List of Previous Titles

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Uh! Oh!

It was the Summer Solstice coupled with a full moon that drove the animal kingdom wild. Our house was plagued by flying ants and bugs of various kinds. They were all over the ceilings and covering the lights, and they were in our hair and our eyes and noses. They seemed to have gone mad.

The effect was still with us on June 23rd when the U.K. went to vote whether to stay where they were or to take a giant leap into the abyss. I have to say that I was not shocked or surprised with the outcome, although traditionally conservative Britain that does not like change found incredible courage to go for the biggest change of all, even though they have no idea what's in store with their decision.

This may indeed turn out to be a classic case of:" Be careful what you wish for!"

In a conversation I had with a friend of similar age, we were commenting on the fact that our lives were all about change. We were reflecting on how we went from one change to another, and the speed and depth of change. Especially when it comes to electronic and digital change, you pick up a gizmo, turn around once and that thing is redundant.

Well, it seems that we really hadn't seen anything. It appears that everything as we know it is now in play. The European Union is on the brink of no longer being a Union; the United Kingdom is no longer United, and the Great United States of America may have its days being counted as the Number One nation of the world. Our challenge, as citizens of the world, is that we have to open our minds and be ready to be flexible for whatever is coming.  Decisions will be made in the near future that were unthinkable only a year ago.  Some things will change for the worse that will leave us stunned, wondering how on earth did we arrive at this place.

The world is revolving so fast, and change is coming so rapidly that it seems that the world is about to go off the rails. I said I was not shocked nor surprised with the way the U.K. voted because for the common man it was an emotive issue, and I was fairly sure that emotion would carry the day. Today, there are a lot of people who are broadly smiling. I just hope they are still smiling a year from now.

There is one thing that deeply disturbs me, and that is the degree of emotional separation that the decision has caused. Families are struck by the bitterness; friends and companions have cooled their relationships; and here in Spain people in the streets seem to have a hostile attitude that you Brits have voted to leave the club, so why don't you just bugger off!

The British Prime Minister took the step to stand down to turn the leadership over to someone who believes in the Out decision. Many people have expressed disappointment and shock with his decision. In my opinion, if you voted for the U.K. to leave the EU but you didn't expect the Prime Minister to step down, that is pretty raw data that you had no idea, none at all in the gravity of the step you took.

But cheer up, it will get worse!

Copyright (c) 2016
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, June 18, 2016

By this Time Next Week

On hind sight the Referendum being held in the United Kingdom on whether to leave or stay is a mistake. No matter what the outcome the other side will be unhappy and claim that a mistake has been made. And what a Mistake it will be!

If the majority are for staying within the EU, then Brussels will be able to say, alright, now shut up and stop complaining!

On the other hand, if it's to leave, no one has any real idea of what that will mean.

The Stay group, which are the political, security and economic interests make a valid point.

The Leave group are more emotive in their concerns. They are sick and tired of being told what they can and cannot do. Brussels imposes rules and dictates upon the British way of life to the extent that traditionalists no longer recognize their own customs and culture. Many of the older Brits are over here in Spain impacting the Spanish way of life to the negative because they have lost the plot back home in Britain. I think that were I in their shoes I might understand what drives their frustration.

We are all living in a changing world, even conservative Britain, but I will be very surprised if the vote favors the biggest change of all. Britain does not generally favor change but it is possible that this time around the populace will vote for a change that no-one has any real idea of what the consequence will mean.

I think it's reasonable to expect a grand turnout of voters on Thursday. I hope all the bars will be closed until after the vote is completed. It would be horrible to be drunk when you voted, only to wake up the next day and realised you did what?

Stay tuned!

Copyright (c) 2016
Eugene Carmichael

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Greatest

Today is the 10th day of June, 2016, and the time is 6 pm Spanish time, and High Noon in Louisville, Kentucky in America. Today is the day when The Greatest is being gently and lovingly laid to rest.

I offer the following as my way of saying, Goodbye Champ!

Mohammed Ali has, as he said himself, lived a life of ten men and is larger than life. I must admit that I am not a fan of boxing but even I  have to recognise that he was the best at what he did. He was great in the ring, but he was also great in everyday life.

The greatest thing that he did, in my opinion was done quietly in a conversation with Michael Parkinson, the well respected British talk show host. The interview lasted one hour and this selected excerpt formed part of it.

Michael Parkinson (MP)- When is your first recollection, as a child, of being a second class citizen?

