So Many Tits And Bums

photo 1They all look the same, yet they are all so different. They come and go, though they really just want to come. They flock in their droves to this place, one place, the only place that matters, filled with clones, and they are just another drop in an ocean that is majestic and never ending. They try hard to be unique, but their individuality is hidden behind a look that says “come play with me’. They are all the same age, give or take a year, but they are mature and immature on so many other levels. They are a hidden gem, an oversight, never an aberration and they are all lonely. They, are the ladies who frequent the history laden streets of Charleston SC, they are the class of 2015, 16 and onwards. They are all stunning, and they are there to learn, to tease, to play and always to be looked at. They seem confused, but they know exactly what they are doing. Frequenting late night libation stops, in gangs, waiting, pondering, flirtatious, nubiles all of them, just wanting a partner, just wanting attention and finally, just getting what they deserve, nothing.  

You see these young ladies are in the majority. They have signed up for four long years at a college where they outnumber the opposite sex by at least three to one. No one knows why this has happened in this particular part of the US, but it’s certainly obvious from the brief time I spent walking the streets of Charleston, and working in the college gym with some of the resident students, that this statistic is an absolute fact and a fact that the male students who are fortunate to come to study in these very same walls, are extremely grateful for. The thing though that I failed to understand and that’s evident from the pictures I’ve posted, is the similarity in the way all the women dressed. It seemed to be short shorts, nicely tailored around well fashioned rear ends, leaving not too much to the wandering imagination of this writer, and very skimpy, almost see through tank tops, worn with braless intentions, just enough to tease and flatter without looking overly pornographic!  All very nice and ‘candy-store’ like, if you’re single and ready to date or single and just want to shag! Every day is a sunny day in Charleston if you’re a hot blooded male, with age never raising any kind of boundary.

The sexual revolution has long past. This was sex, pure sex, displayed without the usual government waring signs that normally appear on our TV screens before such flagrant displays of naked flesh. This was enthralling, certainly from the point of view that these young ladies bore little shame is their flamboyant willingness to explore their sexuality in the face of every tourist and every dirty old man who decided to look their way. This was an experience on an unprecedented magnitude, watching live, Playboy’s finest, cruising up an down streets where Anthony Ashley Cooper, William Moultrie, MLK and many others from our historical past, walked, often in desperation, often in hope, but never with eyes wide open looking at too many tits and bums. They would probably roll in their graves if they could witness this scene in 2014, or perhaps they would just do what I did, sit back, enjoy the view and then put pen to paper and write in their diaries that today, of all days, had been an extremely pleasant one and one that will be repeated every day into the future until fashion changes or these young ladies discover some modesty.

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Cigar That Cost A Bullet

downloadWhat price a cigar? It seems the cost is just unimaginable. No matter who is wrong and who is right, how can it be possible that a young man gets gunned down in cold blood over a simple theft, if indeed he did steal the items in question?

How can this death lead to so much gratuitous violence and why can’t people just get on?

When I grew up in Scotland we never had situations that resembled those taking place in Ferguson. Well, maybe we did, but I was never made aware of them and the media was certainly a silent partner in reporting them if they happened. We had no guns, the police had no guns and the only racial tension could be found on Saturday afternoons at football matches where Protestants and Catholics could be found singing their way into a frenzy of hatred and dislike. It rarely spilled over onto the streets, and when it did, it was over in an hour and that was the end of the matter.

I am blown away by the ferocity of the hatred and the angst that is to be found in Ferguson and no matter who is wrong and who is right, a mistake was made, a life was taken, and now it should be the responsibility of those who began these unfortunate events to sort it out and return this town to the peace and calm its residents deserve. To continue with more senseless violence and looting is just fueling the fire of those who live for this unrest. Yes, there are professional inciters, they can be seen all over this country when the ‘race’ card is played in any of the 50 States that make up our country, and it’s shameful that this small minority can be given so much power to disrupt the lives of those who just want to live peacefully. The time has come to stop all this nonsense. It matters not if the death is white or black, yellow or brown. A death is a death. Guns kill people. People are all human beings. Guns do not discriminate. Yes, I was never a party to the human rights and race violations that plagued the United States in the past, but I am the future as much as any of you are. Stop all this violence. Sit down, take heed and reflect on another life lost to a bullet. It’s just not worth the trouble to make everyone’s life miserable when that misery affects all the goodwill built up over decades. I sympathize greatly with those who are suffering, those who have lost and those who feel neglected. I have no time however for those who steal, those who incite and those who choose to ignore the calls for peace.

