Archive for the people

The Age of Aquarius

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2010 by AF

The progression of one’s line of thought can be a pretty convoluted thing – well, mine can at least. They do say it’s good to “think outside the box” but I have a habit of missing the goddamned box altogether – still, I guess many of those who know me will hardly see that as some kind of revelation.

Lilly, of Lilly’s Life put up this interesting post that sort of started my current mental ramble and, if you want a technical explanation of the Age of Aquarius (as distinct from the sun sign), try this though there seem to be few specifics to be found about the Aquarian astrological age (or any other for that matter).  In fact, no one seems sure whether the age began in the thirteenth century, the seventeenth century, the twentieth century, or if we’re still waiting for it in another thousand years time – it’s a precise science, as you can tell.

However, by far the largest consensus of opinion says that the Age of Aquarius began somewhere in the twentieth century and the hit ground-breaking London musical “Hair” kind of epitomised some of the thinking that surrounded that – and, incidentally, they are apparently bringing a new production of that show back to London once more – I think it will be quite interesting to see how much the more reserved elements of public opinion have changed in the last several decades.

The Age of Aquarius is, amongst many other things, supposed to herald full “enlightenment” for humanity – at last! Why did we have to wait for so long, for heavens sake? That’s if it happens as predicted, of course – and I can’t say there’s much sign of it at the moment!

So, how did Lilly’s piece on the modern fad for plastic surgery trigger this mental journey? Well, it got me thinking about the trends she describes and our current passion for looking younger for as long as possible and I think I left some facetious comment about wanting a whole body transplant, because I would want to be young, rather than just look young – physically at least. That led to thoughts about these modern new trends and that in turn connected “ageing” and “renewal” with “new age” and the new age (arrived, arriving, or still awaited as it may be) is the Age of Aquarius, whereas the old age is the Age of Pisces – epitomised by wars, conflict and unenlightened strife, or so I gather.

And where is my meandering mind going from there? Well, back to the beginning, or sort of. Many comments and to some extent Lilly’s theme is that ageing is inevitable and natural, but, much as we assume that to be true, it simply isn’t!

Modern science can do little for us except to counter at least some of the worst appearances of the damage we do to our bodies. That said, I understand that quite a few of the latest (often horrendously expensive) creams, potions and so on do help considerably to at least mask the ravages of time on our faces and bodies. Nothing, though, that this huge and lucrative industry currently offers can actually stop that cantankerous old man, Father Time, in his tracks. But…

…but there is science on the horizon (and relatively simple science at that) that is investigating how we age and probably can in theory stop it even now! Unfortunately, the problem of aging, like so many others, is not a straightforward one and there are at least two basic elements to the aging of our cells that cause us problems. One is the telomeres of our cells, which can be manipulated to prevent ageing. Sadly, if we do that, the second part of the equation seems to come into play – that of faulty DNA replication – and we die anyway.

Now, where will my thoughts wander off to now? Something about a favourite subject, perhaps? Oh, dear, we’re back to sex again! I think I’d maybe better end on that note…
😉

So What’s The Problem With Sex?

Posted in People, Society and Politics, Scandalous! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2010 by AF

What is all this fuss we make about sex? Something that JJ said in this excellent post on her blog (The Fifty Factor) confused me a little – well, it certainly made me question some things I previously took for granted, at least.

Listing some of what she does and doesn’t blog about, Joanna said this, Generally, I will not blog about… […] Sex. In the event that it could ultimately bite me in the butt should I decide to run for an elected office, I’ll keep this topic to myself.”

Now I don’t know how serious she is about that statement because she can be a very funny lady, but I suspect there’s at least some truth in it. I was… well, I was quite shocked, particularly in view of some of the things she does blog about (often in jest). My surprise was not due to what she said, but more by the realisation that she felt she needed to think that way.

I mean, what is our modern world about? We in the West, in reality if not in name, are currently fighting at least two major wars and suffering casualties; huge earthquakes are devastating whole countries, or so it seems; terrorism is everywhere; politicians appear to be less honest by the day as they steal public money, lie through their teeth about important matters under consideration by the administration in power and much more; huge debates are taking place in the US over healthcare for millions of Americans and (to an outsider at least) the rich v the poor battle seems to get daily closer to them killing each other in the streets, whilst still others are warning of the impending doom that awaits mankind because of global warming…

All that is going on and is just a small sample of the awful state of humanity and, if JJ is right, it looks like the public and their favourite media (and the Brits are just the same) are most concerned about who is sleeping with whom and what they like to do to each other in bed.

