FOR CRYING OUT LOUD – WHY DID YOU HAVE KIDS?!

 

Okay. I really have to get this off my chest – so…..

If you don’t like profanity – stop reading.

If you don’t like being told what to do – stop reading.

If, as a parent, you don’t like other parents berating you – stop reading.

ETC. ETC.

*This primarily refers to UK parents (parents from other countries are ‘available’.)

When I say ‘New Parents’ I mean anyone about to have a child – up to and including those with teenagers.

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD – WHY DID YOU HAVE KIDS?!

I cannot tell you the number of times myself, a friend, or colleagues have said this.

First of all – once a parent, always a parent. It never stops, EVER, get that straight first off. Christ, my folks are in their 80s – and they still worry about me and my brother! They still have parental concerns. They still hope we are managing okay.

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New Parents Don’t Have a Social Life!

Secondary schools are busy telling 13 year olds that their GCSE options are the most important decision they will ever make.

NOT TRUE!!

Listen up –

There are only 2 – yes two – decisions you will make in life that have great importance.

1. Do I spend the rest of my life with this other person?

2. Should I/we bring another human being into the world?

That’s it. Everything else is gravy.

Assuming you, reading this, said ‘yes’ to number 2, then I hope you have thoroughly prepared yourself for a life devoted to another human being’s well-being until said being is a fully independent adult – (this might extend to 25 as the new scientists are saying this is the age of real maturity for humans today!)

Question – What do you think the role of a school teacher is?

Do you realise that in hundreds of primary schools across the UK, teachers are having to –

a)Teach children how to tie their shoelaces.

b)Teach children how to use a knife and fork.

c) Teach children how to blow their noses.

d)Teach children how to use the toilet.

e)Teach children how to write their own first name.

This is basic stuff folks. Your child should be able to do all of the above before he or she begins school. At this point I will say that in some instances, some kids aren’t going to be able to do these things, because they may have a physical difficulty; say cerebral palsy, which vastly reduces their co-ordination skills. In my experience, mostly, these parents have found ways to help their kids deal with this – so it’s not those parent’s I’m talking to – it’s the dolts who don’t give enough of a fuck to make an iota of effort to do something to help their own kids!!!

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD – WHY DID YOU HAVE KIDS?!

Then there are those who don’t let their kids think or speak for themselves. All decisions are made for these little maggots who are apparently so darling, that mummy and/or daddy will cosset them to the extent that they cannot do anything by the time they hit their teen years.

Stop trying to keep your teens permanently at the ‘child’ stage. Jeez. They are not dolls to play with, to be discarded when you want another baby, because you yourself are stuck in a perpetual baby stage and cannot deal with actual thinking, functioning human beings – so they get demoted to house-cleaner, child-minder, shopper, carer etc. Etc.

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD – WHY DID YOU HAVE KIDS?!

Remember the old driving adverts – ‘Think. Before You Drink. Before You Drive’ ?

This needs to be applied to wannabe parents.

Because some sure as hell are not thinking before you get pissed and find yourselves pushing a baby buggy.

Parenting is hard work.

Let’s say it again for the one at the back picking their nose…

Parenting is hard fucking work!

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From; Here’s How Kids Ruin Your Romantic Relationships

But the rules are easy – so long as you stick to them. Here we go –

1. If you aren’t prepared to put yourself second – don’t have kids. No exceptions to this rule, nope. Stop right now. Go get a dog, better still, a mouse – they only live for two or three years.

2. Assuming you agree that you are, in fact ready, prepare. Like military preparation, stock up on knowledge – that’s your weapon stash. Read stuff. Inform yourself. Take classes. Whatever it takes for you to gain knowledge about parenting, do it. (*Pssst…as a side note, but not to ruin it…you can never be prepared for the reality.)

3. Teach your tot to blow their own nose – around 2 years is about right.

4. Get them out of the damn nappies before they start school. FFS! And teach them how to wipe their bums – why should someone else have to wipe your kids arse because you were too damn lazy to show them how?!

5. Table manners – knife in right hand, fork in left. Mouth closed whilst chewing.

6. Let your child have fun – that’s what kids are meant to do. You did not give birth to your own domestic servant.

7. Praise them when they try. Everyone likes to have their efforts recognised. Your kids do great things too, so tell them.

8. Have rules, and stick to them. Regular bedtime. Regular mealtimes, etc.

9. Shoelaces – please, for goodness sake, ensure your kid can tie his/her shoelaces, otherwise, they will be the butt of other kid’s jokes and the laughing stock of the class in college.

10. Don’t answer for them when a question has been directed at them – this is insane – yet it happens folks – shy kids really struggle – but you know what? YOU AREN’T HELPING THEM. Stop it. Be encouraging, then praise them for being brave.

11. Encourage, no, demand, regular teeth cleaning. Twice a day, morning and night. You will not believe how many teens I have encountered with horrendous halitosis, bad teeth, missing teeth or – worst of all – the one tooth look, caused by plaque!!!!! NO!! NO!!! NO!!!

12. And whilst I’m on cleanliness and personal hygiene – wash their fucking clothes for them. Please! I see too many kids with grey, greasy smears down pants and jackets. You’re the adult – get washing.

See, easy isn’t it!

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Should I Have Kids, Quiz

Take responsibility. Sure, we all make mistakes at times, we can all get stressed and make a cock-up of a situation. But if you’re not making the effort in the first place….

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD – WHY DID YOU HAVE KIDS?!

If you made it to the end of this rant, congratulations. I don’t have a prize for you, but I do offer my gratitude and delight that you stayed the distance.

Now go be the best parents (or non-parents) you can be.

 

 

**Dear Readers, please be aware that I am currently experiencing some difficulty accessing comments. Plus, a number of comments were recently deleted from my site. WordPress is currently looking into both issues. Apologies to those who have made comments and I have not replied yet.
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How’s Your Brexit Going?

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With just 6 months to go until this thing we’re calling Brexit goes ahead, how’s it shaping up around the UK?

Current negotiations are, in the words of Malcolm Tucker (The Thick of It) “A fucking omnishambles.”

Why? Because no-one in government actually thought the British peoples would vote to leave and so no-one had made any real plans. It’s been a typically British ‘Make Do and Mend’, ‘Arse Over Tit’, ‘Make-it-up-as-we-go-along’ routine.

Just in case you didn’t know, or are reading this in another country, or been living with your head in the sand, or just not giving a fuck, here’s a quick explanation of some new words that have arisen since Brits voted to leave the European Union.

  • Brexit – a blend of Britain and exit.
  • Bregret – some people are having second thoughts!
  • Braccident – Did we make a mistake?!
  • Brenial – It’s all going to plan! Don’t panic!

Some Brits want a chance to vote again. But isn’t this what Democracy is all about? We get to vote and the Government has to follow through on that decision. But many people believe that we were not given all the information required to make such a huge decision. Some people say they would vote differently, now they know more about what leaving the EU entails. Some people can’t wait to take control of our own decision-making and sod Brussels.

What gets my goat is that all the talk on TV news, Radio news, journals and talk shows tends to focus on trade. How will Britain make trade deals with Europe (and other countries) when we leave? How much will it cost?

BUT, for me, and many others who did give the vote some thought, leaving Europe was not (purely) about trade.

I will admit that I cried the morning the results were announced. Why?

Because the EU is about more than finances –

  • It’s about joining together and sharing a standard system of law.
  • It’s about European integration as an antidote to WWII nationalism.
  • It’s about human rights and democracy.
  • It’s about bringing together those who had previously been at war with each other.
  • It’s about peace.
  • It’s about common values.
  • It’s about where any sane person should want the world to be heading – a unified whole.

So what do we think so far? (and yes, this is a TOTALLY biased selection)

 

Stewart Lee – comedian – “I haven’t written any jokes about Brexit ’cause I didn’t see the point of committing to a cause of action for which there is no logical or financial justification.”

Andy Hamilton – comedian and regular on Radio 4’s The News Quiz – describes it as “Schrödinger’s Brexit; because in theory this Brexit is simultaneously both alive and dead.” suggesting that no-one actually knows if it’s working or not.

Peter Gabriel – musician – was concerned about UK foreign policy after a number of international artists were unable to perform at the Womad Music Festival because of visa issues.

Neil Gaiman – writer – “that sort of moment at the end of Planet of the Apes where Charlton Heston sees the Statue of Liberty … I was going, ‘Oh, no. Are you really …”

David Beckham – former England footballer – “We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone.”

Emma Thompson – actor – “We should be taking down borders, not putting them up.”

