List of Previous Titles

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Arnold's Dilemma

Most men will likely tell you that Arnold Schwarzenegger is "The Man!"  His life story reads likes the very best "rags to riches" tale that was ever told. Men really admire the guy, and women, if he asked them nicely, would probably agree to "at least once, Arnie!"

I'm turning my attention to Arnold at this time because he has written a book, called "Total Recall," in which he  details his life's journey through to the "stupidest thing that he ever did in his life."

In case there is one reader who doesn't know, Arnold was born in Austria. His dream was to move to America to persue his talent as a bodybuilder. He went on to become, perhaps the most successful movie star in American history. Having tired of that, or having simply wanting to do something more substantial, he campaigned for the office of California Governor, and won, becoming the 38th governor from 2003 till 2011.

However, before that he moved in circles that did him no harm, to the extent that he married the niece of the late President Kennedy, in a marriage that lasted 25 years.

This is where it perhaps all turns wrong, because for all men who are fabulously famous, and rich and handsome, they paint themselves in a corner. They are admired by men, and adored by women, many of whom would consider it a great honour to be laid by someone of such stature. However, if you are such a person who has made the committment to a woman, you are expected to behave in accordance with the norms of society.

You may indeed be invited by lots of women,, and, of course there is your male ego urging you on, but it is not right, and anyway, you can't be seen going in or out of motels, or the rooms of delicious females, because there are those photographers, the paparezzi who would love to get "the shot" that will put lots of money in their pocket.

There is one way that you can have sex without too much hassle. Hire the right housekeeper, and especially if your wife is agreeable, then everything could be lovely. Arnold admits to a long standing relationship with his housekeeper, although there is no suggestion that his wife was aware, and that produced a son that is fathered by Arnold but the woman's husband is named as the father. I have no way of knowing this, but I suspect that "the women of the house" all across the country are looking at their housekeepers with a jaundiced eye.

This is more a tale of woe about The Hollywood Man, than specifically about Arnold. It's a tale about the "Not-so Tender Trap."  If you are Joe, the plumber, you can live your life being loyal to your wife and enjoying all that's good about married life without the hassle of women throwing themselves at you. Not so, if you are in the glamour business, and married. It takes a very strong willed man to treat the business as simply a career, and ignore all the perks.

By published accounts, Arnold was no angel, even having six women accuse him of sexual misconduct, and another claiming that she carried on an affair while he was with his wife. So, why his wife decided to make a break as a result of his love-child is not completely clear. However, everybody has their own breaking point.

In 1984, Arnold made his signature film, The Terminator, which followed him into politics where he was known as The Governator. His signature sentence is, "I'll be back!"  After losing your wife of 25 years, that may be something really difficult to come back from. He seems to really be feeling the loss as something like that is truly significant.

When the time comes for Arnold, as it surely will for us all to kick the bucket, it's no big thing to predict what the inscription will be on his tombstone:  "I'LL BE BACK!

That should scare the bejeesus out of everybody who reads it.

Copyright (c) 2012   Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Why the American Political System doesn't Work!

Firstly, I have to tell you that I am a strong opponent of party politics. Party politics only serves to benefit a few people who are high up in the party in power, when I thought the idea was to serve the people of the country as a whole.

Party politics has made two Americas. One America is Republican, and the other is Democratic, and there is a Giant Wall, like in China, that runs between the two. In times past you could find members from both sides coming together on issues to move the country along, but lately The Republican party have just decided to sit back and say "No!" to everything that President Obama has put forward, in the hope of starving him out of the White House.

Meanwhile, Governor Romney is just waiting in line, knowing full well that he has a Congress ready to go to work on anything that he wants to do.

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, the majority Democrats are seething. Bastards! They are saying, anything that Congress sends to us for confirmation and we just say no!

The only way to get anything done is if you, as the president, have a majority in both houses. Then you can forge ahead, until the electorate taks away one of your majorities.

As for those undecided voters, you could get the idea that they actually do matter when it comes to voting for the president. Well, they don't!

America is headed downhill, and the cause is in the very system itself. It's a train running out of control and there is no way to stop it.

Copyright (c) 2012  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

About That Fire !!!

