There will always by us and “them”.
I am happy that I am not one of “them”…
I tend to believe that over-sized body parts, often surgically enhanced, were a thing of our modern, hedonistic age. Television, artificial celebrity, social media fads, etc. have produced grotesque facsimiles of humans, who seem to think that they are beautiful people. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder or the person willing to pay for something they don’t have and believe to be attractive. When I was younger, the only aspect of the human body I recall hearing about being modified was the nose of young women with wealthy fathers.
I was wrong (happens often!), as evidenced by figures I discovered in a garden in/on Mauritius. They were imported from Asia/India/Indonesia. Someone must have liked what they saw or imagined something that they did not see but wanted to have to have crafted such figures. Fat lips are not a thing of the collagen era, but a someone’s beauty ideal of the past.
After leaving Mauritius, I traveled to Dubai. In the mall, I spotted several women (most assumed to be of Russian origin), whose lips looked as though they had been modelled after the statues. I am sure that they were inspired by something seen in western magazines or television programs.
I frequently run into the term “bucket list”, which makes little sense to me. I have come to learn that it is a list of things someone wants to do before he or she dies. Perhaps, the bucket comes from kicking the bucket. It does not matter. Needless to say, I do not think like that and can think of nothing special that I must do before I die. If something comes to mind, I will try to do it. Having it on some stupid list will make no difference.
I did notice an article in the Guardian on this subject, especially since it was phrased in the negative. After reading the article, I agree with the author. Having done/visited some of what is mentioned, I know that she is correct in her assessment. Of the items that I have missed, I do not feel that I have missed anything essential.
There are a few places that I might like to visit and a few things that I might like to do or repeat. I am content with my choices and happy that I can still choose. I will die as happy as one can be on kicking the bucket, which is probably not all that happy…
Depending upon your outlook, we live in a wonderful or a screw-up world. Case in point: bottled water.
Some consider water to be the source of life; other know that it is life. Reports of life in poorer countries reveal that clean water—something taken for granted in my life—is a luxury.
In the modern world, water can also be a branded product. We ask for a specific brand in a restaurant and find familiar labels in hotels around the world. This is a sign of modernity, of luxury, or of waste. Some brands are truly spring water tapped from sources deep within the earth. Others are merely water from the public source with carbon dioxide, a fancy name, and creative label added. I avoid water offered by Coca Cola bottlers.
I thought of this as I sat in A380 after just having landed in Mauritius. In front of me was a bottle of water from Norway, Voss. This water had been bottled in Norway, in a small town in the mountains. (Many years ago I used a Eurail pass to see Europe. The train from Oslo to Bergen stopped here. I was surprised to witness snow in June, but now know that this feeds the water industry.) The bottles must be shipped by sea or air to Dubai (and other locations in the world), surely having a negative impact on life on this planet. So water not only is life, but can destroy life…although it’s really humans doing the dirty deed.
Wars never end; the shooting might—I repeat, might—stop, but battles continue with words, intrigue, and slights.
English television programming would be gutted without repeated stories of past wars. Although friendship with Germany is mentioned in reports on membership in the European Union, citizens are not allowed to forget what they did in 1914 (when the cousins squabbled) or 1940 (even if the friendship of the future king with the German dictator is covered up). And, militarism is not allowed to die or even fade, as seen in the “royal” family traipsing around in uniforms (even the women). What would the English do without a war drum to beat. Recent reports claim that the prime minister wants NATO to send troops to Ukraine, despite the fact that this country is not a member of the alliance. This guy must not have read history (or watched local television) of World War Two (or One). Perhaps, he is posturing, as did his predecessor, to impress the United States, where the cons (short for neo-con, but also for criminal) are beating the same old drums.
Clauswitz wrote that war is policy by other means. Nowadays, policy is war by any means. After all, the laws of capitalism demand that the sales weapons and munitions must continue unabated. And, self-proclaimed statesmen must posture from the safety of their clubs and offices far removed from danger.
I frequently run into misuse of words or phrase, all of which bug me. People tend to latch onto a word or phrase not understanding or caring about its true meaning, only because others misuse it.
I ran into a case in point this morning: I can’t wait for (something). For example, “I can’t wait for the next season of (favorite program) to start” or “I can’t wait for vacation.” Unfortunately, he or she will have to wait, because time machines have not been invented. None realizes that speeding up time to fulfill his or her wish will only mean arriving at one’s death quicker. As far as I am concerned, I can wait for that.
If I could, I would point out to these dolts that what they mean to say is “I look forward (with or without the modifier eagerly) to” such and such event.
Proper use of “can’t wait” is when one is served an appealing dish and one is not willing or is not able to be polite enough to wait patiently for others to be served. Small children usually display this urge without bothering with the (almost meaningless) phrase.
I scan a few British newspapers each day, not because I am a big fan of Britain or the British. Each has the distinct advantage of being printed in English, albeit a bastardized form. The news of England does not interest me, because I do not live there, but these media often have good articles on a wide range of subjects. Many writers are excellent.
Unfortunately, I cannot avoid the salivating over the “royal” family. I do not understand why anyone is interested in the private life of a bunch of spoiled and privileged morons. Of course, a great deal of this is driven by the “firm”, as they call themselves, which uses the latest PR techniques to drum up interest and fervor.
P.T. Barnum is supposed to have said something about fools being born each minute. The birthrate of people interested in this foolishness is high.
At the fitness studio, I thought about what I was doing: lifting weights. I do this regularly to stay in shape, something I have been doing since my first attempts at sport. Because I can no longer find 19 other guys to play lacrosse or 11 to play hockey, not that this is possible where I live, I am reduced to individual exercise. That’s better than nothing.
Today, I wondered what someone from the past, who labored all day, every day to survive, would think of humans exercising muscles for fun or health or to keep busy or for whatever reason. A visit to a fitness studio would astound the visitor, although the scantily clad women would surely appeal to his baser instincts.
The basic animal activity of muscle movement has evolved a long way...
I noticed an article about a report on how technology is reversing...or changing...evolution of humans.
I think that posture is the least of humanity’s problem.
Computers, calculators, smart phones, etc. are taking over simple tasks once performed by the brain. Humans are less able to do what even a child could do in the past. Children are already not learning proper grammar, because their language is dominated by texting, and they think spell check can solve awl problems. Who needs to learn vocabulary, if you can look up words on your iPad? Who needs to learn multiplication tables, if you have a calculator on your phone? Brain are being less and less challenged.
Before printing was invented, people memorized stories and information. Books spread knowledge, but the average brain no longer needed to store as much. Nor can it. This explains, perhaps, why the most common passwords are “password” and “123456”.
One of the more interesting facts I once noticed (and have since forgotten) is the curriculum of a high school student in the late 1800s in the United States. No child today--or even college graduates--could master the requirements. Schools have been dumbed down to make everyone a winner and help them acquire student loans and never-ending debt. Only those lucky enough to attend an elite school or obtain a scholarship are permitted to excel. People are becoming dumber, easily satisfied with cheap flatscreen televisions, and political leaders are happy.
The move to have computers and robots run the world bodes badly for humans, who are evolving backwards and giving up the keys to their castle...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.