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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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

BERMUDA is not BARBUDA



They were tumultuous times in the early days of what we now know as our world. What we now know as deserts were once under water, and mountains were likewise under water. The Americas and Europe/Africa were once connected before the plates split and drifted apart. Volcanoes, tornadoes and incredible storms raged leading to tremendous fires as weather went through cycles.

What's to say that has all permanently ended?

Believe it or not our weather is entering a period of global warming and one effect is that hurricanes are growing more intense in their strength. The norm was for hurricanes in the Atlantic to make up off Africa and to drift across until they met high pressure systems coming off the east coast of America. That would then turn them to the east whereupon they would then start a northward trek into colder waters.

Now, they are so strong because of warmer waters that when they encounter the high pressure system they smash right through and go inland into Mexico and the southern region of New Orleans and Texas and they plough into the middle of America where people are learning what it means to have to cope.

I was born in Bermuda where I came to be only too familiar with the experience of having no place to hide. We simply had to build our homes super well to cope, but even then Mother Nature does not  respect man's mere efforts to stand up to the Awesome Power. When a powerful storm is still in its infancy thousands of miles away from Bermuda the waters around our island start to change. The colour of the water changes from clear to muddled and we get long breakers in the way of waves.

Our stress begins at that stage as we go into acute hurricane watch mode. They always made that right turn when they came face to face with America so they were bound to pass us on the way to blowing themselves out; the only question was whether we, as such a small land mass would take a hit or not.

Before mankind got in the way hurricanes would blow and blow, changing the landscape as they crossed the land; and equally fires did the same thing, often bringing a great benefit to all in their path by burning away clutter and promoting growth at the same time. It's only with the coming of man where we build so much for fire and windstorm, including floods to destroy that we have carefully created that we think the worst.

These natural weather elements continue to bring renewal and growth even to those man-made structures that get knocked down, but re-built in a better manner. We are shown the awful damage left in the wake of  passing storms but this normally means employment.

When we see people looting under such circumstances it could really be survival. All it takes is for one person to enter a store and help himself and others will do it as well. I have never had to do that, and if I ever do I would like to think I would make a careful note of what I took so that I could go to the owner and pay for it.

With the passing of the most powerful hurricane ever recorded, hurricane Irma the island of Barbuda has been totally wiped off the map. It is currently uninhabitable. At the time the hurricane struck there were about 1700 people there, but now, for the first time in 300 years there is not a single person living there. All the residents were evacuated to Antigua which is located south as they were expecting the arrival of yet another hurricane, Hurricane Jose.

As the media reported this news most people in North America heard the word Barbuda, but what they digested was Bermuda. There are 60,000 people living on Bermuda. The sad thing is that with the current model hurricane it is possible that Bermuda could likewise get wiped out. There would be no mistaking that as the tragedy would capture everybody's attention.

Every Bermudian wherever we are in the world will empathise with the people of Barbuda and our hearts and prayers go out for them as we remember them in their hour of need.

For everybody else we are faced with a new threat that makes terrorism seem like a Sunday picnic. When nature comes to call in the future we need to take the visitor extremely serious indeed.

There is no other power like the power of Nature, for Nature is God!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, September 9, 2017

To have been shot at and missed-twice!



Winston Churchill said that, "Nothing in life is  so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." He certainly is right about that, and in my case I add, the word, "Twice!"

For those of us who have a traumatising hospital experience which turns out to be positive, as Jeremy Clarkson says, that's all we want to talk about. I have had my post-op discussion with my surgeon, including the final report from the lab in which the results were given from the full examination of the tissue that was removed and it was confirmed that there is no cancer. Good news in the morning!

I have the All-Clear, I have been completely cured of my ills and now life goes on better than before. The reason I said that I have missed the bullet twice is because there is no cancer, which is amazing, and more pressing I have avoided death through sepsis because I was having difficulty in getting rid of body waste.

In case you didn't read my previous post on what brought me into the hospital I give a brief description below.

Needless to say I am a happy and very lucky man today, but Nature has a way of bringing balance to any situation. As I absorb my own good news I turn on the television to be assaulted by wave after wave of solid bad news from around the world. Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, persecutions, terrorists attacks and one sick bastard trying his best to start World War Three. Pardon me if you will for taking my fifteen minutes of joy. I certainly recommend to anyone else who has cause for celebration to enjoy the moment because it will be fleeting.

What a world we are now living in where seemingly everything is topsy-turvy. There was a time when you could do something as simple as to go to the market to buy food. Now, in so many places around the world there is not even a reasonable chance that you will return home. Even in the Western world just walking along the road could be the last thing that you do.

People cry out why does God allow these things to happen. God has given mankind the power of reason and the freedom of choice. Other than that God does not intervene in the affairs of humans any more than God intervenes in the affairs of animals, so it is up to us as humans to create the kind of world we think we want.

Having said that, good luck to us all!

The Back Story:

Our bodies are constantly subject to attack from the silent killers such as tumours, heart disease, cancer, constriction of our arteries, etc. For the past five years I had been growing a cluster of eleven polyps in my colon which had grown to a point of causing an obstruction. Because I am about to celebrate my 78th birthday I simply assumed I was having an old person's problem, which I was, but I didn't realise that there was a blockage. I only discovered this because of the presence of a strange pain which acted as though I was having a conversation with God who was warning me that something was going on within my body and my challenge, if I chose to accept it was to find the problem and fix it promptly.

It worked! As for another reason for the pain, none was found.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Country in Mourning



When your houseguest misbehaves



Spain is a country that is livid with rage. On the 11th of March, 2004 terrorists attacked early morning trains pulling into Atocha station, the principal train terminal in Madrid and set off several bombs that killed and maimed hundreds. Many of the attackers were living in Spain but they were of Moroccan origin.

The victims of that attack were mainly Spanish people on their way to work. At first it was thought that the horror was the work of the Basque group ETA that had been locked in a political struggle with the rest of Spain over many years. During that time they had engaged in a program of bombings and mayhem in an effort to get their way. On closer inspection it turned out to be the work of an all-foreign group of Islamist terrorists.

Spain took its licks, mourned its losses, and was remarkably sanguine about the whole thing, presuming it was the one-off, ill-advised work of some young hotheads and would never be repeated, certainly not by those who take the country’s hospitality for granted.

Well, it has been many years later but it has happened again and the damage and the loss of life is just too much for the country to digest, especially coming as it did from foreigners who were living here and possibly even receiving benefits. This country is seething! For the first time ordinary Moslems living here have come forward to denounce the attacks as having nothing to do with them, and for which they are angry and ashamed for their religion. This is a significant step as the rank and file of Islam have always been under a heavy threat that if they denounce the actions of the extreme group they can expect severe retributions.

There is mounting evidence that this particular cell was intending to do major harm such as destroying the Holy Sagrada Familia church, that is a work in progress and one of Spain’s most treasured icons,  together with the masses of people therein, and other beloved landmarks. As it was they have affected people from 34 countries.

