Mulling over recent newspaper articles, tv and magazine stories, I’m starting to wonder where the dignity has gone from our lives. Respect seems to have disappeared and, I know this will make me sound like yet another grumpy old woman (hankering for the ‘good old days’) but why all the
personal ‘stuff’ being presented in the ‘News’. Is it because scandalous stories sell better than genuine current affairs? Are newspapers, television programmers and magazine producers worried that their (their?) public will stop buying and stop watching, now that there are so many more (personal) electronic methods to distract people and provide other ways to entertain?
And, do we really clamour for ‘juicy’ tales about our leaders and notable people and ignore the substance of what is being said and what is being done on a more serious level?
And, who is it who decides that the general public prefers gossip-style ‘News’ rather that real information? Is it really us, the people? Or are we being manipulated? It seems like rubbish stories are being used as a drug to dull and calm the masses and have them only concerned with things that don’t matter a hoot, instead of real life, real world happenings.
And then we have sport, or should I say, SPORT. It is portrayed as one of THE most important parts of our lives. Well, not in my life, it isn’t!
And so-called ‘celebrities’ – I don’t even know who most of them are who are featured on our ‘News bulletins’. Why are we supposed to be enthralled by the antics of people who do nothing other than ‘be’ celebrities?
I’m confused about that also.
And, again, who decides that sports people and celebrities are the important items to be discussed and shown in the media? Not me!
It’s too late to change, I’m afraid. And I’m afraid for the young people of today who know little other than the crap that is being dished up to them.
It would have been nice, if, in some far back time, the newspapers, tv programmers and magazine producers had decided to concentrate on real news stories and focus on the likes of clever musicians and the good works of scientists and the likes instead of superficial nonsense about sportsmen and ‘celebrities’. It would have (in my humble opinion) made for a better world.
They may be overused expressions or trite phrases, but I have to admit I love reading them – ‘inspirational’ quotes, that is. Clichés all!
A couple of my favourites are: ‘Do good and feel good. Do bad and feel bad. It’s that simple.’
and ‘Making one person smile can change the world – maybe not the whole world, but their world.’(Or a similar sentiment).
The ‘doing good’ statement is so true and I wish I could teach everyone everywhere to ponder on it and then act accordingly.
The quote about making people smile is a little similar in meaning as, by helping someone in any way that will make them smile, is a benefit to both parties involved. There’s also the action of offering a helping hand to a stranger that may make them smile and feel better – no matter what is happening in their life.
Without sounding twee, I have occasionally helped someone I don’t know (albeit in a very small way) and watched them respond with a lovely smile of gratitude that has lightened my day possibly more than it has altered their day.
As simple an act as helping an elderly person carry their shopping bags up some steps, can engender an amazing brief rapport between two people; a connection that (usually) results in a lovely feeling, at least for the ‘helper’.
Such an act sometimes reminds me of the Biblical quote about showing ‘hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares’.
I’m certainly not saying that I am ‘entertaining angels’ when helping someone along the way - what I am saying is that, if you help someone in need – even in a very small way – it is not you, as the helper, who is the ‘angel’ but the one you are able to help. This is true mainly because (as seen in the first quote) that if you DO good, you FEEL good. That being so, it is the helper who reaps the benefit, more so than the one who is helped.
This may sound a bit muddled, but on re-reading my words, you will hopefully understand what I’m valiantly – hopefully not vainly –trying to say.
I haven’t yet been to see the movie, ‘The Railway Man’ as I suggested I would. Three things are stopping me: 1. I haven’t had the time. 2. I’m not sure that I could handle the drama of it,
without becoming a weeping mess and 3. I’m not a great fan of Nicole Kidman – and she’s the ‘star’.
However, I did find time to see ‘Philomena’,with Dame Judi Dench - and that wonderful actor, whose name I have ashamedly forgotten. It was a beautiful movie and beside all the intricate (and partly true) story and excellent acting displayed, one other surprising side effect that the movie had on me is that it made me want to visit Ireland again!
Well, that’s not going to happen, unless I win the lottery!
Anyway, there was a lovely scene in the film where a T.S.Eliot quote popped up. I couldn’t remember it well and had to look it up.
This is it:
‘We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time’.
I’m spending some time mulling over that sentiment.
PS: Judi Dench's wrinkles are divine.
Three days ago, I saw the film ‘The Book Thief’. I had
read the book of the same name some time ago and was enthralled by it. The film neither entirely, nor accurately, follows the book, but I will not hold that against the film-makers as the book is very long and any film that included
every written detail would have lasted a day instead of an hour and a half. Corners had to be cut, with (I think) an excellent result.