Jonathan Pie – fictitious news reporter – “The Brexit dream is dying Tim, aaah.” It’s a cluster f**ck!

 

How’s your Brexit going?!

Book Review: Gun Monkeys by Victor Gischler

 

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“I slapped a strip of duct tape over his mouth.” C.S 

Genre: Humorous Crime Fiction
Pub First Date: 2001
Publisher: UglyTown Publishing/Dell Books
Length: 274 pages
Paperback : Orion Tech on Amazon5.87)

Charlie Swift just pumped three .38-caliber [sic] bullets into a dead polar bear in his taxidermist girlfriend’s garage. But he’s a gun monkey, and no one can blame him for having an itchy trigger finger. Ever since he drove down the Florida Turnpike with a headless body in the trunk of a Chrysler, then took down four cops, Charlie’s been running hard through the sprawling sleaze of central Florida. And to make matters worse, he’s holding on to some crooked paperwork that a lot of people would like to take off his hands. Now, with his boss disappeared and his friends dropping like flies, Charlie has got his work cut out just to survive. If he wants to keep the money and get the girl too, he’s really going to have to go ape…

Gun Monkeys(Back Cover Book Blurb)

That little scene was enough to make me pay out some cash for this title. Gangsters and polar bears? I thought, I gotta have me some of this.

I came to read Gun Monkeys via Twitter of all places. I ‘Follow’ the author, Victor Gischler simply because I find his Tweets amusing. He has a slight acerbic tone laced with humour, writer rants (don’t we all) and glimpses into his family life (such as which film he will be watching with his young son). I’m late to the show – as you can see by the publishing date – but better late than never.

Gun Monkeys has been called by some, a Florida comic crime caper, and Gishler’s love of Noir, crime, gangsters and history of comic writing comes through in this novel.

I usually take longer than most people I talk to, to read a book these days (weeks), I seem to be slowing down as I get older, but the pace of writing and regular action kept me moving along, so I completed it in three days (a record for me!)

Charlie Swift is one of the gun monkeys of the title, he works for crime boss Stan as an enforcer. He is a stereotypical anti-hero – bad guy with redeeming qualities. Many of the characters fit the expected Film Noir tropes – gangster with a heart and a ‘Ma’ he loves, a sassy, intelligent female, Marcie, whom Charlie falls for because, like Charlie, she can she the necessity for plastic sheeting and the multiple uses of duct tape, I turned the Chrysler onto the Florida Turnpike with Rollo Kramer’s headless body in the trunk, and all the time I’m thinking I should’ve put some plastic down.” A lumbering, huge muscle guy, Lou, and sleek-suited mob boss, Mercury. Despite being set in the present day, the lingo used often sounds a little like that spoken by gangsters in the 40’s and 50’s movies – BUT – it doesn’t feel dated, or clichéd. Instead, it moves along at a cracking speed, as Charlie attempts to help his boss, track down the ‘other’ bad guys and deal with consequences that keep springing up.

Charlie is a crack shot with a gun we are told, yet he doesn’t have it all his own way. To be honest, Charlie has a hell of a time. I don’t know if I’d ever want to be friends with Charlie Swift, but I didn’t dislike him, ever, even when he pumps a bullet into some guys knee (and worse).

I found Gishler’s writing and characterisation to be solid, and although the territory – Noir Gangster-land – is very familiar to me, I found a freshness to this writing, which I reckon is pretty difficult to do without slipping on the cliché banana. 

There are some nice comic touches, although as the story progresses the comic elements lessen. There is a lot of violence, but nothing stomach churning. There’s a high body count, but meh, isn’t that the world of gangsters? It’s pulp fiction, it’s fun- despite the violence, it’s overflowing with swearing, it’s contemporary hard-boiled, it’s not Raymond Chandler, but it was an enjoyable read, enough so that I will be taking a further delve into the work of Victor Gischler.

I’m giving Gun Monkeys

4 stars

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Book Review – Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell

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Hot Lead, Cold Iron Book Cover

Genre: Crime Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Dark fantasy, Urban fantasy
Pub First Date: 2014
Publisher: Titan Books
Length: 305 pages
Paperback : Bookdonors on Amazon (£3.72)

” Mick Oberon may look like just another 1930s private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he’s got pointy ears and he’s packing a wand. Among the last in a line of aristocratic Fae, Mick turned his back on his kind and their Court a long time ago. But when he’s hired to find a gangster’s daughter sixteen years after she was replaced with a changeling, the trail leads Mick from Chicago’s criminal underworld to the hidden Otherworld, where he’ll have to wade through Fae politics and mob power struggles to find the kidnapper and solve the case.”

