Sit Down Lin you Fat Mother ******

Wow…that line looks much less needlessly aggressive in rap form. Anyway, guess which recording of a musical I just watched, that’s right we’re going to have a post about Hamilton.

Ah Hamilton, that sudden juggernaut of a rap musical that everyone – including myself – went completely Loony Tunes over a few years ago. And before anyone starts something I just want to say, I can understand why…ish. All the actors were well cast – except Lin Manuel Miranda of course, but then he’s the creator so what can you do, tell him he can’t headline the show? The music was fantastic on the cast recording and mostly fine in this performance as well. The only one whose voice I didn’t like was Miranda’s and for that, see my earlier comment. And the idea to cast this show about the founding fathers with an almost entirely non-white cast was a fantastic one that most likely opened the door for many a talent performer to get their start. Where’s before they might have been held back by the racism prolific in….well basically everything in the world today.

I’m saying all of this now so that you fully understand that I sat down to Hamilton on Disney plus, fully intending, nay expecting, to really enjoy this thing. Which makes it all the more shocking that I didn’t. I mean seriously, I really did not enjoy this thing. In fact, I’d go even so far as to say I hated it, I stopped watching at the end of act one and only went back , when I’d decided to write this post. So, the thing you must be asking yourself right about now is…why? What was so bad about this performance that I could barely finish it? The answer to that Wee Readers, lies in the overwhelming feeling I felt watching that ticking hour glass between Act One and Act Two.

That is, that I’d been manipulated.

What do I mean by this? Well, the thing about watching a performance compared to just listening to the soundtrack I’ve found – yes even with Hamilton where the soundtrack is just a more polished version of the performance –  is that because you have to sit and watch these songs play out with actors on the stage, you’re forced to think about the story they’re trying to tell you. And the story in the first act of Hamilton is ridiculously thin. We get a bunch of filler songs that don’t really advance the plot, and provide character details better summed up in bigger songs. Resulting in the whole act feeling over stretched and boring, act Two is significantly better, but that doesn’t erase the waste of time that was Act One.

Which tells us one very important thing, namely that Hamilton the musical wasn’t written because Lin Manuel Miranda just had to get a story off his chest. He wrote it to convey a message and the plot – at least in Act One – must take a back seat to that message.

Which would be fine if the message was worth saying. After all, surely letting non-white Americans, particularly young people, finally seeing themselves in the history of their country is a noble goal. And I agree, if that were in fact what the story of Hamilton was doing, but it’s not. There’s only one historical person of color on stage – Sally Hemings, the enslaved mistress of Thomas Jefferson. Who, I will emphasis, does not have any lines of her own, and in fact doesn’t even get a proper costume – she’s dressed like all the other chorus members. So, yeah – this is still history told through a white lens, it’s just better hidden than most.

It’s also not really about telling the story of then from the America of today either, except perhaps with casting and the composition of the music – which don’t get me wrong, is most of what Hamilton is – but again the story they’re telling doesn’t really back that up. This is the sort of story we’ve heard a hundred times before: the brave Americans defeat the elitist British, and found their country on the belief that anyone can do anything. Well then surely, you say, it must be telling the story of the American dream, giving the message that in America any one can achieve their dreams and become great. After all, didn’t they say ‘ a place where even orphan immigrants, can make a difference’ and to that I say, if that is what they’re doing, they’re doing it passively. And by that, I mean accidentally, and even if they weren’t, is that really something they should be proud of? The American dream is a very damaging myth, that ignores the realities of most Americans, particularly immigrates and people of color’s actual experience with upward mobility. However, I thoroughly believe that’s not the message, nay the point of Hamilton’s very existence.

No, the real message of Hamilton is – please, please like Alexander Hamilton.

That’s it – anything else is either by complete coincidence or side-lined for this greater message. Don’t believe me? Well, answer me this – why was Act One almost entirely set in the revolutionary war? Sure, Hamilton fought in it but the only connection between this drawn out wale and the much more enjoyable act two, that we really needed to know, was his connection to Washington. And we didn’t really need to devote an entire… what was it? Two, it sure felt like two, hours to establish that connection. They don’t really spend a lot of time delving into it anyway, mostly boiling it down to Washington gives Hamilton a leg up, Hamilton therefore likes Washington, so Washington is cool. Plantation of at least 300 slaves, what plantation of at least 300 slaves?

They don’t really go into that much detail about the war either – there are a about twenty-three songs in Act One, and four of them that are actually about the war itself. And by that, I mean, the nitty gritty battles. And even most of those give way to what Hamilton actually wants to talk about – just how god damn awesome Alexander Hamilton is. He’s so cool you guys, Washington wants him to be his ‘Right Hand Man’ over Burr! Lafayette spends a significant portion of his only solo song telling Washington that they can’t win the war without Hamilton. He even leads his own platoon into Yorktown, and practically wins the whole war himself – okay that last one I exaggerated on, but you see my point. The songs aren’t really here to tell the story of the founding of America, and the hard battles they had to fight before they achieved their independence. They’re here to make sure you understand just how brave, clever and heroic Alexander Hamilton was while he fought in that war. And that’s not even getting into the filler songs that have no other reason to exist, other than to beg us to like Hamilton.

No less than three drinking songs about what he believed the people of future will say about him. Only one of which – the third one – tells us anything about the story at all, and even that one is begging us to feel sorry for Hamilton, and how sad it is that he lost his friend. Farmer Refuted has a similar problem of having no relevance to the story whatsoever, other than to show just how reasonable and moral Hamilton’s support of independence really was. All the men want be Hamilton – Wait for it – and all the women want to be with him – ‘Helpless’ and ‘Satisfied’. I’d imagination that last song is particularly insulting as Angelica Schuyler was already married, happily so, by the time she met Alexander Hamilton. You see now why I called this thing bloody manipulative. The entirety of Act One is devoted to building this scumbag up in the audience’s eyes, and there’s a reason for this, you see despite the massive sympathy hoops the narrative jumps the audience through, Hamilton is extremely unlikable in Act Two.

But Wee Lassie, I hear you cry, didn’t you say that the message of the musical was to beg the audience to like Alexander Hamilton? Why would they make him in anyway unlikable? Well…and granted this is only a guess on my part, so take from that what you will…but I think it’s because Act Two was set in Hamilton’s later life, where he was a much more terrible person all round, they kind of lacked a clear way to redeem him. But remember the play still needs to beg the audience, to please, please like Alexander Hamilton – so the idea of just going through with it and making him unlikable in the second Act was not a notion that was gonna fly in this production. The only option then was to double down on what likability they could mangle out of Act One, and then determine which unlikable aspects of Alexander Hamilton’s life would make him the least hateable to modern audiences for Act Two. Should they focus on his sins at home or at work?

At least five songs devoted to Hamilton’s affair and… let’s see…half a song for the Adams Administration? Gee, I wonder which one they focused on.

You see while I personal found Act One over bloated, and insultingly obviously manipulative – it’s really more Act Two that shows the true problems of structuring your – loudly advertised – progressive retelling of the founding of your country, around the message “Please, please like Alexander Hamilton’. Yes, I am making the legitimate argument that this message is the reason behind two of Hamilton’s main criticisms, that is its historical revisionism and its very weird relationship with racism. Now while those are two separate things, the latter of which is clearly much worse, since they do crossover many times throughout the play, I’m just going to address them both in the same way.

Hamilton does not want to talk about Racism – which is probably why it really doesn’t want to talk about slavery. However, it does want you to know that you should hate people that are racist. Those two things don’t quite mesh, do they? Well, I’d like to explain that by introducing the next segment of this post – that I’d like to call…

The Founding Fathers Hamilton would please, please like you to hate.

Thomas Jefferson

Now Jefferson is a weird one because, nothing bad they say about him is particularly untrue. He did own slaves; he did have a relationship of extreme questionable consent with his slave Sally Hemings. And making him a villain on those accounts is not actually a bad idea – I’m personally in favor of anything that calls into question the pedestal we place celebrities both alive and dead on. However, none of those reasons are why Thomas Jefferson is a villain in this musical. He’s a villain purely because he opposes Alexander Hamilton, and we can tell this by the fact that his identity as a slave owner is only really brought to attention when he’s arguing with Hamilton. In glorious rap battle admittedly. But if you actually listen to the argument he’s making in those rap battles, he’s not actually wrong. Hamilton’s debt plan probably will end up taking money from the poor, and putting it into the pockets of the already wealthy. The real Hamilton was an elitist to his core, this was unlikely to bother him. However, that would be one of those pesky unlikable things we don’t really want to talk about in this play. So, the Hamilton on stage has only one choice when a legit rebuttal is nowhere to be found, remind the audience that Jefferson is a slave owner.

John Adams

Now if you’ve watched and or listened to Hamilton – and no other form of history whatsoever – you’ll know that John Adams was a fat mother****** who fired poor Alexander Hamilton from his cabinet because he (meaning Hamilton) was from the Caribbean. Well, congratulations anyone who was nodding along to that, you just learnt some complete nonsense. Yes, while most of the slandering in Hamilton is at least partially based on historical evidence – or rumor – this part here, is just one long lie. Hamilton resigned from the office of Sectary of Treasury long before Adams was even President. Now, there are many legitimate reasons to dislike John Adams both as a person and a politician, but the thing is Hamilton mentions none of them, because Hamilton can’t mention them. We can’t mention the Alien and Sedition Acts , despite the fact that they might work well as an anti-censoring and pro-immigration message in a play about an immigrant “writing his way out”, because the real Alexander Hamilton was very complicit in that. It’s why we see little to nothing of the actual Adams Administration, because then we’d have to watch our main hero literarily destroy his own party, just to get a man he disliked out of office. If I’m getting any of this wrong please correct me down below, it’s why I have comments in the first place.