Fascinating New York

IMG_0724What is it about NY that makes it so fascinating? Is it the unashamed directness of the populous that inhabit Manhattan? “Excuse me” says the man who has just begun his walk down 5th Ave, “Can you tell me the way to the Statue of Liberty, or should I just go fuck myself?” Is it the food? Every second store front is selling some kind of sustenance that is either regarded as ‘the best on the planet” or “world famous”! How many secret recipes can there be? According to my simple math after walking down 8th Ave this week, probably tens of thousands, and each one claiming to be better than the other. Is it the tourist attractions? New Yorkers can be found dressing up as Elmo or Mickey Mouse in Times Sq and threatening every 5 year old boy and girl that walks past them and doesn’t tip after requesting a picture? Is it the constant heat and humidity at this time of year, made all the worse by the uneven overly populated concrete sidewalks that carry more smelly human beings than any European sauna?   Or is it just the continual putrid smell of urine wafting through endless tunnels where a never ending and confusing stream of sweaty locals are transported daily from one end of the island to another?

I think it could be all of the above, but frankly speaking, and after many visits to the city over the past thirty years, I am at a loss why anyone finds New York attractive.

I’ve written about this before, and I’ve received countless responses from some who chastise me and others who just applaud my candor, but seriously, is there anything in that city other than great food that can be worth chasing? The cab drivers are rude and incompetent. The pizza is $20 a slice. The museums are amazing, but does anyone in this instantly bored generation give a damn? The subway is a mess, the shops are expensive, the people are just permanently sour, so why bother?

I just spent three blissful days in NY.  Blissful? Yes, because I stayed in Hoboken New Jersey, located just at the other side of the Hudson river, 10 minutes on the Path train to Manhattan and as serene as any holiday resort I have every stayed at. The place itself is small, but its character is huge. It’s feel is New York but without the madness. You can sleep at night and never hear a single car horn or police siren. You can walk the streets with the absolute certainty that people will be nice to you and you can run outside on the waterfront without ever smelling one ounce of pollution. All in all it was paradise in comparison to Manhattan, and all in all I was delighted to tell my friends that at last, after all these years, this was the place to stay when a trip to NYC is required. I ate well, slept well and returned to CA so much more refreshed than wherever I had stayed on the opposite side of the water. It’s only 20 mins to Newark airport and the nutters, as depicted above, seemingly do not exist in Hoboken. The view of the Freedom tower was to die for and the general consensus was positive.

So no matter how bad the smells is in NYC, no matter how rude the people are, no matter how expensive the food seems to be, Hoboken offered a refuge that was quite unexpected. Except for the thought that each day I had to venture across to the other side, I was happy to spend my time contemplating just what other people’s fascination about Manhattan really is! The answer? I have no fucking clue!!

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Interesting Stats

Iraq is imploding once again. Here are some interesting facts from the ‘war’ we raged in that particular country.

Amount spent fighting the war $742 billion.

Number of US service men and women killed 4,489.

Number of US soldiers injured/ wounded 32,021

Number of Iraqi civilians killed 500,000 plus, and that’s only an estimate.

Simple facts, and simply put, what was it all for? Now that bloodshed is running rampant again, Sunni’s killing Kurds, killing Shia’s, who are then killing each other, in a vicious circle of violence without one US soldier to be seen, one has to ask, what the fuck?

$742 billion goes a long way. We could have re-built aging infrastructure here in the US, replacing roads, rail and schools, underground pipelines, upgrading airports, bringing employment to those who don’t have, to name but a few handy items that would have been crossed off our government’s ‘to do’ list. That’s A SHIT LOAD OF CASH, cash that should have been used for the improvement of the United States, and not squandered on a meaningless war, a war that we were often told, had to be fought.

