A Wool-luf in Wool-luf’s Clothing.

It’s the wool-uf, it’s the wool-uf !!!  It’s still the wool-uf.  And here he is… still.

So I just watched The Wolf of Wall Street.  It’s a very long movie… very very long.  If I’d been at the Cinema, I would have got a bit cheesed off.  It’s too long.  As it was I was watching on Apple TV, so I could pause and go and have a cup of tea and a fag when I wanted.  Made my dinner.  Ate it.  Fed the dogs.  Walked the dogs.  More movie.  A very very long movie… did I say that already?  Sorry, my brain is a bit fucked right now from watching a very very long movie, about a fucking dodgy stockbroker.

Ok, so Leo is great, as are many of his co stars, and in a way it’s quite compelling… but, I was perpetually waiting for the money shot… and I mean the emotional money shot or the spiritual one, or even the financial one… the one that comes from conscience maybe.  But it never came.  Sad.

I thought after all that excess… and his excess was one of utter utter self-absorbed-ness (OK it’s not a word, but as I’ve said before, if I want it to be, it’s a word).  Complete and utter self-absorbed-ness.  Jordan only gives a fuck about one thing, the entire long long movie long, Jordan only ever gives a fuck about Jordan.  Endlessly.

I mean I thought the novel Anna Karenina was long !!!  And at least in that there’s a denoument, and a noument – is that a word… probably not (but…. you know how it goes).

Clearly I’m being deeply facetious comparing The W of W St to AK.  There is NO comparison… except the long-ness.

The excess of silly silly amounts of money – the very “best” of everything, and the very very poor taste of many people who’ve made lots of money very quickly.

Also the excess of Hookers… oh God really… do we really have to see this stuff time and time again.  I think most of us growed ups know what Hookers do.  It’s too dull to be saturated in Hookers (I expect there are those who would beg to differ).

The excess of drugs… I mean fully seriously – how he didn’t overdose, I can’t imagine.  However, that said, the scene at the Country Club – although it shouldn’t be funny – it IS – really funny.

The excess of excess.

But, it’s still a good movie.  I’m not totally bagging it.  Leo is a superb actor.   His co-stars are excellent.  I understand that the excess is making a point… about excess… and about selfishness.

So, there I was hours later still waiting for the pay off so to speak.  I wanted his downfall.  This man was utterly immoral (even though on some level I wanted to like him).   He didn’t care who he ripped off.  He did not care that he was “investing” (read as stealing) the life savings of Mom and Pop investors all over America.  He just didn’t care – in fact, worse than that he reveled in it – he despised them.

So here I am – being an ethical, decent person… waiting for this money shot – the one where Jordan finally realises what a self-absorbed, immoral, brutal shit he really is.  But it never comes.  He never gets it.  When he’s arrested he sings.  He’s still the ultimate in selfish.  He betrays EVERYONE in his life.

All of his inner-sanctum cohorts, all men (sorry, not my making, they just were) are little boys.  Small children in expensive suits.  Tiny boys snorting coke off Hookers arses.

Their utter self-indulgence and lack of awareness of their own immorality indicates that these boys never left the nursery.  They never got (emotionally or spiritually or ethically) past the age of four.  Their bodies grew, their brains grew (not a lot but they did – physiologically) and yet they remained bratty little boys full of a sense of complete entitlement.  I WANT IT, SO I WILL HAVE IT, and I don’t CARE who suffers.  (Stamps foot).

Yep, shame really.  But I guess sometimes the money shot never comes (pun intended).

Jordan never sheds his wolf’s skin.  He never becomes a sheep.  He NEVER has the epiphany I watched the entire effing movie in order to see.

Honestly, I’d rather watch the Hanna Barbera cartoon –  http://youtu.be/MFYomQylE6E – it’s a LOT shorter.

Children in Biafra

© Chrisharvey | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Chrisharvey | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Food.  What do you do with left-over food?  Do you have 700 plastic storage containers of varying sizes in a cupboard somewhere?  With all their lids all over the place…. and every time you locate the appropriate sized storage container – round or rectangular – I don’t mind – you then spend 15 minutes looking for it’s lid mate.

