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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kim Jong Un - Uh Oh!

This guy is too dangerous to play games with!


First and foremost, it was a very bad idea to make a film that directly focuses on this man. Always, those two little words, Uh Oh, go before something that got way out of hand and ends horribly.

The Interview is a B class movie, which should stand for Bad, and in my opinion should be classed as  F B, or fucking bad. It has been asserted that Kim tried to discourage people from seeing the movie. If that was so, he was right.

I was a believer from the start when Sony said it had been hacked, and pulled the film. I could see the anger in Americans that a foreign power would even dare to suggest that Americans not go to see a movie, because it bothered The Supreme Leader. But then, with encouragement from none other than the President of the United States, Sony caved in and released the film on the day it had intended anyway. It brought in $1,000,000 on the first day's limited release. People thought it was their patriotic duty to go and see something they otherwise would not have been caught dead anywhere near it, just to flip the bird to North Korea.

 I am not an American, nor do I live in America, so I was not overwhelmed by the hype. I could think straight. My thoughts strayed away from the herd and I started to think, wait a minute. Am I watching one of the smartest merchandising tricks ever played on the American people?

The North Koreans have denied they hacked Sony. Perhaps Kim couldn't care less about this stupid movie. The result is that the film has more publicity than any other movie in living memory. I haven't heard anyone, even the super patriots, say that the movie is great. I suspect that the penny is beginning to drop and people may be starting to think they have been punked.

What the hell has been set in motion? Over a dumb movie? The Dictator , as everybody knows, is an emotional person, with nuclear weapons, and a pressing desire to use them. Simply by making the movie might indeed have been a provocation too far. The world may have to pay for the indiscretion of producers who failed to realise that freedom of speech comes with a high level of responsibility that says, you may be free to say something, but should you?

Copyright (c) 2014   Eugene Carmichael  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Bermuda Triangle Christmas Tree

Christmas in The Bermuda Triangle is very different!
My two favourite Jamacians, Clyde and Dudley were smoking their daily gigantic spliff, when as usual, one of them started with, "you know mon, I been tinking." These two genuises come up with all manner of bizarre ideas, including the one about Jamaica sending a Toboggan team to the Winter olympics.

It was Clyde who said to Dudley that he was thinking that they should gatheer together a great big shipment of marijuana, because as he put it, "It God's own Herb, mon, and we could ship it to Bermuda 'n sell it fer top dollar." "Good idea Clyde, mon, but how ve ship it?" "In one of dem dere ocean going fancy yachts in the bay tied only wif a piece of string."

And that's exactly what our two heroes did. They slipped out to sea in the still of a moonless night aboard a luxury yacht that they had borrowed, headed due north, destined for Bermuda. However, predictably, after only three days at sea a storm arose. A really big storm that whipped up waves three, four, five stories high. Suddenly the yacht rose upon a rogue wave that carried it ten stories high, then the wave rolled and broke leaving the yacht with nothing under her, so she dove by her nose, straight down into the trough where she hesitated only for a short momnt before continuing straight down.

Clyde and Dudley were astounded as they lay in the fetus position in the cabin with their mouths open, forgetting to breathe. All was quiet until they felt a gentle bump as the yacht settled on the bottom.

"Dudley, what hoppened, man?" "Me no know, Clyde!" "Come, let we go outside and see what happening."

It didn't occur to either man that they were speaking and breathing normally at the bottom of the sea. They had landed in the Bubble at the Bottom of The Bermuda Triangle Sea.

Suddenly, Clyde spotted a light off in the distance. "Dudley, vat dat dere light, you see it mon?" "Seen, mon. Come let ve go and investigate!"

As they drew nearer the light they could see humans, one looked very much like King Neptune with a crown on his head and a Trident in his hand, and all. King said, "Welcome boys, how much ganja you bring me?"
"Eh, eh!" both of our heroes said at the same time. "Never mind," said King, "my men are offloading her right now."

It was then that Clyde spotted the oddest thing. It appeared to be a huge christmas tree off in the distance. It was so colourful and really big. "Vat dat, Mr King, mon, vat a christmas tree doing down ere?

"Well that is the answer to the greatest mystery the world has ever known, and it's here in the Bermuda Triangle for anyone who wants to drop in for a chat. That, my lads, is a mountain made up of every sock that ever went missing from washing machines around the world. It looks like a tree so I call it my Bermuda Triangle perpeptual  Christmas Tree. Beautiful, don't you think?

"Rastafari" yelled Clyde. "Rastafari, indeed," said Dudley. "Mon, I no smoke de ganja no more. It making life too veird!"

From Clyde, Dudley and myself, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and prosperity throughout 2015. If Christmas is not your ting then we hope that you celebrate the end of 2014 in good health, and may good health bless us all for many more years to come.

"Ya Mon!"

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What the world needs more of is Goodwill

As a place to live this is a very small neighbourhood.

So, here we are with Christmas celebrations and the end of yet another year fast approaching. My memory seems to remind me that when I was young a magical spell fell over the world at this time of year during which we were all nice to one another. This was taken to such an extent that during World War II a cease fire was entered into by both sides on Christmas Day, not necessarily because of christian values, but just because people simply felt the need.

Well, the world is an ever changing place. These days, in many countries the season seems to start with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Stores open their doors at ungodly hours of the night to people who have been waiting in line for days, all to be able to buy things at supposedly deep discounts. Are these discounts real, or did the store raise the prices for a week or so, and now they can say these are great discounts.? That's like shopping at the Duty-Free shops at the airport. If there is really such a place it does not automatically follow that savings will be passed along to the customer. Duty-Free does not necessarily mean cheaper.

We have all seen what happens when the doors open. You had better be sure and fast or you will be trampled upon. Once in the shop the fights begin. I saw this first! Get your hands off my 100" curved screen TV or I will shoot you! Let go of the bra, bitch or I will put your eyes out. Oops, it came apart. Can  anyone use a one cup DD. Maybe as a birds nest or a hat.

What is happening to us? Have we all lost our collective minds, or at least our humanity Somewhere it is questioned, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but to lose his very soul? What indeed!

All around the world there are examples of how deep we have fallen as human beings. We say whatever comes to mind to one another without thinking about the pushback. The Boko Haram boys in Nigeria complained of feeling alone at night in the jungle as they had no women. So, what did they do? They simply went out and stole some. Other groups simply abduct people for ransom, and if nobody will pay they just chop off their heads while the camera is running.

Humans? Not from my tribe, or at lest I would like to think not.  This makes for very heavy thoughts, but still we send Season's Greetings and best wishes for happiness throughout the coming year. We can hope and cross our everything that things will turn out well for our families and friends.

I will say no more than if miracles do happen, now would be a good time to have one affect the entire world of humans. That is all that I want for Christmas!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bill Cosby: They want you to drink that special Kool-Aid

Dr. Bill Cosby
Standup Comedian extraordinary; actor, author, TV producer, educator, musician, and activist

Cosby is 77 and I am 75, so we are of the same generation. I absolutely revere this man and am eternally grateful for all that he has achieved for the black race.

We are of the generation that was told over and over again that because of our race we could never amount to anything, nor could we hope to achieve anything special in our lives. We believed it! But Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the president said that we had to give our complete cooperation to believe such rubbish, and both Cosby and I sat up straight and concluded that she was right.

Cosby went on to prove that he, a black man could do anything he wanted to, and even rise to the very top of his profession. In doing so he took along with him all of us in his tribe. He was the Barack Obama of his times.

And now, it has all come to a very sad period in his life with people tarnishing his name with all sorts of allegations of behaviour that are way out of date and beyond the Statute of Limitations. Considering the nature of the allegations I'm surprised that people are able to make them without simply being charged for publishing them in public.