38,000 killed or wounded. At what cost?? Ask their families, their loved one’s. Ask those who cannot walk, cannot see, cannot speak. Why were they there? To improve the safety of those who live here? I don’t think so. Though they fought hard, they are dead now and wouldn’t they have been better left to live in peace? And now, as soon as they have come home to rehab or even be buried, look what’s happened! The inevitable, more war! An internal combustion that we, as an invading force, were never going to stop in the first place. They all hate each other, yes, those in the very same country, those of ethnic decent, those of Sunni blood, those in that self-proclaimed state of Kurdistan, they hate one another with savage intensity. We were destined to lose our pants in Iraq and no one saw it coming other than those of us who see only common sense.

I don’t think my borders are any more secure now that my country fought a war that was supposedly to make them so. I don’t see any difference in my day-to-day life, but I see a huge difference in the lives of the families of the killed and wounded. How would you like to be in their shoes, and again, I repeat the obvious, for what??

I take my hat off to those in our government and in our media who can spin this disaster into a positive. There are no positives, just a whole line of negatives and an even larger line of dead.

Give me my money back. I would like to spend it in a more efficient manner. I would like to give to those who need, not those who need me to give.

Tomorrow there will be hundreds more innocent dead in Iraq, and millions more spent trying to stop it. You can’t stop it, you can only sit and watch as hatred runs riot, as it has done for thousands of years and will continue to do so for thousands more.

 

A Momentous Day

downloadI was involved in a freak accident earlier this week. Knocked me out cold, if only for a few minutes, but when I woke up I made one hell of a momentous decision. It didn’t take me long to decide, in fact I’d been mulling it over for several months before this week’s unfortunate incident. Trigger happy, though unable to fire that one single bullet. A game of Russian Roulette, played out with 5 empty chambers, never having the courage to fire the 6th because I knew it contained the bullet that would mean the end of days. Now, today, that gun has finally gone off. When I woke this morning I made my mind up. All my social media accounts were going. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, deleted, terminated, ejected, vanished from view for hopefully the rest of time, my time.

I was sick and tired of tweets, instant messages, likes and dislikes, referrals, endorsements et al. At the end of the day, if someone wants to talk to me, pick up the damn phone, don’t email me, text me, like me or whatever else you can do with your smart phone. Just call me. Let’s have a proper conversation not a conversation filled with acronyms and crazy EMOJI symbols.I know that a heart-shaped icon means you love me and I realize that there are many faces to choose from, depending on your moods, but come on folks, if you really care, and you really want to show emotion, pick up the phone and talk. There is nothing better than a proper, well versed conversation! Nothing is more meaningful to me than vocal expression, tonal intonation or just plain outright screaming and shouting. It helps to converse the way it was meant to be. You can achieve more speaking 5 words on a phone than you can texting 500 words on an email. It just comes across in the correct manner without the insinuation that text sometimes provides.

No, I am done. All my Facebook buddies, should they care, will find me. All those who followed my tweets will go follow someone else, and all of those who are looking for jobs on Linkedin, well, I’m not the one who’s going to employ or endorse you, so go and bother someone else. Enough is enough. This era of so-called advance communication might be great during an uprising, but in my life, it’s a complete and utter distraction and therefore a waste of time. God forbid I ever get famous, I will make a conscious decision to remain free from these ball and chain Apps where people seem to spend hours and hours of their short lives entwined in useless and meaningless crap. Who cares about any of this garbage, not me. I really don’t care that my friend Suzanne is on her way to Glasgow from London. I can’t imagine what my sister thinks when she posts endless videos of her and her new dog on Facebook? Does she expect the whole world to watch? The simple answer is, yes, she does! To me, that’s sad.

There is a way to erase yourself off the internet in one foul swoop. It’s called Internet Suicide. You can read all about it here ,http://lifehacker.com/5958801/how-to-commit-internet-suicide-and-disappear-from-the-web-forever[/embed]

Although I’ve not decided to go that far just yet, today I made a giant leap in that direction. I know now that I will never have to even consider checking on my ‘status’ or my Klout score, because frankly, I don’t care. Anyone who wants to read me, will do so and as I said before, if you would like to contact me, you know how to do so, PICK UP THE PHONE!

The way things are going, in 2 years from now, no one will ever talk to anyone else ever again. Maybe that’s a good thing? I truly doubt it!

