Sunday, 10 May 2009

Film 'Religulous' - what a hoot!

I was aware of the many criticisms of this film before finally catching up with it yesterday - "cheap pot-shots at easy targets"; "puerile subtitling of interviewees' unintentional mistakes"; "mischievous and misleading editing": "not as incisive as Michael Moore's best work" etc etc. - but, hell, I really enjoyed it - a lot! Even though Bill Maher isn't anywhere near as well-known in the U.K. as he is in the States and I only vaguely knew the name myself, I soon warmed to his sharply direct way of questioning and his evident prior research into the subject of religion, both generally and in particular. It was virtually always a case of "give the interviewee enough rope and he'll hang himself". ('She' in a few cases.) Particularly funny is the way in which 'believers' very soon become indignant that anyone could dare to challenge their faiths. I can identify with that, having been one myself for longer than I'm proud of. Of course its major audience will be religious sceptics like myself. That's a pity because it does deserve much wider play. The other members of the disappointingly small cinema audience seemed to find it every bit as hilarious as I did, though also, at turns, despairing at the fact that such high proportions of otherwise seemingly sensible people can hold as true such frankly batty ideas. All in all, a 'comfort' film for the likes of 'us' but also absolutely recommended.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Tightening the belt - figuratively this time

Had a fit of spending insanity over the last few days, buying things I really can't afford - 2 pairs 'quality' jeans; boxed CD sets of complete symphonies of Sibelius and Vaughan Williams + the Rachmaninov piano concertos; volumes of sheet piano music of Mancini, Bacharach, Frank Loesser, plus other bits and bobs. All in all, although I like everything purchased, this self-indulgence has been very unwise in terms of my limited financial means. Don't quite know what brought it about. Part of it must be my brooding on one's mortality. I can't have that many years left - one of my brothers died just 6 months ago and he was elder by only 2 years. So maybe this splurge was just to cram everything in while I still have the chance. Nevertheless this nonsense has to stop, otherwise I'll be advancing my own demise through worry.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Slender progress

Still happy at the way my waist is reducing, though the closer it gets to the desired goal the harder it is finally to get over the finishing line. But now when sneaking a look at my reflection in passing store windows (as one does) there is hardly any bulge at all to be seen. It's only when on getting back home I drop my jeans in front of a mirror (as one does) there is still a discernible bulge at the belt level. But the achievement so far is certainly satisfactory. There's one oddity worth mentioning - Having reduced food intake quite significantly, the consequent feeling of hunger (which is, of course, never particularly pleasant) is now accompanied by a positive mental 'buzz' at the state of being hungry. The latter never overrides the former, it's more a sort of parallel feeling which I don't recall having had before. Just wondering if this is the same emotion that anorexics experience - though I don't seriously think there's the slightest chance of my going in that direction, certainly not at my age.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Maybe life begins here - (again?)

Just joined a gay website which has the emphasis on older bears with the possibility of actually meeting up with one. It's the first time I've done this and must confess I'm a tad apprehensive about my details being up there 'in the ether' for the ostensible purpose of 'dating'. (There are already half-a-dozen gay sites I visit daily just to view, of course.) Bit early to think whether I ought to drop something into my back pocket for a 'just in case' scenario, but who knows what may happen? So watch this space.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Standing up to difficulties

Bought my first ever 'V' today, my doctor's requisition for which I placed between the other prescription requests. But it was bound to stand out(!) as all my other medication is free (thanks to this country's National Health system - hurrah!) whereas 'V', being non-essential, I have to pay for. The need is occasioned by my blood-pressure medication leaving me somewhat, erm, 'wanting' in a certain department. Was hoping that there'd be no one in the chemist (pharmacy/drugstore) when I went in. There wasn't - but as I waited for my prescription to be prepared no less than four other customers entered. Then the chemist himself came out - He said to me "On the 'private' matter, have you used these tablets before, Mr C.?" Responding negatively he proceeded to tell me, in front of all the others, the same advice my doctor had just told me, while I squirmed and turned just slightly (I hope) red. But the mini-lecture came to an end and I exited heaving a sigh of relief. Won't try the first one out just yet - I don't have the need to as there's certainly no particular person in mind to be the object of my attentions. But at least I've got the hardest(!) part over with. (Maybe I'll regret posting this blog, but what the hell, I'm slightly pissed and I can delete it later anyeay.)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Back with my much-missed little furball friends.

Returned from very successful 'away' yesterday. But now I'm really happy again with my two feline chums - one at my feet at the moment looking up at my face, the other sleeping contentedly after the excitement of the last few days in the cattery. When bringing him back yesterday he was so overjoyed he started rolling over in his carry-cage, purring loudly, despite the swerves and halts and starts of the taxi. When back in the flat he was initially disorientated until he'd explored around, checking that everything was in its rightful place. Then last night he slept with me in my bed again - so all is well and he's forgiven my 'betrayal'. The other pussy apparently had a rather more upsetting time. My neighbour says she was on the window sill as I'd feared, pawing at the window and crying loudly - and eating very little despite food being put out regularly. When I arrived she was actually still right there waiting outside the window. But after letting her in she was also quick to forgive me for the trauma and last night slept beside my bed on the carpet. While away they were both constantly on my mind so it's such a relief to be back with my little 'children' again. Barring any emergency, could be the last time I go away again this year at least. Now we can all purr together.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Tough few days ahead - no pussy.

