Monday 19th January 2015. Week 187 Spain.

    Sex and the wheel,

    Right I know what you're thinking, sex and the wheel, what could this possibly have to do with camping in Europe? As it turns out quite a lot, so read on..

    I remember clearly, as a young lad, the whole family feeling uncomfortable when, while watching an episode of Survival, a TV programme about wildlife in African, a lion mounted his mate. None of us knew where to look. I quickly played with a marble I'd conveniently found under the sofa and my younger brother buried his face in his Beano. I thought my dad might have chosen that moment to call an emergency fire drill, he didn't. Still to this day, I've no idea why it's perfectly acceptable to show animals banging ugly's, but not humans. Strikes me, watching Mr & Mrs Lion get their jollies off is just a tad kinky, but who am I to judge.

    My dad once asked if I knew about 'Ladies'. Just the way he said 'Ladies', I knew this was going to be the talk, the one I'd hoped to avoid. I was actually embarrassed for him, so I lied, I'd told him we'd done it at school.

    “What even the..... erm.........?”

    “Yep dad, covered that” I interrupted.

    “Really? good. Excellent. What about how.......?”

    “Yes we had slides for that bit” I quickly added.

    “Champion” he said. “Well....... glad we cleared that up” and off he went, fatherly duty done, as happy as Larry.

    We had done it at school. The only problem was I'd chosen that day to bunk off, so I missed the lesson given by the vicar. -Why the vicar was the one to give us sex education lessons, I've no idea. I think he wanted to add an element of religious guilt to the whole business. It also struck me as odd that while I had history twice a week for years, sex education was a quick one-off lesson one wet afternoon. Like many, the later would have come in far more useful- Still, was not lost. The following a day I got an overly excited abridged version from my mates. However I'm convinced they must have left some bits out, but that's another story.

Our other local?

    Now I already knew a little about ladies. In particular what they looked like with very few clothes on, because I found my dads stash of porn. Once in the out-house and then again on top of his bedroom wardrobe. I think it was the same stash. I think he circulated it for security reasons. In much the same way the FBI might move around an important witness in a Mafia trial. It was, by today's standards, fairly tame stuff, but still, back then, a bit of an eye opener to a young impressionable lad like myself. I remember bits of them seemed to loom, quite alarmingly, out the page at me. As I recall the models looked about the age of my mates mums, mid to late thirties. I don't know if that added to my fantasies or detracted from them. It's all bit of a blur.

    Anyhoo, why am I confessing this? Well someone pulled me up on a comment I made last week. I'd said: 'those who objected to pornography are either prudes or narrow-minded. Thing is, I didn't actually say it. It was just one of the facts about Spanish society I came across while doing research. Personally, I think it's a healthy view.

    Pornography is a complex issue. For a start, you have to decide what actually constitutes porn. Ask a retired vicar's wife, and someone doing twenty in Strangeways and you'll get two vastly different answers. Porn varies dependant of the viewers point of view. There isn’t an industry standard, an absolute, least not yet.

    Enter the EU.......TBC








    Tuesday20th January 2015. Week 187. Spain

    Sex and the wheel. (Cont)

    I see in a moment of madness, the EU is going for it. They are out to ban porn. I have to say this is exactly why so many people, either don't take the EU seriously, or just want to divorce themselves from it. Is this really EU business?. I thought their remit was to ensure Europe's wealth, growth, and stability not to set its citizens moral compass?

    However, first they'll have to set up a committee to define pornography and therein lies a danger. Because no decision arrived at by a committee has ever worked. Committees only ever arrive at unnecessarily complicated, long winded and wordy compromises. For example, take the wheel. We don't know who invented it but we do a committee had nothing to do with it. This because, if it had, they'd have gone for a square one.

    I can see the argument now.

    “A square wheel overcomes a number of issues associated with round ones”, one of them would have said. “For a start square wheels negate the need for brakes, bearings and axles. Just think of the cash savings” another would chime in. “Experts have done safety tests and its been proven square wheeled charts don't run off. You can park on hillocks, safe in the knowledge your turnip cart ain't going anywhere.” They don't need tyres, they're easier to make and you can nail one to the side of your cart should you want to pimp-up-your-ride'.” Point made I fancy.

    Back to the EU. I have ask, why ban pornography?. For a start nothing banned, books, prostitution, drugs, films, and booze (soon smoking) has ever worked. They get just go underground. It might absolve society from having to deal with it but at what cost?

    There's an assumption that porn is in some way bad for us. And yet there's no study, that I can find, and I've looked, that says looking at pictures of humans -or lions- engaged in coitus is, in any way, detrimental to the viewer. In a recent US study it was found that married couples were the biggest users of porn.

    It's been argued that porn exploits, and stereotypes women. Now I've never understood the exploitation argument. This because they get paid for doing and it's us blokes who part with good coinage to buy it, women have more sense. So aren't we the ones being exploited? Men feed their, pre-programmed, sexual urges with porn which, and let's be honest here, without it the human race wouldn't exist. No man would take on a mother-in-law if there wasn't something in it for him.

    Pornography portrays women as sex objects some say those hell bent on banning it. Trouble with that argument is that completely ignores what human behaviourists have proven about how men's attitudes to women are formed. They are shaped when he is young, by his mother, aunts, female cousins and sisters. These women are the role models boys learn from. They also learn from their fathers attitude toward women. When men look at pictures in magazines they don't see women, they see a women. The difference is vast.

    But even if you disagree with every word I've said, and I bet there's a lot, you'll agree with this last point I hope. You ban pornography and it will simply go underground. It will be taken over by unscrupulous criminals who will almost certainly have fingers in other illegal activities.

    At the women who work as models and actresses within the 'industry' have the law on their side (Excluding prostitution. Ed). The 'industry' can be monitored, managed and policed. For no other reason than that, it's crazy to think about banning pornography.








Thursday 22nd January 2015 Week 187 Spain

    MS Vs MINT

    I hate Microsoft. Its nothing new. My dislike has been growing steadily over the years. It peeked with windows 98 and the oft viewed blue-screen-of-death. I'd be engrossed in something when instantly and without warning the screen would turn blue and the message: A fatal error has occurred and windows will be shutting down' would appear. There was nothing you could do but curse, which I did, often and loudly. Today the same message is a little less authoritarian: Your computer's run into bit of a problem, we'll collect some info and then restart it for you :) They've even added a smiley icon to show you how wacky they can be. I expect the windows 10 message will read, 'Yo dude, we fucked up the programming, hang loose while we get our shit together'.

    My main gripe however isn't that, it's with them. Since 85 there have been twenty three variations of windows, most practically indistinguishable from the last, yet each one a money spinner. Today, a couple years after the launch of Win 8, Win 10 is already being tested. Microsoft doesn't upgrade the version you've already brought and paid for, if you want the latest you'll have to buy it. And remember the copy on your machine right now legally belongs to Microsoft, you only paid for a licence to use it, it's their product. A product which they reinvent every couple of years. It's a masterpiece of global corporate marketing which we've all pretty much bought into. Consequently this strategy has made MS a powerful and wealthy company.

Barbate, a typical Spainish resort.

    When Hazel bought a small laptop claiming she couldn't get near this one as I was always on it, it came with Windows7 basic. What this meant, in practical terms, was she couldn't change the desktop image, they had disabled the option. She was stuck with a bland Windows Logo and a reminder she'd got the cheapo copy. Now you might think so what! but folk love personalising their desktops with say, a furry kitten playing with a ball of wool. And I should know. Ten years ago I started a new job. On the second day I noticed the sales directors computer had a desk top image of someone's wedding -his as I was later to find out- In a moment of gormlessness I reverted the image back to a windows image, that grassy knoll one. When he returned he went off on one. He pointed an accusatory finger at various people. It wasn't the cleverest thing I'd done by a long shot and I had no explanation that made sense, so I never owned up. He took it all too personally if you ask me. Suffice to say I never lasted long.

Over Christmas Microsoft installed a huge update on my machine which sent it doolally. I spent two days trying to sort it out. Nothing worked, so in the end I deleted windows and installed Linux Mint and boy am I glad I did. I'm dead chuffed with it. From turning the lap top on and being able to surf the web now takes a mere 46 seconds. I've timed it. With Windows I could switch on, go off and paint the living room ceiling, and come back just as it asked for my password.

    Linux is free. You can make a donation if you like, I did and you know what I'm like with cash! It's that good. Okay, most windows based programmes will not run in Linux but they are thousands of alternative free programmes, just as good, if not better, that do.

    Now when an update arrives it's from a bunch of free source programmes working away to make Linux an even better operating system than Windows. Personally, I reckon they've achieved that already. And remember, Linux has just 2% of the OS market so consequently no one writes virus or malware for it. It's far safer than windows. The only downside is trying to choose which of the forty wonderful desktop images to go with.

    My old Sales manager would be in his element.







Friday 23rd January 2015. Week 187. Spain

    What's on my mind today?

    Let's say I call your mother an ugly old trout. In response you punch me in the gob. Now my question is: will anyone sympathise with me when I accuse you of abusing my right to free speech? I doubt it. I'll be told I'm a dick. We've no right to insult each other. And that's why, even if you were unfortunate enough to have an ugly old trout as a mother I'd make a point of not telling you. The right of free speech doesn't give us carte blanche to disrespect each other.

    Bill Maher, a top American satirist was asked, on a TV chat show recently, his views on the Charlie Hebdo attack. He started his reply by stating, proudly, he was a Liberal. There was a slight pause before he repeated it. -Liberals, and their views, are not universally accepted in the USA-. He received a ripple of applause as the audience acknowledged his bravery in making such a declaration. He then went on to say, and I quote: “We should be able to insult others, that's what free speech is all about”. He was loudly applauded and hooted. Clearly the message here was: Sure! we've all a right of free speech, except those MF commie pinko liberals. The irony was lost on him.

    Many believe that in the pursuit of free speech anything goes. There are no limits. No lines in the sand. Those that believe this are getting two concepts confused. One, Free speech, and two the right to be a complete dick head. Free speech is what I'm exercising right now. I have my little web diary and I can pretty much say anything. I've no fear I'll be dragged out of my van in the middle of the night and whisked away. There are, or course, laws against making libellous claims and printing lies about people, we all understand those and accept them.

    Not so long ago The Charlie Habdo magazine ran a cartoon which portrayed the Pope as a male prostitute. Saying and I quote: 'he enjoyed an enormous amount of anal sex'. To millions of Catholics and non Catholics, and not least the Pope himself, that was offensive, disrespectful and untrue. It's not clever, funny, nor is it journalism. Fortunately the papal army was not sent in to sort them out, nor is there a fringe extremest element within the catholic faith. However, as we all know, there is one on the fringes of the Islamic faith. They fire bombed the office three years ago, after a series of cartoons appeared characterising Mohammed as a sexual deviant. At the time the owner said that he would rather die than surrender his right of free speech. Prophetic words.

    Worth pointing out that free speech is something the magazine knows a lot about because its predecessor, a magazine called Hari Kiri, was closed down and banned by the French authorities for simply poking fun at Charles de Gaulle when he died. At the time there was no outcry, no demonstrations, no marches or universal outrage about free speech. To the French, the magazine had over stepped the line of common decency and it was shut down. Quite a different response from the French over the last week. What are we to make of that? Perhaps Mohammed is fair game but take the piss out of de Gaulle and you're in trouble. That smacks of double standards.

    These murderers, for that's what they are, lest you get them confused with people of any real faith, are to Islam what the American Klu Klux Klan is to Christianity. This wasn't an attack on free speech. It was extremist fanatics, supposedly defending their faith. They weren't terrorists either but that's not how it's been packaged by the media. It was an attack on our way of life. Our freedoms. Our right to free speech and therefore all the more reason to ratchet up the public's fear around Islam.

    And finally I have ask, How would Christians feel if an Islamic magazine depicted Christ as a child molester?. Would they be as philosophical? Would we then all agree Muslims have as much right to insult our religion as we do theirs?

    Because that road leads us to nowhere.

    Have a peaceful weekend. 




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