Driving Miss Daisy

IMG_0341I used to drive to Santa Rosa once a week, a journey of about three hours from my home, to look after my Great Aunt Ella. I only met Ella in 1998, and even though she was my grandfather’s sister, I didn’t know she existed let alone lived only three hours from my home. I was attending her sisters funeral in Scotland when her niece told me of her whereabouts and asked if I’d ever met her. “No” was the extent of my curt response. I made a point of contacting her immediately upon my return to the US in the summer of ’98 and we became great friends and lunch buddies. She was an amazing person, with some incredible friends, some of whom I had the pleasure of getting to know rather well. One of her closest pals was Esther, a petit 80-year-old, at the time, and someone I grew not only to respect, but to love and admire.

Esther lived in the same complex as Ella, but in a house situated at the top of a hill about half a mile from the golf course that split this retirement paradise in two. I say paradise because all along Highway 12, where the complex lies, there are some amazing wineries, fabulous hotels, and tremendous restaurants, some of which I have had the pleasure of frequenting over the years, and most of which were above average in all their ‘Napa/Sonoma’ decorative splendor. The thing I loved most about going to see Ella and Esther was the lack of noise whenever we ventured outside. No planes, hardly any car noise and certainly no screaming kids. This was retirement at it’s best. You had to be 55 or over to live there, and most of the residents had been there since that tender age and were now pushing into their late 80’s and early 90’s. Some of the sights were just too funny to describe, such as the two ladies in the golf cart, who I saw every week, driving along with a dog leash dangling from the passenger side of the cart, and a brown lab, tethered to the end of said leash, enjoying his walk while they drove and chatted. Exercise for the !

As I got to know Esther, and some of the other ladies, such as Rosemary, Joan and Joe, I found it fascinating just to sit and listen to their stories, tales of times gone by, a different era altogether, and one that sort of made me yearn for the opportunity to have experienced the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Esther related countless memories of her times living in Seattle, Los Angeles and parts in between. How she’s met her husband whilst on a business trip with her father to Seattle. How she’d grown up in LA when traffic jams were just something in one’s imagination. How Santa Barbara was a fishing village with one or two large homes and a never-ending stream of billionaires trying hard to make their dreams come true.

Sometimes when I was headed back to Los Gatos, Esther would ask me to take her to San Francisco, where her daughter lived. Esther stayed with her daughter at least once a month, and unable to drive herself there, I substituted regularly for this drive who she hired to shuttle her down to the city whenever I was unable to oblige. We had some super conversations on these journeys into town, when Esther would relate her safari experiences, (she was 80 when she went to Africa), her fitness tips, (she was a yoga maestro) and her recipes to make the perfect Coke float, (one which I enjoyed every time I went to see her at her home). Yes, a true lady. She spoke so eloquently, she was a really lady and she never thought bad of anyone, other than my Gt Aunt Ella, whom she scolded constantly for becoming a hermit as the years rolled by.

Esther always reminded me of the movie Driving Miss Daisy. Me as the driver of course and her as Miss Daisy. Her character was just straight out of that particular era. And so, as time went on, my aunt died and Esther grew too old to live in her house all alone, she moved to San Francisco into a retirement home, where, instead of driving her up and down Highway 101, I continued to visit her for lunches and dinners. I used to say to her, “Esther, you are 95 and are the only hope I have of knowing someone who can live to be 100!” Her health was in great shape, her mind even greater. She hated growing old and still feeling like she had a mental age in her late 30’s. She attended regular lectures, traveled to Palm Springs once or twice a year and worked out in her gym every day. Miss Daisy was super it! Nothing was going to stop her. I brought her chocolate, and she reciprocated by buying me the same. We told jokes, she reminisced, I sat and listened.

I had lunch with her two weeks ago, and I took this picture, the one above. I’d never taken a picture of her before. Something inside told me I should. I mad a dinner date to see her on May 16, and then on May 13, I canceled because I had another commitment. She died on the morning of the 16th May, age 96 and a half. A stroke, sudden, quick, painless, and now she’s gone.

I lost a friend, a hero of sorts. RIP Esther, you were special. I shall remember you fondly for the rest of my days on this planet and no doubt we will one day meet again in a better place.