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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The impact of television on War

Entertainment in the early ages

Throughout the early history of mankind, before the arrival of widespread use of electricity, when men had far too much time to think, their choice of entertainment was to simply go and attack their neighbour's village, kill the men and capture the women. With the onset of travel facilities allowing for overseas journies, the idea spread to other primitive people who went out and invaded countries and claimed them for their own. One such country claimed it had stolen so many other people's countries that the sun never set on its empire!

The research I have done reflects that deep and wide thought has been given to the impact that television has on all aspects of our lives, but the question in my mind has not been addressed specifically. That question is: is the entertainment value of tv so powerful that it keeps men at home, and our minds sufficiently occupied as to promote peace among nations?

We see very clear examples of life in the developed countries compared with third world countries where fighting has continued for decades. Even those countries where it once was fashionable to invade other people's countries have moved to give those countries back to the people. The sons have wondered what the hell were our fathers thinking?

Television is all invasive and influences everything about our lives. In war, it may indeed avoid conflict by keeping people at home. Where there does exist fighting it is shown in all its horror. There is nothing glamourous about war, and the old image of young men eager to go off to see action was always misguided.

However, television can also be the instrument that ignites conflict. It is thought that the Arab Spring is a result of people in the countries having been able to see for themselves how free people live. Perhaps life in the free countries is not utopian, but if you are an oppressed person it may look far better that it actually is. That may indeed be worth  fighting for!

So, the next time you and I might think there's nothing worth watching on the box, we perhaps should pause to reflect that the boob tube might be the very reason for our peace and tranquillity.

 There's always tomorrow night's programming! Tonight, we can read.

Copyright (c) 2014   Eugene Carmichael  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mrs. Hilda Smith, Bermuda's oldest citizen, died in her 107th year!

Bermuda's oldest treasure dies at 106 years, two months, and twenty-one days of age!

When I was growing up, I recall that people who were the age that I have now reached were asked, to what did they owe their longevity. Often they were pictured in wheelchairs. The rare person who lived to reach their one hundredth birthday would definately be wheelchair bound and drooling, and most likely they would be in bed. We have now entered into an era where we are living longer, and enjoying life.

Ms. Hilda Smith was one such person. She lived her professional life as a teacher, and in that regard she will have impacted a great many people, and a number of those she will have outlived herself. Her great love was music. In that regard she played the piano, the harp, and she was a tenor saxophonist. This was truly impressionable for someone who lived through the many decades of repression of women's rights, and as a black woman she suffered immensely through the dark days of racial segregation. How she received the news that the the world's most hated regime in South Africa had been taken over by Nelson Mandela, I do not know; and that the world's most powerful man, as president of The United States of America, is a black man, I can only imagine.

I presume that Queen Elizabeth II of England still sends out congratulatory messages to those who reach their one hundredth birthdays. In that case she would have sent such a message to Ms. Smith. A year after that the Queen visited Bermuda and heard a painist play God Save the Queen. That was Ms. Smith, at 101 years old. The Queen was suitably impressed.

Ms. Smith lived out her golden years in a home for the aged. The residents regularly receive visits from choirs who come to lead them in joyful song. The pianist was 106 years old, playing from memory.

As stars go, Ms. Smith was a super nova, one of the brightest in the universe. Yet she was so humble but at the same time, so brilliant. As a wordsmith I am sorely taxed to even express my admiration and respect for this wonderful person, who I am so sad to have to say that I never did meet her. Yet, she was my fellow Bermudian who lived out her life in the most positive manner, just by being her wonderful self.

She leaves mega shoes to fill and very large footsteps to follow. I suspect she will live on in the thoughts and conversations at dinner for a very long time to come. To be able to boast that you were taught be her is a considerable gong.

Hilda Smith
Born October 21, 1907
The end came on January 21, 2014
106 years, 2 months, 21 days

When asked to what did she owe her longevity, she replied: "I am in the Hands of the Lord. This is all his Doing!"


Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Call me Lucky! Lucky!

Apparently, I'm the luckiest man on Earth!

I was complaining to my wife that oce again I did not win anything substantial through the Spanish Christmas lottery, El Gordo. I said that were it not for bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all. She replied that on the contrary, she felt I was perhaps the luckiest person she knows.

To begin with, when I was born I was given a maximum age expectancy by the actuary to age 47. Now, I am age 74. Perhaps they made a mistake and simply reversed the digits. (Oh shit!)

Secondly, a massive fire swept over our house without even touching the walls of the house. Lucky!

My children, and even my grandchildren have grown up to be model citizens. (Super good luck!)

Then she gave me a long list of why I am lucky just in being a man. Consider this:
I never have to fear getting pregnant.
I can wear a white T-shirt to a water park, or no shirt at all.
When guys talk to me they look me in the eyes, not at my chest
I have three pairs of shoes. that's two too many.
On vacation, the shoes I need are on my feet.
When I want to pee the whole world is my urinal.
Same work, more pay. (But, that sucks.)
I can open all my jars myself
The garage is all mine
My underwear costs $9 for a pack of three
I do my nails with my Swiss Army knife
I decide to grow a mustache, or not.
My wife does my hair, once every two years.
and finally,
One mood, all the time. No need to get cranky, unless my not so little man stops working.

When we put it like that, I guess I am a very lucky man indeed. I'm also very grateful to have won the lottery of life!

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, January 5, 2014

And,........We're Off!


We have got off to a reasonably good start with this new year. To begin with, Christmas and the end of 2013 went fairly well. No school full of small children had to die to mark the occaison. No one killed his neighbours with chemical weapons. No building fell on a workforce of hard working indentured labourers, and generally we were spared man made tragedies as part of our celebrations. Here in Valencia we celebrated with the good news that a third less people died over the holidays on the road. We are learning  not to be stupid. At our dinner table there were two designated drivers with the responsibility of getting everyone home safely. It seems many more tables were doing the same.

It was nature who added an element of excitement by visiting upon various areas mega-storms and intense cold and flooding. These things we have to put up with as, fortunately mankind has not learned to control the weather. Yet!

Here's my wish list for things I would like to see happen during this year:

-I would like to see the conflict in Syria brought to an end. President Obama can surely make that happen because he can do what no other can do, if he keeps the thought: "Yes, I can!"
- The poor Egyptians simply want to be ruled with intelligence, sympathy, and compassion. Is there no-one in that country that has those attributes?
- The mid-term elections in the Unted States might bring some relief to the White House, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.
-Here in Spain I would like to see at least one sign posted that reads, "Now Hiring!"

One more thing: I want to win the lottery in a big way because there are so many people, of whom I am aware that desperately need my help. Think on that with your every bit of strength so that we can make it happen. Thank you!

Have a truly wonderful year with good health at the top of the list.

Copyright (c) 2014  Eugene Carmichael