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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Too late for America

School shootings

 America is the only civilized, at peace country where you have no reasonable expectation of sending your child to school and having the child return home safe and sound without having been shot and killed.

That is a monstrous statement to make, especially as it is true. Only eight weeks and three days have passed and there have been twelve shootings on school grounds.

This is because of one thing: The Gun!

After the obscenity that was Sandy Hook all of America should have seen that the right to bear arms was producing unacceptable results and all guns in private hands should have been voluntarily destroyed. No! The call went out for even more guns and the same old tired excuse that guns don’t kill, people kill was heard yet again. Don’t they yet realize that it is people with guns that kill in mass numbers?  

If I buy a gun and I store it in my house and never touch it then it’s true that the gun will do no harm. However the moment it is removed from its storage space and ammunition inserted into its chamber it becomes a deadly weapon.

The argument is that if everyone was able to carry a concealed weapon then no-one would dare use his because it would assure that person’s destruction. Back in the olden days of The Wild West that’s what they did and apparently it didn’t stop anyone from pulling out his pistol to settle an argument.

The same doctrine covers nuclear armaments where if every country has them no one will dare use their own first as that will bring about Mutually Assured Destruction. That is the MAD doctrine and that too will fail leading to our ultimate destruction.

The stage is set. When everybody is carrying a concealed gun a suicide terrorist or terrorists will attend a Super Bowl game and they will start shooting. Ever notice how quickly people can get involved in a riot? That’s what will happen and a whole stadium will be wiped out while the television cameras continue to run.

After that, who knows?

It’s too late for America. The rest of the world can see it, I’m sorry that America cannot.

Copyright © 2018

Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, February 24, 2018


Consent: To be in full agreement.

Rape: Against his or her own free will.

Why has it taken so long for humanity to reach the place at which we now find ourselves? Perhaps as long as there have been people of power and wealth there has been people who have been taken advantage of.

 It seems to be a flaw in the personality of human beings to inflict ourselves upon others, whether in race, religion, politics or gender. Although present across all walks of life the most obvious industry has been the entertainment professions because there has been so much to gain. So, you want to be an actress, come and sit with me on The Casting Couch and let us discuss it.

 Finally, Rose McGowan, an aspiring actress with enough Chutzpah has said to her tormentor, No! Basta Ya! Enough already! I’m sick and tired of this treatment and I’m not going to take it anymore.

 And now we are at a place where everything has to change, is changing and will change.

Rich, powerful and famous have only to simply be accused and no-one has yet even gone to court, but they have been absolutely destroyed in the court of public opinion!

What does this mean? I’m speaking to all men everywhere:

It means that it is not alright to demean women in the street or anywhere as a joke. It never was.

 The word No deliberately has two letters and one syllable, so what’s not to understand?

 Women, If you mean maybe that’s what you have to say.  If you say no, we cannot and will not read your minds.

Men, when we hear the word no we must stop what we are doing and step back. Even a prostitute has the right to say No! Stop!

 It's all about respect for the other person's dignity.

I respect your mother as you respect my mother.
I respect your sister as you respect my sister.
I respect your daughter as you respect my daughter.

"Until we are all free we are none of us free!" Quotation by Emma Lazarus.

Copyright (c) 2018
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Natural Justice

Life in the jungles of Africa is hard. It is a constant struggle for man and beast to find food and drink every day, and things like comfort and dignity are luxuries. Man considers he is at the top of the food chain therefore animals are there for the purposes of serving him.

Animals are hunted and slaughtered for their skins and their meat; such has been the tradition since the coming of First Man. The first instinct of mankind is to obtain protein from animals, and so it has been that the majority of humankind exists from the sacrifice of the animals.

Where the biggest problem arises, other than for vegetarians, is that poachers have no respect for animals that do not serve them for food. They will stalk elephants and other prey to take such things as tusks and horns which he sells for a fortune to him, but to us is a mere pittance. Of course it’s easy for us to condemn him as we have jobs and careers and pensions, but he has only hunger.

In the process lives are lost by the Park Rangers whose job it is to protect the livestock, but the poacher comes armed and very dangerous and will kill any human he finds in his way to win the prize that will feed his family and perhaps give them some little comfort. The poacher is Public Enemy Number One in those societies so it is no surprise that they get no sympathy when things go wrong for them.

A recent headline tells the story of at least one poacher who met his match in a pride of hungry lions. They dished out revenge for all that he had done to harm animals, and for the sins of his compatriots. They killed him and sat down to dinner. All that was left of him was his head. They left that because it was even too disgusting for them.

Every now and again in the wilds of Africa Natural Justice is done, perhaps more so than we imagine.

Call it the Circle of Karma, for what goes around, comes around.

Copyright © 2018

Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, February 10, 2018


Jealousy is a perfectly normal emotion. We have something that is ours we guard it and we are jealous if we see someone else who is envious. It turns us into a protective force as if we were a bear with young cubs that it feels it has to protect.

That’s when an otherwise tranquil person or animal becomes a major threat. When we are young and insecure our first girlfriend is the worst because we are so proud and happy that she finds us to be attractive enough to have chosen us. If another man looks at her in that way we want to tear his head off.

It’s only as we grow and become more secure and confident within ourselves that we learn that yes, other men will naturally be attracted to our lady for the same reasons we are. Most guys will see that you and she are an item and they will respect that. There are others who will challenge you to be able to hold onto her and they will flirt.

After you have seen her put them in their place with a good telling off that left them thoroughly embarrassed you learn to relax. You grow out of your concerns and jealousy moves to the back of the bus. When you are in your active jealous stage you are a real pain in the ass to your significant other and to everybody around you.

There is a young woman living in my village who is in her prime. Everything about her is perfection. She is amazingly beautiful; she carries herself with pride and grace, she is friendly and warm with a kind word for everyone. She must be the most desired woman for miles and miles around. Most men wouldn’t know what to do with her, and because she gives the impression she is unattainable most guys don’t even try.

At least one guy did try and much to his surprise she invited him in and now they are the most talked about item in town. He is Mr. Luck Pot!

He is not handling his good fortune well at all. In fact he has turned into a first class ass. He is smothering the girl, insisting on being with her everywhere she goes and even hanging out at her job, watching her every move.

Before he came into the picture she was the most popular girl in the community. Everyone had a word with her; we were all her friends. Now all the guys stay well away from her for fear of stirring up trouble. To make matters worse he is a big burly guy and looks as though he wouldn’t think twice about ripping my head off and sticking it down my neck. He is absolutely dangerous.

Obviously he is bad news for her but how does she get out from under this crazy man? This is not going to end well at all. What a crying shame.

Stay tuned!

Copyright © 2018

Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Importance of Communication

The dictionary description of communication is: “The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or using some other medium.”

