Acknowledgement, Commentary, Free Speech, Irony

Things I’m no good at Part 11 – The understatement…

You Carl? No good at the understatement? We would never have suspected it!

I know! I have absolutely no idea why someone would accuse me of that! I prefer it be called ‘Poetic Licence’ – I am a best-selling author after all…

Hmmmm, Best-selling author? Isn’t that a bit of an over-statement?

Absolutely not! Poetic licence as I previously stated…

Ok, you do realise that some people may call it exaggeration at best and downright lying at worst…

I tend not to associate with those type of small-minded people…

Dear god. Is this why you talk to yourself online? Because you have no friends?

Of course not. I have absolutely MILLIONS of friends… And readers…

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Commentary, Conversation, Free Speech, General Humor, Philosophy

Why ‘why?’ is really ‘what?’

Where’s the tin-opener?

In the drawer. Why?

I need to open a tin!

Why?

Because I need the food inside!

Why?

To stay alive!

Why do you need to stay alive?

It’s a biological imperative!

Why is it a biological imperative?

Because I need to stay alive to procreate!

Why do you need to procreate?

It’s a biological imperative! It’s the purpose of life!

So the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is a tin-opener?

YES!

What?

(Bloody stupid question…)

Behaviour, Commentary, Education, Free Speech, Ideas

Petty vandalism of the soul…

Walking to the local shop this morning (to buy eggs, bread and tobacco since you ask), I saw a very nice car with a bent aerial. Obviously perpetrated by someone pissed up (that’s drunk for american readers) on their way home.

The streets of London are full of these petty acts of vandalism on a Sunday morning.and no doubt ruin any good feelings someone may have on what may be their only day of rest.

Of course these little (and sometimes large) ‘things that annoy us’ can happen at any time but the end result is the same – we get angry, frustrated, sad and upset and little bits of our soul are chipped away. Then our own tolerance and respect for others reduces and we pass on these negative feelings – the owner kicks the dog who bites the cat who eats the mouse…

This constant erosion of the bed-rock of our being can have drastic results. We’re all familiar with the saying ‘The straw that broke the camel’s back’.

Everyone has their breaking point (except maybe the Dalai Lama?) and the actions taken by some far outweigh the minor annoyance/s that finally causes it – murder, violence, mayhem etc.

It’s the power of the cumulative effect of all these ‘small’ things that the perpertrators don’t take into account – my upstairs neighbours struggle to understand why I get so upset when they play loud music in the early hours of the morning.

Now, once, twice even three times a month I could live with. But, it’s usually that number each and every week! But they don’t get it. In their minds they think it’s ‘alright’ and their ‘right’ to get drunk, stoned and shout and dance around at three in morning even though it’s in their kitchen with wooden floors directly above our bedroom.

I’m just giving this as an example because they don’t appreciate the consequences of their actions. I can’t wait to see the expression on their faces when I cut down their front door with a chainsaw and blow up their stereo with a twelve bore…

Is it too much to ask that everyone tries to act with some consideration for others? The net result could be awesome. Think of the lowering of domestic violence, cheaper insurance and the health results gained from lower blood pressure just for starters.

I’m not a religious guy, (or a saint myself), just someone who doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life in jail forΒ  for murder…

Commentary, Conversation, Free Speech, General Humour, Language, Meanings of words

Is it in yet?

Is it in yet?

Of course the four worst words any man wants to hear. πŸ˜‰

Got me thinking though. (I hasten to mention, that was NOT said to me!)

In these days when tweets and texts are perhaps the primary method of communication (after speech) and we have to limit the amount of words/characters we use – what are the best/worst things we can hear or read that contain the fewest words?

Here’s a few of my suggestions…

You have 1/3/6 months to live

I love you

It’s not you, it’s me

That item is out of stock

You’ve got the job!

It’s a boy/girl!

It’s twins/triplets/sextuplets

I forgot your passport!

Happy Birthday!

We don’t have that size/color

We’re getting a puppy

I’m sorry about this but…

I’m pregnant

Bend over

We need to talk

I’m sorry

It’s too late

We’re out of toilet paper

Last orders please!