However, what always alarmed me about this is that we never see Adams. So unlike Jefferson – who once again we have to remind the audience, was a slave owner – we never see anything besides his prejudices. There’s no actor to redeem or humanize him in anyway, heck King George is more likeable in this play. It’s like if we only heard Hamilton’s side of the rap battles between him and Jefferson, if we only hear one side of the argument how can we help but to agree with it – ironically very much how government censorship works. Miranda has stated this lack of appearance of Adams is because of his love of William Daniels’ portal of him in the musical 1776. And how he couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role – something that never ran completely true to me. First because, high, that’s not how theatre works and last because, he really doesn’t write like he likes the character of Adams at all. Often going out of his way to imply he’s pathetic – particularly in the election of 1800, which I’d like to remind everyone Adams almost won, even despite everything Hamilton did to see him out of office.

Just a last thought before I go full blow rant on this, but the play even implies that Adams, – one out of only two of the first twelve presidents to not own slaves (the second being his own son) – is so racist that he shocks even Jefferson. You know Jefferson, that guy that we’re constantly reminded owns people. Yeah, because that’s how earth logic works.

Aaron Burr

So, I was watching through the live recording of Hamilton, waiting for one of my favorite songs to come alive on the screen. I waited and I waited, and I waited some more before I realised that we were at the final song and there seemed to be no sign of it whatsoever. And what’s this mysterious song you might ask? Why, “Dear Theodosia (reprise)” of course. What’s that you say, why that’s not on the album, you can only see it online. Because apparently they cut it from the live show before it reached Broadway. That’s right, but I didn’t know that when I watched it first time – so you can imagine my disappointment. Apparently they cut it because people were getting confused that both mother and daughter were called Theodosia – really, people are that dumb? I mean you kept the main ‘Dear Theodosia’ song, why did that get to stay? Oh wait, that had Hamilton singing in it – okay so I see why they kept that.

Still I found it strange that they chose to cut the song where Aaron Burr’s wife Theodosia dies, and he tells his daughter. Because in doing so they’ve transformed the line at the end of the play: ‘I will not let this man make an orphan of my daughter’ from a heart-breaking motivation to kill one of your oldest friends, to just something that was kind of said. Maybe as an excuse for his own cowardice to not embrace death wholeheartedly. Actually, I take it back, it makes complete sense. Because we don’t want the audience to like Burr too much, think of him as a human that made a mistake – rather than as an ungrateful, politically conniving bastard who had to be put back in his place by our hero Hamilton. I focused on this instance of revision, rather than anything historical, because I find it fascinating that the insistence in putting everyone who opposed Hamilton in as worst a light as possible has grown so strong, that they’ve now started editing their own production. I think the character of Aaron Burr was far more popular than they had wanted him to be.

Ultimately I would argue all of Hamilton’s faults – be it the over loaded first half, the slightly insulting depiction of some of America’s founding fathers, the butchering of much of the actual history of the text, not to mention its manipulative use of racism within its narrative – lies not just in the title message of “Please, please like Alexander Hamilton” but the over fixation on telling the story of the founding of America, through one man’s story. To illustrate this, I would ask you to examine two songs. The First a deleted song from Hamilton called “Cabinet Battle #3”, which is one of the only songs written for the musical that deals with slavery directly. The second is a song from the musical 1776 titled ‘Molasses To Rum” dealing with the same topic.

Both songs discuss the issue of slavery, and in particular the culpability of the founding fathers in regards to it. But look at what the first one’s doing, really look. True, it mentions Washington’s involvement in the slave trade – notable that didn’t make it into the final show – but no where dose it mention Hamilton’s own involvement. Regardless of the arguments of whether he actually owned a slave or not, he certainly bought them for other people. And the Schuylers money came from slaves. No mention of that in their introductory number. Now look again at “Molasses to Rum”, it’s explicitly calling attention to the North’s involvement within the Slave Trade, particularly Boston, the home city of our main character. It holds the main character – not just the villain – responsible for not just their culpability in the slave trade, but the benefit they’ve received from it.

Something that we really don’t see even in this deleted song of Hamilton, because the focus isn’t on having a frank discussion on the failings of the founding fathers, but rather making sure that the audience likes, and relates to the main character. Even if the message wasn’t ‘Please, please, like Alexander Hamilton’, he’d still be the title character. He’d still be in the majority of scenes, and thus a large percentage of whether or not you actually pay to see the show again, hangs on how much you like Alexander Hamilton. Ultimately, it would seem that the art suffers because the play depends too much on one man’s reputation.

Though in the end I suppose – it all depends on what we want out of your musical interpretation of a founding father’s life. Do we want realism? Probably better go look for a documentary, because the minute they open their mouth to sing, all realism goes out the door. Want an honest and frank discussion about the failings of the founding fathers, not limited to but including slavery? Well, there’s 1776 for you, if you’re willing to sit through a musical comedy that forgets it’s a musical for one third of the run time. However if all you wanna do is just like Alexander Hamilton for a night, then this may be just the play for you.

Well, I’ve done it, I’ve finally finished this post. If you’ve enjoyed this rant on how a musical’s inner message completely failed to take hold with me – then check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Goodreads. And for all those fiction lovers out there, have a look at my newest published story – The Scientist. Until next time my Wee Readers, take courage, be bold and have a very bonny day.

The Wee Lassie’s Top Eleven Elderly Badasses from Fiction

What ho Wee Readers, well those last two posts had some contentious stuff in them, didn’t they? I had to delete at least one troll argument. And I bet you’re thinking after that I probably want to take it down a notch with my irritation at the current situation – maybe you even hoped that’s exactly what I did with this post, after all it’s just a top eleven list, nothing contentious in that surely. Well…psyche! Because we’re gonna talk about elder abuse.

11.Abe Simpson

Well if we’re going to talk about the uncomfortable subject of Elder Abuse around a top eleven list of the most badass elderly characters in fiction, than there’s literally no better character to start with then Abe “Grandpa” Simpson. Born to parents Orville and Yuma Simpson sometime before WWI, Abe spent his adult years during WII basically fighting in as many military units as he clearly possibly could. He was part of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine corps. There is some evidence this might be exaggeration on his part, but since he is a cartoon, I’m just going to treat this as accurate until it’s outright proven false.

Unfortunately, due to his advanced age, and rapid decline in mental capably – Grandpa Simpson is not given the respect you’d think he should be by either his family or wider society. If he’s not being ignored, or mocked by most of the cast – except maybe Bart in more recent years – then he’s being used by the writers to tell some quite frankly very uncomfortable jokes. Like remember when Homer fantasized about smothering his father to death, so he wouldn’t have to take care of him anymore? Yeah, that was a joke. Look the Simpsons is a great show, I’d even argue it’s very underrated in its later seasons – but elder abuse is a very serious topic, and sometimes jokes like that can help normalise it to the wider viewing public. Something we have a very high tolerance for in our society anyway – for instance in a recent poll of 2,500 people in the UK, 34% of them didn’t see acts of violence towards older people as abuse at all. And nearly half of them fully believed that not attending an older person’s needs didn’t constitute abuse. So yeah Homer, bit not good there.

10. Yoda

Now some people might claim that it’s cheating to use an alien from a science fiction movie in my elderly bad-ass list, but to them I reply with the words of the great man himself. “When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not.”

After spending roughly eight-hundred years training Jedi, this little green alien retired into exile at the rise of the Empire, whereupon he stayed hidden on his not-home planet of Dagobah until being discovered by the wanna-be Jedi Luke Skywalker. He is a master of the force, a CGI puppet with a light-saber, and in our modern-day pop culture he is the epitome of judging not by the size, or as chance would have it…the age. For 900 years old he may be, but right to the day he dies and becomes one with the force, Yoda is a dangerous force to be reckoned with and even powerful force users like Obi-Wan Kenobi know not to underestimate or discard him as disposable simply for his age or his erratic behaviour. Something that would be nice to see in today’s society. Oh? Don’t know what I’m talking about, well sit back because the next paragraph is gonna be pure rant.

Earlier in the year, an opinion piece published in the Telegraph noted that the 1918 pandemic of Spanish flu left such a large impact on the economy because it mainly affected what he referred to as ‘primary-breadwinners’. Which apparently the Coronavirus does not. In fact, he would go on to say, the 2020 pandemic could have a positive impact on the economy because and I quote…

‘Not to put too fine a point on it, from an entirely disinterested economic perspective, the COVID-19 might even prove mildly beneficial in the long term by disproportionately culling elderly dependents.’

This would be despicable in itself, but it adds a new layer of sinister when it turns out that a large amount of the governments around the world seem to have accepted a view like this one, as their actual policy when dealing with the pandemic.

9. Baby Jane Hudson

The antagonist of Henry Farrell’s 1960 book “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” and its various on-screen adaptions – the most famous being 1962 adaption starring Bette Davis – Baby Jane Hudson is a former child star aged out of her marketability. She’s trapped in the delusion of reviving her old act, along with a severe case of alcoholism. What makes this character more terrifying – or at least as far as any fictional villain is terrifying in today’s world – than sad is the fact that she has complete control over her wheelchair bound sister. By the end of the story Jane has practically locked her sister in the house, and prevented any contact between her and the outside world. Gee you must be wondering, I wonder what the Wee Lassie is using this to segue into now…well, I’m not one to keep an audience waiting, so I’ll show you.

The Lockdown – no matter what you may think of how needed it is – often disproportionally affects older people in a negative manner. Not only because of the usual rates of loneliness, isolation and sometimes starvation [but more on that later] that comes from being essentially cut off from the rest of the world. But also, because lockdown restrictions are often much harsher on those over the age of 65 – for instance in Bosnia and Herzegovina anyone over 65 wasn’t allowed to go outside. And there were no exceptions from this rule – you weren’t allowed to go the shop to buy food, or the pharmacy to pick up your medication. You weren’t even allowed to take out your rubbish and if you were caught, you were fined. This may seem shocking, but the truth is this sort of thing is happening all over the world – and even less drastic seeming measures (such as shielding) can have a terrible impact both physically and psychologically on anyone.

