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Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 What a Wacky Year that was!

2017 has been the wackiest year that any of us have ever seen.  In The United States they started the year by trying a new style of politics; in England the risky choice of Brexit moved a few steps forward, and in Spain certain citizens thought they had the right to break up the country into which they were born. The entire year appeared to be one extended version of April’s Fool’s Day.
Among the many things that happened, the top two for scope and outrageousness were the plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar, previously known as Burma, and the other was the Grenfell Tower obscenity.
The Rohingya are a minority Muslim group who have lived for a very long time in the Rakine State of Myanmar.   They have endured persecution from the Myanmar/Burmese and the Buddhists monks apparently simply because they are who they are. I assumed that they must have done something pretty horrible to draw down upon them such hatred. They seem to be innocent of anything in particular to make people hate them so.
However, after suffering unwarranted abuse a core group of young Rohingya men formed together to push back. Evidently that was all the government was waiting for as they have launched into this group of people with such ferocity and intensity as to be determined to cleanse the country of them altogether.
They say they are fighting against terrorists. What terrorists? Are they speaking about the babies, young children and women whose deaths they are responsible for through the assaults by the military?
So far it has been reported that more than 650,000 Rohingya have been forced to run for their lives into Bangladesh, and in the process more than 6.500 have perished, including about 1,200 babies and young children.   They are the modern Jews in Hitler’s Germany, persecuted simply for being who they are.
Meanwhile Myanmar assures me that if I choose to come and visit their country I will have a wonderful time. I don’t think so! In fact I do not want anything at all to do with this miserable country.
The Grenfell Tower terror is currently sub-judice as there will likely be charges flowing from that awful disaster. As a human tragedy it is in a class of its own. The manner in which those who were killed died was about as bad as it gets, especially as it has been reported that residents warned against just such a probability.  When I first saw the blaze I had to turn away, it was more than I could process.
In third place is the currently unfolding drama of the Hashtag MeToo campaign against rich, famous and powerful men who are accused of sexually touching, harassing and even raping women as though it were their right.
The first big shock of this type was Bill Cosby, a man who I practically worshipped as a comedian who conducted himself in public with great dignity, and in the process raised the bar of what the general public; (read white America) should think of his people. His was a cataclysmic fall but I bet he is much relieved now having been joined by such a long list of luminaries.
Incidentally, the world used to presume your innocence until you were found guilty in a court of law. Not anymore! No sooner is the accusation made than action is taken against the accused. This is how everybody who was anybody is being treated. I feel I should pay some really hard to believe women to accuse me so that I can be somebody. Not!
As usual I shall not celebrate the coming of the New Year because I cannot know what it will bring. The year now closing very nearly killed me: I wouldn’t say that was something worth celebrating; however the fact that I have survived is definitely worth making a fuss over.
So, to each and everyone I extend my very best wishes to you for 2018. My hope is that the year will treat you and your families well, bringing first and foremost the very best of health, and prosperity!
A cautious Happy New Year!
Copyright © 2017-
Eugene Carmichael           

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Racist Christmas traditions in Europe

It's Christmas again? Where did the twelve months in between go? I need somebody to slow the clock down. As a very young child the time between Christmas took forever to pass. Now that I can be the Santa it seems that if I blink a year will pass.

This Christmas I made history in Spain by dressing as Santa, or Papa Noel as he is called here to attend at a Christmas Fair. Spanish adults told me beforehand that I couldn't do that as I did not fit the image of Santa as I am a black man. I agued that around the world can be found Santa's of every ethnic group that celebrates this tradition and Spain could do with a little opening of the mind on this subject. Anyway, I was prepared to try it on to get a reaction.

I made my Grand Arrival by walking down the stairs which I had to feel because I was wearing my reading glasses. I had to be very careful not to trip and fall and kill myself at that moment. The tiny ones who are the true believers saw nothing out of the ordinary and came and sat wiht Papa Noel to have a chat. All went tremendously well at the Fair, but after that I went into the town still in character because I had an errand, and I ran into families on the street,

Parents and children alike were delighted. I could hardly get from one end of the street to the other for my popularity. This is the same Spain which accepts a very racist practise of engaging Black Pages to deliver the presents in place of Santa. In one particular town of Alcoy white men cover themselves from head to toe in black with painted excessively large red lips. I presume they are depicting themselves as black men, although I have never met a black man who looks like that.

In Holland they have a tradition which is similar in that Black Pete acts as Santa's helpers. Again, they are white men who dress themselves in the manner of Spain's Black Pages and these traditions have carried on for over a hundred years.

Such traditions are defended and justified by many people as being harmless and great fun. They satisfy themselves that they mean no harm, nor are they mean spirited, and that they are tradition.

That's the problem with racism and bigotry. The practioneers cannot see anything wrong in what they are doing.  However, whenever we trod on another race or gender to big up ourselves we do not succeed in achieving that. The opposite is attained as what a reasonable world sees is a group of imbeciles trying to make themselves believe that they are something special when they are consigning themselves to what I believe is called a circle of Bigots.

This is a problem in all ethnic groups, and when it happens within the group it is particularly irritating. Within the group of people of colour it happens that those of lighter skins might look down on their darker skinned cousins. That is taking things too far!

A couple of strange Christmas traditions in other European countries:

In Sweden a giant reindeer is built out of straw  to be burnt on New Year's eve. It so often becomes the target of pranksters or pyromaniacs and is damaged or destroyed before the scheduled event. One time thieves with an helicopter tried to steal it.

In Germany there is Knecht Ruprecht who is a hellish looking character that would frighten me, much less a child who had been bad. This awful image is intended to castigate the child in the hope that he will be good in the future.

In Romania there is the slaughter of pigs around Christmas, which is done to provide food. However, the idea seems to be to get as drunk as you can, catch a pig and stab it to death, then using a flame thrower/blow torch the pig is burnt while its guts remain in place. Good luck to that!

The origins of Christmas are controversial and only apply to the Christian world. However short a period a child can be convinced to believe that if they do their best to behave themselves Santa will reward  them will be worth it. As a true believer I remember one  Christmas Eve Santa could be heard on our rooftop, Ho-Ho-Hoeing while yelling at Rudolph to stand still. My father had told us children that if this happened while we were awake we were not to open our eyes as Santa would know and he wouldn't leave us anything. we kept our eyes firmly shut.

Our son was a skeptic from the very beginning. As young as he was he decided to be a real rebel in spite of our warnings he would not get anything. On Christmas morning he came down holding his teddy and sucking his thumb. He looked at the Christmas tree and it was bare. The look of disappointment and amazement was so strong on his face, but he did not cry; although we did.

We said if he would be good during breakfast perhaps Santa would stop in while he had a nap. That worked. Whew!

So, to all, from my family to you and yours, Happy Holidays and may 2018 bring you the things you hope for. I wish the very best of Health for you, as when you have that everything else falls into place.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Something Big and Bad always happens.....

At this time of the year in the run up to Christmas usually something takes place that impacts a great number of people in a major way. Something to do with fire, water, snow, ice, or explosion. I'm writing about this now in the hope that 2017 will get a pass from such a tragedy. We have suffered more than enough throughout this year.

The utterly disgraceful treatment by the country of Myanmar of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim  population can not be justified. The military of Myanmar have chased approximately 600,000 Rohingyas from their homes and set fire to the homes so that they have nothing to come back to, and they have been chased out of the country into Bangladesh. In the process it has been reported that 6,700 have died, including 1,200 children.

What had those people done to deserve that kind of treatment? Several years ago it came to my attention that the military filled a boat with these persecuted people, gave them food and water and set them adrift, forbidding them to touch any part of Myanmar's shores ever again. I imagine it was hoped that the boat would sink with all aboard lost forever.

When we Google Myanmar this is the lead story, of course, followed by advertisements that encourage tourism to the country. Any tourists that visits that country are aiding and abetting the government, and any country that trades with Myanmar supports and gives encouragement to such evil behaviour.

In my opinion this is the worst case of inhuman behaviour of the year in the entire world . Congratulations Myanmar, you're the winners. For that your country deserves to be completely boycotted and shunned. May you all starve to death as you are imposing on the Rohingya.

