the ramblings and suspicions of a modern day hippie

Category: Philosophy

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Something that made me Smile today...

A little while ago I was struck by Warhol inspiration and created this photo-art. I’d like to think that it is my somewhat insignificant way of reviving the Pop Art era 🙂

What made you smile today??

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Some of my Best Friends are Vegetarian!

It is an ongoing debate. To eat meat or not to eat meat? Personally I find myself constantly conflicted in this regard. I am a true animal lover. Animal cruelty is my pet peeve. Yet, I enjoy eating meat. More frequently than not I struggle internally with an overflowing sense guilt that I am perhaps perpetuating the maltreatment of all creatures cute, cuddly, fluffy, furry or feathered. Even scaled. Some would argue that it is merely the circle of life, survival of the fittest and the food chain. Others will defend equality regardless of species.

My dad always says that if you eat meat you should be willing to kill the animal. I am generally a passivist and I am not sure that I have a thick enough skin to slit a cow’s throat or chop off a chicken’s head. In fact, the thought of it makes me incredibly queasy. Several years ago my dad and his best friend went fishing and caught a particularly impressive grunter. Unfortunately I witnessed them dragging the poor creature out of the water while it gasped for breath until it was put out of its misery by having its head thumped against the floor of the boat. I was absolutely distraught and refused to eat a single bite of the fish once it was cooked. I named it Harold.

Yet I still eat meat. Perhaps I am stuck in a similar mentality as most people. If you don’t actually see the animal being killed, it’s alright. I mean it’s not like a beef burger patty resembles a cow in any way, nor do chicken McNuggets walk around clucking and shaking their feathers. However, when I sit down and think about what I’m eating I feel sick to my stomach. Many people complain about abusing animals and they protest if a dog or a dolphin is killed and eaten. Yet, they arrive home from work and fry up a couple of beef burgers for dinner. Is it not the same thing?? What pyramid of hierarchy establishes chickens and cows as less important and worth saving as cats and dogs?? It all seems a little hypocritical to me. And by eating meat and wanting to save the rhino’s I fall into that group of hypocrites.

So what is the right thing to do?? Personally I agree with my dad’s ethos. If you can’t stand to watch it being killed and are unwilling to do the deed yourself, you shouldn’t eat meat. And I am certainly trying to cut down on my meat intake, but it is difficult. I guess it is kind of like quitting smoking. You actually have to think about what you are doing and make a concerted effort to stop. It has to mean something you. It has to be an intellectual decision that you constantly have to work on everyday, otherwise the attempt is rendered futile.

Where do you stand on the vegetarian debate??

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Something that made me smile today

Daily life often masquerades as a comedic tragedy stuck on fast-forward. Sometimes it’s best to slow down to a mild panic and let some music wash over you and sooth your soul. Bob Dylan always does it for me 🙂

What made you smile today??

Some Books I wish I had Written

I am an avid reader and as a writer and self-confessed book-nerd there are several novels that, upon reading, not only inspired me, but also made me quite envious that I was not privileged to have authored. Here is a list of books I wish I had written:

1.) Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

2.) The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera

3.) 1984 – George Orwell

4.) The Outsider – Albert Camus

5.) The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde

6.) The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

7.) To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

8.)  As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner

9.) A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

10.) A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway

11.) Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

12.) The Order of Things – Michel Foucault

13.) Animal Farm – George Orwell

14.) Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl

15.) The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie

16.) One Flew Over th Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

17.) Naked Lunch – William S. Burroughs

18.) On the Road – Jack Kerouac

19.) It – Steven King

20.) The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

21.) Beloved – Toni Morrison

22.) The Lord of the Flies – William Golding

23.) The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

24.) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

25.) The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

26.) The Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton

There are many more that I am sure I am forgetting to mention here, but these are a portion of the books that make my heart happy 🙂

What books have you read that made you smile??

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Something that made me smile today

A sky on fire 🙂
A beautiful sunset in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

What made you smile today??

Let the write ones in

I think I was born to be a writer. At the risk of sounding like one of those people who claim to have been able to dance before they could walk or sing before they could talk, I am almost certain that I was reading before I could read. The difference is I have witnessed actual evidence that my aforementioned statement is accurate.

My evidence is a video taken my late maternal grandfather during a visit by him and my grandmother when I was about five years old and my younger sister five months old. A couple of months ago the VHS cassette (these were the early 1990’s: the days before DVDs and Blue-Ray, etc) resurfaced and, still being in possession of a video machine, I decided to relive my formative years. The video was incredibly difficult to watch for several reasons; a.) I spent the majority of the time cringing upon the realisation that I was an incredibly pretentious child who was seemingly fond of adopting a Queen-of-England posh British accent (which, to deliver some context, makes little sense considering the majority of my family is South African); b.) the entire home movie is narrated by my late grandfather, who had a larger-than-life personality that we still yearn for a decade after his untimely passing; and c.) it was the 90’s and we all looked horrendous: my mom had an absolutely colossal perm, my general ‘look’ included really colourful-in-a-very-bad-clashing-way jumpers and I’m pretty sure at one point I glimpsed my dad wearing hot pants.

Nevertheless, my granddad managed to capture, on camera, me, at the age of five, reading a book to my baby sister. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t actually reading the words on the page but I definitely embroidered an elaborate story using the illustrations. Which I think is fairly impressive for a five-year-old. And I would like to believe that moment captured the beginning of my enduring creative eccentricity. I haven’t stopped creating stories since. At least now I can write them down. J

Another proud moment came during a later scene in the home video, filmed at my pre-primary school, revealing my vast artistic endeavours. Our task was to paint anything we desired on the walls outside our classrooms. I painted a mermaid seeing as I was fully into mythical sea creatures at that point in my life (I also really enjoyed the idea of talking dolphins). The teachers were so impressed with my painting I was chosen to paint another mermaid on a different building in the pre-primary. Unfortunately, my artistic talents haven’t matured since then.

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Something that made me smile today

This picture was taken while huddling in my car outside a diner in Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape on the coast of South Africa.

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Something that made me smile today

I think I’m starting really starting to love the rain 🙂
This picture was taken on a beach in Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape on the coast of South Africa.

Summer loving in the Southern Hempisphere

December, the first of the Summer months in the Southern Hemisphere, was fairly disappointing last year. Schools and universities were on holiday and many hard working people were taking leave from the monotony of their day jobs in the hopes of spending long, lazy days in the sun, on the beach, by the pool, in between those frantic Christmas shopping trips. However, December proved to be rather laissez-faire in terms of providing anything more than what I can only describe as mediocre weather. It rained on Christmas Day.

Roughly mid-January birthed an unrelenting heat wave that had school children whining in classrooms, students grumbling in lecture halls and all those back at work cursed mirthfully under their breath “Why not sooner?”. The glorious beaches of the South African coastline beckoned as a glistening, refreshing mirage. Closeted swimming costumes whimpered in anticipation, hopefully yearning for stolen moments during busy weekends.

Some days have literally been too hot to participate in any activity of any kind. The elderly were advised to stay indoors near a fan. Parents were warned to keep young children away from the sun’s blistering rays. Ice-cream and beer companies rejoiced at their good fortune. I have always and unshakably been a ‘summer person’. Yet, even I found myself dreaming of thunder storms and waking up in the morning thinking it’s still night time.

Everyone I know was starting to suffer from some kind of heat-wave induced madness. I personally felt like kicking a few people in the shins. Until today. By some small miracle the heavens decided to crack open and shower us with some much needed love and affection.

Okay, so it’s still kind of humid and I’m not exactly reaching for tights and a sweater, but at the very least the rain has provided a fraction of relief after days of stilfing heat and sleepless nights tossing and turning above the covers.

That unmistakable fresh smell of rain definitely made me smile today.

What makes you smile?? 🙂

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Something that made me smile today

This photograph was taken on a beach in Cape St. Francis in the Eastern Cape. Another example of the natural beauty of the South African coastline.

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Something that made me smile today

This picture epitomizes the reason I love South Africa. It was taken near Thornhill in the Eastern Cape. Truly a hidden wonder.

Proudly South African

It really frustrates me to hear South Africans talking about how they can’t wait to leave the country. Everyone knows at least one of these people. They complain about the poor economy, the failing government and rampant poverty challenging the country. They venerate ‘overseas’, shiny, First World countries and endorse an unrelenting “the grass is always greener” attitude. A large majority of the time these same people are back home in six months time, their tails tucked regretfully between their legs, after a miserable and homesick experience.

I am ashamed to admit that I used to be one of those people. But I am older and wiser now. I would love to travel in order encounter all the world has to offer, but my suspicions tell me that it will be difficult to live up to my high expectations after living in South Africa. And I am not discomforted to admit that I love South Africa. Sure, our country experiences difficulties. What country doesn’t? Driving through the unspoiled countryside of the Eastern Cape I cannot help but feel my heart swell with pride at being privileged enough co-exist alongside such unabashed beauty. I do not doubt the indulgent nature of this statement, yet is it not better to be taken aback by the natural beauty of the countryside rather than idolize material objects such as fancy sports cars and flat screen televisions??

Yesterday I had the immense pleasure of taking a trip to the local cinema to watch Material, a proudly South African movie featuring a totally homegrown cast. And I was not disappointed. Not only was Material one of the best South African movies I have seen in a long time, it put a smile on my face at a time when I really needed to feel the corners of my mouth twitch in delight. I was really impressed with this film and I will recommend it to everyone I know because it is definitely yet another reason to adore this country.

What do you love about the country you live in?? 🙂