Yep, thought so.

So, you the keep food left-overs. If, at the end of your evening meal, you have two tablespoons of mash left, please, please don’t scoop them out carefully, and pop them in one of the afore-mentioned plastic storage containers… having wasted at least 20 minutes locating the 2-tablespoons-of-mash-sized-container and it’s so-called “airtight” lid… and then pop in in the fridge… which is already stacked to the rafters (Ok it’s a turn of phrase, I know fridges don’t have rafters) – with appropriately-sized plastic storage containers full of last weeks two scoops of something or other.

Just throw it away.  Because if you don’t, then two weeks later, you will discover it, amongst the shipping-container like arrangement of plastic storage containers in your fridge and you will then throw it away.

You will also have to wash the plastic storage container and it’s lid friend… and then put them away in the cupboard, the contents of which might at any moment give way and crush you under 700 plastic storage containers and their bloody buggering lids.

THROW IT AWAY.

What????   I hear you scream… throw away food ????

Yes, I know… mine did as well.

Just because your Mother always told you that there were “children starving in Biafra”… does not mean that you have to hold onto that forever.  I mean, if it’s really that bad, then seek counseling.

I was always really confused that as a child, that I HAD to eat all my greens, because there were “children starving in Biafra”… I simply didn’t understand why I was being given this information.  I could not make a mental connection between the two things.

I mean, for starters, at anything under ten years old, one’s ability to feel compassion for the “children in Biafra” is minimal to say the least.  Also I hadn’t the slightest idea where Biafra was… I was raised in the south of England, so for all I knew it might have been in the North… somewhere near, say, Newcastle.

I think for a while, I actually believed that if I didn’t eat all the food on my plate, then my Mother would take the bits that I didn’t eat, put them in an envelope (I was blissfully unaware of the existence of plastic storage containers then), and send it to the “children in Biafra”.

And I thought…. Well, that’s not very nice for them is it… getting my wilted greens and bits of meat or fish in a soggy envelope.  I didn’t see that as “charity” at all.  I mean, surely they’d prefer a nice new Cindy Doll or an Action Man, to some mucky old food… which I myself was not prepared to eat… even under the threat of the deaths of “children in Biafra”.

So… it’s time to let go… repeat after me, “I release you, I release you, I release you”.  And breathe.

By all means do all you can to help the children who are starving… NOW… in other parts of Africa and the wider world… by giving money to relevant charities…

http://www.unhcr.org, www.savethechildren.org, www.msf.org,…

but throw away the two scoops of mash… OK… your life will be easier.

 

(Dia) Tribe

© Joy Miller | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Joy Miller | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Religion is a tribe.  Just like all other tribes.  Nationalism, gender, politics, social class, skin colour, sexual preference, even sporting allegiance !

Tribes are how we identify ourselves.  I am a Jew.  I am a man.  I am English.  I am a Liberal.  I am Middle Class.  I am heterosexual.  I am Black.  I support Man United.

(Only some of those things are true of me… but I’m not saying which).

All identifiers are how we construct our egos.  The self-made part of “who” we are.  Not the integral intrinsic essence of “who” we are.

All tribes are inclusive of their members, and therefore exclusive of everyone else.

I am this, therefore I am not that.  You are that, therefore you are not this.

The less a person has a deep sense of self – as opposed to ego construct – the more the need to be part of a tribe and to identify with that tribe, and by virtue, not with other tribes.

The weaker the self-knowledge, the weaker the identity, and the stronger the call to be a vociferous and zealously active member of the tribe.

Tribes create sub-cultures, which identify one as a member of that tribe.  Behaviours, modus operandi and markers which are particular to that clique.  How else would one be able to tell if someone supported Chelsea or Arsenal ? (A nod and a wink to my brothers !).

All cliques create a secure inclusive environment for their adherents, and create, again by virtue, exclusivity.  A way of saying, I am IN, and you are OUT.  Just like in the school yard!

If a person does not question their choice of tribe membership continuously, throughout their lives, then the identification with the tribe in itself becomes stronger than the original “reasons” for the desire to be a part of that tribe.

This ego-based need for identification with a group of like people is at the root of all ‘isms’.

When we spend our lives in self-analysis, reflection, questioning everything, we come to the point where we stop needing to identify with ‘groups’ because our self-identity is so strong it requires no tribal allegiance in order to bolster it.

Only ego requires perpetual big-upping.

Self-knowledge and therefore self-security is an end in itself.

Possibly slightly ironically, self-knowledge, ergo – not being drawn to be part of a (in this case religious)  tribe, often goes hand-in-glove with genuine spirituality ie: awareness and understanding of ones own spirit.

Spirituality needs no tribe, spirituality requires no religion.

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I have recently decided that each blog will be complemented (or not) by a musical interlude… so here goes the firstest one.

Honestly… how did we NOT know that Gary was not quite right !!!!!!

No thanks Gaz, don’t think I do want to be in your gang… thanks for asking.

Treading the Boards

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Dreamstime.com

It’s Easter. A family thing has me seeing a kid’s play at a Church.

The class of four-year-olds sing something dead cute about “Jeeeeee suuuuuus”. (which of course sounds like Cheeses – the sweet baby cheeses !!).

Then the Plain clothes minister, Matthew, gets up to go through some basic Bible stories, including the meaning of Easter to the kiddy-winkies. He has slides of stick people up on the screen, and also gets some of the kids to act out the roles, for the edification of the “growed” ups.

I feel pretty uncomfortable (I went to a convent school for a couple of years purely for acadaemic reasons, and now I’m a sort of borderline Buddhist, but that’s about as committed as I get, in religious terms).

So the first slide is a stick Adam and a stick Eve (no need for fig leaves then !!!). Two little kids are chosen to play the roles, and another for the tree. They’re having a ball.

A couple of slides later, Matthew says, “And now I need one very special volunteer to do this slide by themselves.” Kids raise their hands straining to be that one kid. “Ooo Oooo pick me, pick me!”. A boy is chosen. Timmy.

Matthew continues “Now Timmy, I want you to stretch your arms out as far as you can. That’s right. Stand very still. Keep your feet close together”. Timmy complies. “Timmy, you are representing Jesus-who-died-on-the-cross-for-our-sins”.

Timmy looks understandably perturbed, and rather worried, his lower lip is trembling. The look on his face conveys the thought, “Bu-bu-but I don’t want to be Jesus-who-died-on-the cross-for-our-sins”.

Matthew is beaming with beatific joy at his stick figures, and four year old actors.

This is where my mind turns this scenario into something far more interesting and entertaining (I think !?) Wavy Line Wavy Line (if I haven’t explained this before – it denotes that scene break in old tele-movies where we go into the realms of the imagination…ation…ation….).

Timmy drops his arms, and turns to Matthew. Matthew asks him what’s wrong. Timmy says, “Look here.. Maff-yew, I’m very grateful and all that, but I was wondering if I could have a quick word with the Casting Director?”

Matthew replies , “Um, well I guess technically that’s me.” Timmy carries on, … “See I’ve got a bit of an issue with this role. I mean, I am only four, so I’m pretty new to this game, and given that we’ve had no rehearsals at all, well, I’m not too sure I can inhabit the role of the guy nailed to a bit of wood”. (when he says inhabit, he denotes air quotes with his little fat fingers).

Matthews’ joy is wearing thin….”Come on now Timmy, don’t be difficult”. Timmy speaks again… “If I do decide, in about fifteen or twenty years, that I wish to make thespianism my profession, then I would think I would opt for the method school, and that being the case, I’m having a little trouble really feeling this role. I mean, I’m playing a young man, virtually naked, with massive nails banged through my hands and feet, in utter agony, vilified by almost all around me, facing my imminent death, my much-loved mother weeping inconsolably on the dusty ground of Golgotha… and to be honest, Maff-yew, I’m struggling with this somewhat”.

