Tempus? … F*** It!

“We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy itFrank Howard Clark

Grinding onTempus Fugit … So What!

Absolutely shocking! I’ve still more than a quarter of my life to go (see below). We older citizens have a future: good or bad, rough or smooth, and that’s what this piece is about.

Many over 60’s will have to stay in employment, get back to work or, at least, find a way to generate income. The banking collapse and other stupidities happened and, irrespective of blame, we are where we are.

Fix it? Why?

Is your spirit broken? I doubt it. At our age we’ve all had tough times and we Scots/Brits [insert your nationality] have grit. Yet, regardless of our spirit, it’s one thing to get up off the floor and quite another to push on and create an alternative future.

Shape Up

As I think, so I am. There’s truth in that statement. It also applies to other assessing us: as they think, so we are. These two perceptions challenge us to make time and apply effort to:

Look at ourselves

  • determine our true situation
  • decide how we want our lives and world to be
  • assess options and plan action to achieve our goals
  • challenge unhelpful assumptions

Make a move

How are we going to engage with helpers? People like:

  • employers
  • past, present or future colleagues
  • banks, agencies and charities who can help us start a new business

Why Bother?

Doing nothing is a valid option. And, if that’s your position, I’d stop reading this and find something more in line with your train of thought. Everything comes to he or she who waits: poverty, disease and depression to name but three. 

We’d best face the facts:

1. The chances are we’re going to live

A Life Expectancy Calculator helped me work out how a surgeon might calculate my chances. This tells me I’ve 23 years to go. That’s more than a quarter of my life still to come! Ten years or more of productive life with any luck. Take care of myself and maybe quite a lot more.

I entered figures for a person who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and eats loads of calories and E numbers. If it had been me I’d have been dead 8 years ago. This goes to show that if you are around and over 60 there can still be good times ahead … who’s a party animal then?

2. Keeping older people in work is trending towards a “good thing”

Imagine, not having us around and productive could be problematic:

A main concern is that with the retirement of the baby boomers, the number of people of a working, taxable age will shrink or become stagnant. This could result in gaps in the jobs market, with businesses and public services lacking the workforce required.”

Pensions Minister said:

“Older people are the main untapped source of labour in this country. Britain is in a global economic race and we’re moving towards a landscape where there will be a set of jobs that employers cannot fill with anyone but experienced older workers. A firm that doesn’t make use of the talent pool on offer amongst the over fifties will be left behind.” So it must be true.

Reality Check

There’s lots we can do for ourselves: attend courses, do business planning, network, apply for jobs. The good news is some of the commonly held ideas about the capability, reliability and potential of older people is unfounded.

Research (November 2012) based on a review of 380 ‘empirical articles’ from 1970 to 2011 reports that, like most stereotypes, those about older people in work are completely unfounded. The outcome still challenges widely held beliefs (May 2015) that older employees are:

  • less motivated
  • less willing to engage in training and career development
  • more resistant to change
  • not as trusting
  • more likely to experience health problems that affect their work
  • more vulnerable to work–family conflicts

The researchers bottom line was: “Most stereotypes about older workers don’t hold water. As the average age of the labor force continues to rise, managers should shed several long-held misconceptions about older employees, de-emphasize age in personnel decisions, and take a more active approach to celebrating the positive attributes of highly experienced employees.”

Sum Up

We’re living longer. We have potential. We have a contribution to make and employers and politicians appear to believe they need us and want us.

Of course we need to get out there and make things happen; and there’s nothing like pushing at an open door … is there?

Mac Logan
©

Birthday Boy

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional Chili Davis

A poem with a picture on the side. Try reading this out loud. If you’d like a Scottish read, let me know and I’ll record it (a few requests needed).

I was Best Man for Davy a few years back and, when we got together recently I remembered this.

Davy’s Birthday

Davy's BirthdayAye Davy lad the time is come
for one more year to pass you by.
But where’s the sense o’ lookin’ glum;
with ageless wings you still can fly.

One thing, I guess, is worth a note
but hardly begs a song of glee;
the hobblin’, limpin’, awkward gait
that’s driven by your agein’ knee.

That lumpy, bumpy, creakin’ joint;
a source of pain and slower stalkin’;
‘tis only but a passin’ point
and soon again you’ll stride out – walkin’.

So here’s a birthday wish for youse…
An honest prayer, you’ll better feel.
That soon you’ll leave the aching’ blues
and once more dance the eight-some reel!

NB: Davy’s party pony tail was actually a woman standing to the side of him.

The photo was taken on the Strangford Ferry in Northern Ireland.

Mac Logan
©

Something to do with Urges

Well I Never

‘Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It’s the difference between
using a feather and using a chicken.’ Terry Pratchett

Bisexual indeed!

OPT 150508 TOMI used to think a bisexual had wheels and handlebars; that S&M were candy coated chocolate buttons; and sex was what potatoes came in … Then, a few weeks ago, someone told me about erotica.

I’m both honoured and diffident in my appreciation of an erotic author inviting me to guest-blog and giving me the flexibility to respond (don’t jump to conclusions) in my own way.

Twitter excitement

After I joined Twitter I was followed by writers who proclaimed themselves “erotic”, erotic, e-r-o-t-i-c. Hmm, I thought, should I follow back? I wondered if people might check my followers and think I’m a dirty-old-man … I’d much rather be a TOM or a typical-older-man. My definition of a TOM is:

A middle-aged or elderly man with still-operational … you know

Are there other TOM’s in the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, or world-wide? I hope so. Am I the only white-haired man who still feels “urges” now and then? Anyhow, TOM is a sound idea as one has to be careful how one uses the D-O-M initials following recent scandals in some churches … not to mention bossy women who like cracking the whip.

Normal?

Do TOMs show a normal interest in sex? Are all women who read and enjoy erotica actually dirty-old-men in disguise? Now there’s a thought.

Thinking of possibilities, I found a prayer to help people cope with the dilemma of appearances and enhance their Tom-erotic potential:

Dear Lord, All I ask for in 2015 is a big, fat bank account and a slim body. Please don’t mix these up like you did last year. Amen.

And the writers of eroticism?

Want to know what I do about the authors of erotica who follow me? Mostly I follow back. Why? Erotic authors are artists applying their craft for a readership who want to enjoy it. If it’s consensual and adult I stand by the principle of acceptance.

What’s more, I’m getting a much wider range of word usage as a byproduct (or should I spell that bi-product?) I now have alternative thoughts about dripping, sucking, nibbling, squeezing, stroking … I could go on. Sad to say I’ll never be able to use the word “ejaculated”, as a dialogue attribution again. Ho hum.

Tainted?

I’m told I may have included a mild touch of the erotic in my latest thriller. This is not intended to create wild titillation or dampen the story line. It’s simply a normal outcome of a couple sharing and enjoying the normal physical intimacy of a strong relationship. No, folks, there aren’t passages worth dog-earing. But then there is that manipulative woman lawyer who throws herself about a bit …

With such a clear demand for erotica, the hypocrisy around it and other sexual content is surprising. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel inclined to write erotica as a genre. However, I stand by my fellow authors who follow their inspiration. Let’s avoid judgement and encourage writing in its many vibrant forms.

PS: Can anyone recommend a juicy piece of … ah … private reading for a somewhat unworldly TOM I know? I’ll be happy to pass links along

Mac Logan
©

Romantic Male? … you serious?

Just when you thought you were past it …

OPT 150505 cupidPresident Jimmy Carter said: “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” Playboy, 1976. If a thoroughly decent US President can be honest about it … maybe most males should own up.

The three greatest lies in the western world are alleged to be:

  1. Your cheque is in the post
  2. I’m from HR and I’m here to help you
  3. Of course I’ll still respect you in the morning

Bearing in mind a female author friend’s belief that “…there’s nothing better than the feeling of falling into love …” I’ll use number three as a reference point. Fact is, I fall in love quite often. Only one issue really — I’m a man.

What came first? The thinning hair or the creaking knees?

One day, years ago, I noticed tiny crow’s-feet. A while later, a wrinkle creased the smoothness of my forehead. Before I knew it my 6 pack was a 12 pack. Then, OMG, gravity started to added a slight droop—who said pendulous?—to the flesh above my belt-buckle as extra pounds of non-muscle (Don’t like the word flab?) made its home round my torso. Sad to say that was nearly twenty years ago.

Juice on the loose

Okay, I may not be as exciting as Don Juan, Casanova, Byron or any of the physically magnificent residents of Hollywood, carved up faces notwithstanding.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel my juices flow when I meet or see an attractive woman. A gentle smile, some silken curves, a knowing eye communicating sensuality and a hint of fun, a light stroking touch on the back of my hand or forearm, an earthy laugh, a warm hug …wonderful … a delight. Does that mean we should jump into bed?

Tempus … long gone?

Like it or not, I’m not the man I was. Time moves on, as does the tone of my muscles amongst other things. And, as I write this, I think the authors of romance. Imagine the ability to share falling in love through a story, to experience the ups and downs, sillinesses and foul-ups we are all so capable of.

Happy endings

It may be hard to believe, but … I enjoy a happy ending. Add to that, the thought of a passionate night of love, forgiveness, redemption and exhausted satisfaction over a shared glass of Champagne. Okay, maybe I’d need to plea bargain the “night” to a shorter timeframe, and the “drained exhaustion” to a bout of snoring (mutual?). Still the Champagne will be tasty as ever.

I’ve read and enjoyed some romances recently. Virginia Gray and Sam Russell spring to mind. I also get caught up in the schmaltz of a movie. Sometimes the sex scenes in a film are, at the very least, er… compelling.

Possibilities

Meeting a lovely person of indeterminate age, feeling a mutual liking, sensing the heart, I wonder … imagine … and don’t feel the worse for it. Nor do I feel an obligation to seduce or be seduced.

I wonder just how different older men are mature women? Have we common sensibilities? If so, maybe I could write a Romance? How many romantic authors are men?

There are two light-hearted blogs that consider eroticism. One considers Erotica writers as artists. The other relates the tale of an encounter at the London Book Fair.

The women in my novels are assertive, feisty and sensual. As a writer I want characters who are more than two (three actually) dimensional lusty ladies with ginormous boobs. A man wrote me the other day and said he was falling for one of my female baddies, wow!

Get right down to it

My interest in the opposite sex is as strong as ever. How’s yours? Could you imagine coffee or a glass of wine with a few people, and laughing our way through crazy experiences and flirting? Wow, what fun, and no obligation to make love with anyone … apart, perhaps, from that delightful French widow who wants to show me her etchings …

Mac Logan
©

Out of the mouths … on politicians

politicians found out‘Grandad, why do poller … pally …’

‘Politicians?’

‘Yeah, them. Why do they call each other liars all the time?’

‘Because they think they’re the only people who are right.’

‘Can they all be right?’

‘Maybe some bits, but not completely.’

‘So they lie quite a lot of the time.’

‘Yes.’

‘I get in trouble when I lie.’

‘Of course you do.’

‘Mum and Dad get mad if they find me out.’

‘Do you lie sometimes?’

He smiles and nods. I smile back. ‘Mum calls it fibbing.’

‘Why do you fib?’

‘Jack (big brother) blames me and I don’t want to get into trouble.’

‘Even if you’re guilty?’

He giggles and blushes. ‘Especially when I’m guilty.’

I laugh and give him a serious look. ‘You obviously trust me wee man.’

‘You don’t tell on me.’ He gazes into my eyes. ‘You tell me the truth, don’t you?’

‘As best I can.’

‘Dad says polly …

‘Politicians.’

He nods … ‘say porkies … that’s lying isn’t it.’

‘Yes, lying.’

‘Why do politicians lie?’

‘Because they think it’s okay.’ He frowns. ‘They sometimes call it Spin.’

‘Like a top?’

‘I think it’s more like yarn. Remember when you saw them spinning yarn in school.’

‘That was neat.’

It’s the same sort of idea. Like me telling you a yarn.’

‘Like the giant spider story?’

‘Your mum gave me a hard time for that one.’

‘It was scary … are porylicians scary?

‘Sometimes. Usually they’re nice people.’

‘Nice people who act like they know everything, but they don’t.’

‘You’ve got it.’

‘And they lie and make things up.’

‘Sometimes.’

‘Why don’t they find out things and tell the truth, like we do in projects at school?’

‘That’s not how their world works.’

‘Mum would sort them out.’

‘Yup, most mums would.’

‘Why don’t they do projects like me and my class?’

‘Maybe they don’t know how … and anyway, they don’t have to.’

‘So that’s why Dad says they don’t live in the real world.’

‘Sounds like.’

‘So it’s like they know how to spin. They know how to make yarn. But they don’t know how to make cloth.’

‘Spot on. You’ve taught me something today, wee man.’ I hug him, he hugs me back. We laugh.

Make a grown man blush?

“I ache for the touch of lips dear, but much more for the touch of your whips dear. You can raise welts like nobody else …” Tom Lehrer

Ms Whiplash meets a man… might bring a blush to your cheeks

It all started in the Authors’ Lounge at the 2012 London Book Fair. Feet sore, and ready for a coffee, I found a space at a table.

Having confirmed the seat was available, I took the weight off with a big sigh. In moments I was in conversation with an attractive woman, a successful author as it happens. We chatted about this and that and she invited me to meet her publisher; great idea.

My life experience was about to widen …

Down the aisle

We walked down some aisles searching for the stand. Finally, on a corner position, there it was… OMG …

Remember the old line, that’s a nice outfit you’re almost wearing? I gazed at the six-packs, cleavages, buttocks, thighs and other exposed acres of firm flesh — nothing improper you understand; just book covers and posters. I can’t think why I walked into the column supporting the stand.

After a brief introduction to the boss, I undertook to drop by next day and say ‘hi.’ My education on the subject, whilst far from complete, was about to get a boost.

Later, back at the stand

The following morning, they were ready for me. Imagine this Scottish author standing there in his kilt, black socks and shirt. Whatever else, I stood up for mankind as the only male on the stand … and firmly in the cross-hairs as I was about to discover … talk about lads and lashes …

There were two or three editors, a couple of authors and the publisher talking … just for me, I suspect, after some invisible director bellowed action in a voice only they could hear.

Lamb to the slaughter

First they talked about the art of making a person blush. Hmm that sounds like an interesting piece of psychology, I thought — wrong — they weren’t talking about using words to achieve a rosy tint. No, they meant techniques for spanking others with implements, you know: paddles, cats o’ nine tails, whips, lashes, rods, twigs, belts, straps, rulers … to create the glow.

I worked hard to look comfortable — and not blush — as they discussed the latest apparatus. My innocence protected me as I heard of techniques to raise a corporeal flush without breaking the skin: flick, swipe, swish, stroke … amazing; the appliance of a light (?) punishing science between consenting adults. It was all about pain and a gain for some people.

Hands up

My hand must go up here — sorry no rudeness intended. I knew nothing before I went to the stand. Now, my awareness is greater and my knowledge slightly increased. For the time being, I’d like to stay unbeatable.

The women I met were pleasant and mischievous. Did I bolt? No, of course not, I believe I left with dignity … I’m sure the chuckles I heard came from a nearby stand.

One thing I have to say, I’ll never slap my knee, stroke a cat or strike a golf ball without new trains of thought springing, unbidden, to mind.

Mac Logan
©

Big Policy, Big Promises, Big Plans

blind_leading_blindPolitical Promises

I live in Scotland, a beautiful country and part of the United Kingdom. Are you aware of our general election? Right now we citizens are bombarded by interpretations of political fact and related plans to make us happier, wealthier and healthier.

Wherever you live in the world, I expect you’re accustomed to the promises and commitments made by politicians. I hope, in your world, you know, as I do, you can trust every politician’s word to guide you to a proper decision about who should run our country. This is something we can even tell it to the Marines.

Mind reading and second sight

As part of the electorate we should be grateful to have politicians who are both prescient and honest. One need only look at the quality of their manifestoes and pledges to realise how truly effective they are. Hold one up to the light (a manifesto that is) and the transparency shines through. I always feel comfortable when I can see through things, don’t you?

Joined up thinking

joined up thinkingYears ago I attended conferences in London with a view to understanding doing business with the UK government. Broadly speaking there are three types of policy action … simplicity itself:

  • Make Policy
  • Interpret Policy
  • Deliver Policy

I thought it would look like the diagram, with a clear joined-up connection between making, interpreting and delivering policy. And that all this would be based on a solid foundation of fiscal and business-like understanding. After all, it’s where our money goes. Is it unreasonable to expect prudence and joined up thinking?

disconnected circles no foundationDisjointed reality

I discovered the model look something more like this. Is the making of policy at General Election time a sales pitch to the electorate? It appears not to be particularly connected to either interpretation or delivery. The conferences I attended were interesting because they provided an excellent chance to see new faces. I suppose, different people, at different levels, do different things and don’t talk to each other.

Before you discount me as jaundiced and, true enough, all things look yellow to the Jaundiced eye … the Institute of Fiscal Studies states that UK voters are ‘left in the dark’ by the politicians. I’d only change one word, I’d substitute kept for left . Imagine, according to the IFS, our politicians are actually no wiser than we are when it comes to making real policy or getting to grips with the nuts and bolts of reality.

Self-righteousness has it’s own rewards

Here we have the sixth largest economy in the world and our politicians, the blind leading the blind, with profound mendacity and aggressive self-righteousness. No wonder 16 and 17 year olds don’t have the vote, they’d see through the falseness immediately and probably vote Green. I hope our young people mark well and remember for the time when they are enfranchised.

Here I sit, angered and saddened by the depths people will stoop to ‘win’ our election. It hurts. I feel powerless and frustrated.

And people wonder why a guy like me writes thrillers about corruption.

by Mac Logan
©