The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Story To The Story …

I love Nicholas Cage.

Yes, I know he’s become a caricature of himself.

Yes, I know he’s not made a good movie in an age.

But my god – whether the movie is good or bad – you remember him.

One of my favourite movies with him in it is one of my favourite movies.

Lord of War.

It is arguably the last great movie he made.

It’s the story of a global arms dealer – Yuri Orlov – however the reality is the lead character, played by Cage, is an amalgamation of a number of real life ‘Lords of War’ with many of the scenes in the movie being based on true stories.

In fact, the way they made the movie – specifically the tank scene – is worthy of its own film.

But that’s not what this post is really about.

It’s about the opening scene to the movie … one of the best opening scenes ever made.

People talk about the opening credits of Seven … or Limitless … but while they set the mood, they don’t tell a story … and this does it brilliantly. The story that set ups the story you’re going to watch.

I can’t remember how they previewed the movie, but I hope they just ran this because it is better than any trailer they could ever have come up with. Mainly because it doesn’t attempt to tell the whole story, it tells just enough to make you want to find out more.

As a trailer should, but generally never.

OK, it’s not totally perfect.

The CGI is not as good – or as impactful – as it would be if they made it today … however the idea of showing the life of a bullet is a masterclass in storytelling.

And film making.

And creating anticipation.

And proof that occasionally, Nicolas Cage, makes the best decisions of anyone.

Maybe The Thing Making Us Be Apart Is The Thing That Can Bring Us Together …

So today, I start working from home due to the devastating spread of corona virus.

As someone who has lived through SARS, avian and swine flu, you’d think I would be fine with it … but the way the government and media have responded, I have to say has left me on edge.

It feels like 28 Days Later – as we hide, hoping the invisible virus won’t get us while looking suspiciously at anyone who is outside or has a casual sneeze.

Personally I don’t think the government are taking it seriously enough.

I also think a lot of people are being way too blase about it.

But what’s worse is that while many of us are going to be inconvenienced, the elderly, the homeless, the single parents, the temporary workers, the unemployed and the small business owners are going to face a horrific time and no one seems to be creating plans for how they can cope.

I’m addition, it’s showing the worst of society.

From that fat, lying, cheating bastard who is the President of America – to the rapid increase in gun purchase in the USA [seriously, WTF?] to the disgusting locust like behaviour going on in across supermarkets all over the World.

I tell you what, any of these people who ever negatively judged immigrants, refugees or boat people better not do that from now on.

Though what’s the betting they’ll claim their situation is different.

I guess they’re right.

Refugees, migrants and boat people are trying not to die. They’re just trying to continue living in comfort and wipe their arse with 3-ply.

But through it all there have been signs of humanity showing their best side.

Coming together.


Looking out for others.

From the wonderful singing that is happening on balconies across Italy to Waitrose making sure all small business suppliers are paid the next day to LVMH doing this …

Given there are some companies you’d expect to jump to societies help who are acting like absolute wankers, it’s even more amazing LVMH are acting so swiftly and generously.

When this all passes, some companies will discover profit before people ends up costing them profit and people.

It’s a strange time but we will get through it – but what will make it better is if we can find ways to help those who feel left behind.

I’m working on something and there’s options already in place for the elderly – like this – but if you have more ideas, please let me know.

Most of all, look after yourself.

So far, 2020 has a lot to improve on.

Winning At Something No One Wants …
October 5, 2015, 10:16 am
Filed under: Culture, Guns, Social Divide

First of all I want to say this is not an anti-America rant.

Nor am I suggesting I have answers to the problem I am going to talk about.

And finally, I fully accept, this is a theoretical perspective, rather than one fact-checked to within an inch of it’s life.

However, the events in Oregon these past few days have bothered me immensely.

What has made the horror of it even more real for me is, ironically, a Canadian Police Drama [19-2] that, coincidentally, featured a storyline similar to the events that unfolded at Umpqua Community College.

The way they conveyed the horror, fear, desperation and senselessness of the situation really affected me so my heart goes out to those affected because I can only imagine the reality is so much worse. [episode 1 of series 2, if you’re interested]

As you have probably guessed, this is about gun control.