When all Hell breaks Loose !!!
This was three houses away from our own at 3:30 Monday morning, 24th September, 2012

A few posts ago I reported that my family and I had been chased from our home at 3:15 in the middle of the night by a raging fire that eventually covered 136,000 acres. I also said that in spite of the fire having swirled around and over our house, the house itself does not even have one burn mark on it. I prefer to see this as a modern day miracle that was the work of my family and friends who have crossed over to the other side, and who now function as our guardian angels. It makes me believe in life after death, and it is comforting to know that there is a job waiting for me when I get there.

Well, the scientists never let a good romantic set of beliefs get in the way of the facts, so these folks have explained to me exactly what happened. On the days in question, which were Sunday, September 23rd, into Monday morning , the 24th, we were experiencing something called a Poniente Wind, which in Spain means that the wind is blowing from the west. As it blows across the country in times of high heat, it collects the heat from its travels, and by the time it reaches Valencia on the East coast, which is where we are, it feels like the heat from a giant boiler. Without the fire, the heat from the wind is so intense that everyone usually shields themselves from it.

The wind speed was quite high, and although my wife and I were a bit sheltered, we were wondering whether we had made the right decision to have lunch on our terrace.About 4pm, she noticed a massive plume of dark smoke rising in the west. Apparently, there had been an electrical fault at a power station that may have been caused by the winds, and the fall out from that was probably carried into the nearby trees, again by the wind where a fire started and was very quickly carried away. I was concerned by what I was seeing and I went to find the source.  It was about 16 kilometres from our house, and the wind was blowing it away from us. It was not our turn to panic just yet. However, I was aware that a change in wind direction could be a game changer, so I continued to keep an eye on it.

As I stated in my earlier piece, I had an uncomfortable feeling that grew as time wore on. I checked the location of the fire more regularly, and I found it impossible to sit in one place for long. Finally, I began to think of what I would take if we had to evacuate in a hurry. This was something I had given prior thought to, so all our important papers were in one place. I then took them and put them in the car. I was going through an exercise, I convinced myself, and if not needed I would simply put everything back in its place.

I then thought about what to take in the way of clothing, and I chose both apparel for now and the coming winter, and I packed it in a suitcase, both for myself and for our son who was in Valencia at the time. I placed those in the car. At least I was doing something while at the same time trying to keep an eye on the fire. However, my perspective was limited by the several mountains that stood in my way, and so I could not see that because of a shift in the wind that may have happened only briefly, hot embers had blown from the top of the original mountain and jumped the river and set the hills behind our mountain range alight, and the fire was on its way towards us.

I finally went to bed at 2am, fully dressed, including my glasses, and I just lay there, wide awake, fully expecting something to happen. At 3:15 my neighbour called. "Get out..Quickly!" That was followed by the wailing of a siren. I was ready to go, but I had to wait for my wife to get dressed and packed. During that time I started blowing my car horn. My elderly neighbours wanted to know what was happening and why was I leaving, its not bad. They, nor I, could actually see the fire, but we left them there, and as we drove down our little drive a white van drove the other way. Fortunately for the couple it was driven by a police woman. By that time the couple had started to make a move, but they were moving very slowly and the fire was coming through the trees. The police woman picked up the little lady and plunked her in the van and told the man to get in. But, I have my car, he said. "Get in this car immediately!" she ordered.

Meanwhile, my wife was driving one of our cars and she was in front. Suddenly she stopped. Why on earth are you stopping? To take a picture, because we are not coming back to get the shot. By that time the wind was howling and ash and hot embers were raining down on us, so we beat a very hasty retreat.

I have seen the same thing many times where a fire storm has passed: the fire burns around houses and even barns. I have always given the credit for that to the firemen for having somehow doused the buildings with water or fire retardant, but the truth is something much more simple than that. We experienced a fire hurricane where the winds were so strong that when they collided with something immovable they backed up and created a vacuum, or a bubble around which the winds carried the fire, hence my house was not touched. The winds passed around and over my house, setting alight only my hedges, and in one case we had an archway of spruce, and apparently something hot landed on it and it partially burned, meaning that the wind put the fire out. The tree next to it has since blossomed into bright bell flowers, completely unaffected.

The trouble with this scene is that something that caught fire on the boundary of the property might continue to burn and that fire might  be drawn into the house, as happened with the dwelling behind us, that suffered a small fire to their kitchen, and the house in front that suffered much more extensive burning on the inside.

I mentioned before that a man who should not have been anywhere in the hot zone acted beyond the call of any kind a public duty by scaling our six foot wall, plus the two foot wire fence on top, and the three strands of barbed wire on top of that, and went and put out the fire that was making its way towards our garage. So, we have a genuine hero to be thankful to for saving us a whole lot of aggravation and pain. His name is Rafa, or Rafael, a man I had no idea existed. He could not get in touch with his father, who is my next door neighbour, so he walked through the police cordon to check on him and the house, and that was what became our salvation.

I was telling someone that I feel so lucky this year that I'm certain that this is the year I will win the first prize in the El Gordo lottery. He said that it seems to him I already have.

Good point!

Copyright (c) 2012  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Doing Much More with Less!

Super Humans at Play!
The Paralympic Games

I have been very delayed in writing this as a result of computer problems and the fire at my home, although I have been living with these thoughts for some time.

The question is: " Do I think that disabled athletes should compete in the Paralympics; and whether the answer is yes or no, then explain?"

My answer is unreservedly, Yes! The Paralympics have come a long way from that original competition when only 400 athletes competed, to today where the Paralympics rise above the Olympic Games, in my estimation . Having said that, I fully realise that is a very strong claim to make. So what do I base that on?

First, it must be said that London turned out to be a wonderful location. I was one of those people who feared the worst might happen from a security point of view. We remember that the day after the announcement was made London suffered a great tragedy in the form of terrorist bombings. So, full marks go to the whole of the security operation for keeping everyone safe.

Logistically, it seemed to be the perfect place, and all was in readiness ahead of time. Even the labour unions fell into line and put patriotism ahead of personal gains. I know that bonuses were paid, but the unions kept working to keep things running smoothly.

We were treated to wonderful performances from Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Usain Bolt, and everyone who competed in the Olympic Games. For me, it was the reason why television was invented. Sitting at home day, after day watching to my heart's delight, I could hardly have been happier. Time travelled at warp speed, and suddenly it was all over, and I sank into a form of depression.

Then, it was the turn of The Paralympic Games. Here, I must confess that I have never watched the Paralympic Games before. Why? I cannot recall a concrete attitude, but probably I thought they would be a poor second to the Great Olympic Games; and that perhaps I would be embarrassed for "those poor people."  But, the Olympics had been so good, and I wanted more, so I gave it a try.

I went from being the reluctant watcher to confirmed addict while watching the men's cycling time trials. A Russian competitor came onto the starting point with the help of a crutch for his left side. He had his complete right side leg, but no right arm at all. His left leg was missing up to his hip, and of his left arm he was missing his hand and wrist. I concluded that I could not watch because he was sure to fall. I could not turn away!

The cycle was held upright by a clip. He climbed on board, and with his left  arm he inserted it into a modified handle bar that was shaped in the form of an "O". The buzzer sounded and he was off. I winced and gritted my teeth and sunk even further into the couch, while holding my breath. Well, he didn't fall off, and by the time he passed the first marker he was ahead, and he was still ahead at the second marker. "What the fuck!" I sat forward, and by the time he finished he was top of the leader board, and I was standing Up, yelling at the top of my voice, "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I don't fucking believe this!"

I have never in my life reacted like that to anything. In that moment I got respect. I suddenly realised that all of these wonderful people were not the usual super humans you had to be to compete in such games, these were out of this world super humans, doing so much more with so much less.

I went on to watch blind men run as fast as they could; blind men play 5-a-side football, and not bump into one another any more than Messi and Ronaldo. I watched Ellie Simmons do water magic; and I watched a man who only had his right arm, less his right hand and wrist win his every contest, even against  people who had all four of their extremities. I watched people who had to be lowered into the pool then go off and swim like fish. I watched so much that was unbelievable that I became mesmerized.

I also watched contestants who never had a chance they would win, but who competed and finished. As I sat there and watched, I realised that had I competed in any of the events, I would have surely come in last. That has caused me to look at people who are coping with the loss of limbs or other disabling factors, in a new light. It is simply amazing what the human spirit can accomplish. I have seen it with my own amazed eyes, and I am a believer. What it all boils down to is that we are all humans, and we should be encouraged to do whatever is within our power.

The Olympic Games are the greatest arena for super  humans to come together in a spirit of goodwill and challenge; but it's the Paralympics when the athletes from a higher order strut their stuff. No wonder we save the best for last!

Copyright (c) 2012   Eugene Carmichael