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Women are not Ornaments

February 6, 2018 Leave a comment

pri_68161917      Many fans of Formula One auto racing are upset that the iconic ‘grid girls’ are to be discontinued. I am pleased that the girls will be gone, because they should not stand in rows, dressed in identical, sexy outfits. I raced sports cars when I was younger, and I always felt that it was not a good idea to have women in the pit areas unless they were part of a team, working with the crew in a real job.

The grid girls are just a distraction for fans of the sport. Race time is a time of intense focus and concentration, and women in the pits for the sake of ornamentation are clearly out of place. When watching a Formula One event, I have always wondered why the pretty ladies demeaned themselves in that way. They are doing nothing other than perhaps holding a sign with a number on it, or some such thing. They are superfluous.

The smiles are pretty, the legs are lovely, but neither has anything to do with the very serious and expensive event that is a Formula One race. The women are obviously instructed to smile prettily and applaud vigorously as the sweating drivers hurry past them to the cool down rooms. I have never seen any driver even notice the girls. They know that the smiles and applause are just set up for the viewing audience, and have no real meaning to the participants in the event.

I am pleased that I will no longer feel sorry for the girls that were positioned on the grid and in the entrance hall to the cool down room. I am sorry that they are losing whatever small pay they received for that humble occupation. The truth is that only women who are either driving the car or working as part of the crew should be in the pits of any motor race. Just the same as men are not a good fit in a crocheting group. Men should be there if they are fans of crocheting and participating in the craft, but not to be stand-by ornaments.

In this modern age, no job need be gender-specific, but being good looking and standing holding a number sign is not a worthy career goal. Ladies are welders and builders and lawyers and doctors as good as any man can be. They are well-advised to build careers rather than be pretty and hold signs. Any job that can be replaced by a post on a base is not a job for an intelligent person, male or female.

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Charity Needs No God

January 29, 2018 Leave a comment

Hungry men and women gather at shelters. They are seeking meals that are provided by various religious groups. The individuals who believe they are doing God’s work are working to help their fellow humans. The congregations provide the funding, sharing in the warm feeling of doing God’s work, helping people in need. Excellent! But what does God have to do with it?

There is no reason why some God of some religion has to be involved in the good and generous works being performed. The generosity of spirit should suffice to satisfy the practitioners. It should not be necessary to display crosses, crescents, stars and what have you. The fact is that God is a myth, and science has proven it with research and facts. Therefore, the generous people that work to do good for others are really doing it for their internal satisfaction. Perhaps that feeling is what many people take to be the spirit of God within each of us.

The recent death in Montreal of Father John, known as “Pops”, brought out a plethora of people that profess to have been saved by Father John – Pops. The man did truly wonderful, selfless work. He operated a large motorhome-like van in a program known as “Dans La Rue”, which is French for “On The Street”.

Pops and his volunteers go out on the night streets of Montreal and provide meals and drinks to the street people. Some are old people who have lost their way in life. Many are young people seeking a way to survive. They have survived thanks to Pops and his generous program of feeding the needy.

The fact is, Pops could do the same work with the same result without the church and the Father John part. Why is God included? I don’t know, but I’m quite sure there is no God.

The Lesser Evil

January 27, 2018 Leave a comment

The lesser evil is still evil. We don’t have to accept the lesser evil as the best we can do. I refer to every endeavors, including highly educated professions and every other level of society down to careless welfare recipients. Facing two plates of food, neither of which we enjoy is a logical case. If one plate is fried chicken skin and the other plate is beef liver, the liver would be chosen by those that don’t hate it and chicken skin would be chosen by those that can’t stand liver, for whatever reason.

The 2016 presidential election in the United States of America might be a case of the lesser evil being the greater evil. Many voters believed that Hilary Clinton is so evil that even Donald J. Trump appeared to be the lesser evil. As time flows on, however, it is revealed that so called President Trump is actually a psychopathic liar, a thief, an oligarch and a traitor. In hindsight, as evil as she is, Clinton would have been a better choice.

I usually watch true police and crime series on television. Most often, there is a police interrogation of a victim, a witness, or a suspect. There comes a time when an individual is asked about his or her relationship.

“It’s fine,” they say. “You know, there are fights and stuff, like every relationship.”

NO! Accepting a relationship in which some scrapping and shouting, and even hitting is not the lesser of any evil. It is an evil-bound relationship. If a person can’t find nearly constant peace and confidence in one’s special relationship, one might be settling for the lesser evil. Don’t do it.

There should be a relationship for you where expressions of love are spoken every day. Where you are put first by the other party and the other party is put first by you. The lesser evil is not good enough. You want the absence of stress, doubt, and evil. Get it!

An Unnecessary War

December 4, 2017 Leave a comment

It is so often referred to as ‘the war between the sexes’ and there is really such a war going on all the time. Women and men are so vastly different from each other, a great deal of understanding and cooperation is required, for us to get through life. I don’t mean within a relationship like marriage. I mean just living, going to the bank, grocery shopping, taking a walk or a bicycle ride. And all of the strife is purely natural. That’s what’s so distressing about it. Society has put many things in their proper order so we can survive as a species of mammal. It seems to be more difficult to put sexual matters into an acceptable orderly form.

There is a vast number of differences between women and men, and they are not stationary. As society rolls on through time, men are changing and women are changing. Changes of any kind, positive or negative, are traumatic for the average human. One wonders if violence by men against women is because women are not the traditional female that many men think they should be.

It’s an insoluble problem. I wondered why female television journalists most often wear garments that show chest and cleavage. It seemed out of place on someone delivering hard news, so I asked my knowledgeable daughter about it. She said it’s for style, and in that moment I understood why women show various parts of themselves. They are not expecting to attract lovers… they are expecting to look nice – and they do.

