Archive for December, 2012

NeverSeconds exceeds nine million hits

December 31, 2012
Martha's younger sister playing with the kids

Martha’s younger sister Polly playing with the kids

Martha relaxing after handing out backpacks

Martha relaxing after handing out backpacks

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead

Martha is such an inspiration to anyone who wants to make a difference. She’s a true hero. — Jamie Oliver

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. — Paulo Coelho

An amazing year for Martha Payne, who who eight months ago as a nine-year old Scottish schoolgirl set up a food blog to rate her school dinners. Little did she know what the year would bring.

Although she set up her blog NeverSeconds at the end of April, her first real post was early May. That first entry saw over 35,000 visits to her blog.

A blog that was well written, thoughtful. Something for everyone to be proud of. Not though Argyll and Bute Council. Instead of highlighting her as an example of the high standard of education in Scotland, they lied, they smeared the family and bully-boys at the council tried to shut her blog down.

They picked on the wrong person. Martha stood firm. She was honoured by Liberty for standing up for free speech.

Argyll and Bute Council have still to apologise for bullying a nine-year-old schoolgirl, for lying, for smearing a decent family.

Not content with writing about her school dinners she shared her blog with others. She invited schoolchildren from around the world to write guest blogs. When they did, they only served to emphasise how disgusting were the school dinners in Scotland. She inspired others to write blogs, to campaign for better conditions in their schools. She used her bog to raise money via Mary’s Meals for schoolchildren in Malawi.

Martha was invited to Malawi to inaugurate a school kitchen for which she had raised the money. She and her family travelled to Malawi.

With her father David, Martha has co-authored a book NeverSeconds which documents her eventful year. For each copy sold, 25 meals for Malawi.

Shame on Waterstone’s, a disgrace as a bookshop chain, better described as a chain that sells books, for failing to have NeverSeconds on display, whose staff have not a clue.

Martha is not the only person to be treated in a disgraceful manner by Waterstone’s. Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho got the same treatment last year when he released Aleph.

Martha has featured in most of the year end reviews for 2012.

As the year draws to a close, Cargo Publishing are to be praised for their generosity in making NeverSeconds available for download at 99p. In reality this is a donation of 25 meals to Malawi with a free copy of NeverSeconds.

As the minutes drain away from the final hours of 2012, what better way to thank Martha than to see her blog pass nine million visits.

Martha is the good news story of 2012. Please tell all your friends.

Well done Martha. We are all very proud of you. Every award you received during the year was well and truly deserved.

Never let it be said one person cannot achieve a lot. This is what Martha achieved in 2012. What are you going to achieve in 2013?

Beethoven’s 5 Secrets

December 31, 2012

Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine. — Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven’s 5 Secrets, variant of Secrets from OneRepublic, performed by ThePianoGuys in concert with The American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic (Youth Orchestra) and its director, Kayson Brown.

Vocal version is with Tiffany Alvord, stunning looking, phenomenal voice.


Story behind the song:

The American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic (Youth Orchestra) and its director, Kayson Brown, approached us with this idea. We loved it. It combined two of the things we are working to accomplish — inviting people to classical music and inspiring young musicians. Steven Sharp Nelson had soloed with the orchestra the previous year and loved the spirit and the talent that the orchestra showed at such young ages (ages 13-18!) Together we developed the concept of “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets,” combining OneRepublic’s tune “Secrets” with melodies and moments from all four movements of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

We used 5 different melodies from the 4 movements of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (not including the “bridge” the orchestra plays in the middle). Try to guess where they are and where they come from!

What are Beethoven’s secrets? He had many. His most prominent secret that he desperately tried to keep from the public and that caused him to be considered extremely eccentric, irritable, and hermit-like was his “weakness.” He was deaf during most of his life. Imagine that…one of the greatest composers that ever lived could hardly hear. And yet, he wrote his life’s greatest works after becoming deaf. He believed that art itself had “secrets” that had to be “forced into” in order to obtain art’s highest level. There is no doubt Beethoven discovered many of the “secrets” of art — people all over the world enjoy them every day. He was a true master of music, blessed by God. This piece and video are dedicated to him.