With that great evil added to all of the other evil actions of man that are on-going we have more than enough to saturate our collective conscience, we really don't need anything else. So while it has become part of tradition to expect the worst, at least for this year let's hope for the best.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael  

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The new face of divorce

For couples living on small islands or in small towns divorce is a real pain. The problem is that from the day the two people part they go on still unavoidably seeing one another because of the geography. You can't get away from one another and this causes all sorts of problems.

You follow what happens to each other whether you want to or not. Ex-husband sees ex-wife is spending time with a friend of his, who is now an ex-friend and all hell breaks out. Ex-wife sees ex-hubby with the woman they broke up over and that's a fight in the street.

Worst of all is you are both aware of how each one is doing after the end of the relationship. If she seems to be happy with her new man and they are having a good life, one that was better than she had with you; "How dare she?"  If his financial situation takes a significant turn for the better his ex wants to go back to court to claim a greater award for maintenance.

Normally divorce is bad news for everybody. It's certainly more tolerable for the couple who live in large countries or even cities. Usually the man suffers the worst effects because he is expected to leave the family home and to continue his support for the family. Over the past years another factor has not so quietly crept on the scene:, and that is where some women divorce and through the mystery of how Cupid works, their second chance puts great wind in their sails and that takes them straight to the top.

As she was then, Camilla Parker-Bowles divorced her military husband and married the successor to the Throne of England, whom she would have married in the first place had others not intervened.

J:K: Rowling divorced her husband and went on to become one of the world's most successful writers with her Harry Potter series of books that actually got young children away from their smartphones.

A certain Queen, now married to the King was formerly married but that was annulled so we don't talk about that.

The latest transition is that of Meghan Markle who was previously married but has found herself the sparkle in the eyes of Prince Harry. This is a wonderful thing to be happening because Harry is evidently much in love with her and she comes well equipped to cope with the stress of the role she is undertaking. Adding to the excitement is the fact that she is the daughter of a white father and a black American mother.

In reality this should not be any big deal in these modern times but she is adding a new element to the rich history of The Royal Family. The Queen is not bothered so nor should anybody else.

In all the above examples I try to imagine what the former husbands are thinking and how they feel. They may indeed be jealous of their ex-wives good fortune but they also have a right to be proud of them.

So the question to future divorced husbands should be: Who would you like to see your ex link up with? It could reflect well upon you.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, December 3, 2017

President Donald Trump

Like most reasonably intelligent people I have found myself bewildered by the fact that The Electoral College gave their winning votes to Mr Trump when, on the face of things they are in place as a check against the people who might have been determined to elect someone entirely unsuitable for the office of Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America.

The people gave three million more votes to Hillary Clinton, so they didn't want Mr Trump but the Electoral College did. Why? Thanks to the broadcaster Fareed Zakaria who hosts The Fareed Zakaria Show on CNN, I now have a much better idea of why this all came to be.

For those who don't know it really isn't the collective votes of all those Americans who voted that determines the eventual outcome, but rather it is the five hundred and thirty-eight super delegates that are spread across the country that have the final say. These are people who are drawn from the professions and are considered to be highly intelligent. They do cast their votes, and the first of the two candidates for the office to receive 270 of the Electoral College votes is declared the winner.

I suppose each of these persons is subject to lobbying as it appears is everything else in America but I am not suggesting there is corruption in the process. However, one thing was fairly evident from the start was that Donald Trump would be good for the stock market. If you were an investor and a super delegate you might have been influenced by the fact that the market would probably soar on a Trump win. Maybe not, but what's the chance of that. The fact is that the stock market did soar, and it continues to do so.

The second possibility of why Mr Trump got their vote was that much of  his diehard support comes from people who are poor and unemployed, or under-employed. This is where it gets very serious because the people who are relying on him so desperately are the ones who respond to his message that he will bring back jobs.

As one woman said, I don't care what Mr Trump does to women in his own time as long as he makes good on bringing back jobs to America. The extraordinary thing is that American manufacturing has closed down their plants in America to make goods that Americans buy, only to manufacture these items overseas where labour is cheaper and therefore, profits are greater. I have always been amazed by this strange fact, even to the extent that Americans chose to buy foreign made cars by foreign companies, such as The Japanese who were not so open to American made cars in Japan.

So, these two factors could mean that Mr Trump will win again, if he lasts that long. I remember the hope that was invested in Mr Obama who was everything a president should be, but when he lost his political capital and was left high and dry people didn't understand why he did not do the things he wanted to do. In many ways he was a sitting duck.

Mr Trump has said that he will put people in the coal business back down the mines and he will bring manufacturing back to the U.S. so now he has to do those things to the satisfaction of sufficient of his supporters to make the difference. No excuses will suffice as he will have their support if he wants to carry on in his outrageous manner, they are with him. Just put them back to work, and do it soon. Otherwise he will become abandoned.

The situation across the country is so dire that I am withholding my disgust and holding my nose for his style  of management and I will cheer for every little genuine success he is able to achieve. He is The President and the whole country, and the outside world need to hope that he doesn't make a real mess because we all have to live with it. Hopefully he will bring back more than just hope.

One thing would help. Stop with the Twitter already. Enough!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Paradise Papers from my Home Country

Firstly,  the Paradise Papers is an effort by the world's news media to uncover possible crimes committed and covered up in Bermuda while totally ignoring the fact that the information obtained itself is a major crime akin to breaking and entering the offices of Appleby and taking the files from the filing cabinets.

No-one from Appleby's leaked that information. It was obtained via a simple hacking operation and it confuses me that the media can spill such private information, illegally obtained to the whole world. Names have been released, including Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, but the best part of all is that those bastards have had to admit and report they have not found wrongdoing but rather that all is perfectly legal.

I was born in Bermuda, and along the way I have been close enough, or outright involved in Bermuda's growth as an international finance centre to have an insider's understanding of Bermuda's attitude about these things.

Let me say I am not a spokesperson for Bermuda but rather these are my own personal observations, views and opinions. In the early days Bermuda was a favourite for people who sought to establish Trusts as a way of safeguarding assets from greedy grasping spouses. Whether they also evaded paying taxes on those assets I really don't know, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to imagine that some people went that extra step.

Then we saw an attack being made on the secrecy laws and practises of Switzerland and some of us said we had better get out ahead of this matter and re-examine our own exposures because we are entirely too small and isolated an outpost to survive pissing off financial authorities by standing in their way to track down taxes due to them.

When the regulatory authorities for Europe came knocking on our door we were in a position to say this is what we have already done towards fighting tax evasion and money laundering. Let us see what your further criteria is and we will close the gaps.

Bermuda is fully in compliance with regulations from both sides of the Atlantic. We can not afford to get in a fight with the IRS in the United States or the Inland Revenue in the U.K. or any other authority. I can tell you that the United States conducts financial examinations in Bermuda of United States companies because I have had to sit with their examiners myself and supply information.

With respect to the payment of tax, often when the tax authority conducts an audit they will find that the taxpayer has over paid his tax burden because of miscalculation. In those cases the authority will refund the overpayment, which establishes that we are only required to pay what is required of us and not a penny more.

If there are so-called loopholes that allow the taxpayer to reduce his burden then the loop hole needs to be closed. The person or company that uses the loophole must not be blamed. Said loopholes may exists in Bermuda, or the United Kingdom or The United States of America.

I'm proud of my Bermuda and its integrity. On top of that in the presentation of their investigative journalism the British BBC program "Panorama"  showed stunning images of Bermuda which made me long for home and amounted to great publicity for the island. On top of that they found all to be in order.

The Paradise Papers indeed!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Birthday Milestones

My wife celebrated her birthday recently, but the time between the last one and this one had passed so quickly I had to check to make certain we were not celebrating two in the same year.

I arose after her and instead of the first words from my mouth being "Happy Birthday My Love," I said " Good Morning. I see the cat has thrown up again." We were due to leave the house at 11am at which time she seemed to storm out of the house ahead of me, moving the car outside the gates and waiting. Up until then I still had not mentioned the word birthday.

I closed the house and got in the car and then I said, " I have not wished you a happy birthday because I am taking the responsibility to make this a very happy day for you. So, let's get this show on the road."

She just stared at me. She then said I'm so angry with you that I have just posted this on my Facebook page. The message read "I'm so angry with my husband, and she went on to tell the above story. I said so, we are starting at the very bottom and it may be a long way to the top but I will get you there. Off we went!

