Tuesday, 23 June 2009

How much of a bastard can a human being be?

Those of you who know this blog, will know that sometimes I rant against the arrogance of the human race; I am after all at the thin edge of the wedge! But what I learnt today makes you despair of the 'ordinary' human being. Makes you despair of finding solace in the idea that Hitler, Pol Pot, Kim, whether father or son, are aberations, not normal. That the vast bulk of human beings are caring, loving, considerate entities, with compassion, empathy for their fellows.

One of my e-chums is selling her business. It's basically been eating into her assets for a while now and while it's quite successful, things look like they will get worse before they get better and she doesn't want to throw any more money at it in the hope that things will get better. She has a buyer and a fair price and has got guarantees about the staff, who will be kept on. All fine and dandy, no?

Now while she herself is not gay, she attracts gay men, what the gay community call a 'fag hag' (a term of endearment, not an insult). Now a few weeks back, she took one of them to task for potentially embarrasing one of her staff (who is also a friend) with a customer by openly stating something which was not true when the member of staff was not around to defend herself. This seems to me to be quite reasonable behaviour on her part, defending someone who was not there to defend herself. He has, by and large, not spoken to her since. So what does this slug do in retaliation?

Some weeks later, he is talking to the member of staff he'd maligned. Does he apologise for his inappropriate comments? Excuse himself on the basis that he was a little on the 'tight' side? That he was only having a joke, however much in bad taste? No, he tells the member of staff that the reason her boss is selling the business is because of all the mistakes she makes! What? She is the only efficient member of staff in the place! It's difficult to see that it would make any money at all, if she were not at the sharp end. So why would anyone say something like that? Even if it were true? And more especially when it's not?

It's hard for me to see the motivation for this except attempt to sow discord between two people who may be 'boss' and 'staff' but are also friends. To drive a potential wedge between them. The member of staff was obviously upset and raised it with her boss the following day. Despite all the reassurances in the world, you're still going to have that teeny, nagging doubt, aren't you? That maybe, just maybe, even though you tell yourself a hundred times a day that it isn't, can't be true.

I just don't see how someone could sink to that level, can you? Why? Because you've fallen out with a friend so you get back at them by hurting an innocent thrid party? If you're not their friend anymore, you'll try and make sure that no-one else is? It all seems so pointless and even childish. The kind of behaviour that those who know no better might engage in before they learn what the repercussions are. Before they learn that there are acceptable and non-acceptable ways to behave. That you don't spend your life gratuitously stabbing people in the back.

Ah well, you reap what you sow, they say. As much as I hate to say it, I hope they're right!

On a lighter note, I found this about game theory on www.xkcd.com yesterday. Don't know why but it touched a chord :)

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Orcas, Love, and I will DIE for you!

I was reminded today of something I wrote almost at the beginning of this blog: "Talking of Orcas, Havelock tells a great story about how some killer whales who were wave hunting him and a seal on an ice floe - they swim around creating waves so you end up getting washed off the floe by the waves - washed them both off only to put them back on the floe and do it again. They weren't hunting, they were teaching the youngsters how do it, he said. Havelock says it was the luckiest day of his life and he's never, ever having lunch with a seal again!"

Well I found this today, not brilliant quality but so little on YouTube is! Be amazed!

There's nothing like a little practical demonstration and participation to get your message across to the young ones.

I was thinking about love today :) Not the parental love that adults have for their offspring not the love the offspring have for their parents. This seems to me to be fundamentally different to the love you have for another, unrelated individual. A young child's love, it seems to me, is firmly rooted in instinct. The primeval attachment that young have for their parents, especially their mother. An imprinted love almost. Once acquired during the brief months following birth, it is never lost. It may be altered, it may fade as the child grows into adulthood and they acquire their own children but to lose your love for your parent, or for a parent to lose their love for their child, this is surely an aberation?

No, the love I was considering was the love between unrelated individuals, whether child or adult, whether same sex or different sex. What makes the bond? And how tight is it? While there are quite sound evolutionary and biological advantages to forming lasting pair bonds in a social community, whether as an aid to the survival of the social group or the raising of offspring, is that all it is? Would you steal for love? Would you abandon your parents for love? Would you kill for love? Would you die for love? Most of us, thankfully, will never have to make such a choice but, nonetheless, what would you do?

These are not fanciful ideas. History both recent and ancient, literature both recent and ancient, are littered with examples of the depths people will sink and the heights to which they will rise, in the name of love! Are these people merely deluded? Or are they expressing an emotion which we all share but seldom if ever get the opportunity to express in such a fundamental way. And if we gained the opportunity, how would we react?