As I said once before quite recently, certainly in any sort of critical manner, I try to stay off of the twin dodgy subjects of religion and politics, but really… perlee-ease! How will humanity ever progress if sex is the factor that is going to be the most contentious and important in the world of politics, of all places? It has nothing whatsoever to do with it!

If politicians are screwing me financially, or bureaucratically, then it matters to me! But what they do of a sexual nature to each other, or any other consenting adult, is none of my goddamned business and, frankly, I neither care nor want to know about it!

Ear Infection

Posted in Humour and Jokes with tags , , on December 1, 2009 by AF

I know this is an old joke, but it’s another one that I think has stood the test of time and I thought it deserved a bit of a (purely superficial) makeover.

Here’s what I came up with…

Joe had always been pretty healthy. Up until a few years ago, he’d hardly ever visited a doctor at all. Now that he’d reached the ripe old age of seventy five, although still pretty spritely for his age and relatively healthy, he’d spent more time at his doctor’s surgery in the past two years than during most of the rest of his life. The thing that never failed to annoy him was the way the doctor’s sanctimonious receptionist always insisted he should tell her what was wrong with him in front of a room full of other patients, which was often embarrassing.

It is annoying, isn’t it? I’m sure that most of us when faced with that question have rarely failed to think, “If I knew what was wrong with me I wouldn’t be here now – I’d have gone straight to the pharmacist and got some medication for myself.”

Anyway, on this particular day, Joe was not in the most forgiving of moods and approached the haughty receptionist without his usual good humour and easy going manner.

“Yes sir?” she asked. “And what are you seeing the doctor about today?’

Joe glared at the woman and, without batting an eyelid, he said, quite loudly, “There’s something wrong with my dick!”

The receptionist became irritated and scolded him, “You shouldn’t come into a crowded waiting room and say things like that!”

 “Why not? You asked and I told you,” he replied, testily.

“Because you’ve caused embarrassment in this room full of people,” she told him, equally sharply. “Couldn’t you have said there is something wrong with your ear or something like that and then discussed the problem further with the doctor in private?”

“You shouldn’t ask people questions like that in a roomful of strangers, if you’re worried the answer could embarrass people,” Joe growled, as he turned on his heel and walked out.

Five minutes later he returned and walked up to the receptionist once again. “Yes?” she demanded, smugly.

“There’s something wrong with my ear,” Joe said, innocently returning her questioning look.

The Receptionist nodded and smiled self-righteously. “And what is wrong with your ear, sir?”

Joe stared evenly into the superior gaze of the quite attractive, thirty something woman. “I can’t piss out of it,” he replied.

The rest of the room erupted with hysterical laughter.

😆

This Blogging Thing

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2009 by AF

It’s weird! Just weird…

As I’ve said before, there are lots of different blogs and just as many reasons for blogging. For instance… There are the “expert” blogs about almost everything and from all sorts of people, some of whom have a very doubtful level of expertise indeed. There are also the “hard-line” blogs too, from the religious and/or political extremists who are always convinced that they are right in all things, despite any evidence there may well be to the contrary. The writers of those sort of blogs, of course, are intent upon telling the whole goddam world of their special knowledge and are hell bent upon converting the planet to their way of thinking.

I guess we can all see how the commercial and corporate blogs and the “How to Make a Million Dollars in Ten Minutes” ones would want it to be that way, but as to the rest… well, I have no idea why they have that so desperate need to be believed and “spread the word”, but there it is.

Ordinary blogs, though, like this one and a whole host of others ranging from “My Life as a Whore in Afghanistan” to “Little Willy Growing Up” to “What to Eat on Thursdays” and everything in between are much more personal and we tend to think of our readers as friends that we are chatting, joking and even sharing confidences with.

In reality of course, when babbling away like that, we may potentially be telling the whole world of the internet that our spouse has contracted a socially embarrassing disease, or even that our little Willy has a little willy, or whatever. Yet few of us give that more than a passing thought at the time, not because we don’t care, but because, in our minds, we’re just chatting to the few friends we’re writing for and they wouldn’t say anything to strangers, would they?

It can be extremely embarrassing and hurtful for third parties and, often, we wouldn’t hurt those people for anything in the world! And yet, as with all our words and actions, we accidentally do, sometimes, don’t we?

Ho hum… nothing in life is ever as simple as it at first appears, is it?

😉

The Human Tribe

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , on October 27, 2009 by AF

Much has been said about tribal communities, as in Afghanistan, and democracies and dictatorships, but I wonder if they’re not all actually different forms of tribal society. The sophistication and scale may vary, particularly in larger countries – even as big as the USA – but isn’t it just another take on tribalism? In fact, isn’t it the case that humans are simply mostly tribal animals and you probably can’t change that?

