Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Law of Reciprocity
will never get written!

copyright CAT

"There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words."
— Dorothy Parker

And there is a thin line between meanness and wise cracking! Who is to define that line!!! ..CAT

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A friend of long ago once wrote to me that I felt too deeply about people,relationships and would go through life getting hurt, often !

Is that me still around or has moi hardened beyond redemption or do I pretend not to hurt under the guise of purported equanimity or have I figured that it is a squandering of emotional energy or I am in cognizant of the reality that there is a more often than not a mismatch between what each expects,so why bother or my brain has addled.....

Whatever it alter ego has decreed that most are not worthy to bare my soul to. I intend to obey!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Age of the Rage: Why are we so Angry?

(courtesy The Sunday Times )

Did you know that one person in 20 has had a fight with a next-door neighbour? That one driver in four admits to committing an act of road rage? That cases of "air rage" rose by 400 per cent between 1997 and 2000? That stress has overtaken the common cold as the main reason for taking time off work?

We appear to be living in an age of rage. Earlier this week there seems to have been an incidence of "queue rage" in a supermarket during which a man was punched - and later died. The death raises the whole issue of apparently random acts of violence that are often the product of momentary losses of self-control.

"Check-out rage" is just one more to add to our already long long list of road, air, trolley, parking space and cyclist rage. It is why a motorist will follow a pedestrian on to a bus and stab him; why a shopper will break another shopper's nose for something as trivial as bumping into his or her trolley. When I was riding in a taxi in London recently a cyclist hammered on the window in fury at a perceived (imagined, in my view) transgression by the driver. In a flurry of F-and-C-words he threw a fistful of coins at the taxi. As far as I could see nothing had happened.

Anger, humankind's natural and healthy reaction to stressful situations, is increasingly being acted out via physical violence - even though we are richer, take more holidays and lead more comfortable lives than ever before. There are several theories as to why our society is becoming ever more infuriated. The fast pace at which we live our lives - "hurry sickness", for instance, has taught us to desire and demand instant gratification.

If something or someone delays us, we see it as a threat to our precious, finite time. There is also huge pressure to deliver at work in jobs that are increasingly insecure, competitive and ruthlessly based on performance.

Dr Michael Sinclair, a consultant psychologist in London specialising in anger management, says that, generally, people who grossly overreact to trivial events with violence are suffering from a central lack of confidence. The normal reaction, he says, when someone bumps into you is to think "that was a bit rude" and move on.

But angry people interpret everything as a personal slight, an insult to their already fragile egos. "Being bumped into will make the inadequate person feel even more inadequate," Sinclair explains. "It exacerbates their sense of vulnerability."

Times of economic gloom can exacerbate the problem. Sinclair says that he has recently seen his referrals increase as people battle to cope with the angry emotional fall-out from redundancy, heightened job insecurity or a suffocating mortgage. A person lacking in self-esteem can be driven to the edge by just a clipped letter from a bank.

Experts have said that in decades such as the 1960s and 1970s people tended to turn their frustration inwards, perhaps taking their anger out on their spouses behind closed doors. The tendency now is to turn it outwards: to externalise the problem to a complete stranger.

When people feel under threat they undergo physical and mental changes. Their heart rate, blood flow and tension rises as the body prepares for action. The mind goes into tunnel vision as it focuses on the threat and loses the bigger picture. Various factors will then inhibit the average person from acting upon it, such as not wanting to behave violently in public. But with more people behaving aggressively in public there is an unspoken "social permission" to do so.

And yet it is not as though everyone is walking around like a ticking hand grenade. Most of us - even though we may feel a surge of spleen when someone blocks our way - simply curse under our breath and walk away.

Sinclair says that anger is a process involving different stages: the environmental trigger, the interpretation of the trigger ("This person is disrespecting me") and the physical arousal - the adrenalin rush that defends the threat to self-esteem.

The British Association of Anger Management has produced a six-point plan to help people to manage anger:

1. Stop, think and look at the bigger picture. Consider the consequences between the event and the reaction.

2. It's OK to have a different opinion. Opinions are not facts - they are only what you think.

3. Listen carefully. Learn to listen. Observe the other person's body language. Verify: clarify information. Empathise: keep your heart open at all times.

4. Use your support network, a group of people on whom you can call when you need to talk to someone so that your anger doesn't get out of control.

5. Keep a journal. This is a powerful way of not internalising your anger. Your journal can be used as and when you need to. Record how you feel about what happened, and your views on a problem. Using your journal will bring clarity to the situation.

6. Don't take anything personally. Nothing that others do or say is because of you. What others do and say is a projection of their own reality on to you. When you are immune to the opinions, projections, behaviours and actions of others, you will not be a victim of needless suffering any longer

Pessimists definitions

REVOLUTIONARY An oppressed person waiting for the opportunity to become an oppressor.
ROCK 'N' ROLL A raucous musical rendering of adolescent glandular activity, peddled to receptive teens since the 1950s as a cheap and relatively bloodless means of overthrowing parental authority, along with most of the accumulated values of Western civilization.
SALARY A market value assigned to professionals as a function of their scarcity, their usefulness to employers and their ability to feign enthusiasm for their work.