Five hours ago I delivered my beloved tomcat flatmate to cattery for a few days stay while I go off tomorrow to visit my sis. Although this is the third time he's been there (previous time was a year ago) I feel as low and mean as anything - it's like a weight being carried round in my stomach. Missing him terribly already and feel that he thinks that in spite of all the affection he gives me I've still betrayed him. To make it worse, he spends all of every night sleeping inside this flat even though, in this milder weather, I leave a window open for him to come and go as he wishes. Every couple of weeks or so he changes his sleeping location as though he wants a change of scenery and, just a couple of nights ago, he re-started sleeping with me in my bed. So tonight is not going to be easy (sob sob!). But that's only the half of it. I've also got a tabby whom I'm going to have to lock out when I leave in the morning. (No, it's too complicated to explain.) She' s going to be fed out in the back garden by my kindly downstairs neighbour but will have to sleep somewhere alfresco for the whole time I'm away, probably under a hedge or something. But I know that when I go she'll be at the back mewing pitifully and pawing frantically at the kitchen window to be let in (sob double-sob!). I know this will happen because she did this when she ran away from her own home, five houses down the road from here, and insisted on living with me. (Both her former owner and I tried to get her to go back but she only wanted me as 'daddy' so we both gave in to her intransigence even though I'm not supposed to have any pets at all in this rented flat.) But I'm already counting down to my seeing them both again by doing the mental exercise - "My return is only so long in the future as such-and-such happened in the past." It's a dead cert that I'll be updating that exercise every few hours at least until we're all together again; meantime it's a case of having to endure the bitter pangs of separation.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Criticising religion? What cheek! (I jest, of course.)

After reading this morning Wonderboy's blog (Idle Eyes and a Dormy) on same-sex marriage I also saw an item which is not a million miles away from the subject. It seems that there has been, up to now, over 100 complaints about an episode of 'Coronation Street', this country's most-watched TV soap, in which one of its oldest and most stalwart characters criticises his son for allowing the grandson to be 'indoctrinated' by religion in a school which also teaches Creationism. This same character goes on to refer to God as a 'supernatural being' and, horror of horrors, faith as 'superstition'! The sheer audacity of it! But not to worry, the Broadcasting Standards Authority is going to consider the complaints. (Consider? What is there to consider? Just tell the complainants to "EFF OFF!") By the way, I ought to point out that the programme is fiction, for goodness' sake, although some of us may prefer that it wasn't. This is precisely the same myopic mindset that brought about the 'Satanic Verses' furore/fiasco.
Richard Dawkins argues, why do we allow religionists the prerogative of being allowed to complain that their feelings have been offended when we don't allow the same unique privilege for any other facet of life? If members of a political party said that certain remarks aimed at their views were 'hurtful' they would, quite reasonably, be the object of derision. My observation also informs me that more often than not such persons who maintain their right not to be offended are also those who mock so-called 'political correctness'. Of course we hear about the cases where the latter has been taken to extremes but I think that in many such circumstances the heart is usually in the right place viz. not wishing to hurt people by abuse aimed at what they are, which cannot be changed (even if it was wished) rather than the opinions they hold, which at least can be argued about. But what is 'belief' but opinion? So why the special "you're not allowed to offend me" treatment? With religion it goes even further. It's selective. Included are only the three Abrahamic religions plus Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism (There may be a couple more - though what I know about Buddhism in particular is that in the West at least they take little notice of being criticised. Would that the others were so mature.) But I would defy the others to defend Paganism, Animism. Humanism and other polytheist or atheist beliefs with the same zeal that they moan about their own 'persecution'. Oh well, I'd better stop now before my blood pressure hits the ceiling.

Still wa(i)sting away. Hallelujah!

Just a week and a half ago I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn't get into some army pants I was wearing regularly only last Summer. Well, rejoice! I've got them on right now! Admittedly it's a tight fit but 11 days ago couldn't even envisage getting anywhere near doing up the waist, so if progress continues they should be comfy to wear again soonish. Phew, it's certainly been worth the effort! But recently I started getting a new feeling - a 'buzz' from feeling hungry. This is uncharted territory for me, something totally different. I wonder if this is what anorexics experience. I don't think for a moment that I'll succumb to this condition, certainly not at my age, but it is helping to avoid eating anything my body doesn't really need.
My regime - Breakfast is either a bowl of cereal or a small sandwich. Lunch - a small sandwich with a cup of soup. Dinner - a 'proper' meal, but about 2/3 of size that I'd have had before + for dessert a small yoghurt or piece of fruit, usually an apple or banana. Add to that a mug of (decaff) tea first thing in the morning and 3 mugs of coffee in the rest of the morning/early afternoon + about 2 litres water throughout the day and voila! = my total intake. Seems to be working - and well, too. Now seeing just seeing the result is giving me another buzz. Happy, happy, happy!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

re Mel Gibson and his religion- just a thought.

Reading about the possible financial consequences to poor(!) Mel Gibson on his impending divorce I am actually wondering about another aspect of the split. Being the rabidly devout Roman Catholic that he is, one who apparently considers the last few Popes since John XXIII to have been 'too liberal', I assume that he will in no circumstances re-marry while his ex-wife is still alive. My understanding is that divorce in his Church (also formerly my own) may be permitted in particular circumstances as long as the Roman Catholic party or parties do not re-marry before the former spouse is deceased. (I remember Jackie Kennedy being openly condemned by the Vatican as a 'public sinner' because she married the divorced Aristotle Onassis while his former wife, Maria Callas, was still alive.) Of course I don't wish to prejudge the man as he may well adhere to the inviolable tenets of his Church and remain celibate but I shall be watching his romantic attachments with more than a little interest.