About me
About me

When was the last time anyone fought a bear?


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 12 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 12 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

A fascinating article by the Beeb comparing Baden-Powell’s Scouting advice to modern advice, which is made even more amusing by the comments which wonderfully suggest that old-school Scouting adventures made “real men”. Apparently, teaching kids to jump into icy lakes to retrieve lost loved-ones instead of calling the emergency services, or indeed teaching juniors to fight bears, would solve all societal ills including, but by no means limited to, shootings, stabbings, anti-social behaviour, and the existence of David Beckham. It’s clearly a delusion of my Guardianista liberal-mindedness that the latter isn’t the greatest threat to society of modern times.

Next week: Sending kids down coal mines “separated the men from the boys, and killed off the weak, useless, criminal scroungers who are the scourge of today’s society”.

Thank goodness the modern Scouting Movement isn’t run by these people.

This 1,194th post was filed under: News and Comment.

Some recently published posts

The Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnels: eight years on / January 2020, 8 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / January 2020, 7 minutes long

Faber Stories / December 2019, 4 minutes long

My favourite books of 2016 / December 2019, 26 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / December 2019, 12 minutes long

Some random old posts

What I’ve been reading this month / May 2018, 5 minutes long

The Southport Visiter: Reader Letters / December 2004, 3 minutes long

David Foster Wallace: Infinite Jest / April 2005, 2 minutes long

sjhoward v21.0 released today / April 2006, Less than a minute long

MTAS: Ditched. Hewitt: Still on £255,000 a year. / May 2007, 1 minute long

Tony’s terrible trio in trouble / April 2006, 2 minutes long

Comments and responses

Comment from Anonymous

by Anonymous

Comment posted at 20:19 on 1st August 2007.

Sending kids down coal mines “separated the men from the boys, and killed off the weak, useless, criminal scroungers who are the scourge of today’s society”. True! So your point is?

Comment from Mort Karman

by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 18:35 on 4th August 2007.

The American frontiersman Davie Crockett, legend has it, “killed him a bear when he was only three.”
When I was in Cub Scouts (the junior Boy Scouts) we were told the way to graduate to being a Boy Scout was to “make a Brownie” (junior Girl Scout).
Today the scouts are out of favour in many places because of outdated ideas including trying to bar homosexuals from scouting (Supreme Court prevent that).
Today the in thing is to belong to a street gang and learn how to sel and use dope.
The gangs even have sort of junior gangs for the “little gang bangers”.
They actually do their drive by shootings on a bicycle (except in rural Oklahoma where they use a horse and bow and arrow).
I wasn’t in the scouts long. i just did not fit in. As a youth I was only interested in radio communications and photography.
I made it my life’s work and did not do too badly, but I was considered the equivalent of a “geek” today.
On the other hand, many of my classmates had photos of the famouse sexy female movie stars of the day posted on their walls. So far as I know, none of those fellows ever actually even got close to any of them.
I had pictures of Leica and Rollieflex and Linhoff cameras and Drake and Colins shortwave radios on my walls. I have owned, used and yes, even slept with and caressed, all of the above.
A highlight of my life was when, as a young newspaper photographer I got to take a photo of one of the kids who had tormented me in school as he was being led away by the police to the wagon for the trip to Sing Sing, New York’s maximum security prison at the time. Some of the cops were friends of min, so they let me get really close and say, “Hi,Billy

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 15:42 on 5th August 2007.

I’m slightly concerned that you’ve owned, slept with, and caressed cameras and shortwave radios. Is that healthy? 😉

Comment from Mort Karman

by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 00:29 on 6th August 2007.

Simon, Have you ever heard of anyone getting an STD from holding a radio or a camera?
Honestly, I did not do drugs, or alcohol, not even sex (well, not too much, anyway) when I was growing up.
I just wanted to be a newspaper photographer.
My heroes were the photographers on newspapers like the New York Herald Tribune.
I followed their work like most youths followed the baseball and football players.
When I actually got to work at the NYHT and work with those people, it was like if a youth in Denver, Colorado got to play footbal with John Elway.
Very few people get to live their dreams.
I may be a decrepit old man now and perhaps a bit senile, but no one can take away my memories (though I sometimes loose them for a time) and I may not be rich in terms of money. But I had a good life.

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