammar school you are ordinary, with an ability to kill on the rugby field.

I was called Casey Minimus at my grammar school, as my 2 elder brothers went to the school before me. This was ironic considering I was the heaviest by far. Ali Campbell later of UB40 was in 1B with me, though after the first year I went into the fast stream, where they try and kill you, only joking, it was fun. I can boast I did 5 years of Latin, which is a form of torture, but I suppose it does make you think. Why God am I in this classroom? Please release me, let me go, for I do not love Latin, I never did, not now, not ever not ever. I even had double Latin, 2 hours worth on a Friday afternoon in 5th year. We had the joys of the Ablative Absolute, I will never forget that lesson on a Tuesday, a double lesson with first break in the morning dividing it. This is when we all lost our linguistic virginity, when we sweated for the result. I think it was Patel, the son of a doctor, who finally cracked it. 4 other future doctors in the class hadn’t a clue but he did. If 2nd years were allowed Stella Artois, we’d all have had 3 pints each and forget the fancy glasses.

These are the things that bind us and remind us of our schooldays, the torture in Latin, or O’Callaghan getting the pump for calling my “Witty comment” a “S*** comment” and Mr Ealy the woodwork and gym teacher not being impressed in 1970. Mr Ealy was 6feet 2 but on the rugby field I could fling him, and I was just 12.

If you can look back with smiles then your school days haven’t been wasted. If you still have a friend who has lasted down the years that is even better. Pain lessens with the years, getting 4 of the best on you bum with a pump because you did not know your multiplication tables, is just a memory now, but then it really was a pain lesson. Next time I was asked to multiply I could with ease and without any pain. Now 40+ years  on my mental arithmetic is still quick, so thank you Mr Gallagher.


Bad Habits


Bad Habits ©
By Michael Casey

I was talking to the Lolly Pop man and I told him writing was one of my bad habits, I started nearly 30 years ago now, 9 books on Amazon, and I’ll keep on writing until JK Rowling has to take her books off the shelf to fit mine. As I spoke I thought there’s an idea for a story so here’s what I’ve thought of since I came home from Aldi.

One bad habit as not eating my greens, though nowadays I do eat reds and greens, and I’m not talking about Smarties or M&Ms if you are a younger generation. I mean tomatoes and iceberg lettuce, with slices of chicken on top and some Polish bread on the side. Though I would say this is not a bad habit, it’s my version of healthy eating, post triple heart bypass.

Now what about, my real bad habits. I used to dress up as a woman and go up Broad St, Birmingham’s version of Miami Vice, and try my luck. How many free Babychams and burgers and chips could I get as I strolled up one end of Broad St and down the other side. Then I’d have to fight the drunks to get a place on the no9 bus to Stourbridge. Once I was famous I’d just get a lift back home in a stretch limo, I was a lucky charm, a lucky star, just like in the Madonna song. Everybody wanted to take a selfie with me.

I do have great legs, the surgeon did comment on them prior to my triple heart bypass. He has to harvest a few veins to swop into your heart. Now I have scars all the way up both legs to where my summer long johns used to finish. That’s why I finally had to give up cruising up Broad Street, that surgeon has a lot to answer for. But I do have my memories and at least the bus drivers make sure I get a seat on the bus. There is a problem though, sometimes that nobody David Walliams is out cruising too, and people think he is me. I’m far fatter and my silver hair is so silver after all.
I used to pick my nose, is this picket official or unofficial is the old joke, ASLEF , as left the train in the station is the other old joke. I still am a Ken Dodd fan and I’ve seen him a couple of times at the theatre, which is probably a week and a half of numb bum time as his shows last forever.

So habits are things we all have, how many times do you check you’ve switched off the gas, or turned off the water taps, not forgetting have you locked the front door. OCD is a bad habit in itself, especially as you grow older, did I do that you ask yourself over and over again.

Taking pills as you get older is a real joy or torture, did I take this one or did I take that one. Pills have the days of the week written on the wrapper. This is funny in some ways as you cannot remember what day of the week it is in the first place. It’s also dangerous as pain killers can kill, literally if you go over the dosage.

I’m on 10 different pills now, so I can see all the ironies in my own situation, so I keep a note of the times when I have a pain killer. There are side effects too, like man boobs if you have too many pain killers, though if you are dressing up as a woman that might have its advantages, I still have my dresses if anybody wants to take over my mantel…..