MA: "Second class? Oh no, sixteenth class. They used to always say I was a second class citizen. I would say to my mother: Momma?
How come the Chinese can go where I can't go in America? Englishmen can come and set up a business in white America and do things I can't do. The Puerto Ricans, Hawaiians, just about everybody can do more than black people and are respected.

Oh man, if we were second-class citizens we'd be driving old Cadillacs and living good.

I always asked my mother, how come is everything white? Why is Jesus white with blond hair and blue eyes? Why is the Lord's supper all white men? Why is Santa Claus and Superman white? Why are the angels white; and the Pope white, and Mary. When we die are we going to Heaven?"

She said, of course were going to Heaven.

"Well, what happened to all the black angels?"

The took the pictures:

" I know, they were in the kitchen making the milk and honey."

With that he outlined the crux of the problem of the black tribe. There was nothing wrong with the creation of those symbols for the white tribe, but we black children grew up with nothing of our own to look up to so that we would feel good about ourselves.

So Mohammed Ali followed that up by giving the black tribe a hero that we could believe in. A real one, not one that was fake such as Santa Claus and Superman. He managed to conduct his life throughout without embarrassing his believers.

When he declared himself a conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam we all took a deep breath. However, we must remember that this was America at a time when the struggle for black civil rights was in full swing. Had he gone to Vietnam and been captured, his captors should have slapped him for being there to kill them when back home he did not even have the most basic of human rights.

In fact, there were apparently cases of black men in uniform being killed on the streets of America simply for wearing the uniform of the armed forces. Was he right? Absolutely! On this day there will be many who denounced him at the time for his stand, but who now see clearly what a giant the man was.

Unfortunately, there was only one Mohammed Ali. That was so that he would stand tall above all others as one to be emulated but probably never to be equalled.

I say, on this day, to you personally Mohammed Ali, I thank you so much for what you gave us; and especially for what it personally cost you. You have lived a life that was a glowing example that will never be forgotten.   You are a positive influence for my son and my great grand daughters.

You once stood before an audience, in the grip of Parkinson's disease; shaking and with trembling voice you announced that you would come back. Your audience politely laughed, but the good news is that you will indeed be back through reincarnation in the body of some very lucky new born.

You were too good for only one round. I'm looking forward to Round Two!

Good bye for now, my friend!

Copyright (c) 2016
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The three-year old and Harambe the Gorilla

I was not going to touch the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo, but there is so much material in the incident that I feel compelled to put my oar in.

I'm talking about the fact that a three-year old boy slipped away from his parents and fell down a fifteen foot embankment into Harambe, the gorilla's enclosure.

The fact that it happened at all means that responsibility must be shared between the parents and the zoo, as it was something that was supposedly guarded against. However, I am not about criticizing a family with four children or the zoo where that fencing has been adequate for 37 years. What I want to do is look at human responses that prove that there is no such thing as a consensus of opinion; on anything. It just doesn't exist.

Harambe was a beautiful gorilla and it is a real shame that he had to be sacrificed. However, there will be a school of thought that will hold that he was "just" an animal so what's the fuss all about? In the wild gorillas are routinely hunted and killed to  the point of near extinction, yet there is very little in the way of public outrage as this goes on every day. These same people might even fantasize about hunting gorillas themselves.

Then there is the group who feel that the animal should not have been killed, no matter what. They say that Harambe seemed to be protecting the boy, but he could not have known how delicate this young human was. In his hands the boy was like a rag doll, and it is a miracle that in ten minutes in the enclosure the boy was not accidentally killed or even seriously harmed.

There have been a couple of cases lately where mature humans have entered into the enclosures of dangerous  animals with the apparent intention of suffering suicide. Zoo officials have intervened to get the person out, sometimes at a cost to the animals. I know that officials cannot just stand by while the person realises his goal, but I certainly wish that they would go have a coffee while the man gets to know the animals a bit better.

It is important to remember that this was not a scene from King Kong. That was a movie with a script where it was known how the make-believe screen gorilla would act. This was real life where the people who were watching inadvertently further agitated the animal through their panic. It was a highly emotional ten minutes that could have so easily ended in the death of the child.

There are people who have been quick to condemn the parents for their failure to have kept absolute control over all four of their children. However, something like a simple incoming phone call would have been enough of a distraction, thereby reducing vigilance of four children onto one parent. A curious and adventurous child of three needs even less space to get into trouble.

This has to simply be chalked up to one of those extraordinary things that no-one ever wanted to see happen, but since it did all must learn the obvious lessons on offer.

Copyright (c) 2016
Eugene Carmichael