Bitch on the Blog

August 1, 2017

Through your nose

Filed under: Ethics,Money,Questions — bitchontheblog @ 08:01
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And now to another even less tangible matter.

I believe most of my readers, possibly all, to be more worldly wise than my innocent self. So please do answer me a question which has been pressing, on and off, for a while: How come you are made to pay for services you don’t use?

Let that question sink in before its magnitude hits your wallet.

For example, simple yet baffling: My broadband service and land line provider charges me for NOT using its TV services. The only reason I am still with them that they allow me, for a minimal fee, to phone round the world for “nothing”. As the blower is rarely further away than my reach, and friends and family largely abroad, it’s probably saved me thousands over the years. Still doesn’t answer why I have to pay for not watching TV. Before the curtain twitcher in my life tells you which company I am talking about: It’s … , as in “heaven”.

Then there is energy. My first brush with energy was low blood sugar. Not mine. Adults’. They’d pop a giant sugary something. Better than smelling salts for revival of spirit and enterprise. You bought it in an apothecary. Iris will fill you in. Let me save her the trouble: Traubenzucker.

Energy. The British are marvellous that way: You’ll get a good “deal” if you are a dual fuel (that’s gas and electricity) customer. If per chance. like my good self, you are condemned to use electricity only –  because that’s how your abode is wired – you may whistle. And pay top whack. No deals to be had. The good news being, as of this morning, that the increase will only be 12.5 % (for dual energy customers). Of course, and it is the type of false psychology/economy I tend to employ at all times, you may shrug off what amounts to “only” a few pounds. However, and anyone who goes shopping knows this: Just because each item you purchase is chicken feed in pennies doesn’t mean you won’t be presented (to use John speak) with a steaming pile of …. at the till.

Why are we made to pay more for NOT using something?

Thanking you in advance for an education,

U

 

 

 

 

 

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July 2, 2017

Limitations

Filed under: Communication,Ethics,Exasperation,Future,Observations — bitchontheblog @ 20:06
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I may have mentioned this before. If so please attribute it to occupying my brain in an increasingly unnerving manner.

It’s vexing. Any advice gladly received. What do you do when people get older? Do you actually argue a point, set them straight as to the facts or just leave be? Obviously the latter the easy option. But also … I don’t know … condescending? Yet, what’s the point to put a point when someone (by virtue of age) is more or less on the way out? What purpose does concrete information serve? I think the answer is: None. Yet when does the point in someone’s life come when it appears kinder to just nod?

I don’t like to use Americanisms yet a useful one here: I feel “conflicted”. If ever there was a shorthand for being between a rock and a hard place it’s downright “conflicted”.

To reiterate: Is it worth it to point out errors or, less challenging, just put a different point of view when that person can’t make future use of being informed as their time is almost upon them?

I don’t know. It’s painful.

U

June 18, 2017

Shades of white

I am no good at drawing. Which is rather surprising since I come from a long line of people who actually made their living painting.

My father who inherited that most remarkable talent – though never made anything of it because he was more interested in pursuing other interests, once helped me out. I was about twelve. Our art homework was to do a portrait of a pirate (water colours no less – the smudge’s devil of all inventions). We had a few days. The worse and the more dreaded the task the more it’ll spoil not only your life in the interim but you’ll put it off to the last minute (deadline by another name). (Un)fortunately my father passed my desk (Sunday afternoon) as I was putting the finishing touches to a half hearted attempt at conveying both the cliche and the menace of a pirate (Johnny Depp my creation wasn’t – it was before his time). So, in a moment of charitable (or was it) intent, my father chucked my effort into the nearest waste paper basket and conjured up the most magnificent pirate ever. Took him zero time – not that he meant to ram home that I most certainly had betrayed the creative family line (on both sides). Not at all. He was far more interested in taking all my essays and other writings apart – even if they rated A* by assorted teachers. You want to know what my father called my teachers? Don’t. Repeating it would be flying in the face of my genteel upbringing and the manners my mother instilled in me.

So Monday was grand. My art teacher’s face lit up. He studied my father’s effort in detail. He was chuffed. He smiled. At me. After an artfully executed theatrical pause  he said: “Do tell your father that, on account of fraud, I’ll only give him a two” (a one being top mark). After that I can’t remember anything. Other than that I was always tops in the theory of art and art history. Brush to canvas? Forget it. Why would I? Know thy limitations.

Not to sell myself short and as befits my temperament, I did and do passable caricatures (of people). That’s about it.

As Karma has a way of biting you unawares,  most nearest and dearest to me, friends and assorted family, are masters of their chosen art. Occasionally forced to remind them, ever so tactfully, we can’t all be artistes. Some of us have to be the appreciative audience. The ones who do the clapping, the stroking of ego, the catchers of tears, the slayers of tantrums, the ones who write the critiques, facilitate you, marketeer your stuff.  And, BUY IT.

Whatever you do, please do not talk to me about gallerists. It was Basel/Switzerland, ca. 1997, when I fell off my chair on learning that a gallerist (the marketeer and provider of large swathes of wall and the monied) will take a  cool 66 % off your sales for services rendered.

Titanium white greetings,

U

 

May 25, 2017

Spoilt for choice

There is a regular program on Radio Four (BBC, Sunday morning) called Desert Island Disks. Someone of relative public interest is invited to talk about their life and, intermittently, ten pieces of music of their choice are played.  They’ll then be asked to choose one of them to take with them – don’t say the BBC isn’t generous – before being shipped away and with little hope to return. You are given the Bible. You may choose one other book and one (in numbers 1) luxury item. No, not me. I am not a luxury item. I am cheap.

It’s amazing what people will choose as their luxury item. For heaven’s sake – who needs silk sheets in the middle of nowhere? Take a Swiss Army Pen Knife instead. What would I take? I don’t know. It’s not likely to be allowed within in the parameters of the programme but most likely a never ending supply of my favourite fruit/vegetable. Which is … What? Trying to come to a decision will take some time – a most welcome interval to delay the evil departure.

So, what about you? What’s your luxury item, food or otherwise, to take to the desert island? Please don’t say a harpoon. Life doesn’t work like that.

Tom Hanks greetings, and don’t forget to squirrel away some matches and don’t let them get wet during your voyage,

U

May 21, 2017

Aunts and Uncles

Filed under: Communication,Ethics,Friends,Observations,Psychology — bitchontheblog @ 02:00
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Having recently been given the accolade that I “cut through crap” by a higher authority than the crappers I am dealing with on and off,  I have now adopted this as my motto. Which is no doubt why I am terribly popular with, among others, certain bloggers (none of whom comment here – they cry into their own snot stained hankies).

Let’s leave the lame to swinging their walking sticks wildly. And turn to matters that actually make a difference rather than dealing with the somewhat limited. If the boot fits let’s hope their narrow mindedness and blinkered views will give them blisters.

Where was I?

Sweethearts, if I were an agony aunt there would most certainly be agony. I don’t know why I do it but do it I do. Which is reading other people’s woes in  most worthy publications. These “problems” leave me – by and large – speechless. Obviously some do merit thought and consideration. Others? Others just leave me gasping with incredulity. Yes, so if I were an agony aunt heads would be bashed together to knock sense into which clearly has left the common, and a fist or two banging on the table. Remember – I won first prize for cutting through the crap.

Whilst the above is true – if you believe that you believe anything.

Interval. Several hours later…

Leaving what I wrote earlier to prove like dough I have been reflecting on who we, or rather I, ask for advice. And why. If I feel in need of a mega bollocking no barrels held I can rely on LSF (longest standing friend). If there is one person in my life who doesn’t mince his words it’s him. Come to think of it most people in my life don’t mince their words but he is extra strength.

I sometimes ask the Angel for advice. Unfortunately, like his mother, he too is a cutter-through-crap. Coupled with a trait I peculiarly associate with the male of the species – namely, a certain amount of impatience and irritation at my follies. It doesn’t always make for pleasant hearing but at least I can rely on him telling me how he sees it. An often different and enlightening perspective. Yes, I like seeing things with fresh eyes.

What of the people you wouldn’t dream of going for advice to? In my experience they are the ones who tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. Useless. Then there are those who haven’t got a clue about anything. They flounder and you don’t want to add to their feeling incompetent.

What I have realized, and it’s rather interesting, that virtually all people I turn to for advice are men. I am now in danger of treading on very hot coals. Yet fact is – or at least my life’s fact is – that men seem to have a way of getting to the nub of a problem where women tend to meander. Which, and to conclude this post’s original argument, is why men would make efficient agony aunts.

U

April 24, 2017

And then some

To keep you from your more urgent tasks in hand here is another one of those questions on ethics which plague me. And if I have mentioned this before (not that you’ll remember)  please put it down to my willingness to repeat myself.

So there you are. At the fresh fish counter. It’s all glistening, enticing, a cook’s dream. However, enter the unfortunate shopper (that’s me) who is also well informed about decimating stocks of various species in the oceans. Great. Now what?

I am not proud of myself which is, most likely, why I seek your thoughts yet fact is, I think to myself: “That particular fish is already DEAD. Why should I let it go to waste?” Yes, I say to the fish monger, pointing to my bounty, that’ll be lovely. Thank you. Have I just proven the law of supply and demand? Sugar. Nevertheless, the fish was ALREADY dead. Someone has to eat it.

Of course, one could spin this idea to the less savoury. Think Moby Dick, indeed any prolonged adventure at sea when the Vasco da Gamas and Columbuses of this world set sail to discover new lands and spices. There you are at sea. Since you are all already on the brink of death why prolong the agony by not eating your past-his-live-by mate? And what if you were vegetarian or vegan at sea? Yet hungry? Would you toss your principles overboard to stay alive? Actually, come to think of it – and I am a connoisseur of seafaring factual and fictional accounts – why do those who do resort to eat their own always go for the weedy first instead of the meatiest? Such a waste.

U

PS Please do note that I posed TWO questions/dilemmas (for the price of one post). No need to keep it short. Just pour yourself on this page. I will gnaw on any bone you throw me.

February 12, 2017

Hell, water and drowning

Just when you think yourself as snug as a bug in a hug with, more or less, all questions of ethics and their answers under the belt one sneaks up on you.

Holy cannoli – the noose tightens.

This, drawn to my attention a few minutes ago, is so awful I am in knots.

For sake of argument you have to assume you have more than one child. You find yourself at the mercy of the elements and you can only save ONE of your children. Which one would you save? This is so awful I can barely get my head round it. Naturally, as one does, I cast my eye back to my family of origin. Who would either of my parents of four have saved? I dare say, being quite a bit older than my siblings and therefore stronger, both my mother and my father would have left me to fend for myself. But that still leaves them with three to choose from. I’d rather not pursue this line of thought. It’s unsettling beyond belief. At least that’s tonight’s nightmare guaranteed. Not that members of my family normally play much of a role in my dreams.

Any crutches of your own thoughts on this truly horrendous scenario welcome.

U

December 8, 2016

Weather

Filed under: Ethics,Exasperation,Fortune,Roadkill,The Reaper,Vicious — bitchontheblog @ 14:40
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There is a blogger. Let’s rephrase that. There is someone, somewhere, who blogs.

He has surpassed himself. It’s not even him being selfish. It’s him being thoughtless. Inconsiderate.

Yes, so come early December – and now he has got his “overcoat” out – he laments that December’s temperature, so far, is way above “cold”. One may say “warm”. He wants “cold”. God damnit, and if he wants cold he wants cold. Till March. May Bambi’s April showers piss on him.

Why do I even note this? Insert derisory snort. Because people like him with his beer and his whisky on tap don’t give a monkey’s thought to all those homeless, sleeping in doorways, ignored by passers-by, kicked by drunkards around midnight, who might, just might, be truly grateful that December isn’t as cold as Mr Blogger and his overcoat wish it to be. Those who can’t afford to heat the place if indeed they have a roof over their heads. Those who don’t eat because maybe it’s better to starve than to freeze. Those who don’t have a winter coat.

Plumbers are hard to come by on Christmas Eve. May Mr Blogger’s overcoat stand him in good stead. And be moth eaten next December.

Disgusted yours,

U

November 18, 2016

Tripped up

Filed under: Errors,Ethics,Exasperation — bitchontheblog @ 18:22
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Looney, his sceptiscm and the law of probability notwithstanding – November is unfolding as I hoped it wouldn’t. Normally I rate reliability highly. Not when it comes to November. I had such high hopes for a nice surprise. November being out of character – just for once.

Yes, so lost my grip. Not metaphorically – though it can only be a matter of time before even I hang up my coat of tattered nerves; but literally. I literally lost my grip.

At times like this one wishes one lived in the “United” States of America and their sue you for damages culture.

It’s ok. I am sure I’ll mend. What I find distasteful, and always will, how people so easily go on the DEFENSIVE. Where my fall occurred it was the premises’ owner’s utter negligence. When I first reported this to his shop it was mainly to prevent the same occurring to someone else. I don’t chime in with my father’s take on humankind, namely that x % are pretty stupid. However, I will concede that some people’s reasoning will leave a lot to be desired.

Never mind. Upshot being that, in my estimate, the hassle of getting recompense for pain and loss of earnings isn’t worth the battle. Rarely do I carry utter disdain in my heart – I offered the guy a jokey and amicable “settlement”. No doing. How very short sighted of him. And I am not the vengeful kind.

U

November 10, 2016

Don’t fence me in

Once upon a time I was a homeowner with all the responsibility that entails. Not least, in Britain, to respect the boundaries your neighbours will impose. Though not British, when in Britain, I will do (within reason) as the British do – or, at least, try not to ridicule what’s bred in their bone. And as much as the Brits’ homes are their castles (complete with a mortgage that even a drawbridge groans under) as much they do like borders.

Yes, borders. As in walls, fences. One of my more far fetched theories that the reason the British prefer dogs to cats that cats do not respect fences. If they want to climb up and jump over one they jolly well will.

So back to Trump and neighbourly etiquette. If my neighbour wants to put a fence or a hedge or whatever else round his patch of immaculate lawn thus blocking his view that’s fine. What’s not fine, indeed unacceptable, is to ask me to pay for it. That’s Trump’s plan on Mexico. The guy has no manners.

Before I take this post into a direction even I find beyond satire I’ll leave you to do your own fencing.

U

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