However, as the story is based on happenings in
Germany during the Second World War, once more my mind wanders into the territory of ‘how did people let that happen?’ I mean – six million Jews murdered in the most appalling way. And, for
what? Because a man called Hitler and his Nazi henchmen decided that Jewish people had no entitlement to live? Or what? How did people let that happen? That was 70 years ago.
People (that’s us) are letting similar atrocities happen right now. I cannot bear to watch news reports of all the killing and maiming that is going on in other parts of our world today. There are reports of 100,000 people – people of flesh and blood; people of all ages, with feelings of pain and hunger - and love for others - and fear (especially fear) have been killed in Syria during this latest conflict. About 10,000 of them children, as the reports suggest.
And other people in other places - other countries - are being tortured and killed, for incomprehensible reasons . What makes these pathetic so-called leaders - the abhorrent despots/tyrants/monsters - decide who is to live and who is to die?
What makes man turn against man? Brother against brother?
It is all too much for me to cope with. There is nothing I can do. Nothing.
I (selfishly) thank fate – or whatever – that I live in a country that has (almost) honest ways of displaying democracy. But that’s all I can do.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought a ‘noodle’ to use in the swimming pool. (A ‘noodle’ is a buoyant plastic tube). I have discovered, during this hot spell in the middle of our summer, that I can loop the ‘noodle’ around my back, fold the ends in front of me and gently float in the pool. And, as I
float and feel the warmth of the sun on my head and face, I empty my mind of all worries and stop trying to fathom the reasons why there are people in the world who cause death and destruction simply because of some shit ideology.
My $3 noodle keeps me sane and helps keep at bay any thoughts of all the evil that might – or might not – be happening elsewhere.
But next week I plan to see the film, “The Railway Man”.
It's the middle of summer. Well, actually about two-thirds of the way through and it is so HOT! I am writing this at 10:30 at night and it is still 25 degrees c. I have a small fan on my desk, blowing warm air in my face.. Earlier in the day, it was 35 degrees. The air-conditioner has been on almost all day. I had a swim in the pool and the water was WARM!
I have something I wish to write in my blog, but it will have to wait until tomorrow, as I truly don't have enough energy to write seriously tonight. Plus, I need to take a little accompanying photo to illustrate something as a sort of explanation for anyone who may not know what I'm talking about.
I have put cool, crisp sheets on the bed and have the ceiling fan going in the bedroom. After a good sleep, all will be well.
I have just received a text message to tell me of your death. Yes, I knew you were ill, so it has not come as a big surprise but there is still a sadness – and memories are only just starting to come to me.
I will not travel down for your funeral, as 1700 kilometres is a long way to go to farewell someone you haven’t seen or spoken to for many years.
You were my oldest cousin.
Our grandparents had six children and 17 grandchildren.
The six children are all long gone, and you, the first born of the grandchildren, are the second grandchild to die. My brother, Pete, left us in 2008; he was the first to leave.
Richard, I was the fifth grandchild and, when we were very young, we spent some time playing together, even though I must have been only about two years old. You were always so much bigger and older and (seemingly) wiser that not many words ever passed between us. My older sister and I adored you in those days. (I’m not sure if I truly remember this fact or if it is only through old photos that I gather such info.). You were the big boy and my sister and I were the little girls. Your younger brother, Geoff, was a little more approachable, possibly because of the sympathy we had for him and his inability (or reluctance?) to be toilet trained.
Later you, Richard, were to gain a young sister, Catherine, but she was not around to be included in those war-time years of togetherness.
Once we were over the dreadful times of World War 2 and our fathers were home from their army and air force duties (although not your father, as he had remained at home due to his role as part of ‘essential services’ as he was the owner of a grocery store) - we all grew up and grew apart.
But, your parents bought a holiday home down on the Mornington Peninsula and we were
fortunate enough to be invited there on occasions, especially for family Boxing Day get-togethers.
By this time, you considered yourself well beyond socialising with any young girl cousins and would make yourself scarce whenever we were around. You, your brother and mates would go out on your yacht. Was it first a VJ and then a slightly bigger ‘Gwen’ class craft? I am trying to
remember the details of the yachts we would see you sailing. I would sit on the beach and fantasise about being allowed to sail with you. But it never happened.
Your dad, my Uncle Jock, took us (my older sister and me) out in the motor boat once. We dropped double-hooked lines over the edge and caught flatheads – two at a time. What bliss that summer day was, until a storm suddenly sprang up and the little boat was buffeted around and we became drenched with salt-water spray.
No life jackets in those days, but we were confident that our uncle would steer us back safely. And he did. He also stopped and threw a rope to some young kids who were stranded in their motor-less boat and in danger of being swept out to sea – out through ‘the heads’ – never to be seen again.
