Bill Clinton, Franz Kafka, George McClellan, Leonardo Da Vinci, Truman Capote, Hamlet, Abraham Lincoln…
What did all these people have in common?
They were goddamned PROCRASTINATORS, that’s what they were!
Those horrible people who are putting off until tomorrow what should have been done yesterday!
To be or not to be?
What kind of wishy-washy prince is this? Off with his head!

One of my (many) failings is the fact that I am impatient.
I won’t deny it; like Athena I was born fully-grown, armed and in a hurry.
My kind doesn’t fancy waiting and despises lollygaggers.
Unfortunately it seems that I am surrounded by those #@*&%!

Like bedbugs, procrastinators appear to be everywhere, even in our little club.

It has come to my attention that some people (in spite of repeated warnings) were late in renewing their annual club’s subscription.
As prescribed by our bylaws, they were fined a $5.00 late fee for this infraction; most paid up but some objected.
Well fellow “boulophiles”, I don’t have the slightest sympathy for those individuals.
The IRS gave you a deadline for paying your taxes and they don’t care about your measly excuses.
Pay up or shut up, they politely say.
And so should our club say!

None of the great feats of human daring could have taken place with some indecisive dawdler at the helm!
Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Horatio Nelson, Theodore Roosevelt, George Patton… those people were not in the habit of postponing anything!

imagesI don’t think that Napoleon would have tolerated any procrastinator in his staff.
One his cavalry generals, Antoine-Charles-Louis de Lasalle famously said:

« Tout hussard qui n’est pas mort à trente ans est un jean-foutre. »

Any hussar who is not dead by the age of thirty is a jackass, or a “tosser” as our friends across the pond would say.

To avoid being called a procrastinator general Lasalle managed to get killed at the battle of Wagram in 1809. He was 34.

To sum it up ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do not be a procrastinator and don’t wait to be bitten in the “derriere” to fulfill your obligations.
I rest my case.



I am innocent

I just watched a movie called “Conviction”. It relates the story of a woman who spent 16 years of her life fighting for the release of a brother accused of murder.
But how can anybody be so steadfastly sure that a loved one is innocent?

It is understandable that parents would want to protect their children, but sons, husbands, wives, lovers are all capable of murder and shouldn’t be automatically thought to be innocent because of emotional ties.
Victims are often pushed aside while many people eagerly rush to embrace the cause of the accused.

Judicial errors are of course possible, but not every case is a Dreyfus affair.

Florence Cassez, a French National, was just released from a Mexican jail after spending 7 years in prison for involvement in “a crime she didn’t commit”.
She was the lover of Israel Vallarta, the alleged leader of a kidnapping gang and was originally arrested for complicity with that gang.
She always claimed her innocence.

Ms. Cassez was welcomed back in France as a national hero and greeted by President Francois Hollande at the Elysée Palace.

The exact circumstances of her case are fairly murky but her predicament was kept on the front burner by no less than two French presidents, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.

Relations between France and Mexico have been severely strained because of this affair and many people in Mexico believe that her release had nothing to do with legal proceedings.
Polls revealed that Mexicans were overwhelmingly opposed to her release and believe that courts protect criminals, not victims.

French public opinion was of course swayed in her favor by the media, her mother and her lawyer. She was railroaded by corrupt officials and had nothing to do with kidnappings they said.

Difficult to know for sure where the truth lies, but I wouldn’t rush to defend somebody simply because she or he happened to be a French or American national.

I am not so cynical to believe that every arrested person is guilty as charged, but I am also wary of too many claims of innocence.
There seem to be a dearth of guilty people throughout the world and many crimes still beg to be resolved.

I just hope that Florence Cassez enjoys her release but refrains the overwhelming temptation to write about (and profit) from her slightly fishy story.



Polytheism redux

If you watch the news, you should know that there is some dirty business going on in Africa.
In Mali, (a former French colony) Islamist fanatics have been trying to overrun the country and impose harsh Sharia laws (like cutting off limbs and other niceties) upon the entire population.

Personally, I have long been suspicious and wary of religion. Most of my life, as a matter of fact.
Shortly after I was born, millions of people were hunted and exterminated simply because they were Jews. It was not an auspicious exposure to religion and I have been a steadfast opponent of that practice ever since.

Since time immemorial, various groups have been persecuted for being different, or for not adhering to a prevalent belief.
A long time ago, Egyptians enslaved and abused Jews.
Romans amused themselves by killing Christians, and Jews of course.
During the Crusades, Christians killed Moslems and Jews, and Moslems slaughtered Christians (and Jews naturally).
Later on, during the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598) Catholics butchered Protestants.
Protestants then, during the wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639-1651) cut down Catholics, and vice-versa.
Hindus are regularly killing Moslems and Moslems are bent on eliminating just about anybody who is not Moslem.
And I just touched the tip of the iceberg.
Is it what religion is all about? Intolerance?

People or institutions are usually judged by their legacies; overall, religion’s balance sheet is drowning in red ink.

Over the years, many religions have switched from polytheism to monotheism. It showed a singular lack of imagination!
Personally, the notion of a single god controlling the entire Universe makes my head spin.

Greece-Ancient_11736735-300x225The Greeks whom I always admired were polytheists. They worshiped more than one single god and that makes a lot of sense to me.
To be efficient, you need to have special knowledge of certain subjects and a bunch of specialized deities are better than one jack-of-all-trades.
So the Greeks adopted a form of religion that was eminently logical as well as credible.

In case you forgot, the main Greek deities were:

Aphrodite: Goddess of love, lust, beauty, wife of Hephaestus.
Apollo: God of music, medicine, health, prophecies, poetry, and archery.
Ares: God of war, murder and bloodshed.
Artemis: Goddess of the hunt, wild things, and the moon.
Athena: Goddess of wisdom, warfare, strategy, handicrafts and reason..
Demeter: Goddess of fertility, agriculture, grain and harvest.
Dionysus: God of wine, parties/festivals, madness and merriment.
Hades: God of the underworld and wealth.
Hephaestus: God of fire and the forge with very weak legs
Hera: Goddess of marriage, women, and childbirth.
Hermes: God of flight, thieves, mischief, commerce, and travelers.
Hestia: Goddess of the hearth and home, the focal point of every household.
Poseidon: God of the sea and god of earthquakes as well.
And at the top, Zeus: The king of all gods. The ruler of Mount Olympus and God of the Sky and Thunder.

A solid bunch of guys who knew their trade!

With this kind of organization, you didn’t have to bother the Big Cheese for every little favor you desired.
If you had love problems, you talked to Aphrodite. Money problems? A good bet would have been Hermes. Marital problems? Ares could be the guy.

So, as you can plainly see, polytheism makes more sense than monotheism.
And anyway, if you insist on believing in a single god, you need to be realistic.
We are about 7 billion people on this planet and most of the globe’s population adheres to monotheism. That puts a heck of a lot of pressure on the Big Guy.

With polytheism, when you need help, you talk directly to the deity in charge of your problem; your chances of success will be much greater than waiting for an overworked single divinity to take care of your predicament.

Trust me. If you insist on believing in miracles, polytheism is the way to go!