America is a peculiar place when it comes to the freedom to say anything you want in public.

Those of us who are prepared to take the half hour to read the Wikipedia account of all that he has done over his life, including what he is allegded to have done, we see that from an early age he was an outstanding personality. He attracted my attention and I don't even live in the same country as him. He very quickly became my idol, at a time when black people needed other blacks who were positive role models to look up to. It follows that if men were drawn to him, so were women. My life, compared to his was very low key indeed, but when it came to having women to sexually play with I had my fill. I wanted to play and they wanted to play. It was a simple as that. But Cosby was a rising star, and male stars of the movies and television will tell you that they have to sometimes fight off groupies.

I am having immense problems in believing that Cosby would have had to drug women to get with them. Why on earth would he have had to do that? I never did, not even with alcohol. In fact, if a woman was so tanked up with booze I would usually pass on her. I think I assumed she would throw up on me, but I always thought it better not to take advantage of her. They always expressed appreciation later, but I didn't think it would have been an interesting encounter while she was in that condition.

Male stars all have one problem in common. They are men with success, and that attracts women with perhaps boring lives who would love to have bragging rights that they laid this star, or that star. Men also have to protect themselves against paternity suits if they are percieved to have deep pockets. It seems to be the price of being rich and famous.

Getting back to a parralell in my own life: For a period I lived alone in a lovely house. From time to time I would hold parties there, but I quickly learnt to take a tour of the house with the last guests to leave to ensure that there were no women hiding to pounce when everybody else had left. I stopped having parties because this was such a problem, even to the extent that one time we discovered three women hiding in various rooms of the house, including the broom closet.

So, I know I'm being biased when I say that I just don't believe that the things the women say happened, way beyond the Statute of Limitations, did happen. If they did, they should have been dealt with at the time. There is a very good reason for a Statute of Limitations, and this is a prime example why it is in place.

Someone made the ridiculous suggestion that Cosby should voluntarily waive his right to the Statute. I think that suggestion has arrived still-born. Also, because there is a rising number of women coming forward with their stories we are supposed to accept that as some kind of proof of authenticity. I say just the reverse is the case. They seem to be circling like buzzards smelling blood. After all, you only have to say that something happened. Well, simply saying it happened doesn't make it so. I fully expect the number to rise to 2000, and perhaps beyond for this reason.

Bill Cosby is an icon who has done a tremendous amount of good on behalf of his people, and The United States of America itself. He is a man with very deep pockets, with an estimated fortune of $350 million. Don't tell me that isn't attractive to those who think they might have a shot at getting some. I can't say that Cosby is and has always been a saint because I was not there, but if he did do something that was illegal and egregious it should have been dealt with at the time.

To wait untl now to tarnish the reputation of an old man who has given so much of positive value seems to me to be worse than any of the allegations that are so easily being thrown about.

Lastly, my enduring memory of Cosby goes back to 1987. I was driving at the time the local radio station decided to play his album, "Those of you, with or without children; You'll understand." This was such a funny album I was forced to pull my car off the road and behind a bush to relieve myself. Now, that's talent!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hell hath no fury like a royally pissed-off woman!

Isn't she lovely? But don't rub her the wrong way.


This topic is a favourite with film directors, given the number of movies that have been made in this genre. Their pet theme is that of the aging and faithful wife who is abandoned by her husband for a younger model, and her reaction to get her revenge. The storyline is usually juicy and it involves all of the audience very quickly. The women feel it and the guys just have to duck. We exit the movies and we start to say something and our woman says, don't talk to me. I'm pissed at you!

My most memorable film on this subject is, "Waiting to Exhale" which added colour to the mix. Husband, who was black and successful dumps his black wife for a younger, white new woman. I thought there was going to erupt a riot in the theatre. The husband made his announcement, then said to his wife, I'm leaving now but I will be back for my clothes. What clothes would he expect to find when he came back?

Fatal Attraction was another outstanding film based on a silly premise that a man can have sex with a woman  who he just met, but be expected to be hers for life. When she finds out that he is married she pulls out every nasty trick in the book to stick it to him.

The problem is that both of these stories are based on solid facts. Both also make the man the villian of the piece, when in real life women can be as irresponsible as men, and sometimes they can be more so. Here are a couple of examples that place the man as villian. Case number one involved a work colleague. We worked in a nightclub until one in the morning. After that we went to after hours club, but he always had a woman on his arm while his wife waited at home. I warned him he was cruising for a bruising, but he didn't listen.

Apparently, on this fateful night he went home as usual about 5am, and went straight into the shower to wash away the smell of the other woman, again, as usual. What he didn't notice was the pot of something on the stove that sat over a low fire.  Suddenly, as he stood in the shower completely exposed his wife appeared with the pot of boiling rice and threw it over him. Why rice? Because it is sticky starch that clings to whatever surface, and on him it just burned and burned and burned. Apparently he passed out with the pain. He carried those scars with him to his death, which was an early one, but not so early that she could be charged with murder.

No man would have even thought to do something like that. Sure, we kill one another, and we torture, but that was off the chart.

I should have learned my lesson from that, but I didn't.

 Several years later I was working in an hotel dining room as a person who had no love obligations. There were always visitors available to entertain, so together with one of the other waiters we did just that. However,  I met one of the local ladies and a relationship developed even though she was married. Then she told me who her husband was and I nearly fainted to know that he was none other than my co-pilot and work companion. His wife said that she didn't feel guilty because he didn't care about her, and as I knew he played around rather than going home to her.

The summary of a long story is that she had a plot for him to find me in his home and in his bed where out of insane jealously he would kill me and go to jail and out of her life. It came within a whisker of happening exactly as she had planned. Hell hath no fury, indeed!

I have learned my lesson!

Having said all that I will close with the story of a couple who I came to know about 55 years ago. I knew him as my boss at the electrical power company. He was a smart guy and an absolute straight arrow family man. He worked all the hours he could find to earn a living and to personally build a house for his family. There were times when we guys from his crew would go over on our days off to help him pour concrete, so we knew how super proud he was when the house was finished and he was able to move his family in.

It was less than a year after that when the hammer fell. His wife announced that she was in love with another man whom she had had as a lover all those years when he was working to build the house. He said, I thought you loved me! She replied, "I never loved you!" And then she ordered him to move out of her house immediately. He told us he came so very close to killing her on the spot, but he realised that he could not hurt her without hurting the children. So, with a very heavy heart he left and his life went straight downhill. He became one of those people we see living in a cardboard box. We call them bums. This man was no bum, and I wonder about the stories of all of the homeless.

So, here's a project for someone who has the stamina and the courage and the heart to pursue the stories of so many people who live in sub-human conditions. What happened to bring them to such a place? I bet it would make really compelling reading.

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Censor

Are there any retired Censors in the house?

First, for the young people I will explain what a Censor was. In the old days, men and women were hired by the State to decide what was fit for members of the public to see and hear. Their presence was felt everywhere. Still, to an extent, what we are fed is subject to a voluntary form of censure, although you might not think so.

Official censorship ended because of pressure from the public who felt that having some people arbitralily decide for us was just not right. We thought we were more offended by that principal than having so much junk now dumped in our faces. However, if you are like me you might be fed up to such a degree that entertainment is no longer entertainment when it is just a platform to spew forth with profane language and simulated sex. (I think it is simulated.)

The film, "Three Weddings and a Funeral" begins with the first five minutes where all the actors repeat the same four-letter word for five minutes. I guess the director thought this was what, funny. creative? Other made for television or cinema films can be one continous string of explictives, and that wears the audience down to the extent that we do not enjoy the narrative.