Wow. Isn’t it interesting how such few words can produce so much amount and variety of emotion? And how the very same words can be either positive or negative?

Generally you would imagine that the words ‘I love you’ would be great to hear, especially the first time. But for some people it can be the death knell for a relationship if they’re not ready or have a fear of commitment.

‘It’s a boy/girl’ can have tremendous import if you live in a country that allows/practices gendercide because of skewed economics or population problems. Many parents would cry tears not of joy but despair or anguish if the ‘wrong’ sex meant having to terminate the pregnancy or secretly dispose of the baby.

Some words can only mean bad news. I suspect almost no-one will take the instruction to ‘Bend over’ in a doctor’s office as an indication that something good is about to happen. There’s always exceptions to the rule though…

‘Happy Birthday’ will be words that will be great to hear for new 16/18/21 year olds as they are important milestones that open up whole new worlds of possibilities depending on where you live. At last you can go to a pub/bar/club or buy beer on your own! (Bit sad really but I think it’s true that it’s the primary thought in many young people’s heads)

Once you hit 30 though it’s a different story. To the point that you start dividing or deducting years in order to avoid hitting the big ‘tens’. ‘I’m NOT nearly 40, I’m 39 and a half!’ – me personally, I’m 47 and a quarter…

I’d love to hear your comments/opinions. What’s the best/worst thing you ever heard in the fewest words?

Commentary, Free Speech, General Humour, Heaven, Ideas, Philosophy, Religion

What would you dream about in heaven?

This piece won’t require you to believe in heaven/nirvana/paradise/Valhalla or whatever your concept of an ‘afterlife’ may be (if you have one), merely to consider the concept.

A common thread in many religions is that ‘Heaven’ is a place where you will be free of worry and earthly concerns. No need will be left unmet and you will be fully satisfied and able to spend all your time ‘rejoicing’. (A lot make the promise of some kind of elixir or ‘wonder drink’ that you can sup – not K Cider presumably?)

I’ve done a bit of research online and apparently we spend on average 2 hours 15 minutes a day worrying. (Health, bills, job,children etc). So what we would do with that extra time?

I’m going to make an assumption and say that many people complain or feel that they don’t get enough sleep and therefore would use the extra time gained by not having to worry to have an extra 40 winks. We dream while we sleep so what would we dream about if we are totally happy and fulfilled when awake? Certainly not growing a prize turnip or winning the Grand Slam (Is Serena Williams in heaven today I wonder?)

You are surrounded by your friends, family and loved ones in Heaven. – Really? For Eternity? – Good grief. Don’t get me wrong, I like and and love them but eternity (I’ve been led to believe) is a bloody long time!

‘Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.’ – Mark Twain

No-one lives the perfect life and we often make the wrong choices or do the wrong things and are therefore ‘punished’ for the consequences. But surely these adversities are what make us appreciate the good times and an existence without some trials and tribulations would become very tedious…

I could go on all day about this subject and never exhaust it but I must admit, ironically these questions do keep me awake at night sometimes.

Anyone got any thoughts on the subject or do you need to sleep on it? πŸ˜‰

Commentary, Conversation, Free Speech, General Humour, Modern Life, Philosophy

Should you get what you want?

I hear a resounding ‘YES!’, ‘Of COURSE I should!’ across the blogosphere. ‘What a stupid question!?!’

But is it? If you had everything you want would you be happy? What would you strive for for? Why bother getting out of bed in the morning?

This post will probably be a little disjointed as new questions and thoughts keep popping into my head just trying to answer my own question.

Many people want to win the lottery but google ‘lottery winners who blew it all’ and whistle at the results – it varies from country to country but many of the stories end with a home-made noose and/or people living in misery on state benefits.

When at school studying economics I was taught about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

800px-Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs.svg

This is a model of what human beings purportedly need in order to have a happy, fulfilling life within a community.

Please note the absence of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, fast cars, Louboutins, chocolate, swimmings pools, S&M pornography etc etc.