As we have seen, it’s a subject that polorizes countries, communities and people.

Of course there’s an argument to say that with so many dead at the hands of guns – and with so much evidence to suggest America’s casual approach to gun ownership and control is a contributing factor – it’s amazing we are still in this situation. But we are.

As with most things in life, there is no single reason for why things happen, but a million.

Complicated reasons.

Reasons with merit.

Reasons with agenda.

Reasons which no one wants to talk about … from an attitude of dealing with the mentally ill through [over]medication to the outrageous and disgraceful level of influence [and ignorance] held by the NRA.

But what if it’s not just about the amount of guns that reside in the US?

Let’s face it, there are many countries in Europe with a huge proportion of gun ownership and yet their level of gun related murder – let alone mass killings – is very small.

From a personal perspective – and this is something few people know – my Italian family has one of the biggest private gun collections in the World and yet they have never been in any situation involving the illegal use of firearms.

So here’s my question …

What if this is less about guns and more about cultural DNA?

America may be the land of the free but it’s also the country of meritology.

Like the days of the wild, wild West … everyone is painfully aware that your success is in your own hands.

If you make it, life is amazing … you are bathed in glory and pearls.

But if you don’t … well, then you are placed upon the metaphorical scrap heap.

Discarded. Denied. Ignored. Dismissed. Invisible.

For all the amazing things about America – and there’s countless things – it has a pathological fear of socialism.

They – and I absolutely acknowledge I am being generalistic here – see socialism as giving lazy people a “helping hand”. It doesn’t matter if these people are desperate, alone and in need, the thought process is they’ve somehow brought it on themselves and to offer aid would be to reward apathy.

Of course this is ridiculous, but it is, in some ways, the backbone of the American belief system – work hard and you will prosper – despite the fact millions upon millions of people work multiple jobs and are still broke.

The reason I say this is because a funny thing happens when people are desperate … when they feel discarded by society … they become desperate.

Of course there are, sadly, people who feel this way in England, Switzerland, Austria etc etc … but there is one significant difference.

They have a social welfare system.

Financial aid.

Of course, many of these countries governments are trying to minimize this because they see it as an expense, but while they could and should be better funded, more positively promoted and better managed to make sure some people can’t fall through the cracks, there is something there.

Something that can help. Advice. Be connected to. Not let you feel alone.

While it might be tragic that people need it, the welfare state is humanities last resort … a system designed to leave no one behind … and it’s a wonderful thing and a perfect reason why we should pay our taxes and demand our governments treasure it rather than destroy it.

But my point is this.

Could America’s anti-socialist, meritology based value system be contributing to the spate of gun crimes?

Could people feeling they have already lost lead to a desperation to survive.

From having food to being heard?

I know this can’t be the only answer. I know this is very uncomfortable and I know there are probably lots of answers and reasons. But despite my relatively privileged situation, I felt the flimsy line that separates comfort and desperation when you are in the American system and yet when I lived in England or Australia, I never felt that … I always felt there was a net for me … something that could catch me.

Sure, I knew it wouldn’t bathe me in riches, but knowing it wouldn’t let me fall all the way down was a very treasured thing, even if I only realised when the situation was a possibility.

Now if I was to ask some of the people in America – not just the misfits and the lonely, but average, middle-of-the-road Americans – I’m not they would feel that same level of protection.

Please don’t mistake me for trying to defend what these killers have done … I’m not, it’s tragic, barbaric and cowardly, nor am I trying to be abusive to US, it’s a wonderful country that I regard highly and there’s a bunch of problems in other nations that America has ensured they will never face … I’m just trying to understand why it could be happening in America more than any other nation on Earth.

I tell you what, given China’s attitude to survival is quite similar to America’s [your family is your only security] I’m greatful gun ownership is against the law because potentially, if there is any merit to what I am suggesting/thinking/wondering, we would see similar tragedies over here as we have seen far too many times over there.

I hope anyone who bothers to read this can see I’m looking for answers rather than abuse because this issue doesn’t need anymore political rhetoric, just some honest, objective discussion between people.

Thank you.