How deceptively simple that sounds when put into practise. In terms of the importance of communication skills I rate it second only to that collective group of elements that give all creatures life.

Had all people been created speaking one language and sharing the same culture life would be so much simpler. However that would have been a life without challenge so we have been given the task of succeeding at whatever we choose to do in spite of our differences.

Even among people of the same language and culture the skill of communicating effectively and efficiently seems among the missing gifts of life. We must learn the skills and develop them and keep them alive.

Communication problems start in the home, first between brothers. These are people of the same blood and gender who have the best chances of understanding each other, as does their sisters. Yet they are constantly fighting each other over misunderstandings. What chance have their mother and father, a man and a woman who as we know come from different worlds,

So far we haven’t even left the four walls of the home and already the war is raging. It only intensifies when politics and religion are introduced. Then when we introduce someone from outside the home, such as an intimate friend of the boy or girl we really begin to stir things up.

Thus far the home serves as a microcosm of society in general except that it hasn’t introduced into the mix the foreign tongue and culture unless that came in with the lovers of the children.

For adults and children we try to make ourselves understood.  What do we need? How should we ask for it so that you completely understand? Sometimes I actually know what I mean, but how are you supposed to understand me if I am not even clear to myself?

The plot thickens very fast when we try communication across languages and cultures. However, communication can also be tremendously funny when we want to be.

Here are some famous examples:

“Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.” Anonymous

“I find I scream the same way whether I`m about to be devoured by a Great White, or a piece of seaweed touches my foot.” – Kevin James

“Throwing acid is wrong, in some people’s eyes.”- Jimmy Carr

“If at first you don’t succeed read the manual.” Montgomery’s Law

“The first draft of anything is shit-“Ernst Hemingway

And finally this real gem from George Carlin:

“Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?”

Ah yes, communications. Ain’t it grand?

Copyright © 2018

Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Dr Willam Henry Cosby, Jr.

An unforgiven man

William Henry Cosby, Jr. is a most extraordinary black man. He is an American professional comedian and so much more. Born in 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania he discovered he has an intense sense of comedy which he used to make the world laugh so uncontrollably that we wet ourselves, and he did that without once using a swear word.

Once I was driving while listening to the radio and an album of his was playing. I had to pull the car over to the side of the road because I could not drive and weep with laughter at the same time.

This was at a time when America’s civil rights struggles were in full swing as blacks were struggling for respect. Bill Cosby contributed to that struggle by going back to school and working for his doctorate in education thus earning the title, Dr. Bill Cosby, Jr. Now, not only was he an accomplished comedian he held a title no other comedian had.

He continued to build his brand by constructing entertainment vehicles that raised the recognition of blacks in a country that often were so blinkered as to not recognize that blacks were people too. He got to the point where The Bill Cosby Show was the top rated show in America for five continuous years; a show about a black family in America. He made a lot of money.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes he was quietly a major financial contributor to institutions of learning, especially black schools. He was convinced that education was the key to lifting up our racial group, and he put his money where his mouth was. On the face of things Bill Cosby was the perfect man for the times in which we lived. I stood a little straighter and pushed my chest out a little farther because Bill was running offense for our people.

When we look at his achievements and his Honorary Degrees it was apparent that everybody was just so proud to be associated with this great man. He received a record number of 57 Honorary Degrees for things like Doctor of Laws, Fine Arts, Humane Letters, Music, etc.

His was the biggest and most powerful name in show business and education. He was the most respected man in America and around the world. He could do no wrong.

First came a single accusation, like a tear drop, and then a little trickle, and then a flood of accusations alleging rape, drug facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, and child sexual abuse.

The world stood still and forgot to breathe. Approximately sixty women had come forward to say these things had happened but they said nothing at the time because he was who he was and they were sure they would not be believed.

I could not process the information and nor could I believe it. It just wouldn’t sink in. This simply could not be. My shield was the question: “Why now?” Bill has had a day in court which resulted in a hung jury, so at this point he has not been found guilty of anything other than having been a most generous contributor to good things, and of making me laugh so hard I pulled over into the emergency breakdown lane.  He will return to court this Spring.

For a very long time I was so angry with Bill Cosby that I would not even think his name. I’m thinking about him today because he was just the tip of the rich, famous and entitled men who so thoroughly have humiliated me as a male through their alleged actions.

None of the long list of accused has been found guilty by a court as yet except Dr Larry Nassar who has been sentenced to 235 years in prison, but the hostility is so great no-one has the patience to wait for court outcomes. Many of those accused, like Bill have been tremendous benefactors making life so much better for many people, but in a mere blink of an eye they have fallen from grace like the leaf of a tree branch in Autumn. There they lie to be trod upon and forgotten.

What an unforgiving world we live in. We must conduct ourselves accordingly.

Copyright (c) 2018
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Case of mistaken Assumption

This week I drove into a service station to gas up and was met by a lovely young woman assistant who was bright and cheerful in her tone and quite helpful. “How may I help you?” she wanted to know.

I drive a vintage Jaguar Sovereign saloon car that is a classic, and which was looking its best. It had been washed and sparkled in the bright sunshine.

Meanwhile another car pulled up to the opposite side of the pump and two men got out. She approached them with a voice that was flat, neither friendly nor unfriendly. She was all business.

“What would you like?, she asked. These guys were driving in a vintage family car that showed signs of its age and the guys were dressed in work clothes that reflected that they were hard workers. Meanwhile I was dressed to reflect the fact that I am a retired person. She therefore probably thought that the guys were orange pickers and that I was a man of leisure who wore after shave lotion that smelled like money. (Ha! Ha!)

In fact I had been picking oranges from my own trees for my immediate use and Lord knows I don’t have any money. For all we know the two of those guys might have a ton of money hoarded away instead of spending it on a brand new top of the range car.

Otherwise those guys and I have the same thing in common: we are all black men.

It is so easy to come to the wrong conclusion when faced with certain images. The mistake is called judging the book by its cover, something advertising people work hard in directing us to do, over and over again.

It’s all a case of mistaken assumptions, but as long as that doesn’t lead to harmful consequences it’s just life in action.

Copyright © 2018-01-20

Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Who are we when we retire?

General Colin Powell, Former Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military command once said, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” On the day he retired from that position he told how there was much pomp and circumstance with marching bands and troops after which he was taken by his driver in his usual chauffeured car to his home. The car dropped him and drove off and he entered his house as husband and dad. It was all over. The excitement and respect of being the toast of the town was behind him, and now he was simple toast!

Retirement, for this reason is not what it is all cracked up to be. Whatever we have worked at in our professional lives has kept us busy and defined who we are. The busier we were and the more critical the position we held the more fulfilled we were. When all that suddenly stops it’s as though the ground opened up from under us.