There have been demonstrations all over the country and security measures have been stepped up to prevent more obscenities by drivers simply driving into masses of people.

This is Saturday night, the 26th August, 2017 and a mass demonstration is taking place in the streets of Barcelona led by the King of Spain. How significant is that? We shall just have to wait and see what comes next but it is fairly clear that life as normal will not be it. The line has been crossed and as a country we will not be taking this type of treatment anymore. There was a time when Spain would have simply rounded up all Moslems living here and thrown them out of the country, but as part of the European Union it cannot do that, but the European Union can.

Stay tuned!

Copyright © 2017

Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The World has lost its Mind



Lately I have been busy with just one thing, and that has been to recover from my medical operation, so I have not been concentrating much on news events, but now that I am a bit more aware we see that the president of the United States is now engaged in a deadly game of provocation with the Dear Leader of North Korea. In considering that these two guys could be near identical brothers in their mindsets anything could happen.

The world does not seem to be overly worried because somethings are just not worth worrying about; or if they are there is no way we could worry enough, so forget about it. The fact that I would not trust either of these guys to run a simple errand for me gives me great confidence when I think of the fact that they are playing with nuclear weapons. Not!

I remember when the present president of NK (North Korea) came to power it was thought that he would think he had to prove himself and he does seems to have been on a course doing just that. For some reason he has chosen to make a real nuisance of himself particularly to the U.S. as well to South Korea (ROK). He is focused on the creation of long distance ICBMs and is not shy to threaten America. No matter how stupid a person might be doesn't he know that a nuclear war is one in which no one wins. It is not called the MAD option for nothing, MAD meaning Mutually Assured Destruction. No one can win and it would bring down the curtain on the world. Game Over!

With his latest threat to fire four missiles to land uncomfortably close to GUAM, a US Protectorate he is going too far. He might as well drop them on GUAM because there is no telling what the American president will do in retaliation.

Clearly Mr Kim is trying to get America's attention. He wants something from America and the ROK, but he regards these two countries as though they were donkeys. He is first trying to get the donkey's attention but that is where it may all go wrong.

What could Mr Kim want from the United States and from the world? First I think recognition and respect as an equal might be important. At present that country is a pariah state for very good reasons. He could begin to make changes internally that would give the people freedoms and food. That would get the world's attention. He could embark on a program of diplomatic cooperation between nations that would help to bring his country into the realm of the reasonable. That would win him many friends and influence.

He needs to learn that there is so much more to be gained from the pen than from the sword. Other nations have their differences without resorting to become what the North Koreans are today. Even their closest friend and neighbour are finding their patience is being stretched.

He feels the need to prove himself and to impress his countrymen. He reminds me of the young man with his girlfriend on the back of his bike. He wants to impress her by giving her the most thrilling ride of her life, and terrifying her in the process, when all he had to do to really impress her was to get her home safe and sound.

It is in the interest of our entire world that the penny drops and he gets the message rather than to carry on in the way this is going. There may not be a future for any of us if we rely on two guys I wouldn't trust to deliver pizza.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Good News Tale beyond the Operating Room


I have been away from my word processor for a while to allow me time to get through an emergency major medical operation, the need for which I discovered by accident. I described the build-up to this situation in my blog of the 8th of July, 2017 which I titled “My most important blog to date.” That was a cautionary tale that highlighted the fact that the body is always under potential attack from the silent killers, and our mission, if we choose to accept it is to be aware and ever vigilant to spot the attackers and to deal with the threat aggressively.
In my case I was feeling just fine, in fact I was congratulating myself for being in such good condition for a man of 77 years. I have prescriptions for both reading and long distance glasses but in general I get through each day without resorting to the use of either. I am modestly overweight but I am fully independent in getting around. I eat moderately, sleep well and visit the toilet regularly, so what could go wrong?
The first week in June a low level pain developed in the right side of my abdomen but after taking Pilatus exercise the pain became intense. I backed off Pilatus and the pain went quiet, but then later in the month it came back with a vengeance to the extent I thought I needed to go to emergency as it might have been my appendix. Before leaving the house I made a stop in the toilet where I discharged the most amazing amount of gas. The pain mostly went away immediately, so no, it was not my appendix.
The pain continued as a kind of background noise so I decided to ask my GP to diagnose what was driving it. By the time I got in to see him the pain had left me entirely, but I persisted in trying to determine what that was all about.
My doctor sent me to have my blood, urine, and crucially my faeces analysed and the report came back that I had blood in my faeces. That was a problem that required the intervention of a specialist who referred me for a colonoscopy; and discovered that for approximately the past five years I have been growing a cluster of polyps within my colon that now posed the threat of blockage and cancer. The hospital was adamant that it had to be removed immediately, and on the 27th July, three weeks to the day I underwent surgery.
This was the first time for me for such a major procedure. I have had surgery before for a bunion correction and a broken leg, but nothing like this. All went well including the part where I came out from under the anaesthesia and endured the aches and pains of recovery. The surgeon was well practised and is highly regarded and the professional staff of the hospital maintained an eye to detail.
The main point I want to make is that as stoic and accepting of the protocols as I was the one source of great comfort to me was the presence of my wife in my room. Even if she was simply observing to know that she was there for me, in spite of the fact that the staff managed to make me feel human made all the difference. For me that was priceless and it is the principal point I hope you will take away. When a family member finds themselves in hospital they can feel alone and confused, but a family member who is there who simply brought in a good measure of love helps the healing process go so much better.
The other point is that certain medical authorities are conducting a campaign wherein they send around letters urging that you send in a sample of your poo for testing. In spite of the unpleasantness of this if you simply refuse on that basis you may be signing your own death warrant. 
Presumably you would rather not do that.
Copyright © 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Do our children really stop loving us?



I was participating in a group discussion when one of the members asked one of the other mothers what was wrong. This particular person was clearly depressed with something on her mind that was bothering her. She replied that she was having a really difficult week with her 21 year old daughter. The girl was being nasty and hurtful and insulting for no apparent reason that the mother could see, and she was hurting very badly.

That set off a whole round table discussion as one after another stories were told about sons and daughters behaving badly for no apparent reason other than to be unpleasant. By the time it came my turn I realised I had heard enough to reflect a common thread that ran through all the stories, and while it would really be better that a psychologist explain, my impression is as follows:

My son is a wonderful individual, just as everyone else described their own children. He has been respectful of his mother and myself, but when he had the opportunity to take a Gap year he left us here in Spain and went to Australia. Had he tried to get farther away from us he would have been on his way back. This worried me tremendously because had he got himself in real trouble there would not have been anyway we could have helped.

That was the very point! He had grown up in our house, under our rules and protection and now he was starting the breakaway process. He was trying to stand on his own two feet. He needed to prove to himself that he could do things on his own where failure was not an option. Had we tried to stop him at the time I suspect some things might have been said that would have been regretted.

