List of Previous Titles

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Bangladesh Bomb

Collapsed commercial building in  Bangladesh.
How guilty should I feel?

Thursday is market day in Lliria. This is quite a large market in which sellers lay out tables with a wide variety of goods. Here, a table selling shoes for children at 1.99 euros a pair. There, a table selling underwear, three pairs for 5.00 euros. Another table sells change purses, four for 1.00 euro. I like these prices, and I also like the prices at Primark and a great many other leading name stores, but to get these prices there are people who are labouring under extremely horrendous conditions.

How guilty should I feel? Should I simply boycott these products in these times of severe economic depression?

We only have to cast our minds back to April 24th, 2013. That was the day after serious cracks appeared in the eight-storey commercial building that housed a bank, several shops on the ground floor; apartments, and a number of sweatshop clothing factories. The bank and the shops sensibily closed, and residents of the apartments left the building, but the owner demanded that the factory workers went to work. The building then simply fell down, killing 1,127 and wounding 2,500. It could have been much worse as the building held as many as five thousand.

We, as consumers can only focus on the things that are right in front of us. Normally, we would not consider the price of an article and try and include all the many factors that brought it to market at that price. That is not something that is do-able. Yet, by paying the least money possible for the article that we want we create the demand that sends people into harm's way.

We have no reason to place our faith in the seller in the weekly market, but shopping at Carrefour, Primark, The GAP, Walmart, Sears, H&M, C&A, Zara, Inditex, etc is quite another matter. Such super stores have clout and obviously need to use it in dealing with their service providers. Should they even have to concern themselves with the safety and security of the physical location. That sounds a bit extreme to me, yet from one incident alone almost four thousand people have been negatively impacted, all in the cause of bringing low cost goods to market and the creation of profit to shareholders.

Should all workers in third world countries have safe and secure working environments? Yes!
Should they all have a reasonable working wage plus social benefits to equal their Western and European world counterparts? Yes!
Would I be prepared to pay realistic prices to support such changes? Well, this is where it gets to be complicated, and I have to dig deep in my search for a truthful and sustainable answer.

I am  embarrassed to make that admission, but I think that's the way it is with the general public. I need to be made to step up to do my share in elevating the quality of life of such sad people who work so hard for me. In the meantime I am struggling with my conscience. That is obvious by the fact that I am still thinking about Bangladesh when most people have moved on to other things.

Copyright (c) 2013   Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Second Amendment

This will probably be the downfall of The United States of America

The United States of America is caught in a deadly grip of violence through gun use, and it is completely unable to help itself. In response to gun atrocities, and in opposition to those who advocate getting rid of guns altogether, the other point of view is that America should have more guns, as the answer, they say, to a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun. They reason that if a bad man walks into a crowded place where he knows that every adult is armed, he will not start shooting because he will know that he will be shot and killed in seconds.

Those people have never heard of a suicide terrorist.

Consider this scenario: a terrorist organisation wish to cause the worst tragedy in American history. They have several volunteers who are ready to die to make this happen. On the day of Super Bowl, say, several of them go the the game carrying their guns, as does every adult in the stadium. On a signal these men and women start shooting in a crowd of ninety thousand. Just like the wave, the action goes round and round and round the stadium.

Could that happen?  Why not?

The other thought concerning shootings in school is that each school should hire armed guards to stop students from killing their fellow students. Many school boards agree, but are unable to fund such a program. They have asked the teachers, who are in harm's way, whether they would be interested, and have been amazed how many have come forward to say yes.

As we speak, many schools have armed teachers who are ready to respond to shoot and kill a threat against their students. However, is this a good idea?

I suspect that ever since the first teacher came face-to-face with the first nasty, belligerent, offensive student. teachers have always wanted to be able to come to school with a gun on plain display. But, when the teacher has their nervous breakdown, as so many do, the last thing we want them to be in possesion of is a loaded gun.

There is the other side of the story: if your teacher is carrying a loaded gun, perhaps you will hand in your homework in perfect condition, and on time, and perhaps you will learn how to say sir, and ma'am, so that the teacher will have no need to have that nervous episode.

Only time will tell!

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Some Post Valencia Porno Exhibition Thoughts!

My most enduring image

It has been a week since I visited the Porno Fair in Valencia, and during the week I have been having lingering thoughts. I suspect that everybody who attended has been having the same experience. So many people took pictures on their smart phones and cameras that I can only imagine that those have been shown near and far, prompting much discussion.

The event was shocking, which is why I attended. It was a once-in-my-lifetime exposure as a live presentation, so it is no wonder I am still reeling from the sights and sounds. There is a popular image of men going into theatres showing triple-X rated films wearing raincoats, but no-one wore a raincoat that day, even though it was threatening to rain. In my opinion there was absolutely no need. What I found there was not at all a sexy, arousing show,  but rather a cold, clinical, soulless, passion-less demonstration of naked female bodies, gyrating, and thrusting, and inserting rubber things in full view, that frankly, it was just too much for my sensual nature to process.

I am only speaking for myself, of course, because these are my  own observations that are driven by the type of person I am. Who am I? I am a seventy-four year old man who was born at a time when women were respected, appreciated as our mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and lovers. Always I thought of the female as a very special and mysterious person. I never intruded on the privacy of a female who I felt, always needed her space.

Women thought differently than I did and went through a much different process in growing up. There were aspects to a female that were private to her, and even as my lover I gave her space. Mystery was the secret factor that drove my fascination, and my attitude towards a woman was that I should behave much differently than otherwise in her presence.

Then came Playboy and Penthouse and suddenly a glaring light was turned on, and I found myself blinking and staggering by some of the pictures. It was a bad thing but I didn't have the power to turn away. With each new issue I felt that something was dying, and that the Magic was slipping away. The female was being revealed in a manner that should never have been, and worst of all, I was a victim, not a winner.

It seems that society holds that a woman is fully equal with a man, and that we can work in the same workplace, and that we can use the same foul language if we choose, and enjoy the same types of entertainment, and be equal in every way. How can I take issue with this philosophy?  It certainly sounds reasonable, But...........

I didn't enjoy the Porn Fair. When I left it was because I was bored, and that is the worst reason of all. There was only one thing that I did enjoy. That was a pole dance done by a girl who was extremely acrobatic and accomplished. The thing that was most noteworthy was that she was wearing a bikini.

Less is more! 

Copyright (c) 2013   Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Valencia Erotica Exposition (Feria de Porno)

Imagine! A Festival of Pornography.

A few blogs ago I wrote: "Pornography! What social redeeming value, if any."  On Thursday evening, June 6th, I was watching news from Valencia when they featured a story, complete with news from the event, of an exposition of porn that was being held in the major exhibition centre over four nights, June 6th to 9th, That means that as I write this the show is now taking place.

I might celebrate my 74th birthday this year, but I can tell you that I have never before been in the presence of such a live presentation. I felt self-concious in stepping up to the ticket booth, but as I am well over 65 I was granted a discount on the price. However, the young man required proof because he said I didn't look over 65. That made my day!

Stepping inside I was reminded that the last time I was in that particular venue it was for a furniture show, or perhaps it was for the car show.  Curiousity was the reason I was there. I admit to having watched the occasional porn tape, so I had an idea of what these folk get up to, but what would they do in a live situation?

Doors opened at 4pm and I got there around about five o'clock. There were quite a number of people there, mainly men, of course. I was relieved to note that several men were with their wives and girlfriends. The lighting was subdued, the volume of sound was unduly loud and as a consequence completely jumbled up. There were several booths selling sex toys and lotions and creams. There were also six stages with the obligatory dancer's pole, so there would be stage shows of some sort. However, at that moment nothing was taking place. People were simply walking round and round just checking the layout of the zone.

Then one of the presentors introduced to the stage their actors and actresses. There were sixteen girls and four guys. The girls were all perfectly ordinary looking people who I might encounter on the bus and not even blink, other than they were perfectly beautiful individuals. After the introductions were made and promotions given for their  pay-per-view websites we all drifted off to see the other presentors introducing their line-up.

I stepped into the men's room for a nature break and when I re-entered the space after just that few minutes, everything had changed. The actresses of porn had gone to work, and everywhere I looked there was so much going on it was a bit overwhelming. There was one stand where BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism & Masochisim) was underway that so sickened me, and apparently most other people as there were very few watching, that I walked away in digust.

I will leave it to your imagination as to what else was taking place, but I did wonder whether the girls were full crazy or just plain stupid. I concluded that the hint is in the description of their profession: they are actresses. They play a role, probably without emotion, and without leaving anything to the imagination.  Judging by the the fact that there were at least four male visitors to every one woman, they seem to have appreciated the opportunity to not only see the girls in their birthday suits, but to also film them up close. I have never seen so many cameras and smartphones.