My card reads under my name for description of who I am, “Consultant.” In my retirement function I was an accountant/and account manager in that I managed as many as seventeen reinsurance companies. Now I am a consultant. People who receive my card ask what is my speciality?. At first I had to answer, I consult with whoever has a question I can answer. Later I came to make myself useful for new families who had moved to Spain, guiding them away from making expensive mistakes. That is the point entirely; to make ourselves useful by employing our experience to be of service.

For the retiree to suddenly move from big shot to nothing is a major shock. He no longer has to wear a necktie or a suit. He moves about and is all but invisible. Conventional wisdom has it that in this state he will surely drop dead within five years of being nobody, unless he worries about it. Should he worry he will drop dead in three years.

Men and women need not stop at retirement, but rather we need to simply change gears. Perhaps we might change to doing something we like rather than the money earner as before. Above all we must keep our brains alive and active. Some things in life must be constantly used or we lose them.

Everyone who lives long enough to retire has a lifetime of experience to draw on and those who are younger than us would benefit from our collected knowledge. Therefore, rather than facing a period in our lives towards the end when we become nothing, just sitting around waiting for death to take us, let’s keep busy in any way we can, especially by keeping our minds busy.

Hint: Revisit your life and write about it to provide your family with a historical record. We have all lived through a period of constant change. If like me you came on the scene around the beginning of the Second World War, we have lived through that horrible period and then into a period of peace and renewal and into the beginning of the computer age, which is when rapid change began.

When presidents or kings and queens retire they turn their attention to developing their memoires, so we as individuals might like to do the same. After all, our lives are just as important. By writing about your life you can justifiably call yourself "Author."

Happy writing!

Copyright © 2018

Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Christmas Career

CHRISTMAS 2017 has been and gone, as has Twelfth Night, also known in Spain as Dia de Los Reyes Magos. In many countries around the world December 25th is celebrated as the day of the birthday of Jesus. As such it is a Holy Day that is marked by the giving of gifts between those who follow the Christian faith.

The problem with that is the true meaning of Christmas is often forgotten in the commercialising of the season.  However, for children it can be a magical time, especially for the very young who are encouraged to believe in Santa Claus who, as the story goes will reward the child if they have been “good.”

There are many people who fill the role of Santa in making appearances leading up to the Big Day. These roles involve giving of yourself to the children, but as anyone who has dressed up in the costume will tell you what you receive from the children is far more rewarding. In fact it is priceless!

This year I was invited to take the role of Santa, or as he is known here in Spain,” Papa Noel.” In doing so I made history by being the first black man in Spain to play the part. I thought the children would complain that I wasn’t the “true” Santa because I wasn’t the exact image, but no, not even one person objected. There was only one very confused child who asked me if I was one of the Three Kings known as Balthazar. I didn’t know whether she was asking me because she remembered me from having played the role of Balthazar the previous January, or just because I was a black man.

In the event it went extremely well and all the organisers were relieved that the experiment was successful. The Santa concept is not an established Spanish costume, but it is becoming an integral part of the Christmas season. The children have figured out that they stand to receive presents on Christmas Day as well as La Dia de los Reyes Magos.

I had hardly settled down from that good feeling when the invitation came through to reprise my role as Balthazar. I was delighted! Little did I know how long a day it would turn out to be. The routine involves riding in the float and waving to all and sundry. Once we reach our destination we alight and take up a position on the stage where we receive the children to whom we give gifts.

All throughout the night the adults are referring to you as “Su Majestad”, your majesty, and everyone pays respectful deference to you. That I could easily get used to! You appear in a trillion snapshots. The town in which I appeared was Rocafort with approximately 7,000 residents. It seemed to me that 6,000 were children.

This year the process of the gift giving was much better organised and the time passed quickly. I thought that was it, but no, that was just the beginning because they added an element. Certain families had asked that the Three Kings come and visit their houses as a surprise to their children. For the next two hours we were in and out of about a dozen houses leaving in our trail a string of stunned and very happy children who will never forget.

So, it seems that I have a new career based around the happiest time of year. I cannot describe my feelings throughout both the Santa Claus and the Balthazar experiences because the human vocabulary has yet to invent those words. Suffice it to say that during the events I was alert and truly happy and privileged to grow weary, but when they were over I slept better than at any other time.

So, Happy New Year to you all! May you experience good health, prosperity and happiness!

Copyright © 2018

Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 What a Wacky Year that was!

2017 has been the wackiest year that any of us have ever seen.  In The United States they started the year by trying a new style of politics; in England the risky choice of Brexit moved a few steps forward, and in Spain certain citizens thought they had the right to break up the country into which they were born. The entire year appeared to be one extended version of April’s Fool’s Day.
Among the many things that happened, the top two for scope and outrageousness were the plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar, previously known as Burma, and the other was the Grenfell Tower obscenity.
The Rohingya are a minority Muslim group who have lived for a very long time in the Rakine State of Myanmar.   They have endured persecution from the Myanmar/Burmese and the Buddhists monks apparently simply because they are who they are. I assumed that they must have done something pretty horrible to draw down upon them such hatred. They seem to be innocent of anything in particular to make people hate them so.
However, after suffering unwarranted abuse a core group of young Rohingya men formed together to push back. Evidently that was all the government was waiting for as they have launched into this group of people with such ferocity and intensity as to be determined to cleanse the country of them altogether.
They say they are fighting against terrorists. What terrorists? Are they speaking about the babies, young children and women whose deaths they are responsible for through the assaults by the military?
So far it has been reported that more than 650,000 Rohingya have been forced to run for their lives into Bangladesh, and in the process more than 6.500 have perished, including about 1,200 babies and young children.   They are the modern Jews in Hitler’s Germany, persecuted simply for being who they are.
Meanwhile Myanmar assures me that if I choose to come and visit their country I will have a wonderful time. I don’t think so! In fact I do not want anything at all to do with this miserable country.
The Grenfell Tower terror is currently sub-judice as there will likely be charges flowing from that awful disaster. As a human tragedy it is in a class of its own. The manner in which those who were killed died was about as bad as it gets, especially as it has been reported that residents warned against just such a probability.  When I first saw the blaze I had to turn away, it was more than I could process.
In third place is the currently unfolding drama of the Hashtag MeToo campaign against rich, famous and powerful men who are accused of sexually touching, harassing and even raping women as though it were their right.
The first big shock of this type was Bill Cosby, a man who I practically worshipped as a comedian who conducted himself in public with great dignity, and in the process raised the bar of what the general public; (read white America) should think of his people. His was a cataclysmic fall but I bet he is much relieved now having been joined by such a long list of luminaries.
Incidentally, the world used to presume your innocence until you were found guilty in a court of law. Not anymore! No sooner is the accusation made than action is taken against the accused. This is how everybody who was anybody is being treated. I feel I should pay some really hard to believe women to accuse me so that I can be somebody. Not!
As usual I shall not celebrate the coming of the New Year because I cannot know what it will bring. The year now closing very nearly killed me: I wouldn’t say that was something worth celebrating; however the fact that I have survived is definitely worth making a fuss over.
So, to each and everyone I extend my very best wishes to you for 2018. My hope is that the year will treat you and your families well, bringing first and foremost the very best of health, and prosperity!
A cautious Happy New Year!
Copyright © 2017-
Eugene Carmichael           

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Racist Christmas traditions in Europe

It's Christmas again? Where did the twelve months in between go? I need somebody to slow the clock down. As a very young child the time between Christmas took forever to pass. Now that I can be the Santa it seems that if I blink a year will pass.

This Christmas I made history in Spain by dressing as Santa, or Papa Noel as he is called here to attend at a Christmas Fair. Spanish adults told me beforehand that I couldn't do that as I did not fit the image of Santa as I am a black man. I agued that around the world can be found Santa's of every ethnic group that celebrates this tradition and Spain could do with a little opening of the mind on this subject. Anyway, I was prepared to try it on to get a reaction.

I made my Grand Arrival by walking down the stairs which I had to feel because I was wearing my reading glasses. I had to be very careful not to trip and fall and kill myself at that moment. The tiny ones who are the true believers saw nothing out of the ordinary and came and sat wiht Papa Noel to have a chat. All went tremendously well at the Fair, but after that I went into the town still in character because I had an errand, and I ran into families on the street,

Parents and children alike were delighted. I could hardly get from one end of the street to the other for my popularity. This is the same Spain which accepts a very racist practise of engaging Black Pages to deliver the presents in place of Santa. In one particular town of Alcoy white men cover themselves from head to toe in black with painted excessively large red lips. I presume they are depicting themselves as black men, although I have never met a black man who looks like that.

In Holland they have a tradition which is similar in that Black Pete acts as Santa's helpers. Again, they are white men who dress themselves in the manner of Spain's Black Pages and these traditions have carried on for over a hundred years.

Such traditions are defended and justified by many people as being harmless and great fun. They satisfy themselves that they mean no harm, nor are they mean spirited, and that they are tradition.

That's the problem with racism and bigotry. The practioneers cannot see anything wrong in what they are doing.  However, whenever we trod on another race or gender to big up ourselves we do not succeed in achieving that. The opposite is attained as what a reasonable world sees is a group of imbeciles trying to make themselves believe that they are something special when they are consigning themselves to what I believe is called a circle of Bigots.

This is a problem in all ethnic groups, and when it happens within the group it is particularly irritating. Within the group of people of colour it happens that those of lighter skins might look down on their darker skinned cousins. That is taking things too far!

A couple of strange Christmas traditions in other European countries:

In Sweden a giant reindeer is built out of straw  to be burnt on New Year's eve. It so often becomes the target of pranksters or pyromaniacs and is damaged or destroyed before the scheduled event. One time thieves with an helicopter tried to steal it.

In Germany there is Knecht Ruprecht who is a hellish looking character that would frighten me, much less a child who had been bad. This awful image is intended to castigate the child in the hope that he will be good in the future.

In Romania there is the slaughter of pigs around Christmas, which is done to provide food. However, the idea seems to be to get as drunk as you can, catch a pig and stab it to death, then using a flame thrower/blow torch the pig is burnt while its guts remain in place. Good luck to that!

The origins of Christmas are controversial and only apply to the Christian world. However short a period a child can be convinced to believe that if they do their best to behave themselves Santa will reward  them will be worth it. As a true believer I remember one  Christmas Eve Santa could be heard on our rooftop, Ho-Ho-Hoeing while yelling at Rudolph to stand still. My father had told us children that if this happened while we were awake we were not to open our eyes as Santa would know and he wouldn't leave us anything. we kept our eyes firmly shut.

Our son was a skeptic from the very beginning. As young as he was he decided to be a real rebel in spite of our warnings he would not get anything. On Christmas morning he came down holding his teddy and sucking his thumb. He looked at the Christmas tree and it was bare. The look of disappointment and amazement was so strong on his face, but he did not cry; although we did.

We said if he would be good during breakfast perhaps Santa would stop in while he had a nap. That worked. Whew!

So, to all, from my family to you and yours, Happy Holidays and may 2018 bring you the things you hope for. I wish the very best of Health for you, as when you have that everything else falls into place.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Something Big and Bad always happens.....

At this time of the year in the run up to Christmas usually something takes place that impacts a great number of people in a major way. Something to do with fire, water, snow, ice, or explosion. I'm writing about this now in the hope that 2017 will get a pass from such a tragedy. We have suffered more than enough throughout this year.

The utterly disgraceful treatment by the country of Myanmar of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim  population can not be justified. The military of Myanmar have chased approximately 600,000 Rohingyas from their homes and set fire to the homes so that they have nothing to come back to, and they have been chased out of the country into Bangladesh. In the process it has been reported that 6,700 have died, including 1,200 children.

What had those people done to deserve that kind of treatment? Several years ago it came to my attention that the military filled a boat with these persecuted people, gave them food and water and set them adrift, forbidding them to touch any part of Myanmar's shores ever again. I imagine it was hoped that the boat would sink with all aboard lost forever.

When we Google Myanmar this is the lead story, of course, followed by advertisements that encourage tourism to the country. Any tourists that visits that country are aiding and abetting the government, and any country that trades with Myanmar supports and gives encouragement to such evil behaviour.

In my opinion this is the worst case of inhuman behaviour of the year in the entire world . Congratulations Myanmar, you're the winners. For that your country deserves to be completely boycotted and shunned. May you all starve to death as you are imposing on the Rohingya.

With that great evil added to all of the other evil actions of man that are on-going we have more than enough to saturate our collective conscience, we really don't need anything else. So while it has become part of tradition to expect the worst, at least for this year let's hope for the best.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael  

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The new face of divorce

For couples living on small islands or in small towns divorce is a real pain. The problem is that from the day the two people part they go on still unavoidably seeing one another because of the geography. You can't get away from one another and this causes all sorts of problems.

You follow what happens to each other whether you want to or not. Ex-husband sees ex-wife is spending time with a friend of his, who is now an ex-friend and all hell breaks out. Ex-wife sees ex-hubby with the woman they broke up over and that's a fight in the street.

Worst of all is you are both aware of how each one is doing after the end of the relationship. If she seems to be happy with her new man and they are having a good life, one that was better than she had with you; "How dare she?"  If his financial situation takes a significant turn for the better his ex wants to go back to court to claim a greater award for maintenance.

Normally divorce is bad news for everybody. It's certainly more tolerable for the couple who live in large countries or even cities. Usually the man suffers the worst effects because he is expected to leave the family home and to continue his support for the family. Over the past years another factor has not so quietly crept on the scene:, and that is where some women divorce and through the mystery of how Cupid works, their second chance puts great wind in their sails and that takes them straight to the top.

