Sunday, 27 May 2007

The RIP Matrix

Okay, so this is a world’s first.

Whilst I was busy preparing an audit project and swotting up on the ATLS manual for my upcoming re-verification course, a Eureka! moment struck me that the whole concept of injury prevention, as exemplified by the Haddon Matrix, could be equally applied to…, preventing relationship problems by modifying it into a Relationship Issues Prevention matrix (what an apt acronym…hmmmmm).

Um, yah. Seriously.

Relationship problems should not be consigned to the dustbin as something that “just happens” as if it’s a random and unpredictable outcome of mismatched human interactions leading to much heartache and ever more cycles of dumpages unleashed onto the world. You don’t have to be responsible for romantic Armageddon. Unless you are dealing with an unreasonable bat-shit-crazy-bunny-boiling psycho, core problems should be predicable and preventable. There are unsuitable individuals and unsuitable environments. In combination they provide a series of chain events that lead to relationship problems.

Prevention can be:

1) Primary – elimination of the event from occurring (like, don’t be wantonly late for your friggin’ date or bitch incessantly or cheat)

2) Secondary – accepts the fact that issues may occur but serves to reduce the severity of said injuries (like, learn to use controlled tact and discretion rather than act on emotional impulse, or having time-out….or wearing total body deflector shields when the dishes start flying at you…I keeeeeeed :P)

3) Tertiary – means reducing the consequences of issues once it has occurred (like, make use of back-up social networks from friends and family, or try to change for the better……or “don’t-get-mad-get-even”….again I keeeeeed :P)

In the grand tradition of lateral thinking (Geoff knows what the hell I’m talking about), the Matrix is just a simple conceptual framework using the 3 principal factors of relationship issues causations: 1) the male 2) the female and 3) the environment. There are also 3 phases in which issues and its severity can be modified: 1) the pre-event phase 2) the event phase 3) the post-event phase.

Some tongue in cheek suggestions are given below (but you get the serious idea behind the concept)…since suggestions can be infinite and limited only by one’s lack of imagination or desire to identify problems and improve, as the matrix simply identifies opportunities for prevention that can be adaptable to any situation.

Of course nothing is going to work if there is:

1) Ineffective or no communication
2) At least one party having no desire to want to make it work
3) An act of God

People should reconnect with what really matters and be more understanding of themselves and that of others’ rather than avoid dealing with issues and repeat the same mistakes again. There will always be individuals who are recalcitrant to behaviour change but for some who have suffered through ignorance, carelessness or brief loss of self-control,they may want to give things a shot. This is a framework for those who are willing to try.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

“You are either with us or against us” or “This is unfair. It is time that we get even.”

Whilst it’s easy to point out the hypocrisies of American domestic and foreign policies, even bigger and more numerous hypocrisies lie within the Muslim Ummah. This is because Muslims on the whole have become largely ignorant of the rich beauty of Islam in peace (why that is the case is itself a huge topic). As a consequence, Muslims now reap what they sow and suffer from widespread repression, corruption, violence, killings, miscarriages of justice, abuse of the vulnerable and women, intolerance, illiteracy, poverty…all of which reign supreme and mostly carried out by Muslims on fellow Muslims. Yet many Muslims remain silent and even collude with it. But when non-Muslims commit such acts on Muslims, blame is instantly trumpeted.

When there is a sense of unresolved injustice in failed societies, it breeds resentment. And for growing numbers of militant, dispossessed, bullied, ignorant and angry Muslims in despair, extreme ideas and certainty of beliefs with oversimplified black/white explanations become increasingly attractive and easy to imbibe. This enables the more radical, intolerant stripped-down brands of “Islam” to become favoured by those who wish to wage perpetual violent war against “infidels”. This has become increasingly entrenched in both misguided non-Muslims and some Muslims as to what “Islam” represents because of the acts of fanatics and terrorists that get disproportionate media attention (who is interested in boring good news eh?). In particular is the concept of “Jihad” which has been continually twisted and abused beyond all meaning and relationship to its intent in the Qur'an.

There are the Qur'anic concepts of Greater Jihad and Lesser Jihad.