8. Olenna Tyrell

When we think of house Tyrell, if we’re not thinking about Margery or her brother, then it’s likely that we’re thinking about Olenna. Like Tyrion, she represents what many of us liked best in Game of Thrones – that is the clever writing and the focus on people, that often don’t get given the respect they should in high fantasy stories. However, unlike Tyrion, Olenna gets given that kind of respect in story as well as out. Olenna Tyrell’s son might be the lord of Highgarden but who are we kidding, it’s Olenna that rules the roost. Her words, like many of the best GoT characters, are the most powerful weapon she has and hers are some of the sharpest, easily putting even main players like Cersei Lannister in her place. However, after her family is murdered and she is left alone, it’s notable that she no longer uses this strength of words to build someone up in a positive way, but rather tear them down. We can see this most definitively in her last act before she dies. She tells Jamie Lannister that she killed Joffrey, and asks that he tells Cersei that it was her (meaning Olenna) that did it. A last act of symbolic revenge, before the Game of Thrones takes her down.

Hmm, a noble woman in a fictional fantasy land, how am I possibly going to connect this one to elder abuse within the current coronavirus pandemic? Well, I suppose that like many elderly people today, Olenna’s society, and the rules she has played so closely to, have failed her when she most needed that support. She is left alone in her grief, almost…isolated you could say. After all many older people, suddenly alone and without control over their circumstances – whether those circumstances involve being separated forcefully from your own family for ‘the greater good’, or having them blown up by one of your political enemies really doesn’t matter – can suffer from severe psychical and mental health conditions, not limited to cognitive decline and even depression. BINGO! We have a winner!

7. Hector Salamanca

Hector Salamanca is not a good man. He’s a former drug runner and enforcer to Don Eladio of the Mexican Cartel. He murdered the partner and possible lover of Gustavo Fring, to send the young entrepreneur a message. And he was instrumental into indoctrinating his own three nephews into that world, once holding one of their heads underwater and trying to drown him to teach his brother a lesson. So, yeah bad man – however through the course of both Breaking Bad and its prequel Better Call Saul, we watch Hector lose more and more of what made him who he was. In Better Call Saul after he’s poisoned, he suffers from a stroke and loses his ability to both walk and speak. By extension he also loses his business and much of his old power within the Cartel – not all of it, but a lot. But whatever, he passes his business onto his nephew Tuco and he goes on with his new life. It might be difficult, but at least he has his family – and family, as he mentioned while he was trying drown his nephew, is everything.

However, starting with the death of Tuco in Breaking Bad, Hector’s family slowly but effectively begins to get picked off. One of his twin nephews is killed when he tries to assassinate Hank, while the other is quietly taken out later in the hospital by Mike. His cousins, his friends, his old boss Don Eladio, even his own Grandson – all taken out by Gustavo Fring. He is left alone and forgotten in a nursing home with his only means of communication, the bell on his wheelchair. This is illustrated by the fact that the care home staff will often leave Hector in a corner, or alone in his room staring out his window – not from any malice per say but because it is so easy to forget about him now. So, to a man like Héctor Salamanca, the idea of turning himself into a living bomb to destroy his enemy – Gustavo Fring – and therefore escape his lot, seems the only logical course of action.

While the solution is different from many other people’s reaction, I’d assume, the notion of being neglected or forgotten in a nursing home when you’re no longer able to see your family, really isn’t – especially now. During the Covid19 Pandemic there has been a rise of elder death within long-term care facilities, however studies show that many of these deaths were not caused by Covid19 itself. Rather people died of hypovolemic shock, or if you would rather fluid loss. That is, shut in their rooms during lockdown, with 40% of staff just not showing up, old people like Hector Salamanca were left to die of thirst. When you look at things that way, I’d almost prefer to go out with a bang.

6. Abbé Faria

In real life Abbé Faria was a Luso-Goan Catholic monk and one of the pioneers of the study of hypnosis – however in Alexander Dumas’ the Count of Montre Cristo he takes the role of the prisoner in the next cell over from the future Count. He’s a genius in almost absolutely everything from language, history, politics, to tunnelling out of a sheer stone prison. He buries into the county’s cell where they become friends and plan to make a proper escape. However before they can, the Abbé dies, the count pretends to be his corpse to escape and the rest is literary history.

Speaking of death, let’s turn our eyes from the still body of the Abbé dressed in the Count’s prison uniform – and to a more contemporary time, where you’d think we’d know better. You’d be wrong, but you would think that. The Abbé Faria’s corpse is mishandled, however as it was done to help his best friend escape their shared prison, it’s most likely he wouldn’t have minded very much. The same cannot be said for elderly people unlucky enough to die in nursing homes during this pandemic. With staff – due to fears of infection – encouraged to stay away, bodies were just left in the beds they had died in. Respect for the newly dead…what’s that?

5. Lady Violet Crawley

Alright I’ll be honest Wee Readers, I didn’t watch the Downton Abbey movie, it’s just the series got so boring by the end. Ghee it’s almost fetishizing the overly wealthy at a time of austerity and global pandemic is kind of sick.

Anyway, back on topic, my current distaste for the show and its content speaks deeply to why Violet is so high on this list. You have to be one of the funniest things on tv to keep even the socialists coming back to your boring show about how hard rich people’s lives are. That’s about all I’ve got to say about her, she makes me laugh. Her class on the other hand…

Statistically speaking in any kind of health crisis – but most notably in the covid19 pandemic – it’s the poor who suffer. We see this particularly in countries without some kind of universal healthcare, like America. Where many people can’t even afford to go to a hospital let alone receive prolonged treatment from one.

However stepping back into the actual topic of the blog post, while many old people were dying from isolation and lack of care, to protect them from potentially contracting the virus, what was the geriatric heir to the throne doing? A man who I will remind you had actually tested positive for the virus. That’s right, moving himself and his potentially infected staff all the way up to Balmoral Castle. Without so much as a whack on the wrist.


Well, clearly the governments of the world have made their opinion clear. If you’re going to recklessly decide to be old during a pandemic, you better be rich while you’re doing it.

3. Ruby Johnson

My favourite character in the series Blackish, Ruby Johnson, is the mother of lead character Andre Johnson, ex-wife of the, producer played, Earl Johnson, and thorn in the side / mother-in-law of manic doctor Rainbow Johnson. On a scale of one to ten Ruby considers herself a twelve, which should tell you all you need to know about her self-confidence. Let’s see what else, she once burned down her husband’s boat, but in my opinion the bastard had it coming. Look I’m not saying I’d damage property if I was cheated on like that but…I think for legal reasons it’s best I not go on.

However, what I love most about Ruby is how much she loves her family and how much they love her. I mean she’s awesome and everything, but Rainbow’s still kind of a saint for putting up with a mother in law like Ruby, living in her house. One big loving, if slightly difunctional, family that are allowed to help each other. Not everyone’s lucky enough to have that.

During lockdown many elders who live alone, and thus who rely on the help of neighbours or – if they have them –  adult children, to go to the shops and get the things that they need, have been unable to get that help. Gee I wonder why? Thus, terrifyingly, many of them have been admitted into hospital with admission diagnoses of “starvation”.

2. Mike Ehrmantraunt

When you think elderly fictional bad-asses – if you ever think of something so specific – odds are you’re thinking of him. It speaks to Mike’s bad-ass nature or at least the popularity of his character that he went from being a bit part at the end of season 2, to one of the main protagonists on Better Call Saul. A show that I stopped watching partway through season four because it is like watching sand do nothing. So, let’s instead turn away from that show, to the far more fascinating tale of Breaking Bad. In particular the power trio he forms with Jesse and Walt in season 5, particularly the ending of it. Namely the fates of the three characters: Mike and Walt die, while it is Jesse the youngest of the trio that is able to get away and – as we see in the Breaking Bad Movie El Camiono – make a fresh start. As with many stories, the old must make way for the young.

Now I’m not saying that it was the intention of the Breaking Bad Writers to kill off Mike and Walt because they were getting too old – Walt himself is more middle aged and his death is clearly the result of his own actions, literally it’s his own gun that shoots him in the side. As for Mike it’s strongly implied that he dies in the plot to signal how far Walt has fallen; Mike is going to die in season five because Walter is so out of control. So, while the author’s intent might not be to cull the elderly, it does follow the interesting trend when it comes to characters at that particular point in life. Look back on this list in particular, how many characters died, or were hinted to be on the way out by the end of their book and or film / tv show?  Over half of them. The old mentor, or parent figure, dying so that their young prodigy can go on to either avenge or surpass them is a tried and tested plot thread for a reason after all. Heck in Star Wars they’ve done it so often they’ve almost made a joke out of it. However, watching the rapid rise of Star Wars’ elderly death count changes from funny to actually kind of insidious, when we live in a society that leaves their elderly to die of thirst. Or prohibits them from even leaving their houses.

Look I love Breaking Bad, but stories even great ones do not exist in a vacuum of their own creating. In many ways the media we consume not only reflects but dictates much of our world view. And trends in media that make us write off that old mentor character as dead before the end of act two, is much more troubling and apathetic in a world where the government is actually doing that in real life.

2. Sophia Petrillo

Picture it, Sicily, possibly 1905, Sophia Pertrillo is born and the start of an amazing story begins. Moving to Brooklyn after breaking off her engagement at the ripe old age of fourteen, Sophia would later – much later I assume – marry Salvador Petrillo and have three children with him. However, in Golden Girls we first me Sophia long after her husband has died and she is freshly escaped from Shady Pine retirement home. A place that is so terrible in her stories that it’s practically a prison.

It’s worth noting that although she’s prone to exaggeration – Sophia is genuinely afraid of going back to Shady Pines, so there must be some truth in her story. Gee…a retirement home so neglectful that it’s basically a prison, wow…sure wish that wasn’t as relevant as it is. No, no I’m being silly retirement homes aren’t like regular old prison, no… they’re much closer to be death row at this point.

During the 2020 Covid Panic to free up space in hospital beds many nursing home residents were put back into their communities either without being tested for the virus or, even worse, testing positive for it. Two weeks after lockdown – a time in which infection should have been lessening –  1800 nursing homes in England were continuing to have outbreaks. They’ve locked these people off from their families, and restricted their care in theory to stop the infection from spreading. But if that was really the case, then why are you putting infected patients back in their communities? Why not keep them at the basically empty hospitals?

I’d say this was all a mistake, just the product of extreme incompetence… except I don’t think it entirely is, anymore.

