Add Bill Phil

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Igor Terekhov Dreamstime.com 

AKA Addendum to Billionaire Philanthropist:

I reckon that some people reckon (yes, it was deliberate) that you can’t possibly join the dots from Person A – who buys a Three Thousand Dollar handbag, to Person B – a child dying of preventable disease in a “developing” nation.

But I think you can.

I do join those dots.

I see what I deem attribution.  That the condition of Person B is DIRECTLY attributable to the condition of Person A.   Of course, please don’t take me literally, I’m not talking about two people here, they are representative.

Let’s take a hypothetical.

Let’s say that Person A is a woman (yes, a man can buy a handbag… if he wants… a man-bag to go with his moobs.).  Person A is “wealthy”… Person A is so wealthy that she can, without a moments thought or hesitation buy herself a $3k handbag, or even several if she likes.

I’m only using the handbag as an analogy… it could be anything that is stupidly priced for a stupid thing.  I mean, does this handbag do things that other handbags don’t ?  No.  It’s just a bag, for carrying around stuff.

Or is it ?  Actually it’s not.  It’s a handbag slash status symbol.  It’s “branded”, and it’s a swanky, expensive brand.  Why ?  So that it can be recognised as a status symbol… so that it can say silently, that it’s owner is well off.

Now, perhaps she worked hard for that money (so hard for it honey), perhaps her partner did, perhaps her parents did.  Or perhaps she lied, cheated, exploited, avoided slash evaded tax, and so forth.   If you think that this modus operandi does not have a knock on effect that travels down the social scale and throughout the world, then you’re living in a box.

So she’s entitled (good word that) to spend it as she wills.  That’s true, of course.  Let’s take it as read that Person A doesn’t give any money to any charity.  Person A also feels “offended” when she sees a homeless person outside the exclusive (good word that) stores that she wants to shop in.

However, the ONUS of responsibility for how we spend; for what we value, is ON US.

So let’s say Person A makes a different choice.  She still wants a “nice” handbag.  OK, great.  Not something I understand, but it takes all kinds to make a world, I guess.  So Person A CHOOSES to buy a handbag that costs say $1,000 – that’s still a pretty pricey receptacle, the only purpose of which is to carry shit around – and then she CHOOSES to give $2,000 to the charity of her choice.

It might be an international Aid Agency, a medical charity working with preventable diseases in children living in “developing nations”, or an anti animal cruelty charity, or it might be a shelter for homeless people.

Whatever she wants is fine.  It’s her CHOICE.  And then every time she thinks about spending silly money on silly things for herself, she makes a different CHOICE.

The point is she CHOSE to help other people who have not had the opportunities she’s had, or in the case where she’s been less than ethical – maybe she’s trying to salve her conscience.  OK, so I wouldn’t agree with the scenario bereft of morals in the first place, however, she appears to have located her conscience… which is a start I suppose.

This is just one hypothetical example of how Person A’s choices CAN affect Person B….

Extrapolate that out the wide world over and we could be living in a VERY different world.

Rooshkie.  x.

PS:

Of course, one can’t possibly crap on about Handbags without referencing Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’… can one…

‘To be born, or at any rate bred, in a handbag, whether it has handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.’

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Billionaire AND Philanthropist. Huh?

 

To have money to burn

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For a person to spend 30 years perpetuating a system which creates fiscal inequity and then at 50 go all “philanthropy” gives me a problem.  To suddenly decide that “I want to help the poor starving kiddies in Bongo Bongo land”, when one has spent the lion’s share of one’s career working within the very system that distorts and delineates fiscal worth and reward, has got to be the arc of hypocrisy.

I find it a bit sick making.  With people for whom “compassion” is not something they’re terribly familiar with, “charity” (not a word I like) is often just another extension of their egos, in the same way that amassing disproportionate wealth is.  It’s more like “Look at me giving money and clothing and raising money for those poor exploited women / kiddies in “Insert third world nation name”… I MUST be a “good person”… I am a “Philanthropist” – new word everyone seems to like.

I saw an interview on TV with Bill Gates… in which he was described in the super – the text under his image – as “BILL GATES, BILLIONAIRE PHILANTHROPIST”.  I hope, dear Lord I hope that that was done without his input / consent.  To describe yourself as a “Billionaire Philanthropist” must be the zenith of ego, and the deepest chasm of spiritual poverty.