Perform “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets” and the entire Beethoven Symphony No. 5 with Steven Sharp Nelson at Lyceum Music Festival this year! Work up-close and personal with Steven and other amazing professional musicians like the concertmaster of the London Symphony and Rotterdam Orchestra. Advanced players ages 13-21 are invited to audition.

Visit (for details): or


ThePianoGuys hail from Utah, one guy on piano (Jon Schmidt) and one guy on cello (Steven Sharp Nelson), aided and abetted by Paul Anderson, Tel Stewart and Al van der Beek.

The name comes from a music shop in St. George, Utah, which was called The Piano Guys, selling pianos.

Looking for an unusual way to promote The Piano Guys, Paul Anderson hired the only pianist he knew Jon Schmidt, who in turn enlisted the help of cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, to film a few videos. Al van der Beek had a studio and helped with arrangement. Tel Stewart, a piano mover, proved to be a cinematography genius.

Top Story in The Music Video Daily (Wednesday 2 January 2013).

NeverSeconds: Argyll and Bute Council yet to apologise

December 31, 2012
Sally Loudon, the Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council not in talkative mood in Oban Times

Sally Loudon, the Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council not in talkative mood in Oban Times

Argyll and Bute Council tried to bully a nine-year-old schoolgirl. Luckily she was made of sterner stuff and stood her ground.

Sally Loudon, Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council, should resign for coordinating abuse of Martha and her family.

Questions Sally Loudon, Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council, has yet to answer:

Not only a bunch of liars, cowards too.

A Freedom of Information served on Argyll and Bute Council would be quite revealing.

There needs to be an in-depth independent investigation of Argyll and Bute Council, heads should roll.

It must be their idea of a sick joke, on the front of their website: Realising our potential together.

Martha and her family had high media profile, powerful backers, Martha was prepared to stand firm against the bully-boys and liars at Argyll and Bute Council. Pause and reflect how others less able to defend themselves are treated by this dishonest and rotten council.

NeverSeconds, co-authored by Martha and David Payne, provides a detailed account of how they were treated by Argyll and Bute Council. Thanks to the generosity of Cargo Publishing, it is currently available for download from Amazon at 99p. Each copy downloaded, 25 meals for schoolchildren in Africa, via Mary’s Meals.

You may wish to tell Argyll and Bute Council what you think of their appalling behavaviour, why they think it is ok to behave in this manner, pose a few questions …

You may also wish to contact Roddy McCuish, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, and ask him was it OK the behaviour of his council officials, blatantly lying, bullying a nine-year-old schoolgirl, smearing a decent family …

Download NeverSeconds for 99p

December 30, 2012

Technically, Cargo lose money on each sold today. We don’t care, not when 25 kids get a meal with each one. — Cargo Publishing

Thanks to the generosity of Cargo Publishing it is possible to download NeverSeconds for 99p.

NeverSeconds is for 12 days available for download from Amazon at 99p. Double good news, it will still pay for 25 dinners in Africa.

NeverSeconds co-authored by Martha and David Payne, is the story behind the food blog NeverSeconds.

For each copy of NeverSeconds sold, a donation of 25 meals to Mary’s Meals to feed 25 schoolchildren in Africa.

Pay Your Taxes by Asher Gowan is available for free download from Amazon until 1 January 2013.

Get downloading, pass to your friends, let’s get NeverSeconds and Pay Your Taxes into the Top Two places on Amazon.

Amazon e-book download is a propriety format. Download and install Calibre to manage e-books, which can also be used to convert format to ePub format which is an Open Source non-propriety format used by e-readers such as Kobo.

Som Sabadell

December 30, 2012

Flashmob produced by Onidea for the campaign “Som Sabadell” (We are Sabadell). More than 140 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, Choral Lieder, Amics de l’Opera and Choral Belles Arts, performed the Beethoven 9th Symphony, to the surprise of the audience.

Vídeo Flashmob produït per Onidea, per a la campanya “Som Sabadell” del Banc Sabadell. Més de 140 persones integrades per l’Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès, Cors Lieder, Amics de l’Òpera i la Coral Belles Arts, van interpretar la 9 ª Simfonia de Beethoven, davant la sorpresa del públic assistent.

Vídeo Flashmob producido por Onidea, para la campaña “Som Sabadell” del Banc Sabadell. Más de 140 personas integradas por la Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès, Coros Lieder, Amics de l’Òpera y la Coral Belles Arts, interpretaron la 9ª Sinfonía de Beethoven, ante la sorpresa del público asistente.

BBC Scotland: Martha and David Payne discuss NeverSeconds

December 30, 2012

Martha’s Story broadcast BBC Radio Scotland, BBC at its best, a pleasant change from the usual air-headed presenters.

The focus different to Martha, Meals and Malawi. This time not on Malawi, but on what was going on behind the scenes of NeverSeconds. In essence an overview of what you will find in the book NeverSeconds, co-written by Martha and David Payne.

Absolutely amazing, NeverSeconds achieved 35,000 hits on the first day.

Jaw dropping listening to the lying council official blatanly lie about Martha. What sort of low life life bullies a nine-year-old schoolgirl? What action has been taken against this dishonest jobsworth?

Appalling the way Argyll and Bute Council tried to paint Martha and her family as a bad family.

When there was a crude attempt to shut down the blog, Argyll and Bute Council once again blatantly lied, putting out a press release that was a pack of lies in a crude attempt attempt to discredit Martha and her blog. Then to reinforce their dishonesty they replaced overwrote the press release with a second press release. But not before the first press release was grabbed.

What made this disgraceful council think they could get away with it?

Martha was made of sterner stuff, and stood up to the bully-boys at Argyll and Bute Council, went on to raise money for a school kitchen in Malawi.

A Freedom of Information request served on Argyll and Bute Council would be quite revealing. Heads should roll, not only the lying official who tried to blacken the name of Martha.

Sally Loudon, Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council, has yet to issue an apology.

Martha’s Story broadcast BBC Radio Scotland 1030 Sunday 30 December 2012 and 0703 Tuesday 1 Jan 2013.

NeverSeconds co-authored by Martha and David Payne goes into more details the story behind Martha’s story.

Shame on Waterstone’s, the staff not a clue NeverSeconds, not on display either in store or in the window. How can you claim to a be a book chain and know absolutely nothing about a book that has had more media attention than anything this year?

NeverSeconds is for 12 days available for download from Amazon at 99p. Double good news, it will still pay for 25 dinners in Africa.

Amazon e-book download is a propriety format. Download and install Calibre to manage e-books, which can also be used to convert format to ePub format which is an Open Source non-propriety format used by e-readers such as Kobo.

Please do get get too carried away. The bargain download on NeverSeconds is thanks to Cargo Publishing. Lest we forget, Amazon is a tax dodger for which we all pay.

Pay Your Taxes by Asher Gowan is available for free download from Amazon until 1 January 2013.

Get downloading, pass to your friends, let’s get NeverSeconds and Pay Your Taxes into the Top Two places on Amazon.

BBC produce an excellent documentary and once again only held on-line for seven days!

Delhi gang rape capital of the world

December 29, 2012
three blind monkeys

three blind monkeys

corrupt Indian police brutally attack peaceful  protesters

corrupt Indian police brutally attack peaceful protesters

Today the Land of Mahatma Gandhi protested at Jantar Mantar in a Gandhian way – Peace and Non violence. — Dr Pooja Tripathi

We think of countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan being bad for women.

Delhi is the gang rape capital of the world.

23 December 2012, a 23-year old woman was brutally raped on a bus by six men, beaten with iron bars, then thrown off the bus. The bus driver let it happen. He drove round and round to let it happen. Today she died. The six men have now been charged with murder.

One is even more shocking than the gang rape, if anything could be more shocking, the woman’s naked body lay on the street for an hour, no one cared, people passed by.

Gang rapes, dowry murders, honour killings, witch lynchings, sexual violence in the home, all part of everyday life in India.

For days men and women have taken to the streets, not only to protest rape, but also the failure of corrupt police, the failure of corrupt politicians.

The response of the state, the response of the police, to brutally beat the protesters with batons, tear gas and water cannon.

Those corrupt police officers who beat peaceful protesters are a disgrace to the uniform they wear. They should be prosecuted for assault and kicked out of the police force.

Could it be many corrupt politicians are silent because they have criminal records for rape?

Could it be police attack protesters because they cover up the rapes, if not active participants?

The first female chief police officer chief Damayanti Sen, the IPS officer who punctured Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s claims and cracked the Park Street rape case was persecuted by the state government for acting for a rape victim.

70% people involved in rape cases are from the police.

