The sub-species: spammers

I nearly didn’t get a blog up today. Several days ago I received notification from my provider that a comment had been posted on one of my older blogs. It was a typical piece of spam: just a series of links to who knows what. When I went to this blog-site to deal with it, lo and behold I couldn’t get into my own site! After several fruitless attempts I decided to leave it alone and try again the next day. The next day, the same thing happened. The third attempt was made in the evening, sitting next to the Old Boy. After listening to me use language that totally lacked any couth, he sighed deeply and said, in a resigned-typical-female-needs-my-expertise kind of way, “I’ll log in for you.” Much muttering ensued. Nothing was achieved. Needless to day, my wonderful techno-freakish Old Boy finally reinstated the status quo. I think he used magic to do it. And, here I am. So, I ask myself: what kind of person is a spammer? What sad, twisted little life do they lead that making things difficult for other people, is their greatest joy? What sort of person gets out of bed in the morning and challenges themselves to see how many people they can disadvantage in one day? Are they related to the phone spammers? Is there a distinct, as yet scientifically un-catalogued, sub-species of human beings that delight in praying on the vulnerability and, sometimes, good will of others, for either financial or emotional gain? I beat they dine daily on boiled Brussels sprouts, boiled cauliflower and mushy broad beans. Perhaps if they stopped dining on the spawn of hell, they might act a little nicer. It’s a...

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Those amazing phones

I  dream every night and often it’s quite entertaining. Last night was no exception. I was the lead detective (of course) in a case involving some sort of espionage in a big business. We had one guy undercover, working at one of the desks in a very busy office. He was a Chinese dude by the name of Chen. Nice guy. Anyhoo my team and I, acting on information supplied by Chen, raided the office, which was an enormous space. I think it occupied almost the entire floor in the high-rise building. We were at one end of the room, questioning people, while Chen was still undercover and working at his desk at the other end. Suddenly I got a message from him on my phone. He’d set it up so that I could see him. (Is this possible? I don’t know because I don’t have a mobile phone and am continually bemused by all the things they’re supposed to do.) He was about to pass on some important information when he suddenly slumped at his desk and white foam began to bubble out of his mouth. Poison! I thought.  “Get him a doctor,” I shouted. “Call an ambulance!” It seemed to be taking forever and meanwhile good old Chen was dying. I had to do something, so I grabbed my phone and raced for my car. I kept tapping the screen, saying, “Don’t die on me, Chen. We’ll get you help.” I raced the phone through the busy city traffic in a desperate bid to get it to the hospital. The weird thing is (apart from what I’ve just told you) that no one thought it was strange for me to take the phone and not the actual person. Not even me. Deep,...

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Mother’s Day

Here in the Land of Oz, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. (Or is it, “Mothers’ Day”?) I have mixed feelings about it. Of course, I’m all for making mothers feel special and appreciated. Same goes for fathers on their special day. Nothing wrong with a bit of family love. I will be having lunch with my kids and grandkids before they all go off with the Old Boy to the football, and I drive myself home. The Wonder Dog will then have the rest of the day to spoil me. It’s always nice to have time with the family, so I’m grateful. However, I can’t help thinking of all the people who are sad on this day. First of all, those of us whose mothers have died, will feel the loss. I was a most fortunate child; I had a great mum. But, then there are the people who never knew their birth mother, because they were orphaned or abandoned or given up to adoption. Then there are the people who had terrible mothers who, due to alcoholism or drugs or mental illness or just plain wickedness, abused them until they had a chance to escape. And, there are all the women who’d love to be mothers but are unable to experience that joy for one reason or another. I wonder what those people think of the saccharine sweet images of motherhood that we see on our televisions and in advertising material. Just like it has done with Christmas, the business world has glormed on to the idea of mothers as a marketting tool. We’re then presented with the Hallmark ideal of true motherhood, from which most of us fall far short. According to Advertising Land, I’m supposed to be a trim woman, with silver gray hair swept back (or up) in an elegant coiffure; a gracious woman, fashionable in an understated manner, with facial skin like a thirty year old because I use Nivea or Palmolive or Olay or some other gunk. In reality I’m a chunky woman, whose hair is still mainly dark with just a few silver highlights cut in a slightly punky way; a not always gracious woman (often a right grumpy-bum), only fashionable in my own eyes, with facial skin that is dry and afflicted with age spots (one the shape of Africa on my cheek), that occasionally gets an application of goop when I remember it. Thankfully my family loves me anyway and I don’t need a special day to assure me of that. Of course, I won’t say no to anything they’d like to give me – that would be ungracious and we all know that’s not what we mothers aspire to be. As I said: Mixed feelings about the whole deal. But, as it’s on the calendar let’s make it a day to show our respect for decent mothering and to uphold the dignity of women everywhere. If you’ve still got your mother in your life, I hope you have a lovely day...