Matthew is close to loosing the remains of his beatific-ness… “Timmy, the other kids are having no trouble with their roles, look at Ruby and Josh, they seem to be fine”.

“Well yes”, says Timmy, “but Ruby and Josh get to pretend they’re in a garden eating apples they weren’t meant to eat, you know?… It’s not a big stretch, is it ? For a four year old…

Whereas I… am the son of God, and tomorrow I have to resurrect… It’s a pretty big ask mate, if I can be totally frank with you… Maff-yew… treading the boards is one thing, but being nailed to them?… That’s a whole ‘nother ball game !!!”

Way Leads on to Way

© Glinn | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Glinn | Dreamstime Stock Photos

It’s always worth sharing Robert Frost’s metaphor for life.  It requires nothing more, no explanation, no analysis.  For me, it hasn’t worn out from over use.  I’ve rearranged the stanzas and made it more like prose, but left the original punctuation and capitalisation, (I did the opposite with Shelly) – poets (living or dead) must find me really annoying !!  Sorry Poets !!

In it’s entirety then….

The Road not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both, And be one traveller, long I stood, And looked down one as far as I could, To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there, Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay, In leaves no step had trodden black., Oh, I kept the first for another day!  Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

And I’ll just add a little bit (couldn’t help me-self), a quote attributed to The (Gautama) Buddha:  No one saves us but ourselves, No one can and no one may, We ourselves must walk the path.

If that’s not a genuine Buddha quote, then I’ll expect to see it here – http://www.fakebuddhaquotes.com/all-fake-buddha-quotes/a blog by Bodhipaksa – very amusingly titled indeed – watch the changing headers, one of them (my fave) is… “Pretty sure I never said that” – The Buddha.

Also good to know that Bodhipaksa does amazing recordings for the Mindfulness of Breathing, and The Metta Bhavana…  I use them, and I feel calm, happy, well, and full of loving kindness afterwards (if I didn’t feel quite that full of loving kindness before !!!)

cropped-ts3cooled.jpg

rooshkie. x.

 

Gotta Fly !

© Clarita | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Clarita | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I recently relocated my British Airways “Junior Jet Club” book.

My first flight was in 1975 (aged 10) – London Heathrow to Singapore – to live there.  Since then there’s been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing.  Long Haul.   Singers to London and back – many times, Singers to Sydney, Sydney to London and back (Via Singers and Honkers and Bangkok… well, I wasn’t going to call it Bangers !!! ) – many times, Sydney to the US and back, various jaunts in Europe, quite a bit of messing around in SE Asia, a brief stint in Kenya and the Seychelles, and those I will just categorise as “other” – eg:  New Caledonia.

Big flashback: How my heart leaps again, remembering arriving in Singapore for the first time. Back then, you used to walk down steps onto the tarmac and walk to the terminal.   I’ve got a photo somewhere – hells bells, it’s in my lock up… of me and my brothers on arrival.  Lemme tell ya, was I cool (but hot) or what ?  That’s confusing.  I mean I was wearing a well cute skirt with buttons down the front, and a pair of low platforms (in hindsight, I can’t believe my Mum let me wear heels of any sort at the age of 10, shock horror, recollection.  She wouldn’t let me get my ears pierced until I was about 13 – I was fully cheesed off, as only young teens can be – well grumpy and monosyllabic for what seemed like ages…  probably was ages – seriously melodramatic at that age.)  Anyway… not my point.

Back to arriving in Singapore.

Hot, hot and humid, and muggy, and hot, and the air was full of spices and horticultural fecundity. Every time I go back to Singers, as soon as I’m out of the air con (having walked along the apron walkway thingy into the a/c terminal building)… the first thing I do is flood my olfactory senses with the heat and spice and tropical scents. Dizzying Bliss it is. I feel faint for a minute or two, and elated.

So, the book. Yes, I’ve always been organised, and yes, I’ve kept this book for almost 40 years !!! I’ve still got the little winged badge as well.