He left home a boy and he survived in Australia on his own, with the occasional gift of money from home because it was necessary, but when he returned home he came back as a man

Our son is now working five hours drive away from us and he is independent. He is making his own money, his own decisions, he lives with his girlfriend and the relationship between him, his mother and myself has been preserved. All is well!

Throughout the world it is probable that more children will yearn to breakaway from home and parents than not, but to achieve this is not an easy thing. Living at home usually means that meals appear on the table, your laundry is done for you, and there's a roof over your head. You may or may not be required to contribute towards theses services, but to leave home means you leave all this comfort and security behind. This is a very confusing time for a young person. There is the natural pull by independence and the hold on the child by security. If independence and adulthood are to win out an awful tearing process takes place and all those terrible things your child says and does is the fuel to gain momentum to bring about separation.

It is usually an ugly process that also takes place in the animal kingdom, although there it is usually done with a little less drama. The young one is denied mother's milk and so goes off on his or her own to grow up and to begin the process all over again.

As parents our role is to give our children space to let go. It would be good to encourage them to go without perhaps being too active, as they ideally would like to do it on their own . However, if they are hamstrung by not having the financial ability to get started and you have the money to set them up then just for the sake of kicking them out of the house to leave you in peace, it will be worth it.

One common mistake we all make as parents is that we keep our children's old rooms vacant for them with the invitation the door is always open for you. Our children don't want to hear that. It would be better to rent the room or turn it into something you always wanted but couldn't have because they were in it. Our child does not want to know that there is that safety net for him because we expect him or her to succeed.

When your children grow up into becoming you they will then understand, but by that time they will want to forget what they put you through, and when it becomes their turn they will be as confused as we all were in our discussion group.

Life's funny/strange that way.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Way too Corrupt



Spain is a country that is still digging itself out of an economic depression. It is a country that has many, many problems but it is also a country that has a heart and a soul. At the worst year of the economic downturn the government remembered that there are people in the world who have so little that it made allowances in the annual budget to improve the lot of people in Africa and South America.

The government chose one of its most senior and most trusted ministers to oversee this charitable work and to properly manage the money that was budgeted for the purpose. The minister was to see that hospitals were built and schools built and opened so that children would get a good solid basic education at least.

This was intended to be noble work that would uplift people in third world countries and at the same time Spain's prestige would be enhanced. This is the type of mandate a decent person would go to great length not to make a mess of as it is good work.

However, the minister seems to have taken it upon himself to determine that black people in Africa didn't deserve the help nor did brown people in South America need assistance. Except for very minor amounts that went to these causes the majority of the funds went directly into the minister's pockets and those of his compatriots.

To simply call this callous attitude corruption is like saying it rains now and again in England. This is a terrible case of understatement because this takes corruption to a new level. This man and all his cronies who were a part of the crime took the  hopes and dreams and a better life from children and their parents, and they did it with cold hearts and unfeeling minds. I would say that they should be ashamed, as any normal person with a conscience would do; but these are not normal people. These are the swamp dwellers of the human race who look like humans but they are not.

They came from the mud and the cesspits of the world and they should be sent back as they have no place among decent people. They are a cancer among us and they stink. At their trial there were so many of them I thought they were the spectators. The prosecutor has asked for a sentence of 16 years but we really don't ever need to have them back. Put them in a hole and close the cover and add feces.

May they rot in peace!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, July 8, 2017

My Most Important Blog to Date



The pain in my lower right side back appeared from nowhere and without cause. I thought it had something to do with my Appendix but it turned out to be associated with gas although it lingered for about a month. The more activity I engaged in the more intense the pain; but by taking things easy and protecting my back the pain eventually went away.

I was curious: What really was the driver of the pain, what was going on in my body? I asked my GP for help in finding understanding and he referred me to a specialist. The specialist sent me to take a colonoscopy, a very unpleasant procedure both in the preparation and the execution. That procedure went well although the professionals doubt if what they found had anything to do with the pain, but what they did find was that for about five years I have been growing a cluster of polyps that look like a tree that is materially blocking my colon and that has me on track for infection of my blood. The end result is most likely death through septicaemia.

Now we are racing against the clock to save my life by entering into emergency  major surgery before the growth turns cancerous or poisonous.

I discovered this situation by accident as a result of my constructive curiosity, however, of all the men I have met in my 78 years of life there is not one that I can think of who would have put himself through what I have gone through in the name of simple curiosity, but in doing so I have saved my life. Women might do that but we men are so bad about taking our health seriously as we are macho.

You've seen the scene where the man is involved in a terrible accident and he is bleeding, his arm is hanging off and his head is on backwards and everybody wants to get him to hospital quickly, but he says I'm alright! Don't worry!

The fundamental problem is that within the human body more than one thing could be acting as a silent killer. Heart disease being one of those things and another is blood in the excrement. The public health system runs a campaign periodically, at the present being one of those times, to encourage people to send in a small specimen of their poo for analysis. If there is blood hidden in with the material then you have a problem and should immediately see your doctor.

What often happens is that people find the idea of messing around with their waste product so repugnant that they just won't participate. The cause of their premature death should be marked: "stupidity," or "squeamishness", or "carelessness."

In my case my mystery pain was a message from my friend, that friend being God to say that there was something going on with my body that would prematurely kill me, but my mission, if I chose to accept it was to find that thing and to deal with it ASAP.

Here's how to prolong your own life: At least once every year, or sooner if you wish you should have an analysis of your blood, urine and excrement, and have your blood pressure read, then act on the results. This is especially important the older we get.

While we are at it we should think before we stuff our mouths as a good dietary plan is essential.

Copyright (c ) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Multi-Tasking!



I am told by women that only they have the skill to do more than one thing at a time because it is they who have the mental lobe that makes that possible Whether they are at the office or especially at home with children demanding her attention while she takes care of a dozen things, somehow she copes. For we men we just tell the children that daddy's busy. We men must choose the one thing we need to do and concentrate on doing that well. That is so sad and if true it allows the ladies to beat us all the time.

I am reminded of the old adage that says, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." I think that is said because at least one time someone threw the baby out with the bath water. Perhaps they were multi-tasking, or trying to do more than one thing at a time when that happened.

That sounds like something a man might have done, perhaps even myself as I was involved in the upbringing of my son. If I were trying to emulate my wife I could have got that all wrong and made a mess of things. I would have had to find baby and coo over him apologising that papa was just trying to do too many things at once.

He would have thought "papa, does that mean we are related? Somebody please help me!

They didn't say who did the throwing, but I'm just saying.

It was definitely a woman who was driving her car along the avenue as the police cruiser drew alongside her and the policeman urged her to slow down; slower, slower still, slower and gently pull over to the side and come to a smooth stop.

Was I speeding officer?

No Ma'am, you were driving within the limit. In fact you are a good driver and you take instruction really well. We would give you a certificate of commendation were it not for the fact that your baby is riding in the convertible on the top of your car.

(She screams out loud!!!) Oh baby, baby, baby, Mommy's sorry it's just that I was so busy packing the car and talking to your aunt Sue and texting I forgot. I know that sounds incredible but I just did. Please forgive Mommy.

Baby thinks, mommy, does that mean we related? Somebody help me!

Multitasking yes, but needs some work!

I was thinking that it must be possible to train myself to do more than one thing efficiently at the same time. How difficult could that be? If I could succeed at that it would redeem the pride of men all over the world.

I was thinking about it while looking out at the scenery when I suddenly realised that I was doing two things at once, plus I was breathing and listening, that made four things, and I was chewing gum, five things in all. I was not hopeless after all.

I tried patting my head and rubbing my stomach in a circle which made me laugh and that brought the number of things to eight, surely I could get to ten. I began to tap one foot and because I was talking about it that did take me to ten things at the same time. Ten things all at the same time is not bad for a man who supposedly doesn't have the mental lobe.

Call it one small step for men if you will, but we have parity and our pride is intact.

The next time a lady says "I can multitask and you can't" tell her to get a life!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael 


Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Travelling Season



Taken from today's Costa Levante headlines: "Britons arrested over fake hotel compensation claims." This strikes a chord with me as I worked in the hotel and catering business for over twenty-five years and have just about seen it all.. Everybody is familiar with the ole "fly in my soup" ploy. As hotels cater to the general public it follows that just about every type of person will pass through your lobby including those who try and get something for free.

To be a survivor in the hotel business you have to try really hard to impress the travelling public. If you aim for Five Stars to your name that means in the mind of your guests that they will experience the ultimate in comfort and luxury. To the hotelier he is expecting the very best in behaviour from his cultured guests. It does not always work out that way.

First there are the genuine la crème de la crème visitor who will be rich or super rich and cultured. They will pay your top rates and they quietly demand the very best. They tip the staff well and are welcome back at any time. If all hotels existed to cater to this class of visitor the hotel business would be an absolute joy. But no, life is more varied than that.

The travelling public is made up of those people for whom some require that the price be right and others who look for quality, and others who are not clear at all as to what they want. Perhaps the largest group of all are those who check in to hotels only to be a real pain in the ass to all the staff. They seem to get their joy from bossing people around and trying to extract every iota of freebie the hotel has to offer. However in every country there is an hotel association and its members regularly meet. Can we imagine that they share their experiences and that even those stories get around internationally, so often while the traveller is concocting his scheme at home the hotelier has seen it all before.

It's true that they will tolerate nuisance claims just to get rid of the problem with their reputation intact. Probably if your claim stays under $5,000 you may get away with it with the top hotels. They can insure against that as a cost of doing business. However, I often wonder about the Bed ¨N Breakfast club where  very few people actually work. Often these are run by two people and their profit margin is paper thin. It is so easy to threaten to make a false claim against these people who work so hard that it must break their hearts.

There are so many people like that who really don't know what they are doing and what the risks are, but they have a go anyway. Then they take in the wrong visitor and they encounter a very unhappy experience and suddenly they shut down. Very sad!

Even at the top end it's not unusual for your guests to walk out having packed those wonderful robes and towels. You really wouldn't want the people to come back, but you would like to get your towels and robes back.

That headline in the paper alluded to a racket that drew departing visitors to enter into a scheme to defraud the hotel. Third parties encouraged them to make false claims and to share the ill-gotten gains. Sometimes things do not work out so well for visitors and it becomes incumbent on the hotel to make that experience good for the visitor, but when a scam is being run against the establishment it is enough to make you want to give up.

This Summer it is hoped that your travels will be pleasant and you bring home lasting and wonderful memories. Should you be contacted and asked to partake in a fake claim scheme it's important to remember that the hotels are starting to fight back. Enough is more than enough!

On a hopeful note it's good to realise that the vast majority of people who check into hotels are good, solid honest people who only want reasonable value for money, and a smile. Long may it last.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A rich man's Conundrum




I was once friends with a guy who was wealthy. He was a really pleasant person to be around and he taught me a number of things. For instance he said that he invested heavily in gold when the price was fixed at $35 per ounce. He was convinced the price would move from being fixed to reflect the market forces. He continued to build his stock and to bear the cost of storage and insurance for over twenty years until what he predicted became an actuality. Now that's faith!

Needless to say payday grew to be huge for him. I have no idea to what degree his net profit turned out to be but he was a very happy fellow.

Where he was not happy was in his personal life. His money was an absolute curse in his pursuit to secure a happy relationship with a woman. He was away so much in the course of building his fortune that his wife grew weary of being on her own to the point that she could no longer see the point of being married. They divorced, and as he admitted he was constantly with other women so she was absolutely right.

His was a name well known in the circles of business so he was never short of female company but they were not women who cared for him. They were narcissistic creatures who were only interested in themselves and their comforts that he could afford, but they were empty of any real love and warmth. They bored him to such a degree that he would have nothing to do with that type of woman.

He had a wonderful island home that by its very nature determined him to be a super rich person. Even those local ladies whom he spent time with got ideas but at least they were suitably impressed by him and his wealth, and they generally enjoyed time spent.

He seemed to be happy and content in so far as his carnal nature was concerned. The ladies did well from their association with him, but as he said it was all on his own terms. He had turned his back on his high society circle and spent his days on my island home living a life of simplicity. He and I would often spend time working on his boats doing things he could well have paid someone else to do, but he needed to have something to do so he found solace in doing simple things.

As we worked on cleaning the bottom of his boats he would tell me stories of his experience with some of the women he had known from the high society set. Women who did nothing to actively contribute to his happiness or even to their own surroundings. They seemed to think that just by the fact that they were there was all that was necessary.

Many were socially refined but sex was a dry, cold unemotional affair that made him wish he were some place else. That they gave him sex at all seemed to depend on the quality of gifts given by him. Their main contribution was being seen on his arm looking their best, but that was probably only so they could attract other men. At least the local women were totally involved and showed him love and warmth whether he gave them anything or not.

For those of us without monetary wealth we think how much we would love to come into a great deal of money, but the truth is that with money comes problems that usually don't exist otherwise.

So, if you are a person with true love in your life you, and I need to recognise how lucky we are. We should do ourselves a favour and protect what we have and preserve it.

True love is so difficult to find that when you do that can be defined as wealth of the highest magnitude even if the woman who loves you has a bit too much around the waist.

Love is love. Enjoy!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, June 10, 2017

AC35 and The Big Flop



I was determined not to write about the AC35 this week but I feel I must make an observation about the big talking point that occurred this past week.

Winds in the Great Sound were up at 21knts and there were white caps. The race was on so it made compelling watching as there was no room for error. The captains were on their game as they handled their spirited boats. Remember these boats potentially can get up to four times the wind speed.

I am very familiar with Great Sound sailing. Conditions can be extremely volatile in that relatively small enclosed body of water. During an all out hurricane it becomes like a boiling pot of water as the waves can get up to quite challenging proportions.

The day was going fine with race after race elapsing the course in great time. For all of us who watched it was the start of the fourth race of the day, Emirates vs Land Rover BAR. The boats approached the start with Land Rover ahead when suddenly a freak gust struck Emirates and she appeared to rear up as though on her way over backwards but skillful handling caused her to change her mind but instead she dug  her head down deep into the trough and just came to a dead stop. It was sort of like watching a horse in a jumping event suddenly refuse to jump the hurdle, instead digging its forelegs into the dirt sending its rider flying.

It happened so fast that no one saw the captain and the navigator and one of the grinding crew go flying but there they were, in the drink. The good news was that none of the crew suffered any physical harm that was obvious, but they must have suffered shock, as did all who watched. It seemed to me to be one of the worst types of dunking which looked like it destroyed the boat.

As someone said it was a real shame and I'm sure no one wanted to see that happen, but it certainly did make for good television. I didn't have to include that in this blog as it has been widely reported, as have other exciting incidents.

The reason I decided to return to AC35 was because on hand to witness it was a very special visitor who, it is believed arrived on a private jet. Normally, during a six week period Bermuda is not visited by a great number of private jets but over this racing six week period some 250 private jets will fly in and out. What a difference.

The thing about Spain's King Juan Carlos I (Retired) is that is was his country that originally discovered Bermuda. One of Spain's explorers, Juan de Bermudez, from Cartagena first came upon the uninhabited island back around 1509. He apparently did not remain there that long, but in the custom of Spaniards he left Bermuda some jamon in the form of live pigs. He claimed the island for Spain but could never find it again. Consequently Spain renounced its right to the island.

I suspect that the retired king must surely think what a mistake that was. He certainly saw it at its best. In fact most people living there were seeing it at its finest. It's not everyday we have AC racing on the Great Sound.

If the king should ask Britain to return Bermuda to Spain I say let them have it. Bermudians, under Spanish rule your lives will take a turn towards continuous excitement because here in Spain we live for the fiesta.

However, some of Spain's fiestas might take a bit of getting used to, but try them, you'll like 'em.

Trust me!

Incidentally, Emirates and Land Rover BAR did resume their race two days later and Emirates handily beat Land Rover BAR. That just might have been a matter of winning their pride back.


Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, June 3, 2017

America's Cup, Number 35 Bermuda continues

I'm sitting here in my Spanish home just aching because I would really like to be in Bermuda at this moment. For the past week sailing has been going great with only one day when winds were too light to race. However, the weather has been glorious and Bermuda has looked just wonderful on television.

We can see many of the private ocean going yachts in the background, as well as regularly scheduled cruise ships at dock. Today, the 3rd of June there are nineteen Tall Ships in Bermuda as a salute to America's Cup as they partake in their own Ronde-Vouz 2017 event. Somehow I had the impression that there would only be four, but the number is nineteen.

Meanwhile, on shore there are all sorts of complimentary events celebrating the presence of so much excitement from abroad that it must be difficult to know where to look. America's Cup is being broadcast throughout 165 locations around the world and it is estimated that more than one billion people have their eyes focused firmly upon my tiny but oh so beautiful Bermuda home.

You guessed it, I'm proud to be a Bermudian!

I trust you are enjoying the event from wherever you are viewing it and I offer my best wishes to organisers and participants for good luck and smooth sailing.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, May 27, 2017

America's Cup 35th event starts in Bermuda



As far as this blogger is concerned there can be no more exciting event today, May 27th, 2017 than the start of America's Cup 35th racing Event taking place in Bermuda.

I am a Bermudian living abroad but at this moment I wish I were there in situ where the entire island is consumed with race fever. The event was scheduled to get under way, complete with opening ceremonies yesterday, the 26th of May, but it seems as though Mother Nature decided to remind everyone that She is still in charge. High winds postponed the opening until today, and now all is in readiness, so off we go.

Ironically, I live in Valencia where the 32nd edition of the AC cup was held in 2007, and the 33rd again in 2010 after a court ruling that sought to settle a dispute. I think it's fair to say that a reasonable amount of interest and excitement was stirred among Valencianos on the ground around the AC village, but the actual racing took place offshore so unless you took on the expense of getting on board one of the boats that shadowed the race you watched it on television. We can watch an event without being in the same location.

It was a big event for Valencia and we knew that something big had taken place here, but something was missing. Bermuda, however, will be different.

The races of 2010 and 2013 have evidently involved only two teams but the 35th edition will match six teams against one another. The island is near perfect for the event as the racing will take place within an oval body of water where everybody on shore can view it as well as from the decks of super cruise liners, and from a ring of private boats. A large number of those private boats will be super ocean going private yachts, both motor and sailing vessels. A total of 100 spaces have been reserved for such visitors which is the limit that can be accommodated.

To add to the excitement of an already overloaded program four Tall Ships will visit Bermuda between the first and the 4th of June. They are participating in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta and in the process they will add their considerable dignity to what is already a most spectacular event that is expected to be watched by more than a billion people around the world.

They are as follows:

The Oosterschelde Dutch Training sailing ship, built in 1918 as a Class A three-masted topsail Schooner.
The Tall Ship Blue Clipper, a B class three-masted schooner built in 1990.
The Jolie Brise, a Class B Gaff Cutter, built in 1913 is a sail training ship that flies the flag of the U.K.
The Alexander Von Humboldt II, a Class A, 3 masted Barque, built in 2011, flying the German flag, and sailing out her home port of Bremerhaven, Germany. She can fly a collection of 24 sails and operates as a sail trainer  charter and hospitality ship.

To set the tone for AC a new race has been inaugurated this year, racing from Antigua to Bermuda and organized by The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing week. It is anticipated that this will become an annual event. The entrants to this event began to arrive in Bermuda on the 20th of May, having crossed the finish line well in time for the start of AC 35.

The word on the street is that a number of the visiting super private yachts might organize their own unofficial race around Bermuda, taking along some very lucky islanders for the ride. If that happens it will be the icing on the cake. I need to be there for that!

The meat and potatoes will be the daily racing of course, leading up to the finale, and that alone would ordinarily be enough to totally captivate everyone's attention. As it is the entire island will be undergoing more excitement over a six week period than it has known throughout its entire four hundred year history.

When AC35 ends, and no one will want it to end, Bermuda will gear up for another racing event on water and that will be capped off by the semi-finals of an international track and field event.

Keep your dial on Bermuda, 2017, the happening place for this year.

Kinds of gives new meaning to The Bermuda Triangle doesn't it?

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael





Sunday, May 21, 2017

Living in a World of Spy things




What a simple world we lived in before the Age of the Internet. Privacy meant something then and we all said how important it was to us. That was then and this is now.

First came the telephone that could be bugged and recorded so that our conversations could be played back to us in a court of law. We became paranoid as we had to wonder who was listening in when we spoke. For the vast majority the answer was that only the person to whom we were directly speaking was maybe actually listening. We need not have worried.

Now, we need to worry. Once we began to broadcast over air that information was subject to capture by people we preferred not to have it. This includes just about our entire way of life from mobile phones, the Internet, the locking systems for our cars, and the security and convenience cameras in our homes and even in our babies bedrooms.

I have even placed black tape over the camera on this laptop because the awful truth is that some hacker who could really use a life could be looking at me typing right now had I not barred the access. Why do I think anyone would care in the least what I am doing in the privacy of my own home? After all I am of no significance to any government or military organisation.

Well, because I write blogs that identifies me as a person of some interest because I have an opinion and I have the means of expressing it. I must have offended or at least awoken someone's sensitivities as a result of all the stuff I have written over eighteen years. At least I hope so. We bloggers have something to say which we trust will bring around people to change their ways. For instance, last week I wrote that if we all accepted the latest tragedies of death on the road of cyclists to influence our own behaviour as drivers, perhaps far fewer cyclists will suffer harm.

My most important philosophy is that Death is not the End, but rather we simply shed our present bodies in order to effect change. Have I disturbed any religious bodies who are charged with the preparation of making ready their parishioners to meet The Lord when they die? Perhaps!

What about the things you do during your daily routines? Do they call attention to you, or might your own spouse be interested in what you do round the house when that person is out?

The common household appliance that is connected to the Internet can make that happen. I have read an on-line article by a person named Kara Alaimo that is well thought out and presented and far reaching in its breath. Kara is concerned about the many ways in which spy agencies or individuals could use simple domestic appliances or more sophisticated means to spy on every thing we do, but she wants us to be reassured by manufacturers that they will not use the spyware to violate our privacy.

This is a good idea so that when we consider buying a Smart this or that we may be encouraged to make the purchase in the first place. No matter how much reassurances we receive if its possible to be done our paranoia will lead us to believe that it is happening. If you are a U.S. resident  you are living with the Edward Snowden effect about what your government seems to be doing with you in mind.

The problem may not be the trusted company but it will always be the hackers who can break into the communication stream and harvest information for their own use, or even to take it hostage. The simple truth is that we are living in a world that is wonderful in many ways and progressively growing in that direction, while at the same time growing more and more terrible. It does not seem to be possible to accept the good things without the bad side affects. That is just a fact of life.

Something as simple as writing this blog brings with it the responsibility to back it up along with everything else I do to guard against loss.

What a wonderful pain in the ass life has become!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Rich and the super rich



When someone such as myself sits down to write about those people who have 99% of all the money in the world you might expect me to be jealous and cynical. I surprise even myself by being neither. It's true that I could make good use of a few million, but we might be surprised at how little I would lavish  on myself.. I've made do without it all these many years, so I'm not likely to absolutely lose my head.

I'm at a loss as to why The Sunday Times bothers to publish the Rich List. Apart from satisfying my idle curiosity it doesn´t  seem to have any other function. The richest family in the world appears to be headed by two brothers from India who have amassed a fortune totalling 16.2 Billion pounds. That was at the cutoff date so God knows what the total stands at now. For a start they made 3.2 Billion Pounds during the past year.

I got to wondering what kind of life that much in assets buys a person, and could you actually enjoy it. It would be a given that you would live in the very finest homes around the world. Everything would be super first-class for you, including an army of people to tend to your needs and wishes. You could do that with 500 million, so what more could you want with two more lots of 500 million each.  You've already got the big airplane and at least one yacht that you could invite as many ladies as you wished to lounge around looking good on, so what the hell would you spend another 10 billion on?

What these two guys did during the last year was get up every day, get dressed in their very finest and go to work to make even more billions. They even look like the kind of people who would not be amused by lots of lovely ladies hanging about, and I even think I might get bored by that as well.

With lots and lots of money a person should be able to have a perfect life in which nothing goes wrong, but judging by the horrid family stories that are generated by the top 99% I really don't think I would want to be one of them.

I play the lottery to a small extent wishing for a win of 15 million euros.. At my age that would mean a couple of new cars and the wife would want a custom designed house, and then it would be time to attend to the reasonable needs of my close family and that of my wife. Our friends would not be forgotten, but we are now down to gifts in the thousands because we have to think of the really needy whose lives must be made better.

Throughout the whole list there was only one name that I  took time over. That was the name of JK Rowling. I am so happy for her because of the manner in which her fortune came, and the fact that she has already given so much of it away for the benefit of so many who were in need.

Her own story reads like a best seller, and the fact that she got children actually reading in this era of all things electronic just captures my imagination.. I assume that all those with money are entitled to it but JK especially deserves every penny and the fame and respect that goes with it. She appears to be happy, and long may she remain that way.

Otherwise, reading through the list that tells me what industries their fortune came through just put me to sleep.That's because my name wasn't there, so as I said, what was the point?

Maybe next year?


Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Toll and Joy of travel



My wife and I have just returned from Bermuda to our perfectly good life here in Valencia, but somehow it didn't seem like a rational thing to do. We visited family and friends in Bermudiful Bermuda which is an island country that is gearing up for the most exciting period in its history. The America's Cup race is about to get under way attended by almost 100 world class motoring yachts, plus Tall Ships, Cruise ships, and thousands and thousands of spectator boats and musical events and people from around the world. This may be the greatest America's Cup event ever and we have walked away from it.

Travel has become such a miserable experience to get from one place to another but if you were in our shoes you would endure it over and over a thousand times to be able to enjoy the heartwarming time we shared with family and friends. For me I got to meet my two newest great grand children, Ava who is two and James who is two months. I am now the father of three offspring, three grand children, and three great grand children. That is quite a package to travel to be with and I would do that any way in which I had to. However, sitting still for seven hours regresses my age. I found myself thinking; "are we there yet?"

Coming back to my Spanish home has brought on a certain depression as we have come down from our own Bermuda High. The saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder is so true. To begin with Bermuda must surely be the most beautiful island nation in the world. I found my fellow Bermudians to be their usual friendly selves although there are problems to be resolved. I think the remedy is at hand because Bermuda is perhaps the luckiest place on earth. To have been selected for the America's Cup means that they will receive publicity unlike any other, and providing things go smoothly and without human folly the positive publicity this tourist destination will receive cannot be bought.

It has been three years since we were last there so the opportunity to spend time with my family was so precious, and to see friends again is priceless. I keep saying that to find really good friends is rare. Once we have them they are to be treasured. Ideally I would like to return at least once a year but being a retiree I have to watch my pennies. Of course one really sweet win from the lottery could solve that problem.

Today, May 6th is the 30th anniversary of the XL Catlin End-to-End walk for charity. This is something I was involved in starting thirty years ago with friends and it has continued under the very able chair of Anne Mello. We watched via live feed this morning the start of the annual event from the eastern end of the island of the walkers who will walk a full marathon to the western end and right into the America's Cup village. The walkers are followed by cyclists and runners and swimmers and horse riders, who pick up participants along the way. What a day this will be, so I truly wish we were there.

I give a special shout out to Joan Dismont, Ms End-to-End who has never missed one year's event. This year she will have to but her spirit will be there, so Joan, this one's especially for you.

I also want to pay homage to a whole group of people who I call "my people" as they are The Bermuda Senior Islanders. So many of this group I grew up with and we got a little chance to reminisce about the good old days. That was so special to me and as I said, were I a permanent resident I would be a proud Bermuda Senior Islander. We only get to say that if we have been very, very lucky. Fred Hassell, Director, if you didn't already exist we would have had to invent you.

At the departure gates in saying goodbye to my  two precious daughters, Donna and Carol I almost lost it. I am so very blessed to have seen them grow to be a part of the solution and to make me  so very proud. I share that pride with their mother, the late Violeta. Just when the tears were about to flow the security man made me take off my shoes and my belt and that brought me back to reality with a bang. My pants were about to fall down in public. That will make you concentrate every time.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Bankruptcy of United Airlines



Terms and Conditions of use of Service

This is otherwise referred to as The Fine Print and is a carefully worded document covering several pages with one clear objective, and that is to protect the Service Provider against the customer/client.

It is smothered in a blanket of legalese, is many pages long, it is useless as an agreement as the member of the public cannot understand it; usually has no time to read it, and if we could we would not agree to it, but we are obliged to tick "Agreed" if we need the service. It is an agreement that is not an agreement, except between the Service Provider and his lawyer.

Even though the customer apparently agrees in The Agreement to step off the plane when requested by the airline most will not realise they have "agreed" to do so nor, given a fair chance would not agree to do so However, if the airline has invited a person onto the plane, and that person is seated they now have possession, and that is generally recognised as being  nine-tenth's of the law, and bloody well overrules any thing else. Now I am on your plane and you have agreed to get me to my destination,  damn well get on with it!

I have never felt this angry when sitting down to write about something, but it gives me hope that for once, everybody in the world is United about one thing: this is no way to run an airline.

Memo to United Airlines:

Who do you people think you are?  More to the point, who do you think we, your customers are?

Shame on you!

Here's how you properly handle a situation where you have to make room on board the plane for people you would like to give priority: Make your request for people to voluntarily give up their seat by offering compensation for the inconvenience you are putting them through. If that doesn't clear as many seats as you would like, then select anyone you wish and go and ask the person sitting next to them to let you use their seat while you talk to the person next to you. Quietly discuss the urgency for that person to make this flight. If they have room to negotiate make them offers that would be sweet enough to accept. If they would rather not accept, repeat the same process until success is achieved.

Here's what not to do: Do not threaten to place a person in handcuffs, as you have allegedly done before to get them off, and do not drag a person off the flight.

Everybody in the world is now aware that your sense of public relations is crap, so there would seem to be only one thing left to do. Sack all your staff and sell all your plant and equipment and get the hell out of the business.

Anyone who continues to book flights with you will deserve everything they get! Don't come crying to me!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael



Saturday, April 8, 2017

Who, What, and Where is God?



I was about ten years old when I became fully aware of several issues. As a black youth I came to realise I was being educated for a life of service to white people as an hotel worker. It was true that there was not much else in my country at the time but my school system put me in a separate and unequal place.

I was also told outright, over and over again that I was only four fifths of a white boy my age. That mirrored the attitude that existed in The United States and it caused me much pain from prejudice and discrimination.

I was also encouraged to worship, pray and to believe in God. I was told that God was male, and that He was white.  That last bit struck me between the eyes and caused me to scratch my head. God was sold to me as a good and wonderful God, full of love and caring for me. Yet, this white Man, who could control the whole world and to make it whatever He wanted still allowed the type of treatment to me from white people. This was just not computing very well at all.

Over the years I dropped out of organised religion because of man's hypocritical behaviour. I have also formed certain controversial thoughts and views surrounding all religions, and of God. My principal view of God is that God has no gender. As a bit of humour I have said to friends that I think God must be female because one time I had hair and then it all fell out. My fellow men do awful things to each other but we wouldn't do that.

Recently I was introduced to a three-part series of books with the title of: Conversations with God; parts one, two and three. The author is Neale Donald Walsch, and the book is based on him having asked aloud one of those frustrating questions that so many of us do, but God made him collect a pen and paper to record God's actual answer. That grew into a long conversation between the two.

I started to read the book which quickly captivated my interest, but the burning question persisted as to whether this all happened as the author says it did, or was this simply a case of the author exercising a super rich imagination. I decided it would be the same thing and I eagerly continued to read.

As I read, page after page revealed my own radical thoughts from out of the mouth of God. It will therefore not surprise anyone to hear me say that this is the most interesting book I have ever read, bar none.

So far it has been confirmed to me that God has no gender or both genders. God is everything and everywhere and no where. God is everything we can see and everything that we cannot see. God is in everything there is and everything there is not. God is in the plants, the oceans, the mountains and the stars, and in you and me. Therefore I am part God as are you.

God has conversations with all that exists in the Universe, including all people. The sound of God's voice is the sound of the wind in all it's various nuances. It is the sound of the rain and thunder and cracking lightning; the sound of the ocean and the sound of silence.

As I read the words that come from God I try to imagine what God looks like as God speaks. I keep being drawn to an image of a wise man but that's not correct, so I have now substituted any object I need, including a bush, as in the case of Moses talking to God, or a grand old oak tree. In fact God is everything and God is nothing, so take your pick.

Most importantly for me, I finally know what colour God is; God is the colour of the Rainbow...of course!

I also unlearnt those bitter lessons I had been taught all those long years ago and I am a fully confident person today. I better understand Who, What and Where God is and in understanding that I have a much better understanding of life in general. I had been very close to understanding who I am for a long time but I needed one last barrier to come down, and now I know exactly Who I Am. That is a beautiful last part of the puzzle to now finally have. Hooray!

I am in the middle of book One so there are many things ahead of me to learn and to confirm, so I will share some of that as I go along,

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Do Not Call their Name



Yet another person has committed an act of unspeakable horror by cutting down perfectly innocent people who he did not know and cared nought for in the interest of his own agenda. We know him as a terrorist and a criminal and a murderer.

For a long moment I thought British authorities had got it right as some time elapsed before releasing his name. I have now read a two page spread in The Sunday Times about this man and now we all know his name. To me I have already forgotten it as it does not mean anything to me. I didn't know him or his family before and I don't care about him now. To me he is just another terrorist, criminal and murderer. However, to him in deciding to carry out his heinous acts he would have been well pleased to have known that his name would be infamous and known around the world. Maybe he was a loser before but now" they shall know me by my deeds."

Every famous person who has ever been assassinated has attached to his name the name of his assassin in perpetuity. That is a powerful incentive for a person who feels his life has amounted to nothing, and in order to get famous and make something of himself he decides to murder a famous person or to kill a number of people because he could.

What if the police and the news media placed a black-out on the announcement of his name? If no-one would ever learn the identity of who committed such a horrible act, that would surely remove at least one of the main incentives for the murderer, and quite possibly might not happen at all as there might not be anything to gain.

We do not have to cooperate with the assassin. We can do this now, by simply refusing to give notoriety to those who would do such horrid things. Spanish practise does meet this objective already by giving out only the first names of people being convicted in court (except politicians) and no-one complains that they have the right to know the last names. That is because we don't have that right; it's only idle curiosity to the public and once we hear the name we let it go. It's only important to the criminal.

Those of you who control the media I appeal to you not to reveal the identity nor the photo of those who are so callous against their fellow man. Those of us with mobile cameras can act responsibly by not passing any photos we may have of such assailants across the internet. By acting in this manner you may be surprised by the number of lives you save, including possibly your own.



Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael



Saturday, March 25, 2017

Parents in Disgrace



I have to shine some light on a story that broke during the past ten days which reflects very badly on parents at a school in Mallorca attending their children's little league football game. As too often happens the fathers disagree with a call by the referee and that starts a melee.

This particular group of parents were not the first to do this, and sadly they will not be the last. I understand how tempers become frayed very quickly when your child is involved. These are not bad people doing bad things; they are mothers and fathers losing their usual cool where they think their children are getting a raw deal. I get that and I am not putting my oar in to cry them down. That would be too easy and assumes I'm more holy than everyone else.

I have never made a spectacle of myself at one of my son's games, I am glad to say, so I don't have empathy from that angle, but I do understand that little league games come with a high degree of emotions from all parents and I think it should be recognized when attending said games and resolving to control one's self. It's bad enough when supporting your adult home team.

A group of parents fighting in front of their children makes for really horrible television, let alone setting a really bad example for the children. This group of parents were hauled before a judge and were given the "opportunity" to apologise for their behaviour. Most did so with arms firmly crossed across their bodies indicating to me that their voices did not correspond with their body language.

After that nasty event they must now go back to working in cooperation with the teachers in the making of policy for the wellbeing of the school. How's that going to work? I think it will take some cool heads to prevail but parents you must remember to bring out your best effort in being a mature adult and to put this sad episode behind you.  

When your children are engaged in competitive events we need to remember that they are the children and you are their parents with sophistication and maturity. Try, try, and  try very hard to let that come shining through.

Do it for your children!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Mexico Drug Struggle - Why?



Mexico is a state like Columbia which seems to be controlled by the drug lords. Mexico does have a healthy export industry manufacturing cheap goods and exporting them to The United States for sale to consumers. The goods go North and the cash comes back. However, along with the legitimate trade Mexico  also unintentionally does a roaring trade in sending tons of drugs North to feed the addiction of an ever growing market. Americans seem to think that the taking of recreational drugs is their right and it would appear that The United States is right back to the era of prohibition of alcohol, and we all know how that turned out.

There are two drugs that are perfectly legal. They are alcohol and tobacco. In spite of the best efforts of stalwart people who thought they had the very best interests of the country at heart, the prohibition against alcohol was overcome. Now, people destroy their livers or die in automobile related crashes because they have impaired their judgements, or worse those who died were innocent victims of someone who was driving while drunk. Still, we seem to be willing to accept such happenings as a price of driving.

In taking illegal drugs, and some legal ones as well people die from bad batches or overdose themselves and die, but the rest of us, except old stogies like myself who stay away from all that crap, don't get bent out of shape. People will smoke cigarettes, they will drink alcohol and they will take dangerous drugs and kill themselves if they wish, so it seems apparent the so-called war on drugs will never be won by the government unless it decides to make the substances legal and subject to a strict code in their manufacture and distribution.

Meanwhile, Mexico fights a literal war in the streets and the jungles against the illegal drug industry, and it fights hard to stop the flow of drugs across its border into The United States of America. Now, as a reward for all their hard work and loss of life of their sentinels the new American administration is picking on Mexico to demand that they build a wall and pay for it when so much contraband simply passes through the official border crossing anyway.

I always blame the consumer for buying the drug products in the first place. If we were talking about smoking cigarettes the easy way to counter this is by not getting started. I did get started because it was the done thing at the time. There were no warnings against it and it was the social thing so I wanted to be seen as Cool, and so I started. Fortunately I came to my senses and quit cold turkey. This year I am celebration my 52nd anniversary since I stopped smoking, however, I can only say that I am a recovering smoker. All it would take  is for me to get stinking drunk and be offered a cigarette and I would be off again.

No matter how good a drug makes you feel you have got to know that this is going to end very badly. Drugs generally are addictive, or they lead to addictive substances. Alcohol is also not a good thing. It may or may not be addictive to each individual but it changes your behaviour by bringing on a loss of control. Under such conditions people often do things they come to deeply regret later.

So, I was wondering why does Mexico try so hard to protect the American consumer when that person does not appreciate it? Why doesn't Mexico simply do nothing to fight dealers on its own streets? Since the drug lords are interested in the export of their products into other countries, which creates employment in Mexico, and a Tsunami of money comes pouring back over the border into the Mexican economy, why bother?

That seems to me to be a very good question?

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Time



Life seems to be all about time. The fact is that time is an artificial construct of man for our modern society which is run by the clock. We need to know when it is time to go to sleep and to wake up. When is it time to leave our homes to go to school or to work and when is it time to return home. In the meantime if we are at school there will be a time specific to learn about this, and about that, and a time for a break, and to eat, and to be collected at the end of the school day so that we return to our homes and to continue our studies in the completion of our homework.

Our parents most probably spend their days at their place of work. They too are governed by time in executing certain work for clients which is charged to the client, which is where the saying comes from that time is money. We need time to organise our day as we allot a certain amount of time for meetings or client lunches.

Time is king in determining our deadlines to get things finished on a timely basis. Time is a hard taskmaster. It is relentless in driving us forward and ensuring that our employer gets their money's worth. Time is how we keep track of the length of time we have been alive, and when we finally die our time among the living will be summed up.

Time is used as a form of punishment so that should we offend seriously enough against society's norm we will be removed from society for s specific period of time to be made to waste a valuable period of time in our lives. The one thing no mere mortal can do is to give more time to a fellow human being than the 24 hours in a day that has been allotted each person. However, the way in which we use that time is up to each individual.

We quickly come to realise just how artificial time is when we retire from our careers. Suddenly time has less importance. Should we choose to live out our retirement lives by fishing or gardening time will have very little value at all. The more relaxed we become in our retirement the more we realise the days slip away and we go from one day to the next without being aware of exactly what day of the week it is, nor have we a clue what the date is or even the month, and we have to check as to the year from time to time.

If you are a person living on the plains or in the jungles or mountains time is something vague that you look to the moon and the stars and the sun for guidance as to when to plant and reap your crops. The last thing a prisoner needs to be reminded of is the time but so many prisons are located near chiming clocks, perhaps as a tease to their prisoners

Perhaps it is some kind of natural defence in nature that those of us who are elderly lose the need to know the time because when time is running out for us we would really not be reminded every minute of the day.

And now it's time that I close this because it's my siesta time.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael.