Bitch on the Blog

April 16, 2014

Authenticity

Filed under: Atmosphere — bitchontheblog @ 17:58
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There is discussion on the use of child models and the authenticity conveyed by the consequent photographs used. I have no stand on this. Particularly as I was once one of those ‘stand-ins”. When I was under ten. At at time when people were less squeamish.

Exhibit number one, possibly the one that will shock some people: My father, at the time an investigate journalist, and his prize winning photographer colleague needed a photo to go with an article on how television frightens children. My father asked me to join them at the table – as if for a friendly chat. Out of nowhere he blew cigarette smoke into my face. Naturally, such was my surprise, I did all the photo needed: Eyes wide open with shock, my little hands raised to my mouth in horror. Perfect. And no, we didn’t have a TV.

Another one (remember this is under cover photography): Children in traffic. I was told to weave in and out of traffic jams. A story about children and traffic. Terrified me. Not least because my parents had actually taught me to always look left and right before crossing a road. Still. Needs must.

What else? Yes, there was one on children abused by pedophiles. So my father took his eight year old daughter by her hand. I was asked to call him ‘uncle’. As we crossed many a road in the city he asked several police men and pedestrians for directions. To test whether they’d questions him over his legitimacy to me. Not that I told him, but that was probably not his finest hour of reportage: Of course no one questioned him. For heaven’s sake we look far too similar. Like father and daughter. As young as I was I knew that no one think me in danger. A few years later the milkman mistook my father as my older brother. I rest my case.

There are other examples. One which I still blush and squirm at. I have never been particularly shy. But  one assignment – out there in the public – did test my mettle. Still, they got the photos they wanted. No, nothing sexual. Charity. Red Cross.

What were we talking about: Authenticity. I’d rather be told that the child in an advert is a model than the real thing. Not that that makes the “real thing” any better.

U

Sperm count

Filed under: Ethics,Amusement — bitchontheblog @ 06:03
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Sweethearts, you can’t beat this for entertainment value:

Made today’s headlines: Iran to ban vasectomies. Aiming to double the country’s population.

I am fond of children, indeed any people. Very. However, leaving all politics aside, who does actually carry the baby? To shine a light on the dubious: Women (mothers) are NOT a production line to supply cannon fodder. Back in the dark days (World War Two) there was a saying: “Frauen macht die Beine breit, der Fuehrer braucht Soldaten”, loosely and crudely translated as “Women, open your legs, Hitler needs soldiers”. Which reminds me, and as an aside: Apparently, when there is war looming on the horizon more boys are born than girls. Yes, I know it sounds like folklore but there is a correlation. I am not going to go into the biological detail of boy/girl sperm race to the egg’s finishing line (remember it’s Easter).

Come to think of it, here is an egg for militant feminists: A woman’s egg’s X sitting there patiently, waiting for the troops to advance, it’s the man’s “input” which will determine gender of the as yet to be conceived. So much for equality. And choice. And before any of you come up with old wives’ tales about the acidity level of the recepticle I know I know.  Just to make you even more miserable: The more manly a man the more daughters he will have. Yes, really. Little consolation for my (very manly) father who had three daughters and one son.

Going back to cannon fodder and the theory that the more war there is in the offing the more boys will be born: My parents have twelve grandchildren. Ten boys, two girls. WW III on the horizon, no doubt. Mind you, how my nieces are supposed to keep up the supply I do not know.

U

April 14, 2014

Taking the biscuit and crumbling it

Filed under: Errors,Ethics — bitchontheblog @ 11:36
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I have heard it all now, and I am laughing in the face of such blatant stupidity.

Live transcript. Nel, the proscecutor to OP: You never said: “I’m armed, I’m going to shoot.” Pistorius says he did not want to warn whoever was in the toilet. “They might react more violently,” says Pistorius.

How the fuck can someone react more violently than Pistorious subsequently did? Is the guy mentally stunted or just fighting for his life?

This morning I wrote a comment to a blogger and NYC writer I highly respect though do not often agree with her views. I only say New York City because – although of Canadian extraction – she does emphasize that she lives and works in NY. She wrote on the OP case and her dismay how it’s covered (by journalists). And asks at the end of her piece whether her readers have been following and, if so, what our opinion is. My reply – and I tried to keep it short:

 

“I am following the trial. It’s getting a little tedious. My credentials as to South Africa: An uncle, one of my mother’s brothers, lived in Pretoria for most of his adult life. He is dead now. Natural causes.

If I shot through the door every time someone is in the bathroom, waking me in the middle of the night, my son wouldn’t have any friends left, neither would he still be alive. I have never heard so much bullshit in my life. And I have been in hairy situations. Not boasting. Just a fact. Nothing but nothing OP says rings true.

First reflex in anyone is to run away. Put distance between you and the perceived threat. Correction: First reflex is to alert those dear and close to you to any potential danger and make them run. As fast as possible.

As to locking the bathroom door in the middle of the night, well – of course you do. It’s a reflex. Something you do automatically. Like driving from A to B on autopilot.

They had a row. She may have told him it’s the end of the line as to their relationship. He lost it. I don’t know the statistics but most murders are of the domestic kind.

That he pukes and sniffles in court – well, if I were him I too would throw up at the thought of having thrown my life away. Six by eight ft cells are not what I’d wish on anyone.

I like to put myself into other people’s shoes (if only to understand what motivates someone). So I try and imagine what I’d do if my son (he is a bit younger than OP) had done something indefensible. Truth is: I’d fight for him and his freedom. Tooth and nail. I’d bend the truth till it were unrecognizable. I’d shine sun where there isn’t any. But that wouldn’t make the crime go away. The guilt. The truth. And, even if freed, there is no escape from the Alcatraz of your conscience. U”

So what do you think? Sounds like the beginning of a chain letter.

U

 

 

 

 

 

April 13, 2014

Running deep

Filed under: Atmosphere — bitchontheblog @ 08:53
Tags: , , , , ,

I imagine jealousy to be a rather trying emotion. Luckily I am not the jealous type. By which I don’t mean sexual fidelity, just generally. For which I am grateful because, from what I have observed in others, it is a truly ugly self  and others destroying emotion. However, and as an aside: If you are jealous don’t beat yourself up over it. It happens. Cry on my shoulder. Won’t make it go away. Yet sometimes a pain shared magnifies it. Making it combust.

What I don’t like is the big R. REGRET. Whenever I regret something I don’t know what to do with myself. First of all I feel bashful. A bit like Bambi when he meets Feline. Blushing. It’s what I call my Basil Fawlty moment. The one where he bashes his Mini with some twigs. I’d rather be Manuel: “Que?”. He is from Barcelona.

The thing about regret is that you can’t turn the clock back. I’d love to be a screen play writer. You write and rewrite till the plot fits the initial idea.

Yes, regret. You can recycle it. But you can’t make it go away. Sometimes from the recesses of my vastly overworked little grey cells I retrieve a memory. To make me shrink. I can’t believe I said that.

And I can’t. One of the worst was when my dear sweet English mother-in-law died. I sat with her for an hour. On my own. A dead body, changing pallour. Such tricks does the mind play I was convinced she was still alive. Flicker of an eyelid. As much as I am able to delude myself she was definitely dead.  Yes, so one of the worst things I ever said was on the eve of her funeral. I am not English so wasn’t aware of need of hat to wear at someone’s funeral. Last minute foray into center of town, York/Yorkshire, to find me a hat. Her bereaved son and husband of mine rather impatient at the mission. I hissed at him, and this many years ago and still makes me want the earth to swallow me up: “Just because your mother has died doesn’t mean I need to look hideous.” You can’t beat it, can you? Just because your mother has died doesn’t mean I need to look hideous. Savour that for value.

Anyway, one minute before closing time (six in the afternoon) I found a truly snazzy number. That night my sister-in-law and I did the flowers for her mother in a little country church – and, yes, a vampire bat flew along the ceiling just to complete the picture and its atmosphere. And the next morning that little veil attached to my hat hid my grief stricken eyes at the dying of a wonderful woman. Whilst not looking hideous.

U

April 11, 2014

Phobic

Filed under: Ethics — bitchontheblog @ 09:31
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Nothing to do with one of the recent subjects raised: When does being honest and upfront amount to being stupid?

This is a serious question. Asked off me by an official. I am rarely stumped for answers. But had to concede that yes, NOT committing fraud – when it would have been so easy and indeed expedient – verges on, well, being a little too virtuous for my own good.

Which reminds me, apropos of nothing: I once found myself, in a state of panic because I’d discovered absence of my wallet, walking out of the shop, purchases in hand (I rarely use a shopping basket because hands can only hold so much – a way of sticking to your budget). So I traced my steps back a dark alley, wondering why on earth I am a such a scatterbrain, only to find myself back home with purchases as yet unpaid for. By which time I had lost the will to go back all the way. Next morning – having found my wallet in a most unlikely place – I did nip back to the shop, “confessed” my confusion – and paid up for the previous night. It’s interesting watching people when you are “honest” when there clearly was no need for it. Nobody had noticed. Nobody was bothered. And anyway they know me. Yes, so I did feel a little foolish for confessing my mistake. The women in that place are a middle aged feisty lot. Streetwise. In the best, and most admirable, sense of the word. I don’t know whether I soared or plummeted in their esteem of me. Doesn’t matter. Main thing I can sleep at night. A guilty conscience will keep you awake.

A friend of mine used to dream about committing the ‘perfect crime’. He was/is obsessed with money – so for him it was robbing a bank without getting caught and, of course, without killing anyone. I thought him quite mad. Not least because, logically, you won’t know whether you will be able to pull it off. Till after the event. Some people have a fear of open spaces. I have a fear of prison. If I want to scare myself in absence of any other scare I imagine myself in a six by eight ft cell. No freedom. My idea of hell.  Probably kill me. Not by rope. By spirit being crushed. On the other hand: With a spoon and years of incarceration ahead of you you have all the time in the world to scrape your way out of it. Was it Alcatraz? With Steve McQueen? Forgotten now.

That’s why I perfer making one’s own prison. You may not know how to shake off the shackles but it’ll come to you. Eventually.

U

April 10, 2014

Done

Filed under: Amusement,Future — bitchontheblog @ 17:45

As concepts go ‘time’ has it down to a fine second.

When you wait you wait. Ad infinitum.

When you are late you barely get your much needed foot out of the door.

And when you have a nightmare the night drags on.

Time has become a concept lost on me. I will wake in the morning – or the middle of the night – with a start. What day is it? Get your priorities right before even glancing at the clock. Dear sweet dog in heaven. Good job my blood pressure is very low. Even when pressed. Doesn’t stop my heart from pounding.

I am in awe of my heart. The motor. So far it hasn’t given up. Though wouldn’t blame it. There is only so much patience one can muster. I assume that my heart’s reasoning and why it keeps pumping away because it knows if I die it [my heart] will too. Talk about an incentive to keep going.

U

Don’t cave me in

Filed under: Animals — bitchontheblog @ 17:10
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By way of diversion which is one of my favourite routes down the road to nowhere: Animals.

I like animals. Not in that NYC way of handbag dogs. Give me a cow. If and when push comes to shove I’ll make do with a goldfish. Or a few snails. Snails don’t leave you in any doubt as to when they have had it with you. They’ll just retreat into their shell. And stay there. The perfect symbol for people given to sulking.

My favourite animal, apart from the German Shepherd who looked after me when I was little, and in a domestic setting is definitely the Tiger on the Lawn. Cat by another name. I like a cat’s independence. The independent don’t get on your nerves. You give each other space. You see each other when you see each other and in between you do your own thing. Which, no doubt, is why I am a little sceptical of marriage. Or pimping. Joined at the hip? Thanks, but no thanks.

One does wonder at times how people come to choose a “pet”. Obviously, when in a prison cell, you don’t have much of a choice. I dare say even I would bond with a spider passing through or a rat visiting. One has too many legs, the other a naked tail. Still. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Hedgehogs have some sort of affinity with snails. They too make sure you can’t touch them. By rolling up into a prickly ball. Preferably not showing their soft underbelly.

Fish. I don’t like cold fish. Metaphorically speaking. Brings me to my knees – emotionally.

Birds soar. Unless they are caged in your living room.

Bears. Yes. Bears. Sigh. In an enclosure. Before I burst into tears at the very thought I’ll give you a bear hug, without crushing you,

Ursula

 

 

April 9, 2014

Great train robbery

Filed under: Errors,Ethics — bitchontheblog @ 15:49

John, a man with a heart of gold, has surprised me. He related on his blog how he shopped a shop lifter. He got loads of replies, mainly of the self righteous, with only myself and a couple of other commentators questioning his action.