OK, let’s start with what is the definition of a tribe. Well there are a number of differing versions, but they amount to alternative means of defining a particular tribe. So, the general description? “A group of people who have something in common such as an occupation, social background, or political viewpoint.” I’d have thought that describes just about everyone, with the possible exception of the odd loner.

One of the ways a tribe defines itself is, of course, by ethnic or ancestral origin – remotely genetically connected, but not actually family, although even a family can itself often be a sort of tribe. In reality, though, it can be anything from a close-knit family to a gang, to a society, to a village, or town, or state, to a political group, to a country or even a continent. In truth, we seem to create tribes because we have a need to belong, to fit in, to be part of a group. That’s probably because, much as we love to boast about our individuality, there is safety in numbers and most of us feel vulnerable when isolated. However, I did include countries in that list and a country, particularly a big, federal country like America is a tribe that is itself made up of many smaller tribes at various levels and most individuals will belong to several.

I guess I’m looking forward to the day the aliens finally land. Then perhaps we’ll at last begin to look at humanity as a single global tribe, because that would surely be how they would see us – friendly or not!

Save The Boobies Indeed!

Posted in People, Society and Politics, Scandalous! with tags , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2009 by AF

A clever and so very funny post over on “girl du jour” caught my eye…

“So next Saturday at 4 PM Eastern Time, all American women are asked to walk out of their house completely naked to help weed out any neighborhood terrorists.”  (read the full post here – it’s worth your time)

Save the boobies – save it all! 😉

What’s The Real You Like?

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , on October 25, 2009 by AF

More accurately: What’s the real any of us like? Is each of us just one person, or are we all in fact a whole myriad of people depending on the other people and situations we’re reacting to, or even the time of year or the day of the week?

We like to think of ourselves as an individual and indeed we are just that, but is there anything constant about that one person? I’m not at all sure that there is. For instance, let’s take a real basic situation. Most of us probably like to think that we wouldn’t kill – I know that’s just not part of my make up in the normal scheme of things.

But what if the scheme of things is not normal? Many psychologists will say that we’re all capable of killing given the right circumstances and I think that’s almost totally true. I’m sure there are some that are so strongly pacifist that it’s unlikely they would do so, even to protect themselves or their family, but those people are few and far between and, personally, although I respect their right to their beliefs, I regard them as slightly nuts. The normal human instinct is to protect yourself and your own.

What if you and your offspring were trapped – prisoners – and you and, particularly your child are threatened with all sorts of vile horrors, perhaps indefinitely? A momentary lapse in the captor’s security occurs; it’s your one chance to save yourself and your child; the gun is on the table, you know it’s loaded, you can use a gun, a bit at least – all you have to do is pick it up and fire it straight into the middle of your captor’s back which is turned towards you. What would you do? I know what I’d do – I’d shoot the bastard and be happy I got the chance!

However, I feel sure that we change almost constantly in much more subtle ways than this, principally in order to suit differing situations and the people with whom we interact and how we feel about them. Of course our overriding beliefs, upbringing and instincts will modify how we behave with others, but so will the people themselves that we meet and the places and situations in which we find ourselves and most of us are in fact different people with different people.

I don’t want to get into an argument over religion, but what many refer to as a “soul” is to me more the mixture of instincts, self awareness, learned values from experience along with our excellent and often insightful imaginative abilities that all come as part of our human knowledge of self. That mixture forms the core of who we are, but the edges and boundaries of that are constantly changing as we go through life and, indeed, even the week.

As another instance of my argument, please just ask yourself this simple question: “Would I as easily and completely forgive someone I don’t like for an action that upset me, as I would someone I do like?” For me, much as I’d like to think otherwise, I’m pretty sure the answer is often a resounding “No!”

So, I’d like to come back to my statement that we like to think of ourselves as an individual. It’s comforting and most of us accept it most of the time. But, the minute you think of my definition of the “soul”, or something like it, to me it becomes obvious that each of us is not a “hard wired” individual, but more a core person whose almost every action and reaction is modified by a raging mess of hormones, chemicals and electro-chemical signals and external influences whizzing around inside us and the outcome of that – to put it mildly – is likely to be unpredictable!

Helps to make life interesting, though, doesn’t it? 🙂

I Know This Sounds Stupid

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2009 by AF

I also know this isn’t necessarily practical and there certainly are exceptions to the rule, but I’ve thought for years that, in a ideal world, a couple that wants to stay together probably shouldn’t live together. There’s one other thing I know about this, or can at least guess: I’m probably going to get quite a lot of flack over it, but I still think the principle behind it is worth exploring.