As she was then, Camilla Parker-Bowles divorced her military husband and married the successor to the Throne of England, whom she would have married in the first place had others not intervened.

J:K: Rowling divorced her husband and went on to become one of the world's most successful writers with her Harry Potter series of books that actually got young children away from their smartphones.

A certain Queen, now married to the King was formerly married but that was annulled so we don't talk about that.

The latest transition is that of Meghan Markle who was previously married but has found herself the sparkle in the eyes of Prince Harry. This is a wonderful thing to be happening because Harry is evidently much in love with her and she comes well equipped to cope with the stress of the role she is undertaking. Adding to the excitement is the fact that she is the daughter of a white father and a black American mother.

In reality this should not be any big deal in these modern times but she is adding a new element to the rich history of The Royal Family. The Queen is not bothered so nor should anybody else.

In all the above examples I try to imagine what the former husbands are thinking and how they feel. They may indeed be jealous of their ex-wives good fortune but they also have a right to be proud of them.

So the question to future divorced husbands should be: Who would you like to see your ex link up with? It could reflect well upon you.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, December 3, 2017

President Donald Trump

Like most reasonably intelligent people I have found myself bewildered by the fact that The Electoral College gave their winning votes to Mr Trump when, on the face of things they are in place as a check against the people who might have been determined to elect someone entirely unsuitable for the office of Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America.

The people gave three million more votes to Hillary Clinton, so they didn't want Mr Trump but the Electoral College did. Why? Thanks to the broadcaster Fareed Zakaria who hosts The Fareed Zakaria Show on CNN, I now have a much better idea of why this all came to be.

For those who don't know it really isn't the collective votes of all those Americans who voted that determines the eventual outcome, but rather it is the five hundred and thirty-eight super delegates that are spread across the country that have the final say. These are people who are drawn from the professions and are considered to be highly intelligent. They do cast their votes, and the first of the two candidates for the office to receive 270 of the Electoral College votes is declared the winner.

I suppose each of these persons is subject to lobbying as it appears is everything else in America but I am not suggesting there is corruption in the process. However, one thing was fairly evident from the start was that Donald Trump would be good for the stock market. If you were an investor and a super delegate you might have been influenced by the fact that the market would probably soar on a Trump win. Maybe not, but what's the chance of that. The fact is that the stock market did soar, and it continues to do so.

The second possibility of why Mr Trump got their vote was that much of  his diehard support comes from people who are poor and unemployed, or under-employed. This is where it gets very serious because the people who are relying on him so desperately are the ones who respond to his message that he will bring back jobs.

As one woman said, I don't care what Mr Trump does to women in his own time as long as he makes good on bringing back jobs to America. The extraordinary thing is that American manufacturing has closed down their plants in America to make goods that Americans buy, only to manufacture these items overseas where labour is cheaper and therefore, profits are greater. I have always been amazed by this strange fact, even to the extent that Americans chose to buy foreign made cars by foreign companies, such as The Japanese who were not so open to American made cars in Japan.

So, these two factors could mean that Mr Trump will win again, if he lasts that long. I remember the hope that was invested in Mr Obama who was everything a president should be, but when he lost his political capital and was left high and dry people didn't understand why he did not do the things he wanted to do. In many ways he was a sitting duck.

Mr Trump has said that he will put people in the coal business back down the mines and he will bring manufacturing back to the U.S. so now he has to do those things to the satisfaction of sufficient of his supporters to make the difference. No excuses will suffice as he will have their support if he wants to carry on in his outrageous manner, they are with him. Just put them back to work, and do it soon. Otherwise he will become abandoned.

The situation across the country is so dire that I am withholding my disgust and holding my nose for his style  of management and I will cheer for every little genuine success he is able to achieve. He is The President and the whole country, and the outside world need to hope that he doesn't make a real mess because we all have to live with it. Hopefully he will bring back more than just hope.

One thing would help. Stop with the Twitter already. Enough!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Paradise Papers from my Home Country

Firstly,  the Paradise Papers is an effort by the world's news media to uncover possible crimes committed and covered up in Bermuda while totally ignoring the fact that the information obtained itself is a major crime akin to breaking and entering the offices of Appleby and taking the files from the filing cabinets.

No-one from Appleby's leaked that information. It was obtained via a simple hacking operation and it confuses me that the media can spill such private information, illegally obtained to the whole world. Names have been released, including Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, but the best part of all is that those bastards have had to admit and report they have not found wrongdoing but rather that all is perfectly legal.

I was born in Bermuda, and along the way I have been close enough, or outright involved in Bermuda's growth as an international finance centre to have an insider's understanding of Bermuda's attitude about these things.

Let me say I am not a spokesperson for Bermuda but rather these are my own personal observations, views and opinions. In the early days Bermuda was a favourite for people who sought to establish Trusts as a way of safeguarding assets from greedy grasping spouses. Whether they also evaded paying taxes on those assets I really don't know, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to imagine that some people went that extra step.

Then we saw an attack being made on the secrecy laws and practises of Switzerland and some of us said we had better get out ahead of this matter and re-examine our own exposures because we are entirely too small and isolated an outpost to survive pissing off financial authorities by standing in their way to track down taxes due to them.

When the regulatory authorities for Europe came knocking on our door we were in a position to say this is what we have already done towards fighting tax evasion and money laundering. Let us see what your further criteria is and we will close the gaps.

Bermuda is fully in compliance with regulations from both sides of the Atlantic. We can not afford to get in a fight with the IRS in the United States or the Inland Revenue in the U.K. or any other authority. I can tell you that the United States conducts financial examinations in Bermuda of United States companies because I have had to sit with their examiners myself and supply information.

With respect to the payment of tax, often when the tax authority conducts an audit they will find that the taxpayer has over paid his tax burden because of miscalculation. In those cases the authority will refund the overpayment, which establishes that we are only required to pay what is required of us and not a penny more.

If there are so-called loopholes that allow the taxpayer to reduce his burden then the loop hole needs to be closed. The person or company that uses the loophole must not be blamed. Said loopholes may exists in Bermuda, or the United Kingdom or The United States of America.

I'm proud of my Bermuda and its integrity. On top of that in the presentation of their investigative journalism the British BBC program "Panorama"  showed stunning images of Bermuda which made me long for home and amounted to great publicity for the island. On top of that they found all to be in order.

The Paradise Papers indeed!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Birthday Milestones

My wife celebrated her birthday recently, but the time between the last one and this one had passed so quickly I had to check to make certain we were not celebrating two in the same year.

I arose after her and instead of the first words from my mouth being "Happy Birthday My Love," I said " Good Morning. I see the cat has thrown up again." We were due to leave the house at 11am at which time she seemed to storm out of the house ahead of me, moving the car outside the gates and waiting. Up until then I still had not mentioned the word birthday.