That post and comments on the issue has stuck in my mind. I do not condone stealing. Not at all. However, there is stealing and there is stealing. If someone hit an old lady over the head and made off with her hand bag I’d be the first to run after him. If, and when, I observe someone slipping a tin of sardines into their bag what’s it to me? Nothing. May they get away with it. To steal at that level smells of despair. Down and out. If I see someone letting their child devouring a bunch of grapes or a banana whilst doing the rest of their shopping I smile (inwardly). It’s not what I would do (mainly because I prefer to wash my grapes first) but what harm does it do?

Let’s remind ourselves, and maybe that is why John’s piece left such a bad taste in my mouth, that there are, I believe, countries in this world who will chop off your hand if you so much as “steal” a loaf of bread. That’s right. Fit the punishment to the crime.

Let’s put it this way: Kindness first, justice second. And sometimes there is justice in kindness.

U

PS I am aware that this a hugely controversial subject. Rest assured that any of you who do not agree with me will not be stoned

Parts

Filed under: Architecture,Atmosphere — bitchontheblog @ 09:42
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Unlike Martin Luther King I don’t so much “have A dream” as many. One of them it being easier to reach the upper half of my back. And I say this as someone who is supple. And whose shoulder joints are not rusty.

The back. If  it were a toy we’d all see the design fault. It’s an easy chat up line when down at the beach and, no doubt, one of the reasons people get married: “Can you rub some sun lotion onto my back?” One of these days I will invent a contraption that makes access to your back easy – without getting married. Or asking a total stranger.

Still, it could be worse. Imagine you weren’t able to reach your hands, manicure your fingernails. It’d be awful. Don’t say I don’t put things into perspective.

Yes, the body is a wonderous thing. And that’s before you consider the mystery workings of your innards. I don’t know how many showers I have had in my life, washed my hair. Yet sometimes, particularly in the last few years – maybe ennui/inertia creeping in, I fantasize about being able to take certain body parts off, not least my overly long hair, and chuck them into the washing machine. Press start. 55 minute programme on ‘delicate’. Dry and iron. Put back where it belongs. Come to think of it this would make a marvellous story and/or film – guaranteed to give your children nightmares: Your skin being laundered. During the wash walking around like one of those ghastly stripped depictions you got in old school books (biology) or pickled/mummified at the Josephinum (Wien, Austria). And then, of course, there was what’s his name? Dr Hagen … something. Caused a sensation in Germany and round Europe with his real life dead bodies.

No, I haven’t gone mad. Which reminds me: One part of my body I do leave well alone. My brain. May it grow cobwebs. I am not prepared to run the risk of letting it shrink or go pink in the wash. Particularly as I never bank on the washing machine’s door opening at the end of its cycle. A recurring nightmare of mine. Which nearly came true the other day.

U

April 8, 2014

Don’t speak with your mouth full

Filed under: Culture — bitchontheblog @ 10:42
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Whilst I do notice someone’s manners I am not particularly hung about them even if they are bad. What is a starched napkin to some is a liberally employed toothpick to others. Doesn’t make you a less interesting person. Just reflects on your parents. Think about it.

Whilst you are thinking about it I’ll continue. My son can’t decide whether it’s annoying or amusing when I remind him – a minute before he goes visit his father – to not do this, do that, mind the gap and all that. I only do this because I know his father. His father is a stickler for the impeccable. And since he left all parenting (by mutual consent) to me naturally anything the Angel does or doesn’t do “correctly” reflects on me. As an aside: One might ask (and the Angel has) why I give a toss about what FOS thinks.

Yes, manners. Manners – and it doesn’t matter whether you behead your boiled egg or tap and peel it – are a prime example of true socialization. People harp on about nature vs nurture. Believe me: Manners are nurture and nurture only. My father is a great man yet his constant monitoring how to hold my knife et al  did spoil my appetite a few times in the early days of our acquaintance. To this day I can’t eat when there is tension at the table. A more benign form of having your stomach stapled.

However, such is nurture that even when eating in the sole company of my lovely self I will observe manners.

Where I come from there is a saying, and I don’t know whether it’s entirely true but there is a grain in it: “What little Hans doesn’t learn, grown up Hans never will”. Be that as it may. I was pretty relaxed with the Angel. I am a great believer in learning by osmosis.

U

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