To be honest, my attitude is that if you have, through sheer fucking luck, opportunity, and being able to “fit in” with the way the “system” works and rewards what we call “hard work” (soul-destroying, line-toeing, sycophantic-bum-crawling, back-stabbing dishonesty, & toadyism), and you have amassed “disproportionate” wealth, then it is your DUTY to help those in need.  DUTY.

I’m tired of the dog-eat-dog, every man (what about the women I scream in mock hysteria) for himself kind of world… it isn’t my world, and it isn’t one that I can be “successful” in.

Gosh, why is “successful” in inverted commas – what are you getting at Rooshkie ?   I guess my point is… define success ?!  Is it riches ?  That’s what most people I know seem to think.  Riches or status.  That’s all.  Nothing else.  Nothing else rates.

Honesty, decency, ethics, kindness, caring, compassion, genuine goodness of idea, intention and action… do not rate on the “success” scale.  They are as nothing.  In fact they are treated with a particular kind of contempt reserved only for “deluded idealists”.

So, for those of us who don’t “fit” the Westernised first-world notion of “success”… let’s fucking hope there’s another judge !!!

I’m pretty much depending upon it myself, that when I get to the Pearly Gates of Nirvana, that Allah Buddha Muhammed Jesus Mary & Joseph or whomever, says,

“Yes, Rooshkie – you had it right all along, and all of those “successful” people (read as self-serving, pocket-filling) have to go back and try again”, and YOU my dear, get to stay here in Heaven AKA Nirvana (not the band, nothing to do with Kurt Cobain) AKA Shangri-La (not the Hotel chain), and live out the remainder of eternity (!) in bliss”.

Rooshkie (en route… not too soon if you please… to Heaven).  x.

Square cut or pear shaped…

Woman hand with gold ring

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Now here’s something I don’t understand… have never understood… will never… etc.  (Parentheses – it’s beginning to dawn on me that there are quite a lot of things that I don’t understand !!)

Women and rocks.  I’m not talking about my sixth form Geology teacher.  Hilarious wild -haired Scottish woman.  Really, really into rocks.  The fossil type.  The sedimentary kind.  The extruded ones.  Not so much the super hard shiny ones.  She was such a Geologist, that all other elements of scientific interest seemed to her to be not really worth a mention.  For example, all life forms were referred to as “beasties” (in a Scottish accent).  Just beasties.   Didn’t matter if it was a woolly mammoth or a gnat – it was a beastie.

I’m thinking here more along the lines of women talking about jewellery.  Um… oh God how fucking boring is that.  Some women can bang on for hours and hours about what type of engagement / wedding / anniversary ring they want / got.  I’ve never been engaged; and I guess it’s redundant to say that I’ve also never been married or anniversaried.  Now – make of that what you will.  But, I’m pretty confident that were I ever to be engaged / married / anniversaried, then my primary focus would not ever be drawn to the discussion of rocks.

I’ve heard women go on for ages and ages about baguette diamonds, cluster settings, emerald cut or sapphire cut….

“Are you going for the white gold or the platinum?”

“Gosh, such a difficult choice, isn’t it”

My ever so cynical mind goes…

“Um, no I don’t think it is… why don’t you just go for the one that’s going to cost your boyf / partner / fiancé / husband more money, so that then you can talk loudly about how much it cost, and he can do that thing that men do – that inverted pride thing – where he “complains” about how much money you’re costing him, whilst actually being proud of you costing him money, because it appeals to his ego, and possibly to his primal need to provide for and protect you.  Even though I think the primal feeling is really meant for life and death scenarios where he ensures that his woman and his offspring are sufficiently fed, watered, sheltered, and not eaten by a sabre toothed tiger.

Also, it’s a metal.  So what.  Big Stretch…. yyyyaaaawwwwnnnn.

To the rocks.  It’s blue, or it’s green, or white or yellow or pink, or whatever, and it’s a nice hard shiny stone.  Great.  I don’t mind shiny stones, they’re kind of pretty I guess, but more interesting are the forces which created them (Mrs Scottish “Beastie” Geology Teacher would be pleased, “Och Aye The Noo, something did go into her head” !!)

I sure as heck don’t ascribe any exorbitant value to them.  It’s a pretty rock.  That’s all.  It is not worth remortgaging your house for.  It is not worth not having an entire plethora of other stuff, that could be useful, or helpful to you and your family in the course of your daily lives.  It is not worth not having leisure in order to pay for a shiny rock.  It’s not worth not giving some money to a worthy charity for.

And it really doesn’t warrant much in the way of discussion or conversation.  It’s a rock.

