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Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Crisis of Epic Proportions

Those of us who live in Europe have a human crisis, and no-one is quite sure what to do about it. We have a human migration where people of Africa and the Middle East are moving into Europe like a growing human tsunami. I am an immigrant to Europe, although I am not seen as such as I arrived legally on an airplane holding a British passport. At the time that I arrived there were Africans landing on the beaches in search of a better economic life.

I always wondered who those people were. From what we understood large sums of money had been paid to the people traffickers, so they must have been people from subtantial levels of society in their homelands. In many African countries when a change of government occurs the new opposition lays bare a number of people who will simply be killed by the new intolerant administration. Those people will do well to flee for their lives.

Then came the Arab Spring and that has led to constant movement within a number of countries. We in Europe have no real idea of what is taking place on the ground. People are drowning themselves and they are dying in the desert to get away from a hell that only they know. We can't even begin to imagine what they have left behind.

Those people who are fleeing Syria are genuine war refugees. That we understand, but whether you are getting away from the Assad regime or some warlord, the end result is just the same if you are caught up in the're just as dead.

For years bodies have been fished from the Mediterranean waters, but the latest abomination is that a refrigeration truck, left parked along a highway yielded 71 dead bodies, including 4 children. Seventy-one people climbed into this truck that clearly had no ventilation, and allowed the driver to close the doors and lock them. With that simple action he deliberately snuffed out the lives of all those people. They say that desperate people do desperate things. None of us can even begin to understand this.

Some Europeans are behaving in the most shameful manner towards the migrants, particularly in Germany. However, it is a bewildering sight to have hundreds, if not thousands of people crossing your backyard. These are humans whose lives matter. They have nothing, not even a home.

The good news is that Europe actually does need more people. The question is how to turn these newcomers into productive members of society?

Copyright (c) 2015 Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ashley Madison. Life is Short. Have an Affair.

A little over 50 years ago I walked into a hotel cocktail bar where The Woman, a stranger to me, was sitting alone at the bar. I went over to her and said, "Well, hello there!" She replied, "Absolutely, Yes! Let's go!" Slack-jawed, I followed. On the short walk to her room she said, "These are the rules of engagement: I don't want to know anything about you, and I don't want you to know anything about me. Let's just go to my room and get busy."

I have often thought of her and that encounter. That was when my education began.
To begin with, I had always thought that I was a seducer of women, when the truth was that I chased them until they caught me. Secondly, women need sex as much as men, (and sometimes more so when they are trying to get pregant) because we are both programmed to at least replace ourselves. Men are wired to lay down our seed as much as possible. It really doesn't matter whether the woman is beautiful or homely, short or tall, thin or stocky, our natural drive is to pass our seed.

Somewhere along the way the morality police came into being, and in today's Western society we are supposed to confine ourselves to one woman in the building of our family.

Enter Ashley Madison! Life is short. Have an Affair.
This flies in the face of everything we think of as moral, and frankly, is just plain offensive. I can see why the hacktivists targeted A.M. because it is just so in your face. I am a bit surprised that the culture of seeking a mate via a website has been so successful. Before computers people met one another the old fashioned way. There was work, church, social clubs, happy hour, etc. I believe meeting someone over the Internet is no less work.

There is no shortage of websites that try and bring people together. They thrive on testimonials from people who say they met each other on this or that on-line service and now they are married with family. However, a lot of the time people get together on-line to just plain have sex. But at least there is redeeming quality in most on-line sites.

So, why would a married man and woman reach out to have an affair?
The problem with life is that your relationship starts out fresh and passionate, but with the passing of time a cooling takes place. Men have always been the ones to seek outside passion. Tradionally we have always thought that sex was something that men did to women, but the fact is that once a woman casts off her inhibitions men have to step up our game just to keep pace. So, Ashley Madison sought to capitalize on the yearning for passion in one's life, and they were successful.

They also stood out like a red flag, thumbing their noses at society, encouraging, aiding and abetting people to break their vows and to throw trust to the winds. I imagine The Church would have been especially annoyed, so the destruction of this company will be greatly welcomed, and the 39 million people whose records are wide open for inspection will get no sympathy from anyone. However, it will change anything.

Life will go on. People will continue to seek passion from others in discreet ways. However, the truth is that the moment one partner has a one-night stand, the other will know about it. You tell your partner in lots of little ways, and it can't be avoided.

Men love sex, and women love good sex. Ideally, they want to be fully involved, not just some love object. Just as my encounter over fifty years ago taught me, we have our needs and when we are able to act out with a consenting adult, even if we know nothing about that person, it can be one of the most satisfying of experiences. However, if it is just for the moment, when its over it no longer has any meaning. (That's what men mean when they say, "it didn't mean anything.")  If it is done within the circle of love, to advance your love for one another, then its called making love, rather than simply having sex.

Here's a suggestion: Husband or wife, if you feel that your sexual relationship has grown stale and you yearn for passion from someone new, together, join a swingers club. There are many outlets for you to spice up this part of your life together. There is always the danger that you will get carried away with your emotions, but that might happen anyway. At least you won't be unfaithful and dishonest with one another.

The two most precious commodities in a marriage worth treasuring are Trust and Love. They should be preserved at all costs!

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wedding Traditions

I finally received an invitation to a Jewish wedding. There was a time in my life when I met and befriended many Jewish couples, but always they were on their honeymoons, so I never got to attend the wedding.

This wedding was held in the community of Wimbledon. The bride was the youngest of four sisters and the last to be married. No expense was spared and the event was a first class production. I was  very much impressed, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Just getting to the wedding was a whole story in itself as on that day the Ride London+100 mile took place that involved up to 80,000 cyclists, and we had to cross their path, on foot, three times. If you ask me, I think we must have had a death wish. That apart, I got to thinking about wedding traditions and customs. This arose because close friends attended a Hindu wedding a couple of days later, and we compared notes. Surprisingly, we discovered similarities between the two ceremonies that are different to Christian weddings.

In all three ceremonies it is customary that bride and groom do not see one another shortly before the wedding day. The language of the service is according to the religion: Hebrew, Sanskrit, and English or nationality.

In both the Jewish and Hindu ceremonies the couple stood on a raised stage under a canopy, while usually in British Christian ceremonies bride and groom and party are on the same level as the congregation.

In all three the bride is still, in these modern times, given away. I only mention this because modern young women are so independent I'm surprised they follow this tradition. After all, no one gives the groom to the bride.

The Hindu couple take seven steps, and the Jewish bride walks around her husband seven times. There is no similarity in the Christian service.

Hindu and Christian weddings usually take place inside a temple or a church, while Jewish weddings traditionally take place out of doors.

After being declared husband and wife the couple are showered as they pass along the line of well-wishers. Rice has been the preferred material but is hellish to clean up, so soft rose petals are generally used in all three situations.

At the celebrations that follow, both Jewish and Hindu couples were sat in chairs and hoisted by strong men and danced around the room. That simply doesn't happen in Christian weddings in England. Something to do with health and safety, no doubt.

As usual, when we do comparisons we find that we are more alike than we are different. Ours is a very small world and it really is better when we all get along.

Copyright (c) 2015  Eugene Carmichael