Wednesday, January 31

Harmless email or crass misanthropy?

For some time now, I have begun to suspect a growing misanthropic movement and today, receipt of one the usual-style joke spam-emails on the differences between men and women reiterated this belief to me.

I feel it is prudent to spend some time considering this issue, assisted in part by discussing the process of my thoughts openly, honestly and vigilantly in this hallowed forum of truth.

Let us begin in the beginning.

In the beginning there was an amoeba.

Perhaps it was not an amoeba but something far smaller and far more fundamental in it's biological makeup.

Something Wikipedia or Stephen hHwkins could explain but I have not the time to look up and this way I get to use the word amoeba. (In animal form, an amoeba would surely look something like this…. )

No-one knew where the amoeba came from but it was there nonetheless.

And the amoeba created the world when it exploded for some, as yet, non-universally agreed upon reason.

And so the amoeba created man life on earth. And lo the earth did turn into itself and bring forth man and woman.

Lots of things happened and were created on earth. Things like the wheel, emancipation, industry, political theorem, utterly butterly and custard.

From as far back as discernable, it appears the male of the species was dominant in his role. In the time of the cave, man dominated the animal kingdom. In the time of the Vikings, man dominated the sea. In the time of Prince Albert's, man dominated the world.

Throughout this time, woman was subjugated, silenced, abused and held helpless.

Half a century after the Corn Laws, a woman called Emily was born. Emily told her fellow women to burn their bras and to hold fast to iron railings. And so the women did. And lo it came to pass that women in a small island nation were given a vote with which to lift up their voices and be heard.

And that is where the beginning ends.

In tomorrow's blog, I shall consider the present which is also the middle and the end and use this period to enlighten myself more over this issue.

Example joke email

How To Shower Like a Woman

Take off clothes and place them sectioned in laundry basket according to lights and darks.
Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown.
If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.
Look at your womanly physique in the mirror - make mental note to do more sit-ups/leg-lifts, etc.
Get in the shower.
Use face cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah, wide loofah and pumice stone.
Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo with 43 added vitamins.
Wash your hair again to make sure it's clean.
Condition your hair with grapefruit mint conditioner enhanced.
Wash your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until red.
Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffa cake body wash.
Rinse conditioner off hair.
Shave armpits and legs.
Turn off shower.
Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower.
Spray mould spots with Tile cleaner.
Get out of shower.
Dry with towel the size of a small country.
Wrap hair in super absorbent towel.
Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head.
If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.

How To Shower Like a Man
Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in a pile.
Walk naked to the bathroom.
If you see wife along the way, shake willy at her making the 'woo-woo' sound.
Look at your manly physique in the mirror.
Admire the size of your willy and scratch your bum.
Get in the shower.
Wash your face.
Wash your armpits.
Blow your nose in your hands and let the water rinse them off.
Fart and laugh at how loud it sounds in the shower.
Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area.
Wash your bum, leaving those coarse bum hairs stuck on the soap.
Wash your hair.
Make a Shampoo Mohawk.
Rinse off and get out of shower.
Partially dry off.
Fail to notice water on floor because curtain was hanging out of bath the whole time.
Admire willy size in mirror again.
Leave shower curtain open, wet mat on floor, light and fan on.
Return to bedroom with towel around waist.
If you pass wife, pull off towel, shake willy at her and make the 'woo-woo' sound again.
Throw wet towel on bed.


Thursday, January 25


The place where I work, 'Anon LLP', nominated it's new charity for the year yesterday. Happily my proposed charity was chosen and I am unashamedly happy and proud about this. Anon LLP will now be raising money for children the street childfren including 'The Railway Children' of Calcutta and I am hoping to persuade those in power that a heroes and heroines charity fancy dress Ball is an excellent idea. I have plenty other excellent ideas but none so excellent that wuld permit me to dress up as Scarlett O'Hara (again.) (Designed my 21st around this hankering and held a Corset and Crinolette fancy dress party. We played croquet and had a finger buffet. It was great. I was the only one who thought so I think. Everyone else just thought it was odd. It was, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Now I'm just running on. 'Running on'. How very Alan Bennett. Oooo lemon wedge.)

So I thought I'd give a link to the charity in case anyone is doing a 10 km run and wants an excellent organisation to do it for. I think that supporting smaller charities is in many ways a lot more advantageous to those the charity is there to assist in comparison with their national or international cousins. I know of course all charities need money and even those well-known charities such as The Samaritans have had to take to the streets with collection boxes to pay for electricity etc. to keep their services going but I can't but be disheartened by charities that plough 65% of their funds into advertising. I know there is the circular argument about how else do they raise lots of money without expending lots etc. etc. but to a charity like the Railway Children, £2000 can provide for a quarter of their yearly budget and importantly, goes straight to the source where needed. None is taken out for admin etc.

There is also the consideration that the larger a charity gets, unfortunately, the more distanced it becomes from it's target. Take the charities surrounding the tsunami. Many of them still have sizeable funds unallocated. How can this be? Funds were crucial in the immediate aftermath, years have passed and how is the reconstruction effort being encouraged by such a delay. What are they waiting for? Much of the assistance given wasn't the assistance required either and this is where becoming too removed from your target through bureaucracy etc becomes a real issue. Many charities were sending over school books, pens, pencils, food bags etc. when there were no schools for kids to be taught in and no crockery for food to be cooked in. It was the on-the-ground independent charities and ones that developed in situ in response to the tsunami that understood what was required were tools, cement mixers, hammers etc. to help people start the rebuilding effort.

Anyway, here's the link of you would like to check it out. there are more street children throughout the world than the British population one and a half times over. Calcutta/Kolkata suffers from notorious problems of poverty and I have visited this station myself. The charity has a permanent presence there and addresses the full range of issues raised by these kids situations, education, health, personal safety and emotional well-being.

Monday, January 22


I'm calling on all readers of this blog to make a concerted effort to use 'shall' more often in their every day speech. If you could also enjoin your friend and family to do the same, we might be able to bring back to life this gentle and civil modal auxiliary that has been suffering in this bullish, modern world of ours.

It is a dying form of modal (If you doubt my words, peruse please

Given that we have only fourteen of them, (have included 'dare' and 'need') losing one of these endangered species is a cause for concern throughout the entire english-speaking world. If we could all make an effort to at least twice a day choose 'Shall I open the window?' over 'Should I open the window?', our poor maligned hero might be able to start the long journey back to the Land of Customary Use, that safe and popular place where all words long to reside.

And who is 'should' anyway?

Why has he eclipsed his more sensitive, older and wiser cousin?

'Should' - being young as he is - is still unsure of himself. He asks advice wherever he goes and never sounds sure of what he is supposed to be doing. 'Shall' on the other hand, having lived a long life in the mouths of some of the most intelligent men and women in the world, already knows what he wants. He just doesn't want to impose himself on others without asking if his actions will concern anyone.

And what of 'will'? We can't over-look his part to play in this sordid affair, especially his prostituting of himself, his 'special relationship' with they over the Atlantic, the great U S of A - a sure-fire way to ensure his domination at the cost of all others. When being presented with two future-looking modals, our Atlantic cousins became rather confused and decided they must concentrate their energies on only one, thus saving themselves world-ridicule by demonstrating an inability to speak English well.

(Whether they have indeed managed to pull the wool over our eyes in this respect, despite their cunning tactics, is debatable. Perhaps we should look to their leader for an answer on this.)

Let us look at the wil/shall debate in context and compare the impact of using one over the other in a dramatic setting.

(Picture a beautiful and distraught young woman, standing in the doorstep of a large, old white house, gripping the door-frame to prevent herself from collapsing in despair onto the marble-tiled floor. She stares desperately out into the garden where the figure of a strong, dark-haired man is beginning to vanish into the fog.)

'Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?....'

'Rhett, if you go, where will I go? What will I do?....'

Need I say more? I think I needn't.

So I shan't.

Let's get behind this worthy cause and start to spread the word.

Tuesday, January 2

It looks like a professional took it doesn't it? I know, I was quite proud of it myself.

It's in sepia.

That's the joy of digital cameras. Everyone's an artist. I zoom petals with 6 millions pixels in 'closeup' mode and think how talented I am.

I don't know who the lady is but I like her. She looks solemn and melancholy which appeals to me if only as it allows me to use two lovely adjectives. Could be Cassandra or Medea I suppose. My favourite adjective used to be 'sunlit' but god knows what I was thinking. Far too trite. I also hankered after 'cascade' which is a revoltingly showy word.

Oh how I am waffling innanely. I do apologise.

I have been sat at work Googling for 6 hours and 54 minutes now and have lost the will to live. Coffee machine is on the blink as well so I was dragged to Starbucks for coffee this lunchtime.
Will have to perform at least three Hail Mary's for that one.
Anyone read the latest Lionel Shriver book? I haven't read great reviews on it and wondered if anyone I know has first-hand experience. As you may or may not know I think We Need to Talk About Kevin is a masterpiece. It's inevitable that I'll be disappointed with the next one. I can remember how let down I was on reading Sense and Sensibility post Pride and Prejudice. You think you have found a literary god and then realise they are human after all.