TRACTOR MISERY

November 30, 2009

 

Is it thoughtlessness, stupidity, or are they doing it on purpose?

I’m talking about farmers going for dawdling tractor trips on the busy roads of West Lothian at rush hour. What IS their game?

Not so long ago, I was caught behind a tractor and stretch-trailer that trundled at 5 mph – no exaggeration, I was measuring it on my GPS – the whole way from the Lizzie Bryce Roundabout in Livingston to Sighthill.

Of course, it was morning rush hour so nobody could overtake on account of the heavy traffic coming along the A71 in the opposite direction.

The crawling queue, I swear, must have snaked behind him the full 12 miles from Sighthill to the Almondvale Bridge. And did this plonker pull in at one of the many lay-bys to let the traffic past? Of course not.

There could easily have been a frantic parent trying to get a sick child to the doctors’ surgery in that queue of misery. But it’s not as though the tractor-driving twerp could have cared. He had HIS work to do.

Mind you, I once saw a tractor heaped with tatties being pulled off the Edinburgh Bypass by police at rush hour where he had been creating havoc as he dawdled along oblivious to the car park he had created behind him.

I mean, farmers pride themselves at being early risers. Can’t they do all this crawling along the road in the early hours before the real world actually has to get to work, catch flights and attend appointments?

And how would they like it if we drove into their fields at harvest time and crawled at 1mph in front of their combine harvesters mile after mile? Yes, THAT would be a different story, wouldn’t it?

Thoughtless, stupid, or doing it on purpose? Your guess is as good as mine.

Drew McAdam

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SCEPTICAL OF THE SCEPTICS

November 23, 2009

 

Aliens landed in West Lothian. Or so the story goes.

In 1979, forestry worker Bob Taylor happened across a UFO in the woods at Dechmont Law where he was attacked by two spheres. Ridiculous, of course.

Or is it?

Certainly, there was evidence. Bob’s ripped trousers, and strange marks on the ground where the craft was reputed to have landed, were all that was left. Within hours, Ufologists – yes there really are such people – and hundreds of souvenir hunters had dug up the grass and soil before making off with their spoils.

Sadly, Bob passed away, and with him went the only chance to find out the truth of the matter.

But wait a minute… Waterborn Productions Ltd. produced a film that contains footage of interviews with some of the personalities involved in the story, and that film is now available on the internet.

As Scotland’s foremost mind reader, I’m not really giving away any secrets when I tell you that my methods involve reading non-verbal cues, micro-expressions and body language. Night after night I entertain audiences with my ability – as a “human lie detector” – to distinguish truth from deception.

It’s why I was regularly used as “The Interrogator” on the Trisha Goddard Show to illicit confessions from our guests. It’s why the BBC made a four-part series in which I was the subject and presenter on how to identify when somebody is lying.

So, we may think that all the evidence about the story has now vanished. But thanks to the film we still have access to the interviews. And I have now spent hours pouring over the footage. Rewinding the interviews. Freezing the frames. Studying the “clusters” of expressions, gestures, voice changes and the sentence structure of the interviewees including Dr Gordon Adams, Detective Inspector Ian Wark – scene of crime officer – and Bob’s work colleagues.

Being honest, I expected to uncover body language suggesting that the whole thing was a hoax or a lie.

However, I can categorically state that at no time is there any evidence of deception from any of these people. Not once.

When Bob Taylor recounts the incident he is clearly accessing actual memory, not his imagination. His body language is open; there is no fluctuation in his paralanguage, and his open-palmed gestures suggest a man simply recounting what happened.

So, what of the wheel-on sceptic Steuart Campbell? His conclusions included the suggestion that the tracks were produced by somebody with a pickaxe, planks of wood and construction machinery. 

Sounds reasonable, except that the police, according to DI Wark, had examined “every piece of machinery they (Livingston Development Corporation) had… we didn’t find anything to match.”

That aside, the sceptical view is based on the discredited hypothesis of an astronomical mirage, that the workers were lying, the police didn’t know what they were talking about, and the medical expert was wrong. That alone should make us sceptical of the sceptics.

Based on my expertise and experience of body language, my view is that the interviewees were telling it exactly as it was. This was no hoax.

However, Steuart Campbell, author of “The UFO Mystery Solved”, demonstrates textbook closed body language, self caressing and all the “tells” of a person in discomfort, offering an explanation about which he, himself, harbours grave doubts.

He may dismiss the whole thing with scientific theories, but his body language is saying something different.

Of course, that’s the job of a self-appointed sceptic; to debunk it. But I’d rather be hoaxed than have some authority coldly dismiss everybody else – suggesting they are feeble-minded – while offering a theory which they are pretty sure is bunkum.

Did aliens land on Dechmont Law thirty years ago? We’ll probably never know. But thanks to the footage we can still view the interviews and sort out the nonsense from the fact.

Was it a hoax? Is the sceptic offering a theory in which he doesn’t even believe himself?