Hot Lead, Cold Iron (Back-book cover blurb)

First off, I have a confession to make – I’m one of those people who rolls their eyes when others mention certain themes of TV/Film/Book whatever, that I deem ‘stupid’ or ‘unbelievable’, you know what I mean? Conspiracy theorists, fantastical creatures roaming modern cities, and so on – except, I do read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi, so where do I draw the line? Hard to say.

So, when I read that Ari Marmell‘s book was about a Private Investigator who is a Fae, I almost turned tail.

I discovered this book through entering the world of Dieselpunk/Decopunk writing, researching some titles. I read the opening 5 pages and… ordered it!

I think I have mentioned before that I enjoy crime writing, all kinds and in all forms (I have a huge collection of magazines about serial killers – yeah, publishers, you might want to bear that in mind next time you refuse my submissions!!) And this, I would say, is first and foremost a detective story. The protagonist, Mick Oberon is, as I mentioned, a Fae, living and working in 1930s Chicago. But the thing that hooked me is Marmell’s use of language, particularly the language of America, in that time period. The lingo is not only relevant to the time period, but has the humorous yet threatening quality of such well-known characters as Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade –

One, I don’t chisel my clients, Archie. Ain’t good for business…And two, get your hand off me before I make you eat it.”. M.O.

This isn’t just a detective story, it’s Noir, one of my favourite film genres.

Mick Oberon explains that he is obliged to speak in this manner in order to function in his present day. I love this style of speech. Watching the old Humphrey Bogart films I didn’t always understand what was being said, but I sure as hell got the inference. Gangster speak is used throughout ‘Hot Lead, Cold Iron’, but not so as you don’t know what characters are talking about.

The story is written in first person – Mick Oberon’s – and so we get a pretty thorough explanation of Fae. Marmell has actually given some thought to magic and how it is used; Oberon’s magic is not the same as another type of Fae’s magic for instance. The world of the Fae – the Seelie Court (and it’s darker counter-side, the Unseelie Court) are almost copies of the real world, brilliantly explained by Marmell, as a result of Fae lacking creativity but being excellent mimics.

No matter how unusual some of the plot-line or characters or environs may seem, Marmell has written with psychological realism, thereby ensuring the story does not fall apart due to some random shit he wants in there. Though I did struggle somewhat to visualise some of the setting of the Seelie Court in Elphame, my impression of size kept shifting, so I was unable to get a clear understanding of the size of structures or beings. And I did enjoy the time spent in our world more than in Oberon’s home world.

Oberon is a likeable, milk-drinking, wand-toting good guy with a hard-boiled attitude that he wears like his coat. We don’t, in all honesty, know too much about his background – he’d tell you to mind your own business. And this is another aspect of the writing I enjoyed, Oberon often directly speaks to the reader, he gives you enough to understand the world you are entering, but also enough to pique the interest for further reading – “My name is Mick Oberon, or at least it is now.” He says things like – “You Joe’s.” Referring to humans and the reader alike, he doesn’t always reveal the whys and wherefores of his actions, you are being introduced a bit at a time to his way of living – “And if you think it all went easy for me, you ain’t been paying attention.”

This kind of story, with these kinds of fantasy elements, could easily have fallen flat – or worse. It’s success rests on the main character’s voice; as much as the plot and setting need a certain amount of historical accuracy, it is how Marmell has written Oberon’s voice that makes it work well. And it’s not just (if you like this kind of language) the gangster speak, Oberon is an intriguing character and charismatic too.

If you get gangster speak and understand a little about the world of faeries, you get the title – Lead as in bullets – Iron as in faeries hate it.

Hot Lead, Cold Iron is action-packed fun, well-written with wisecracks enough to satisfy Raymond Chandler fans, it is the first in a new series by Ari Marmell – ‘A Mick Oberon Job’ or Mick Oberon #1.

And I will be purchasing the second book – Hallow Point.

I’m giving Hot Lead, Cold Iron

4 Stars

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