Also, it’s a symbol – it is symbolic of Love.  It really shouldn’t matter if it’s a Coke can ring-pull.  (or Pepsi, or any other leading brand of cola)

Sorry, but am I the only woman who thinks like this?  Am I actually a man, in this respect?

Do men think that the whole obsession with shiny metal and shiny rocks is simply mental?

It drives me nuts.  There are so many more interesting things to talk about than shiny rocks and how much they cost.  It’s just in such bad taste to bang on about money in this way.  It’s soooooo ’80’s aspirational.  We’re not all watching ‘Wall Street’ any more, and Michael Douglas is Igneous and married to some Welsh woman.

Rooshkie. x.

Adam Ant !

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I think that “leaders” have one thing in common – perhaps I mean “bad leaders”, of all ilks… national, commercial, religious, etc… and it is this…

They are adamant !!

I’ve met, and know, several people who, once they state something – let’s call it “a fact”, then that’s it, and they will not waiver from that point.  They are absolutely set in stone, that the fact, which they have stated, is incontrovertible.

I find this perpetually astonishing… and it seems to me that in many instances, the “fact” stated, is more of an opinion… or just simply “something I read”, or “something someone once told me”, or something which has melted so deeply into our collective cultural psyche that we take it as read.

I’ve been in plenty of scenarios where the “fact” stated was… in fact… wrong, incorrect and erroneous (yes, I know… don’t you just love tautology when you’re trying to make a point).

Trying to recall a particular instance.  There are a lot.  However… let’s go with this one.

I’m a horticulturalist, I work with plants… have done for nigh on fifteen years, and before that was a keen amateur.  I’ve read a ridiculous number of books about horticulture, and have been practicing the art (there’s a hint there) for a long time.

I believe that I have a natural empathy with plants… I understand them, and they respond to this.  I know what they need, and I know what they want, and I care enough to make sure… within the parameters of what I also want… that I give this to them.

So when I was told… adamantly… by someone who is considered a horticulture “expert”, that if two plants “touch each-other” – that they will start to die !!!!!

I thought, as I collected my jaw from the floor…

WHAT ???  Ex-Squeeze me???  Are you talking complete and utter crap or what ???

I didn’t say this.  I’m actually quite polite, and although I was thinking, “Oh My Lord, what a load of old bollocks”… I just said, “I don’t think that’s right”.

The “Expert” continued… “Yes (and get this, he actually said this)… it’s a horticultural fact”.

I thought – are you mentally mental ???  I mean for goodness sake… that’s the sort of thing that not even someone who knows almost nothing about plants would say.  What I mean is, that a complete rank amateur in horticulture would almost instinctively know that this is complete and utter bullshit.

So I wondered if I had misunderstood what this person… ahem ahem, do excuse me, I mean “expert” had said.

He was blustering at this point.  Which is a sure sign that someone knows that they’ve just said something so wrong it defies the laws of wrongevity (made that word up… did you notice?), but is too arrogant to retract.

This is only one example of the Adam Ant Syndrome – as I have come to dub it in my own head.

It happens all the time, and each time it has me flummoxed.  My polite Ness says out loud “Hmmm… what a very interesting point of view you have, let me be sure to mull this over when time and circumstance allow”.

My proper brain is going… “Oh fuck, how can you stand there looking all defiant, almost challenging me to contradict you… and being so smug and adamant when you’ve just said the stupidest fucking thing in the world ever, and moreover – you know it”.

What then happens, because people who know better often also have better manners… I will simply cave, because it just isn’t worth the effort being that rude to someone who is that stupid and that adamant !!

I guess it’s when adamancy turns to fundamentalism that the real problems begin.

It’s when a religious, political or business “leader” states something which many of the smarter people in the world realise is total nonsense, or is simply a misguided matter of belief, or opinion posing as absolute undeniable fact… that’s where it becomes important to stand them down.

I have to say also that I don’t equate adamancy with strength… all too often it brings power… of some sort, to it’s espouser, but certainly not genuine strength… in fact it is emblematic of a lack thereof.

To not allow flexibility in ones thought and utterances, and to not – when questioned – be able to consider the possibility that one might be wrong, incorrect, or erroneous (!) is a manifestation of a kind of weakness.

Oh, and one other thing… just because someone says something louder, more often, and with a more adamantine quality… that does not make it correct…

Question it… question it all… keep questioning it all, always.

Rooshkie… still asking the questions…  x.

Environ-mental !!!