I came to Spain to live because I was interested to know how different an experience it would be. In Bermuda it is unlawful to produce pornography, or to be in possesion of pornographic material. As if to underscore the difference, on Saturday men and women were riding their bicycles around Valencia in the sunshine without any clothes whatsoever celebrating "NAKED BICYCLING DAY."  I have decided that the difference is night and day; chalk and cheese; Summer and Winter.

I am from the old school. I always needed to know the woman I was making love with, and even when the act was senseless, at least I knew her and enjoyed her. It always did mean something to me, and that I think makes me a person more fulfilled and content. There was also the matter of privacy that was important. Taking the act so public destroyed its value in my estimation. I left the forum for the absolute worst of reasons: I was bored! Sex is not a very good spectator sport.

I think of the people who work as actors and actresses, who probably do their thing several times a day. Normal people engage in love making when the mood moves them, but as a treat. Something special to enjoy. For these show people when work is done, what else is there to genuinely enjoy?

How sad!

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael

I can't say that I enjoyed my time at the

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Sandy Hook School Shooting

Partial exterior of Sandy Hook School with police just arriving.

Time has stood still since 26 people, very young students and teachers lost their lives at the hands of a fellow student who shot them in cold blood. I don' t think that anybody knows why it happened. The why is important because the answer might possibly stop it happening again.

I have a theory as to why this might have happened, as well as all those other school shootings that occur by students. It is only a theory, but I think it is both plausible and dangerous. Because the children at Sandy Hook were so young I don't think that they, as victims contributed in any way to the tragedy, but the actions of others may have.

I'm talking about the all too common practice of bullying among students. It occurs in every school all over the world and seems to be a part of our human nature. It is a fault in the make up of human nature to find someone to pick on so that we feel more superior.

I was a sutdent who was the target of bullying, and I can tell you that had I access to guns I would have shot and killed every one of my tormentors. My story is a long one, but here I give a  summary to show how someone who is bullied can be driven to such an incredible breaking point:

I first joined with a great group of guys who were not interested in gaining an education, but later when I realised I was wasting my life I tried to buckle down to school studies. My "friends" decided that was not going to happen and they turned on me with a deadly frenzy of bullying that culminated with them doing unspeakable things to me in the boys toilet. A teacher came to my rescue, but in the class following the lunch break, which was gardening, the teacher stepped away to report the incident to the school principal. The head bully came over to me to continue the harrassment, taking no notice of the fact that I had a pitchfok, and for his efforts I drove the pitchfok throungh his foot, as far down as it would go, pinning him firmly to the ground. His blood came spurting up through his shoe, and because he was a fat person, I remember his flesh  jerking up and down. I ran around and around, crying and screaming, like a banshee, with no apparent reasoning. However, I was looking for the hoe, and had I found it I would have chopped his head off.

I later taught the second in command a firm lesson, and I scared the leader of the girl's gang so badly she stayed away from school for a week. There was police intervention in the meantime and of course, intervention of my parents and the school administrators. About two weeks later a delegation of the boys who had been my tormentors asked to speak with me. They said that as I had scared the leader and his deputy so badly that meant that I had automatically become the leader, and that they would do whatever I wanted.

I remember excatly what I said and can quote verbatim: "In case you knuckleheads don't realise it, this is a school, a place of learning. We come here to get an education, so what I want you to do is get an education for yourselves, and to leave all of the other students alone who are trying to get the best education they can.  And one more thing, if you don't leave me alone, I will kill you!"

They left me well alone!

I am a very tranquil, non-violent person. My mood and attitude is the same every day. I learnt from that episode to control my anger. When someone provokes me my reaction is generally to go stone cold. If they go on to hurt me, rather than getting angry, I get even. I recognize that my temper is a dangerous thing and I have learned over the sixty-six years since then to control it.

Unfortunately, children are unaware of the danger of their actions when picking on others. They can have no idea of the powerful seeds that they sow, and when the worm turns they will be the first to be surprised.  Schools need to conduct regular reminders of the harmful effects of bullying and to encourage the reporting of such actions when they take place.

As a parent, I cannot imagine how those affected are able to face each new day without their child, struck down in such a heartless manner, especially as at Sandy Hook. Time is frozen for them and there is absolutely nothing that anyone can say to soften the blow. As someone who was driven beyond all reasoning when I was only eight years old, I'm relieved that my reaction did not result in any loss of life. To that I credit the fact that I lived in a society that outlawed guns.

Something to think about!

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael