List of Previous Titles

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Fake President?

As I stand off to the sidelines and watch developments in The United States of America I cannot avoid a grave sense of concern for what is taking place. Especially after the model presidency of President Obama the Trump administration seems to be in utter turmoil. It does appear to be doomed and it is unlikely that President Trump will celebrate his first year in office. It is more likely that he will be impeached on a vote by the Democrats with overwhelming support from the Republicans.

It is not a pretty sight to see a man who holds the highest office in the land to be so ridiculed, and that he makes it so easy by providing the material himself.

He should stop with the Twittering and the name calling because it is not dignified. He doesn't like the Free Press in America, but when you take on these people as your enemy that's a fight that he cannot win. He calls them the Fake News but we can be sure that they are building up their response to push back and say that he is a Fake President. It seems to be clear that there was some interference by Russia in the election process.  What if it turns out that it was the Russians who drove up his popular vote numbers, and crucially it was they who altered the votes of the electoral college, if that is possible?

I don't know enough about these matters to be sure I'm on solid ground with these questions, but one thing is certain. If a person is the president of a country like the United States and he bad mouths key agencies serving under him, such as the intelligence and justice departments the long-term prospects for continuing governance under that president are extremely unlikely.

Careful, Mr Donald.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Some Bitter, Some Sweet

I have some citrus trees in my backyard, and one in particular has returned an amazing harvest this year. It is an orange tree that has been in that spot for many years, even through a horrendous fire that swept the mountain on September 23rd, 2012. During that fire the tree was severely singed from the intense heat, but not the actual fire. It survived but lay dormant during the following two years, and in 2015 it produced some fruit as a comeback, but not much.

Last year it produced a bumper crop of fruit, so much so that the tree is still heavily laden. We have had so many oranges and mandarins that I think that when the trees are all bare again we shall never want to see another orange. (Until the next season.)

However, this tree held a surprise for us that worked perfectly. It has been my practise to go and stand under the tree and pluck an orange and eat it there and then. I was happy to taste my first one from that tree to find it sweet and nice and juicy. The second one I eagerly bit into,  only to find it super bitter. Yuk! That put me off for the day but days later when I returned to the tree I enjoyed another one that was sweet. You guessed it; the next one was sooo bitter that my shoulders shook. I do not believe in coincidences so something was just not right here.

When I took a close look the fruit on the right side of the tree was covered with smooth skins and on the left the skins are dimpled. Same tree, two vastly different species of fruit. The bitter orange is grown for the making of marmalade. If I had wanted to have both types on the same tree I would have done some grafting to make it happen, but even then I doubt if it would have worked.

I have Googled "Seville and Valencia oranges on the same tree," and variations of the same question and I got no responses. That leads me to believe that we have a curious accident here but what is the value of it? I doubt that the sweetness of the Valencia orange is at all compromised, and I didn't do that much research on the Seville orange to know whether it's bitterness was altered in any way. Bitter is bitter, enough said.

I have to assume that this came about as a result of the damage caused during the fire but what the actual dynamics would have been remains a mystery. I must call in some farmers to get their opinion. I will keep readers informed.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, February 11, 2017


When I was about seven or eight my mother brought home a young boy to live with us. She didn't say why, just that he would have to share our space in the small bedroom occupied by my younger brother and myself. He was one year younger than I.

George was a quiet person who didn't say much, but otherwise he was pleasant enough. One day only he and I were in the bedroom and I started with, "bet you mine's bigger than yours! Show me yours and I will show you mine." George was having none of it, and the more determined he was not to play this game the more I harassed him. Finally, he dropped his pants and exposed himself. I was reasonably impressed, being that we were about equal. But then, he removed his hand and said, I also have one of these, whereupon revealing his vagina. He was a person who possessed both sexual organs. In fact, George is a hermaphrodite, or a Third Gender.

I almost screamed in horror and surprise. I broke out crying and became very angry with him. He did not need to remove his hand and show me that. He should have kept that as his secret. At my tender age what I said next was a very mature thing. I said to him that he must never ever tell another soul what he just told me. I would not speak about it, and neither must he because people will not understand. Heaven knew, I did not understand.

That was seventy years ago and this is the first time I have spoken about it, and George isn't even his name. I bring it up because a few nights ago I accidentally found myself watching a program hosted by American journalist, Katy Couric dealing with Third Genders. I found the program to be absolutely riveting, but after watching for an hour I was left still as confused as when I started.

Thinking back to George, fortunately for him he appeared to be a male with not even a slight hint of being effeminate, and his voice was about the right male pitch for a young boy. I lived in horror that it would come out one day and that I would be drawn in as we shared a bedroom. I think it never did but it was always the elephant in the room with us. He remained in school till he passed out at 11plus, and then he followed a lot of young men by going to work. After all, we had been given a maximum life expectancy of not more than age 47. (We are all given a maximum life expectancy at birth.) That meant that we had to work fast to get our basic education out of the way and start our working life and our families if we wanted to ever meet our first grandchild.

To be best of my knowledge and belief George never married, nor did he take a lover, neither male nor female. (As far as I know) However, I did lose track of him eventually and I don't even know whether he's still alive or not.

You may be a bit surprised to hear me speak of such things as a Third Gender, but not only do they exist but they go back into the fullness of time and within their own cultures they are understood and highly respected.

I was thinking of including some examples of people who are Transgendered, Intersexed,  Neutered or unsexed/ungendered, such as eunuchs, but it's not as simple as sexual preference, and every time I think I have the philosophy nailed down it slips away to leave me even more stunned. Most people content themselves with the heteronormative ideal of a male (a man)  and a female (a woman). but there is a rising tide of opinion and lifestyle that holds that a community of people around the world hold themselves to be neither man nor woman. They are winning the right to complete important documents to show that they have no gender irrespective of what genitals they were born with. This is causing a great deal of stress in the West where such people insist on the right to use either/any bathroom. The French have long practised this relaxed form of public WC use.

I have only raised the top to Pandora's Box just a little to peek inside to what could become the greatest debate of all time in the West. Meanwhile, a number of countries and their societies came to grips with this thorny subject many years ago and they seem to live in relative contentment.

You may prefer not to bother looking into this any more than you have to, but just as I unwittingly came face to face with the problem at an early age, it is becoming more likely our modern world will have to face it sooner, rather than later.

In the sunset of my mother's life I was having a conversation with her when I asked her what was that all about when George came to live with us? Why did she bring him home to live with us? She replied that his own parents didn't want him. They were making his life miserable and they wanted to get rid of him.

"Oh," said I, and left it at that.

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Goldfinger in The White House

As I have been watching the drama unfurling from The White House I sensed that I had seen this movie before. There were similarities with a work of fiction that I had seen many years ago where the person who played a villain was a man of about 70 and blond, somewhat portly, and owned everything.

I had to go back to 1964 and the release of the James Bond film, "Goldfinger," played by Gert Frobe who took the role of Auric Goldfinger. The resemblance between the two men, Frobe and Trump is striking, although the President of The United States is not a villain, he's the president. "Goldfinger" was the third in the James Bond series, starring Sean Connery as James Bond, with Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore.

This was the first time the word "Pussy" was used in such a public way and predictably it caused a stir.

By comparison with what the Bond series would go on to become this film is very short on the high technology scenes but was very watchable and exciting for its time.

It featured one of the best bad guys of all in the interpretation of "Odd Job" played by Korean weightlifter, Harold Sakata. He was the one who was so handy with his hat and so strong that he made 007 look like a little boy. Apparently he was badly burned when something went wrong in his final scene, but he played the scene through in spite of the on-going accident. A really great guy.

Two roles that were played by Bernard Lee, as "M" and Desmond Llewelyn as "Q" that became staples throughout the entire series and set the template for viewers where we were always excited to see what new gadgets James Bond would play with next.

The role of Eve Moneypenny was played by Lois Maxwell, and although a relatively minor one viewers generally found it to be very charming.The golden girl who had been painted all over with gold paint as a punishment by Goldfinger was played by Shirley Eaton who was Jill Masterton. The image of her made a spectacular poster.

I reserve my very sincere applause for Shirley Bassey who sang the title song with such gusto and perfection that it remains a true classic even today. As a person with a musical ear both the musical score and her voice is about as close as can be got to absolute 100% perfection.

I started out saying that the similarities between Mr Trump and Mr Goldfinger were stunning, including how both men look, and the fact that they were highly successful businessmen who flew around in their own planes.

Is this a case of life following art or just an incredible coincidence?  I don't believe in coincidence.
Do you?

Copyright (c) 2017
Eugene Carmichael