ZZZ ... pardon me while I yawn

on Friday, November 4, 2016

Is philosophy a bore? Talk to any philosopher, (one that’s not dead) and you may be simultaneously bored and offended. Who else can drone on so long about one idea? Who else can manage to link all ideas in a single sentence? – (a very long sentence..) What’s the point of all that thinking anyway? Wouldn’t it be better just to get on with life and stop thinking about it for heaven’s sake?

But if there were more philosophers in the world, wouldn’t it be a more reasonable place? Wouldn’t we be more likely to begin understanding a few things? (What’s with all the questions? – Ah ha! ...we’re being little philosophers ourselves..) Where philosophy thrives, so too do other expressions of thought. Like art. And music.

Think of it.. our modern philosophers are often our musicians. They sing their thoughts to us in poetic verse, shout it to us in prolonged raving, croon it, whisper it, scream or yodel it – and we get it. Sometimes.

Imagine. Imagine not being allowed to think. Ideas are as natural to human imagination as breathing. Any authority which disallows personal thought is in fact cutting off oxygen to human development. That’s tantamount to lobotomising humanity; trimming off all but one philosophy of life, and that dreamt up by a very small contingent of, (dare I think it), narrow-minded individuals.

We might as well all be asleep..


Y ... You

on Saturday, October 8, 2016

Can’t do without.. (fill the blank).. That’s the tag line for how many commercials? We know it’s a lie. It exists in harmony with the other favourite line.. Do What You Want.. It’s Your Life, even though I seem to detect a clash there. Are we dependent or independent?

I can. Actually, I can do without a whole lot of stuff.. Papa’s pizza, mama’s Best Recipe’s book, XYZ insurance, this gizmo, that gadget. Despite the advertising claims that I really, really need those.. I don’t.

But I do need You. My Other. That main squeeze or BFF, the person who tells me I’m OK. You, I really do need. We’d like to think it’s possible to be completely independent. But humans can’t exist in isolation. We’re relational creatures. We form relationships with our own species, other species, even plants and inanimate objects. We’re part of a complex ecosystem, our every action affecting other life. But it’s the People ones which count the most. The relationships we form are like spider webs criss-crossing our existence. Perhaps they look messy, but they are our lifelines.

Purpose in life is found along the lines of relationships we build. Opportunities arise with every new thread, and no matter whether we try to preserve or break those connections, our decisions reverberate outward, touching more lives than we even realize.

I can’t. Actually, I can’t do without .. You.


on Sunday, September 18, 2016


Did you ever stop to consider how important X is?

It’s the universal unknown value.

And kisses, don’t let’s forget kisses.

And.. the X chromosome is part of every human’s DNA, named X for mystery.

That’s kind of cool really. We all have mystery in our make-up, and that very thing is what binds us together. It’s the X factor.

So if we all have this in common, how is it that we don’t know more about it? And wow, here’s another thought.. women have double the dose. Double the mystery? The dudes, they have the whY.

Somewhere in there is a bunch of answers... all we have to do is solve the equation!  X + Y = the solution to the riddle.

(X really does mark the spot.)



on Friday, June 17, 2016

Whole. There’s a concept for you!

WWW seems to suggest that, doesn’t it? Those little letters are a claim of total inclusion – the world wide web -  as though the whole planet were wrapped up nicely together in one mind, sharing knowledge and experience. But it’s not whole really, not the web nor the world. The silent masses get on with their lives, many of them oblivious to the frenetic workings of the internet, their voices not included in the ‘all’ of it all.

As for the planet, it grows further from whole the more humanity encroaches onto every last ice floe and ocean crevice. One has to wonder how much the system can take before some critical point of imbalance occurs to plunge us into an end game scenario. Wholeness is not on our agenda.

Personally though, despite the sad bad news of worldly woe, we can still be whole, right? We can find ourselves, satisfy ourselves, improve ourselves and please ourselves as long as we don’t hurt someone else. Or are we incomplete until we look outside of ourselves? They say everyone has a soul mate, someone who will complete them... two loves make a whole. That’s what they say, but in the end won’t we still have to leave the earth alone?