It is becoming so that when we do view a work that is without explictives we may realize a pure form of enjoyment without even realizing why. Writers and directors have got to realize that the absence of censorship simply means that you are free to do anything you wish. It does not mean that you should do anything that comes to mind. There is responsibility that comes with that freedom, and the use of maturity in the production of entertainment is more creative.

I was born during an era of Victorian-like morality and prudence, so I have that as a yardstick to compare where we are now. Playboy magazine crashed through the barrier with its centerfold, and the wonderful mystery of women was lost forever. The other extreme, of course is to require that women dress from head to toe so that they are a complete mystery. That is just as bad, when the proper balance is to be found in the middle. In my opinion a woman who is dressed conservatively holds far more interest than one who leaves little to the imagination.

What has happened is that the pendulumn was stuck to the side of prudence and mind control, and now it has swung to the other extreme. Now, a person can be as sick as they want on screen and in print, and in doing so they infect their audience with such over the top perversion. That is not entertainment! The dialog given to actors and actresses is like vomit coming from their mouths. Well, we have seen that it could be done, and it is not pretty.

Some people really enjoy this sort of thing. I get that. I am also realistic enough to know that it will not change, just because I might like it to. However, if its trash it really does need to be clearly classified as such because I suspect that a growing number of people have had enough.

What I do hope will happen is that a more stringent form of classification will emerge to warn the public that if you don't want your senses to be assaulted give this one a miss. It would still be our choice to watch or read or not, but now we turn to a television channel and without warning our living rooms are flooded with words and images that are inappropriate either for our children or for members of our family.

As for our retired Censors they must be wondering why they even bothered to change the word damn to gosh, golly or Geewhiz.

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This is not a rant. Honest!

Just one of those things to upset the peace


This is a story about a commercial transaction that went totally wrong. Some of the actors were reasonable and others completely useless.

Our old kitchen water heater had served us for ten years and had to be changed. Along came the technicion with a new one and installed it and it worked. While doing this he discovered a leak in the butano line that had been a danger to us for a number of years. Every time we lit the stove with the window closed we ran the risk of blowing ourselves up.

The machine seemed to work well for a week, although there was a new machine smell, or so we thought.  Exactly one week after it had been installed, while I was using the hot water in the bath, the water suddenly ran cold, so I turned off the tap, and finished my bath with cold water. When I left the bath I went into the kitchen and found it full of black smoke. The heater had simply caught fire.

First thing we did was to call the installing technician, who practically had a heart attack. He called the manufacturer in Barcelona who promptly called the Valencia office, and they promised to call us. Monday passed, no call. Tuesday we called everybody we spoke with the day before. But the man from Barcelona was annoyed that Valencia had not yet called us to find out what day would be best for us. Eh? Yesterday, of course! After a couple more calls Valencia said they could "fit" us in on Thursday.

Why didn't the manufacturer show more concern that their machine had caught fire in a customer's house? Probably because it happens often? I don't know.

Thursday: The man in Valencia was knocking on our door first thing in the morning. He came in, took one look at the situation and swore. After doing some checking he asked whether we were using Natural gas. No, seƱor, we use butano. Me cargo en la leche! The technician had installed a machine that was calibrated for natural gas with butano gas. He had taken the machine from a box that read butano. Apparently it was no wonder the damn thing burnt out in a week.

Then the man looked at my receipt and said , but this was installed on the 11th of March. (11/03/2014). I said, no, it was installed last week, the 3rd of November. We argued, I lost. He said the machine was outside its warranty and there was nothing he could do for us, and left. A totally useless turd of a man.

We went back to the installer and politely told him what was the problem and firmly requested that the matter was put right that very day. And it was! He even changed the date to the new day, 11/13/2014. Oh well!

The thing that worries me is that when it comes to the use of gas there have been so many cases of houses having been blown up, and some people have even been killed or seriously injured.

Perhaps I worry too much. Then again, maybe not!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, November 8, 2014

And the Oscar goes to:............Jail!

I feel very sorry for Oscar, but I feel  even more sorrow for Reeva!

Oscar Pistorius demonstrated his great remorse for what he did to Reeva, and I have no doubt it was absolutely genuine. I believe that he will never get over it, but it was a criminal act for which the law demanded justice for Reeva and her family. However, even Pinnocchio congratulates Oscar on his story to the court.

What really happened? Let's try and put together a commonsense version of events:

As a mere man, when you are in love with a woman as exocitally beautiful as Reeva, you know for a fact that every man who lays eyes on her wants to get his hands on her. So, everything she says and does makes you hear and see men everywhere.

She says, I'm going for a photoshoot. He sees the photographer with a hard-on for her. She says she is going to have her hair done, and he imagines the hairdresser as a man with his hands all over her breasts. In other words, he becomes paranoid and jealousy drives him out of his mind.

It is therefore easy to see how a discussion arose between them where he accused her of being with another man. That would have escalated and Reeva would have done what every woman in the same situation would do. She would have run to the toilet and locked the door.

Oscar would then have followed her demanding that she open the damn door or I will knock it down. Almost all men can recognize this scene.

However, during the trial no neighbour testified that they heard an argument going on, or who heard every word, so, this is mere speculation.

We think he was out of his head  with jealousy and anger and said I'm going to get my gun and shoot this door down. In that state of mind he fired four shots through the door and killed Reeva. Then, it became quiet, and he returned to his senses and asked himself the same question  so many other people ask themselves having done something really stupid:"WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE!!!!!!!!!"

I think I can pick big holes in his story to the court:

 If Reeva was not the one in the toilet where else in the house was she? If he didn't know the answer to that question he certainly should not have fired shots through the door.

If the person in the locked toilet was an intruder, presumably, if they had locked the door they would have been having a shit in private. Can you kill a person for doing that in South Africa?

It seems, according to Oscar, he intentionally shot through the door to kill the intruder. Isn't that the definition of murder? And, what did he think would be the colour of the intruder in a white gated community?

I think the judge out did herself in trying to be seen as being fair and unbiased.

My personal feelings are that if one person deliberately, and with malice in their heart, takes the life of another human being, they should expect that they will permanently forfeit the quality of their own life. If a life is lost in the heat of the moment, that is still a crime because there always is a moment for decision. If you punch through that moment and still decide to go ahead you will have committed a crime for which you may well be remorseful afterwards, but a life has been lost nonetheless because of your action, and justice demands that you pay for your carelessness. In a conviction for manslaughter, many countries around the world demand a sentence of fifteen years behind bars, with the possibly of a five year discount for good behaviour.

I do not believe in capital punishment because only one mistake by the courts would be too many. As has been seen there are many convicted persons who truly were not guilty as charged. It is also an unbelievablely stupid form of punishment by the State, whereby they kill to teach us not to kill.

In my mind, a sentence of five years, with the possibility of release in ten months has not served Lady Justice at all. I may indeed feel sorry for Oscar's ruined life, and for all the pain he is suffering, but public policy is unfeeling, and having done the crime he must do the time. 

Such a light sentence is a dangerous precedent to set for other men who would really like to get rid of their women.

Copyright (c) 2014   Eugene Carmichael   

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The BBC's 100 Women (and men) Conversation about World Sexism

The Double Standard


I was going to write this blog anyway, but since it is time for the BBC's annual world conversation between men and women about sexism, I contribute this to the discussion.

I have recently watched two television programes, each dealing with the double standard, and that got me thinking.

