Friday, March 18, 2011


The very next person who confronts me with the accusation - "You're an ex military pilot - you MUST have seen UFOs."  is going to be attacked with a baseball bat - preferably one with big nails in the end of it! Unfortunately for me there is one of these "UFO Investigators" living a mere few properties away from mine. Even more unfortunately he recently discovered I'm an ex Air Force pilot. Therefore, according to his tiny fixated little mind I must have seen LOTS of little green , or grey, or even pink with purple polka dot aliens. In his world colour is probably optional but in any case "You MUST have seen things that you were told not to talk about ." (His emphasis - not mine.)

I was stupid enough to attempt to talk rationally with the man and explain that the term U.F.O. stands for Unidentified Flying Object and does not signify the existence, or presence, of a manned extra terrestrial vehicle. An unidentified flying object is just that - an object, apparently airborne, which has not, at the time of observation, been identified. In effect the local seagulls are UFOs - until you have a good look and say to yourself - Ah! bloody seagulls - I hope they don't crap on my washing.

This "Investigator" is a pest of the worse kind, I concede that there are a small number of airborne objects that do not comply with normal investigative procedures and their form and purpose is never clearly defined, however this clown takes the view that any light/ shadow/ unusual phenomena in the sky - or on the ground  - is some sort of alien contrivance. If he hears about it and it's less than a couple of hundred kilometers away he immediately sets forth with all manner of measuring equipment to "prove" that the men from Mars have landed. Equally unfortunately this idiot also has the mistaken belief that I have some secret knowledge that is denied to him and constantly tries to drag me along with him on his wild goose chases. I am seriously considering the purchase of a large vicious dog to discourage him.

It seems to me that this fool, and his faithful disciples, might also be referred to as UFOs - Unconditionally Fixated Obsessives!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grumpy Old Women

I'm a firm believer in equal rights so it's only fair that, having sounded off about Grumpy Old Men, I now give equal attention to the female of the species; Grumpy Old Women. Women very rarely accept that they are ageing well and often become banshees of the black shawl set,  acid tongued old crones who harangue us with their constant complaining about everything from the useless, broken down, ineffectual man in their life to the price of spuds at the Green Grocer.

Grumpy Old Women may once have been the Belle of the Ball, the  vision of loveliness who took young men's breath away, or even the love of some poor delusioned man's life. But many women do grow sour with age. As their beauty fades and their sight dims it appears their one remaining joy in life is to make everyone feel as miserable as they do.  Their spouse, or partner, if he lingers, never brings home enough money, or is to busy playing golf, or any of the other activities a man pursues to avoid going home. Their children grow distant and disinterested and the grandchildren are just another imposition on their mostly empty life.

So the bitterness , and the resentment grows. They grow bent, and can no longer control the advance of body weight. The once svelte curves, that turned men's heads have finally surrendered to the advance of cellulite, and arthritis, and a multitude of "women's" complaints. They sit on bus stops, and seats in city malls or parks and glare disapprovingly at the antics of the young. It seems that, to them, youth is the ultimate crime. One wonders if their fading memories retain any history of their own past  and the fact that they too were once young. Perhaps, if those memories are still retained, they are ruthlessly suppressed, after all who wants to be reminded of what used to be. Then there is the opposite approach of these Grumpy Old Women - nothing is a good as it used to be and, it follows, no one else is as good as they were themselves. One hears the bitter complaints that - "When I was young  etc, etc." - fill in the blanks for yourself. 

Of course there is the final irony - the Merry Widows - of which there are many sub types. There is the calculating younger woman who carefully chose, and married, a man 10 or 20 years her senior and patiently waited for her time to come. They can be recognised by the brand new outfits purchased with the proceeds of their late husband's estate and their some what desperate attempts to catch a younger man, hopefully to reward them for their years of devoted and slow wearing down of their husbands to ensure the poor man meets his maker before his rightful time. A realisation that by the time they collected they were past their prime brings the whole gambit of bitterness to the fore. This sub type is easily confused with the divorcees who got impatient and bailed out before collection time. Their bitterness is usually accompanied by a string of invectives describing the ex husband, especially if he was smart enough to have an effective pre nuptial agreement in hand. 

The final sub type we will examine is the most fearsome of the lot. The Self Sufficient Woman. This subtype is not always a Grumpy Old Woman but can display a very effective facsimile if it suits her game plan. Self sufficient women are inevitably well groomed, generally look younger than their true chronological age and quite often are well educated. A sure sign is if they have gone back and studied for a Degree or Diploma subsequent to their partner's demise. The self sufficient woman is likely to own her own property, or properties, and is most likely to be financially secure. She knows what she wants, and more importantly what she does not! Gentlemen be warned, the capture of  the self sufficient woman is a task beyond the skills and capabilities of most mere males and has a high probability of backfiring. Be aware of Grumpy's 97th Law of Survival. The female of the species is more lethally dangerous than the male!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Grumpy Old Men!

Curmudgeons, Grumps, Old Farts, call us what you will but we are a fact of life. A young man has an unshakable faith in his invincibility that only the ravishes of time, or perhaps self abuse, can erase. At twenty a young man is in the prime of his condition and is fast approaching the threshold of total maturity, and ultimately manhood. Some acquire that pinnacle in a rush, others with a slower and more considered approach.

Either way each of us, baring fatal accident or disease, will finally reach that point in time called middle age and from there the slide into old age is a fate non of us can escape. One would expect that, with the accumulated wisdom and experience of our years, we would mellow into a knowledgeable old guru who would sit and dispense his wisdom to any who are wise enough to listen. Not bloody likely. The onset of old age brings us reminders of the follies of our own youth in the form of  arthritis, clogged arteries, unclassified pains, stiffness and a growing intolerance for the stupidities of mankind.

For some of us the bitter lessons of relationships gone wrong add further dissatisfaction to the journey of our life. Then there is the "I can still do it" syndrome which often manifests itself in middle age. For some it is black shirts worn unbuttoned over a protruding stomach and often coupled with a profusion of heavy golden jewelery worn like a yoke around the neck. Those of us unaffected by this  syndrome sneer that "so and so is going through a second childhood" and laugh heartily at his childish antics. But we all suffer in one way or another from the mistaken belief that we still have what "it" takes. Significantly none of us are quite sure just what "it" is. I'm a retired pilot and for me the syndrome manifests itself in a passion for flying radio controlled model aircraft. I may not still be up there but my spirit is! - Yeah, right.

What ever the affliction it is inevitably accompanied by an increase in pain and stiffness that makes it difficult to get the body moving when we  get out of bed. So by the time we creak our way to the breakfast table we have already started to build a head of steam. The toast burns or the coffee, which you forgot was there, is to damn cold. Then the morning paper is full of bad news and photos of lithe young bodies doing things with apparent effortless ease. We open the door and the cold blast of freezing morning air nearly blows us off our tottery old feet. Is it any wonder that the first person unfortunate enough to attempt a conversation gets blasted with a stream of vitriol and bad temper? Such is the life of an old curmudgeon.