The plan was that we would drive to Benidorm, about two and a half hours away to stay overnight at an hotel, and we would spend the evening at The Benidorm Palace for dinner and a show. I made certain that the hotel would be out of the ordinary, therefore I chose the Meliá Villaitana which is not located down along the waterfront in the jungle that is all that concrete, but rather a hotel that presents itself as a full Moroccan-style village with commanding views over the Mediterranean.

By the time we reached our destination she was back on civil terms with me, but the sight of the hotel brought a soft smile to her face. The location is next door to the Terra Mitica theme park. This is a glorious hotel whether you are travelling as adults only or with young children you will be comfortable and pleased. If you are also a golfer you may think you died and are now in Heaven.

As the night overcame us we prepared for the main part of the experience. About fifteen years ago I had the opportunity to attend a Sunday afternoon charity event at The Palace featuring talent from several venues around the town. It served as a taster for me where I vowed I would come back someday to celebrate something important. That time had come, but in the meantime The Palace had reinvented itself by changing its image. It now looks like a place out of the ordinary that offers something unique. On the other hand it would be right at home in Las Vegas.

Our dinner that preceded the show was first rate, accompanied by wine for my wife and something non-alcoholic for me, the designated driver. And then, The Show! The title was "Rubi" as The Palace is celebrating 40 years of presenting the best. A Fortieth Anniversary is commemorated by the giving of a Ruby.

I so want to describe our every sense as the show unfolded, first by presenting Fiestas Española highlighting Flamenco and Spanish culture. It went on to take us through so many genres including music from the 50´s and 60´s. The sight of twenty-six dancers was so enchanting that by the time the show had come to a reluctant end we were left without words except one. "WoW!"

When people work that hard to give so much of themselves to make us feel so special we can only respond by appreciating the effort and to pass along the recommendation to visit The Benidorm Palace at least once in your life. Save it for a super special occasion when you want to impress.

My wife's day started off in the pits but by bedtime she had experienced a birthday like none other. My reward was to gain a few Brownie Points and they matter.


Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Leslie Flint-Medium

The topic of the Spiritual Medium has been brought to my attention and I find myself fascinated. I have written a book titled "Death is Not the End" which I truly believe. I have even had the experience of having worked with my deceased former wife over an extended period of time. Over that period she spoke to me and often spoke through me. I simply opened my mouth and the most amazing words  were uttered.

Eventually she moved on and presumably is now living her life following the last one. That makes it easier for me to accept that those who reside in the spirit world can have contact with those still living. Normally, if that contact takes place through a Medium the person who has requested the contact is seated in the room while the Medium calls up the deceased who then makes contact through the Medium.

This is the story of Leslie Flint, a British Medium who used the direct voice method whereby the deceased person speaks in their own voice (which may have changed somewhat since they "died")through a form of voice box that appears above the Medium called ectoplasm.

Flint was born in London, England in 1911 and gave his first séance when he was 17 years of age. He evidently believed as I do in reincarnation in that when we do the thing that we call die, we in fact slip from our body taking our soul and our  spirit which consists of our accumulated knowledge, our talent and our ability to know what is going on, and eventually we slip into the body of the new born who is then stocked with what we bring but also what he or she receives from its parents.

Not surprisingly Leslie Flint had to put up with his critics who accused him of fraud as they accused him of trickery like throwing his voice. He had himself bound and gagged and his larynx measured which showed no movement while the discussion took place. Still those who didn't want to believe didn't believe. It seems that these people expected the deceased person's voice from beyond the grave to sound exactly as they did when they were alive. Why would they sound as though they were alive. They are now dead.

Mr Flint had the conversations recorded and they are available for anyone to listen to today. I have sat through a conversation between Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and I must say I found it gripping. There are thousands of tapes available so this is just the start of my research.

I shall return to this subject later, but Leslie Flint, who died in 1994 is someone to be taken seriously.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, November 4, 2017

As time moves on .....

Time is like a great river of rushing water. As the water moves its picks up all of life's problems, and its pleasures and sweeps all things forward. In the grand  world picture it's the same in the North, South, East and West. Events from past years, months, weeks, days and hours get carried along changing in their character as they go because this is the nature of life. The one constant factor is change.

The way we see things is ever changing. Today we might be against and tomorrow we are for. What seemed like the end of the world yesterday is not at all a bad thing today. Yesterday the high and mighty were very high indeed. Today they are the fallen, and those in whom we placed our trust and faith are swept out in today's trash.

Here in Spain we have watched a group of people charged with high responsibility shit on their positions and their titles by sticking their fingers in the eyes of The State, and they did it quite deliberately. It has been a case of watching a whole group of people deliberately commit suicide in slow motion. They were yesterday's government and today they are gone, swept downstream into prison where they will remain for the next thirty-years. Those who have not yet been captured are on the run but there is nowhere to hide.

The glitter of Hollywood and show business has served to cover up the foibles on man by the use of costumes and makeup. We are now finding that what we thought passed for art and celebrity has always been men  behaving very badly. They have treated women in a shameful way that has not changed since the days of the cavemen. In the tradition of Hollywood many are nominated and The Oscar goes to the chosen one for today, but there will be others tomorrow. The shame is that we believed in them, and in some cases we bowed to them when in fact they didn't even merit our shoe leather.

We now learn that such reprehensible behaviour not only exists in the glamour industry but that it exists in the halls of our political, health, financial, and even our educational institutes where they damn well should know better. To add insult to injury even our religious organisations are not sacred. If we can't believe and trust in our houses of religion what can we believe in?

This is not to say that I wholeheartedly believe all of the accusers, nor do I accept that they are  as innocent as they would have me digest, but there has been disgusting behaviour of that there is no doubt on the part of people who thought they were entitled and that is cause for great disappointment.

The river of time continues on its way moving the sludge of our lives with it. In its wake what it leaves behind could be a clean surface but it seems that would be too simple. Mankind has to soil the surface as quickly as we can because it appears we prefer to live in the muck.

What does that say about us?

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Cataluña Crisis

I am a guest resident of Spain and as such I view the current crisis in Cataluña as an observer from the fringe. I do have an opinion, as does every single adult in Spain as this is a very serious problem which will result in days of horror to come, including the deaths of people before it is sorted out.

Mainly I'm concerned because of the attitudes of many British people who are expressing their opinions in a manner in which they feel they are right, when in fact they have completely misunderstood the situation.

Spain is a country as presently constituted and there is no provision whatsoever to allow for any of its parts to breakaway and go it alone. Those people in Pais Vasco, (The Basque Country) or Euskadi as it is known discovered this after a long and bloody campaign that took a terrible toll and was designed to gain independence through brute force. It didn't work! Those in Cataluña who are pro-independence have learned nothing from the struggles of Euskadi.

The reason why they feel the need to break away is best known to themselves. As a foreigner I can not even hope to understand, but once the fever for freedom takes hold it becomes an obsession and takes over completely. That part I do get and all common sense goes out the window. I am so glad that my family and I live outside the boundaries of Cataluña for as a foreigner we would be completely powerless and a captive to a situation that we can never have any input.

British reportage has a certain slant that seems to feel that the Spanish government are denying the region their democratic right to express their wishes through the ballot box. Well, here's the point: There is no provision to legally vote in a referendum for an integral part to break away, whether you are for or against. The "referendum" that was organised on October 1, 2017 was completely illegal and the police were instructed to interrupt any proceedings, and anyone who stood in the way was committing civil disobedience as were those who participated.

The fact that the police spanked those who were being disobedient was what they were supposed to do, as well as to arrest those they felt appropriate. It is no good to break the law and then complain that the police spanked them too hard.

This entire campaign was doomed from the start and was begun by people who knew they were making mischief and who played on the emotions of soft-headed persons who thought that because Cataluña was such an economic powerhouse they could stand alone. The result of their actions so far has been to scare away the very companies that made the economic miracle possible, and instead of being independent they have lost the autonomy they had. What's more the leaders, including half the parliament will spend the next thirty years in jail.

There are British people who voted in a referendum to leave the EU Common market and they think that the people of Cataluña should have had the right to vote in a legal opinion poll as to whether to stay or go as part of Spain. What those same British people don't seem to realise is that if their same region of Somerset or Dorset or Leeds, etc., wished to hold a breakaway referendum in England it could not happen there either.

Maybe countries that are part of the United Kingdom have the right to decide whether they wish to remain or leave that circle, but parts of those countries cannot have any say as to stay or go as part of the country itself.

The irony is that for Cataluña to become independent is not even a practical option. Had the Spanish government agreed to the Unilateral Declaration of Independence the first thing that would have happened is that it would not have had any money as the Euro would have ceased being a currency of value in that region.

Madrid has now taken over full control of all institutions involved in the management of the region and now pain will be imposed to get people back in line with the law. That will be such a shame as the lives of a significant number of Catalonians have been shattered who were intelligent enough to know that independence was a non-starter.

All bad ideas are started by one person, as are good ideas but when they bring along great throngs of people and involve them to the point where they suffer injury and pain in support of a bad idea there really is no punishment sufficient to put the leaders through.

However, thirty years in jail is a good start!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Harvey Weinstein Tale - A Horror Story

This is a story that cannot be ignored. It's too quintessentially Hollywood. While HW has been busy bringing the world blockbuster after blockbuster he has also (allegedly) been writing, directing, producing and acting in a personal horror story to end all horror stories.

It could have been called "Scary Movie" or "Scream" or  "Halloween," but those names have been taken. What about "Sex, Lies and Videotape," that would cover just about all the accusations that have come flowing from so many outraged women who claim to have been at least sexually harassed, sexually assaulted and outright raped; and we are still awaiting tales from "The Others."

Who is Harvey Weinstein? In the field of movie entertainment the man is a giant, responsible for such mega-hits as "Pulp Fiction," "Kill Bill," 1,2,and 3;  The Scream Movies, "Gangs of New York," and a very long list of other brilliant productions.

He is being systematically kicked out of the business and being told he will never work again in this town. For we movie lovers this is a great tragedy as his undeniable talent will be lost and we will be left to wonder at what might have been.

So far more than forty women have come forward to present what they say are their experiences with him and to condemn him as a vile monster of a man, and the stories keep coming. They go beyond the usual Casting Couch scene with allegations that the man visited the homes of actresses, and in one case actually raped one of them in her hallway. This would have been about power not sex.

In 2011 a film was released titled "Unauthorized -The Harvey Weinstein Project" written and directed by Barry Avrich. Most people assumed it would deliver the dirt on HW but it ended up in praising his book of work, although his style of management is abrasive in many people's eyes. Clearly this work will have to be re-visited as I'm sure that is underway

As a man I suffer terrible embarrassment when confronted with stories of such behaviour from celebrities like Bill Cosby and others, but with the revelations now surfacing about this titan of Hollywood I just want to cringe and go hide.  As he worked to make the women famous it seems he was also working on making knotches on his bed post just to say I shagged a whole list of rich and famous names. For all we know he might have been able to achieve the same thing by simply asking nicely.

It should be said that while perhaps not denying he engaged in sexual encounters he insists they were all consensual. The women, who insist they are his victims would likely have a suggested title for the movie that is bound to follow this scandal, and indeed he would no doubt recommend it as well. The name they will likely unanimously agree on would be " Sicko!"

Stay tuned!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Shock, Anger and Dismay! Why?

On October 1st, 2017 a psychopath killer raised the bar to at least 58 killed and more than 500 injured in one event. In the field of mass killings the next one will have to be creative to be able to top that. The chilling thing is we know that right now, someone is thinking in just such terms.

Now authorities are searching for a motive. Here are two reasons why he did what he did, no matter what other reasons might turn up. He committed this unspeakable act because, simply put, he could. He was able to afford to buy the 47 guns he owned and all the ammunition, and because he could afford to rent the suite at the hotel. This may not sound like a motive, but it just might be the only reason he did it.  It is difficult to understand why a millionaire white American man would actually want to kill his fellow Americans with such total abandon, but he could do it, so perhaps he did it to make the name for himself as the darkest killer of all time on American soil.

He also knew that the nation would be shocked, angered and dismayed by his actions and they would all know his name because his co-conspirators, the police and the media would see to that. However, Fareed Zakaria, the noted CNN broadcaster devoted a full hour’s programme to the LA shootings and steadfastly refused to mention the name of the shooter because he would not cooperate with the man’s expectation to have his name publicised. Hooray! Fareed, you got it! Hopefully this is the thin edge of the wedge and the rest of the media and the police will follow your lead.

We, the public do not need to know the name of the perpetrator. To us it is not important but to him it might be the most important reason for committing the act in the first place as being his 15 minutes of fame.

This man committed an act of terror that was no different than if he was a so-called ISIS fighter, and he deliberately thought his actions through with very meticulous planning. We really have to correct the saying that “not all Islamists are terrorists, but all terrorists are Islamists.” That was never correct, not since the Texas tower shootings way back in the mid-‘60s. The man who brought down the Oklahoma City building was as American as apple pie.

The irony is that it is reasonable to assume that a lot of the Country music fans that were either killed or injured were likely gun lovers as well. How tragic to be caught in a killing field where the rain was deadly fire from the guns you dearly loved.

The real problem I have with this incident, and all the other mass shootings that evoke the same shock, anger and dismay is that after the Sandy Hook shootings, by an American white boy that took the lives of so many very young children, absolutely nothing was done against gun ownership, so in my way of thinking that rules out shock, anger and dismay for all future acts of gun violence.

A gun is manufactured for one reason. That is to turn something living into something that no longer lives. The proper use of a gun is to do just that. In a comparison with Japan in 2015, there was one act, only one person died from gun violence compared with about 4000 in the U.S.  Clearly this is a matter of mindset.  Gun ownership and gun use in Japan is unpopular. In the United States the very opposite is the case. Not only are the 3% of Americans who own most of the guns in America largely accepting of ownership they also seem to have a pre-disposition to use them against other Americans. That is where change has to start, in the hearts and minds of those who are so crazy about their guns.

There is a school of thought that holds that if everybody owned and carried a gun no one would start shooting. No-one, that is, except somebody who would like to start an all-out massacre just for the fun of it. I hope there is nobody who thinks this could not happen.

You have met the enemy America, and the enemy is you! In the first 265 days of this year there were 263 acts of mass murder committed in the country.

You have the problem and you have the solution. Now it is up to you. Please don’t tell me that you will be shocked, angry and dismayed when the next bigger event comes along.

Copyright © 2017

Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Hugh Hefner, April 9, 1926 - September 27, 2017

Speaking facetiously, I would like to say I know what caused the death of Hugh Hefner, too much honey for one man to absorb, but the fact is that all that honey helped him to live a long, and oh so sweet life that is envied by men all around the world.

He is the one man who had undue influence on my own life, but not all of it was good. On his passing people are falling over one another to comment on the changes he brought to our lives and our attitudes, and without doubt he did a lot of good for the world of charitable causes and in challenging the law that moved us all out of the dark ages.

I bought a copy of the very first issue of Playboy Magazine that was released in 1953 with the image of Marilyn Monroe on the cover. I kept it for decades but I have only just come to release that Hef never met Monroe.  However, he adored her so that he has chosen to be her neighbour forever as he will lay in rest next to her.

I grew into becoming the image of "The Playboy Man" including taking up smoking because the Playboy Man smoked Kool cigarettes. What an idiot I was back then.

I became a devotee of Playboy Magazine, first for the centerfold and other pictures of naked women, but as time passed I became more interested in the features. I actually grew blasé over images of naked women because there is just so many ways in which we can slice cheese cake and still make it interesting.  It is because of this realisation that I wonder at what point did Hef become jaded. It is possible to have entirely too much of a good thing, even a very good thing.

Eventually I grew bored and turned my back. I am also happy to say that this year I celebrate the 52nd year since I gave up smoking.

Was the Playboy revolution a good thing and now that I am older and a whole lot wiser am I inclined to stand up and unequivocally defend Hugh Hefner and Playboy? No, not unequivocally. There was some good that came with the revolution, but in some things I genuinely believe that harm was caused.

The way we see sexual matters is highly subjective, of course. Before Playboy my view of women was, above all one of respect. Even today I see women as being different from men in that women are our  mothers and our children's mothers. Pre-playboy I saw a woman's body as something that was special and that belonged on a pedestal.

I felt that women required their absolute privacy and the idea of raping a woman was so horrid as to have been out of the question. Men have to accept that No means No, then as it does now. I never even uttered a four letter offensive word  in a woman's presence.

Sexual intercourse was something that was done under muted lights, if any lights were used at all. The mystery added to the enjoyment, and to the respect for the lady's modesty.

Playboy turned on all the lights, delighting and disappointing us males at the same time. We have been confused ever since. If the woman in our lives wears a negligée when she wants to share her naked image with us that is so much more interesting than simply showing up naked. Consequently that image will live so much longer and so will our desire for her.

Playboy practically showed us what a girl had for breakfast and that was just too much information. Now the magazine has changed to a format that focusses on its literary content. I believe it no longer features nudes. How's that for a change? Is this because the adult readership have all become jaded and bored?

Hef married three times, which is a surprise when he need not have married at all. However that allowed him to father four offspring and to experience some normality in his otherwise amazing life.
When he died he left a wife who is 60 years younger than he. Somehow that seems fitting although my condolences go out to her.

He was one of a kind and he has left his mark for all time.  He let the Genie out of the bottle and we cannot put the Genie back.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Music of the Night

There is nothing quite like a musical night in the cool of the evening. No matter what your musical preference, to leave the worries of the day behind and to take your leisure being entertained by your choice of musical programme, is magic.

On Saturday night, September 23rd, starting at 11pm the City of LLiria was treated to a double concert performed by two bands consisting of about 85 musicians each, presenting programmes of classical music that went on to about 3:30 am. The Bands were: La Banda Simfonica Unio Musical de LLiria, and La Ateneu Musical I D' Ensenyament Banda Primitiva De LLiria. The names of the bands are expressed in the native Valenciano dialect.

LLiria is a medium sized city that lies 26 kilometres north-west of downtown Valencia and is the seat of the government for the region. It is also the city of music as this city's bands have performed in many localities around the world to great acclaim. Every pueblo has a musical program in place into which young children are entered as a way of giving them focus as they grow. The net result is more to concentrate on means less social problems from young people.

The concert was held outside in the main City Hall (Ayuntamiento) plaza. The mere fact that it did not end until near 4am, is accepted as being perfectly OK as the city is celebrating its Autumn Festival, the Festival of St. Miguel and everybody is up and about anyway.

The musical pieces that are played tend not to be well known, rather more often than not they are written by local composers and are complex as to tax the expertise of band members. The conductor of the orchestra  Simfonica is Pablo Marqués Mestre. He was born in Castellon and has built up such a brilliant career history that he is known and respected all over Spain. He is growing his international experience as well.

The execution of the works was exquisite but challenging and we thoroughly enjoyed both the pieces. In the first half of the concert, presented by the Banda Simfonica there were two major works as follows: La Vall de la Murta in three movements, composed by Andrés Valero-Castells, followed by "Wait of the World" in three movements composed by Stephen Melillo. Both composers were in attendance for the performance of their compositions. That must be so very special, if all goes well.

The first half of the concert concluded close to 1am, but by then the temperature had fallen and it had become too damp for what we were wearing so we had to decamp home. A shame really as I'm sure the second half featuring La Banda Primitiva would have been just as interesting.

Life in Spain truly is absorbing. When the Spanish hold a Fiesta they really know how to do it right.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, September 16, 2017


They were tumultuous times in the early days of what we now know as our world. What we now know as deserts were once under water, and mountains were likewise under water. The Americas and Europe/Africa were once connected before the plates split and drifted apart. Volcanoes, tornadoes and incredible storms raged leading to tremendous fires as weather went through cycles.

What's to say that has all permanently ended?

Believe it or not our weather is entering a period of global warming and one effect is that hurricanes are growing more intense in their strength. The norm was for hurricanes in the Atlantic to make up off Africa and to drift across until they met high pressure systems coming off the east coast of America. That would then turn them to the east whereupon they would then start a northward trek into colder waters.

Now, they are so strong because of warmer waters that when they encounter the high pressure system they smash right through and go inland into Mexico and the southern region of New Orleans and Texas and they plough into the middle of America where people are learning what it means to have to cope.

I was born in Bermuda where I came to be only too familiar with the experience of having no place to hide. We simply had to build our homes super well to cope, but even then Mother Nature does not  respect man's mere efforts to stand up to the Awesome Power. When a powerful storm is still in its infancy thousands of miles away from Bermuda the waters around our island start to change. The colour of the water changes from clear to muddled and we get long breakers in the way of waves.

Our stress begins at that stage as we go into acute hurricane watch mode. They always made that right turn when they came face to face with America so they were bound to pass us on the way to blowing themselves out; the only question was whether we, as such a small land mass would take a hit or not.

Before mankind got in the way hurricanes would blow and blow, changing the landscape as they crossed the land; and equally fires did the same thing, often bringing a great benefit to all in their path by burning away clutter and promoting growth at the same time. It's only with the coming of man where we build so much for fire and windstorm, including floods to destroy that we have carefully created that we think the worst.

These natural weather elements continue to bring renewal and growth even to those man-made structures that get knocked down, but re-built in a better manner. We are shown the awful damage left in the wake of  passing storms but this normally means employment.

When we see people looting under such circumstances it could really be survival. All it takes is for one person to enter a store and help himself and others will do it as well. I have never had to do that, and if I ever do I would like to think I would make a careful note of what I took so that I could go to the owner and pay for it.

With the passing of the most powerful hurricane ever recorded, hurricane Irma the island of Barbuda has been totally wiped off the map. It is currently uninhabitable. At the time the hurricane struck there were about 1700 people there, but now, for the first time in 300 years there is not a single person living there. All the residents were evacuated to Antigua which is located south as they were expecting the arrival of yet another hurricane, Hurricane Jose.

As the media reported this news most people in North America heard the word Barbuda, but what they digested was Bermuda. There are 60,000 people living on Bermuda. The sad thing is that with the current model hurricane it is possible that Bermuda could likewise get wiped out. There would be no mistaking that as the tragedy would capture everybody's attention.

Every Bermudian wherever we are in the world will empathise with the people of Barbuda and our hearts and prayers go out for them as we remember them in their hour of need.

For everybody else we are faced with a new threat that makes terrorism seem like a Sunday picnic. When nature comes to call in the future we need to take the visitor extremely serious indeed.

There is no other power like the power of Nature, for Nature is God!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, September 9, 2017

To have been shot at and missed-twice!

Winston Churchill said that, "Nothing in life is  so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." He certainly is right about that, and in my case I add, the word, "Twice!"

For those of us who have a traumatising hospital experience which turns out to be positive, as Jeremy Clarkson says, that's all we want to talk about. I have had my post-op discussion with my surgeon, including the final report from the lab in which the results were given from the full examination of the tissue that was removed and it was confirmed that there is no cancer. Good news in the morning!

I have the All-Clear, I have been completely cured of my ills and now life goes on better than before. The reason I said that I have missed the bullet twice is because there is no cancer, which is amazing, and more pressing I have avoided death through sepsis because I was having difficulty in getting rid of body waste.

In case you didn't read my previous post on what brought me into the hospital I give a brief description below.

Needless to say I am a happy and very lucky man today, but Nature has a way of bringing balance to any situation. As I absorb my own good news I turn on the television to be assaulted by wave after wave of solid bad news from around the world. Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, persecutions, terrorists attacks and one sick bastard trying his best to start World War Three. Pardon me if you will for taking my fifteen minutes of joy. I certainly recommend to anyone else who has cause for celebration to enjoy the moment because it will be fleeting.

What a world we are now living in where seemingly everything is topsy-turvy. There was a time when you could do something as simple as to go to the market to buy food. Now, in so many places around the world there is not even a reasonable chance that you will return home. Even in the Western world just walking along the road could be the last thing that you do.

People cry out why does God allow these things to happen. God has given mankind the power of reason and the freedom of choice. Other than that God does not intervene in the affairs of humans any more than God intervenes in the affairs of animals, so it is up to us as humans to create the kind of world we think we want.

Having said that, good luck to us all!