First, lets look at the fact that men are wired to sexually respond to the visual effect. Some men will say that they are breast men; others say that a well turned leg turns them on. I tend to be drawn to the whole image because I look for perfection. I have found myself totally attracted to a woman who ticks all the boxes for beauty and elegence. Then she lights up a cigarette and I simply erase her out of my mind. Whatever takes our fancy we lose our minds and go running after what looks good.

If we compare men to the animal kingdom we would be the male lions, simply spending our days and nights screwing and sleeping. That's the way we are and its not our fault. In some enlightened societies this is acknowledged by giving the male the right to have more than one wife. This is the honest approach instead of Western socities' practise of monogamy, with something extra on the side.

In reality, those arrangements where the man takes four, or more wives, no-one can be happy. The women go along with it because they get security and dignity in that he can afford to take care of them. Their alternative is to live with a poor man or sell their bodies. From the man's perspective all that he can see is sex with different women. It is true that sex is so much more interesting with different partners, but we are not simply talking about one night stands with strangers, we are talking about having four, or more actual wives, and they are all his.

For those of us who have one wife, I think we would all turn down the offer to increase the experience of living with one person times four. A wife is a whole person with hopes and dreams and expectations and disappointments that she needs to share with her husband. She also has complaints, and she wants to mold her husband into something that he is not.

If one man goes through all that on a revolving basis, he can't possibly feel that its worth it just for the sex. The sex would have to be something Uber good, and let's face it, sex is simply sex.

The thing that confuses all men is this:  those men who choose to commit themselves to one women, but then who think it is alright to have sex with other women, react so badly if their main squeeze decides while he is out screwing around she will have a little fun as well. I am 75 years of age, so obviously I'm not currently guilty of this, but in my past life I have been.

There was an incident when my world and hers clashed. When I took a breath and realised what she was doing while I was busying myself with pleasure elswhere, I nearly had a heart attack. The more my own behaviour confused me the more off the rails I fell. To this day I don't understand a man's reaction when he discovers that his woman has been having sex with another man.

This is no longer the dark ages when men felt that we had a right to own our woman. I know that in many cases the woman is expected to take the man's surname as a form of branding. Preachers still ask, "who giveth this woman to this man?" We know that women enjoy having sexual intercourse with us, because they make it obvious, or not, as the case may be. So, if a woman, any woman chooses to have sex with a man, it must be something she wants to do, including those women our hero has fun with while his wife is at home.

I'm not going to suggest behaviour for consenting adults. No-one will give me any attention anyhow. I simply say that as men, perhaps we need to develop savoir-faire, the know how to deal with these situations. It is not a pretty sight when we lose our minds, especially when we were the spoilers in the first place.

This is especially important because if your woman is trying to teach you a lesson you are definitately not going to like who she chooses to act out the scene with.

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

WORLD WAR III

A PICTURE OF A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION IS IMPRESSIVE

There have been, and there are currently so many violent engagements going on at the same time, it's difficult to keep up. Hong Kong has been added to Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Egypt, and all the Arab Spring  regions; plus the United States has had its problems, and of course, there is always the tension between the two Koreas, that the world took its eye off the most likely place that will be the start of World War III, Pakistan and India.

These two nations are in perpetual conflict with 230 nuclear warheads between them, and the will to use them, as crazy as that is.

I apologize for bringing up the subject. I was going to write this week about the abusive situation that exists for men who have prostate problems. However, this subject has forced itself front and centre, so we had better give it our attention.

India and Pakistan are both very volatile nations, and will likely always have some source of irritation between them. The region that is most vexing to both countries is Kashmir. Both countries claim that it is lawfully theirs.  As it is unresolved, Kashmir is cut in half with both countries controlling one half each. The line that seperates the sides is called The Zero Line. It is something like the line between North and South Korea, only there have been three wars fought between the two countries over who controls Kashmir since 1947.

The Zero Line is fiercely defended with more than 650,000 totally committed troops deployed, with the slighest thing the cause of someone getting killed.  Forty-seven thousand people have lost their lives without any declaration of engagement at The Zero Line.

Dr. Kent Moors, a super consultant to 27 governments, and a hugely decorated individual person has written a book, entltled The Great Game, that I have purchased and am awaiting receipt of, in which he explains why he says that a nuclear war between these two countries is simply a matter of when, not if. In the nuclear standoff between America and Russia the M.A.D. principle operated. M.A.D. means Mutually Assured Destruction. If either side were to be so stupid to fire a missile with a nuclear warhead at the other, the result would be the end of all life forms on earth, except the cocroaches. Yet, the Russians did do a provocative thing during the Cuban Missile crisis that led to President Kennedy giving the order that would have led to the loss of all life on the planet.

In the case of Pakistan and India, this would be considered a holy war, and it certainly does not help that there are eight radical Islamic factions involved, including Al-Qaeda and The Taliban, so the M.A.D. principle is not operating at all.

The main sore point at the moment is over water. The Indus River starts in India and runs into Pakistan. Over the years India's population has grown to such a staggering size that after India has taken it need for water there is a shortage in Pakistan.  Probably the only reason war has not broken out as yet is because the United States is franticlly working behind the scenes to develop an effective industrial method to produce all of India's water needs from the sea. If this can be achieved, and scientists are close, this would allow India to allow Pakistan to exclusively use the Indus River.

Should war break out again between the two countries, it is almost certain that it will be nuclear. India has developed a missile with a range of 3,417 miles, so it is sure to draw other countries into the fray. The loss of life will be something unbearable and economic disaster around the world will be unsustainable.

This information was provided by Dr. Moors, a source that is very credible as he is involved as a facilitor trying to hold back the tide.

This is more bad news, but it seems we live in a world of bad news. The moral of this story is to live life as though today is the last day. I don't mean to be maudling, indeed, I am calling for us to look on the bright side  of life and enjoy the moment.

God, give me the serenity to change the things I can; the grace to accept the things I cannot change, and the commonsense to know the difference!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bermuda takes a One-two Punch, and survives!

The only way to understand what one of these is like, is to experience it for yourself!

The sense of guilt is great when you know that your family, friends and countrymen are experiencing hell in a very personal way, and you, or in this case, I was experiencing a beautiful, warm 30 degree Valencia day. My home country, Bermuda has had one hellish week. First, there was Tropical Storm Fay that came to visit. Normally, that would not be cause for concern, except that Bermuda hasn't had to deal with a hurricane for such a long time that our flora and fauna had the chance to grow thick, lush  and green. So, the winds of Fay, such as they were did a lot of damage to the environment.

Fay turned out to be what boxers call the setup for the knock out punch, because the very next weekend, October 17/18, a real big hurricane, the worst in Bermuda's history came whistling in like a right-hander from Mohammed Ali. No-one could say how Bermuda would likely weather this storm. There were no precedents. The advice was stay indoors, keep your head low and stay put. Perhaps good advice would have also been to cover your head with a pillow. This was not so much to protect your head from falling objects as to shut out the sound. Watching from Spain through web cameras we could, and did turn off the sound, but no-one in Bermuda could do that.

The terror of a hurricane is the unrelenting high pitched sound that I found could drive me insane. I moved from Bermuda in 1999 for the purpose of new challenges. I wasn't thinking that I would not have to hear another hurricane, but as time has passed that aspect of my life has settled down, although I'm not free of that kind of stress. Here in Spain we do fire and floods, so that is not much of an ideal option.

I don't have all the stastics as yet, but a category Four hurricane means sustained winds well over 200 kms per hour. How much more is a matter for conjecture as many wind measurement meters were simply blown away. The height of the hurricane came at night when the tide was also high, so the storm surge must have been awful, although no-one would have seen it. In fact, no-one saw anything although the damage was extensive.

Bermuda homes are very sturdily built with hurricanes in mind, but this one, which is probably the pre-cursor of what's to come, was unlike anything that had been seen before.

When it was over my family sent me an all-clear message. They had all survived and not one person was killed during the storm, although some little people chose that period to enter into the world. They must have thought, this is one noisy place. It seems that everybody took the advice to hunker down, even boat owners who tend to go see how the boat is doing. That choice always has to be made. Stay at home with the family, or leave them to their own fate and go look after the boat; as though there was really something a person could do.

It is said that come November, it's time to remember. Time to remember the hurricane season. The island was almost there when it got hit, twice in one week. Now we have some kind of idea of what the good folk of Western Somerset, in England went through when they coped with conveyor belt storms over many weeks.

Mother Nature can pack a mean punch when she wants to. Duck!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ebola: Our Obligations

A World of Risk


Spain has the dubious distinction of having produced the very first person outside Africa to contract the Ebola virus. The patient is a nurse who somehow became infected in spite of the fact that she wore the Haz-Mat suit and knew the protocols to avoid contamination. Now, I think that as she struggles against the virus, everyone in Spain is with her, saying in our minds, "Come on Teresa, you can beat it!" She has to beat it, because the health care community are rioting in the street. How could this have happened? We can't have a situation where care givers refuse to treat patients out of fear for their own lives. There has already been one case where a caregiver has refused on the basis of lack of training.

I survived the last killer plague, AIDS, through dumb luck. Like most people, I had no idea a killer was on the loose until the news broke that my activities over the last ten years might have put me at risk. AIDS first appeared as a homosexual illness, but then quickly mutated into both homosexual and hetrosexual threats. I would like to say that I survived due to prudent and sensible actions on my part, but that would not be correct.

Ebola has been around for a long time, during which there have been several outbreaks and containments, always in Africa. The latest outbreak has so far been the worse, and now it has spread into Europe and The United States of America. Now, Ebola has our attention because its in our backyards and we are personally at risk.

As a natural part of our daily lives we pass all sorts of nasties between one another. During the flu season we see how fast that gets passed around through coughing and sneezing, and the simple handling of money. It is just unavoidable. Normally these things are not deadly, although people have died because of complications, but Ebola is another matter. This is deadly!

We here in Spain are a long way away from panic stations, but we should start now to develop behaviour, as it is our obligations to protect one another, and especially to protect ourselves. What should we be doing?

We should replace the Japanese style bow for the handshake.
We should carry a small bottle of disinfectant to use for the health of our hands.
We should use the plastic gloves that are provided in supermarkets to handle fruits and vegatables.
We should use air kisses to replace kissing on the cheeks.
We should think about using face masks when mixing with large groups of people to avoid sneezing into densely packed spaces of people. This would also have the added benefit of not taking in other people's sneeze droplets.
When moving among large groups of people we should use latex gloves when touching the railings on steps, doorknobs, escalators, etc. Equally important is not to allow the exposed side of the glove to touch naked skin. Wear the gloves when visiting your doctor's office.

There will be other commonsense things that perhaps we can do to stop the virus, but keep in mind that transmission is through coming into contact with human bodily fluids, and every minute of every hour of each day we gleefully exchange bodily fluids with selected mates. However, one of those  fluids might include freshly placed infected sweat from  the infected person ahead of you who has a fever and sweaty palms. Touch that with your exposed hands and it will be Gotcha!

Ebola is a complicated subject. I think it is probably in your interest to Wikipedia the topic to gain a broad understanding of what we all face. It would be a grave mistake to think that this deadly virus can't get out of control in a modern society with soap and hot and cold running water. We though that about AIDS.

Another thing to bear in mind is that a person who was infected, but who survived because the virus has somehow passed from his blood, is still infectious for up to three months in his seman. You might indeed want to celebrate the all clear signal to him, but think condoms!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What is Ebola?

People of the World


It was only a few years ago that the subject of the ever growing world's population was top of the agenda. I had a chat about it over a cup of coffee.  My friends and I were concerned that if the prediction of 10 billion people worldwide by 2050 should prove to be correct, we feel certain that that would be an unsustainable number for the world to support.

We examined the strain that six to seven billion was placing the globe under. We thought that a fifty percent increase would bring with it food wars, and wars for space to live comfortably. We looked at Hong Kong and Tokyo, and other high density places and it is obvious that people were not meant to be so crammed together.

We started talking about what happens when there are too many pigeons, or wild boar, or rabbits. Governmental authorities routinely order a culling to take place to bring the numbers back down to a more orderly level. We thought that in the past there had been a natural culling of people through the two world wars. Of course, it was not thought of as that at the time the wars took place, but nevertheless the effect was the same. We have not had such a catistrophic event since World War two, but yet there has been a steady process through terroristic events that has sent people to early graves. The logic that has people killing one another is insane. I'm fairly sure that if you could sit the terrorist down and demand that he explain himself, I think he would say he really didn't know why he was doing the things he was.

So, what is Ebola?

In that conversation between friends mentioned earlier, we left it that Mother Nature was likely to intervene, because 7, 8, 9 or 10 billion people were just too many for the enviroment to support. We appear to be living in chaos, but under closer inspection it is a perfect form of chaos, and when things go too far either left or right of centre we can rely on Mother Nature to step in and put things right.

Ebola will become a worldwide pandemic, and it will kill off a major part of the existing world population. Because it has to do that in order that the world  is able to survive. It comes at a time when people are living longer because of medical advancements that give promise to life to a maximum of 150 years, up from 120 years. But then offsetting that promise are terrorists and Ebola, which is being called the Black Man's Revenge; as well as the White Man's virus, over reliance on antbiotics. This is quietly killing many people for whom antbiotics no longer have any value.

It will be man's ability to face the challenge and stop it in its tracks, just as has been done against AIDS. However, by then a very large percentage of us will have gone onto the next adventure, perhaps in another Universe.

I'm sure it is no coincidence, but at present there is a television series running called, "The Last Ship." Watching the series gives me the Heebie Jeebies. Not once do they mention the word, Ebola, but its theme runs throughout.

This may not be the best way to leave this column, but the truth is, " That what will be, will be!

Copyright (c) 2014   Eugene Carmichael  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Our Ever Evolving World!

http://www.youtube.com/embed/6-3X5hIFXYU

This browser address will take you to a video entitled "The World is Changing:" In fact ever since The Big Bang the world has never stopped changing. If we, as people, do not change with the world we simply get left behind.

This is about the changes that overcome cultures. Allegedly, mankind began in Africa. One village would invade another, killing all the men and taking the women and cattle for themselves. Europe got in on the act and colonised other people's countries, and boasted about it; such as the sun never sets on our empire.

A recent study took note of the modern changes that are taking place. The study noted that for a country to maintain its culture it has to first ensure that its bloodline is reproduced at a minimum rate of 2.11 children per couple. Less than that and the country's bloodline will fall behind and never be able to be brought back. With this in mind the study noted the following:

France has an average birth rate of only 1.8 children per couple.
England's rate is 1.6
Greece and Germany's rates are 1.3 each.
Italy stands at 1.2
Spain, a Catholic country only reproduces children at 1.1 per couple.
The average for all of the 31 countries of Europe is only 1.38

However, the study noted that population growth in all the above countries has been increasing due to much needed immigration. The principal immigrant is a Muslim. The fertility rate within the Muslim community is quite vigorous, simply because of their lifestyle. For instance, it appears that while France's own fertility rate stands at 1.8, the Muslims within France are reproducing at a rate of 8.1 per couple. The simple mathematics lead us to expect that by 2025 France will be an Islamic republic. In fact, if there is no change, by 2025 one-third of all children born in Europe will be Muslims. That will mean goodbye to Europe as we know it.

As far as religion is concerned, the Catholic church has noted that Islam have drawn equal with more or less the same number of members, but that in only five to seven years Islam will be the dominant world religion. That is being achieved without guns. That is simply the result of each couple getting busy in bed.

I have no doubt that Islam would like to have a dominant position throughout the world. I also think that the Chinese would like the same thing. We certainly can observe this happening in an economic way. It gets especially interesting when a Chinese person is also a Muslim.

So, perhaps we need to be nicer to our future rulers. At present countries are demanding that certain Muslim customs are not to be allowed within Europe. Whose country is this anyway?

Evolution suggests that the answer to that question is only temporary!


Copyright (c) 2014    Eugene Carmichael       

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Sex Biz

Nice to look at, but don't Touch! If you try to buy what they are selling, you may end up in jail.


I come from a very prudish and conservative country. In my country the scene depicted above has never been seen. Other than the common men's magazines, such as Playboy, Penthouse, etc, possession of pornographic material is a jailable offense. Full frontal nudity in public by anyone is also an offense for which you get sent straight to jail. The charge: committing an act of indecent exposure in a public place. Depends! For many people being nude in public would be a very, very decent act indeed. For others, the charge might be well put.

So you can imagine my reaction when coming to Spain and having gone to the beach for the first time. My wife and I spread our blanket, and shortly after a young woman arrived, stripped off her shorts and tank top, and then unstrapped her bra and let out two of the finest specimens the world has ever seen. It took me about three weeks before I leanred to breathe properly again.

I bought a copy of the local daily Spanish newspaper, and while going through it I came across the section on socials. My Spanish wasn't that good, but still the adverts were there and pretty explicit. Men and women were offering their intimate services, and there was something for everyone.

Mostly those advertising were young foreigners from Romania, Russia, Africa, South America and the West Indies. However, I clearly remember one ad from a mature woman who offered to wash you from top to bottom with her tongue. I told that story a hundred times, and while giggling I wondered whether I needed to have a shower before going to see her, or after I had been "washed" by her, or whether I would need bother with the shower at all.

In spite of the humor there was presumably a very serious story there, one of desperation. This was in 1999, well before the economic crisis took hold.

The lady licker came to mind recently, just out of the blue, but she caused me to take a look to see what has changed in the columns of adult relaxtion. To begin with Spanish women are well represented these days, as well as others from lots of other countries, including a high concentration of Oriental girls. Lots of ads suggest that the young women are University students, which was also the way it was back in 1999. The big change is that there is a major presence of mature ladies willing to offer the client complete services. Some say they are 60+ years of age. This is real desperation at work. The country has really let down its pensioners when at 60 years of age you have to sell sexual services to anybody who might walk through the door. If anybody walks through the door.

I think I need to go and see these people and convert them into promotors of my product, and make them respectable citizens and give them back their dignity. What do you think?

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Doing what you have to do! Saving Ashya.



The Medical Establishment is Goliath


Choosing to fight the medical establishment is an awesome thing as to have them as your opponent is overwhelming. It is truly a horrible experience. I know because I did it. However, the way you choose to go about it makes all the difference.

Little Ashya is a young boy with a very big problem. His parents felt that the NHS of the U.K. were limited in what they could do, and in fact they might have effectively dealth with the original problem, but that they most probably would have caused an even worse permanent result due to collateral side-effect damage.

The parents were desperate. Do you simply stand back and wait while the system carries on to the inevitable, or do you spring into action to seek a better option even though the hospital will not give you assistance to do so?

The problem with fighting the medical establishment is that the medical personnel are the ones who have put in the time on their studies; they have made the personal sacrifices and run up huge outstanding loans, and they have made the oath to do no harm. On the basis of that alone we must assume that they intend the best outcome for the patient, yet time and again they bury their mistakes. It's called practising medicine for good reason. The human body is so complex that the practise of medicine is not yet a precise science.

In the pursuit of finding a better option for their son, their travels brought them to Spain to liquidate some property to get money. While they were here, the Spanish police acted on a warant issued by the public prosecutions office in the U.K. The parents were arrested in Malaga and taken to Madrid and locked up for three days. They were travelling with Ashya and all five of his brothers and sisters. Ashya wa placed in the care of an hospital while his parents were taken away. How terrifying must that have been for him.

It has been reported that the oldest of the children was fifteen, and that he was put in charge of looking after his siblings. I sincerely hope that was not the case because at age fifteen he would not have been old enough to legally discharge that responsibility.

Finally common sense prevailed and the parents were set free and off they went to Prague where they were promised a better outcome. We will see.

There are a lot of people who stood in the way of these very caring and loving parents in obtaining the best possible treatment, in their opinion, for their son. They may have got it wrong, but in any event it does bring into very sharp review a parent's rights in medical emergencies.

This is an ethical and a moral quagmire, but one in which we all have an opinion. So far,in this case the authorities are on the losing side in the court of public opinion.

Copyright (c) 2014 Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Sweetest Sounding Words to all of Mankind!



A home with Great Views if you dare to look.

The sweetest sounding words in every language in the world are: My Home; My bed; My family. If you can say the words with conviction because you do lay claim to all three, you are among the very fortunate.

These words are the universal common denominator that unites all of mankind, together with the birds and animals of every type. If  I ask a man in Siberia to name the things he holds most dear, although he may have a longer list than me, a list that includes vodka, he will also include the universal top three.

We seem to think that we are somehow different. Some people think they are better than others, but the truth is we are all fundamentally the same.

Home is truly where the heart is. It is what makes us who and what we are. Everyday we look forward in going home. Even if home is a place of discontent, it is home. In some homes violence reigns supreme. Husbands may hit wives, or wives may hit husbands. Both parents may hit the children, or the children who are grown up may hit the parents. I say to all of this Stop! Do not provoke and do not hit! A universal message to everyone in the family.

I would like to think that home for the vast majority of the seven billion people on the planet is a happy place in which to grow up, and to live. My own home was such a wonderful place when I was a child it never occurred to me to even stop and give it a thought. I was safe; I lived on the seashore, and so enjoyed adventures both on land and sea. I shared my home with my mother and father and my sisters and brothers, and my billy goat.

Home is different for everyone because it is customised. My space will be just a little different than my brother's, although we might share the same room. We put posters or pictures on the walls, and the most valuable real estate in the world is my bed, or in my case the bed that I now share with my wife. To have a comfortable bed into which to curl up to fall asleep, and to dream wonderful fantasies is such a gift. It is worth noting that even those without a permanent roof over their heads will succeed in making a bed for themselves that is theirs alone, unless they invite someone else to share.

The moral of this story is that if we all want the same basic things in life we must surely all be related as part of one big family. I think that places an obligation upon me to keep an eye open for any chance I might have to help my brother or sister along life's journey.  Knowing that I have such a large family means I need not ever feel alone.

Home, family, bed. How sweet those words sound!

Copyright (c) 2014   Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, August 31, 2014

FOREVER GREEN (FGXpress)!

One of the most important company logo's of our time and for the future!

It was in 2010 that I presented my ideas for what was needed to dig our way out of the economic meltdown the world had found itself in, while giving a speech to Toastmasters in Spain. In all my years I had never lived through such an ecomonic  mess, so it occurred to me that whole new methods of revenue sourcing had to be found. No longer could we rely on the usual system of recovery to get us back on track.

Almost predictably it was the United States of America that produced the radical thinking necessary, and as a result there are several ideas that have evolved. The one that I find most useful is that from Forever Green, a Wellness company of Utah.

That company has devised a pain relief product that it calls the Power Strip, which is a patch that the person suffering from muscle aches, strains and pains, back pains, cramps, etc, applies to that part of the body that is generating the pain. Within 48 hours we have found the pain to have disappeared, although it starts to work immediately it is attached.

There is a business opportunity attached to the product that offers the individual to act as promotores of the product. Just as George Clooney has been principal promotor for Nespresso since 2006, having earned a reputed $40 million during that time for that purpose, now individuals can take on a career as promotores, acting through word of mouth and person to person contact to market the product direct to consumers.

That is an old idea, networkmarketing, that for most people doesn't work all that well. The problem being that the salesperson has to go out and find buyers, who once they have bought the product take their own sweet time before they may want to buy again. There is usually a lot of time and effort generated in moving product this way. It is often decided that its just not worth it. However, in the case of FGXpress Power Strips the individual does not have to sell the product, they only have to sell the idea.

What a difference that makes!

There are a few ways to approach the FGXpress opportunity. (a) An individual could look at it simply from the potential to himself for generating an income; (b) It could be seen as a wonderful opportunity to assist people with pain to find relief using all natural ingredients without having to swallow pills; or (c), the approach I favour most, being that I have the facility to bring relief of physical pain, but also of financial pain to potenially so many people. Here in Spain the economic recession still is having a dire effect on millions of people. For so many to take up the invitation to act as promoters is their only way out.

So, that is what I am doing. I am working with groups of people who really need this opening to get out from under the burdens they are suffering. As well, I am working with people for whom another revenue stream would be nice, but to help people dig themselves out from the quagmires they find themselves in is true satisfaction.

I invite you to find out more by visiting www.rocketfuelteam.net and then visit my webpage, http://jaguargeneralconsulting.fgxpress.com and join us.

I apologise for the commercial but you have to understand that I am so excited about the potential rewards of salvaging families from the wreckage of financial disaster that I came out of retirement at age 75 to get involved.

It's definately worth it!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael   

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Never judge a book by its Cover

This is a book I would buy.


We men are so predictable. We understand what the advice is telling us, but when it comes to women we all respond to the visual. A beautiful woman attracts our attention and we immediately think that we would like to spend time with her.

Agreed, the definition of beautiful is different for each man. It need not be the woman with the big hair and perfect make-up, or the big boobs. But whatever your personal idea of beautiful is, its a visual thing and you are drawn to that person, and you make instant decisions about such a person.

Women tell me that they are drawn to a man by other attractions, especially his intelligence and his percieved wealth. They make the same mistakes we do, if that is the case.

The way we are wired is that we respond to the visual, even after we have found the perfect woman for us. That is a curse which is frustrating for us. We know that our woman will be annoyed if we are constantly turning our heads when another beautiful woman passes by. We certainly wouldn't like it were she to do the same thing when a handsome guy was in the zone. In our natural state, if left to our own devices, we would chase every attractive skirt to bed her, and then to move on to the next one. When compared to the animal kingdom, we are the lions. A life of all-day sex, a meal and a drink would suit most men.

However, we live in a civilized society where the church says we should not behave that way. More and better is expected of us, so we have to comply. We need to control our natural instincts and to act like decent human beings.

So, that brings us to the point: how do we make a decision about choosing a life partner? It cannot be based simply on how she looks. If anything, the more perfect she appears in public the farther away from her we should go. If you have to have a trophy wife to be by your side so that you look good, so be it. But, expect a whole catalogue of problems to go along with that.

The commonsense approach is that you have to get to know her over a prolonged period. She has to get to know you in your natural state. That is to say that after you have both finished trying to impress one another, get to know the real person before starting off on a journey for life. She has to know whether you think you should be able to knock her around or stay out all hours, and you need to know just how demanding she is.

If you were trying to make a decision about anything else, you would consider it important to do your due diligence. This is no different for both of you.

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

There are no STOP signs in Amsterdam!

This is Amsterdam

Imagine this: Your partner says to you, "we are going on a trip tomorrow." She indicates that the temperature will likely be a little cooler than where you are, but that is all the information you have.

You think that you are going on a road trip, but comes the time to leave home and your son is driving the car, so no, you will not be taking a road trip as he takes you to the airport.

I should explain that my wife and I have been playing games like this for years. Mainly she decides where she wants to go on her vacations and I go along for the ride. I don't do details so she tells me what I need to know, when I need to know it.

So, we are at the airport standing in a long line that branches into three. The line on the left is headed for the Turkish Airlines desk. I know my wife wants to go to Turkey. I don't, but if it turns out we are going to Turkey, so be it.

The middle line is going to the EasyJet desk, but they are not showing where they are going. That's not helpful to me, or presumably to anyone else, but that is now the line we are in. The line to our right is going to the Transavia airlines desk, and its destination is Amsterdam. I look at those people with envy because Holland is the one place I really want to visit. We have many friends there, and I have been promising myself for a long time that I would take a trip to see them in their homes.

At the last minute my wife says we are in the wrong line and we shift over to the line for Amsterdam. Yeah!

What a fabulous experience we had in The Netherlands. I could write a book, but I will summarize:  for those of you who have already visited, you will know that the city is made up of canals and bridges and musuems, and lots and lots of bikes. In all of Holland there are about 16 million people and 16 million pedal cycles. Coincidence? In Amsterdam there are an estimated seven million bikes, with about 700,000 on the road at any one time. That's the problem.

The city's roads are narrow; they are crowded with pedestrians, trams running down the centre, followed by buses, and all those damned bikes. Added to that are the cars and trucks that are very much in the minority. The net result is that as a pedestrian you are put on high alert and become paranoid. That continues even after you've left the city and the country.

I'm not sure when I first realised it, but there are no STOP signs in Amsterdam. Not a one! True, there are a few light signals on the major roads, but with all those bikes going in every which way without slamming into one another, its a miracle. There are lots of close calls, but I never saw one collision, and that includes the tourists on bikes.

I can honestly say that Amsterdam is a unique city, from my point of view. It's Venice, but  with a ton of bikes, and a Red Light district that has become institionalized. That can only be found in Amsterdam!

Perhaps its the creed of The Netherlands, that being one of tolerance, that is reflected in all that freedom. WoW!


Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Joy of Normal

A profile of a Happy Family

Happy is a normal family with growing children and loving parents living together within the neighbourhood in peace and harmony. Of course there will be the usual disagreements and discipline issues, but in general they are dealt with within a normal noise level, and without disturbing the peace.

We have lived in our home for ten years. When we bought the house one set of our neighbours were noisy and profane. It was my wife's choice to buy the house, it usually is the choice of the wife, in spite of the neighbours. The noise level never did lower, in fact the problem got worse as circumstances changed with neighbours on the other side of our house, that led to domestic problems that were acted out at the top of the decibel range. Life had become intolerable.

I refer to these neighbours as Number 1 and Number 2. Things began to change as in the house of number 1, (the original problem house), two of the residents died. The noise level probably did lower a little, although it didn't really seem like it. That was because over at house number 2 the noise level increased. There was actual abuse going on there which attracted the attention of the authorities, and happily that led to removal of one of the persons to a wonderful house that provides the right atmosphere that has allowed that young person to thrive.

We came home one day to see a "For Sale" sign attached to house Number 1. My wife and I said if only that would happen that could be the answer to our most fervent wishes. However, the real estate market is practically non-existant, so that would be a long shot.

Meanwhile, over at house number two, the remaining occupant was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and subsequently died. At house number 1 the noise level continued unabated.

One day my wife said that it seemed very quiet in the neighbourhood. We assumed that was because the loud ones were away from home. Then we noticed that there was a person at the house, and the "For Sale" sign had been removed. Our neighbours from hell had simply vanished in the night. They are actually gone!

Good bloody riddance!

For a couple of weeks all has been tranquil. Last night over at house number two relatives gathered around the pool for dinner and normal happy conversation. Finally, we can now say that we live in a perfectly normal neighbourhood. Now, we can finally exhale.

Except, house number 1 has nine bdrooms and there are only two people living there.

That's not normal, is it?

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

MH 370 and MH 17

When did Malysia think the airline business was a good idea?

MH 370 you have not been forgotten. We fully expect you will reappear on the anniversary of your disappearance.

The occurance of some events are so shocking that it takes time to absorb them in one's mind. The deliberate shooting down of a commercial jet is one such event.
My family and I live under the landing and take-off path of airliners using Manises airport in Valencia, so we are constantly looking up at these magnificant craft passing overhead. If I do actually have any thoughts at the time, it would be for a safe flight. What kind of mind would it take to deliberately shoot down such an aircraft, fully laden with human beings?

The politics surrounding the Crimea and Ukraine are complex. These countries are neighbours to Russia with significant numbers of Russians living within. The Ukraine has long lived in close cooperation with Russia, but then, someone had the bright idea that the Ukraine should turn more toward the West. Evidently, the president of the country received a severe warning from Russia, and so he tried to turn the country back towards Russia. The people had other ideas leading to his fleeing office and opening the way for Putin to move in. It is clear that the pro-Russia support are Russian military in civilian uniforms using whatever they need from Russia. Putin will not be satisfied until The Ukraine is fully in the hands of Russia, just as is the case with the Crimea.

But, what does all that have to do with overflights by commercial airlines?  The first question in my mind was: what was MH 17 doing overflying a conflict zone where live ammo was in use? Apparently it was thought safe to do so as other airlines commonly did, because the conflict was on the ground and localized. It is hard to see why the equipment was brought into place to deliberately knock down the next commercial flight, and then, like the rats they are, they hurried to run away with the evidence to show who did it.

Fast forward to the day when Russia simply annexes The Ukraine and all the killing ends. Will Russia simply expect to resume its place in the league of nations as though nothing had happened? Probably, but that cannot happen, which is very dangerous because if such a major country is to be shunned they may decide, "in for a penny, in for a pound," and do something even more reckless in their adventurisim.

This was started by the ordinary citizen who wanted a better life with the West, which is understandable if you are from the West. However, mass movements against the government always lead to death and destruction in the first place, with the hope that the light down the tunnel will turn out to be the bright glare of the sun. All too often its a speeding train coming your way.

Two hundred and ninety-eight innocent people have lost their lives, leaving unspeakable suffering among families all over the world. Observers everywhere can't help but feel the sadness and the weight of the loss. For one thing, it is only through the luck of the draw that we are the observers.

To the families please know that we feel your pain, and like you we cannot see any common sense in such a reckless and heinous act. We can only hope that those responsible will get theirs.


Copyright (c) 2014   Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Parrot of Pedralba

Hello Hyacinth! The largest of the Macaw Parrots

Normally, we don't get much peace and quiet because of one of the families in our neighbourhood.  They are usually very animated and extremely loud while just holding a normal conversation. However, on a particular day we were enjoying a very welcome break because the family were away from home. Suddenly that precious peace was shattered by a  loud screech. What on earth was that?  I ran outdoors but saw nothing.

Over the next few days the screeching was repeated several times but I was never able to see what was making the noise. However, the neighbours did get a glimpse and very excidedly called out, Parrot! Parrot! It is a macaw parrot, and a hyacinth,  the largest of the 17 species. It is magnificently blue with a massive wingspan that must stretch about four feet across. She comes to visit everyday, and by now I think we have all come to see her. The loud call electrifies everybody, and no matter what you are doing you have to go and have a look.

These are wonderful and playful creatures whose natural homes are in Central and South America. Their brilliant colouring makes them attractive as pets, leading to an active market in breeding and selling. The fact that some are able to mimic human speech makes them even more exotic to have in one's home, but once you have seen them soaring in flight, holding them in captivity seems very wrong indeed.

In my previous blog I spoke of the emotonal impact upon an owner to lose a pet. I assume that this bird is someone's pet who has escaped and seems to be quite happy on its own and enjoying its freedom. In the area close to our home is our answer to the Grand Canyon. It is a massive hole that attracts birds, so my guess is that the macaw has made that her home base. From there she pays us a visit everyday as she does a flyby. I think that all of us in our neighbourhood consider ourselves the priviledged few. Her visits are truly a time of excitement.


Ten years ago when we first moved into our home we were told to look out for an eagle who could often be seen overhead. One of the local photographers made it his project to document in pictures the life of the eagle, both in the air as well as  in the Big Hole in the ground. It was while he was making his way to that site that he came across the eagle. It had been shot, presumably by a person who is a pigeon fancier. The eagle most probably would have been taking the pigeons. However, the whole town mourned the loss of our magnificant eagle.

I can only hope that nothing untoward happens to The Great  Parrot of Pedralba!


Copyright (c) 2014   Eugene Carmichael  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

To lose a beloved pet.

Why is this cat laughing?

To lose your pet is no laughing matter. It is the one thing that is the common denominator that brings down people from across the board. There are as many variations of this story as there are types of pets and owners. I am not writing this for the benefit of anyone who has ever had to part with that special member of the family, but rather, I write this in the hope of bringing understanding to those people who have never been responsible for a pet.

I am motivated to write this now because I was an observer to another person's recent loss. That story turned out happily as the pet was found, unharmed and that family unit is now intact. However, I have personally suffered losses over the years that left me vowing I would never again have another pet. The problem is that the animals just simply turn up on my doorstep.

Presently we have an all-white female cat whom we call Blanca. She is the world's most anti-social cat who came to us because a friend thought she was so horrible and passed her along to us. I sometime think that if Blanca simply disappeared we would not miss her at all. There have been times when she does go off for a few days at a time, during which I find myself wondering where is she? I keep looking out for her expecting to hear that familiar meow. A couple of years ago a fire swept over our house forcing us to run for our lives.Blanca was nowhere to be seen, but two days later, when we were allowed back to our homes, there she was, practically screeching at us, where have you been? I'm hungry! She has never been pure white since, because of the ash,  more like all fifty shades of grey, and more.

When a pet goes missing, intense worry takes over. What is the state of its health; is it eating, has it been stolen, is it injured, or worse, is it still alive. The whole family is organised into a search party, and the posters are placed in prominent places. The situation is made all the more difficult if the real owner is a child. This is a situation that places the same kind of weight upon the family as the death of one of the humans.

As for the emotional toll it is simply gut wrenching. No-one seems to be able to escape the harsh reality of coming to terms with losing your best friend. My own experience with this involved the decision that I had to make to put down my long-term friend and companion, Lady, a cross between a Sheperd and a Collie, because her hind quarters became paralysed. She was seventeen chronological years of age, and making that decision would probably have been the same as making it for my grandmother. As a mature man I cried my heart out, even to the extent that I terribly upset everybody in the vet's office. So, when I see a person obsessing over their pet bird, or rabbit, or mouse, or whatever, I think I fully understand what they are going through.

That's the point  of this essay: to understand and to sympathize, no matter how silly you might personally think the person is being. I guarantee you, they are not being silly, they are bound up in as important an emotional drama in their life as the loss of a next of kin. They need your love and comfort to help them get through a very difficult time. If you can help them when they need you, they will never forget it. Fail to do so and they won't forget that either.

Copyright (c) 2014   Eugene Carmichael