Sunday, February 21, 2010

Obsessed with the Haka

I am now obsessed with the New Zealand All Blacks doing their pre-game Haka.  I have even less interest in Rugby than I do football, but when I first saw this during the movie "Invictus" I was mesmerized by the primal nature of these men throwing down a challenge, and by my own visceral response to watching it.  There are dozens of versions available on youtube, but this is one of my favorites because of the quality and because of the translation provided. 

The way I feel when I see it is very much like the feeling I've had whenever witnessing a Bahamian Junkanoo.  The pulsating rhtyhm makes me feel like I could just be swept away and forget everything else around me.  It's slightly scary, yet truly invigorating.

Speaking of Invictus, after seeing the movie I also could not get the poem from which the movie took it's name, by the English Poet William Ernest Henley out of my head:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I love the line - "I thank whatever gods may be for my inconquerable soul."  Isn't the human spirit magnificient?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dude, we're not friends!

So, I do this Facebook thing because everybody seems to be and I must admit it has been useful for reconnecting with people I had lost track of whom I actually liked. Mostly this includes people from college and grad school and out-of-towners I've met along the way with whom I might otherwise not have stayed in touch.

However, there is a huge downside to it, of which everyone is aware, in that people I don't want to find me seem to. Let us not even get into family members who don't need to know what parties I've attended or political views I might have that disagree with their to-the-right-of-Attilla-the-Hun sensibilities (which, to my way of thinking, aren't that sensible). So, I don't post those lest things be a little tense at holiday dinners.

Then there are the high school people who, frankly, weren't that nice to me back then and we were never social but, for some reason, feel a need for me to know everytime their snot-nosed brats sneeze. It's not cute and I have no basis of commonality with them having not felt the need to procreate because it all sounds rather tedious. Plus, they like to whine about how miserable they are everytime they are up all night due to the aforementioned sneezing. If I'm up all night it's because I'm drinking in the company of like-minded people whose company I actually enjoy with the possible exception of the inevitable guests of guests (see post by another author on this site). Of course, I don't post that due to the aforementioned judgmental family who are busy complaining about the bounds of domesticity they chose because it's the only way to be "happy" which they clearly are not. I could go on but I think this is the subject of another post. More later.

With that as a set-up, I have a new Facebook nemesis. The former co-worker. Repeatedly, I get friend requests and messages from some cow whom I haven't seen or spoken to in seven years who wants to wax nostalgic about our time together in what could only be described as the "Through the Looking Glass" of employment. Agnes Nixon couldn't write what went on there and make it believeable. And this from the woman who has brought Erica Kane back from the dead how many times?

Now, the circumstances of my departure from this place of employment were less than honorable on the part of the employer. I got downsized when positions were eliminated. Officially it was for financial reasons but everyone knows it was the usual coroporate stuff, dirty backroom deals, getting caught in the fallout of them trying to stick it to someone else, and sex. And this cow did nothing to help. In fact, was a part of it because it got promoted. Apparently, if you cry at work you get a raise because CEOs hate that and it's the only way to make the tears stop. I should have cried.

Seven years later, this begs the question. Why does a backstabbing cow who cried its way to the top of nothing at the expense of everyone in its path (yours truly included) suddenly want to re-acquaint? And why do repeated friend request denials not deter it? I distinctly recall being removed from its coveted Christmas party list, which was fine because no "friend" sends out an invitation with a disclaimer limiting guests to two shrimp per person, thereby causing me to have to go around bartering in advance for more with people who are allergic to seafood or are practicing Judaism.

That said, I am reminded of the time an obnoxious little fellow desparately wanted to be friends with a friend of mine who had no interest (obnoxious being the operative word there). After repeated attempts my friend just looked at him and said simply, "Dude, we're not friends!"

And to the cow and those like it, there you have it. "Dude, ..."