The Back Story:

Our bodies are constantly subject to attack from the silent killers such as tumours, heart disease, cancer, constriction of our arteries, etc. For the past five years I had been growing a cluster of eleven polyps in my colon which had grown to a point of causing an obstruction. Because I am about to celebrate my 78th birthday I simply assumed I was having an old person's problem, which I was, but I didn't realise that there was a blockage. I only discovered this because of the presence of a strange pain which acted as though I was having a conversation with God who was warning me that something was going on within my body and my challenge, if I chose to accept it was to find the problem and fix it promptly.

It worked! As for another reason for the pain, none was found.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Country in Mourning

When your houseguest misbehaves

Spain is a country that is livid with rage. On the 11th of March, 2004 terrorists attacked early morning trains pulling into Atocha station, the principal train terminal in Madrid and set off several bombs that killed and maimed hundreds. Many of the attackers were living in Spain but they were of Moroccan origin.

The victims of that attack were mainly Spanish people on their way to work. At first it was thought that the horror was the work of the Basque group ETA that had been locked in a political struggle with the rest of Spain over many years. During that time they had engaged in a program of bombings and mayhem in an effort to get their way. On closer inspection it turned out to be the work of an all-foreign group of Islamist terrorists.

Spain took its licks, mourned its losses, and was remarkably sanguine about the whole thing, presuming it was the one-off, ill-advised work of some young hotheads and would never be repeated, certainly not by those who take the country’s hospitality for granted.

Well, it has been many years later but it has happened again and the damage and the loss of life is just too much for the country to digest, especially coming as it did from foreigners who were living here and possibly even receiving benefits. This country is seething! For the first time ordinary Moslems living here have come forward to denounce the attacks as having nothing to do with them, and for which they are angry and ashamed for their religion. This is a significant step as the rank and file of Islam have always been under a heavy threat that if they denounce the actions of the extreme group they can expect severe retributions.

There is mounting evidence that this particular cell was intending to do major harm such as destroying the Holy Sagrada Familia church, that is a work in progress and one of Spain’s most treasured icons,  together with the masses of people therein, and other beloved landmarks. As it was they have affected people from 34 countries.

There have been demonstrations all over the country and security measures have been stepped up to prevent more obscenities by drivers simply driving into masses of people.

This is Saturday night, the 26th August, 2017 and a mass demonstration is taking place in the streets of Barcelona led by the King of Spain. How significant is that? We shall just have to wait and see what comes next but it is fairly clear that life as normal will not be it. The line has been crossed and as a country we will not be taking this type of treatment anymore. There was a time when Spain would have simply rounded up all Moslems living here and thrown them out of the country, but as part of the European Union it cannot do that, but the European Union can.

Stay tuned!

Copyright © 2017

Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The World has lost its Mind

Lately I have been busy with just one thing, and that has been to recover from my medical operation, so I have not been concentrating much on news events, but now that I am a bit more aware we see that the president of the United States is now engaged in a deadly game of provocation with the Dear Leader of North Korea. In considering that these two guys could be near identical brothers in their mindsets anything could happen.

The world does not seem to be overly worried because somethings are just not worth worrying about; or if they are there is no way we could worry enough, so forget about it. The fact that I would not trust either of these guys to run a simple errand for me gives me great confidence when I think of the fact that they are playing with nuclear weapons. Not!

I remember when the present president of NK (North Korea) came to power it was thought that he would think he had to prove himself and he does seems to have been on a course doing just that. For some reason he has chosen to make a real nuisance of himself particularly to the U.S. as well to South Korea (ROK). He is focused on the creation of long distance ICBMs and is not shy to threaten America. No matter how stupid a person might be doesn't he know that a nuclear war is one in which no one wins. It is not called the MAD option for nothing, MAD meaning Mutually Assured Destruction. No one can win and it would bring down the curtain on the world. Game Over!

With his latest threat to fire four missiles to land uncomfortably close to GUAM, a US Protectorate he is going too far. He might as well drop them on GUAM because there is no telling what the American president will do in retaliation.

Clearly Mr Kim is trying to get America's attention. He wants something from America and the ROK, but he regards these two countries as though they were donkeys. He is first trying to get the donkey's attention but that is where it may all go wrong.

What could Mr Kim want from the United States and from the world? First I think recognition and respect as an equal might be important. At present that country is a pariah state for very good reasons. He could begin to make changes internally that would give the people freedoms and food. That would get the world's attention. He could embark on a program of diplomatic cooperation between nations that would help to bring his country into the realm of the reasonable. That would win him many friends and influence.

He needs to learn that there is so much more to be gained from the pen than from the sword. Other nations have their differences without resorting to become what the North Koreans are today. Even their closest friend and neighbour are finding their patience is being stretched.

He feels the need to prove himself and to impress his countrymen. He reminds me of the young man with his girlfriend on the back of his bike. He wants to impress her by giving her the most thrilling ride of her life, and terrifying her in the process, when all he had to do to really impress her was to get her home safe and sound.

It is in the interest of our entire world that the penny drops and he gets the message rather than to carry on in the way this is going. There may not be a future for any of us if we rely on two guys I wouldn't trust to deliver pizza.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Good News Tale beyond the Operating Room

I have been away from my word processor for a while to allow me time to get through an emergency major medical operation, the need for which I discovered by accident. I described the build-up to this situation in my blog of the 8th of July, 2017 which I titled “My most important blog to date.” That was a cautionary tale that highlighted the fact that the body is always under potential attack from the silent killers, and our mission, if we choose to accept it is to be aware and ever vigilant to spot the attackers and to deal with the threat aggressively.
In my case I was feeling just fine, in fact I was congratulating myself for being in such good condition for a man of 77 years. I have prescriptions for both reading and long distance glasses but in general I get through each day without resorting to the use of either. I am modestly overweight but I am fully independent in getting around. I eat moderately, sleep well and visit the toilet regularly, so what could go wrong?
The first week in June a low level pain developed in the right side of my abdomen but after taking Pilatus exercise the pain became intense. I backed off Pilatus and the pain went quiet, but then later in the month it came back with a vengeance to the extent I thought I needed to go to emergency as it might have been my appendix. Before leaving the house I made a stop in the toilet where I discharged the most amazing amount of gas. The pain mostly went away immediately, so no, it was not my appendix.
The pain continued as a kind of background noise so I decided to ask my GP to diagnose what was driving it. By the time I got in to see him the pain had left me entirely, but I persisted in trying to determine what that was all about.
My doctor sent me to have my blood, urine, and crucially my faeces analysed and the report came back that I had blood in my faeces. That was a problem that required the intervention of a specialist who referred me for a colonoscopy; and discovered that for approximately the past five years I have been growing a cluster of polyps within my colon that now posed the threat of blockage and cancer. The hospital was adamant that it had to be removed immediately, and on the 27th July, three weeks to the day I underwent surgery.
This was the first time for me for such a major procedure. I have had surgery before for a bunion correction and a broken leg, but nothing like this. All went well including the part where I came out from under the anaesthesia and endured the aches and pains of recovery. The surgeon was well practised and is highly regarded and the professional staff of the hospital maintained an eye to detail.
The main point I want to make is that as stoic and accepting of the protocols as I was the one source of great comfort to me was the presence of my wife in my room. Even if she was simply observing to know that she was there for me, in spite of the fact that the staff managed to make me feel human made all the difference. For me that was priceless and it is the principal point I hope you will take away. When a family member finds themselves in hospital they can feel alone and confused, but a family member who is there who simply brought in a good measure of love helps the healing process go so much better.
The other point is that certain medical authorities are conducting a campaign wherein they send around letters urging that you send in a sample of your poo for testing. In spite of the unpleasantness of this if you simply refuse on that basis you may be signing your own death warrant. 
Presumably you would rather not do that.
Copyright © 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Do our children really stop loving us?

I was participating in a group discussion when one of the members asked one of the other mothers what was wrong. This particular person was clearly depressed with something on her mind that was bothering her. She replied that she was having a really difficult week with her 21 year old daughter. The girl was being nasty and hurtful and insulting for no apparent reason that the mother could see, and she was hurting very badly.

That set off a whole round table discussion as one after another stories were told about sons and daughters behaving badly for no apparent reason other than to be unpleasant. By the time it came my turn I realised I had heard enough to reflect a common thread that ran through all the stories, and while it would really be better that a psychologist explain, my impression is as follows:

My son is a wonderful individual, just as everyone else described their own children. He has been respectful of his mother and myself, but when he had the opportunity to take a Gap year he left us here in Spain and went to Australia. Had he tried to get farther away from us he would have been on his way back. This worried me tremendously because had he got himself in real trouble there would not have been anyway we could have helped.