For instance, in Scotland and England, they’ve been pressuring residents to sign ‘do not resuscitate’ orders. A crappy thing to do all by itself but turned absolutely terrifying with what these nursing homes do after the forms are signed…they stop caring for the human being that signed the DNR. No medication, no food, no water, it’s sick. Granted it isn’t every nursing home, just the ones that have had new management thrust upon them, but it’s worrying that it’s any of them.

1. Socorro “Coco” Rivera

 When I first began this post – all those many eons ago – I found it very hard to decide who would take the final spot on my list. There were so many good candidates, each more deserving than the last. Ultimately, I settled on Coco Riviera not because she was the most badass – although as head of her family she certainly is that as well – but because more than any other character on this list, her dying prematurely would affect her story.

Think about it. If Grandpa Simpson died before the final episode, the worst that would happen is the Simpsons might stop making so many ageist jokes. Yoda dies, for seemingly no reason in his film and it doesn’t even slow down the conflict. Olenna, Hector, Faria and Mike all die as well and as for Violet well how long can they realistically keep her alive? Really the only ones that would leave any an emotional fallout are Ruby and Sophia.

But Coco? If she’s murdered before the end of her film, or even before it starts, it makes a difference to the rest of the story…people would literally fade from existence. She’s so integral to the film having any kind of a happy ending, that they named the whole goddamn thing after her.

However, there’s one scene in particular that I think sums up exactly why Coco reached this spot. Now before you watch the clip remember, Coco sufferers from an advanced form of dementia, unable to even remember her own daughter’s name.

The climax of the film lies in sitting round and actually listening to what a person with dementia has to say, rather than say bunning them away in a corner and sedating them when they get too distressed. Gee, thank god none of these people live in Scotland

Do you know what the sea witch running my country is doing to people like mama Coco? Yes, that’s right, murdering them. Specifically, over-medicating them – or at least the ones in nursing homes – when they inevitably become agitated from being separated from their families so long. Which has a terrible effect on an already frail body and is suspected of being the reason for the rise in dementia deaths during the current crises. The Scottish government’s idea of help to these vulnerable people seems to be, sedate until the body gives out and then repeat to decrease the surplus population. Sometimes when I think about it for too long, it makes me feel ashamed to be Scottish.

If this post has stirred your righteous anger, check out some of the articles that inspired it.


Elder abuse set to increase as UK enforces coronavirus lockdown measures, charity warns

Telegraph journalist says coronavirus ‘cull’ of elderly could benefit economy

Dying of neglect: the other Covid Care Home scandal

Nicola Sturgeon’s care homes catastrophe

Sedation ‘linked’ to dementia deaths surge in Scotland

Rights Risks to Older People in COVID-19 Response


Don’t forget to follow the wee blog, if you haven’t already; and check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads and Tumblr. Also sign up for the Wee Mailing List for all new and exclusive content. So, until next time my Wee readers, stay informed and have a very bonny day.

The Wee Writing Lassie’s Top Ten “Dumb” Videos to watch while the World Burns

What ho, Wee Readers! Well, that last post got kind of deep and thoughtful, strange for something that was suppose to be about distracting yourself from the terribleness of the world right now. I mean I think it was a good post, it just wasn’t what I planned for when I started out – so with this one, it is just going to be relaxing fluff, I swear. So why not sit back, relax, and join me as I go through the top ten “dumb” videos to watch while the world burns. Yeah, that sounds simple – I can stick to that. It’s not like I’m incapable of finding simple joy in things anymore.

10. Watchmojo – Top 10 Best Simpsons Couch Gags

So far so…mostly…good.

9. Collegehumour – Everyday is a Holiday on Twitter

Yeah, Twitter…I’m sure there’s nothing distressing trending on there right now. I am acing this.

8. The Take – Why Ted is the Villain of How I Met Your Mother

Okay, so reevaluating media you used to like due to the outdated and horrifying implications of the writing. Well, when is that ever not relevant?

7. Studio C – Clue Murder Mystery Scandal

A billionaire confesses to multiple crimes due to the bare minimum of prodding from a police officer. Comedy Sketch, or Bill Gates future?

6. The Nostalgia Critic – The Adam Sandler Song

I’m sure….Adam Sandler’s not accused of anything. You know, right now.

5. Pop Culture Detective – Stranger Things, Belligerent Romance and the Danger of Nostalgia

Okay, so maybe ‘Dumb Videos’ was a tad too restrictive a bar to reach. It’s still distracting though so, I can do this.

4. Rachel Bloom – I Don’t Care About Award Shows

Oh my God, award shows are gonna become unwatchable if all those allegations of the Hollywood elites turn out to be true. No! No, I’m not going to let my mind drift to there again.

3. Adam Ruins Everything – Why Billionaire Philanthropy is Not So Selfless 

Wow, this video just suddenly got very relevant. So…yeah…we’ve established I hate Bill Gates and now we’re moving on.

2.Overly Sarcastic Productions – Just For Funsies: College, Hell, What’s the Difference?

Ha! Ha! I did it! It may not be dumb but there’s nothing in this video that could remind anyone of the awful state of the world. Except…exams were canceled due to fear of Covid19. No, no, I can do this – there are no knew comparisons! After all, we’re not in any kind of hell….it’s not like people are being terrible to each other by illegally policing the wearing of face-masks inside of shops. Maybe even accosting people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing a mask, demanding that they prove said disability. Something, which as we all should know by now is a violation of not only basic decency, but actual human rights. But I mean, what lunatic would do that?

1. AwakenWithJP – What it’s Like to Believe Everything the Media Tells You

You see that introduction up there where I promise this was just going to be a nice list of dumb videos to get you through a tough time? Yeah, that was a lie, I apologize for that.

If you’ve enjoyed this misleading little journey don’t forget to follow the wee blog if you haven’t already. Also check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr and Goodreads. And sign up for the Wee Mailing List for brand new content…eventually. So until next time, my Wee Readers, remember to get plenty of sun, laugh as much as you can, eat healthy and from here in Scotland, have a bonny day.

Small Restbites of Relief – or thank god, I don’t have to think for a minute.

Relax

Hi there, I’m the Wee Writing Lassie – you may remember me from such blog posts like ‘The Ultimate Lockdown Reading List’ or ‘The Great Star Wars Lockdown Binge’ and many more titles, sometimes not even involving the word Lockdown at all. I’m here today to ask you, the Wee Reader, a question. Actually, it’s a bunch of questions, and they’re all rhetorical so don’t feel pressed to answer them in the comments down below. Seriously, this is just part of the bit I’m doing.

Have you been locked in your house for an extended period of time, in what can only be called some kind of illegal imprisonment? Terrified you might catch the 21st equivalent of the plague? Your favorite celebrities no longer watchable after some very distressing allegations? Fighting off the slow creep of depression laced boredom and apathy that comes from being unable to go farther than five miles from your house for nearly three months? Well, then you need Small Restbites of Relief – the guaranteed way that you, yes you can forget your troubles and all the troubles of the world for even the smallest measure of time.

Warning: Restbites are not a cure for actual depression, and should really not be treated like they are.  Also, not all Restbites will work for everyone, Restbites of Relief are a personal thing and really should be judged on a case by case basis. Honestly, the only reason the Wee Lassie is doing this blog like this, rather than in a top ten list like a sane person, is because she thought it would be funny and we all really need a good laugh right now. May cause bloating and dry mouth.

Six

Do you feel physically bogged down under the weight of the corruption in your government? Are politicians you once liked suddenly seeming no longer so brash and shiny? Well take a step back in time with me, Wee Readers, into a land where everyone was pretty much just as bad, but with the proviso that they’re now all long dead – so they can’t ruin your life.

The Musical Six is a retelling of the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives, as if they were a girl band. And not just any kind of girl band either, no, a Spice Girls like band. Complete with terrible cockney accents and all. There’s something so relaxing about not having to worry if the political figures being sung about are up and about doing evil today for, like I said before, they’re all dead.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Does the madness of the world feel like it’s about to break you? Has just going out to the shops become a walk through that book with the title you don’t want to say, because you’ll sound like a crazy person? Well join me in the sweet escape of life told from the point of view of an actual crazy person. No, Rachel Bloom is not crazy but her character certainly is – and as you watch the total complete mess she makes of her life, before they put her on meds, you can feel relaxed in knowing that at least no one has ever stalked you across the country in a futile attempt to fix their own fractured psyche. I mean, that you know of.

Community

Getting frustrated about the giant hole in your tooth that should have been fixed weeks ago and is now filling your mouth with a terrible taste? No, just me?  Well that’s probably for the best, seeing as how the show Community has absolutely nothing to do with that. I just needed an outlet for my frustration at the current lack of any Dentists open! Anyway, unlike the world today, Community is an enjoyably insane show.

The show Community tells the tale of a group of roughly seven students at a community college, and their wacky teachers and the hi-jinks that follow. While characters often change, with new ones brought to the forefront to the replace the old ones after their actor either left, or in the case of Chevy Chase, asked to leave – the roles these characters played, stayed somewhat consistent.

They have:

The sarcastic leading man – Supplied by the character of Jeff, a lawyer who faked his law degree and now has to go back to college. 

The dippy freedom fighter – supplied by the character of Britta, an activist who has never once voted.

The Meta One – Abed, who I particularly enjoy not only because he’s a very likable character, and his meta humour is hilarious, but because he’s a depiction of an autistic character who isn’t also a complete dick.

The Cool Geek – Troy, a former football star who lost his scholarship when he injured himself takes this role for the first five seasons, and then kind of no one does after Donald Glover left to focus on his music.

The Motherly one – this role is filled by the character of Shirley, a mother of three who first joined the college after her husband ran off with a stripper, for the first five seasons and then sort of left empty for the sixth.

The Control freak – Annie, a recovering drug addict with a penchant for dramatics, and selling out the school at the earliest opportunity. A fact that she rarely gets called out on.

The Oldest member– A role filled by the character of Pierce in the first four seasons before Chevy Chase was fired. After which the character of Hickey – played by Johnathan Banks from Breaking Bad – took up the mantle as the oldest member of the group. Although unlike Pierce, Hickey was a teacher instead of a student. After Johnathan Banks left to go star in Better Call Saul, the role was taken up by the character of Elroy played by Keith David.

Now you might say, this is all well and good Wee Lassie, but you’ve not really said much about the show itself. Well, in answer I could say that Community is such an ever changing and wacky show that it’s hard to summarize it without either giving the game away or, focusing too much on an element that won’t be prevalent throughout the whole series. Yes, I could say that, but instead I’ll make the far more logical point and ask you if you were thinking about the depressing state of the world through that whole spiel? No? Well then, I think I’ve proven my point now haven’t I?

Coco

Not all Pixar films age well, in fact some of them are probably going to become practically unwatchable, if those allocations we’ve all heard about turn out to be in anyway factual. However, I advise not to focus on how depressing potentially losing the Toy Stories or Finding Nemo is, and start giving some attention to the properties that Pixar and Disney have not given unnecessary sequels to. And there are many such films, most not even needing big names to help tell their story – films like Ratatouille, Up, Brave, Wall.e, Inside Out, A Bug’s Life (god I haven’t seen that one in yonks) but my favorite of all of them is the film Coco. I mean for god’s sake, Coco’s aged so well you’d almost think it was written by time travelers from 2020. And no, I won’t explain what I mean by that, you’re just going to have to watch the film for yourself and try to figure it out.

Coco is set on Día de los Muertos, or The Mexican Day of the Dead to us Westerners. A festival taking place at the beginning of November that celebrates the dead, and their connection to the living.  If I’m getting any of this wrong, I apologise, this film is literally my only exposure to this festival, as I live in rural Scotland and never saw the Book of Life.

It’s difficult to describe what I love about this movie without giving away the several turns and twists  the story takes but suffice to say this film may leave you in tears, but isn’t it nice to be crying about something other than the complete collapse of our society for a change?  If you watch anything today, let it be this film – seriously it’s just the best.

Eating take out that didn’t come from those big chains

Lost faith in those big corporations that seem inexplicably to be open despite the fact that more pressing and needed services – like libraries and dentists and hospitals, remain closed or severely limited? Yet despite that, still missing the ease of a takeout dinner? Then why not try your more local takeout restaurants– which thanks to this awful, awful situation is now practically all of them. Although I say this coming from a place of previous distrust with the big chains – particularly McDonald’s – because apparently for the first twenty odd years of my vegan life, that meat fat was just so important to the taste of their chips. Chips, you have to go out of your way to make them not vegan. Ehem, anyway – try something local, you’ll be helping out a smaller business and taking money away from the big chains without missing out on having takeout.

Walks on the Beach

Exercise is extremely important to our health. This has always been a known fact, since the beginning of time humans have known that after a run, you generally feel better than you did before.  Of course, that could just have been from not getting eaten by whatever giant creature you just so happened to have pissed off that day, but you know the same thought applies. Whatever the case you’ll feel better after a nice run in the fresh air, and what’s better than then fresh air – fresh sea air, my Wee Readers! Sea air, salt water and general excise have all been found on the beach. So, take yourself and any loved ones you haven’t been forcibly separated from yet, down to the beach today – and improve your immune system and subsequent mental health.

Or at least you could, if they hadn’t shut all the beaches. I mean I don’t think they’ve done that in Scotland yet, but that’s only because our weather is so bad…IT DOES IT FOR THEM.

Sun

The Sun is a beautiful thing and you should get as much of it as you can during this pandemic – not only because of its benefits to your overall health, but also specifically your mental health. Sunlight increases the release of the hormone serotonin, which boosts your mood and helps a person feel calm and focused. Which is probably why the majority of the really fun, gift giving holidays are held at the darkest times of year when we get less sun.

So, until that one obviously evil billionaire who we’ve all collectively just chosen to trust with our health for some unknown and never specified reason, succeeds in his plan to dim the sun with poisonous levels of dust in the air  – you should get as much sun as you can.

Corona Buffy

 And now we have the final Restbite, coming in last because technically speaking it’s not a full Restbite at all. However, I mention it now because I feel it emphasizes the point that this very strange blog post is trying to make; that is, that staying up to date with world events should go hand in hand with, keeping yourself sane with moments of brevity. Which this small twitter account does perfectly, as it couples articles on deep subject matter with the ever-lovable, and often sarcastic Buffy Gifs, to make their point. Seriously go check it out here and follow this thing – they don’t post often, but it’s always interesting when they do.

If you’ve enjoyed these Brief Restbites of Relief, don’t forget to check me out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr and Instagram. Remember, while it’s important to stay up to date with the goings on in the world right now – disturbing as they are – it is equally important to take care of your own mental health. It’s easy to get bogged down with the weight of everything these days, and anything you can do to relieve that, even if it’s just laughing at a stupid YouTube video, is not wrong. You’re not stupid or small for getting excited for the next episode of your soap, or the next installment of your favorite book series. Wow…that got kind of overly deep for a second…well, I suppose that’s what comes from blogging during a pandemic. Until next time my Wee Readers, get plenty of sunshine, have a bonny day and…let’s hope this is all over by Christmas.

The Ultimate Lockdown Reading List

What Ho, Wee Readers – well it’s been a very long – what’s it been? Three Months of Lockdown here in the United Kingdom – and while some of us have used that time to better themselves with online courses or learning a new skill, I personally have set my sights on getting through my Goodreads Reading Challenge. All one hundred books. I’d been planning to write this post at the end of the year after I’d completed the whole challenge, but since we are more or less still locked in our homes, I thought it would be an interesting task to note down what I’ve been reading. Below you will find a list of all the books I’ve read and the reviews I’ve given them during Lockdown, or at least most of them. I didn’t include any I didn’t give a review to or whose reviews consisted of less than two words since…well, that wouldn’t be very interesting to read. There’s no worst to best, the numbers in the list simply note in what order they were read in – with 18 being the most recent, and 1 being the least. With that said, Wee Readers, onto the list.

18. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

By Jonas Jonasson

Finished on: June 21st

A very entertaining, funny and fascinating story – I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s feeling a bit depressed during the Lockdown.

17. Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card

By Jim Butcher

Finished on: June 17th

The story wasn’t great, the art wasn’t good at all (Marcone’s eyes weren’t even green) and there wasn’t nearly enough John Marcone in it. I know that last thing wouldn’t really be an issue for everyone – but it was an issue for me.

16. Bring Up the Bodies

By Hilary Mantel
Finished on: June 11th

This is even better than the first book, and I loved that. With, and I must say this, a far better title.

15. The Mirror & the Light

By Hilary Mantel

Finished on : June 12th

An excellent book, with a very sad ending.

14. The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel

By Renee Nault

Finished on: June 6th

I loved this, a must read for anyone who liked the show or the original book. The art style was a little off putting – but giving the subject matter that was properly the point.

13. Wolf Hall

By Hilary Mantel

Finsihed on: June 9th

I’d enjoyed the BBC version when it came out a while back, and I was pleased to find that the book not only meets it in quality but surpasses it.

12. The Man With the Golden Gun

By Ian Fleming

Finished on: June 2nd

This is depressing

11. Thrawn: Alliances

By Timothy Zahn

Finished on: June 3rd

Is this book making me like the blue space Nazi? This feels slightly self defeating on the part of Star Wars – having said that, I can’t wait till Thrawn gets his first live action appearance, if its anything like this book it is going to be awesome.

10. The Neanderthals Rediscovered: How Modern Science is Rewriting

By Dimitra Papagianni

Finished on: May 30th

A fascinating look through the study and findings of research into the Neanderthals. And although they clearly don’t mean to, when they get to the bit describing Neanderthals in popular culture, they give a good list of novels to read next. I would recommend this book to anyone who is even the least bit interested in history or culture. Although I will say that it left me feeling rather sad, but then most things do in Lockdown, so I wouldn’t blame the book for that.

9. Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold

By Stephen Fry

Finished on: May 27th

A very well done stitching together of the sometimes contradictory myths of ancient Greece. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who has even the most passing of interest in that fascinating realm of mythology.

8. Joss Whedon’s Names: The Deeper Meanings behind Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, Doctor Horrible, In Your Eyes, Comics and More

By Vallerie Estelle Franked

Finished on: May 11th

A fantastic look into the names of the works of Joss Whedon. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in writing, mythology, history, or like myself – all of the above.

7. The Woman who Stole My Life

By Marian Keyes

Finished on: May 9th

This is a very well written book, which is why I’m giving it such a high mark – however, it was just too depressing for me, I couldn’t finish it.

6. Fool Moon

By Jim Butcher

Finished on: April 30th

An excellent addition to a series with a very flawed hero.

5. Bloodline

By Claudia Gray

Finished on: April 20th

This is an excellent book – I would recommend this not just to anyone who felt a little lost during the Force Awakens, or to avid Star Wars fans (like myself) eager to see the next Chapter of Princess Lea’s life; but to anyone who loves a good political thriller/ mystery.

4. This Charming Man

By Marian Keyes

Finsihed on: April 9th

Just a fantastic book – but I’ll be honest I really hope this isn’t representative of real Irish politicians behavior 😁

3. From a Certain Point of View

By Elizabeth Schaefer (Editor),

Finished on: April 1st

This book was fantastic, I would read it over and over again if I could…which seeing as I bought the audio-book, I guess I can. A must-read for anyone even a little interested in the star wars franchise, just brilliant 🙂

2. The Mystery Knight

By George RR Martin

Finished on: March 30th

** spoiler alert ** “I begin to understand why your father was so willing to be rid of you.” – I don’t care if he’s creepy as all seven hells, Blood-raven is the best 😁

1. The Iron Heel

By Jack London

Finished on: March 18th – not actually in the Lockdown, but a relevant enough book that I decided to count it anyway.

So…apparently Jack London was a witch who could see into the future. A well written and thoughtful book, who’s anti capitalist message is really needed in our times of terribleness. But I’ll be honest, it was so close to reality I found it a little depressing.

Well, that’s the last of them. So if you’ve enjoyed this reading list of the basically imprisoned autistic writer / editor in training why not follow the Wee Blog if you haven’t already. Also don’t forget to check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Tumblr, Facebook and of course, my Goodreads account. Where I am 59 books into my 100 book reading challenge. Also take a look at the Wee Mailing List for – eventual – brand new content. I am going to get it to it eventually, I promise. If you want check out the complete list of books in my Goodreads Reading challenge, click on the link and have a look. Until next time Wee Readers, get plenty of sunshine, and have a bonny day.


Palpatine: A Villain through the Ages

Fresh off my Star Wars binge, I am very much still in a Star Wars mood – so what better time to talk about my favorite character that appears in all three trilogies: Sheev Palpatine. Now I’m not one to unhealthy obsess over the villain of the story – I mean I didn’t even like Loki – but I can’t lie, Palpatine has been one of my favorite characters for a long time now. Not in spite of his evil and conniving nature – but because of it. He tricks a whole Galaxy into doing his bidding all by the power of his own subtle political influence. And at the end of the Prequel trilogy this mastermind has won so thoroughly that the Heroes have to go into hiding for twenty years. When the light side does win a victory over good old (or would that be bad old) Palpatine, it’s in the form of the next generation, rather than the original heroes rising up and beating back the dark side. And even then, they don’t manage to kill him.

I could go on and on like this until the end of the post, but since that doesn’t exactly sound entertaining – here’s something completely different. As I’ve already mentioned Palpatine is one of the few characters that carries over into all three trilogies. However unlike say characters like C3PO or R2D2 – Palpatine does not have a consistency to his portrayal. Yet as we can observe, unlike Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader – this lack of consistency to Palpatine’s characterization stems not from extensive character development but, rather a shift in the direction of each trilogy. What do I mean? Well, let’s take a look at all three of them – and I’ll lay it out.

Prequel Palpatine – is a subtle, politically savvy politician, who just so happens to also be a dark lord of the Sith. His plan to control a galaxy through fear and a phony war is brilliant and well thought out, and when at last our heroes catch on to what he’s doing, this dark lord of the sith is sufficiently powerful enough to either turn them or overpower them. If we were to look at this from a more Meta angle we might say that this, more controlled and subtle Palpatine, reflects the tightly plotted nature of the prequels. Who, even if you didn’t enjoy them, you have to admit were the most planned out – plot wise – of all three trilogies.

Original Palpatine (or rather ‘The Emperor’ since I don’t think I heard him referred to Palpatine once in the entire original trilogy) – is at the height of his power and influence. He builds giant space stations, that blow up planets and reigns with a steel grip around the Galaxy. He is also, I’d like to point out, at the height of his madness. All subtlety is gone out the spaceport, and replaced now with the slow creeping decay of a man that once had to think for his power, and now has no need for that at all. This version of Sheev Palpatine we might say, represents the Original trilogy’s more … and there’s no way to say this without it sounding like an insult … simplistic morality of war. This Palpatine doesn’t have to be subtle in his evil nature, because the Original Trilogy’s civil war didn’t spring from the manipulation of politicians, but rather their obvious corruption. Luke doesn’t have to feel bad about blowing up the deathstar, because it blew up Alderaan.

Just a brief WARNING, before we go on – this next park may contain major spoilers.

Sequel Palpatine – is an entirely different creature, from both previous incarnations. A rotting corpse hidden within the unknown regions of the Galaxy, relying on Darth Stupid – yes, that’s what I call Kylo Ren – to bring his granddaughter home, so he can take possession of her body. I think that’s his plan, it’s not clear. Whatever the case, the whole plan feels less impressive than controlling the Galaxy through a phony civil war and blowing up planets. It’s also quite notable that unlike his earlier incarnations, Palpatine only appears in the last movie of the Sequel Trilogy. Sure they claim he was controlling everything from within the shadows, but even knowing that supposed fact, we feel none of his presence in the other two films. Ultimately, this Palpatine’s plan feels more improvised than the other two, possibly reflecting the sharp directional twists and turns the Sequel Trilogy is known to demonstrate. Is the force all about the Jedi and the Sith, or does it belong to anyone? Is Rey in love with Finn or Kylo? Who knows, and who cares, it’s romantic love in the Star Wars Universe, it’s not like it would last anyway. I don’t mean to cut down a series of films that I enjoyed, but I can’t help but note that the inclusion of Palpatine in the final film – and only the final film – gives this incarnation a feeling of being shoved in at the end to please the nostalgia of hardcore Star Wars fans. Which…is something that possibly reflects the shift of power between fan and creator in our age of social media – for not since Jaja Binks has fan reaction so impacted the direction of a character.

So there we have it, three trilogies, three men with the face of Palpatine – and everyone has a favorite. For me, it will always be the prequels – what can I say I was raised on them, they’ll always have a special place in my heart. But what about you, what’s your favorite version of old Palps? Do you enjoy the genius of the Prequels? The Dark side’s living incarnate of the Originals? Or the nostalgic corpse of the Sequels? Comment down below if any of them particularly calls out to you. If you’ve enjoyed this little exploration of my totally not creepy obsession on the most evil character in Star Wars History, make sure to follow the Wee Blog if you haven’t already. Also check me out and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and Goodreads. And sign up for the Wee Mailing List, for all new content. Stay vigilant, get plenty of Sun and, until next time my Wee Readers, may the force be with you.

The Great Star Wars Lockdown Binge

What ho Wee Readers, and welcome to The Great Star Wars Lockdown Binge. I know, I know, sometimes it feels like this Lockdown is going on forever. And I won’t lie, two months is a ridiculously long time to be stuck in your house – I mean if it wasn’t for streaming services like Disney Plus or Amazon Prime, I’d have snapped along time ago. Turning to more positive subjects…surprise, I’ve got a Disney Plus account now, and of course the only thing to do when one forks over the nearly sixty quid for a subscription, is to force her family to join her in the Great Star Wars Binge. Knowing of course that because they are locked in the house with her, they can’t say no forever.

‘The Great Star Wars Binge’, as I have so coined it, consists of all eleven canonical films – that is, the prequels, the originals, the sequels and both anthology films – along with the two canon series I can in anyway justified making my family watch: The Mandalorian and The Clone Wars. I did plan to watch Rebels as well, but it just never happened. We also did not watch Resistance, because I don’t care how long they keep us locked in here like we’e prisoners. Nothing will make me watch that willingly.

The scoring for each film shall go as follows:

0 – Could Not Be made to Watch

1 – Crap

2 – Just Barely Above Crap

3 – Technically not a bad film, but did not grab me at all

4 – A Good film, but nothing more than that

5 – Absolutely excellent – would watch again

Anything higher than 5 – best film on earth, I am going to binge watch this for the rest of my life. This is what I will be watching on my deathbed.

Right, on with the show.

Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace

The first installment of the groundbreaking prequel trilogy – telling the story of the fall and corruption of the Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker into the sinister Sith Lord Darth Vader. This is a highly under-rated film full of political intrigue, and questions of the true culpability of the republic and the Jedi in the continuation of the practice of Slavery within the Galaxy. Yes, the republic has less influence in the outer rim planets – but you’d still think the Jedi would make some attempt to free one of their new members mothers from a life of slavery.

Mum’s Rating: 6 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 3 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 5 / 5

Final Rating: 14

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Jump forward a couple of years and now our young Vader is played by Hayden Christensen. Half love story, half spy thriller – revealing the first sinister steps of Senator Palpatine’s plan to control the galaxy through fear. Creating a fake war, with both sides basically under his control, a plan so dastardly and ingenious that not even the Jedi can see what they are walking into. Palpatine is awesome…I mean evil, completely evil, not cool, or one of my favorite characters…completely evil.

Mum’s Rating: 4 /5

Dad’s Rating: 3 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 4/5

Final Rating: 11

Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith

The culminating episode of the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker, this is my favorite Star Wars film. Everything set up in the last two films comes to beautiful fruition in this tragic film in which a man tormented with dreams of his wife dying in labor – the same kind of dreams that preceded his own mother’s death – seeks the dark arts for a way, anyway, to prevent her death. In the end he ends up betraying his colleges, his friends, his family – all in the name of the power to save the woman he loves. Who dies anyway, from a broken heart. God I love this movie!

Mum’s Rating: 3.5 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 3 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 7 / 5

Final Rating: 13.5

The Clone Wars – The Seige of Mandalore

Set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith – the Clone Wars tells a fascinating story of the war that ultimately destroyed not only the Republic but the Jedi as well. However for this Star Wars Lockdown Binge, we only watched the four last episodes – covering the siege of Mandalore and Order 66 – because it’s ‘unreasonable’ to expect people to wait the length of a seven season cartoon, before the next star wars film.

Mum’s Rating: 4 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 0 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 4 / 5

Final Rating: 8

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Or as I like to call it, Star Wars : Episode 3.5 – Solo Eleven. Yes, ultimately at it’s heart Solo is is a heist film, coincidentally set in the Star Wars Universe. And I’m not saying that as a bad thing either, the Star Wars franchise needs to grow and expand if it’s to stay relevant, and trying out new forms of story and film is how you do that. The fact that it tells the backstory of one of science fiction’s most iconic characters, is really just the cherry on top of an excellent adrenaline filled heist flick. The reason it lost a point for me was that it was so adrenaline filled that watching it made me feel like I was having a panic attack – which does somewhat take away my enjoyment of the film.

Mum’s Rating: 3 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 5 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 4 / 5

Final Rating: 12

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

While Solo is the Heist film of the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One is the war movie. I know, I know – technically all the Star Wars films are war movies, but you know what I mean. While the numbered films are grand and epic, with bright flashing laser swords and high crashing drama – this film is hard and gritty. While the other nine are flying up in their ex-wings trying to be the hero who blows up the deathstar – the people of this film are down on the ground sacrificing their lives so that those ex-wings even have the chance to play the hero.

Mum’s Rating: 5 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 4 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 5 / 5

Final Rating: 14

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

I’ll just say this now, to get it out of the way, I truly believe that the blowing up the Death Star scene is the worst part of not just this Star Wars film, but the entire franchise. It goes on much too long, and the only interesting development happens right at the end – Han’s arrival and Luke’s success. That being said, this isn’t a bad film, in fact I very much enjoyed the rest of it – just not enough to give it a 5.

Mum’s Rating: 4 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 3 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 3 / 5

Final Rating: 10

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

This is a good film, undoubtedly but I would hesitate to say that this is where Star Wars peaked. Although to be fair, Star Wars is such a large franchise – both in the legend and canon sense – that to say it peaks at any one place, no matter it’s individual merit – is the height of absurdity. Although, having said that, they never have quite topped the shock of the plot twist of Luke’s true Father, though goodness knows they’ve certainly tried.

Mum’s Rating: 4 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 5 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 4 / 5

Final Rating: 13

Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi

This is my favorite of the three original films, and I’m not too proud to admit that the Ewoks play a large part of that. In fact I’m even going to be so bold as to say that they are the best part of the film overall. Or at least the parts that they occupy – the ground battle on the moon of Endor – are much better than some of the parts in which they did not – that is, Luke’s confrontation with the Emperor. I don’t mean to throw shade at something that so many people – including myself – enjoy, but when you’ve just come from Prequel Palpatine’s careful manipulations of not only his future student, but the entire Galaxy, Original Palpatine’s expectation for Luke to turn and join him because he hurt his friends, is almost ludicrous in its stupidity. That’s not how motivation works, Emperor, you used to know that.

Mum’s Rating: 4 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 3 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 5 / 5

Final Rating: 12

The Mandalorian

Baby Yoda. Baby Yoda. Baby YODA. BABY YODA! Oh yeah and there’s something about a Mandalorian but be honest…that’s not why we’re tuning in.

Mum’s Rating: 5 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 3 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 5 / 5

Final Rating: 13

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Look down at those scores, now look back at me, now down at the scores again. I swear I did not go into The Force Awakens intending to give it such a high score. I still hold fast to the view that its plot is just a tad too similar to A New Hope’s to be coincidental. However having now watched both films very close together in a short amount of time, I have now amended this theory somewhat. While both films follow the same story beats, to an almost religious level – young hero/heroine from a backwards sand covered planet finds a droid with important information that she/he has to deliver to the Rebellion/Resistance so they can stop the Empire /First Order – the Force Awakens plot seems to stand as a superior version. Things that still don’t exactly make a great deal of sense to me in a New Hope – like why were the plans for the death star being sent to Obi Wan Kenobi specifically – seemed to go far more smoothly in this new version of the story. In the Force Awakens, Rey finds the droid by accident and then bumps into Finn determined to finish Poe Dameron’s last mission, again by chance. The resistance itself doesn’t give the call to adventure for these two heroes, unlike Luke and Kenobi. I mean I know you could say that Lea was under attack and she had to think fast – but Rouge One reveals that it was always the plan to give Kenobi the plans, so I’m not sure what the endgame was for that idea.

Mum’s Rating: 5 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 8 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 5 / 5

Final Rating: 18

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

I will stand on my pedestal and say that this is absolutely the worst of the three sequel films. Of course, saying that is less of a condemnation than you’d think. I genially think that taken out of context, all three films are well made, good films that anyone would enjoy. However in the context of the Star Wars franchise, I don’t think it adds much – I did like the emphasis on the force being something that belongs to everyone rather than just the Jedi, but that was completely disregarded in the next film so it didn’t really matter .

Mum’s Rating: 4.5 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 3 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 4 / 5

Final Rating: 11.5

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

I liked this film. It was a good fun film, its story was exciting and it didn’t rely on just copying the plot from the originals like the first two sequel films did. Also – and I know many people may disagree with me on this – but I liked where the characters ended up in their respective arcs. That being said, I’d be lying if I claimed the addition of Palpatine in this film didn’t feel a bit tacked on to the overall sequel trilogy’s story.

Mum’s Rating: 5 / 5

Dad’s Rating: 3 / 5

Wee Lassie’s Rating: 4 / 5

Final Rating: 12

In the Race for which is the superior Star Wars property – that I was able to make the others watch – we have:

In the rear The Clone Wars, limping along with an 8, from two people that enjoyed it but didn’t love it.

Barely two points ahead we can spot Episode IV: A New Hope, lagging with a 10.

Just a step beyond that you can see Attack of the Clones with a proudly won 11, and the only interesting love story in all of new canon. With the Last Jedi, only a hair’s breath in front with an 11.5.

Next up we have the shocking trio of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker and Solo: A Star wars Story, each sporting a shinny new 12 to their name.

Baby Yoda and his Mandalorian guardian are making good time; alongside Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back with their ratings of 13. Revenge of the Sith, not too far in front with it’s hard fought for 13.5.

In joint second place, Rouge One: A Star Wars Story and Episode I: The Phantom Menace prove that the sacrifices have all been worth it with their solid ratings of 14.

And finally leading the way, in a shocking twist of fate to most Star Wars fans – Episode VII: The Force Awakens is winning this race, with an astounding rating of 18.

Do you agree with my parents and I’s ratings, would you have chosen differently? If so, drop me line down in the comments – Star Wars opinions are as varied as its fans and each deserves a voice. If you’ve enjoyed this look into the deep sense of obsessive fandom and boredom that provoked this binge during Lockdown, remember to follow the Wee Blog if you haven’t already. Also check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and Goodreads. And sign up for The Wee Mailing List to receive all new content. Until next time Wee Readers, have a bonny day and may the force be with you.

The Wee Writing Lassie and the Folklore of the Nine Sacred Woods

Into the Cauldron

The Sacred Woods Go

Burn them fast

And burn them slow.

Is it a poem? Is it a limerick? No, Wee Readers, it is a spell. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you should remember that I am a vegan, in fact I was raised vegan from the age of two. How is this relevant to the current post, well, it’s not really – it’s just to remind you that I come from a slightly none traditional family. Which is why it should be less surprising when I say that we celebrated this May Day by performing a bit of magic. That is burning the nine sacred woods in the Beltane Bonfire. Well, what we did wasn’t really a bonfire per say, more like a small fire in a cauldron – but the intent still remains the same. We set fire to sticks from the nine sacred woods – in theory, they’re very difficult to find and some of them are toxic, so mostly we burned sticks that we were drawn to pick up – saying a blessing on to the world with each one we set a flame. Because it really felt like it needed it. The sacred woods consist of the first nine woods of the Celtic Tree Calendar, they are listed below in no particular order – along with some of the folklore associated with them.

9. Ash

Myth in its fibre, wood made word, the fissured bark

of Yggdrasil, world-tree, tree of Ask – the first man

tree of manna, foe feller, child healer, known by eye & fingertip

Excerpt from Ash Tree by Chris Poundwhite

Traditionally the Ash Tree represents the mother of the world. In ancient Norse Mythology the world tree Yggdrasil – that great holy tree that connected all the realms both mortal and otherwise was a an ash tree. In fact mortal Norse warriors would sometimes make their spears from ash, and they were referred to as Aescling or ‘Men of Ash’.

8. Willow

Know ye the willow tree

Whose gray leaves quiver,

Whispering gloomily

To yon pale river,

Lady, at even tide

Wander not near it,

They say its branches hide

A sad, lost Spirit?

Excerpt from The Willow-Tree by William Makepeace Thackeray

In the ancient druid stories the universe, mankind and everything was hatched from two scarlet eggs hidden within the willow tree. One egg formed the sun and from the other came the Earth – which begs the question where was the Willow Tree. This was recreated in the seasonal festival of Beltane using painted eggs. This would later be hijacked by Christians, for the holiday Easter. So just remember, that come Easter Weekend when you’re rolling your brightly colored chicken fetus down a hill, you’re performing an ancient Druid ritual.

7. Hawthorn

My palms rest

Upon the blackened trunk

Of a melancholy hawthorn

It’s choked wood crumbling

Into dust

Falling between my fingers

Extract of Burning Hawthorn by Lotus

In Ireland the Hawthorn tree is known as the fairy tree, although take care to call it something else as it is disrespectful to mention the fairies by name. Because of this connection to the little folk it is considered extremely bad luck to cut down a hawthorn tree. So much so that in 1999 work on the main road from Limerick to Galaway was interrupted because a Hawthorn stood in the way. Wish the owners of the woods near my house shared such beliefs – sometimes I feel there won’t be a forest left by the time this lock-down ends.

6. Birch

When I see birches bend to left and right

Across the lines of straighter darker trees,

I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.

But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay

As ice-storms do.

Extract from Birches by Robert Frost

In Celtic mythology Birch represented renewal and purification – and it was celebrated on Samhain (the holiday that would later become Halloween) which was the beginning of the Celtic New year. It also, as you might have guessed is connected to Beltane – a festival known in more modern times as May Day. Ritual fires were made of birch and oak, and Birch Trees were often made into living May poles.

5. Rowan

rowan tree with berries in summer sunny day

Oh rowan tree, oh rowan tree,

Thou’lt aye be dear to me,

Entwined thou art wi many ties,

O’hame and infancy.

Thy leaves were aye the first o’spring,

Thy flow’rs the simmer’s pride;

There was nae sic a bonny tree

In a’ the countrieside

Oh rowan tree!

Extract from The Rowan Tree by Lady Nairne

In Greek mythology it was said that the Rowan trees sprung from the fallen feathers of the eagle that had been sent to recover the cup of the Goddess Hebe. However it was attacked by demons before it could manage. Thus the Rowan Tree’s leaves are shaped like feathers and their berries are as red as blood. We can see great significance in Norse Mythology as well, where we see a rowan was transformed into the first woman – the first man having come from an Ash. As well as in British Folklore, where the Rowan is meant to protect against witchcraft and enchantment.

4. Holly

But the Hue of his every feture.

Stunned them as could be seen,

Not only was this creature

Colossal, he was bright Green

No spear to thrust, no shield against the shock of battle,

But in one hand a solitary branch of Holly

That shows greenest when all the groves are leafless.

Extract from ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Night’, author unknown

In Celtic legend the Holly King would battle the Oak King at the changing of the seasons. During Winter Solstice, the Oak King would arise triumphed – there after he reigns upon the earth, until the Summer Solstice where upon the two battle again. And this time it is the Holly King who defeats his opponent. And on and on, the cycle of the seasons go.

3. Alder

Are you weary, alder tree,

in this, the age of rain?