CULT FILM A movie seen about fifty times by about that many people.
DENIAL How an optimist keeps from becoming a pessimist.
DNA A complex organic molecule characterized as the building block of life and appropriately shaped like a spiral staircase to nowhere.

The last will and testament is most people's final gesture in this world – and given that they're not going to be around when its contents are revealed some people use it to make the strangest requests. Here is our top ten list of the craziest bequests.

10. To boldly go..

Gene Roddenberry, creator of the Star Trek television series (motto: To boldly go where no man has gone before), appropriately had his ashes blasted into space on a satellite and distributed as it orbited the earth.

The memorial spaceflight, in 1997, quickly set a trend - especially among fellow Trekkies. James Doohan, who played chief engineer Scottie on the Starship Enterprise was also projected into orbit as did astronaut Gordon Cooper. Bit tough on the families if they want to leave flowers.

9. Doggone

German Countess Carlotta Liebenstein left a staggering fortune of 139 million German marks (about £43 million) to her beloved pet dog Gunther III when she died in 1991. The hound and his offspring - imaginatively named Gunther IV - were able to live in the lap of luxury in a mansion with a personal maid, chauffeur and customized pool.

This isn't the only pampered pooch to have benefited from a bequest. New York hotel magnate Leona Helmsley, dubbed the "Queen of Mean" during a 1989 trial for tax evasion, left $12 million (£6 million) of her estimated $8 billion estate for the upkeep of her Maltese terrier Trouble. Two of her four grandchildren meanwhile got nothing.

Unsurprisingly, the request by Helmsley, famous for her quip that "only the little people pay taxes," sparked nothing but trouble. After the will was contested, the pooch was stripped of $10 million by a Manhattan judge leaving the poor thing with a paltry $2 million. It's a dog's life.

8. The Great Stork Derby

Eccentric lawyer Charles Vance Millar was well known in Toronto, Canada, for his love of practical jokes and he saved the best until last.

He bequeathed a large sum from his significant estate to the woman in Toronto who could produce the most children in the ten year period after his death. The resulting contest, after his death in 1926, became known as the Great Stork Derby. The four winning mothers, Annie Katherine Smith, Kathleen Ellen Nagle, Lucy Alice Timleck and Isabel Mary Maclean, each received C$125,000 for their nine children.

The pranks didn't end there. Millar's will also left shares in racetracks and breweries to anti-gambling and temperance supporters. Three men who were known to despise each other were granted joint lifetime tenancy in Millar's Jamaican holiday home.

7. Death wish

Revenge is sweet - even from beyond the grave. American housewife Mary Kuhery is reported to have left her husband $2 as long as he promised to spend at least half of it on a rope with which to hang himself.

In 1960 Samuel Bratt was slightly less vengeful. However, he still grasped the opportunity to get even with his wife who had never allowed him to smoke. He left her £330,000, a huge sum back then, provided that she smoke five cigars a day.

6. No women allowed

When misogynist American lawyer T.M. Zink died in 1930 he left $50,000 in trust for 75 years by which time he hoped that it would have grown to $3 million. He decreed that the fund should then be used to found the Zink Womanless Library. The words "No women admitted" were to mark each entrance and no books, works of art, or decorations by women were to be permitted. His family challenged the will and won.

5. Alas poor Yorick

Juan Potoachi gave 200,000 pesos to the Teatro Dramatico in Buenos Aires in 1955, on condition that his skull be preserved and used as Yorick in Hamlet. William Shakespeare himself was less generous. The bard left most of his estate to his elder daughter Susannah Hall while his wife only received his "second best bed".

4. Fangs very much

Harold West was so worried that he would become a vampire after his death, in 1972, that he left strict instructions that his doctor "drive a steel stake through my heart to make sure that I am properly dead". That should do it

3. Live forever

Predeceased by his wife and two daughters, John Bowman, from Vermont, America, was convinced that after his death, in 1891, the family would be reincarnated. In anticipation, he left a trust fund for the maintenance of his 21-room mansion, including a demand that servants prepare dinner nightly in case the Bowmans were hungry when they returned. The money ran out in 1950.

2. Monkey business

An 83- year-old Danish widow left the equivalent of half a million Danish crowns (about £40,000) to six chimpanzees - Jimmy, Trunte, Fifi, Trine, Grinni and Gigi - who lived at the Copenhagen Zoo. Senior Deputy Judge Christian Notlevsen, who read out the testament in front of their cage, said the heirs had behaved better than many people he had seen in court during readings of wills.

1. Poetic licence

The last wish of Donal Russell, from Springfield in the US state of Oregon, was to have his body skinned, his hide tanned like leather and then used to bind books of self-penned poetry. The 62-year old wordsmith stated that his body "be skinned from the head down and tanned for the purpose of face binding volumes of my verse."

The squeamish funeral directors refused, so his widow asked the courts to help her honour his wishes. The request was turned down because it violated laws about what could be done to human remains. How prosaic.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

We don't see things as they are,
we see them as we are."

Anaïs Nin