Gypsies, Travellers and Prejudices

Television is a great time-waster. It’s also a great source of entertainment. And occasionally, it makes us ask questions, seek more information.

This was the case when I came across the show on Foxtel called My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. The show is based around the lives of Travellers and Gypsies, and I was disappointed to hear that in today’s age Gypsies and Travellers are being routinely discriminated against.

I remember dealing with Gypsies back in my younger days. They used to come through our town every summer. I remember their men being very proud, independent and decent fighters. Their girls are beautiful dancers and really easy on an eye. When the men weren’t busy smoking and talking trash, they earned their living as blacksmith and horse handlers. Women used to bring money into the tents by dancing and fortune telling. Their kids were known to help themselves on occasion with stuff that wasn’t bolted down, but I don’t remember it being a big problem – it’s not like they were the only ones with sticky fingers – there was enough home-grown low-lives to cause trouble throughout the year.

So where does this animosity is coming from? Why do we treat people who live next door to us, look like us, work like us with such content?

The answer, I think, is simple…. all this is because of the lack of knowledge and understanding.

Gypsies are different, in many ways still maintaining the way of life their ancestors lived hundreds of years ago. They were known as nomads, as the “descendants of Cain”.

Because of this being different, Gypsies suffered greatly during the WWII. They were sent to extermination camps together with Jews and homosexuals.

This makes the way they are treated today even more appalling. It is really sad when in a 21st century UK a grown up man is afraid to show his face on TV for fear of loosing his job, or a bride is refusing to name the place of the wedding venue till the very last moment for fear of the venue cancelling on her simply because she’s a Gypsy.

 

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Tinglers and Tampons

This post is more of a WTF category, just a couple of things I’ve come across recently that made me stop and take a second look…

The first one was at a truck stop somewhere between Melbourne and Canberra.

Boldly Glow Where No Man Has Glowed Before

Boldly Glow Where No Man Has Glowed Before

While washing hands in a toilet, I’ve noticed a vending machine that was selling Tingler Rings.

Looks like our truckies have become more sophisticated, more adventurous. It’s not enough to just grab a plain old condom from a machine for a quick “pit-stop” on a way. Now they are looking for the Tingler Ring – a product promising you to “Boldly glow where no man has glowed before”.

It also promises to “Prolong The Pleasure Of Sex” – I always thought that our truck drivers work on a tight schedule, they would be more interested in a product that will allow them to get maximum satisfaction in a shortest time possible…you know, “in, out, back on the road again”?

 

The second thing that made me go “hmmm” was the banner in a local health shop.

What's In Your Tampon?

What’s In Your Tampon?

For a reason that escapes me, they posted a question “What’s in your tampon?”

Now, I’m not too sure what they are trying to achieve here… If they want to know what tampons are made of, they might be better off directing the question to the manufactures. If they want to know what’s in a tampon after it’s been used, I don’t even want to go there.

Being a health shop specializing in all things “natural”, I suspect they wanted to make people aware of some different type of tampons made of natural, or recycled ingredients.

What I find hard to swallow, even harder than a tampon staring in my face, is the fact that they sell those horrible drinks there, they call it “coffee” but it’s made from the soy milk and dandelions. No human should be allowed to suffer through drinking that horrible stuff.

Maybe next they should put up a poster asking “How to make real coffee?”

My musings on joining a gym

This week I celebrated my second anniversary. Second anniversary of going to gym that is. Yes, I belong to a gym now. Well, let me rephrase that: I don’t belong there at all, but I go.

For the whole 2 months I was coming to this place, doing things to my body that no body should ever endure. I was making it run, lift weights, bend into weird shapes. I hope one day my body will forgive me for making it do all these crazy things.

Zap Fitness gym

Inside one of Zap’s many locations

Some would say that two months is not a big deal, that people are going to gym for years. Well, it is a big deal for me. You see, when you are on a wrong side of 40 years, on a wrong side of 100 kilos, and when the only exercise your body knows is lifting a fork full of herring salad and a glass full of vodka, any additional effort can potentially become that infamous straw that broke the camel’s back.

When I was shopping around for a gym, I looked at about half a dozen of them, most within walking distance from me. One was too “boutique” for my liking, another one too “hardcore”, yet another one too expensive… But one struck the right balance – it was reasonably priced, seemed nice inside, the fact that it’s open 24/7 was also a factor. But what really swayed me over was the location.

Grilled, Zap Fitness, Cellarbrations

Perfect location for any gym

Talk about perfection. Such thoughtfulness, such attention to detail. On a way to gym you can pop into Grill’d, get one (or two, or three) of their “Hot” Mama burgers, move next door in an attempt to lose just acquired calories at a gym, fail miserably, leave the gym disappointed and move on to the Cellarbrations to drown you sorrows in alcohol – all without having to cross the road or move your car.

I guess there is a lesson in this. All these things can co-exist. One can eat out, have a glass (or two) of alcohol, and still be a gym-goer. There is nothing wrong in indulging in life’s little pleasures, as long it is done in moderation.

Food that kills you, or food that helps you living longer

I was busy on my PC the other day, editing a video I filmed earlier and I had one of those infotainment shows on TV, just for a bit of a background noise. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the TV, until I’ve heard them saying that milk is bad for our health. By the time I found the remote control to adjust the volume, they already moved onto another
segment-“no loss of suction” vacuum cleaner, or maybe it was the Fat Trimmer, or ABRocker, or some other “must-have” invention. But my curiosity was now piqued. I wanted to know more about the dangers of milk and it’s by-products.

Cows are out to get us

Cows are out to get us

So naturally, I turned to my friend, Mister Know-It-All: Google. 
Sure enough, I find this article in Huffington Post telling me that Mark Hyman, MD warns us all about dangers of milk in his piece “Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It at All Costs…” It sounded pretty serious, so I immediately decided to adjust my eating habits and exclude all dairy products from my diet. After all, there is plenty of other food out there, right? But just to be on a safe side, I decided to check what else can potentially kill me. Imagine my dismay when I realised that red meat increases my risk of dying by 13% (Thanks, LA Times and BBC News); fish in general is a big “no-no” according to Vreeland Clinic and PETA assures me that salmon is practically waiting to kill me.

At this point I’m starting to freak out. No meat, no fish, no dairy – that smells like a vegetarian diet to me and I DON’T DO VEGETERIAN!

What are we to do?

What are we to do?

Once the initial shock wore off, I decided to check what other people eat, in particular people in countries with a high life expectancy. So I’ve consulted with Wikipedia, and it informed me that among the top 10 countries with a high life expectancy are Andorra, France, Italy, Israel, and Spain – all Mediterranean countries, all famous for their
cuisine containing cheeses, lamb, fish. Another country on a list is Japan, and their love of fish is well known. Closer to home, Australia is also in a top 10 and we are famous for our seafood and our beef.

Now, I am not a whinger, but… I would really like to know one thing. All those “specialists”, all those so-called “gurus” go out and disseminate the message of doom and gloom. Why? What do they stand to gain? Who paid for their “research”?