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THE LOWDOWN: Finding black cats in dark rooms


Richard Hoad

THE LOWDOWN: Finding  black cats in dark rooms

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There was a discussion on TV recently about education. Today’s experts are against learning “by rote” as we did. As a result my children can’t recite a single stanza of any great work like “John Gilpin was a citizen of credit and renown; a train-band captain eke was he of famous London town”.
Wendy Griffith-Watson is entitled to her view. But that “eke” has brought me unlimited pleasure over the past 60 years. “Eke!” I still shriek joyfully at every recitation. But it was only on Tuesday night while writing this that I discovered it means “also”. So what?
Instead they want to teach children to reason. Nonsense. Sit on a tractor all day, walk the beach, do anything where you can put your brain in “coast”. That’s when you reason and all becomes clear.
For instance, the Prime Minister recently quoted Sir James Tudor as saying: “They are like blind men in a dark room searching for a black cat!” What would W G-W’s students make of that? Probably: “What a witty analogy!”
But let’s break it down. Blind men are always in a dark room. That’s their forte. With better-developed senses of smell and touch, they would find that cat in no time flat.
We go further. So would most men who aren’t blind. Finding cats in the dark is a male skill developed of necessity from very young. Besides, at night all cats are grey. Except for bald-pooch cats. We leave them to Mr Sinckler.
So the reasoning student should conclude that Sir James had little experience searching for cats in the dark. And his analogy is meaningless.
We live in an age where information and misinformation abound. Maybe a few examples will help our young people open their eyes.
Politics time. We the electorate are being blamed for re-electing this Government. Nonsense. It wasn’t the BLP or DLP at fault. It was the PWP.
The PWP gave the impression that the Bees would win a landslide, prompting Bajans to vote for a strong Dems opposition.
Simple so. Except that the PWP was wrong. The PWP, by the way, is the Peter Wickham poll. I don’t know if Mr Wickham could find a black cat in a dark room. But, in my opinion, he too needs to check his logic. He keeps giving the impression that since Owen Arthur was rejected twice in elections, he is a spent force.
But didn’t Errol Barrow come back from two humiliating defeats to win a 24-3 landslide?
George Belle said: “Vote against the regime and Freundel will have to resign. In three weeks you got elections”. Again, thinking students, what do you make of that? Reasonable?
As far as I know, you can only “vote” if an election is called. None such is envisaged. So where does Belle want people to cast this magic vote that can bring down a recently elected Government in three weeks?
Or is he proposing something sinister? I don’t think so. Here’s Belle again: “I said anything that any Opposition member would have said in Parliament . . .  the Opposition says that in Parliament in almost every session”. Surely a political scientist knows about parliamentary privilege. And that Opposition members wouldn’t dare repeat in public what they get away with in the House.
My best construct: the ageing comrade has simply forgotten that voting and elections go together.   
The marijuana debate, another smokescreen.
We can grow it for export, says one UWI criminologist. Lady, they tiefing Armstrong’s sweet potatoes that you have to dig. They tiefing Killer and Tempro’s big-able dangerous bull cows that would kill you.
So, marijuana? The only successful marijuana growers are people who murder or maim anyone who tries to steal it.
   As to “medical” marijuana, we only need a few doctors like those who treated Elvis and Michael Jackson. “Say, doc, holding a big party tonight but my back is killing me”.
   “No problem. Say 50 spliffs? And some marijuana brownies in case the kids get headaches from the noise? Pass by for the prescription.”
   Finally, happy birthday to a man who long ago figured out that Barbados is the place to spend winter. Roger Wright, 79 tomorrow and here for his 45th trip with hottie wife Gloria. Both from Canada.
Have a good one, Roger!
• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.

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