I closed the house and got in the car and then I said, " I have not wished you a happy birthday because I am taking the responsibility to make this a very happy day for you. So, let's get this show on the road."

She just stared at me. She then said I'm so angry with you that I have just posted this on my Facebook page. The message read "I'm so angry with my husband, and she went on to tell the above story. I said so, we are starting at the very bottom and it may be a long way to the top but I will get you there. Off we went!

The plan was that we would drive to Benidorm, about two and a half hours away to stay overnight at an hotel, and we would spend the evening at The Benidorm Palace for dinner and a show. I made certain that the hotel would be out of the ordinary, therefore I chose the Meliá Villaitana which is not located down along the waterfront in the jungle that is all that concrete, but rather a hotel that presents itself as a full Moroccan-style village with commanding views over the Mediterranean.

By the time we reached our destination she was back on civil terms with me, but the sight of the hotel brought a soft smile to her face. The location is next door to the Terra Mitica theme park. This is a glorious hotel whether you are travelling as adults only or with young children you will be comfortable and pleased. If you are also a golfer you may think you died and are now in Heaven.

As the night overcame us we prepared for the main part of the experience. About fifteen years ago I had the opportunity to attend a Sunday afternoon charity event at The Palace featuring talent from several venues around the town. It served as a taster for me where I vowed I would come back someday to celebrate something important. That time had come, but in the meantime The Palace had reinvented itself by changing its image. It now looks like a place out of the ordinary that offers something unique. On the other hand it would be right at home in Las Vegas.

Our dinner that preceded the show was first rate, accompanied by wine for my wife and something non-alcoholic for me, the designated driver. And then, The Show! The title was "Rubi" as The Palace is celebrating 40 years of presenting the best. A Fortieth Anniversary is commemorated by the giving of a Ruby.

I so want to describe our every sense as the show unfolded, first by presenting Fiestas Española highlighting Flamenco and Spanish culture. It went on to take us through so many genres including music from the 50´s and 60´s. The sight of twenty-six dancers was so enchanting that by the time the show had come to a reluctant end we were left without words except one. "WoW!"

When people work that hard to give so much of themselves to make us feel so special we can only respond by appreciating the effort and to pass along the recommendation to visit The Benidorm Palace at least once in your life. Save it for a super special occasion when you want to impress.

My wife's day started off in the pits but by bedtime she had experienced a birthday like none other. My reward was to gain a few Brownie Points and they matter.


Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Leslie Flint-Medium

The topic of the Spiritual Medium has been brought to my attention and I find myself fascinated. I have written a book titled "Death is Not the End" which I truly believe. I have even had the experience of having worked with my deceased former wife over an extended period of time. Over that period she spoke to me and often spoke through me. I simply opened my mouth and the most amazing words  were uttered.

Eventually she moved on and presumably is now living her life following the last one. That makes it easier for me to accept that those who reside in the spirit world can have contact with those still living. Normally, if that contact takes place through a Medium the person who has requested the contact is seated in the room while the Medium calls up the deceased who then makes contact through the Medium.

This is the story of Leslie Flint, a British Medium who used the direct voice method whereby the deceased person speaks in their own voice (which may have changed somewhat since they "died")through a form of voice box that appears above the Medium called ectoplasm.

Flint was born in London, England in 1911 and gave his first séance when he was 17 years of age. He evidently believed as I do in reincarnation in that when we do the thing that we call die, we in fact slip from our body taking our soul and our  spirit which consists of our accumulated knowledge, our talent and our ability to know what is going on, and eventually we slip into the body of the new born who is then stocked with what we bring but also what he or she receives from its parents.

Not surprisingly Leslie Flint had to put up with his critics who accused him of fraud as they accused him of trickery like throwing his voice. He had himself bound and gagged and his larynx measured which showed no movement while the discussion took place. Still those who didn't want to believe didn't believe. It seems that these people expected the deceased person's voice from beyond the grave to sound exactly as they did when they were alive. Why would they sound as though they were alive. They are now dead.

Mr Flint had the conversations recorded and they are available for anyone to listen to today. I have sat through a conversation between Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and I must say I found it gripping. There are thousands of tapes available so this is just the start of my research.

I shall return to this subject later, but Leslie Flint, who died in 1994 is someone to be taken seriously.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, November 4, 2017

As time moves on .....

Time is like a great river of rushing water. As the water moves its picks up all of life's problems, and its pleasures and sweeps all things forward. In the grand  world picture it's the same in the North, South, East and West. Events from past years, months, weeks, days and hours get carried along changing in their character as they go because this is the nature of life. The one constant factor is change.

The way we see things is ever changing. Today we might be against and tomorrow we are for. What seemed like the end of the world yesterday is not at all a bad thing today. Yesterday the high and mighty were very high indeed. Today they are the fallen, and those in whom we placed our trust and faith are swept out in today's trash.

Here in Spain we have watched a group of people charged with high responsibility shit on their positions and their titles by sticking their fingers in the eyes of The State, and they did it quite deliberately. It has been a case of watching a whole group of people deliberately commit suicide in slow motion. They were yesterday's government and today they are gone, swept downstream into prison where they will remain for the next thirty-years. Those who have not yet been captured are on the run but there is nowhere to hide.

The glitter of Hollywood and show business has served to cover up the foibles on man by the use of costumes and makeup. We are now finding that what we thought passed for art and celebrity has always been men  behaving very badly. They have treated women in a shameful way that has not changed since the days of the cavemen. In the tradition of Hollywood many are nominated and The Oscar goes to the chosen one for today, but there will be others tomorrow. The shame is that we believed in them, and in some cases we bowed to them when in fact they didn't even merit our shoe leather.

We now learn that such reprehensible behaviour not only exists in the glamour industry but that it exists in the halls of our political, health, financial, and even our educational institutes where they damn well should know better. To add insult to injury even our religious organisations are not sacred. If we can't believe and trust in our houses of religion what can we believe in?

This is not to say that I wholeheartedly believe all of the accusers, nor do I accept that they are  as innocent as they would have me digest, but there has been disgusting behaviour of that there is no doubt on the part of people who thought they were entitled and that is cause for great disappointment.

The river of time continues on its way moving the sludge of our lives with it. In its wake what it leaves behind could be a clean surface but it seems that would be too simple. Mankind has to soil the surface as quickly as we can because it appears we prefer to live in the muck.

What does that say about us?

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Cataluña Crisis

I am a guest resident of Spain and as such I view the current crisis in Cataluña as an observer from the fringe. I do have an opinion, as does every single adult in Spain as this is a very serious problem which will result in days of horror to come, including the deaths of people before it is sorted out.