The Greater Jihad is an internal fight within an individual for spiritual unity and identity with God. It is a fight to overcome selfishness and the negative aspects of the ego's control over man. It is a struggle to rise to higher moral standards of living, both within the individual and the person's role within society.The Lesser Jihad is for when Muslims are attacked. It is the basis for defence, and not a justification for aggression.

Verses about non-Muslims or Muslims considered “hypocrites” should be understood in its context. The Qur’an many times have stressed the permitting of fighting only in self-defence and not as an act of aggression (Sura 2:190 “Fight in the Cause of God Those who fight against you, But do not transgress limits; For God loveth not transgressors”) but men like bin Laden cite such verses to justify continued violence against unbelievers and even encourage suicide bombings yet nowhere in the Qur’an is there the justification of killing of civilians, let alone the condoning of suicide (forbidden in Islam). Yet such verses are often taken out of context, as they often relate to a specific incident and certain time in the early history of Islam, but very often following and other verses are ignored such as the overarching command of peace (Sura 2:193 “But if they cease Let there be no hostility” Sura 8:61 “But if the enemy Incline towards peace, Do thou (also) incline Towards peace, and trust in God: for He is the One That heareth knoweth (All things)” Sura 4:90 “Therefore if they withdraw From you but fight you not, And (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then God Hath opened no way For you (to war against them)”).

Certain fanatical Muslims would point to isolated verses and argue that perpetual violence against unbelievers is allowed. Ill-informed non-Muslims would point to such verses in isolation and the acts of fanatics as cases in point that Islam is a religion of violence and that it must be defeated. Both point fingers at each other but both mindsets are wrong as everyone gets unwittingly tarred with the same brush. Yet both mindsets have followings because interpretations of events in the real world by either side does in fact contain elements of truth (but also mixed with much lies) and each side sees what one wants to see to continually justify their beliefs.

Ignorance is a disease. It has a host (people) and it has a vector of transmission (sermons, classrooms, print, media, internet). It makes no distinction between age, sex, race, beliefs, intelligence, geography, social or economic status. Some revel and parade in it. Some fight against it. It’s ironic that in this age of mass communication and ease of access to almost limitless amounts of information, ignorance is an ever growing and vast problem.

Some hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh):

On the authority of Anas ibn Malik : He said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say, "Indeed, among the portents of the Hour are that knowledge will decrease, ignorance will abound, adultery will become widespread, wine will be drunk, and men will be few and women will be many, to the extent that there will be a single provider for fifty women." [Bukhari and Muslim]

“Just before the Hour there will be much killing. It is not you killing the disbelievers, but you killing each other, until the man would kill his neighbour, his brother, his uncle and his cousin.” [Ahmad]

"Allah will not retract this knowledge by a withdrawal, [suddenly] withdrawing it from people's hearts, but He will retract knowledge by retracting the scholars, until, when He has left no scholar, people will take ignorant leaders, who will be asked, and will pronounce verdicts without knowledge, thus going astray and leading others astray." [Bukhari, Muslim]

"There shall come upon people deceptive years, in which the liar will be regarded as truthful, the truthful one will be regarded as a liar, the treacherous one will be trusted, the trustworthy one will be mistrusted, and in which al-Ruwaybidah will speak." Someone asked, "What is al-Ruwaybidah?" He said, "A paltry man speaking about the affair/business of the general public." [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim]

“When you see the slave woman giving birth to her master, and you see the shepherds competing in erecting tall buildings, and the bare footed and hungry becoming the leaders, then this is one of the signs of the Hour.” [Ahmad]

Narrated by Thawban: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The people will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their dish. Someone asked: Will that be because of our small numbers at that time? He replied: No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be scum and rubbish like that carried down by a torrent, and Allah will take fear of you from the breasts of your enemy and last enervation into your hearts. Someone asked: What is wahn (enervation). Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him): He replied: Love of the world and dislike of death”.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Who is threatening whom?

Active US military bases in the Middle East and Central Asia (NB. the US base in Uzbekistan has since been decomissioned from late 2005)
Key: Red = Country hosting US base and troops; Purple = Country hosting US troops; Blue = Country with no evident US military presence

I was not surprised by the results of an Israeli poll conducted with the aid of a pro-Zionist organization for the desire to aggressively spread more military warfare in the guise of peace, democracy and freedom in a region already (I)racked with death and destruction when one does not get one's way. My major criticism of this poorly written "news snippet" was that it did not obviously let it be known the number of people involved in the poll, how the poll was conducted and thus how truly representative of the views of Israeli society it reflects.