Would we admit to a crime we did not commit so that a true, but misguided, friend might go free? Or would we ask that they take reponsibility for their actions? Would it be noble to kill your wife's rapist if as a result of the violation, she took her own life? Or would just one more crime in an indifferent world be sufficient to prevent another? Would you steal because the only thing that made your loved one happy was to shop at Blumingdales? Or would you accept an unhappy partner? Would you ruin a women's reputation just because you wanted her husband so badly it squeezed your heart in a vice? Or would you accept your lot and 'retire to the country'?

You see, I think humans have elevated 'love' to such a pedastal, that anything is possible, and dare I say, acceptable in its pursuit. The French even have a crime on the statute books, called 'crime passionelle', a crime of passion, which invariably means that you CAN GET AWAY with bloody murder!

So, have I ever been in love so much, am I so much in love, that I will die for it? Yes! But I know I am/was misguided!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Brown, Chaos and Oliver Cromwell

It was nice to finally get the fairy story up, however late! Thank you, MG. Always to be relied on! Actually he did me a favour really because in going through each post before I uploaded it, I was able to add little bits, an adjective here, a sentence there, even a whole scene , which were not there before and they make the drivel marginally better in my very humble, very very 'umble, opinion.

All of the gang managed it back this year but guess what? The tub of lard got himself hitched for the season! Cozy's got an egg to hatch! Ha! Mind you, I think's he's let himself in for a turbulent spring if the past few weeks are anything to go by. He's been pushed, shoved, pecked, brow beaten AND winged and all by this harridan of a penguin who is almost as fat as he is! All Cozy can be heard to say at the moment is "What I do to perpetuate the species!" It's all in a good cause, Cozy!

With no Havelock this year, I thought my blogging might have come to a very rapid close but Sparky and Fricka's sister, Sieglinde, who is not breeding, have offered to help. There was quite a surplus of females and Sieglinde took to none of the males at all this year, well except for me and she knows she can't have me :). They have offered to stay for the winter. "In memory of Havelock," they said. You can tell Fricka's parents were Wagner freaks, can't you? Always in the thick of it when the good Frau Doktorin would give us a blast of 'Der Ring des Nibelungen' to drown out the noise of the wind.

I am so laughing, well cackling would be closer to what I'm actually doing, at what is happening in British Politics at the moment. It is hard to feel sorry for their beleagured Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who plotted and schemed with Tony Blair to ensure an uncontested move in to the leadership role, over which, incidentally, the British people had no say. While Barak bathes in the adulation of an adoring world, 'poor' Gordon is shot full of so many holes that he surely cannot last much longer. Only sheer bloody mindedness can keep him in the pole position surely. To have waited so long to take over the reins and then have the horse shot out from under him; well, one ought to feel sorry for him. But I don't! In fact, I think the only people who feel sorry for him at all, anywhere, are his cronies who stand to lose out on top posts if Gordon falls.

I mean, seriously, how can someone be said to be running the country when 4 of his cabinet resign in two days? How can he possibly survive the 'expenses' fiasco? And with his Chancellor set to go in the next week to be replaced by Gordon's long standing psychophant, Ed Balls, (brilliant name that!) this is turning into a 'trousers down' Whitehall farce. Brian Rix for Prime Minister, anyone? Yes, I know he is dead but he surely, even dead, would be better than Gordon, wouldn't he? The problem, in my estimation, is that he believed his own 'puff'. Riding the crest of an economic wave of prosperity, enjoyed by most of the western world, from the late nineties until the past year or so, he actually believed he was responsible! No, Gordon, it's easy to look good when everyone's doing well and you'd have to be a dingbat to do badly, it's an awful lot harder when things aren't quite so easy! It's what separates the wheat from the chaff.

The only honourable thing to do is resign. "Sorry, guys, I fucked up a wee bit". "I'll go, write my memoirs and get a few directorships." After all, large British companies have a habit of putting incompetants on their boards, witness the last nine months! And what then? Peter 'Mandy' Mandelson? Oh please, if there is a God, he will surely be axed too! Pompous, conniving, unscrupulous, self serving, the list is endless. Do we really want such people running the country? No! Not that the rest, bar a few, are any better but he epitomises all that is rotten about British politics. Another champagne socialist! MG once shared a railway platform with him, standing, silently self important, nose in the air, surrounded by so many dark suited men with bulging armpits, talking into their cufflinks that MG just wanted to push him in front of the incoming train, just for the fun of it!

So, take to the streets, Brits! Reclaim your glorious heritage! Invade France, you haven't done that for a long time! Have fun! In the words of that arch-goat, Oliver Cromwell, as applicable now as it was then "It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money; is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? is there one vice you do not possess? ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves become the greatest grievance. Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do; I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place; go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!

He may have been a warty goat but he could sure deliver a reprimand!