Back in the day, I guess there were less people in general flying, and certainly a lot less kids flying,  THE Book was sent up to the Flight Deck, and the First or Second Officer would fill in the details.  Date, from, to, duration, type of aircraft, and a little signature.

Since the age when it would have been slightly embarrassing to produce my JUNIOR Jet Club Book (you do the math) for a while I filled it in myself, and then forgot about it for a bit.

So, when I found it again, I added the mileage from all flights since then and came to…

236,149 miles !!

Holy Moses…

That’s 5.9 times the circumference of the earth!

OMFG…

Flying time in total is 473 hours.

incroyable…

That’s 2.82 weeks in the air.

And I’d happily do another 3 ish weeks, and then some !!!

My carbon footprint must be pretty sizeable.

Good thing I’ve planted a lot of trees.

rooshkie. x.

Our Wedding Gay…. (Photo Album Title)

Surely everyone is gay on their wedding day?  Happiest day of our lives and so forth.  Of course I’m using the original meaning of the word gay – to be happy.  Clearly, I read way too many novels written more than a hundred years ago.  

(“Mr Darcy, you libertine, unhand the hem of my skirt before someone sees”).  Sorry, mental segue there… where were we ?… Ah yes…

I have no issue with other people’s sexual preferences.  In fact, I don’t care and really couldn’t be less interested.  If someone is heterosexual, fine; homosexual, also fine.  Any other kind of sexual… also fine.  I’m completely not concerned at all.  In fact, I consider it to be none of my business… at all.  So I find the whole concept of wearing one’s sexuality or sexual preferences on one’s sleeve rather ridiculous.

I believe that “gay” men and “gay” women should be allowed to get married, if they wish it.  I don’t believe that anyone should be discriminated against, or for based upon their sexual and romantic preferences.  So, Yes absolutely, they should have the right to get married.

My question with the entire issue is something quite different.  My question is, WHY would they WANT to?  Surely the example set before them of heterosexual marriages should be enough to dissuade them forever from it, and that this is a really crap idea !!

Ok.  I’m being deliberately glib. (Note to self – must stop being glib… one day… a long way into the future).   They want to have the right to get married for legal and financial reasons, and for their mutual commitment to be recognised – fair enough..  But, surely, it’s time for us to consider other parameters for this kind of relationship altogether.

For those who wish to take the traditional route, great.  Fantastic.  Enjoy.  But, there has to be a way of creating a “partnership” with another person, which has everyone covered in terms of legal rights and financial security, and airing of commitment, which does not involve marriage in it’s conventional sense.

“Partnership” – such a silly word to refer to someone with whom you are sharing your life and your bed, but not actually legally bound to.

Noel Fielding, a brilliant stand-up comic, star of “The Mighty Boosh” and panel leader on the insurmountably wonderful ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks” put it thusly.  Just a note – if you’re not familiar with Noel’s look – he’s slightly androgynous, and one could easily be unsure of his sexual orientation (if one really cared enough about such things).  He covered this “confusion” about the word ‘partner’ in a gig on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.  It went like this (sorry Noel I’m paraphrasing)… ..

“I was in the bath with my partner the other night, we were splashing around and laughing; it’s so difficult to do anything in the bath isn’t it?  It’s all too slippery, and we ended up having a fight about whether he was going to sit down the plug/tap end, or I was.  So, we were messing around, and it was all getting pretty steamy.  Suddenly, my girlfriend walked in and said, “Look, I don’t mind the two of you running a small business together, but this is ridiculous”.

(A story about Noel.  My Mother – yes – and I saw him do a stand-up gig, years ago, for the Hatherleigh Festival (world renowned it is… not really), before he was so big and famous and on the telly, and it was pretty clear then, that this was no ordinary comedian – his stream of consciousness style of humour was a brilliant thing to observe.)

So, yeah, gay marriage… no problem with that at all.

But isn’t it time to find a workable alternative to marriage full stop ?!

For straights and for gays.

Straights have rights too !!!!

Addendum – Funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time – a placard at a Pro Gay Marriage Rally… on it was written… “WE WANT TO BE MISERABLE TOO”.