Monthly Archives: April 2015

Thought for the Day

I’ve often wondered why the recipients of kindness are inclined to rebel against their benefactors and repay them with a somewhat distinct resentment as opposed to an appreciation of their good deeds?

The more one tries to unravel the real cause of this contrary effect that seems a contradiction to the accepted notion of gratitude, the more one is baffled than ever.

On the face of it, recipients are over-joyed when showered with the means to make their life more tolerable and to have access to some luxuries.

But soon enough, they turn envious, wanting more of the same – as if one is obligated to make a habit of it, and cocoon them in a life of idleness. Then the pursuit of help becomes their main target and the duration of it their objective by whatever means at their disposal.

Is the greed in human nature so powerfully ingrained in the very depths of our genes that to overcome it requires a constant fight to keep it in check, and a steely determination not to weaken or fall foul of temptation.

The subject of why people react in the way they do is much more complex than we are led to believe by psychoanalysts, or by Freudianism; for the mysteries of the human brain and its total management of the entire body is so intricate that it defies comprehension.

Suffice it to say that if the very tenets of religious beliefs are hard to decipher in terms of science and common sense, then how can we expect to analyse the individual emotions of a human being whose very structure is as puzzling as ever – despite the technical advances in every conceivable strata of knowledge that this century has achieved.

The lesson to be had, though, is to try to spread goodwill and the capacity to contain the foibles that afflict us sometimes, in order to avoid conflict with others, and thus achieve peace and serenity in a world undergoing great upheavals at this moment in time.

The Feminine Enigma

I’m not surprised to read that taking an age to get ready and always going to the lavatory in pairs are among the top fifty things that baffle men about women.

A poll of two thousand men also found that many don’t understand women’s obsession with shoes and handbags, their love of candles and their need for scatter cushions.

The contents of their handbags, often a well-guarded secret, expensive visits to hairdressers at regular intervals, and constant diets that tend to irritate, also perplex the average man; and the disproportionate claim to have ‘nothing to wear’, when standing in front of a wardrobe full of clothes, also made the list.

The study found that the average man was confused by his partner six times a week. While many found the differences ‘endearing’ almost sixty per cent of men admitted it had led to arguments.

Kirsty Oakes, the marketing manager of Hammond’s Furniture, which commissioned the research, said: ‘For years there have been things men and women struggle to understand about each other. Shoes, handbags and clothes leave many men scratching their heads, perhaps because they often have the bare essentials in the wardrobes themselves. It can make a woman’s shoe and clothes collection seem huge, especially when men just don’t understand the need for them all.’

In the list of topics which bewildered, mood swings came top, followed by ‘shopping being a social event’ and the time it took women to get ready.

As I see it, the feminine mystique, although it can be a source of aggravation at times, is the main factor that keeps the sexes in thrall of each other. To understand women fully will rob us of a bond that flourishes through a process of perpetual discovery and keeps relationships free from a dreaded stagnancy.

Curiously enough in life, it is often the opposites that keep the fire of concupiscence burning for conflicts are known to generate a certain frisson which is hard to define. To crown it all, woman up to mischief are often wiser than men.

A Tonic for the Bereft

As the soccer season is hotting up and nearing its conclusion, I would like to inform readers of my blog that next season might see a new trend of having female referees clad in next to nothing to officiate games – and a new generation of fans will fill stadiums to capacity, notably for the wrong reasons. Come forward, Claudia Romani, who will have no problem taking names of misbehaving footballers who will no doubt clamour to date her while being chastised for foul play.

The Italian model, thirty-two, is qualified to take charge of games in the Italian top two leagues, Serie A and B.

Born in L’aquila, Italy, the buxom model appeared on covers such as GQ and Maxim, and in 2006 was voted one of the hundred sexiest women in the world by FHM Denmark.

Since 2010, she is based in Miami, Florida. She posts daily Instagram snaps for her sixty thousand followers in skimpy pieces of kit, which would cause the most disciplined players to stray offside. Claudia, who has yet to make her debut in a professional game, says: ‘Running around on the pitch with all those players and calling the shots is just an irresistible opportunity.’

