Friday, November 26, 2010

(264) At page 73 and talking about running or travelling on a no frills airline on Twitter

At about 0:30 a.m. on November 27th 2010 I saw something go by on Twitter from Cliff Stanford -
CliffStanford Cliff Stanford @akaSylvia @pewari For a browser to make this calculation, it must load all table contents, (cont)
At first I was confused but then followed the first link to find a site posted by fellow Twitterer, ratherdash,, where people were being asked to turn to the nearest book when they would find that the third sentence of the second paragraph of the seventy-third page would define their life. Stanford had posted just that sentence with references to two other Twitterers one of whom, akaSylvia, I too was following.
The only book adjacent to my laptop was a biography of Richard Branson, Branson, by Tom Bower which I had recently started rereading. Turning to page 73 was not difficult because I had halted at page 72 and there was hence a bookmark between pages 72 and 73.
The appropriate sentence in it was -
"He eschewed expensive cars, preached that he flew economy class -´the extra comfort is not worth the extra cost´, scoffed the owner of an airline seeking business class passengers - and espoused a carefully refined casual style."
Not forgetting re accurate bookmarks, -
I tweeted the coimcidence of the bookmark -
JamesPlaskett James Plaskett
@CLiffStanford @akaSylvia Guys:the book by me, which I am rereading, WAS with a bookmark at pages 72-73. BRANSON, by Tom Bower. HONESTLY!!
But the thing was that the previous afternoon Stanford had tweeted from an airport this - CliffStanford Cliff Stanford
So much for speedy boarding. SB sent to rear of plane while remainder of px allowed to fill the front. @EasyjetCare I want my money back. from Hertsmere, Hertfordshire 26 Nov
I had sent him one or two e mails over the previous weeks semi-seriously asking him to employ me, not least because he had financed a venture of mine 11 years previously -
So I had promptly tweeted -
Plaskett James Plaskett
RT @CliffStanford sent to rear while remainder allowed to front. @EasyjetCare I want my money back. CLIFF: start an airline! + I´ll run it! 26 Nov
I seemed to recall some connection between akaSylvia and flying (I think she had made some remark about living in southern Spain) so I checked her details -
Sylvia Wrigley, it turned out, was not only a pilot but Stanford´s girlfriend and writes about sometimes flying him to the UK.
... ... ...
In late March 2011 I noted that a Facebook friend, Susan Grumer, had put something on her "wall" on March 22nd. It was a variation on this same game. Her specifications were -
: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status. Don't mention the book. Post these rules as part of your status.
And her example was -
"This idea would also seem to have occupied the very sanctum of materialism, physics."
Others followed suit, e.g. ,
· Curt Carlson Don't know if that works for me. My status would be "Another man or two followed each binder and stacked sheaves of grain vertically into shocks, with the head grains up."
· Jennifer Sivan Ryland- Thomas Marcus looked completely calm, like nothing had happened. lol The actual closest book to me was Thomas the train but it didn't have 56 pages lol
I chipped in with -
· H. James Plaskett ‎"I´m going to tell you something only a father would tell you... After twenty, twenty-two, it´s never quite the same fror a man."
The book was the novel An Innocent Millionaire by Stephen Vizinczey. Then I realised that Susan had quoted from my book, and so added -
James Plaskett Nice to see that my book, COINCIDENCES, was the nearest one you had to hand, Susan.
Later Susan e mailed me to expand - Carl Fuglein is someone I used to work with. just wrote to him to ask where his "rules" came from... He seems to think it's just a silly game – no meaning to the sentence. Somebody sent it to him on Facebook.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

(263) The dream of Nobby Stiles fallen on hard times.

On the morning of October 23rd 2007 I dreamed and then recorded the saddest dream -

Sic Transit Gloria

It is a setting where a dying George Best has passed an envelope containing loose change and scraps of money to me and asked me to take it to an address in Alicante.

As I hand the money over to an old guy in a modest setting in Alicante, some of the lineaments of his face strike a chord.
"Are you Nobby Stiles?" I ask.
He says something back, with a laughing annoyance at having been recognised.

Later I also meet up with Jackie Charlton and a guy with a vaguely familiar face who is forever bursting into high pitched flamenca song. At the end I realise that this is Gordon Banks and remark so to someone passing who concurs.

I remark also to someone that Nobby Stiles must have fallen on hard times to be living in such reduced circumstances and he, naturally, agrees.

I twig that these are all members of the 1966 England Soccer World Cup winning team.
I see a slightly balding Sir Geoff Hurst towards the end, as we are chatting in an apartment not to high up. I am slightly nervous not only that I but also that someone else might fall from/through the window.

By the way, shortly after having just awoken from that dream I was intimating the outline of it to my curious wife when our 11 yr old son intervened to say that he will be unable to do the special extra-curricular football training as he has five red marks against him
in class.

On September 15th 2010 I was saddened to see this news item -

Then, two days later, I saw this thread at the Guardian Comment Is Free section -

I was moved to contribute a selection of the dreams I had noted over the past three years including the above one.
I note at that thread that, although it was a conscious decision on my part to contribute the Stiles dream, I was only doing so in response to a request from The Guardian for people to send in such dreams about the famous.
And so it got published just a couple of days after the pieces on Stiles´ financial concerns.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

(262) Something old, something new... at Facebook

On the afternoon of August 17th 2010 I found myself thinking back to this hit of the 1970s - although I had not heard the song nor even heard of it for a decade at least.
I returned home and found that several e mail had arrived in my absence and that the first was from Kelly Dudley

It was headed Something Old, Something New.