From your branches

droop clots of lichen

like fairy lungs. All week,

Squalls, tattered mists:

alder, who unfolded

before the receding glaciers

Extract from Alder by Kathleen Jamie

In Irish Folklore it is generally considered bad luck to pass an alder tree on your journey. The Alder tree was the tree of the God Bran – who you will remember if you’ve been following me, that I mentioned in this earlier post – along with Odin, Apollo and King Arthur. It was also associated with the Goddess of spinning, because it was a source for strong colored dye. In Magical belief Alder reminds us of the need to blend strength and courage with generosity of spirit and compassion.

2. Oak

A mighty wind blew night and day

It stole the oak tree’s leaves away

Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark

Until the oak was tired and stark.

But still the oak tree held its ground.

While other trees fell all around

The Weary Wind gave up and spoke.

How can you still be standing oak?

Excerpt from The Oak Tree by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr.

Throughout the world’s cultures the Oak tree has been venerated, often as the symbol of the greatest god in the pantheon. Gods such as Zeus, Jupiter, Dagda, Perun and Thor – called the Oak tree their own. Many Ancient kings would imply they were personifications of these gods by wearing crowns of oak leaf during times of victory – and even today, the oak leaf remains a symbol of military prowess.

1. Hazel

In the Beginning Love satisfies us.

When Love first spoke to me of love –

How I laughed at her in return!

But then she made me like the hazel trees,

Which blossom early season of darkness,

And bear fruit slowly.

The Hazel Trees by Hadewijch of Antwerp

The Hazel Tree has been venerated since the days of the Druids’ power, maybe even longer than that. There is an old ancient tale – repeated in varying forms across ancient Britain, of nine sacred hazel trees that grew around a pool. In the pool swam Salmon (who were honored by Druids), when the nuts fell from the trees, the Salmon would leap up and eat them – and from those nuts the salmon would absorbed the tree’s wisdom. I’ve mentioned the hazel nut before, in my previous post – because not only does it provide you with great wisdom, but a good boost to your immune system as well.

If you’ve enjoyed this foray into the folklore of the nine sacred woods, don’t forget to follow the wee blog if you haven’t already. Also check me out on Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads, Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook. And follow The Wee Mailing List, for all new content. Also check out Trees for Life – where most of this folklore information came from, it’s a fascinating site for anyone interested in the folklore of trees. Remember if come next May Day you decide to burn the nine sacred woods in your own Beltane celebration, make sure to exercise proper fire safety – you will be working with open (if not very large) flames. I also advise eating something afterwards, I always feel light and giddily shaky after burning the wood and food in the belly is a good way to ground yourself, or so I’ve been told. If you found any inaccuracies in what I’ve said here today, don’t hesitate to mention them down below in the comments. I love to be corrected, it’s how we grow. Until next time Wee Readers, make sure to get plenty of Sunshine, stay safe and have a bonny day.

The Wee Lassie’s Top Ten Foods that keep your Immune System Healthy

If you’ve been following my blog for a while – hi original wee readers, you know who you are – you should know that I am a Vegan. In fact my whole family are vegans. I was raised vegan from the age of two. But what you may not have guessed is that we are mega-vegans – don’t google that I made it up on the spot. Some of us don’t eat gluten, we all drink major green smoothies and of course all our food is organic. We even grow our own greens that we blend up and eat in our green smoothies. Yes, we’re those kind of people – and that is awesome, particularly right now during a pandemic when health is on absolutely everyone’s minds. Wow there’s no way that didn’t come off as bragging…anyway, here are the top ten foods that keep your immune system healthy.

10. Carrots

Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

For a while these were very hard to get at Tesco, which I view as a positive thing for our society, seeing how healthy carrots actually are for you. A single carrot has 12,028 units of Vitamin A -; Vitamin C; B Vitamins; Vitamin E and the minerals of iron, Zinc and Copper – all of which help keep the immune system up and running for cold and flue season, or the odd pandemic.

9. Broccoli

Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

Come on, part of you must have known Broccoli would be on this list eventually – it’s no one’s favorite vegetable, but we all know its good for us. This green veg is high in lutein, a compound antioxidant, and sulforaphane. Along with nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, Zinc and iron.All of which, as you may have guessed help keep us healthy.

8. Onions

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

My god do I love onions, which is a good thing because not only are my family’s store cupboards just filled with the things, but they are mega good for the immune system. Onions are filled with selenium, sulfur compounds, Zinc, and vitamin C. Also, they are an excellent source of quercetin. They are also an antioxidant which have antiviral properties, and they also have histamine regulating effects.

7. Garlic

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Garlic is a magic food. Not only can it keep away the bite of Dracula, but it’s a natural antibiotic. I’ve been eating it raw before every meal, and my cough’s almost gone. Of course, eating raw garlic isn’t for everyone – it’s barely for me – but never fear, there’s no ends of the dishes Garlic can be put into. Soups, sauces, pies – you name it, it’ll be made much better with a dash of Garlic.

6. Red Cabbage

Photo by Chokniti Khongchum on Pexels.com

Cabbage is great; it boosts the immune system, fights inflammation and arthritis; makes healthy bones and reduces risk of Osteoporosis. It also helps fight chronic diseases and encourages a healthy gut. And it tastes delicious with vinegar.

5. Pears

Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

As juicy when ripe as they are hard when not, pears are rich in flavonoid antioxidants which help fight inflammation and may decrease your risk of diseases.

4. Nuts

Photo by Marta Branco on Pexels.com

Ages past Brazil nuts we’re considered one of the nine sacred nuts. They brought wisdom to those that ate them. Today they can help your body prepare for any battles ahead. Nuts are a great source of zinc, along with selenium which is particularly found in Brazil nuts, but all nuts will boost your immune system.

2. Nettles

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Nettles, absolutely one of the ingredients to professor Snape’s most potent potions. These stinging weeds are high in Vitamins A,C,K and B; Minerals like Calcium and iron; Healthy Fats; Polyphenols, Amino acids and Pigments like Beta-carotene, or luteoxanthin. They have been known to reduce inflammation; help hay fever and enlarged prostate symptoms, along with high blood pressure and blood sugar control.

However, one of the best things about Nettles is how available they are; they literally grow everywhere, so much so that we’ve labeled them as weeds all across the western world. Odds are likely they’re even growing somewhere close to you right now. Word to the wise though, if you’re picking them yourself wear gloves and avoid nettles with flowers, if they’ve got flowers they’re no good and should be left alone. As for the shops, while I have never encountered fresh nettles – nettle tea is delicious, and just as immune system boosting as the fresh stuff. Plus, and I don’t know if this is an official result of such tea, but I always find it calms me right down after I’ve had a bout of anxiety.

1. Avocados

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Avocados are a super food, flat out just a super food, with a capital S. If you’ve been following my blog you may have heard me speak about these amazing things before – they certainly fit well in any kind of smoothie. In fact it’s amazing how versatile they are – avocados blended with coco make a lovely chocolate mousse. However I personally love them in Guacamole, since it’s so easy to make and combines other immune system boosting food, like Garlic – but there are hundreds of other different uses for them, whether you’re spreading them mashed on toast, or just chopping them into your salad. What makes this versatility so exciting – besides the taste that is – is just how rich in nutrients the Avocado is.

They contain Vitamins K, C, B5, B6, A, B1, B2, and B3; along with nutrients like Folate, Potassium, magnesium, maganeses, copper, iron, zinc, and phosphorous. Each Avocado also contains 160 calories, 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of healthy fats, 9 grams of Carbs and 7 of fiber. Making them, the ultimate immune boosting food.

If you’ve enjoyed this interesting look into the nutrients of some of the world’s best food, don’t forget to follow the wee blog, if you haven’t already. Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest. And check out the Wee Mailing List – for all new content from the Wee Archives. Until next time Wee Readers, stay safe, stay healthy, and have a bonny day.

My Coronavirus Soundtrack

This Coronavirus outbreak, and the subsequent madness of the whole god damn world, has left me feeling quite depressed. So to cheer myself up I began formulating a playlist of happy songs – as you do. But for a while that’s all it was, just a thing for myself, and it wasn’t until my mother asked if I was going to blog it, that a far more inventive idea came to me. Why just make a playlist that cheers me up about the coronavirus, when I could make an entire soundtrack for the bloody thing. So here before you, is the finished work – note, this is just a bit of fun and not to be taken as a serious account of the state of the world. We get enough of that from the news and (if you’re like me) Twitter, and while this outbreak is a serious thing, sometimes we just need to laugh.

1. Prologue – this isn’t the first crisis we’ve faced

2. The Outbreak Begins

The First Official cases are reported across the world

3. And so we took to Twitter

Honestly this is the first time in my life I’m checking Twitter several times a day.

4. Trying to Understand why this is happening

5. Wash your hands for 20 seconds

6. The Bog-roll Crisis

I didn’t even have to stretch for this one

7. More Panic Buying…I mean what were people thinking?

8. #CorbynMustStay

Oh Jeremy Corbyn, we almost had a socialist Prime Minister. This one may be slightly localized to Great Britain – but this is a British Blog, (at least for now) so what can you expect?

9. Schools Close for Most

If you think this is an inappropriate song, you should see the one I almost put here.

10. The March of the Covidiots: or this is not a song that should fit so well this late in the timeline of a Pandemic

11. And so the Army was called in

Well, the police anyway.

12. Quarantine Life

Well, guess we can’t leave our houses now.

13. Disney + released

If they didn’t want the comparison, they shouldn’t have bought the franchise.

14. And so the Great Binge watch of 2020 began…

Yes, it’s just the Simpsons theme…why? What are you watching?

15. Clap for the NHS, and Stay Home

Being serious here people, the NHS (and other healthcare systems around the world) are already overworked – don’t overwhelm them, stay at home and watch Friends.

16. Coming out of Lockdown

Speaks for itself really.

17. And Hopefully we’re all still…

If this playlist offered you any joy during these dark days don’t forget to follow the Wee blog, if you haven’t already. Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Goodreads. Also check out The Wee Mailing List, for all new content. Keep safe, Wee Readers, and don’t forget to laugh whenever you can – it’s good for the soul. So, until next time, have a bonny day.