That was the very point! He had grown up in our house, under our rules and protection and now he was starting the breakaway process. He was trying to stand on his own two feet. He needed to prove to himself that he could do things on his own where failure was not an option. Had we tried to stop him at the time I suspect some things might have been said that would have been regretted.

He left home a boy and he survived in Australia on his own, with the occasional gift of money from home because it was necessary, but when he returned home he came back as a man

Our son is now working five hours drive away from us and he is independent. He is making his own money, his own decisions, he lives with his girlfriend and the relationship between him, his mother and myself has been preserved. All is well!

Throughout the world it is probable that more children will yearn to breakaway from home and parents than not, but to achieve this is not an easy thing. Living at home usually means that meals appear on the table, your laundry is done for you, and there's a roof over your head. You may or may not be required to contribute towards theses services, but to leave home means you leave all this comfort and security behind. This is a very confusing time for a young person. There is the natural pull by independence and the hold on the child by security. If independence and adulthood are to win out an awful tearing process takes place and all those terrible things your child says and does is the fuel to gain momentum to bring about separation.

It is usually an ugly process that also takes place in the animal kingdom, although there it is usually done with a little less drama. The young one is denied mother's milk and so goes off on his or her own to grow up and to begin the process all over again.

As parents our role is to give our children space to let go. It would be good to encourage them to go without perhaps being too active, as they ideally would like to do it on their own . However, if they are hamstrung by not having the financial ability to get started and you have the money to set them up then just for the sake of kicking them out of the house to leave you in peace, it will be worth it.

One common mistake we all make as parents is that we keep our children's old rooms vacant for them with the invitation the door is always open for you. Our children don't want to hear that. It would be better to rent the room or turn it into something you always wanted but couldn't have because they were in it. Our child does not want to know that there is that safety net for him because we expect him or her to succeed.

When your children grow up into becoming you they will then understand, but by that time they will want to forget what they put you through, and when it becomes their turn they will be as confused as we all were in our discussion group.

Life's funny/strange that way.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Way too Corrupt

Spain is a country that is still digging itself out of an economic depression. It is a country that has many, many problems but it is also a country that has a heart and a soul. At the worst year of the economic downturn the government remembered that there are people in the world who have so little that it made allowances in the annual budget to improve the lot of people in Africa and South America.

The government chose one of its most senior and most trusted ministers to oversee this charitable work and to properly manage the money that was budgeted for the purpose. The minister was to see that hospitals were built and schools built and opened so that children would get a good solid basic education at least.

This was intended to be noble work that would uplift people in third world countries and at the same time Spain's prestige would be enhanced. This is the type of mandate a decent person would go to great length not to make a mess of as it is good work.

However, the minister seems to have taken it upon himself to determine that black people in Africa didn't deserve the help nor did brown people in South America need assistance. Except for very minor amounts that went to these causes the majority of the funds went directly into the minister's pockets and those of his compatriots.

To simply call this callous attitude corruption is like saying it rains now and again in England. This is a terrible case of understatement because this takes corruption to a new level. This man and all his cronies who were a part of the crime took the  hopes and dreams and a better life from children and their parents, and they did it with cold hearts and unfeeling minds. I would say that they should be ashamed, as any normal person with a conscience would do; but these are not normal people. These are the swamp dwellers of the human race who look like humans but they are not.

They came from the mud and the cesspits of the world and they should be sent back as they have no place among decent people. They are a cancer among us and they stink. At their trial there were so many of them I thought they were the spectators. The prosecutor has asked for a sentence of 16 years but we really don't ever need to have them back. Put them in a hole and close the cover and add feces.

May they rot in peace!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, July 8, 2017

My Most Important Blog to Date

The pain in my lower right side back appeared from nowhere and without cause. I thought it had something to do with my Appendix but it turned out to be associated with gas although it lingered for about a month. The more activity I engaged in the more intense the pain; but by taking things easy and protecting my back the pain eventually went away.

I was curious: What really was the driver of the pain, what was going on in my body? I asked my GP for help in finding understanding and he referred me to a specialist. The specialist sent me to take a colonoscopy, a very unpleasant procedure both in the preparation and the execution. That procedure went well although the professionals doubt if what they found had anything to do with the pain, but what they did find was that for about five years I have been growing a cluster of polyps that look like a tree that is materially blocking my colon and that has me on track for infection of my blood. The end result is most likely death through septicaemia.

Now we are racing against the clock to save my life by entering into emergency  major surgery before the growth turns cancerous or poisonous.

I discovered this situation by accident as a result of my constructive curiosity, however, of all the men I have met in my 78 years of life there is not one that I can think of who would have put himself through what I have gone through in the name of simple curiosity, but in doing so I have saved my life. Women might do that but we men are so bad about taking our health seriously as we are macho.

You've seen the scene where the man is involved in a terrible accident and he is bleeding, his arm is hanging off and his head is on backwards and everybody wants to get him to hospital quickly, but he says I'm alright! Don't worry!

The fundamental problem is that within the human body more than one thing could be acting as a silent killer. Heart disease being one of those things and another is blood in the excrement. The public health system runs a campaign periodically, at the present being one of those times, to encourage people to send in a small specimen of their poo for analysis. If there is blood hidden in with the material then you have a problem and should immediately see your doctor.

What often happens is that people find the idea of messing around with their waste product so repugnant that they just won't participate. The cause of their premature death should be marked: "stupidity," or "squeamishness", or "carelessness."

In my case my mystery pain was a message from my friend, that friend being God to say that there was something going on with my body that would prematurely kill me, but my mission, if I chose to accept it was to find that thing and to deal with it ASAP.

Here's how to prolong your own life: At least once every year, or sooner if you wish you should have an analysis of your blood, urine and excrement, and have your blood pressure read, then act on the results. This is especially important the older we get.

While we are at it we should think before we stuff our mouths as a good dietary plan is essential.

Copyright (c ) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, July 1, 2017


I am told by women that only they have the skill to do more than one thing at a time because it is they who have the mental lobe that makes that possible Whether they are at the office or especially at home with children demanding her attention while she takes care of a dozen things, somehow she copes. For we men we just tell the children that daddy's busy. We men must choose the one thing we need to do and concentrate on doing that well. That is so sad and if true it allows the ladies to beat us all the time.

I am reminded of the old adage that says, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." I think that is said because at least one time someone threw the baby out with the bath water. Perhaps they were multi-tasking, or trying to do more than one thing at a time when that happened.

That sounds like something a man might have done, perhaps even myself as I was involved in the upbringing of my son. If I were trying to emulate my wife I could have got that all wrong and made a mess of things. I would have had to find baby and coo over him apologising that papa was just trying to do too many things at once.

He would have thought "papa, does that mean we are related? Somebody please help me!

They didn't say who did the throwing, but I'm just saying.

It was definitely a woman who was driving her car along the avenue as the police cruiser drew alongside her and the policeman urged her to slow down; slower, slower still, slower and gently pull over to the side and come to a smooth stop.

Was I speeding officer?

No Ma'am, you were driving within the limit. In fact you are a good driver and you take instruction really well. We would give you a certificate of commendation were it not for the fact that your baby is riding in the convertible on the top of your car.

(She screams out loud!!!) Oh baby, baby, baby, Mommy's sorry it's just that I was so busy packing the car and talking to your aunt Sue and texting I forgot. I know that sounds incredible but I just did. Please forgive Mommy.

Baby thinks, mommy, does that mean we related? Somebody help me!

Multitasking yes, but needs some work!

I was thinking that it must be possible to train myself to do more than one thing efficiently at the same time. How difficult could that be? If I could succeed at that it would redeem the pride of men all over the world.

I was thinking about it while looking out at the scenery when I suddenly realised that I was doing two things at once, plus I was breathing and listening, that made four things, and I was chewing gum, five things in all. I was not hopeless after all.

I tried patting my head and rubbing my stomach in a circle which made me laugh and that brought the number of things to eight, surely I could get to ten. I began to tap one foot and because I was talking about it that did take me to ten things at the same time. Ten things all at the same time is not bad for a man who supposedly doesn't have the mental lobe.

