Page 14 of 14

The European Rules of Social Kissing

Two years ago, I moved to Portugal. I moved from a culture where kissing and hugging as a greeting was reserved for family and close friends to one where kissing and hugging are a far more widespread form of greeting. This is further complicated by the fact that my partner is French and that our social circle includes family – English, Portuguese and French, friends – English, Portuguese, French, Danish, German and Dutch and business colleagues and acquaintances which include all of the above plus Spanish and Italians as well. They all have different rules for social greetings!

Continue reading → The European Rules of Social Kissing

Festival Day in Portugal: We Celebrate with Yellow

In the UK Shrove Tuesday — the day before Lent commences — is celebrated with pancakes. In Portugal, it is the last day of Carnival or Festival.  In other countries, the period is celebrated as Mardi Gras.

In Portugal, the time is marked by parades which include all the populace from the local nursery group to the pensioners who have their own specially adapted float. It is also celebrated with flowers:

Continue reading → Festival Day in Portugal: We Celebrate with Yellow

Happy Valentine’s Day?

Watch out watch out Valentine’s Day is upon us. Be prepared to be visually assaulted by all things pink and red, by images of hearts and cupids and flowers and all things romantic slushy and sentimental.

Be prepared to pay over the odds for flowers, chocolates and meals out and heaven help you if you have not already pre-ordered your red roses or your heart balloon.

Continue reading → Happy Valentine’s Day?

Meanwhile, in North Korea…

Meanwhile, in North Korea — while the whole world is watching the Vatican — the next round of Nuclear Bomb testing takes place.  North Korea threw themselves back into the arena as one of the most undesirable rogue governments today by conducting a third round of nuclear tests.  They met with universal condemnation, even from their biggest ally, China.

BEIJING — China said Tuesday that it firmly opposed North Korea’s testing of an atomic device and called for stability and a halt to nuclear proliferation in northeast Asia.

“The Chinese government calls on all parties to respond calmly, solve the problem of denuclearization of the peninsula through dialogue and consultation in the framework of the six-party talks,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Continue reading → Meanwhile, in North Korea…

From the Outside Looking In: The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

As everyone will know by now Pope Benedict XVI resigned from office yesterday. This move in itself was unprecedented and broke a 600 year long taboo.  I had always understood that to be “called” to the highest office in the Roman Catholic Church was a job for life and that one could not just throw in the towel when one had enough.  So, in some ways, I applaud the man for his sense of realism and for recognising that he was no longer equipped for the job.  I know there are many Catholics out there who are having a hard time understanding his decision – it is like some of the fabric of their lives has been destroyed forever.

Continue reading → From the Outside Looking In: The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

The Dangerous Blurring of BDSM Fantasy Lives and Fifty Shades of Grey

We have seen how American culture has descended to the worship of Honey Boo Boo, discussed how violent video games  can sensitize us to the consequences of violence and shuddered at the thought of some of the classics of literature being re-written to include sex scenes that never were  which nicely brings me to 50 shades of YUK.

Continue reading → The Dangerous Blurring of BDSM Fantasy Lives and Fifty Shades of Grey

Inking Identity

Tattoos have served as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans, protection, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts.

Continue reading → Inking Identity