Since Israel is wholly capable of military action, what I am more interested in is how many Israelis would want Israel to strike Iran? The subjects of the poll probably would not mind America doing the job for them just as America did for them in Iraq of getting rid of a (former US supported) tyrant and leaving a bigger bloodier mess that continues to destabilise the region further.

And should other nations have the right to strike Israel because of it’s pursuance of its own “nuclear program” despite “failed diplomacy”?

Unchecked hypocrisy and violence unsurprisingly breeds more unchecked hypocrisy and violence. Hard to digest (extreme sarcasm here), but yes, both concepts do miraculously and actually flow both ways.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Metrosexual Poison

Metrosexual? No, no, no…it does not mean a person who has sex in a subway (unless you are Mexican). The term is usually associated with narcissistic dandies who are actually straight. I tend to view such creatures as unfortunate brainwashed victims who worship at the altar of the First High Church of Modern Fashion Marketing where the ideology is relentlessly promulgated through the sacred texts of FHM, Arena, The Face and GQ via prophets such as David Beckham in collusion with the media (which is their literal and metaphorical mirror - they love each other darrrling)

For me it’s clear the metrosexual poison have already made a vice like grip on the collective consciousness. What. Evar. I am being deliberately misleading here as that’s just my little rant for the week and not what I really want to talk about (oh, spot the irony). In between all the hair care products and painted nails, if I was to stretch the definition to include the embracing of practices by men usually perceived to be the domain of females, then there is one unfortunate rise of incidence of a habit I have anecdotally noticed on an almost daily basis that I find alarming.

Ten years ago I remember seeing the vast majority of cases of deliberate self-harm occurring in females. And within this group it was stereotypically crying-for-attention young Caucasian girls who have had “relationship issues” or Asian (the UK meaning of those from the Indian sub-continent) girls who have had tense “intra-family issues”. Working in the front lines these days I am seeing more and more cases of males presenting with DSH…overwhelmingly due to “relationship issues”. To the extent that I feel the gender ratio is now almost equal. A superficial perusal (yes, I find oxymorons amusing so sue me) does seem to confirm my anecdotal suspicion in which there is particular concern that the DSH rate in young men aged 15–24 years of age is rising more quickly than in any other group.

The cause is probably multi-factorial and multi-layered, but seriously, are men getting so metrosexual these days that the moment their relationship goes pear-shaped they will feel the need to swallow a handful of lethal vitamins in self-pity, and then drama-queen-like, immediately tell anyone who cares to listen to their woes, and thus have ambulances blue-lighting to their rescue?

I am not entirely sure what’s going on here but it’s a very noticeable trend that more and more males are losing their grip. Isn’t that supposed to be the domain of females?


Sunday, 13 May 2007

Scooch: Proof That The British Have A Sense Of Humour

Naffly named like a cheap bottled beverage from a last minute dot com Euro flight and looking like the bastard love child between camp “Steps” and the short lived 90s British comedy TV series “The High Life”, this 4some awesome that is “Scooch” last night flew to the highly commendable runaway position of joint 22nd out of 24 at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, failing their crash landing target of being last by a nail biting one position.

Actually this was a very good example of the wicked British sense of humour. Knowing they were so amazingly awful meant that they could not possibly take this competition seriously so why not have a bit of a laugh? Last year’s crap UK entry, Daz Sampson, optimistically summarised Scooch’s chances as “I’ve got more chance (of winning this year) and I’m not even going”.

After all their delivery was the audiovisual equivalent of two fingers up your arse. And this is where the British truly understood the nature of this competition when self-parodying to the nth degree came in such lost luggage. By taking the piss out of itself whilst other countries simultaneously took the competition so seriously Britain truly embodied the spirit with “Flying The Flag”, for it’s performance was so diabolically UBER 1000% Eurotrash (oooops Eurovision), ticking all the tacky boxes of catchy, cheesy, fun, gay and kitsch. And you can dance to it with twirling trolleys too!!! The tongue was firmly in bum cheek :P

Tumescent with sexual innuendo lyrics (“Some salted nuts Sir?”) and cumming with class cabaret camp moves (“Your Exits are located here, here and here!!!!”) this atrocious 4some awesome prancing about on stage dressed as an airline cabin crew was SO PLANE PAINFUL TO WATCH it was actually FIRST CLASS! LMAO!