Two below it was one from someone called ´Blue Humphries´
This turned out to be a message drom Facebook saying -

Blue Humphries also commented on Sarah-Jane van der Westhuizen's photo album.

Blue wrote:
"I like my view of the Kymin but that is gorgeous !! NEVER move,lol"

Shorly afterwards I was chatting on Facebook with Jeanna Tal, daughter of

I asked her if she might be getting married soon. She said not and asked why I had asked.
I explained the lead in coincidences.

Shortly after at Facebook I saw that Mercedes Diane Griffin Forbes - one of my 122 ´Friends´at Facebook - had announced her engagement.

That led me to post this at her wall -

H. James Plaskett
Ahhh. So that´s it
I found myself, about 2 and a half hrs ago, thinking of a song from the 1970s which had the chorus; "Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue"
I had not heard it for a decade or more. I even sang out that chorus line in front of my wife + kid.
Then, having just returned to the house, I opened up my e mail and saw that the 1st one was from a Kelly Dudley of a competition site.
It was headed Something Old, Something New.

And two below it was a notification that a guy whose first name was Blue had made a comment at the photos section of Sarah-Jane van der Westhuyzen, as had I previously.

Accordingly I started hearing wedding bells associated with Facebook, and even asked Jeanna Tal on here, when we were chatting 30 mins later, if she might be getting married.

She said no.

T´was you, Mercedes.


Monday, May 10, 2010

(261) The water bearer

At 7.35 p.m. on May 10th 2010 I was approaching the summit of San Julian hill near my home.

I found myself thinking of press announcements that an Indian holy man had been observed performing a paranormal feat -
I thought, rather whimsically, that I might semi-seriously use this story to apply for James Randi´s $1 Million -

Som years earlier I had crossed swords with Randi about his refusal to test a guy making a similar claim -

He had written back that if they took such kooks seriously then they did not have time to deal with the "serious claimants".
the serious claimants.
That from a man whose raison d├ętre is the stance that all paranormal phenomena are nonsensical.
He had ended communications with " Thank you for your inane input."

My pleasure, Randi.

On April 25th 2007, he had written to me again, less sourly, noting that -
We since then opened the challenge to the Breatharians – and they all promptly vanished, after making acceptance noises. We agreed to set aside our rule that prohibits any dangerous practices in doing the challenge, just to put an end to the this eat-nothing farce, and they suddenly fell silent…
James Randi.
I had already seen a documentary on this guy -
- and he had made no claim for the $1 Million.

And I also knew that there was already an authenticated case of a guy surviving a full 18 days without food or water -
- and that, therefore, Randi might not regard this newly observed feat as truly paranormal.
(The challenge states that one need only draw attention to any paranormal event and not necessarily be the person performing it.)

I imagined myself being the person who discovered the hapless Andreas Mihavecz and who gave him his first, salvaging, drink of water.

I then rounded the penultimate curve and saw three men. One hailed me to ask for a drink of water from the bottle I was holding in my right hand.
I gave him the bottle.

They shortly after all piled into a black Volkswagen Polo with the number plate
3046 GWT - or one very similar - and drove down the hill.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

(260) Murray Chandler and Zygmunt Frankel: unpublicised exceptional lives

On January 19th 2010 I mentioned to my wife that the story of my contemporary, Murray Chandler, sounded like it was worth making into a film.
The previous month a chap called Edwards had told me that on his 16th birthday Chandler´s parents had found a note pinned to his bedroom door informing them that he had taken a flight from his New Zealand home to London where he would be pursuing the life of a chess professional. Edwards added that he had wanted to go on his 15th birthday but jibbed when he realised that he would have to attend school in the UK.
At 21 Chandler bought his first house in London, at 23 he acquired the Grandmaster title and at 25 had purchased a large garden flat in Earls Court.
Then in 2006 he had returned to New Zealand.

Fiona disparaged his life and said that there were many such instances of people striking out on their own and making it. She cited her late friend and fan, Ziggy Frankel. In his unpublished autobiography (she possessed a copy of the manuscript) he describes his escape from Nazi persecution and exile in Siberia. But he had gone on from that to have a very successful career and also, she assured me, had a genuine joie de vivre.
Two days later she mentioned him again, this time in the context of successfully moving on from the past. She said that she had gleaned some facts about him from their two meetings on her visits to Israel and thought that by then he was retired but had been in arms design. She was unsure.
So later that day she googled him. One of the hits thrown up was for another man of the same name -

This guy was, like Chandler, a noted chessplayer from Wellington, New Zealand. Chandler later told me that he had met him a couple of times.
It says he was born in Krakow in 1921 and then went on to Siberia. It seems highly probable then that he was exiled by the same Russians that drove Fiona´s friend and thousands of other Polish Jews there.
Also, although towards the end of his unpublished autobiography Ziggy mentions a similarly exiled cousin of the same name born in 1928 he also early on mentions his father as stemming not from the Lvov where he grew up but from Ustrzyki Dolne, a town only 100 miles or so from Krakow.,+Poland&gl=uk&ei=fytaS8SdA4OQjAeBqNipAg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CAsQ8gEwAA
I would therefore have thought a direct family link with the Zygmunt Frankel of Wellington to be very plausible.