Undiscovered Words


Undiscovered Words ©
By Michael Casey

IMGP0887Well this will be the first piece in my next book, Undiscovered Words, my 10th book. So are my words Undiscovered Words? If you thought your words would not be read would you bother writing them in the first place? Diaries are kept for many reasons, as an aid to what needs be done, as a memory of what was done. They can also hold your secret thoughts, how you fancy the boy next door, or the girl on the bus. You detail every chance meeting, every hope, so that eventually you’ll have the courage to ask him/her out. Diaries are locked for a reason, so that brothers don’t know you love Billy Dewer. However brothers are little bastards and your secret is out and broadcast all over the neighbourhood. Undiscovered Words are not undiscovered now.
When you decorate you may write your name and the date on the wall, it’s a time capsule, or rather a signature capsule, you may even scrawl a cartoon where the plaster is hard enough to allow it. Words are covered up to be discovered who knows when, can you amuse the future with your thoughts hidden under wallpaper. Banksy the street artist probably started out that way, helping his mum decorate, sneaking in a few drawings while his mum went and made a few sandwiches, then she covered up his “art” with best flock wallpaper. If people find out where Banksy lived as a teenager then the wallpaper would be steamed off and the plaster cut off with a chainsaw then sold for millions. I have an old bedroom door with my daughters’ first attempts at art, art in crayon, maybe in the future I can swop that door for a new house.
When somebody dies a lot of stuff gets thrown out, Undiscovered Words, undiscovered life, it really is a tragedy what gets overlooked and thrown away. As we had lodgers, a couple who died and some who just bailed out as my dad called it, I have experience of sorting out people’s affairs. You’ll find the odd diary and you’ll flick though it as the rubbish pile grows in the black sacks in the middle of the room. Late with keys, 10mins, this not done, that not done, a list of complaints neatly written in an old diary. This is such a sad life, detailed in the deceased’s own hand, he had no friends in that job. He should have given them a round of F**** as my dad would say, then they’d turn up on time, but to write it all down and to catalogue it seems so sad, so American verging on a killing spree.
What people keep and treasure is most revealing too, I know somebody who had a framed copy of “How I Will Make This Day Count” which is the motto for the AA, so was the person a recovered alcoholic? I should add I know a lot about alcoholics as most of our lodgers were alcoholics, a few of the people I worked with were heavy drinkers too. No, it was me, a 12 pint a year person who had the AA motto framed, I thought it was good motto, I didn’t know for years that it was the AA motto.
What you find on the bookshelf reveals the person beneath, the magazines you find under the mattress reveals even more. A person’s intellect is on show by his bookcase, though you can get false positive results, we are not all Sherlocks. Being widely read with a groaning bookcase may mean two things, either the owner has a great intellect, or he has no friends, just characters in a book for company. Which reminds me, my niece just got a First in English at York, and funding for her Masters at Birmingham.
Old letters are found in shoeboxes, sometimes nibbled by mice or even with mice droppings for company, that’s why biscuit tins are better for storage. These are invariably thrown out by loved ones who are clearing up after the dead. If only these letters were saved there would be so much wisdom from beyond the grave. I was rooting for a cable and found a 40 year old letter from my brother, it was so quiet without me they were holding the SALT talks at home, and yes they’d send me a quid pocket money for our Romsley field trip, after an all-night sitting of the cabinet. All the memories came flooding back from 1972.
Some words should not be discovered, they should be burnt, they should never see the light of day, you can pick your own politicians or comedians. Some stuff is just plain rubbish not worth the pen and ink for all the stink it creates. What of my words? Will anybody cherish them, will my daughters read them when I’m gone? I’m reminded of my Uncle Joe’s funeral, my last uncle. I had never realised how great a man he was. His son in law said, Joe didn’t say much but what he said was worth listening to.
So really my Uncle Joe is the gold standard, make your words count, make your words have value. When your words are discovered, in print, on audio or face to face, let them have weight. Empty Vessels do make the most sound, but it’s the quiet word that has the most influence and power.

Still Alive 2015


Still Alive 2015 is my 9th Book, it can be found on Amazon Kindle. My previous 8 books are on Amazon Kindle and Amazon books, so feel free to buy them.

The title refers to the fact that I had an unplanned Triple Heart Bypass operation in Jan 2015, 6 months later my BP is great, though I still get a lot of chest pain and my arthritis is reaching new parts of my body. However my writing keeps me happy, I just hope you all like it. to HEAR me read out 50 or so of my stories. I’ve done over 600 now.