True, that this is not so much a song as a shambles but losing was still no easy matter. It took many days of painful practice and prudent planning to come up with a very bad routine guaranteed to cause national embarrassment. With such a dependably dire dance drill, the entire civilised nation of Little Britain chose the best example of sending itself up to inflict maximum self-flagellation. Even their moment of live national TV glory for David Ducasse, Natalie Powers, Caroline Barnes and Russ Spencer was pure gold of a Monty Python sketch when co-host Terry Wogan mistakenly declared rival Cyndi Almouzini as the winner.

Starting at the top from winning the national competition by failing to even remembering their own lamentable lyrics, failure did not come easy as the quality quartet needed the aid of sympathetic seriously minded European friends in order for them to hit rock bottom before even take-off had commenced.

But the real head scratching anomaly was how something as camp as Ukrainian drag queen Verka Serdyuchka’s German-Boy-George-dressed-as-a-Christmas-bauble performance of “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” came SECOND place with 235 points. Exactly. Song quality means nada in this competition.

Since in the real world the UK have true home grown talent dominating the music industry with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Razorlight, KT Tunstall, Lily Allen and Corinne Bailey Rae chewing the charts is it really surprising that the hated UK does not give a flying fcuk and off-loads a cargo of shite at the arrival lounge every year of the Eurovision song contest to make everyone simultaneously spew into sick bags and laughingly erupt liquid through their nostrils? I mean, even if the farcical rules of this “most-watched-camp-song-contest-in-the-world”© where people vote for the neighbouring countries whom they are friendly with far more than for the quality of the songs, were changed, the UK would still gladly and proudly come last. LMAO!

Scooch - Flying The Flag

This is your captain speaking; I’d like to welcome you aboard this Eurovision flight
The duration will be 3 minutes exactly – now sit back, relax and enjoy the flight

Ba-ba-da, Ba-ba-da, Ba-da-da-ba, ba-da
Duty free madam?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Ba-ba-da, Ba-ba-da, Ba-da-da-ba, ba-da
We’re flying the flag all over the world - Flying the flag for you

London to Berlin
All the way from Paris to Tallinn
Helsinki on to Prague
Don’t matter where we are –yeah yeah ye-ah

Flying high in Amsterdam
Why don’t you catch us if you can
Now we’re cruising in the sky
And we’re singing it for you

Ba-ba-da, Ba-ba-da, Ba-da-da-ba, ba-da
Some salted nuts sir?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Ba-ba-da, Ba-ba-da, Ba-da-da-ba, ba-da

We’re flying the flag all over the world
Flying the flag for you
Would you like a complimentary drink with your meal sir?
We’re flying the flag all over the world
Flying the flag for you…

Ladies & Gentlemen, your exits are located here, here and here
To fasten your seatbelt insert the fitting
To use the life vest, slip it over your head
Pull firmly on the red cord and blow into the mouthpiece

Ba-ba-da, Ba-ba-da, Ba-da-da-ba, ba-da
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Ba-ba-da, Ba-ba-da, Ba-da-da-ba, ba-da

We’re flying the flag all over the world
Flying the flag for you

We’re flying the flag all over the world - yes we’re flying - take you all around the world
Flying the flag for you
Would you like something to suck on for landing sir?
We’re flying the flag all over the world - yes we’re flying - take you all around the world
Flying the flag for you…

We’d like to thank you for flying with us today

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Cinematic flirting

Incredible as it may seem, I actually go to the cinema to watch a film. Evidently some women go to the cinema and flirt with guys. I have mixed feelings about this because on the one hand flirting is fun and flattering, but on the other hand it’s incredibly distracting…especially if they are as hot as or hotter than the actress on the screen (especially when I came all the way to see her acting and elocution of lines…ahem, really). What is more bizarre is when such women are with their dates.