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This ‘halal’ business

I have no problem with labelling food stuffs so that the consumer knows what they’re getting. We’ve had heart-friendly foods, gluten-free foods, kosher food, diabetic-friendly, low-sugar, low-fat, peanut-free and other such labels for ages now and that’s fine with me. I, therefore, don’t get my knickers in a knot with the concept of halal food. There’s nothing sinister about it; it’s just the Muslim version of kosher. (And, there is no proof that money raised by getting a halal certification is going to terrorists, any more than money raised by kosher certification goes to Zionists, or heart-friendly certification goes to on-line dating companies.) Halal (acceptable), means that the food doesn’t contain alcohol, or any product derived from a pig, and has been ritually slaughtered according to halal specification. It, therefore, has been approved by an Imam for consumption by a Muslim. Contrary to one of the popular theories floating about the internet, we can all eat halal food and enjoy it. Although, I do have a couple of problems, based on my own ethics. 1) There seems to be a plethora of halal certifications for food that, by its very nature, shouldn’t require any certification; eg: cheese, vegetables, etc. Some halal certifications seem to be a purely fund-raising exercise but, I could be simplifying the issue and am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. 2) The form of ritual slaughter is the same as it occurred back when Mohammed first laid down the rules in the 7th century. The idea (similar to kosher foods) is to drain all the blood out of the animal. Back then, everyone killed animals fairly similarly, with no thought as to how the animal was treated apart from getting it killed. These days, here in Australia (and many, many other nations) we have a law that requires the animal to be stunned before slaughter, so as to reduce its suffering. I don’t see why Muslim slaughter-men can’t be required to do the same for their animals. Therefore, I could never bring myself to eat any halal meat even though I know there are people who can’t see why I’d be bothered. So…why did I get my knickers in a knot about halal-certified Easter eggs back in April? After all, there’s no ritual slaughter involved in the making of chocolate. Would I begrudge a bit of chocolate to a Muslim child? No, of course not. There are plenty of other sorts of non-Christians who enjoy the treat. Have at it, I say. What raised my ire is that: 1) Muslims don’t celebrate Easter. They believe that Jesus wasn’t crucified – they believe Allah rescued him at the last minute and put someone else in his place – and, therefore, they definitely don’t believe in the resurrection. So, why should a chocolate company pay for halal certification of a food that is specifically linked to this Christian religious festival, which Muslims don’t celebrate? 2) In the Middle East a faction of Islam is currently slaughtering any Christian – man, woman or child – that they can lay their hands on. In Iraq and Syria, Christian communities that can trace their heritage back to the late first and early second century are being systematically wiped out. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call this a form of genocide. Thousands upon thousands have been killed. Many of them were beheaded (including children) with a small knife, which by its very size required minutes of hacking, not one clean swipe with a sword or guillotine. There was not one ounce of mercy in those killings. I saw an interview on television, recently, of a captured IS fighter. He said that he used a blunt knife so as to prolong the victim’s suffering. Is it any wonder that I, a Christian, would be just a tad offended that foods linked to the celebration of the most significant event in our faith, has been certified as halal for Muslims, when so many of our people are being killed on a daily basis by factions of that faith? (Knickers definitely knotted.) Now, I know that 99% of Muslims in this country are appalled by what IS, Boko Haram and Al Shabab are doing. I know that they don’t support them in any way. (This alone would mean that if IS came here, those same moderates would also be targetted.) I can live side by side with them quite happily, thank you. We have to stop demonising every Muslim because of the radical few. It is an understandable reaction, coming out of fear and disgust, but it is not rational and it is definitely not helpful! Conclusion: stop passing on...

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