Cheers, and yes book 10 will be started tomorrow.


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they say a picture is worth 1000 words, so here’s 1000s of words

Let There Be Light ©

By Michael Casey
Let my tears be my words

Let the candle light be my eyes

Let the flowers in bloom be my lips

Let their scent be my blood

Let the wind be my breath

Let clouds be my mood

Let children’s laughter be my hope

Let widows’ sighs be my conscience

Let a stranger’s prayers be my delight

Let the bees be my wisdom

Let the trees be my strength

Let my patience reach to the stars

Let me be always remembered in your prayers

A Cat’s Tale


A Cat’s Tale ©
By Michael Casey

As you all know we have a cat, or as one DT reader said, the cat has you. You do not own a cat, you are just part of its world. The cat allows you to feed it and look after it, the cat, or Totoro as our kitten is called is just playing with us. Totoro knows he has nine lives, and 4 people queuing up to stroke him, though we discovered he was in fact a she. That was Totoro’s first deception, if he was a male maybe we wouldn’t have as much work to do.

Totoro just loves running and I mean running around the house and bouncing from one new settee to another, in between diving at the scratch post we bought. Then he’ll or rather she’ll wait next to a door so she can bounce around the next room. She likes diving from the old sofa to the piano, and then to the bookcase and a with a flip over the old covered orange chair to the front room window windowsill. I’m sure she’s on drugs. Whenever I take out my bag of medicine she always wants to dive inside. Perhaps in another life she was a drugs dealer, she just loves trying to get into my bag of heart medicine.

So as she has had her two inoculations I decided to let her have more supervised play time in the garden, I don’t believe in cats being house cats, cats like walking on fences and howling at the moon. So Totoro was good and came back when I shook the bag of cat treats, £1 from Poundland, in fact Totoro would sell her soul for a cat treat. This worked fine for a day or so. Then maybe it was the hot weather the cat disappeared, I’d been having an afternoon rest, much needed after cardiac surgery, so I had to investigate the case of the missing kitty.

We looked high and low, you have to as kittens can climb, eventually my small daughter found her asleep in the store where we keep the grass cutters. It was a warm and secure place, so obviously that was where Totoro chose to sleep. Later on Totoro decided to have another adventure, she disappeared up the alley and over fences, to have tea with the other cats. Tea could be a metaphor for many things. Four fools went ashearching, the kitten just laughed, we must have spent a couple of hours in the pursuit. The neighbourhood cats just laughed looking on from roof tops and from back bed room windows, where they were watching budding computer geniuses when they weren’t looking out the window.

As twilight fell Totoro allowed herself to be caught, kittens control owners, it is never the other way around. So relieved Totoro was borne home and lauded and fed. So Totoro went to bed happy with a smile on her face, maybe plotting her next big adventure. Today the sun had its hat on, the hottest day of the year, so Totoro had her next plan ready. I’d been up at the secondary school to do some admin for my small daughter’s transfer, the sun had its hat on, but Totoro had her coat on.
I let her out for supervised play then she disappeared, first up a tree like a tree surgeon or even a mountain climber, how can kittens climb so fearlessly, I pretended to be a dog in an effort to get her to come back, but this did not work. I shaked the cat treats, but she was not interested, so this kitten had no soul to sell. My brother would have sold his soul for a Rolo as a child but Totoro was soulless.

I went on the school run and came home with a concerned child, so she prayed to Saint Martin de Porres again, asking him to bring back Totoro home. It had worked yesterday twice, so would this be third time lucky. I told her cats like traveling, they have several owners, and even several aliases, and get fed by all. Not to worry, and if Totoro loved us then she would return.
I then went for my post cardiac rest, you cannot worry too much about a cat when you have to listen to your body. Nearly six months post op and still a lot of pain and new pain from my old arthritis, besides we had cats for 30 years at home, I know cats can look after themselves.

When I arose, like Dracula, they gave me Iron tablets last week, anyway the cat had come running after her name had been called. All’s well that ends well, as some fellow writer from down the road from my house once said. You just have to trust a cat’s nature, she isn’t worried about you, she’s just plotting to do just exactly what she wants to do. A cat owns you and you just have to accept it, she’ll please herself, she has her own life to lead, nine in fact, and you are just lucky if she shares one of them with you.

When Famous People Die


When Famous People Die ©
By Michael Casey
I’ve just come in from cleaning our front door step, some nice person let their dog pooh all over it, and my daughter stood in it as we left for the school run. Such is life, events happen and you have to deal with them. I looked at the news on the Internet and saw that James Horner had died, never heard of him, then I read the detail below, we have all heard of him or his music. He wrote the music for Braveheart and Titanic amongst other things.

So it got me thinking, how would you or me be remembered? If at all. There are a couple of graveyards down the road from our house, my daughter said she wouldn’t put me in there but in a private graveyard, or she’d have me cremated and put in her plant pots so I could help her flowers grown. Sweet and innocent love from an 11 year old. I believe Scottie from Star Trek was blasted into space, or rather his ashes, James Horner did the music for one of the Star Trek films as well.
A famous person dies and it’s all over the news, there may even be a competition for top death spot on the news.

Christopher Lee beat Ron Moody for top spot on the death news, why, because Dracula had more in him, or rather more films made. I read somewhere a long time ago that the newspapers and the tv people have ready-made obituaries, an off the shelf, ready-made death notice. So IF your name is on that kind of list you know you have arrived, you have made it, because your obituary is ready, reassuring that isn’t it? Things do go wrong though, Robert Morley’s death was announced and his son Sheridan was interviewed, but his dad was still alive and kicking. Then there is Mark Twain who’s death was announced when he had not shuttled off this mortal coil, you can Google the famous quotation for yourselves.

He was a right bastard, a mean bugger, never had the time of day for him. Then months later after his pauper’s burial you discover he had made millions on the stock market and left it all to charity. Does your attitude to the deceased change immediately, or do you think the bastard should have left his cash to you, so you could invest it down the bar of the Black Swan. Then there is the case of Jimmy Savile, an “angel” turned into a devil after death.

Death is the great leveler, books are written, tv shows are shown, retrospectives are held in museums and art galleries. You get 360 degrees of information, good, bad and downright sad. So that is why he or she did that, that’s why they were so driven, that’s why they loved so much. We though he was so happy, but he hid his broken heart. We though he was such a bastard, but he was just defending himself from emotional hurt. He had a secret lover, he must have been a right dirty bastard, but we didn’t know his wife told him to take a lover because of this or that.
You only know what comes from a glimpse, from a crack in the curtain, from a random meeting in the supermarket, even stars have to buy milk for their cat. You can only know what a person is like by living with them, to experience with them. He looks great, I bet he’s great in the sack, I bet she’s explosive in bed. But it could be the total opposite, curlers and cocoa in bed with a book and the pussy purring besides her.
The true test for famous people when they die is whether you go “ah” when you hear it on the news, if you say “ah” then their lives have touched your life. My mother was asked to go to the graveyard with the priest a few times, somebody had died and was being given a pauper’s funeral. I featured this in my novel The Butcher The Baker and The Undertaker. So it was just mum and the priest and the undertaker. Mum would get a lift back home in the jump seat of the hearse as our house was close to the undertakers.

In my comic novel Joan Derby has a jazz funeral and 100s turn up for that lost soul. When my own mother died we had 5 priests on the altar and the church was rammed with 100s of people, real people who knew her. She was not famous at all, but every lost soul who was in Heaven rushed to greet her on her funeral day. She had prayed at their grave now was the time to thank her.

Common Sense or the Obvious


Common Sense or the Obvious ©

By Michael Casey

I just read that the Oxford Dons were not very impressed by the students, no common sense. I should declare an interest straight away, one of my brothers went to Oxford and another to Cambridge. As a matter of fact our little cluster of streets in inner city Birmingham had 4 Oxbridge and 2 PhDs. Four families all going to the same Mass on Sundays. I won’t claim going to Mass at our local church makes you clever, staying up very late and hitting the books, that is the really important thing.
Logic does help you along the learning path, my old school friend, he’s a PhD by the way, he used to say the “Casey Logic”, to be honest I cannot remember what he was on about, it maybe 45 years ago. I do know that a lot of clever people have no common sense. They have spent too much time with their noses in books, or maybe making spliffs.

Logic helps you plan and organise what you are doing. The Augustinian way helps too, our old priest Fr.George was a great one for the Augustinian way, he was at the Augustinian church in Harborne after all. Fr.George had a tremendous accent, the deepest Brummie you could possibly imagine, he used to work on the track at the car factory, he used to go up Broad St at the weekends before the call came. Now what Fr.George used to say was that you have to put your feet in other’s shoes, you have to have 360degrees of knowledge. Modern companies have 360 degree appraisals, so when you are looking at a problem you must look from every angle, just as staff are assessed by their bosses as well as their co-workers.

If all you do is read the formula then you’ll only have one dimension, you’ll have the answer but no understanding, and the answer may not be the answer after all. When I worked in a hotel people could be busy chatting in the foyer while their toddler could get his head trapped and hit by the revolving door, so obviously I was their eyes while they were chatting. If you have time to chat in a sales job you do not look at who you are talking to, you can actually stand back to back then between you the full 360degrees of potential customers is covered. It’s logical its common sense, basic common sense.

So common sense is what parents have while their kids don’t think of danger, or potential danger, my girls said I was like Mr Brown in Paddington, I did see some similarities but without parents watching kids do walk straight into traffic. You don’t use your phone as you are crossing the road, you do look both ways before you cross the road. You do wear a warm coat in winter, though fashion and young girls say otherwise. You don’t use your phone while you are driving either, though pigs will fly before this will happen.

Logic should be taught in all schools, a couple of hours may be enough. Before we were let loose on the guests at CPNEC back in 2002 we had training, Anthony did actually ask me had I read his notes or a book beforehand, as to me a lot was obvious, it was common sense. Basically its STOP and THINK, but getting teenagers to do that is another matter entirely.
In Coding as they call it nowadays there are IF/THEN options, or if you are going to the bar you get cheese and onion crisps as that’s what you always have, so knowledge helps with choices. If your friend had a crisps allergy then you buy nuts instead, or if your friend does not drink alcohol then you buy him a whisky, a 40 year old whisky, well that’d be what my friend would expect.

Knowledge helps with choices, you don’t give a bacon sandwich to a Muslim or a Jew or Beef to a Hindu. If you were feeding me everything would be ok, though this year post-operation I have given up meat. So you have to do your research, it’s logical to do research. Event planners find out what is needed and then serve that. If you are selling your house you get rid of all the tat that you may like, you turn your home into Ikea land, then it’ll sell, otherwise it’ll stay on the market for years. Again put yourself in the buyers’ shoes, is this tat or is it neutral. Neutral sells, tat such as a space mural in purple with matching carpet means your house will stay on the market, and yes I really did see that in one house I looked at.

Think before you act, I need to move that big big box, so do you just lift it and hurt your back? No you nudge it with your foot, or push against a corner to estimate how heavy it really is. Then get a trolley and some help if you need it. Planning your route so you don’t have to carry the item for a second longer than you need, and so that you avoid blocking off any area. A golfer will do a practice shot before he takes the real one, ditto with anything you are thinking of doing. What are the consequences of your actions, action and reaction as they say in science.

Common sense can be taught, it can be learnt, you need to sit down and have the teacher explain the worth of it. It can be boring for the teacher to have to explain it to dullards, but once learnt it is a skill for life, just as important as leaning the Times Tables when you are 8. Dirk Borgarde when he was growing up used to play a game with his parents, the look in the window game. Then he had to turn his back on the window and try and remember what he had seen, years later he was a photographic interpreter, because he was observant.

Think for 5 seconds before you take any action, that’s the key, sadly some people think being quick is classy, when they just fall on their ass. What matters is the result, the tortoise will always beat the hare, because the tortoise is logical.


Help I think I’m a geek


Help I think I’m a Geek ©

By Michael Casey

Back in 1978 I listened to my brother and applied for a job in computers, I got that job, I stayed 21 years, market research into alcohol sales. Back then people were impressed when you said you worked in computers, 37 years ago, when I was still a teenager. It was a DEC PDP 1170 computer with a row of flashing lights and toggle switches, it was as  big as two wardrobes. There were even tape decks as big as dinner plates, not forgetting a cardreader, because you had to screw on the tapes I still to this day have a very strong twist action. This is perfect for opening and closing bottles of pop or salad cream. The other thing to remember is that we ran out of space, so we had to delete things to make sure the job wouldn’t crash. It was like Wallace and Grommet where they ran out of track and had to race as they hurtled through the living room.

Now in 2015 a home computer will have a terabyte or 1000 gig in plain English. If we had 10% of 1 gig at the time I’ll be amazed. I think when we updated the computers 15 years later we had 4 gig or something. So with this background you can understand my attitude to home computing.

I tidy up, I tidy up every time I finish on the computer, I delete History and any other files I can find, just in case I run out of space. So I still have 60gig plus, but it may as well be 60 bytes, I must tidy up. All because of 1978 in my computer room.  On the night shift I’d come in and the lads had left a trail of stuff for me to tidy up, lads can be like that, just like our own teenagers. So I always spent 20 mins tidying up after them, rather like our kitten Totoro who is running around behind me.

I know somebody who never, and I mean never did a disc cleanup. So their system went slower and slower over the years. I know somebody else who never used their company email account, when they left after 3 years it took an hour for the email to open, as there were thousands of emails waiting to be looked at. There was print room email account which he did look at, but the personal one, never.

I also know of another place where no backups were done and the company could have folded when disaster struck.  Modern companies are not that stupid, law firms save everything to a server, every email and document is numbered and filed away for posterity. So FIFA will have a lot to answer for, not unless the computers or server room are destroyed, though didn’t somebody say their computers were destroyed…..

Now everybody should have, must have an antivirus, AVG, Avast, Avira start the alphabet and ZoneAlarm finishes it, there is Norton in the middle. If you google FREE antivirus then you’ll get a load of results. Just read the reviews and then decide which is for you. In computer terms just like any marketing FREE does not mean FREE, its means FEE in one month’s time, but you can downgrade to a free version.

As they are free you could be tempted to have 2 or 3 on your PC or laptop, and guess what, your processor can be wadding through treacle. Trial and error helps. 360security is a Chinese antivirus, it also tidies up really well, though some will say too well. Again have a look for yourself.

Now when I came out of hospital after my surgery, my triple heart bypass I came home and switched on the computer and everything was gone. My books, my stories, my babies. It took 3 days to restore the computer, it had gone back to factory settings while I was away. I nearly cried, but as you can imagine I had backups.

The simplest thing to do is to use your email. Every time you send an email you copy it to a folder. So you email your mother-in-law after you send it you drag it to the DEVIL folder, or when you email your accountant you drag it to the BASTARD folder, when you email your Rabbi or Priest you drag it to the GOD folder, when you email your daughters you drag it to the DEBT folder. And so on, so that you instantly know what is in each folder. Now for the actual files you attach them to an email and then they are safe.

So you email attaching your stuff, once you have sent it you then put the message into a folder, such as FUNNY. What you also do is get a few email accounts, so that you can email your stuff to yourself on Hotmail, yahoo, gmail, gmx, aol and any other account. Now if your computer dies your files are safe, they are on servers all over the world. You can send your stuff to your family and friends with do not delete in subject line.

Of course you should go to Argos or Amazon or PCWorld and get a few USB sticks too. For a few quid your company, and I mean company is safe. I tell my daughter to do all this when she is doing her homework, so how much more important are your company files. You can also download your special stuff to another device you have in the home or at the office.

We all have 1000s of photos of our kids, as we all have digital camera and phones nowadays, so 10,000 photos taken over 10 years are worth protecting. My nephew said he had 5000 photos on his phone, can you believe that? You can pay for storage or you can just use the free storage on Hotmail and Gmail.  30 gig on Hotmail and 15gig on Gmail. And you can get multiple accounts.

Computers are fun, until they go wrong, and computer engineers are all mad, they don’t get the job unless they have a bizarre sense of humour, ditto for industrial printer engineers. I know this to be a fact, so trust me. However you can look after yourself if you are careful.

Get a couple of email accounts. Put everything in a folder after you have sent it. Back up your files to the Gdrive or Hotmail’s drive.  Always make 3 copies at least to usb sticks. Password is not a clever password, Drowssap is better but still not good. Add a few Upper case and numbers too. For example my inside leg is 35, my hair is brown, and I am French, so a good password could be 35BRUNfrancais.

Get an antivirus and use it, and don’t forget to tidy up not unless you want to be like Wallace and Grommet and the train track. My real password is fatBastard2015HeartAttack, but don’t tell anybody.

Me Easter 2014

still not good. Add a few Upper case and numbers too. For example my inside leg is 35, my hair is brown, and I am French, so a good password could be 35BRUNfrancais.

Get an antivirus and use it, and don’t forget to tidy up not unless you want to be like Wallace and Grommet and the train track. My real password is fatBastard2015HeartAttack, but don’t tell anybody.


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