So why aren’t we happy with just the basics? Why are we always looking for more and better and often disgruntled when we don’t get them?

Could it be that human beings are just basically greedy, jealous bastards that nothing is ever good enough for and never will be?

Or is it that we are pleasure driven and crave the good feelings that things outside of the needs model don’t provide?

Toughie isn’t it. I have been homeless in the past and am grateful that I now have a secure roof over my head, my own bed to sleep in and food in the cupboard. The NHS looks after my health needs (which are many), I’m in a stable relationship and the internet, reading & writing, music etc fulfill many of the top level of needs.

There are still gaps in my own hierachy of needs but hopefully time will help plug them (as well as increased blog readership – nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

According to Lennon-McCartney “All you need is love” but according to Maslow going for a good s**t rates as much more important πŸ˜‰

So I WANT to hear what you think! Is there anyone out there that is truly happy with what they’ve got or do you all want more, more, MORE…

Angst, Commentary, Free Speech, General Humour, Modern Life

The twisty thing on bread…

Modern packaging – does it make our lives easier or is the tools of the devil?

The inspiration for this piece came about when I tried to undo the plastic tag on a new loaf of bread. You know, the bit that has the best before date stamped on it and you are supposed to be able to restick after extracting whatever number of pieces you require. I call it the twisty thing because I always hold the top of the bag and spin it around in order to prevent exposure to the air and premature mould. Could I “unstick” it and reseal? Could I buggery. Had to resort to a pair of scissors to get the bloody thing open. Could I find the scissors easily? Again, could I buggery. Therefore the simple act of making some toast for breakfast raised my stress levels by about a zillion percent.

So I’m going to give you my top ten list of modern packaging design peeves and I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions too. It’s not an exhaustive list nor in order of most hated.

1) Ring pull cans. How many times have you “popped” a can only to find yourself the proud owner of a too-small ring for marriage asking purposes and a still sealed drink? Then you have to attempt to and push the top in with your thumb then try and find the plasters or bash it with something sharp yet pointy (screwdriver?) and end up wearing your drink – refreshing.

2) Resealable bags E.g. Cheese – yeah, right. Inevitably ends in putting the product (bag n’ all) in an old carrier bag and doing the twisty, spinny thing (again)

3) Corned beef tins. Two peeves here. Firstly, the key. It CAN work, on occasion, but more often than not the strip of metal it’s supposed to wind up (Ironically it can wind me up no problem) decides to go its own way. Secondly, the tin once opened it incredibly sharp. I have ended up in A&E with a minor artery severed in my thumb. For stats on admissions to hospital resulting from corned beef related injuries check out this article – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1421698/60000-are-injured-by-opening-packaging.html

4) Washing machine and printer transportation packaging. Have you ever unpacked and installed a printer or washing machine (following the instructions of course) only to be greeted by an unhealthy grinding noise the first time you attempt to use it because you somehow missed one securing bolt or piece of polystyrene?

5) Polystyrene “peanuts” – don’t really require any comment?

6) The plastic seal on ketchup bottles (underneath the lid) – who remembers to remove this before first use? Not me.

7) The plastic wrapper on CDs/DVDs – can result in expensive dentist bills and/or shattered disc after stamping on it.

8) Toilet roll – doesn’t qualify as packaging but deserves a mention because of the angst caused when a roll doesn’t “start” properly resulting in uneven sheets and a roll of approximately 1 cm width left on the tube that even Sheryl Crow couldn’t use. See this article http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2007/apr/23/musicnews.music for clarification…

9) Plastic Milk Bottles – after eventually managing to unscrew the too-tight cap you are yet again greeted by another sealing film that is impossible to peel off – now where did I put that trusty screwdriver?

10) The “cutter” on cling-film boxes. Really? I’m sure the intention behind this was good but talk about poorly executed (even writing about it is raising my blood pressure).

I hope you enjoyed this piece and if any of you are inspired to invent solutions that will one day end up on Dragons Den… I want a cut!