Call it one small step for men if you will, but we have parity and our pride is intact.

The next time a lady says "I can multitask and you can't" tell her to get a life!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Travelling Season

Taken from today's Costa Levante headlines: "Britons arrested over fake hotel compensation claims." This strikes a chord with me as I worked in the hotel and catering business for over twenty-five years and have just about seen it all.. Everybody is familiar with the ole "fly in my soup" ploy. As hotels cater to the general public it follows that just about every type of person will pass through your lobby including those who try and get something for free.

To be a survivor in the hotel business you have to try really hard to impress the travelling public. If you aim for Five Stars to your name that means in the mind of your guests that they will experience the ultimate in comfort and luxury. To the hotelier he is expecting the very best in behaviour from his cultured guests. It does not always work out that way.

First there are the genuine la crème de la crème visitor who will be rich or super rich and cultured. They will pay your top rates and they quietly demand the very best. They tip the staff well and are welcome back at any time. If all hotels existed to cater to this class of visitor the hotel business would be an absolute joy. But no, life is more varied than that.

The travelling public is made up of those people for whom some require that the price be right and others who look for quality, and others who are not clear at all as to what they want. Perhaps the largest group of all are those who check in to hotels only to be a real pain in the ass to all the staff. They seem to get their joy from bossing people around and trying to extract every iota of freebie the hotel has to offer. However in every country there is an hotel association and its members regularly meet. Can we imagine that they share their experiences and that even those stories get around internationally, so often while the traveller is concocting his scheme at home the hotelier has seen it all before.

It's true that they will tolerate nuisance claims just to get rid of the problem with their reputation intact. Probably if your claim stays under $5,000 you may get away with it with the top hotels. They can insure against that as a cost of doing business. However, I often wonder about the Bed ¨N Breakfast club where  very few people actually work. Often these are run by two people and their profit margin is paper thin. It is so easy to threaten to make a false claim against these people who work so hard that it must break their hearts.

There are so many people like that who really don't know what they are doing and what the risks are, but they have a go anyway. Then they take in the wrong visitor and they encounter a very unhappy experience and suddenly they shut down. Very sad!

Even at the top end it's not unusual for your guests to walk out having packed those wonderful robes and towels. You really wouldn't want the people to come back, but you would like to get your towels and robes back.

That headline in the paper alluded to a racket that drew departing visitors to enter into a scheme to defraud the hotel. Third parties encouraged them to make false claims and to share the ill-gotten gains. Sometimes things do not work out so well for visitors and it becomes incumbent on the hotel to make that experience good for the visitor, but when a scam is being run against the establishment it is enough to make you want to give up.

This Summer it is hoped that your travels will be pleasant and you bring home lasting and wonderful memories. Should you be contacted and asked to partake in a fake claim scheme it's important to remember that the hotels are starting to fight back. Enough is more than enough!

On a hopeful note it's good to realise that the vast majority of people who check into hotels are good, solid honest people who only want reasonable value for money, and a smile. Long may it last.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A rich man's Conundrum

I was once friends with a guy who was wealthy. He was a really pleasant person to be around and he taught me a number of things. For instance he said that he invested heavily in gold when the price was fixed at $35 per ounce. He was convinced the price would move from being fixed to reflect the market forces. He continued to build his stock and to bear the cost of storage and insurance for over twenty years until what he predicted became an actuality. Now that's faith!

Needless to say payday grew to be huge for him. I have no idea to what degree his net profit turned out to be but he was a very happy fellow.

Where he was not happy was in his personal life. His money was an absolute curse in his pursuit to secure a happy relationship with a woman. He was away so much in the course of building his fortune that his wife grew weary of being on her own to the point that she could no longer see the point of being married. They divorced, and as he admitted he was constantly with other women so she was absolutely right.

His was a name well known in the circles of business so he was never short of female company but they were not women who cared for him. They were narcissistic creatures who were only interested in themselves and their comforts that he could afford, but they were empty of any real love and warmth. They bored him to such a degree that he would have nothing to do with that type of woman.

He had a wonderful island home that by its very nature determined him to be a super rich person. Even those local ladies whom he spent time with got ideas but at least they were suitably impressed by him and his wealth, and they generally enjoyed time spent.

He seemed to be happy and content in so far as his carnal nature was concerned. The ladies did well from their association with him, but as he said it was all on his own terms. He had turned his back on his high society circle and spent his days on my island home living a life of simplicity. He and I would often spend time working on his boats doing things he could well have paid someone else to do, but he needed to have something to do so he found solace in doing simple things.

As we worked on cleaning the bottom of his boats he would tell me stories of his experience with some of the women he had known from the high society set. Women who did nothing to actively contribute to his happiness or even to their own surroundings. They seemed to think that just by the fact that they were there was all that was necessary.

Many were socially refined but sex was a dry, cold unemotional affair that made him wish he were some place else. That they gave him sex at all seemed to depend on the quality of gifts given by him. Their main contribution was being seen on his arm looking their best, but that was probably only so they could attract other men. At least the local women were totally involved and showed him love and warmth whether he gave them anything or not.

For those of us without monetary wealth we think how much we would love to come into a great deal of money, but the truth is that with money comes problems that usually don't exist otherwise.

So, if you are a person with true love in your life you, and I need to recognise how lucky we are. We should do ourselves a favour and protect what we have and preserve it.

True love is so difficult to find that when you do that can be defined as wealth of the highest magnitude even if the woman who loves you has a bit too much around the waist.

Love is love. Enjoy!

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, June 10, 2017

AC35 and The Big Flop

I was determined not to write about the AC35 this week but I feel I must make an observation about the big talking point that occurred this past week.

Winds in the Great Sound were up at 21knts and there were white caps. The race was on so it made compelling watching as there was no room for error. The captains were on their game as they handled their spirited boats. Remember these boats potentially can get up to four times the wind speed.

I am very familiar with Great Sound sailing. Conditions can be extremely volatile in that relatively small enclosed body of water. During an all out hurricane it becomes like a boiling pot of water as the waves can get up to quite challenging proportions.

The day was going fine with race after race elapsing the course in great time. For all of us who watched it was the start of the fourth race of the day, Emirates vs Land Rover BAR. The boats approached the start with Land Rover ahead when suddenly a freak gust struck Emirates and she appeared to rear up as though on her way over backwards but skillful handling caused her to change her mind but instead she dug  her head down deep into the trough and just came to a dead stop. It was sort of like watching a horse in a jumping event suddenly refuse to jump the hurdle, instead digging its forelegs into the dirt sending its rider flying.

It happened so fast that no one saw the captain and the navigator and one of the grinding crew go flying but there they were, in the drink. The good news was that none of the crew suffered any physical harm that was obvious, but they must have suffered shock, as did all who watched. It seemed to me to be one of the worst types of dunking which looked like it destroyed the boat.

As someone said it was a real shame and I'm sure no one wanted to see that happen, but it certainly did make for good television. I didn't have to include that in this blog as it has been widely reported, as have other exciting incidents.

The reason I decided to return to AC35 was because on hand to witness it was a very special visitor who, it is believed arrived on a private jet. Normally, during a six week period Bermuda is not visited by a great number of private jets but over this racing six week period some 250 private jets will fly in and out. What a difference.

The thing about Spain's King Juan Carlos I (Retired) is that is was his country that originally discovered Bermuda. One of Spain's explorers, Juan de Bermudez, from Cartagena first came upon the uninhabited island back around 1509. He apparently did not remain there that long, but in the custom of Spaniards he left Bermuda some jamon in the form of live pigs. He claimed the island for Spain but could never find it again. Consequently Spain renounced its right to the island.

I suspect that the retired king must surely think what a mistake that was. He certainly saw it at its best. In fact most people living there were seeing it at its finest. It's not everyday we have AC racing on the Great Sound.

If the king should ask Britain to return Bermuda to Spain I say let them have it. Bermudians, under Spanish rule your lives will take a turn towards continuous excitement because here in Spain we live for the fiesta.

However, some of Spain's fiestas might take a bit of getting used to, but try them, you'll like 'em.

Trust me!

Incidentally, Emirates and Land Rover BAR did resume their race two days later and Emirates handily beat Land Rover BAR. That just might have been a matter of winning their pride back.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael