Sunday 14 November 2010

Did the Scots invent the Internet?

Much has been written about the impact of the Internet. I'm not about to add further to that debate, only to draw some observations about what the internet does for minority interests. Blogging has given us a option of being able to do personal publishing. Whether it’s a day-by-day cruising diary,  life as observed from the deck or just fulfilling the desire to have a diary.

Where at one time, we might have written the odd letter to those friends who share our common interest. Now, with the open access internet and the availability of the "finger fast" publication. Blogs, now replace those letters and the content is generally made available to anyone sharing the same interest.

This actually feeds our desire to write, in the instant-gratification world we now live in. Items that appear in the canal press have often been discussed previously in detail on a number of blogs and forums. If many bloggers were asked to provide articles, on the genre, for the various publications, most would be loath to get involved in old news!

Some bloggers do provide materials for publication in magazines and books. The material being more factual than observational. Many bloggers, myself included like to inject some humour into their writings. In the main because it either pulls at heart strings, takes the piss or creates raucous laughter. For me, the internet acts as the perfect optical illusion in that I can be my own ringmaster. It lets me set my own standards and no guidance with regard to content. If I don't make the contents interesting - then people will beat a path away from the blog rather than to it.

I enjoy reading many other narrow boating blogs. Because its where me and Mags want to spend our retirement years. Some of the blogs are providing good information on places to see and visit. Some are so good, they are almost the equivalent to - pullout guides - to what, when and where to visit.

I have discovered, there is no such thing as a bad blog, only the wrong type of content. To paraphrase, "In Scotland, there is no such thing as bad weather – only the wrong clothes." Billy Connolly

My favorite Connolly moment :-

As the average Englishman moves about the home he calls his castle, watch him enjoy a typical English breakfast of toast and marmalade invented by Mrs Keiller of Dundee, Scotland; see him slipping into his national costume, a soiled raincoat, patented by Charles MacIntosh, a Glasgow druggist; and follow his footsteps over the linoleum flooring invented in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

On the road, out he goes – along the English lane surfaced by John MacAdam of Ayr, Scotland, smoking an English cigarette, first manufactured by Robert Croag of Perthshire, Scotland. He hops aboard an English bus, which is using tyres invented by John Boyd Dunlop, of Dreghorn, Scotland and later completes his journey by rail. (A reminder the James Watt of Greenock, Scotland invented the Steam Engine). At the office he is presented with the morning mail containing adhesive stamps invented by John Chalmers of Dundee, Scotland, Periodically during the day, he reaches for the telephone, invented by Alexander Graham Bell, born of Scottish parents.

At home in the evening, our English cousins wife, is preparing his national dish of roast beef of old England from prime Aberdeen Angus, raised in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. This sets the patriotic heart beating a little faster, and he enters the dining room whistling “Ye Mariners of England” written and composed by Thomas Campbell of Glasgow, Scotland. After dinner there follows a scene typical of English domestic bliss. Young Albert is packed off to Boys Brigade, founded by Sir William Smith of Glasgow, Scotland. Ted goes to the Scouts, the present Chief of which is Sir Charles MacLean of Duart, Scotland. Little Ethel plays on her bicycle, invented by Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a blacksmith of Dumfries, Scotland. Mother, in the kitchen, bleaches clothes with bleach invented by James McGregor of Glasgow, Scotland. Dad listens to the news on the television, invented by John Logie Baird of Helensburgh, Scotland, and hears an item about the United States Navy, founded by John Paul Jones, of Kirkbean, Scotland. Maybe, just maybe, he will remember that the radar with which the U.S. and other fleets are equipped was invented by Sir Robert A. Watson Watt, of Brechin, Scotland.

Once the children come home, Dad supervises the homework, using logarithms invented by John Napier of Edinburgh. The English course contains familiar books such as “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and “Robinson Crusoe”, based on the life of Alex Selkirk, of Scotland. If by now he has been reminded too much of Scotland, he may in desperation pick up the bible – here at last to have something without Scottish associations; but he is disillusioned – the first man mentioned in the bible is a Scot, James VI, who authorised its translation. Its hopeless. Nowhere he can turn to escape the efficiency and ingenuity of the Scots. He could take a drink – but we supply the best in the world. He could stick his head in the oven – but the town gas was discovered by William Murdoch of Ayr, Scotland. He could take rifle and blow his brains out, but. of course the breach loading rifle was invented by a Scot. Anyway, if he survived, injured, he would simple find himself on an operating table, injected with Penicillin, discovered by Alexander Flaming of Darvel, Scotland; given an anesthetic discovered by James Young Simpson of Bathgate, Scotland; and operated on be antiseptic surgery pioneered at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. On coming out of the anesthetic, he would probable take no comfort in learning from his surgeon that he was as safe as the Bank of England, founded by William Paterson of Dumfries, Scotland. The poor fellows only hope would be to receive a transfusion of good Scots blood.

Ps. Did I ever mention that I was actually born in the Highlands and Islands. With a mix of both Scots and Irish blood.


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