Say, I could be engrossed in the visual pyrotechnics of Jessica Biel rippling and undulating from scene to scene in Next and then the rather attractive blonde next to me decides to play contact sport with footsies and elbow massage on the armrest. Okaaaaaaaay. Then last night at Spiderman 3 (admittedly a rather convoluted film for male geeks that can bore the shit out of the average female mind within ten minutes) there was this whole beautiful-bespectacled-brunette-secretary vibe going on next to me who starts to lean her whole upper body very noticeably over, resting her chin on her fist inches from my face, and crossing her long legs towards me – more times than not. She did cuddle over to her totally unresponsive date at points but that did not last long as she made intermittent disgruntled sighing gestures and preferred spending more time leaning over to my side even when there was no touching involved. Once it’s that obvious I caught her several times momentarily side glancing towards me….on top of the blatant female preening gesture of applying her lipstick no less than 4 times during the course of the entire film…and once rummaging in her purse for said cylindrical-labium-moisturiser during the pyrotechnic display of an extended action sequence when one should usually be concentrating on the US $200 million special effects dancing before one’s eyes and not on one’s lips in a darkened room. There may be no actual physical contact but THAT costless special effect can be electric.

Wowzers. What’s going on here lately? Are they indifferent with their inattentive dates? Disenchanted with the dragging film? Do they do this for a nocturnal weekend thrill? Do I secrete pheromones? Or do I sub-consciously flirt with them too?

Planet Woman, reveal thy secrets please.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Audio Spam

I loathe telemarketers. Unable to block these invertebrates (because the caller had withheld their number) and despite asking them to take my number off their database, the same pool of moronic drones robotically calls at fairly predictable times. I know they have mouths to feed and are doing their job. But I am doing mine too. Some people DO sleep during the day when they work long nights and are actually NOT interested in ANY of their offers WHATSOEVER but that never sinks through their impervious craniums.

Act 1 Scene 1

*ring ring*

Me: "Hello?"
(click click noise in background)
Me: "Hello?"
(click click noise in background)
Me: "HELLO?!?!?" (just a tad irritatingly)
(the perfunctory 5 second delay occurs as my yell echoes all the way to India down the international call line)
Telemarketer: "Is this Mr. "...."?" (not only can this loverly jubbly accent spectactularly misprounce my one syllable surname, he can also change my sex too)
Me: "No" (Yes)
Telemarketer: "This is Orange Mobile Network"
Me: "Yes?" (Aufurfuksake)
Telemarketer: "How are you today?"
Me: "Annoyed as hell" (Can you just get to the effing point?!?!?)
Telemarketer: "Do you own a mobile phone?"
Me: "No" (Yes, but it's none of your beeswax!!!!)
Telemarketer: "We are offering a FREE mobile phone...yada, yada, yada..."
Me (interjects into his minute long spiel): "Thanks, but I am not interested in any of your products or offers" (get the hell out of my face!!!)
Telemarketer: "...for ONLY ££££ a month....yada, yada, yada..."
Telemarketer: "Sir, but don't you want a FREE mobile phone?"
Me: "NO!" (It's not free you lying prick!!!!)
Telemarketer: "How do you contact...?"
Me: "I use a carrier pigeon, OH KAYY? Now thanks but no thanks. Goodbye."
Telemarketer: "But Sir, do you use Broadband...?"
Me: Puts phone down
Telemarketer: "........"

Act 1 Scene 2

*ring ring*

Me: "Hello?"
(click click noise in background)
Me: "Hello?"
(click click noise in background)
Me: "HELLO?!?!?" (a tad irritatingly)
(the perfunctory 5 second delay...)
Telemarketer: "Is this Mr "...."? "

Act 1 Scene 3

*ring ring*

Me: "Hello?"
(click click noise in background)
Me: "Hello?"
(click click noise in background)
Me: "HELLO?!?!?" (just a wee bit irritatingly)
(the perfunctory 5 second delay occurs...he realises it's me and telemarketer self-ends phonecall rather than "deal" with me)

I haven't got time to "play games" but evidently I am not the only one who heart telemarketers. ROFL

Basically, a "hold on please" and just walking away should do the trick of getting the message across since they play a numbers game of making as many calls as possible. You waste my time? I waste yours.