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Why coming last doesn't matter

Tomorrow I achieve a major milestone, or more precisely a major kilometre-stone: it’s my 150thParkRun. Sadly I am not awarded with a special vest, like the red one for 50 and the black one for 100. Even so I am expected to bring cake so that my fellow runners may celebrate my feat, or is it feet? For the record, Victor my nemesis has clocked up 221 – which takes the shine off my achievement. But that’s life. When you manage to achieve a long-sought goal, often there is a sense of “Is that it?” There was an excellent article some weeks back in the New York Times by regular columnist, David Brooks: Five Lies Our Culture Tells. He argues that these five lies have undermined our

What happens when you mess with Rome

“Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot,” claims W.H. Auden. “The reality is so horrible it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith.” This evening, at Bescar Methodist church, we will be watching Mel Gibson’s 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ.” Not that I want to, much too gruesome for me – hence the 18 certificate. Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert even deemed it “the most violent film I have ever seen.” The film is unbearably realistic, even to the weight of the cross. At 60 kgs. it is more than half the weight of a typical Jewish man. Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus, experienced

What is 'Line of Duty' doing to us?

As we await the third episode of Line of Duty, I regret not taking notes during the first four series. The genius of Jed Mercurio’s writing is not just the twists and turns, the occasional bombshell but the references, often nuanced, to the previous four series. For those of you who live on another planet Line of Duty follows the unrelenting investigations of AC-12, an anti-corruption squad in some regional constabulary. As the series progresses, we discover that this police service is not only bedevilled with innumerable acronyms but contains a network of corrupt officers with links to OCGs. The two main characters, DC Kate Fleming and DS Steve Arnott, brilliantly played by Vicky McClu

We all need to be pushed

Each Tuesday at Ormskirk's Park pool Sarah tries to drown me. I now know her technique. To begin with she aims to tire me out through making me swim four lengths front-crawl. Already I am exhausted. Then a whole series of exercises, each with my facility to swim severely curtailed. The only thing which keeps me alive is the embarrassment of drowning before the other members of my class. Then I discovered that my fellow swimmer, Martin - who, incidentally, I lap during our weekly Saturday morning ParkRun - had volunteered to transfer to the top group. So he now begins each session not with four but with eight lengths of breath-gasping front crawl. His choice. Intrigued, I asked him why.

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