Men should see the women as pretty, well turned out, self-assured. On the other hand, if a man wants to look good, he should dress to look good to the kind of company he hopes to keep. There are myriad styles for both genders to appeal to the great variety of groups that are available to all and any.

I must admit, however, I cannot see the reasons why some people find low, baggy shorts with underwear sticking out the top attractive. I am beginning to understand the look of not shaved yet not a full beard. It’s interesting how values change over time.

When I was a kid, if I’d showed up in the schoolyard with loose baggy shorts and underwear sticking out the top, I’d have got the shit kicked out of me. For sure the shorts would be taken off me and thrown into a tree. Now, it’s cool? And shaving was promoted by vilifying “the four o’clock shadow” on a man’s face.

I’m still sure that tattoos are a bad idea. Piercing is too, but at least the holes will close by themselves if one should wise up and remove the trinkets. Tattoos are infinitely more expensive and more discomfort to remove than to acquire.

I hope I live to see society in general swing back toward sensible.

2 Books, 2 Authors, 2 Plum Trees

October 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Two books that I consider to be among the best are: A Confederacy of Dunces and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Two more books that follow the life of Lisbeth Salander followed the latter. A Confederacy of Dunces stands alone. There will be no more books by Stieg Larsson, who wrote the Salander books, nor from John Kennedy Toole, who wrote the Dunces book.

Both books met with immediate acclaim when they were published posthumously. They are, in fact, fabulous stories brilliantly told. Anyone who enjoys reading strong, earthy, beautifully written books must read these four – the three by Larsson and one by Toole.

Films were made of the Larsson trilogy, I’ve not heard of a worthy one for Toole’s book. The American versions of the Salander story, to me, are not worth the time of day. The Swedish versions, with subtitles, are brilliant. The casting, the acting, the script, every scrap of them is great.

Ignatius Jacques Reilly is the morbidly obese and endlessly pompous star of A Confederacy of Dunces. He is unique in literature, and is purely wonderful. The lead character in the Larsson books and films is Lisbeth Slander, the most fascinating and exciting hero you’ll ever read.

You might well wonder where the plum trees come into this story. I used to own a hobby farm in the mountains where I kept horses and sometimes pigs and cows. There’s an ancient apple orchard behind the house. It’s very picturesque, with the old, gnarled trunks and untrimmed limbs.

At far corners of the orchard, diagonal from each other were two, old, sterile plum trees. For years, while the apple trees were bursting with huge, antique apples, the plum trees appeared to be little more than four inch wide sticks in the ground.

Suddenly, one spring, the plum trees came to life. To super life, I want to say. Both trees burst forth with volumes of perfect, beautiful, Damson plums. Bushels of them. Sweet, firm Damson plums from trees that we thought were long dead. They produced a vast amount of wonderful nourishment, and then they died dead. Forever.

Similarly, both Stieg Larsson and John Kennedy Toole burst forth with brilliant books. They created stories and characters unparalleled in modern literature. They nourished readers’ minds with intrigue and excitement. Then they died.

Stieg Larsson died suddenly, of a heart attack at fifty. John Kennedy Toole took his own life at forty-four. I like to think that, like the plum trees, the effort to produce such a fine result was more than life could sustain. They gave their all, the plum trees and the authors. We have their books, and they are as much a blessing as were the plums.

John Kennedy Toole

Stieg Larsson

Toole (top) – Larsson (bottom)

ON THIS DAY IN 1943

October 23, 2017 Leave a comment

The life I had been living was to change forever. I was an only child, and I was told that Mommy was coming home with an 8-day old brother for me. His name was Neil, and we grew to be very close. When he was a baby, he had a babble language of his own, and only I, at seven years of age, could understand him. Neil would babble something at Mom, and she would ask me what he wanted, and I could tell her.

As Neil became a toddler, I became his horsey, and sometimes I was his tiger that would protect him. He named me Tykie, when I was the tiger. In later years, I taught him to ride a bicycle, and swim, and some bad things too. Some weekends I took him to Saturday matinees at the Nortown, or the Eglinton, or the Avenue, all on Eglinton Avenue in those days. I took him tobogganing, and skating. In later years, he was on my pit crew when I was racing sports cars.

The relationship gradually faded when Mommy brought home another brother, Steve. Neil’s and Steve’s ages were closer than Neil and I, and they bonded more closely. My life took me to outside activities, and I grew closer with Steve when we were older, because there’s a 10 year gap.

Sadly, Neil passed away some years ago. The truth is, the Neil who is always with me is the kid that hung around with me for some years, and to whom I passed on both good and bad things about myself. Neil’s my brother still, because the years of shared learning and winning and losing are always with me, and I sometimes wander through them.

The Destructive Drive for Wealth

October 19, 2017 Leave a comment

When ‘maximized profits’ is the goal, someone or something is going to suffer. How can a marketer maximize profits, while it’s already doing everything possible? One can make the product more cheaply and charge more for it. When a corporation’s goal is to get rich no matter what, its staff, suppliers, and customers all lose out.

Companies fight to keep employees’ wages and benefits low so the company can flourish. At the same time, the employees are the energy that manufacture, deliver, and perhaps sell the product. Why would an employer not appreciate the employees? Because employees cost a lot of money, and companies don’t like to part with any money at all.

We ‘normal’ people might be unable to understand how a company can deny living wages to its employees while awarding huge bonuses to senior executives. Well, perhaps those greedy people have a weakness in their spirit that enables them to be selfish at all times.

Personally, I would reject the life of the wealthy, because it doesn’t suit me. I was raised in a wealthy family, and felt out of place. The quiet life among simple people suits me better. At the same time, I enjoy a great deal of intellectual stimulation on social media. The Internet is also a great creative stimulus that helps me to live comfortably.