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Photo by Melinda Nagy – Dreamstime.com

Sitting in a cafe the other day, I could overhear (how could I not have – loud, shouty types they were) a couple of City Slickers discussing the “environment”. They REALLY seemed to think that they cared about the environment, about animals, about forests, and grasslands and wetlands MORE than the “country bumpkins”. There was a lot of stuff about farmers “ruining” the environment and the countryside. And I thought, wow, that’s so counter-intuitive… and them with all their urban cleverness… Sheesh.

My experience is that “Country folk” care about the countryside SO MUCH, that they actually LIVE IN IT !!!

These two were banging on about what the people who live in rural areas should and shouldn’t do… and I wanted, Oh how I wanted to say… “Do you know what… most country folk couldn’t give a pigs arse (you’d call that “leg of pork”) what you do… because they’re too busy working.”

To assume that after a couple of “countryside short breaks” that a townie knows how it operates, how it functions, how the people live in the countryside, is utter Bollocks… In fact, more than that, it’s Bullocks Bollocks!! You can only understand country people by living in the countryside.

Those City workers go home and sit in their electricity guzzling suburban house with the Heating or air con on constantly, eating eggs and bacon for breakfast, having fresh milk in their leading brand of coffee, reading the Financial Times (BTW they’re made from trees…shock horror amazement, stop the logging!!).

I think some city people have forgotten where all “dis shit” comes from… you know I mean the food, the consumables, etc – not the actual shit… which one does find in abundance in the countryside… and anyone who goes all squeamish over this might actually remember that ALL ANIMALS POO… it’s a simple fact, YOU included… try and get used to this basic tenet of life, and other things might become easier to accept !!!

It’s hard enough for farmers to keep stock (literally not figuratively), to ensure that it’s healthy, to make it grow and prosper, to make money out of it…so that Mr & Mrs C.T. Slicker can have breakfast, lunch and dinner, without then being criticised by people who know pig all about pig all about farming !!

The vast majority of farming folk that I’ve met care passionately about the countryside, about the animals they rear, and about the wildlife around them. They care about the trees and the grasslands and the birds. Most farmers have a more intimate knowledge of, and a greater love for, these things than urban folk will ever know or comprehend.

City lives are unfathomable to a farmer who lives in nature, who is blessed to be upon the land, breathing the clean crisp air every glorious day.

Now let’s recite…

God Speed The Plough,

AKA The Farmers’ Prayer…

(Dedicated to my Grandparents – lifelong farmers from generations of farmers.)

Let the wealthy and great
Roll in splendour and state,
I envy them not I declare it.

I eat my own lamb,
My own chickens and ham,
I shear my own fleece and I wear it.

I have lawns, I have bowers,
I have fruit, I have flowers,
The lark is my morning alarmer.

So jolly boys now,
Here’s God speed the plough,
Good luck and long life to the farmer.

Amen ….

(Small note that I personally don’t eat lamb or ham, but… no judgement… not much anyway… perhaps a bit… poor Lambkins… poor Piggy Wiggy… ethical choice is yours).

So, back to the two be-suited and be-spectacled ones in the cafe – those two should go back to their climate-controlled 40th floor office; check the NASDAQ, then check the NADSAQ… grow some … and MYOB.

Oh yeah… One more thing… Why does Keith URBAN make country music ?

I’ve NEVER understood that.

Rooshkie. x.

Oh Lord, Two Years…

… Gosh, I haven’t posted anything for two years.  I was considering “shutting it down” but I LIKE writing, so that hasn’t stopped.  I just stopped publishing, because… well, to be honest, because it’s a strange thing to publish a blog.

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Especially given that my blog is not an “academically detached” one.  I don’t write about things from a stepped-back perspective.  I don’t opinionise from a distance.  I’m right in there… this is the REAL ME.  So yes, it can be a bit confronting – for me I mean, let alone for you !!

Yes, “opinionise” is my own made-up word.  Well, fucking Shakespeare did it all the time – why shouldn’t I !!??  (that might be the only time since he was actually alive that anyone has referred to him in print using the phrase “fucking Shakespeare”.

As a little segued story, someone once said to me, “Why didn’t Shakespeare just write normally, without all that FANCY wording”.  Oh ha, ha ha, how I laughed.  Right in their face I think, couldn’t help myself.

So, we’re back.  And the only person who ever comments… or perhaps the only person who even reads my blog… is Jack.  So thanks for that Jack.

You would think… well, I would think…  that people who know me (they don’t even have to particularly like me – I couldn’t give a rats’ posterior), but you’d think they might read this  blog just now and again, wouldn’t you ? – Family, friends, and so on… but it appears not.  Either that or they’re reading and not FEEDING (back)… which feels quite non-reciprocal, from my POV.  Honestly, if someone were to say – Wow Rooshkie, that blog was complete CACA… it would be better than nothing at all.  (Please don’t say it’s CACA).