Mainly I'm concerned because of the attitudes of many British people who are expressing their opinions in a manner in which they feel they are right, when in fact they have completely misunderstood the situation.

Spain is a country as presently constituted and there is no provision whatsoever to allow for any of its parts to breakaway and go it alone. Those people in Pais Vasco, (The Basque Country) or Euskadi as it is known discovered this after a long and bloody campaign that took a terrible toll and was designed to gain independence through brute force. It didn't work! Those in Cataluña who are pro-independence have learned nothing from the struggles of Euskadi.

The reason why they feel the need to break away is best known to themselves. As a foreigner I can not even hope to understand, but once the fever for freedom takes hold it becomes an obsession and takes over completely. That part I do get and all common sense goes out the window. I am so glad that my family and I live outside the boundaries of Cataluña for as a foreigner we would be completely powerless and a captive to a situation that we can never have any input.

British reportage has a certain slant that seems to feel that the Spanish government are denying the region their democratic right to express their wishes through the ballot box. Well, here's the point: There is no provision to legally vote in a referendum for an integral part to break away, whether you are for or against. The "referendum" that was organised on October 1, 2017 was completely illegal and the police were instructed to interrupt any proceedings, and anyone who stood in the way was committing civil disobedience as were those who participated.

The fact that the police spanked those who were being disobedient was what they were supposed to do, as well as to arrest those they felt appropriate. It is no good to break the law and then complain that the police spanked them too hard.

This entire campaign was doomed from the start and was begun by people who knew they were making mischief and who played on the emotions of soft-headed persons who thought that because Cataluña was such an economic powerhouse they could stand alone. The result of their actions so far has been to scare away the very companies that made the economic miracle possible, and instead of being independent they have lost the autonomy they had. What's more the leaders, including half the parliament will spend the next thirty years in jail.

There are British people who voted in a referendum to leave the EU Common market and they think that the people of Cataluña should have had the right to vote in a legal opinion poll as to whether to stay or go as part of Spain. What those same British people don't seem to realise is that if their same region of Somerset or Dorset or Leeds, etc., wished to hold a breakaway referendum in England it could not happen there either.

Maybe countries that are part of the United Kingdom have the right to decide whether they wish to remain or leave that circle, but parts of those countries cannot have any say as to stay or go as part of the country itself.

The irony is that for Cataluña to become independent is not even a practical option. Had the Spanish government agreed to the Unilateral Declaration of Independence the first thing that would have happened is that it would not have had any money as the Euro would have ceased being a currency of value in that region.

Madrid has now taken over full control of all institutions involved in the management of the region and now pain will be imposed to get people back in line with the law. That will be such a shame as the lives of a significant number of Catalonians have been shattered who were intelligent enough to know that independence was a non-starter.

All bad ideas are started by one person, as are good ideas but when they bring along great throngs of people and involve them to the point where they suffer injury and pain in support of a bad idea there really is no punishment sufficient to put the leaders through.

However, thirty years in jail is a good start!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Harvey Weinstein Tale - A Horror Story

This is a story that cannot be ignored. It's too quintessentially Hollywood. While HW has been busy bringing the world blockbuster after blockbuster he has also (allegedly) been writing, directing, producing and acting in a personal horror story to end all horror stories.

It could have been called "Scary Movie" or "Scream" or  "Halloween," but those names have been taken. What about "Sex, Lies and Videotape," that would cover just about all the accusations that have come flowing from so many outraged women who claim to have been at least sexually harassed, sexually assaulted and outright raped; and we are still awaiting tales from "The Others."

Who is Harvey Weinstein? In the field of movie entertainment the man is a giant, responsible for such mega-hits as "Pulp Fiction," "Kill Bill," 1,2,and 3;  The Scream Movies, "Gangs of New York," and a very long list of other brilliant productions.

He is being systematically kicked out of the business and being told he will never work again in this town. For we movie lovers this is a great tragedy as his undeniable talent will be lost and we will be left to wonder at what might have been.

So far more than forty women have come forward to present what they say are their experiences with him and to condemn him as a vile monster of a man, and the stories keep coming. They go beyond the usual Casting Couch scene with allegations that the man visited the homes of actresses, and in one case actually raped one of them in her hallway. This would have been about power not sex.

In 2011 a film was released titled "Unauthorized -The Harvey Weinstein Project" written and directed by Barry Avrich. Most people assumed it would deliver the dirt on HW but it ended up in praising his book of work, although his style of management is abrasive in many people's eyes. Clearly this work will have to be re-visited as I'm sure that is underway

As a man I suffer terrible embarrassment when confronted with stories of such behaviour from celebrities like Bill Cosby and others, but with the revelations now surfacing about this titan of Hollywood I just want to cringe and go hide.  As he worked to make the women famous it seems he was also working on making knotches on his bed post just to say I shagged a whole list of rich and famous names. For all we know he might have been able to achieve the same thing by simply asking nicely.

It should be said that while perhaps not denying he engaged in sexual encounters he insists they were all consensual. The women, who insist they are his victims would likely have a suggested title for the movie that is bound to follow this scandal, and indeed he would no doubt recommend it as well. The name they will likely unanimously agree on would be " Sicko!"

Stay tuned!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Shock, Anger and Dismay! Why?

On October 1st, 2017 a psychopath killer raised the bar to at least 58 killed and more than 500 injured in one event. In the field of mass killings the next one will have to be creative to be able to top that. The chilling thing is we know that right now, someone is thinking in just such terms.

Now authorities are searching for a motive. Here are two reasons why he did what he did, no matter what other reasons might turn up. He committed this unspeakable act because, simply put, he could. He was able to afford to buy the 47 guns he owned and all the ammunition, and because he could afford to rent the suite at the hotel. This may not sound like a motive, but it just might be the only reason he did it.  It is difficult to understand why a millionaire white American man would actually want to kill his fellow Americans with such total abandon, but he could do it, so perhaps he did it to make the name for himself as the darkest killer of all time on American soil.

He also knew that the nation would be shocked, angered and dismayed by his actions and they would all know his name because his co-conspirators, the police and the media would see to that. However, Fareed Zakaria, the noted CNN broadcaster devoted a full hour’s programme to the LA shootings and steadfastly refused to mention the name of the shooter because he would not cooperate with the man’s expectation to have his name publicised. Hooray! Fareed, you got it! Hopefully this is the thin edge of the wedge and the rest of the media and the police will follow your lead.

We, the public do not need to know the name of the perpetrator. To us it is not important but to him it might be the most important reason for committing the act in the first place as being his 15 minutes of fame.

This man committed an act of terror that was no different than if he was a so-called ISIS fighter, and he deliberately thought his actions through with very meticulous planning. We really have to correct the saying that “not all Islamists are terrorists, but all terrorists are Islamists.” That was never correct, not since the Texas tower shootings way back in the mid-‘60s. The man who brought down the Oklahoma City building was as American as apple pie.

The irony is that it is reasonable to assume that a lot of the Country music fans that were either killed or injured were likely gun lovers as well. How tragic to be caught in a killing field where the rain was deadly fire from the guns you dearly loved.

The real problem I have with this incident, and all the other mass shootings that evoke the same shock, anger and dismay is that after the Sandy Hook shootings, by an American white boy that took the lives of so many very young children, absolutely nothing was done against gun ownership, so in my way of thinking that rules out shock, anger and dismay for all future acts of gun violence.

A gun is manufactured for one reason. That is to turn something living into something that no longer lives. The proper use of a gun is to do just that. In a comparison with Japan in 2015, there was one act, only one person died from gun violence compared with about 4000 in the U.S.  Clearly this is a matter of mindset.  Gun ownership and gun use in Japan is unpopular. In the United States the very opposite is the case. Not only are the 3% of Americans who own most of the guns in America largely accepting of ownership they also seem to have a pre-disposition to use them against other Americans. That is where change has to start, in the hearts and minds of those who are so crazy about their guns.

There is a school of thought that holds that if everybody owned and carried a gun no one would start shooting. No-one, that is, except somebody who would like to start an all-out massacre just for the fun of it. I hope there is nobody who thinks this could not happen.

You have met the enemy America, and the enemy is you! In the first 265 days of this year there were 263 acts of mass murder committed in the country.

You have the problem and you have the solution. Now it is up to you. Please don’t tell me that you will be shocked, angry and dismayed when the next bigger event comes along.

Copyright © 2017

Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Hugh Hefner, April 9, 1926 - September 27, 2017

Speaking facetiously, I would like to say I know what caused the death of Hugh Hefner, too much honey for one man to absorb, but the fact is that all that honey helped him to live a long, and oh so sweet life that is envied by men all around the world.

He is the one man who had undue influence on my own life, but not all of it was good. On his passing people are falling over one another to comment on the changes he brought to our lives and our attitudes, and without doubt he did a lot of good for the world of charitable causes and in challenging the law that moved us all out of the dark ages.

I bought a copy of the very first issue of Playboy Magazine that was released in 1953 with the image of Marilyn Monroe on the cover. I kept it for decades but I have only just come to release that Hef never met Monroe.  However, he adored her so that he has chosen to be her neighbour forever as he will lay in rest next to her.

I grew into becoming the image of "The Playboy Man" including taking up smoking because the Playboy Man smoked Kool cigarettes. What an idiot I was back then.

I became a devotee of Playboy Magazine, first for the centerfold and other pictures of naked women, but as time passed I became more interested in the features. I actually grew blasé over images of naked women because there is just so many ways in which we can slice cheese cake and still make it interesting.  It is because of this realisation that I wonder at what point did Hef become jaded. It is possible to have entirely too much of a good thing, even a very good thing.

Eventually I grew bored and turned my back. I am also happy to say that this year I celebrate the 52nd year since I gave up smoking.

Was the Playboy revolution a good thing and now that I am older and a whole lot wiser am I inclined to stand up and unequivocally defend Hugh Hefner and Playboy? No, not unequivocally. There was some good that came with the revolution, but in some things I genuinely believe that harm was caused.

The way we see sexual matters is highly subjective, of course. Before Playboy my view of women was, above all one of respect. Even today I see women as being different from men in that women are our  mothers and our children's mothers. Pre-playboy I saw a woman's body as something that was special and that belonged on a pedestal.

I felt that women required their absolute privacy and the idea of raping a woman was so horrid as to have been out of the question. Men have to accept that No means No, then as it does now. I never even uttered a four letter offensive word  in a woman's presence.

Sexual intercourse was something that was done under muted lights, if any lights were used at all. The mystery added to the enjoyment, and to the respect for the lady's modesty.

Playboy turned on all the lights, delighting and disappointing us males at the same time. We have been confused ever since. If the woman in our lives wears a negligée when she wants to share her naked image with us that is so much more interesting than simply showing up naked. Consequently that image will live so much longer and so will our desire for her.

Playboy practically showed us what a girl had for breakfast and that was just too much information. Now the magazine has changed to a format that focusses on its literary content. I believe it no longer features nudes. How's that for a change? Is this because the adult readership have all become jaded and bored?

Hef married three times, which is a surprise when he need not have married at all. However that allowed him to father four offspring and to experience some normality in his otherwise amazing life.
When he died he left a wife who is 60 years younger than he. Somehow that seems fitting although my condolences go out to her.

He was one of a kind and he has left his mark for all time.  He let the Genie out of the bottle and we cannot put the Genie back.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Music of the Night

There is nothing quite like a musical night in the cool of the evening. No matter what your musical preference, to leave the worries of the day behind and to take your leisure being entertained by your choice of musical programme, is magic.

On Saturday night, September 23rd, starting at 11pm the City of LLiria was treated to a double concert performed by two bands consisting of about 85 musicians each, presenting programmes of classical music that went on to about 3:30 am. The Bands were: La Banda Simfonica Unio Musical de LLiria, and La Ateneu Musical I D' Ensenyament Banda Primitiva De LLiria. The names of the bands are expressed in the native Valenciano dialect.

LLiria is a medium sized city that lies 26 kilometres north-west of downtown Valencia and is the seat of the government for the region. It is also the city of music as this city's bands have performed in many localities around the world to great acclaim. Every pueblo has a musical program in place into which young children are entered as a way of giving them focus as they grow. The net result is more to concentrate on means less social problems from young people.

The concert was held outside in the main City Hall (Ayuntamiento) plaza. The mere fact that it did not end until near 4am, is accepted as being perfectly OK as the city is celebrating its Autumn Festival, the Festival of St. Miguel and everybody is up and about anyway.

The musical pieces that are played tend not to be well known, rather more often than not they are written by local composers and are complex as to tax the expertise of band members. The conductor of the orchestra  Simfonica is Pablo Marqués Mestre. He was born in Castellon and has built up such a brilliant career history that he is known and respected all over Spain. He is growing his international experience as well.

The execution of the works was exquisite but challenging and we thoroughly enjoyed both the pieces. In the first half of the concert, presented by the Banda Simfonica there were two major works as follows: La Vall de la Murta in three movements, composed by Andrés Valero-Castells, followed by "Wait of the World" in three movements composed by Stephen Melillo. Both composers were in attendance for the performance of their compositions. That must be so very special, if all goes well.

The first half of the concert concluded close to 1am, but by then the temperature had fallen and it had become too damp for what we were wearing so we had to decamp home. A shame really as I'm sure the second half featuring La Banda Primitiva would have been just as interesting.

Life in Spain truly is absorbing. When the Spanish hold a Fiesta they really know how to do it right.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael