Death to Drug Dealers

Living in Australia as I do I have been caught up in the wave of sympathy for the Bali Bombers sitting on Death Row as desperate measures are taken to prevent their execution by firing squad BUT – and there is always a but I guess – not anymore.

My grandaughter who is only just 5 years old came home from school using the F word. So now the evil tentacles of the “Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll crowd” otherwise known as the foul mouthed Showbusiness reprobates (or the friends of Jimmie Saville) are reaching into the school playground and my grandaughter, and other children, are being robbed of their childhood innocence.

I flew into a rage at this, and the thought that in the not too distant future of them being offered drugs in the school playground and having their innocent young lives permanently blighted as is happening in America.

So now I believe that those who spread this poison through society should face the death penalty. And I believe that those weak souls who fall victim to drugs should be treated with firmness too – as they are in Saudi Arabia.

There is a drug problem there as there is in The West. About sixty percent of the 50 or so beheadings that take place every year are for drug smuggling. But the victims of the drug trade, the addicts it has created, are quietly removed from society and put through an enforced rehab program, and only released when the authorities are satisfied they are cured.

Once again the Saudis demonstrate that social stability is more important than a weak kneed concern for an individual’s civil rights.

If you want insights into the Middle East and its harsh and apparently barbaric societies, based on my 40 years experience there from the perspective of the weird and wonderful oilfield trash, expatriate characters who washed up there in the oil patch from 1960 to 2001, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

www.amazon.com

and download it if you have a Kindle.

Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

Using the ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.

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Are some (sweaty) Animals more equal that others

While not wanting to suggest the ultimate male fantasy that all women want to be ravished is correct, there is strong anecdotal and scientific evidence to suggest that they do prefer a dominant male partner in their sex life.

In a recent article a female journalist said that among her friends – professional couples both in well paid jobs who shared everything equally (paying the mortgage and household bills, housework and taking care of the kids) – the women were dissatisfied with their sex life. It lacked a frisson (sexual tension?) because their relationship was based on friendship and mutual respect and had become almost platonic. One woman said it was like sleeping with her brother. This feeds into the fantasy that women do not really want a caring, tender and supportive partner who is in touch with his female side – not when the lights are out. They really want someone more animal. One woman actually said she only fancied her husband when he came home straight from the gym all hot and sweaty. Are modern Western women in denial?

A recent scientific study in America supports this. A series of erotic images was shown to a group of men and a group of women hooked up to sensors measuring their physical and emotional responses. The men and the women responded almost exactly the same way to the images. But when questioned 75% of the men were honest about their arousal – but 75% of the women lied and said they were not aroused. In Saudi Arabia a dominant male society where women are repressed (at least in public) women exploit the males’ outstanding weakness – his desire to see females in the flesh, and have sex – to wield a surprising amount of power. Read the story I’VE NEVER KNOWN A WOMAN WHO WOULDN’T DANCE in my book THE GULF about a new wife performing an erotic dance of arousal.

In some ways I am ashamed of this story because it is not a work of fiction. It is an account of that dance by a Western cameraman who filmed it; and it was validated by a Western woman who had played flute at many Saudi weddings and seen this many times. The cameraman said it was the most erotic thing he had ever seen.

You can preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

http://www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a Kindle. Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from: http://www.thebookdepository.co.uk

The ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.

I hope you enjoy it.

See Cordoba . . . and live . . . and let live.

My final trip in Spain, to Cordoba, confirmed what I have always felt—that it is the 700 years of Moorish rule that makes Spain unique and different. The deeply felt Catholicism that exists in Spain also exists in many European and Latin countries; but nowhere in the Western World has the imprint of the Middle Eastern/North African Muslim Caliphates been left so indelibly.

In my last blog I dealt with the world famous Mezquita or Al Jama mosque in Cordoba that rivalled Damascus and Baghdad in its day with its mesmerizing endless avenues of hundreds of interlinked arches of alternate pink and cream stripes that are stylized palm trees dimly lit by bronze lanterns that hang on chains. And 8 kms outside Cordoba are the remains of Medinah Azahara (Brilliant Town) a beautifully planned and built city  for the religious, social, cultural and political administration of Al-Andalus (Andalucia)—a Moorish Spain that stretched to the banks of the Duero River.

But to go beyond the stunning physical beauty of Moorish Spain perhaps the true inheritance of the Moors is that Jews, and Christians, lived in harmony with their Muslim rulers, who allowed them their own laws, business and religious life, and their own districts, and left them in peace and prosperity provided they paid their taxes. And that heritage lives on today in the well mannered, elegant and courteous people of Cordoba.

It was Christian persecution that drove the Sephardic Jews from Spain, and the Reyes Catolicas (Christian Monarchs) who finally drove out the Caliphs from their beautiful cities like Cordoba, Granada, and Sevilla.

“History repeats itself” so the saying goes. Is it we Christians who are the cause of the conflict between the Semitic tribes of Jews and Arabs in the Middle East? Or at the very least are we, with our millions of petro-dollars and our greedy search for cheap oil, the catalysts?

In my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” you can read how our greed has been the cause of so much of the trouble in the Near and Middle East. It’s all about the search for cheap oil supplies, and the effects that this has on the expatriates who live highly paid, but isolated, dangerous and lonely lives in order to fulfil this greed.

You can preview my book at:

http://amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a KINDLE.

From Friday November 15, 2013 my book is on a promotion by Amazon. For the first 36 hours you can download it for just $0.99, for the next 36 hours for $1.99, for the next 36 hours $2.99, and for the next 36 hours $3.99. Finally it will revert back to its recommended price of $4.99.

Hurry and get a real bargain. If nothing else my character driven stories are authentic (read the 5 star reviews of previous readers who have experience of working and living in THE GULF). To paraphrase a more famous author than me “I may not have written the whole truth; but I have not written anything that is not the truth.”

Good reading.

Enjoy

Are Cathedrals Christian?

The long farewell to my Spanish home is coming rapidly to a close, so I decided to visit Sevilla and Cordoba—the heart and the soul of Spain in Andalucia—and of course in addition to touring the tapas bars, and watching a flamenco puro show complete with virtuoso guitarist, emotional cante jondo singer, and passionate dancer—I visited the cathedrals in both cities.

Seville Cathedral is an architectural mess. The third largest in the world after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London, it took 400 years to build and matches the ambitions of the builders (they wanted to be thought of as mad). It is a hotchpotch of styles—only the Giralda, the tower in one corner that resembles an ornate Doges Palace, has any grace. And inside it is like all the cathedrals I have ever visited—an exercise in the overwhelming arrogance of power and wealth.

A high altar of huge proportions, ornate and heavily decorated with gold leaf, and all around the walls various chapels competing with each other in their opulence.  And a Treasury that contains solid gold chalices, headdresses and altar pieces made from solid gold presumably stolen from the Incas. This is not exactly what Christ taught is it? “It is more difficult for a rich man . . . camel through the eye of a needle etc . . .”

And Cordoba was even worse because they have built the cathedral on top of the pre-existing mosque—the world famous Mezquita or Al Jama mosque. At eye level the Mezquita is mesmerizing, hundreds of interlinked arches of alternate pink and cream stripes that are stylized palm trees dimly lit by bronze lanterns that hang on chains. But when you raise your eyes you are into Christian Cathedral Gothic. Soaring columns and vaulted ceilings that make you giddy built on top of the delicate Moorish arches. And at the centre they have added a huge high altar with plaster images of saints and virgins. Sacrilege, or whatever is the Arabic equivalent.

What is worse they have bricked up the Mihrab, the holy place where the Imam led prayers, and you can only look above the wall and see the brilliant Ajulejos (colourful and intricate tilework that is yet another legacy of the Moors) and delicate filigree of carvings in clay that have survived for more than 1,000 years. And even here the Christians have added a plaster saint on one wall of the Mihrab. Is triumphalism a Christian virtue?

In my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” you can read how another Western sin—Greed—has been the cause of so much of the trouble between Arabs, and Jews, and the Western world. It’s all about the search for cheap oil supplies, and the effects that the endless flow of petro-dollars has had on the expatriates who live highly paid, but isolated, dangerous and lonely lives in order to fulfil this greed.

You can preview my book at:

http://amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a KINDLE. If you do not, or you prefer a real book, you can order from:

http://thebookdepositry.co.uk

They offer free delivery worldwide

 

When did the Circus leave town?

When I was  child I loved it when the circus came to town. I loved the skills of the tumblers and acrobats, the skill and daring of the pretty girls bareback riding—and of course the heart- stopping daring and courage of the lion tamers who went alone into a cage full of wild beasts of the jungle. But the slapstick of clowns frightened me, it seemed cruel and heartless, and I hated the freak shows that clustered around the circus.

And if the world of Politics can be seen as a circus, then the skilful tumblers and acrobats, the pretty and skilful bare-back riders, and the brave and fearless lion tamers have gone, leaving behind the clowns and the freaks—vain, incompetent, corrupt, egotistical and damaged personalities jostling for their place in the limelight, and more than their share of the action, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

I cannot even bring myself to write about the freaks, although most literature and drama these days seems to concentrate on dysfunctional and bizarre people as though in some way this illuminates human nature. I prefer to write about normal people in abnormal situations that force them to act “out of character”—or perhaps enables them to reveal their true nature?   

But you can read about a 20th Century clown, Captain Bob, in my  story FALSE ECONOMY that is part of a collection of stories in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” set in The Arabian/Persian Gulf from the 1960s until the events of 9/11 changed everything.

You can preview my book at:

http://amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a KINDLE. If you do not, or you prefer a real book, you can order from:

http://thebookdepositry.co.uk

They offer free delivery worldwide

 

Stupid Women 2 . . . Hell on Earth

          Perhaps, more than the threat of Hell’s Fire and Damnation in the afterlife women should fear the Hell on Earth of looking back in old age at their young, attractive and innocent selves, and wondering where it went all wrong.

          At the present moment there is a picture circulating on the Internet of a decrepit bag lady in a shabby mackintosh in down-at-heel sandals with thin stringy hair, corpulent and multi-chinned pulling a shopping trolley. The caption is “Guess Who?”

          Cruelly, the first picture is then backed up by pictures of a stunningly beautiful young woman, and the answer is “Christine Keeler”. This is the woman who as a barely legal teen slept with a British Minister of State, a Russian KGB colonel, and numerous Society people—and eventually brought down the government of the patrician Harold MacMillan.

          In kindness I have to say she was silly and star struck rather than stupid. Why was this poor little uneducated and rather dim village girl invited to orgiastic parties at the poolside of Lord Astor at his stately home, Clivenden, attended by politicians, diplomats, crooked property developers and members of so-called High Society? Because they are always on the lookout for something fresh to perk up their jaded appetites?

          I had some peripheral involvement in the Christine Keeler affair because I was for a year the Manager of SHELL’s aviation laboratory in Egham, the Thameside village where she lived. I never met her, but some of my lab assistants went to school with her. They say that she was unfortunate that at early puberty she transformed from a gawky ugly duckling that attracted nobody into a beautiful swan who attracted everybody. A child in a woman’s body.

         A year previously, when I was an RAF officer, and before the scandal broke, I was introduced to Antigoni the Royal portrait painter who was one of her clients. And I attended parties at Powis Terrace, a Peter Rachman (who was involved with Keeler through his girlfriend Mandy Rice-Davis) development in the then unfashionable and raffish Notting Hill.

          Now Christine is indigent and living on benefits, and is doomed to look at pictures of her young self and wonder what might have been if she had mixed with better company—like Layla, the Palestinian air hostess in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

          Yes Layla in her teens escaped the Palestinian refugee camps and hung out around the American University in Beirut working as a waitress and used her beauty to gain favours. But she passed herself off as a Lebanese Christian, made sure she learned good English, and never ever let her milk white skin turn brown in the sun. And so she landed a job with Middle East Airlines, had a hymen repair and snagged a rich Saudi husband fascinated by her apparent sophistication, and virginity.

          But life is cruel even for the young and beautiful. She could not produce a son, and so her Saudi husband divorced her. She went back to Palestine, converted to Christianity, and like most Levantine women ran to fat in her middle age. But she tried bravely to make a difference by running a Church of England orphanage near Ramallah—and was hassled by the Israelis and the Palestinians alike, her only ally a broken down old English expatriate.

        You can preview my book at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a KINDLE. If you do not, or you prefer a real book you can order from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

They offer free delivery worldwide

 

 

Stupid Women

          Miss Piggy of Muppet fame was a brilliant comic invention because, like all true comic inventions, her role contains a strong thread of truth. In the main modern Western women are shallow, vain and entirely self-centred

          The recently released movie DIANA has been panned by the critics for lacking depth or complexity. How could it have: Diana was quintessentially shallow, vain and self-centered—an Essex Girl with a posh accent. Ava Gardener was honest when she said “I am not deep, just endlessly shallow.”

          And in a recent story Oprah Winfrey was incensed because while shopping for a handbag at a cost of US$ 28,000 in Geneva the typically haughty Swiss salesgirl doubted that an African-American could afford such extravagance. But the essence of this story is not the overt racism of the Anglo-Germanic races. The true essence is how any educated woman of whatever race, colour or creed could contemplate spending that much money on a handbag.

          I now know 9 women of a certain age whose husbands/partners have walked out after 20, 30 and even 40 years leaving them bitter, hostile and lonely and thinking that they have been hard done to. Yet these women treated their relationships/ marriages as a base of operations, lying or cheating or stealing from their partners (and in some cases all three). They neglected their relationship in favour of going to the spa, lunching with friends, and going boutique shopping every day to buy outrageously expensive items they could not afford.

          When I challenged one of them about her out-of-control spending she said “You don’t understand . . . it’s not a question of need . . . it’s a question of want.”

          They considered themselves independent women in the modern manner—but unlike the truly independent highly educated modern young girl who expects to go Dutch on a date, and when in a relationship pays her share of the bills, these women have never made a mortgage payment, or paid an electricity bill, or the land taxes. And what is more they expected their partners to subsidize their extravagant lifestyle. At least Oprah was spending her own money.

          In my book THE GULF: “Reaping the Whirlwind” I tell the stories of American and British expatriates who wash up in The Arabian Gulf for whatever reason—and mostly the reason is the infidelity and/or extravagance of their wives/lovers.

One story I did not tell is of a Third World Charlie who was fortunate enough to get an American Green Card in the lottery, and went to live in the USA. His wife, confronted with this consumerist Paradise, went crazy. At one point she bought 4 brand new cars on credit. He had to declare bankruptcy, sell his home, divorce his wife, and was fortunate enough to find high paid employment in The Gulf and get out of the deep hole dug by his wife’s greed.

          And like most of the other estranged males I know he is now a very happy man married to a lovely Filipina girl half his age (and one has married a very wealthy Swedish widow) while his ex-wife lives in lonely poverty. How stupid is that?

          You can preview my book of stories at:

www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it for US$2.99 if you have a Kindle. If you prefer a real book you can buy the paperback for Euros 12 from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

Enjoy