Perhaps what counts is the heart. Being whole-hearted is a wholeness anyone, even half-wits, can achieve.


Tangerine Tarantino

on Thursday, June 2, 2016

*Warning: contains spoilers. 

Pulp Fiction is a movie described as a cult classic, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. To my mind those were two reasons good enough to give it a viewing. I was curious to see why the film captured the imagination and approval of the movie-going public.

Watching a Tarantino film feels a little like going to hear your favourite preacher. His sermons are delivered from the hip, no punches pulled, and like any good speaker, he revisits his key points from various angles. So it is in Pulp Fiction that the plot progresses through a series of vignettes told in the personal struggles and foibles of a string of characters. Like the frames of a comic book, events unfold in graphic detail, blood spattered and liberally laced with dark humour, full of villains and victims.  Yet despite the various individual dramas, there is a common thread weaving its way through each tale, and the web is satisfyingly spun into a whole at the last chapter with all loose ends neatly tucked away.

However bizarre their personalities, Tarantino is intensely interested in the humanity of each protagonist, careful to give them characteristics that will endear them to his audience despite the fact that they are all brutally flawed.  They are accurately summed up in the definition of 'pulp' given in the beginning titles as "containing lurid subject matter ..on rough unfinished paper." Vinny is a cold-blooded assassin and hopeless drug addict, but also often soft spoken, an intelligent thinker with a sense of humour, and most importantly, dedicated to his job and fellow assassin Jules, and employer Marcellus. His charm and courtesy win us over despite the fact that he's a 'bad guy'. We can't help but admire his loyalty and affability. Then there's Mia, manipulative, crack head wife of the local gangster boss, who is likeable for her sense of fun and seeming naivety. She is careless with people in a manner reminiscent of Daisy Buchanan or Marylin Monroe, and in case we don't get that, the similarly helplessly flawed, too soon deceased idols Monroe, James Dean, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley appear in the background as nightclub entertainment.

Having established permission to take the film out of the grip of reality at any moment via consistent injections of black comedy, Tarantino relieves the pressure at key moments by crossing to the absurd. It is distressing to see Mia become the victim of an overdose, her life further endangered by Vinny attempting to cover his own ass rather than get her to hospital. Her life unexpectedly saved, we find ourselves feeling stupid for worrying. Conversely, in case we got too attached to Vinny, Tarantino wipes him out in an unceremonious blunder with no fanfare or heroics to mark his pivotal role in the film. He is as careless with the fates of his characters as...well as what? Or who?

Jules is a hardened assassin without the refinement of Vinny. His penchant to quote scripture as a priestly administration of last rites to his victims makes him Tarantino's version of the avenging angel. As the film progresses, there is little to like about Jules, until the moment of his epiphany. Narrowly escaping death when a nervous kid shoots at him point blank and misses, he concludes that God's hand is upon his life and determines to quit killing. The very next scene sees the situation reversed for the unlucky Marvin who is accidentally shot in the face. Good karma and bad karma apparently. Jules's redemption from devil to wandering prophet is crowned with a final dramatic choice on his part to be the salvation rather than the damnation of a pair of incompetent criminals. He recites once more his favourite verse from Ezekiel, giving it some new interpretations, mouthpiece perhaps for Tarantino's musings on the good and bad of humanity. His re-reading of the scripture to assign the role of 'shepherd' to the gun, then himself, neatly excludes the possibility of 'God' filling that role, and in fact leaves it as a choice, albeit a noble one, for those humans with the capacity to be good to take up or leave.

It is the complexity of Tarantino's characters that enables him to draw contrasts that beg questions like 'what is good?' Jules and Vinny compare the purity of animals, recognizing that there's more to it than just dirt, "I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy but they're definitely dirty. But, a dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way." Some positives balance out the negative. Butch the boxer is initially introduced as an unethical, self serving thug with a temper and not much of a brain. Once again though, his tenderness towards his girlfriend and exaggerated sentimentality over his father's watch tend to mitigate his faults. He also experiences a point of crisis resulting in actions we would have considered out of character, when he refuses to abandon a former enemy undergoing violent abuse. Thus he chooses a 'good' or 'right' course of action despite our expectations. It's another chance for the director to demonstrate a belief in the possibility of human beings to choose good over evil, or sacrifice over selfishness.

In a film overflowing with selfish hedonism, the overwhelming theme remains the inherent ability of mankind to be the catalyst for salvation. Tarantino's take on it: Each person, no matter how flawed has the ability to step out of expectations and stereotype to be a force for goodness. Of course the opposite also holds true, a point he illustrates in the character of Zed, a man who wears a sheriff's badge and has a penchant for kidnapping and mercilessly using people, a hideous portrait of human perversion dressed up as respectable.

Pulp Fiction is an experience at times deeply distressing, at times touching and often outrageously entertaining. Tarantino the orange robed preacher has done his work well, leaving the world a film that displays the true art of a brilliant director, as well as a cast of memorable, deplorable characters, and a good dose of cynical thumbing of the nose at the idea of a caring Creator. In Tarantino's tangerine world, the chance to play God resides in each man. What an irresistible thought to leave with his audiences.

V is for verbage

on Monday, May 30, 2016

V is for verbage, and vitriol.. probably not the kind of thing you were hoping to read. If that’s all I can come up with when I get the opportunity to pay out my two cents worth, perhaps I should shut up? Talk is cheap, right?
 .. Well no, not anymore. Talk will cost you. Especially if you say the wrong thing, the wrong word, at the wrong time. No, you don’t get to spill your verbage in our progressive cities unless you want to back it up with your wallet and risk a criminal record. I’m sure we’ll soon be missing the days when anybody’s two cents worth was worth just that.. when anybody had the freedom to be an ass.

Welcome to the New Age, but it isn’t what they promised us. Comedians had better not be funny unless they stick to the script. If you’ve got an opinion, keep it to yourself unless it’s shiny and happy. You can see what’s going to happen, can’t you? All those bottled up opinions are going to pickle nicely for a while in the dark but eventually that lid has got to pop. We’re a society with a serious case of bloat.. the question is, will it come out quiet and sneaky or blast a hole in our proverbial pants? We’re humans for Pete’s sake! You can’t shut us up!

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m for the trolls. I’m for their rights. Yes they’re a pain in the ass, but the price of shutting them up is a gag for us all. I have my two cents and I want the right to spend it.

Singin along with the Stones

on Saturday, April 26, 2014

"Really Satisfies!".. It's a great line. A mainstay of the commercial catch-phrase conjurers. But it's a lie, obviously. I've tested it myself. I bought the chocolate bar that Really Satisfies and five minutes later I wanted another one. Even the fizzed can of liquid that was all set to satisfy my thirst really actually only made me thirstier as the salt and sugar in it sent my body into a rush. ..I didn't read the fine print? ..the rider which advises that the satisfaction won't last? Where!? ..That's taken as read? Oh. I gave out my Moolah for food and drink and didn't get no satisfaction. Poor me.

You know what else? I buy the clothes they tell me to, but still my wardrobe doesn't contain a darn thing when I'm looking for something to put on. I'm just glad we don't have to think for ourselves. They've got it covered! The fashion industry knows what we have to wear, the fast food industry knows what we have to eat, and the porn industry knows what we gotta lust after. And.. wait a sec. Do I detect a hint of sarcasm? Tsk. We aren't stupid, right? Just desperately unsatisfiable. Poor us.

Really, who are the poor?
Michael Hutchence, drippingly wealthy lead singer of wildly popular band INXS, universally proclaimed sex god, dies in the misadventurous pursuit of satisfaction. That's poor. Poor Michael.

Do we even know what we truly need? Those who are poor in resources die of the subsequent lack. Are they any more poor than those of us who live in excessive abundance and die of the subsequent abuse? Are we any happier? We are both unsatisfiable.

Poverty is relative, and is as much psychological as it is physical.
Freedom from poverty must begin in the mind with a recognition of what is truly needed. And what is not.


U is for un-satisfiable.