Monday, May 26, 2008

Secret Society

The time has come to confess to my long standing membership in a very, very old secret society, fear not, this society is not the kind to dump me in the East River for spilling the beans on my membership. In fact, we glory in being known it helps us to identify and recruit new members, and we are ALWAYS (for reasons that will become painfully clear) in need of fresh meat... err new members. First, I suppose I should reveal the name of the society of which I am such a proud member, it is a very simple name we are called The Ministry of Bad Ideas or The Ministry for short. No, we are not some sect of religious morons, the Ministry here is more like a cabinet minister not a fire and brimstone kind of minister. We have a sister/brother organization that people may have heard of it is called the Ministry of Silly Walks. However, we are the older organization, and are still thriving to this day. We are an international, multi-cultural group. We take all sorts if you have an idea run it past our Central Committee (the ones that have survived that is), and if it is deemed worthy of our attention, and you survive a demonstration of your idea, voila!!! you are a member. We scour the globe for acolytes to bring into the Ministry. Our budget is small, our equipment might be outdated, but by god(s) our imaginations are boundless. Secondly, I suppose a brief history of the Ministry is in order. We started a LONG time ago, no one is quite sure of the name of our founder or the exact date which we were founded. We are not the most adept at record keeping (fire, which we LOVE to play with, has a tendency to destroy records). We do know that the Pharaoh that had all those problems with Moses, he was one of ours. That whole "let my people free" crap would not have been possible without us, and Charlton Heston owes us a bit of thanks. The long standing, but now defunct, medical idea that health was based on the four humours i.e. black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood, that was one of ours. You have to admit it did have some sticking power, and we were able to get a decent chap (for a Greek) like Hippocrates to expound it for us. One of the quirks of our society is not all members know they are members, and not all members are totally incompetent. We have had a number of "successes" over the years most of them without trying. A surprising lot of our members have been doctors, we are not quiet sure why this is so, but as long as they pay their dues we do not ask too many searching questions. William Harvey was one of ours until he had to ruin it by solving that whole blood circulation thing, then we had to read him out of the Ministry. He was a nice chap for an Englishman. Most of the guys who tried to copy Da Vinci's flying machine were ours. In fact, that footage you see from time to time on TV with all those spectacularly complex machines crashing miserably, comes from our archives. Ockham's Razor is not a favourite theory of ours. That bastard has caused us a great deal of grief. We thrive on the absurdly complex, simple is for the weak minded, and the morally bankrupt. Alfred North Whitehead who came up with a theory of relativity more complex than Einstein's, one of us. Polytheism was mostly our idea, why have just one all encompassing god when you can have hundreds of them for all sorts of stuff. It helps you shift the blame, and who knows one or two of them may smile upon you as you leap off that bridge with papier mache wings, complete with real live duck feathers glued on for safety, strapped to your arms. Asking any number of gods, fates, pixies, fairies, idols, or really cool looking stones, for luck is one of our major tenets. Being an extremely eclectic organization, we sometimes expand our membership to include non-humans. Mrs O'Leary's (nice lady for an Irishwoman) cow was one of ours (I told you we like messing about with fire). The cat and mouse that recently caused a seven day electrical failure in Albania, they were ours. In fact, our history is so long and colourful (and taking into account the length of this post and my readers attentions spans) I would be doing the Ministry an injustice to attempt to squeeze it into one post. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mea Culpa

I guess you could consider this apology to my readers (both of them). Though, truth be told, as I have said before in the blog I don't really write for my readers. Considering I really don't have to bother with a fucking apology, you are particularly blessed dear reader(s). The apology in the case is for the horrid writing of my previous post. The idea was sound, the premise was good, but the execution was piss poor. I had a very specific idea to attempt to illuminate, and I used expressions that, upon rereading the post myself, make me want to vomit. Hackneyed expressions, and simplistic attempts to covey an idea are unforgivable. I should take at least some pride in something in my life, and since there isn't much to choose from, I should at least be more careful when attaching my "name" to the things I write. They say a hundred monkeys typing away for a hundred years would eventually write Hamlet, I hope for fuck's sake that I am slightly more literary gifted that your average monkey. I am somewhat cheered by the fact that even Shakespeare wrote reams and reams of absolute drivel. However, the downside to that is the bastard also managed to squeeze out Hamlet. Well, at least I have got the drivel out of the way.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Castles in the Air

I have a tendency to build them. Which is NOT a good thing. I have been on this planet (at least in this form) for almost 39 years, and I have recently discovered that I am a very poor judge of character. I pick the wrong horse with a shocking degree of regularity. It is a talent that I would not recommend anyone trying to cultivate. With it comes with a lot of pain, sorrow, and a great deal of disappointment. None of this is news to anyone who knows me. Do not get me wrong, I have great, good, friends. Friends that would do anything for me. However, my friendship wagering has been rather hit or miss. I tend to hit or miss in a BIG way. The friends I have are awesome, the ones that I have missed on have left bruises on my ego and pschye that won't be going away anytime soon. The problem is that I have missed more often that a)I would like to admit and b)might have lost more than I could afford. I understand that I should shake the misses off like dust off a boot, but it appears that I am the type of fellow on which failure lingers. It clings to me like a bad odour. It is a personal failing, I sometimes miss the forest for the trees. In my younger days this was not as bad, perhaps age makes it harder to turn the other cheek to these blows of insecurity. All those friends that have gone in search of fairer weather are, for reasons I CANNOT fathom, still rankle. One by one they left leaving me here sitting in my storm wondering was that lightning that just struck? How could I have thought that horse was going to finish anything but badly? What was I thinking? Perhaps while I am pissing away all this time building my castles, I have forgotten one very important thing. A good castle has a drawbridge and a moat.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo

Being homebound after a lovely 10 day stay in hospital which cost me about a foot of my colon, I have had the extreme pleasure of getting to watch the good the bad and the ugly twice in the last 2 days. I have to say it is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. It gets better (and somehow sadder) each time I watch it. Clearly, Sergio Leone was a genius even if he was Italian. Now clearly the "good" character played with perfection by one of my personal heroes Clint Eastwood, is the most famous character. Playing the "Man with No Name" with the fewest words possible our boy Clint delivers a masterful performance. However, to me the true "hero" of the film is Eli Wallach a.k.a. "the ugly." Played with zest and robustness Tuco is a Mexican bandit that is the personification of us all. Lee Van Cleef plays "the bad" a.k.a. Angel Eyes. Truth be told the line between all three of these guys if pretty thin. Blondie (as Tuco calls Clint Eastwood's character) is no saint. He freely indulges in a money making scheme with Tuco, and when that has, in his opinion, reached it zenith he leaves Tuco to die out in the desert. Not what you would call a sterling fellow. Angel Eyes leaves his own trail of death and destruction behind him, but as with all the characters is in the pursuit of the lost $200,000 in gold that motivates him. At its core this is an anti-war film, the needless slaughter of the bridge scene, and the characters reaction to it show that Leone had a point to make about war and its madness. Throughout it all, Tuco steals the show his is the most developed character of the film. We know nothing of Blondie or Angel Eyes' family or past, but we get to see Tuco's brother, and heard his explanation of why he turned out "ugly." He is the most human; "Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Tuco." Showing that humans cannot be either all good or all bad, and that most of us are just ugly.