So we persevere (that was the Rooshkie Royal We… by which I mean ME).

Rooshkie. x

 

Eschew Obfuscation.

Pile of Books

Pile of Books

The title is taken from this wonderful list of tips on “How to write good”.  Very very funny list, and it’s actually a really good aide memoir of all of the mistakes we can make in writing.

Here’s the full list:  http://www.plainlanguage.gov/examples/humor/writegood.cfm

I recently found myself chatting, on Facebook (I know), and it was a fast chat, with a friend who has a very quick brain (for which I love him), anyway, so it’s a quick fire conversation, an exchange of swift wit – my absolute favourite kind of conversation.

I’m basically setting you up to understand why I made this most basic of errers (Joke).  I typed a sentence; as soon as I’d hit enter I realised my mistake, and was horrified.  It’s a commonly made one, but not by me !!!!  I’d typed YOUR, when I meant YOU’RE.  So so annoying.  I immediately admitted my mistake… I’m like that.

So, I then typed, “OMFG can’t believe I did that!!!”.  His response (smart arse as usual) – “YOU, YOU a mistake ????? No, can’t believe that, YOU – make a mistake ????”.  Yes, ha ha, most amusing my friend.  But it’s true, I do pride myself on not making mistakes, certainly in spelling and grammar – not only am I a writer by calling, but I was brought up in a family which (that ?  who ?) read a lot – I mean an awful lot, and who enjoy words and their meanings.

The “How to write good” list is very funny, as I said, but the point which I’ve used as the title ‘Eschew Obfuscation’ I happen to disagree with.

It’s having a dig at grandiloquence (yeah – get that for a stonkingly gorgeous word).  It’s saying if you don’t want to alienate part of your reading audience, then use language which is accessible to your target.  Both ‘eschew’ and ‘obfuscate’ are not words we use regularly, most of us, in our vernacular.

But that doesn’t mean they should be avoided… au contraire.  That’s just the ‘dumbing down’ of language.  I heartily disagree with it, and dumbing down in all its guises is to be avoided at all costs.

I once was having a conversation with someone about Shakespeare, and this person said, and I quote, verbatim… “Why did he have to write in that fancy language, why couldn’t he just speak normal English”.  Oh ha !!!  Sorry, yes I am being mocking – how could I not.  Of course, I wanted to say, “You dumb ass”.  But I didn’t.  What brilliant self-control I have (it’s not true – I really don’t, but in that case I managed it). I think it was more a case of exasperation made me not even bother to give a response – patronising ?  Yes, a bit, probably, but I really couldn’t help it.  Would you have been able to ?

However, the reason I disagree with eschewing obfuscation is because, how else do we learn new words (or old words we don’t yet know, but you see what I mean).  I LOVE coming across a word I’m not familiar with when I’m reading – absolutely adore it.  It doesn’t make me feel alienated, or patronised, it just makes me feel excited… Wow, fantastic, a word I don’t know, or a word that I’m not completely sure of it’s meaning.  Great, LOOKITUP.

My parents are clever people, as mentioned, they read a lot, and they have a very good command of the language (the English language that is).  When I was younger, I’d be reading a book (we all would), and I’d hit a word I didn’t know, so I’d ask my Mum what it meant.  Her always response, “Look it up”.  Go to the dictionary, or go to the thesaurus and look it up.

I realise now that she wasn’t just being irritating (!!!!), the whole point was to make it “go in” to my brain.  Her simply telling me was less likely to stick.

My friend Jeff keeps a bookmark sized piece of blank paper in the book he’s reading.  The first time I noticed this, he was writing, in pencil, on this blank piece of paper.  I said, “Wow that’s organised, are you writing down page numbers of things which resonate with you?”.  He said, “No, I’m writing down words that I need to look up”.

He wrote down the word, and then continued reading.  He didn’t LOOKITUP.  So I said, “When do you look up the word then?”.  He said, “When I’ve FINISHED the book” !!!!!

What ?  That’s crazy.  How can you read a sentence in which there’s a word you don’t know, and just keep on reading.  I cannot do that.  I have to know the meaning there and then.

So, for any reader who doesn’t know what eschew or obfuscate mean, and who hasn’t already looked them up… here we go…  LMGTFY…

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=obfuscate

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=eschew

rooshkie.

Image credit © Freds | Dreamstime Stock Photos