I’ve come to this conclusion partly because of experience – well, mostly because of experience – but through observation of lots of other couples too. I understand of course that it can’t be applied all that easily when raising a family, but even then some people (such as armed forces personnel) are forced into that situation and it’s not always a disaster by any means. Male or female, you might well be in a deeply loving relationship with your partner, but if you want to keep it that way, I’d suggest you consider not living together – not all the time at least.

I’ve never been a particular advocate of the “warts and all” school of thought. Realistically, I know perfectly well that my partner will not always look like Marylyn Monroe, Kylie, or Julia Roberts (oh how I adored Julia Roberts in Pretty woman!). I’m equally only too well aware that I’m no Richard Gere, either. But when you’re not together 24/7, you do have a better chance of at least presenting your “best” self for much of the time. More importantly, it’s so very much easier to be excited about the time you do have together, to plan and execute surprises (nice surprises that is) and things to do and to generally continue to “chase” each other – pretty much as you did when you were courting. There’s one heck of a lot more to talk to each other about too, when you don’t see each other every day.

I’m not suggesting here that you will be any more in love, but I’ve always thought that a man or woman might well love his/her partner dearly after twenty or thirty years and the kids and all the other myriad ravages of time, but that doesn’t really guarantee them being a “turn on”, does it? And sex never entirely stops having at least some importance for most people. In fact – and I apologise for this to those of you who are a little more challenged in the immodesty department, but to put it more succinctly: “I love you to bits honey, but I don’t really want to f*ck you!” And before you get all huffy about it – that’s not just a male thing either! Men are as we all know more susceptible to visual stimuli, but women quite understandably feel that way at times too – some of them pretty much all the time and who can often blame them!

Nor am I saying here that a woman should somehow miraculously remain looking exactly like the film star she was when they first met (Lassie??), or that the guy can keep on being the total hunk he once was (Shrek perhaps?), but they can still look the best they can for each other a whole lot easier if they don’t have to do it all the goddam time and it’s a great deal more fun too!

Go on then… tell me what a jerk I’m being – but please try to explain why too… 😉

Is Bad Always Bad (and good always good)?

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2009 by AF

This question was inspired by a comment from the lovely PJ over on another great site – Let’s have A Cocktail. It’s just something entirely valid that PJ said, but that often worries me at times and that I wonder about.

PJ’s comment was something along the lines of, “How many times have we heard a racist joke and said nothing?” It’s a fair question and there’s also been a bit of a fuss over at the BBC in the UK about some comment made (off camera) by one of the professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing. There was also an incident a while back involving Prince Harry and a friend of his. Apparently, in the UK, in each case someone was called a “Pakki” (I’ve no idea if that’s how you would spell it, but the meaning’s the same – it’s short for Pakistani and generally refers to anyone from the Indian sub-continent).

Now, I can understand that, if I call someone in the street, or in a shop or office, a “Bloody Pakki” that might well be offensive. Firstly, in such circumstances, my intention would undoubtedly be to be offensive and I can’t see how that’s particularly worse than calling him (or her) a “fat lazy asshole”, or worse for not doing his job properly and causing me grief, but apparently I’m entitled to do that, but not to refer to his race. The Australians have referred to the English as “Whinging Poms” for years and the Americans called us “Limeys”, and I can’t say I’m particularly offended by it. The whole thing seems pretty stupid to me, especially since there are real and serious racist issues that still need addressing.

More importantly, though, we’re not, as far as I’m aware, really talking about anything spiteful here, but about humour and largely between friends. If the friend in question isn’t offended, why the hell should anyone else be? To me, it’s simply political correctness gone madder than ever.

What worries me most is, where do we draw the line? What’s it doing to the richness of our language and our humour? I can see perfectly well that some things that some of these so called comedians say is offensive (whether there is racist, sexist, or whatever comment) and I rarely find them funny anyway. Mostly, to me, such people are just unpleasant. But the English and the Irish have been telling jokes about each other for probably ever and I have to say that most of it’s hilarious – in fact by far the funniest “Irish” jokes are sent to me in email by Irish people.

When someone falls over and looks pretty daft doing it, we laugh – even if they’ve sometimes hurt themselves somewhat. Some may find it offensive that we laugh, but that doesn’t stop us and it’s not sexist just because the person involved is a woman, or racist because the man or woman is not white, or ageist because the guy’s getting on in years, it’s just funny because it is and that’s life.