But for whom? I may ask. Who can now say that women are the weaker sex, when a temptress in the form of Claudia is around to turn the most hunky of men into jellies?

Looking at what she might wear is enough to change football into the sporting equivalent of the film Fifty Shades of Grey.

How wonderful this innovation would be to bring joy to those who badly need a boost to their fading libido.

Has the Labour Party Lost its Way?

I’m astonished how Labour keep coming up with new policies as the election is nearing its climax in order to steer the working class into believing that Labour are on their side.

The truth of the matter is the opposite.

To fleece the rich is an old dogma that has long ago passed its sell by date, for the very people that spend big money as if there is no tomorrow are to a larger extent boosting the economy, reducing the number of unemployed and causing a real boom in the property sector – which, in its turn, is the pivot in enticing the mega rich from abroad to settle in London and spend vast sums of money which the British cannot afford.

The proof is that despite the so-called recession the restaurants in the capital are bursting at the seams with clients and the shops with expensive garments are mushrooming everywhere to cope with the unshakeable demand of foreigners who view London as the centre of the universe.

The bunch of Labour left-wingers, with Ed Miliband as their leader, are beginning to frighten the life out of the very people that are instrumental in keeping Britain afloat by announcing measures that will surely drive them to more friendly environments and leave us to rue the day.

Howlers of this proportion will cripple the economy and lessen our influence in the world.

To bite the hand that feeds us is lethally counter-productive and will signal to the world that Britain has put the clock back to the dark days of shambolic economic disasters by loonies who are determined to seek power no matter how.

The working classes have never had better opportunities to improve their standard of living than during the past few years. If Labour come to power with their empty promises they will experience a decline in their earnings and unemployment will be rife.

A lot of people will be worried if the British electorate opts for Labour, whose hypocritical stance on most things is deplorable.

Suffice to look at Tony Blair and the millions of pounds he amassed, and you will want to flee the country in disgust.

Let’s pray that the working class will save the day by rejecting Labour and choosing the Conservatives as the most practical option. They will simply be better off.

Stand By Your Friers!

When I first came to England, in October 1949, food rationing was still an inconvenience that the average household had to put up with.

Rabbit was a staple diet, as was the traditional fish and chips. Both became a delicacy to the palette in the absence of the great variety of food that we enjoy today.

But scarcity also proves what sends the most modest of foods to a higher level or appreciation gets forgotten in times of plenty.

One still yearns for the days when, armed with very little money and with a hungry stomach, we were able to have a proper nosh-up of fish and chips wrapped in a newspaper, which even seemed to enhance the taste, despite its lack of hygiene. This British tradition, long regarded as the national dish of Britain, is about to lose its sentimental value by an Italian claim that fish and chips were first fried in Venice.

Italian schoolchildren are being taught that Venetian immigrants brought the recipe to the British Isles.

It has been served to thousands of pupils in school canteens across Rome in recent weeks, replacing typical Italian pasta. The campaign was part of an EU menu which included meals from a number of nations. Fish and chips, however, proved to be one of the most popular.

But although it was selected to represent the traditions of Britain, the Italians appeared to have hijacked its origins by claiming that they were the true inventors of the dish. In the description offered to pupils, Rome’s education officials say that Venetian immigrants may have brought the meal across the channel.

Andrew Crook, treasurer of the National Federation of Fish Fryers, said he had never before heard of an Italian origin for fish and chips. The dish was first served around 1860 by the Malin family of London and the Lees of Mossley, near Manchester, both staking the claims to be first. ‘I have never heard of anything of the Italians bringing over fish and chips,’ he said, ‘all the history books say it was either the Malins or the Lees.’

Apparently, the Italians prefer a slightly healthier version – with the fish only slightly fried before being baked in an oven.

The British are very protective of their traditions of being the best fryers of their fish and chips and will never tolerate its sabotage by the Italians or anybody else.

Rule Britannia and the British will never be the same without the aromatic vapours of this national dish embedded in their genes.

The Sensational Rise of Nicola Sturgeon

On my 1st April blog (The Conservatives in the Danger Zone) I warned the Tories that Nicola Sturgeon, whom I labelled as the modern Cleopatra, is not to be overlooked as a potential threat to their election hopes and that they should marshal their strategies accordingly.

I gave my reasons: namely, that she is devastatingly cunning and whose wily instincts befuddled, I must presume, greater men than our current bunch of boneless politicians.

I was proven right in my assessment as on the same night, during her encounter on ITV with six other leaders who are contesting the forthcoming general election, she literally reigned supreme and emerged the winner of the debate, displaying a cool and precise capacity to rise to the challenge and demolish her adversaries with ease to a stunned audience.

On Saturday 4th April, the Daily Mail headline called her ‘The Most Dangerous Woman in Britain’ as crowds hailed her ‘Queen of Scots’ after her TV triumph when she told Ed Miliband ‘we’ll call the shots now’. And by golly, she wasn’t kidding.

The rest of the weekend, the papers followed suit by acknowledging her to be the most formidable politician to come to the fore and cause havoc in the camps of others. In this context, I would like to reiterate the closing paragraphs of my blog of 1st April, which were specific and to the point:

The Conservative strategy should now address this looming problem with all the might at its disposal and alert the British public to the dangers that Scotland under a Labour coalition with the SNP will mean, namely that the focus of power will move north of the border and a reverse takeover will ensue. The Scottish Referendum, although failing to break up Britain, will miraculously give the Scots the upper hand to rule Britannia as their ultimate prize. What a calamitous situation that would be!

Thought for the Day

Good Friday was grim. The rain was pelting down. The garden had the air of misery. No one in sight. Totally deserted.

People were either sheltered in their homes or had left the great metropolis to spend Easter in the country.

The occasional dog walker could be seen from time to time, but also looked fed-up and couldn’t wait to get back home and try to make the most of an uneventful day where an enforced holiday is hoisted upon us – whether we like it or not.

Religious people go to church on this day when Jesus of Nazareth was led to the cross and crucified over two thousand years ago for the redemption of our sins. Two days later, the faithful mark his resurrection from the dead to signal the birth of Christianity.

Doubters feel a sense of despair, for they too would like to believe in the Bible and look forward to an afterlife where they encounter an eternal serenity, bereft of the cruelties that our world heaps upon us, but can’t make sense of it all.

They suffer a great deal in the process, envious of those who find the grace to shake off the complexities that hamper the dis-enlightened from being converted to a Christian dogma; one that, scientifically, is at odds with reality as we understand it, and therefore cannot be verified.

Brought up as a Roman Catholic and being taught by monks from an early age in the Holy Land, I too have sometimes my doubts, which I fight constantly in order to give more meaning to my terrestrial life.

But, having said that, I’m resigned, as most people are, to the inevitability of death and the consequence of a ‘beyond’.

For surprise has always been an element which, irrespective of what it brings in its wake, has given me that strange lift-up that curiosity engenders. For this I’m grateful, and content to embrace the enigma of creation.

Reforming La Dolce Vita

Has Berlusconi’s lust for sex cooled off as a result of his community service, following a fraud conviction, which had seen him entertaining Alzheimer patients at a care home near Milan for the last ten months, with the former cruise-ship crooner going as far as to regale them with love songs?

It seems most unlikely that his sex addiction has suddenly given way to contrition despite his statement that ‘the time spent with the sick, with the volunteers, with the health and social workers, has been a moving experience’, adding that he now ‘plans to continue with the experience’.

That might be the case, for men of his prodigious talents for self-promotion can often reveal a hidden aspect of their persona normally kept under wraps for fear of wrecking their Lothario image which has served them well in their particular sphere of operations.

However, embarrassing wiretaps made public for the first time reveal that Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, complained that he ‘flagged’ in Cabinet meetings after partying ‘too hard’ into the earlier hours of the morning. He also asked an alleged pimp to limit the number of women at parties to ‘two a head’.

For us normal heterosexuals that in itself requires a vigorous disposition, nevertheless. But for Berlusconi that was perhaps considered a more reasonable watering down of his carnal activities to control the dissipation of his total energies, some of which were needed elsewhere.