Take a look yourself. But don’t just listen to the words… watch the body language.

THEN decide.

(Part One. There are also parts 2 and 3): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOuKl1ze51c

Drew McAdam


FADE AWAY

November 16, 2009

YOU know you’re getting old when the names of the great stars of your generation who shaped your fashion ideas, musical taste and general approach to life draw little more than a blank stare from the younger generation.

I was recently having my swiftly diminishing grey hair trimmed and happened to mention the name of Marc Bolan to the hairdresser. No, she had never heard of him or his band T.Rex. So, Electric Warrior, Telegram Sam and Metal Guru would mean less than nothing. How sad.

Worse still, my granddaughter is now in her mid teens and – asked to complete this band line-up – John, George, Paul and…? She suggested “Zippy?”

I was recently at the Queen jukebox show We Will Rock You, presently showing at The Edinburgh Playhouse. It really is a wonderful show, and on the gala night when I was present the audience was stunned – in a good way – when the curtain came up for the finale and legendary Queen guitarist Brian May strode on playing guitar. I mean, can you imagine? The audience went nuts!

However, in the midst of this, a not-so-young youngster was heard to say: “I thought he was the dead one!” Is there no hope?

But here’s the saddest bit of all. Believed to have come from Syria, since 847 Scottish Kings were crowned on a lump of rock: the famous “Stone of Destiny”. Then in 1296 Edward ll subdued Scotland (for a little while) and took the stone back to England.

From that day, the English kings and queens were crowned while sitting on a throne that had the Stone of Destiny incorporated within it, so that this made them the ruler of Scotland, too.

Then, in 1950, a group of students removed / stole / recovered the rock and brought it back to Scotland. It’s a story that is steeped in tradition and legend – part of our heritage.

Well, I recently had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting with one of the individuals who had been involved in the heist that had started the biggest UK police dragnet on record. What a thrill.

The sad bit? I mentioned the meeting to a chap – not a youngster, I hasten to add, but a grown-up, mature, family man – and he had never heard of the Stone of Destiny!

It seems to be the way of things. Years ago I spoke to author and historian Nigel Tranter OBE. I asked him why he concentrated his writing on easy-to-read accounts of historic Scottish events and characters.

His answer? “The saddest thing that can happen to a man is that he lose his memory, because with that he loses his identity.” He then went on to say “How much sadder if a nation was to lose its memory.” It was a line that burned itself into my very soul.

But that is exactly what is happening, thanks to all the distraction of the modern day world. We, as a nation, are fading away. Soon we won’t exist at all.

So, go on, borrow a Scottish history book from your local library and find out a bit about this nation, and with it a bit about yourself -who you are and where you have come from.

You might be in for a bit of a surprise!

Drew McAdam


CAREERS ADVICE FOR KIDDIES

November 2, 2009

As my Old Granny used to say: “You can’t trust a dog to watch your food”.

And here’s another thing which is equally true: “You can’t trust a politician to take care of your children.

You want proof?

Schools Secretary Ed Balls (Oh, how much fun I could have at the expense of THAT name! But sometimes it’s just too easy) has decided that primary schools will offer career-related learning, along with the opportunity to experience university life and the world of work.

Yes, that’s right. Careers advice for seven year old kiddies.

Balls also said that: “change” is needed in careers advice, as it is “too late” for children to start thinking about their future at 14, when they start choosing subjects at secondary school.

What?

Two things here, Mr Balls. Firstly, had I been offered “careers advice” when aged seven, I would have been little more than a tiny bum and rubber skid marks as I ran screaming through the school gates.

I had more than enough to contend with trying to get to grips with the big bad world without trying to work out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Had you offered me careers advice when I was seven and not much taller than a Wellington boot, you would have discovered that I wanted to be an astronaut… or invisible. Or – even better – an invisible astronaut. Or a dinosaur.

That’s the answers Mr Balls would have got. It’s the answers he’ll get from today’s seven year olds, and – do you know what? – it’s exactly the answer he deserves!

Secondly, about it being “too late” for children to start thinking about their future at 14, I remember when I was that age I was asked what I wanted to do when I left school. I pulled a solemn face and told them I wanted to be an architect. I did that because it was the sort of answer they would want and would, hopefully, get them off my back. (In truth, by then I had worked out that an invisible dinosaur would be a good way to spend the rest of my life.)

Well, get THIS Mr Balls: I’m 54 years old and I STILL don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

In a further statement we discover that this careers advice will be made available through internet social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube. This from somebody who obviously has no idea what these sites are actually used for, then.

Mr Balls, that’s not going to work. Ask ANY seven year old kid.

Additionally, a £10 million fund will support innovative careers education. So, there you go; ANOTHER £10 million down the YouTube. Still, the bureaucrats will all get their salaries out of it, won’t they?

Politicians and children? I would have more success trusting a dog to watch my food.

Drew McAdam