Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nine Thought to Ponder

Death is the number one killer in the world.

This is a classic example of stating the obvious. That's what makes it quite amusing! It is actually also quite philosophical. Everyone knows that what we all share is the fact that we will all not be here one day. Take retirement for example. People seem obsessed by building up a large pension pot so they can enjoy their retirement. Fine. Except they forget they are going to die. True they don't know when, but it will happen one day. Do you really need all that money? Spend it! That's my motto!

Life is sexually transmitted.

Mostly sex is funny, because we choose to think it is. Unfortunately, this statement is only half-right. Many creatures on our planet reproduce asexually. Check out - ( I love to tell the story of my career in sex education. It used to be part of what we called PSE (Personal, Social Education) and as such the form teachers would get lumbered doing it. One year I teamed up with the Science teacher to do a joint session with 25 fifteen year olds. I started by writing on the white board in very large letters SEX. Underneath in small letters I wrote reproduction. Then I pointed out that sex is what you think you are doing and reproduction is what you are actually doing. You are not having sex and a high old time: you are making babies. That's Mother Nature's plan and you are in it!

Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

This I have to agree with, for it points to many of the dilemmas of modern life. Even though deep down we all know that we won't be here forever, most people act as if they will. They build up massive pension pots – far beyond what they might reasonable need to sustain them in old age. The invest in private health care as an insurance policy. They ignore their elderly relatives despite getting closer to them age-wise every day. They do too little exercise, smoke and drink far too much and put off their exercise regime for as long as possible. We all die. Get over it!

Men have two emotions: hungry and horny, and they can't tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.

Possibly good advice but very, very simplistic. Of course, men have many emotions but sex (reproduction) is an important one. For example, as part of the Sex Ed (as above) I would use the Sun's Page Three girls for example/effect. I'd ask one of the lads if their favourite Page Three model was on the other side of a crocodile-infested river giving them the big come-on would they attempt to cross? After the usual bravado they would agree that they probably wouldn't jump in. Why? Self-preservation is number one on the list of priorities. Sex (reproduction) is number two.

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the internet and they won't bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

This one I like, for no other reason than it harks back to a simpler time when religion was the opiate of the people. Now it's Microsoft. Should parents be aware of what their children are doing on the net? Absolutely. Will children see violence and pornography on the net? Absolutely. (See above for the reasons)

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital,dying of nothing.

This is point number one recycled. I did enjoy a programme on TV once about people who think that the way to live longer is to restrict their caloric intake. So, they try to live on about 500 calories a day. Reminds me of Crocodile Dundee. The bit about the goanna – you must remember - when Dundee is asked about eating one he says, wisely, that you can live on them, but who would what to? So, you may be able to live on 5 or 6 hundred calories a day, but who would want to?

Nature intended us to eat three times a day for a reason. We'll all die, so why starve yourself trying to postpone the inevitable? Silly buggers will probably get run over by a bus because they didn't have the energy to move fast enough to get out of the way! Serves them right.

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

This is a variation on one of my favourites, about which I have blogged before. Everyone talks about the weather, but no-one does anything about it. I was talking to a buddy in KC not long ago (whose mother is English and who lived here as a kid) and he was wondering why more English people don't kill themselves because of the weather? Takes stoicism to a new level.

In the 60s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.

I like the Colorado marijuana approach. Lots of happy people and lots of tax dollars to spend on the ones who don't choose to indulge. The 18th amendment proved that you cannot legislate morality – a lesson Americans periodically and conveniently seem to forget.

Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

I've read this one a few times and I'm still not 100% sure I get it. Could it be a Forest Gump antidote? It could be very philosophical? It could just be enigmatic.

I suspect it is trying to warn us about the human propensity for short-sightedness. Or overindulgence. Or just plain old stupidity.

...and as someone recently said to me, don't worry about old age; it doesn't last that long.

This is a good summation, for it reminds us that although we all share a common fate: we almost never see it coming. It could be today or tomorrow or many years hence.

I remember my Dad who said quite seriously when he was 90 years old, “I may not last another five years.”

I said, for crying out loud, you might not last another five minutes!”

Nuff said?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Political Landscape

UKIP Rises

Lots has been made of the surge in support for UKIP in the European elections. Much eating of humble pie has been done by the various party leaders. Many promises of a new dawn have been made. What's it all add up to?

Well, it looks as if the main parties have had an Emperor's New Clothes moment. Having spend a lot of time ignoring UKIP in the past, they have woken up and promised to engage with the “lunatic fringe” - not my words but theirs (in the not too distant past).

It's beginning to look like a classic. The damn people just won't vote the way they are supposed to! I think it's called democracy, and it can be damn inconvenient as well as damn awkward.

The people have voted for UKIP, so even if the people are wrong (as Nick Clegg thinks) they cannot just be ignored. Or can they?

There is little doubt that Nigel Farage is good copy. On any slow news day he can certainly liven up the exchanges. Recently it was revealed that he has appeared on the BBC Question Time more times than any other politician in the last year. This is a classic case of there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Even though most folks really think that UKIP is a racist, homophobic, xenophobic mishmash of odd-balls they are still voting for them. Does this say more about UKIP, or more about the voters? I think it's the voters.

To read the media you might think that the UK is a very tolerant, cosmopolitan sort of place where Johnny Foreigner is made welcome and feels safe and welcomed. This is mostly the product of years of people peddling this clap-trap without really assessing the real attitudes at the ballot box. The unique British election system helps to make this a reality. The so-called coalition has set itself up to be mocked as out of touch and out of mind. They have to soldier on for the full five years (a period far too long anyway) simply because they said they would – come what may. Consequence? The voters are tired of them but cannot get an early election to either confirm them or get rid of them. Outcome? They flock to UKIP just to annoy the others.

Whoa! I can hear the multitude crying UKIP are not just a protest party!

Sorry I can't see it. Their only contribution to the next General Election is likely to be to secure a majority for Labour.