The taped conversations were released during the trial of Gianpaolo Tarantini, who is accused of supplying prostitutes to Berlusconi at his Rome mansion in 2008 and 2009.

The court was told that Mr Tarantini, an entrepreneur who has previously been convicted of dealing cocaine, spoke regularly with Berlusconi while he was prime minister to organise supplying prostitutes for his parties. He also listened as Berlusconi regaled him with stories of his political exploits including a boast that he had convinced the United States and Europe to bail out the banks during the financial crisis of 2008.

In the tapes, Berlusconi said to Mr Taratini: ‘I thought I would die of tiredness. I cannot do three o’clock in the morning any more.’ Berlusconi said he would be inviting to one party ‘very powerful senior Italian television executives who could find work for his female guests’.

Where now for Berlusconi? With two girls a night as his limit, he might find time to stir the political pot once again and bring a much needed jollity to the European scene, which has of late no one else to entertain them – except the goofy François Hollande who fumbles around causing mayhem as he goes along.

Berlusconi will make the ideal glittering distraction that only a rogue of his calibre can generate. A reformed Berlusconi, however, will be an utter boring fart which we could dispense with.

Oh God, please save us from such a misfortune.

The Look that Beguiles

Rita Ora, the British singer, songwriter and actress, has become one of my favourite all-round entertainers whose latest challenge as a judge on The Voice, the BBC’s latest hit television programme,  has won her hoards of new fans to complement her existing legion of followers.

Born on 26th November 1990 in Kosovo, her debut studio album, Ora, released in 2012, was number one in the UK. It contained the number-one singles ‘Rip’ and ‘How We Do Party’.

Since then she never looked back with multiple successes that kept her in the forefront of a very competitive industry.

She seems unstoppable with an ambition that knows no boundaries.

Her personality, bubbling with enthusiasm, is infectious. She looks human, sexy, emotionally driven and has no qualms of being playful and slightly outrageous when opportunities demand it.

The secret of her appeal is that despite her outré comportment she remains simpatico and vulgar-free.

Her popularity has soared to a new generation of television viewers who have found her a bundle of fun and compulsively watchable. She has a charismatic presence easy to the eye and serenely reassuring.

I must admit that she has managed to seduce me in no time at all. Just look at her revealing dress at this year’s Oscars, and tell me that you will be able to resist her.

I know you would be lying if you were to pretend otherwise.

Women of her ilk are a necessity today, for they bring us joys we no longer experience in a world occupied by greed and deception.

Her latest outfit is a tonic for sore eyes…

Amanda Knox Can Breathe Again

Waking up at my usual hour of 5 am on Saturday, I heard the news that Amanda Knox and her former lover had been sensationally acquitted of the murder of English student Meredith Kercher the night before, in a surprise move that ended an eight-year legal saga.

Italy’s Supreme Court, after deliberating for more than ten hours, overturned the pair’s previous convictions in a ruling that stunned many a legal pundit throughout the world.

The reason that most observers were pessimistic as to the outcome was partly due to the over-vehemence of the original prosecutor of the case, who described Amanda as the devil incarnate, and with his bullying tactics that were vindictive and hateful, far beyond the accepted limits of court procedure. His own personal record to get convictions in other cases was rather shady and open to closer scrutiny.

Having avidly followed the case at the time and seen Amanda undergoing a torturous onslaught of abuse by the Italian legal system, which in my view presented concocted evidence unlikely to lead to a conviction, I felt that justice would be denied in that courtroom in Perugia in 2007.

The assassination of her character took many facets. Portrayed largely as a promiscuous temptress, Amanda stood no chance of a fair trial.

I wrote on my blog at the time that my gut feeling was that Amanda was innocent and yet had to bear being incarcerated for over four years in an Italian jail before she was released in her first acquittal in 2011.

Throughout her ordeal Amanda behaved with great dignity, stood her ground serenely and showed an inner determination, despite her youth. She became a media favourite and proved herself to be made of sterner stuff.

I’m glad she has survived the trauma of being criminalised until now.