Monthly Archives: June 2017

Election Day

Dear readers,

Another f–king election? I can’t stand the b—–d things anymore. I know many of you are reading this and thinking, “at least you get the right to vote.” And you’re right. Absolutely right. People have lost their lives to enable me to vote. Yet I still feel compelled to hate elections. Why? Because I’ve been on the losing side for the last God knows how many. Even when I have had no right to vote and it’s in a different country entirely, I’ve lost. Referendums and independence votes: lost. I feel like a bad luck omen. But I guess many others feel the same. Bad loser? Oh yes. Inability to face reality; yep. Yet with the direction the world is going, I feel I’ve voted on the right side of history, so to speak. I have to give myself credit.

We’ve had an avalanche of elections of late. The UK has had to vote on something every year since 2014. There’s been the US (disaster), France (that one was moderately better), Holland (much better) and Honduras (in November). We’ve seen a rise in the far right, or in some cases left, and also “non-traditional” candidates taking a stand, in Honduras’s case Salvador Nasarrala, who was originally a political/football journalist. In Guatemala they have a former comedian. And it all goes to show that voters are fed up the technocrats and bureaucrats who have allowed corporations tax breaks and banks a free reign to behave how they please, while trying to trick the voting public by passing unpopular bills and cutting public services until they are longer viable. There’s corruption at all levels, such as the UK voting scandal back in 2015, and Odebrecht throughout Latin America, where the Brazilian construction company, possibly the biggest in the region, paid bribes to politicians to win public construction contracts. It involves a whole host of politicians, many of who are in prison or are being investigated. People are fed up of being cheated. They really do just want an honest man or woman, or what appears to be an honest man or woman, someone who they identify with, irrespective of their political experience, to take power. This is one of the reasons for Jeremy Corbyn’s rise.

The mudslinging you get with all elections, the media throwing wild, defaming allegations to sway your vote, the bullshit flowing from mouths, the mudane rhetorics, the red and blue colours of the party flags that brand empty slogans, the bogus polls, the opinions (every eejit suddenly claims to be a political genius over night, yet nobody really understands what is going on), and scoring political points over tragedies, like we have seen in the recent terrorist attacks in the UK. And then people ask why the people don’t turn up at the polling booths.

After all that, I am going to completely contradict myself and say this UK election should really have come when David Cameron resigned last year. Theresa May called for an election to try and crush Labour, yet Jeremy Corbyn has risen from the ashes and the vote seems to be closer than we think. The Tory arrogance seems to have forgotten how hated they are for seven years of very unnecessary welfare and public service cuts. And when you have a calm gentleman who looks like a Jedi come to the front promising all sorts, you can see why Corbyn has risen.

I am able to vote through my father (we have very similar political ideals, so I assure you I’ve not sold my vote) although I must say that I feel a bit of a fraud as I’ve not been in the UK since 2014. I will, as you might have guessed, for Labour. It’s not perfect, but my ideals are more inline with Mr. Corbyn. Another five years of Tory is not what the country needs, in my view. It has cut the country from Europe and alienated all. But I don’t judge Tory voters. Vote as you see best. However, for any Tories reading this, remember that judging is a Catholic sin and you’ll go to hell for that, and not just for voting the way you do. Joke, of course, but I hope, somehow, whatever the result, for a less divided nation. Furthermore, I don’t want to see another vote for another five years. I am all voted out. I have to hear all this again in the Honduran elections in the coming months, although I’m thinking of buying cotton swabs to cover my ear holes.

To conclude, let the best man win. Let it be Labour.

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Vicente José Rogers Cruz – part 2

Dear readers,

They grow up fast, don’t they? Children. Dogs. Pets in general. Not that children should be labeled pets. It’s been a month since I last wrote about Vicente, our little rescued pup who seems a lot less little by the day. We took him in when he was a month old. He was barely a kilogram and a helpless little thing, suffering from an array of stomach problems, with worms to parasites, that gave him a notable little belly earning him the nickname panzon, roughly meaning potbelly. He now weighs in at 3.5 kilos (and that was vet’s assessment last week), with no stomach issues and a growing confidence, intelligence and strength that definitely comes from his German Shepherd side. He also has fuller face, a stubborn personality, and is quite protective of Pamela and I. We are now able to take him out and he he now sizes up people and dogs, and circles us, ensuring we’re safe first. I know this is common with dogs, but it reminds me of my brother’s German Shepherds. I confess that I have always been nervous around dogs, and I always get annoyed of owners who claim their dogs are fine and safe, even when baring their teeth. I have made a promise to myself that I won’t be that type of owner. 

I have only kept cats (and birds and gerbils and hamsters) before, and I still kind of prefer them. Their personalities, being independent and cleaner and less demanding. I don’t think I’ll be able to have cats with Frido. Like Frido, Pamela isn’t a fan of cats. Cats aren’t very popular in Honduras in general, suffering all sorts of abuse and cruelty, which I believe has evolved them into more hostile and less friendly creatures on this side of the world, especially to humanoids, all based on silly non-truths and superstition. They can still be friendly and loyal, less so than dogs I agree, yet they have so much more grace, style, intelligence and arrogance, which I love. Everyday I still miss the two cats we had, Huey and Oscar, now in cat heaven.

I still find myself wondering how I talked myself into having a dog. I’m sure my family think the same. You can tell from my earlier posts I have not always been a canine fan, having been attacked by a few, one of which hospitalized me and left me with stitches. It’s not to say I don’t enjoy or love Vicente. He’s a loyal little man. But the care and attention he demands is exhausting. Saying that, I wasn’t expecting an easy ride.

Having a dog is like having a child, although that may well be a brainless statement because I don’t have kids, so I am sure parents are thinking “this boy hasn’t a clue”, but you get the message. Understanding their mentality as a pack animal, the behaviour and training they need, has lead me to read a couple of books on dogs and watch a few YouTube videos. One of the said books is Think Dog by John Fisher, a famous dog psychologist. He has given me much food for thought, especially in toilet training and nipping. Vicente didn’t get the full training from his own mother (she unfortunately died in a fire), which is essential for the first couple of months in a dog’s life, as it teaches it how to bite and more elements of the pack instinct. We have tried to teach Vicente through yelping and positive behaviour reinforcement, but it tries our patience. Pooing and weeing in all areas of the house is also an issue. We have got through forests of newspapers, using special dog perfumes and repellent​s, yet it doesn’t seem to work. He does understand commands sit, stay, stop, and come, and he knows he must be sat before he gets food. He also retrieves balls for us, something we barely had to teach, which makes me wonder if he has some sort of retriever blood in him. He knows not to mess with Frido (he received a sucker punch to the nose from sweet southpaw from Frido’s swiping beak once; that proved to be the best deterrent). He has lots of toys, one of which includes a squeaky chicken which he loves. He also keeps stealing Pam’s shoes and leaving big teeth marks in the impossibly high heels (Pamela has more shoes than a millipede has feet, so don’t feel too sorry for her). He alsohates baths, which is a surprise because he seems to want to jump and roll in in every puddle he can find; the dirtier, the better (for him).

I have to be tough at times. I don’t particularly like to be. Punishments and deterrents are not easy. Some people smack or are aggressive to their dog. The book obviously says no. Dogs don’t really understand revenge punishments. They just read it as aggression. I am also learning about loyalty, dominance, and pack instinct, especially interacting and stroking the dog, why dogs cry or get jealous, their protectiveness over food. Sometimes I appreciate it. Sometimes I want to say, why can’t you behave like a cat? Cruel, I know, but cats are so much more chilled. I miss that a little.

Vicente is gaining fans in the neighbourhood. He’s not loud. Just adorable. We look forward to seeing him grow up, as he seems very obedient and loyal to us, just not to our shoes or trouser legs or bare heels. The vet is still a little unsure how big Vicente will be. She says medium-sized, judging by the size of his head and paws (I didn’t know you could judge a dog’s future size like that), although some friends think he will be bigger. I, for one, does not know what medium sized is. My main worry is that he eats like a horse, and what the future food bill will be.

In general though, so far so good.

If you have any doggy tips, please leave them below.