When we were teenagers, one Christmas time we spent hours on the top deck of the Mornington house listening to Charles Trenet sing ‘La Mer’ over and over again. The record must have nearly worn out all its grooves and, as for me, it was one of life’s most memorable times, when I felt truly accepted as a teenager. But it was a singular occasion.
Some years later when your number came up and the government of the day requested your presence at a medical examination to ensure that you were of sound body and mind – enough to be called to do your National Service (Nasho, we called it), you were so reluctant to be so constrained and so ordered about that, for some days before the medical test, you scratched the
palms of your hands, sprinkled Rinso washing powder on them and covered them in Bandaids. By the time the army doctors saw you, you had violent ‘eczema’ on your palms. On being asked what was troubling your hands, you replied that you didn’t know but you always had it and it came on your feet also. ‘Medically unfit’ was the verdict and you missed out on doing your nasho.
Did you really do that, Richard?
You turned 21 and continued your university studies and became a dentist.
Not that long after graduating, you heard that, in the UK, dentists were guaranteed
employment and were paid well by the UK’s National Health Scheme, so off you went to
London, and stayed in Englandfor some years.
Eventually we were shown pictures of your wedding day – to Ann – with you looking amazingly formal and very English in your morning suit; a sight seldom seen in 1960s Australian weddings.
It was a stranger that I saw in those pictures.
You did return to Australia, bringing your wife, Ann, and even, in your generous fashion, Ann’s mother as well.
Two sons were added to your family; sons I never came to know at all. But that’s what happens in families. The ripples in the ponds grow bigger and wider and we all have our own family circles to deal with – and love.
And now, Richard, you are gone.
But the memories remain.
Your cousin, Dianna.
Having always been fond of reading biographies and memoirs (to the point of obsession) I have had the chance recently to read many more than is my usual ‘intake’. This is owing to a couple of facts: the need to be a little less active, due to the hot weather, and because of the accessibility of a wonderful new library. I have read memoirs of famous and not-so-famous people; biographies of people who have experienced happy and fulfilling lives and others who have fought against the odds – for some reason or another – and emerged as winners. Almost without exception, these books have provided most enjoyable reading and have been extremely well written.
It is only now that I must face the fact that my writing is not ‘up to scratch’ (as they say) and that I have little to no chance of ever having my memoir published by any other person than myself. In other words, I can store my writing away in its little USB and forget it, or I can use the services of one of the self-publishing companies that charge only for any books you may wish to publish … print, is possibly a more appropriate word.
I shall mull over this dilemma for another week before deciding on what action – if any – I will
take. Meanwhile, I will continue with posts on my blog and try not to sound too much like a Grumpy Old Woman, as my past few posts have indicated.
There is no food shortage! All the scary hoo-ha about the
increase in world population and how we (we?) will not be able to feed future generations is simply not true. There needs to be a review of how we eat and what we eat; of what we buy to eat and what we accept in the markets and
supermarkets of our time and in our (first world) countries.
Apparently, a very large proportion of food is simply thrown away because it doesn’t meet our requirements. For example, we are told that we won’t accept vegetables that don’t ‘look pretty’. Rubbish! What has
happened to the funny shaped carrots that we adored to have in our (long ago!) childhoods? Where’s that double (Siamese twin-like) banana we loved having to share? I’m betting that the so-called desire for perfect looking fruit and vegetables has far more to do with the ease of packing and displaying of said produce that the desire of the modern consumer to ‘demand’ perfectly shaped and sized carrots and apples.
On another tack, in Australia, orchardists have been forced to bulldoze their fruit trees as they cannot make a living out of selling their produce locally because it is cheaper for the supermarkets
to source similar products from overseas. How crazy is that? Last week, against my better judgement, I bought two oranges. Only two - and that cost me nearly $3. I had promised to make an orange cake before I realised that it wasn’t citrus season here. Next time I will think before I buy and LOOK before I buy, for, when I arrived home and looked closely at the fruit, I discovered a
little sticker on each orange which proudly stated ‘Product of USA’. Now, I have nothing against the USA, but I cannot understand why we would import oranges from 15,000 kilometres away. Would there be any goodness left in the poor things after travelling that distance, apart from the fact that to bring fruit across the world is ludicrous. And yet, I bought some!
Some re-education needed here.
No, it is not citrus season in Australia right now, so don’t plan on making an orange cake just yet! You see, I’m just as stupid as the next person. I am being educated to expect any sort of ‘fresh’ food to be available at any time.
And don’t get me started about the shocking palm oil industry in third world countries that is leading to the demolishing of useful farm land in order for the production of the hideous palm oil ‘demanded’ by first world food manufacturers.
Whose fault will it be when poorer peoples of this world will have even more difficulty in feeding their families?
It will be all ours!
Meanwhile, right now, I will go out and tend our home vegetable garden.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.