The response of the corrupt politicians, many of who are rapists, is that girls should be married off early, forced marriage, so that they can be raped in the privacy of their own homes behind closed doors.

In Delhi, rape capital of the world, a woman is raped every 14 hours. 3406 rapes have taken place in one of the states in 1 year (Madhya Pradesh) and more than 600 in the national capital alone.

Please sign the petition by Common Causes.

Please ensure this is widely distributed.

Nails in the fence

December 29, 2012

There once was a little girl who had a bad temper. Her mother gave her a bag of nails, and told her that every time she lost her temper, she must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the girl had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Over the next few weeks, as she learned to control her anger, the number of nails she hammered into the fence each day gradually dwindled.

She discovered it was easier to hold her temper than it was to drive the nails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the girl didn’t lose her temper at all, and she went to find her mother…

When she proudly told her mother that she was able to control her anger, and didn’t need to hammer any more nails into the fence, her mother suggested that she now pull out one nail for each day that she was able to hold her temper.

The days passed and the girl was finally able to go back to her mother and tell her that she had pulled out all the nails from the fence.

The mother took her daughter by the hand and together they went to the fence.

She said, “You have done well, my daughter, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same again. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these ones that have been left by the nails. You can put a knife in someone and draw it out. But it won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound will still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”

Originally posted on Amazing Women Rock.

Martha Payne and NeverSeconds top news story of 2012

December 29, 2012
msn heroes of 2012

msn heroes of 2012

Bad things can sometimes turn into good things. I am glad I didn’t give up. — Martha Payne

Just swapped present with my Mom. We both bought the book, we laughed we hugged we fed 50 in Malawi thank you veg. — Robert Hird

Martha Payne and her food blog NeverSeconds have featured up there with Pussy Riot, Malawa and tax dodging Starbucks as top news stories of 2012.

BBC recorded the crass stupidity of bully-boys at Argyle and Bute Council trying to shut down NeverSeconds as the second most requested news story on Scotland.

BBC also recorded Martha and NeverSeconds as one of the top viral news stories of 2012.

Daily Telegraph named Martha as one of the Top Ten Britons of 2012. Yesterday she was featured on the front page.

Nor was it only the UK media, the international media also featured Martha Payne and her food blog NeverSeconds in their reviews of 2012, up there with the man who fell to earth, Aung San Suu Ky, Pussy Riot, Malawa.

For msn, Heroes of 2012.

Huffington Post called 2012 a people powered year. People can and do make a difference, it does not have to be apathy rules ok.

Seven months ago, Martha Payne was an ordinary nine-year-old from a tiny Scottish village – Lochgilphead in Argyll and Bute – who started a blog about her unhealthy school meals. When the local council banned Martha from writing her blog, she made headlines around the world and gained millions of fans, including Jamie Oliver, who campaigned to get her blog back on-line. To date, it has recorded nearly nine million hits, raised over £127,000 for the charity Mary’s Meals. In October, Martha visited the school kitchen in Blantyre, Malawi, which was built with money donated by her fans.

Martha has now opened up her blog to guest blogs from around the world, has inspired others to follow her excellent example.

Over Christmas, BBC broadcast an updated edition of Martha, Meals and Malawi.

During the year, Martha has picked up numerous awards, including Campaigner of the Year on Freedom of Expression from Liberty.

Together with her father David, Martha has co-authored a book NeverSeconds, which tells the story of her blog, standing firm against the bully-boys at her local council, the trip to Malawi. For each copy of NeverSeconds sold, 25 meals for Mary’s Meals.

What is unbelievably perverse is that a chain like Waterstone’s, that masquerade as bookshops, the staff have not a clue NeverSeconds, have never heard of it, it is not on display either in store or in the window. They had on their hands what was a potential best seller for Christmas, a market they have now missed, a book that should have been on display, piled high. No surprise Watersone’s is one of the High Street chains predicted to go under in 2013

What if money was no object?

December 28, 2012

The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does. — Priya Sher

A wonderful lecture from the late Alan Watts.

Ask yourself. What would you do with your life if money was no object?

It is absolutely stupid to spend the rest of your life doing what you hate, to earn money to spend on things you neither need nor want.

Follow the advice of Paulo Coelho and follow your dreams.

For my lovely friend Iva who asked.

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