So, I suppose what I’m saying here is that it can be summed up as: whilst I think that racism, sexism, ageism and practically any other “ism” is not only undesirable, it’s also generally bloody unacceptable too, plee-eease can we keep a sense of proportion about what a normal person would find offensive and, above all, can we please try to keep our sense of humour intact? There are far more important problems in the world to deal with – including real racism and sexism!

Addendum: I tried to add an example here as an addendum and then removed it because it sounded awful! I couldn’t explain myself properly. The fact is, it seems to me that, without context, personal knowledge of all the people involved and hearing tone of voice etc., it’s almost impossible to tell if something said within a group (rather than completely publicly) is really racist, sexist or whatever, or not.

I Used To Be Indecisive

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , on October 7, 2009 by AF

…now, though, I’m not so sure.

There’s a strange dichotomy in blogland at the moment, but perhaps there always was and I’m just noticing it more. Perhaps it’s not even so and it’s simply down to which blogs I read. However, it does seem to me that it’s changing. There was a time when each blog I visited was very different from the last and there were so many varying subjects, styles and approaches that there was always something new and exciting to find.

That’s still so, but the good ones seem to be becoming much harder to find. It does appear to me that the styles, or more probably the subjects are become more polarised. They’re starting to fall into a relatively small number of categories. This, of course is a generalisation, but I do think there is at least a trend…

  1. There are of course the religious sites (as distinct from religious people writing about their lives or whatever interests them). You know the ones – the loonies – the God made everything in ten minutes and then had a tea break crew. Why? Why would an all seeing, all powerful, totally omnipotent being of unlimited intelligence make something like our world and then fill it with arrogant jerks like that? I ask you: is it likely?
     
  2. Then there are the music and entertainment sites that see Michael Jackson (or any other celebrity who’s just died), as the best thing since sliced bread regardless of just what sort of a horrendous person they were. Why do we say that about sliced bread? Do you like sliced bread. Sure, it’s convenient, but… I digress! Still, if that’s their thing, then that’s their thing, at least such writers are being true to themselves.
     
  3. Of course, there are the political blogs. More and more there are the political blogs. Sure, particularly in the West, politics is important to us and it’s good to have views aired, read and discussed. But some of the venom and bile spilling out in some of these locations! Wow! Where did that much hate come from?
     
  4. There are the community sites, which are mostly utterly banal and totally boring to anyone from a few miles outside of their locality, but whatever way you look at it, community is good! So I’m glad to see they’ve survived at present.
     
  5. Equally, there are the mumsie and dadsie blogs that are probably of no interest at all except for Auntie Maude who is desperate to see every last lousy photo of little Willy and his latest pet tarantula. But hey! If that’s their bag, then that’s their bag – right?
     
  6. The techie and geek sites that are often about computing would be useful to us all, if only we could figure out how to use them and what the f*** they’re talking about. It’s good use of the internet, though, so I wouldn’t dream of criticising those in any way, shape or form.
     
  7. And then there are the blogs like this – idiots like me writing about all sorts of varying crap and with little theme to them except personal opinion and thoughts of the moment – personal lives in fact, either directly or indirectly. This one’s pretty boring, I imagine, but some are great, particularly those that make me laugh – we just don’t laugh enough, do we? I mean, it’s almost impossible to have too much humour in your day when life outside of home (sadly, also inside home for some people) has become just so goddam dull these days.
     
    The fact is that I like eclectic sites and frequently sites by women – especially funny women. That’s perhaps because I (usually) like women, but you knew that, didn’t you? Below this, I’ve listed a few sites from my blogroll that I particularly enjoy – well, a free plug for a “friend” is never a bad thing, is it?

I think all those blogs in my blogroll (as well as many others that I haven’t listed) really are “Well Worth a Visit”, but I’d single out these…

The Hot Professional: Ree – One of the funniest and surely nicest women I’ve come across on the internet.

Seens From The Backs Of My Eyelids: The delightful P.J. What can I say? I disagree with her on religion and probably a lot more, but I love her and her writing to bits – I wish she’d sort out the commenting system (blogspot – relatively secure, but ugh!) to make it easier, but apart from that…

The Fifty Factor: Joanna – superb and often very funny blog from a great professional lady who writes with skill about life and some frequently typically American family experiences.

Lilly’s Life: A lovely and very funny Australian woman who’s take on life is often so amusing. She hasn’t posted a great deal recently, but I’m sure she’ll return with a vengeance when some personal problems are resolved (hire a couple of Eastern Europeans with big guns to sort it out, Lilly – you’re too darned nice for your own good!)