Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas dear readers, is the turkey sitting nicely in your gut (or vegan equivalent? So as not to discriminate). I hope this year finds you all doing well and of course, wishing you the best for the year to come. As is becoming of yearly traditions, I am here to fill you in on my Christmas and a recap of the lead up to it, from my perspective, because that is what you are here to read. I am not a newspaper nor a company, merely a man with a blog that you all seem to take some interest in, however slight or strong it may be.

I will admit I have not looked forward to Christmas – unemployment, tight finances, dwindling social life and a constant stream of happiness from the world around me seemingly for everyone bar me has had me greet festivity with bitterness in my heart. As I write this, that bitterness begins to come forth once again, as it often does in an evening. I made my efforts though, I am not one to let my personal woes ruin the joy of others and so I participated in gift-giving, jumper-wearing and cheer-spreading, albeit with a somewhat pained grimace where a smile should have been. Today in itself consisted of the usual gift-unwrapping followed by films, Doctor Who, dinner and then everyone toddles off again to do their own thing, my thing being returning to my little cell of a bedroom to brood and contemplate on doing something creative until it is suddenly 2:34AM and all I have achieved is removing my trousers and staring at the utter lack of notifications I have to attend to on my Facebook.

Christmas, in a sense, has yet to actually come for me because whilst I have received cash from the folks and a new shirt from one of my brothers, the bulk of my gifts are coming from friends I have not had the chance to see yet and perhaps on those occasions I will feel more cheery. As it stands, home life is not cheery, tensions are high here and there has been far too much aggression in the air to call this a holly jolly holiday. Interesting, when one considers this might be my last Christmas like this – though I feel perhaps that was considered by everyone present and some perhaps greeted that thought with the silent response of “Thank goodness”, there has been no attempt to bury hatchets here and hostilities are either laid plain or knives are sharpened behind backs. Indeed, perhaps even this blog is my knife, though whom it would cut remains to be seen as my work is met with the most trifling interest by my family.

I apologise, I am a downer on a day of joy, such is my lot. I wish I had stories of charity and cheer to tell and whilst this season has not been an endless suffering on my part, indeed one party was attended and unexpected gifts have been assured to be coming my way yet as it stands, at this time on this day, I feel a black mist grip my soul and drag it back down like always. I look forward to the new year, if only because I have ambitions to drive me and feasible means of achieving some of them and the prospect of being in work again is seemingly more apparent – two employers have expressed great interest in me and once the world of work is back in order then they will hurry to usher me in and get me sorted out as either their new team player or latest addition to the rejection bin.

I have no right to complain, I spent Christmas in a warm home with turkey on my plate, no job to tear me away from my family and there was no actual family tragedy today, just muttered words and a general consensus of “Let’s do this for as long as it is bearable”, with some of us giving up an hour in and some sticking through to dinner before departing. Families do that I suppose, the Christmas card image of a family gathered and united in love is appealing but fairly untrue, especially in homes on the breadline like mine. Ultimately, you must think me a terrible whine, to speak of how poor I find myself and woe is me but you are not obliged to read on, this is merely a personal filling in and as it stands, this is the truth of it – a modest Christmas with a family divided and I am little more than a misery.

I do not know what 2016 will bring. I hope it will be the year that changes everything and intend to work hard to make it so and yet, I have said that much for each year of my life since I left school and here I am. On the upside, with a gym contract I’m obliged to for twelve months, at £9.99 a month, I can at least be depressed and fucking jacked up like a beefcake, I’m too much of a tight git with money to let the best part of £10 vanish from my bank account each month and not turn up at the gym – I’m lazy enough, I don’t intend to charge myself £10 a month to be so.

Still, Christmas is a time to be thankful so let me end on the lighter note as to what I am thankful for. I am thankful to my family for providing me a home and for the efforts they have made for me all year round, to my Dad for being willing to invest in me and help me take my first steps towards revolutionising my work by buying me the equipment. I am thankful to my friends for their steadfast loyalty, especially at this time and whilst the run-up to Christmas would provide many of them valid reason to make less effort, some have made more effort than ever to check that I am okay and provide me with some reason to smile or laugh. Lastly, let me give thanks to the unexpected friends I have found this year, old grudges washed away and casual acquaintances have made new strides to know me better, it is always something that can make me smile.

Merry Christmas everyone, I will provide a 2015 retrospective later this year and in it, I will look back on my year and my plans for 2016, for those who take interest in such matters

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Christmas Is Always Coming

So, let’s talk about Christmas, it’s obligatory with it being less than ten days away at this point and I do plan to discuss my actual day of Christmas with you on Christmas as it happens, a sort of sum up like last year followed by a retrospective of my year as a whole. However, for now, let’s discuss Christmas, in particular why some may view me as something of a Scrooge on the topic. I never really partake in festivities to the same degree as my friends – no antlers on my head, no Christmas jumper waiting to be sprung out come December and you’ll never get me singing along to Jingle Bells. A variety of reasons surround this, first and foremost is my social anxiety which insists that although everyone else in the room looks like a colossal dickhead wearing red noses and tinsel scarves, I will be the most dickheadiest of dickheads if I join in, that somehow my foolishness isn’t just fun, it’s utterly disgusting and degrading to watch and people will remember the display as a reason to hold me in slightly less high regard. On the other hand, there are some other reasons I’m not huge on Christmas as a whole, which I’ll cover over the course of this post.

Now, don’t be mistaken in thinking I want December 25th to be just another day on the calendar and we don’t bother at all, that’s not it, I think it’s nice that we all agree to dedicate some time of the year to togetherness and family time and so on – though it sucks to the nth degree not all of us get that. Christmas, forced onto the mainstream by a previously Christian dominated society and now kept around for people of all walks of life due to a combination of tradition and marketing, is fun when you’re in the right setting for it with the right people and resources and so on – hard to be miserable at Christmas when you have all you want. The problem is just that though, Christmas is such a beacon of light and joy that some of us expect it to cast out the negativity simply the grace of existing and we can overlook the pains, struggles and loneliness of our fellow men because we think “It’s Christmas, someone will do something for them and they’ll probably feel better with a belly full of turkey and some nice new trinkets to unwrap”. Here then. we have that phrase, that phrase that is the bane of my life every single year between the end of October and December 26th.

“BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

You know what? So fucking what if it is? We’re aware what time of year it is, which by the way, I resent for creeping earlier and earlier into the year, partly because I’m a November baby and partly because it applies the pressure to be cheerful and excited on depressed folk like me before they’re even in the right frame of mind to adopt false happiness. Christmas isn’t some be all, end all cure to the woes of the world, whatever Bob Geldof insists on telling you. The reality is Santa doesn’t deliver world peace, bosses don’t always let things slide because the big day is coming and not every broken heart finds someone willing to bring them out of the cold, let’s not delude ourselves. If we perpetuate Christmas as being the best thing to happen in a year, it loses that status because we don’t need to do anything, it becomes that for the consumerist masses just by being Christmas – people already have their Christmas spirit pumping without the need for volunteering in a soup kitchen or checking in on their lonesome neighbour who doesn’t have kids to come visit or whatever. By doing that, Christmas becomes less and less like the fairy tales and slips more and more into what cynics like me have been calling it for years – a mass of over-excited meatheads stuffing their faces and buying shit.

So, Christmas lovers, maybe you’re think I’m being a Grinch hmm? I just don’t understand because I’m a misery right? Maybe you’re right, this year is seeing me be the most depressed I’ve been at Christmas time since my schoolboy days, for reasons too personal to disclose here. However, last Christmas (Don’t), I wasn’t as bad, I had money, friends and even though Christmas didn’t happen at my home, I did my fair share of philanthropic gestures and gift giving and even then I STILL wrote an article about how overhyped Christmas is and how unfair it is on children in particular. I love Christmas and that’s speaking as a staunch Atheist to whom Christmas has no religious meaning to give remembrance for, it’s literally just “Winter is shit but hey presents and food happen!”. but I still love this idea of a time in which we stop to think about people and how we can express our love for them, my only concern is that perhaps we lost sight of that.

You know the shpiel here, that Christmas has become about buying affection rather than earning it, in showing love through consoles and laptops rather than actual words of kindness or shows of support and many of you will roll your eyes at the goody two-shoe deal here but it is so important we remember that and we must remember that Christmas isn’t a time of joy for us all, no matter how much you wish it to be. Tragic story time, my Dad when I was young, despised Christmas, so much that seeing decorations filled him with dread and sorrow because to him, it didn’t mean joy and laughter, it meant a time of spending money and fulfilling other people’s dreams because if he didn’t, he had to disappoint them. We had no decorations in our house until Christmas Day itself and they’d come down again afterwards as soon as Dad could manage it, just so he didn’t have to see that tree for one second longer than he had to. I didn’t understand as a child, I don’t think my Dad ever realised that as a kid, I was always happy at Christmas with anything he got me – probably because kids are so shit at being grateful for stuff. We’ve always lived on the breadline in this home and to then have December 25th pop up “JUST A HEADS UP, YOU BETTER SPEND AT LEAST LIKE… £500 ON GIFTS OR PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU DON’T LOVE THEM” when you can barely afford £5, it’s terrifying and makes you resent Christmas as being a toll, a challenge to PROVE your love and selflessness, as if everything else you did all year didn’t count.

Christmas is getting a little too big for its own boots here and stomping on the poor and the heartbroken, it brings joy not only because we are all given what we want and are giving those we love what they want but because everyone looks happy when you push the unhappy ones out of the photo frame. I’m not even going to try and count the number of times my depression has been muddled up with a lack of Christmas spirit, that somehow all this obnoxious corporate money-grabbing and ugly jumper parties should be the strongest mood medication I could ever want. Somehow though, it is not but I still partake in Christmas – gifts have been bought, nice gestures done without the hope of them being returned have been performed and on Christmas Day, as is my tradition, I contact everyone I consider a friend to at least give season’s greetings.

So, what am I saying here, you ask? The article has sort of read as a general guilt-tripping Santa-bashing bitterness sandwich but I guess ultimately, I want you to read this and remember that Christmas in and of itself is not special, Christmas is as special as we make it for ourselves and others. If you think buying lots of stuff is all it takes, well done, you’re nothing more than a patsy Amazon and Wal-Mart will bleed dry year upon year, but Christmas is about charity and charity isn’t just giving to the homeless, it’s showing love. PLEASE take this time to check on people and that they’re ok, if that’s the only genuinely good thing you do that isn’t all about presents, please make sure that miserable fuckers like me are at least safe and comfortable this Christmas. I guarantee you that everyone who hates Christmas has a reason for it and it’s no good telling them to just cheer up; do something that makes this time of year a little easier for them.

Merry Christmas.

Month of December 2015

Hello! Ranties… Rantlettes… I need a term to refer to my fans, such as it were. The Game Grumps have Lovelies, Pewdiepie has the Bros, I need a thing. Oh, and a cool sign off, cool sign offs are a thing. Erhem, point, back to it. So I’ve been quiet, I did warn you all I was taking November off to have a think and other than some bit pieces on the current deplorable state of our world, I stuck to that, but it’s December now and you’re probably wondering what I have in store for you right? I hope you are, I’d hate to think you’re indifferent about it because that would make me feel like I’m wasting my time here. So with that in mind, here’s the plan I’ve got laid out for December 2015 and moving on to the year ahead.

Firstly, owing to the success of the Decap Attack playthrough, Jonah and I are going to be taking on another holiday-themed video game, all I need to acquire first is screen-recording/video editing software (I used a trial version of a product beforehand but the trial has expired and to buy a key is like £200 so I said fuck that in every way known to the English language and grumbled for several minutes). The Let’s Plays have cottoned on it seems, people enjoyed the casual vibe and honest banter, which makes sense because it was literally just my brother and I playing a video game together, that’s 90% of our shared activities, the rest is political discussion and wandering around town or just me irritating him by squeezing his face or pretending to punch him, as brothers often do. I’ll do more of them, they’re fun to do, but please bear in mind they’re not going to be my staple thing, that’s not what I’m trying to achieve public recognition for – that’s no jibe against such types, I’m a strong follower of the Beard Bros and Game Grumps but I don’t want to be known as another beardy white boy playing video games for a living jumping on that bandwagon because it is still rolling strong. So yeah, there’ll be a Christmas one and we’ve considered some other games that’d be fun to do, I have a wealth of emulator roms and a Steam library full of stuff Jonah has never heard of so he’ll be wombling through that with total confusion, as will my audience no doubt, that could be fun.

Secondly, a Christmas special post, you’re probably expecting one, there was one last year after all. Well, I do have a fair bit to say on the subject of Christmas, albeit in what will be seen as a Scroogey fashion but with good justification. I’m not sure what to expect of Christmas yet, there’s been little mention of it around the home but depending on what happens will dictate what I post on actual Christmas Day. However, I can do some Christmas related posts beforehand so look out for those, interspersed with any recent topical news I feel obliged to speak out about.

Finally then, the new year! What is coming? VIDEOS. Yes, I’ve said this for a while but I have a camera, I have locations I can utilise, I have people willing to help out and I’ll soon have some editing software so the pieces are falling into place. A YouTube channel is being set up and a schedule worked on to provide enough content without overdoing it and balancing it between funny bits and serious bits. I realise there are a few things making my blog a task to get into – it’s very depressing stuff, it’s very long to read and it doesn’t always balance fun and serious discussion too well so people can be put off thinking they’re just subjecting themselves to more “How can we allow this stupid thing to happen?” style rants when there are a few “I watched a funny movie!” posts in the mix. Contributions from my audience are encouraged, not monetary (Though I won’t complain if you’re offering! Kidding!) but ideas of what you want from me. Let’s Play requests have come in and in the past, even article requests but these videos are made by me for you, it’s important for me to know what people want to hear about. I’m also tempted to do some lengthier discussion pieces for people to listen to in the background as they do whatever because I love those myself so let me know if that’d interest you. Like, say an hour’s discussion in a radio show style thing on a topic, using some bits and bobs found on the internet and in the news for talking points featuring myself and some other guests (friends I can desperately rope into sitting in a room for an hour talking to a laptop). So if that sounds good, at least as say, pleasant background noise, let me know!

So that’s that, keep watching this space on here and on my Facebook page. OH, Twitter, gonna get me on of those, seems it’s a thing that won’t go away anytime soon, start using them hashtags and what have ya. Keep watching, please keep supporting this blog and maybe one day you’ll see Old Man Wolfe in the trending section on your News Feed hmm? I did recently do some sponsored posts, reached out to over 7000 viewers, of those 7000 at least 250 of them checked the blog (Not massively impressive I know but it’s better than the usual “Hey, you have three good friends who read all your rubbish and like, four guys were bored” I get on here)

Signature sign-off phrase pending! See you all soon!

Seeing Red This Christmas

The content here has delved into some deep matters so here is something so stupid to blog about it that you’ll either laugh at the fact it is deemed blog worthy or cringe and moan at the depths humanity has sunk to in its ignorant rage. There is genuine talk in the news and on social media of Christians urging people to boycott Starbucks for their new Christmas cups. Why you ask? Do the cups have Pagan images on or Satanic verses? Nope, the cups are plain, the cups are just plain red paper cups. Starbucks have done away with images of snowmen and wintry trees and opted for a minimalist design so as to appeal to as many people as possible by not bombarding their customers with Christmas themed imagery and thus excluding those who do not celebrate the occasion. Seems reasonable right? Well, apparently not.

Internet Evangelist Joshua Feuerstein is perhaps the most well-known opponent of this decision, accusing Starbucks of hating Christians and Jesus, urging people to keep the Christ in Christmas and encouraging people to tell their barista their name is Merry Christmas so the barista is forced to write that on the cup. Oh, very clever, well-played – the cups have never had those words upon them, even when they had snowflakes on. A lot of people are calling this a “war on Christmas”, I’d call it the exaggeration of the year but today the Sun published a two page spread on why Jeremy Corbyn is a dick for not bowing down and weeping for the fallen at a remembrance parade (Even though he attended two separate parades in two different areas and passed up on a VIP party to meet some of the veterans face-to-face). Starbucks has never claimed to be a Christian company and if you want to keep the spirit of Christmas alive, pushy Evangelists and whatever, there are more Christian things to be doing than protesting about cups. This same Feuerstein fellow protested the anti-second amendment rule (In the USA, Starbucks do not permit open-carrying of firearms in their stores) by waltzing in with a weapon on show and calling it his patriotic freedom. To recap then, we have ourselves a zealous gun nut defending his faith and freedom by waving a gun at a hapless barista and ‘pranking’ the unassuming customer service worker into writing Christmassy messages on a cup because the cup doesn’t have a picture of a snowflake on it… do you realise how stupid that sounds? This is what God allowed Jesus to die for is it? Paper cups with pictures on?Sure, I remember that passage – the Lord gave His only son that we might have decorative receptacles for our warm beverages.

If you ask me, the red cup is the perfect happy medium, it’s Santa’s sleigh red so it’s Christmassy enough but without being over the top and pushing the images of angels and baubles down our throats. Starbucks has never been all about the Christian market, they’re neutral on political and religious stances so as not to offend people – they only join in on Christmas because everyone does, it’s Christmas, it’s fun and you make a shit ton of money when you put out those festive deals. Christmas has its fair share of issues, a Christian hijacking of a time dangerously close to the Winter Solstice celebrated by Pagans, the imagery of Santa’s sleigh is taken from the Vikings and as a Christian celebration goes, this time of year is becoming more and more about throwing bigger parties and spending more money to get more ridiculously expensive gifts than it is about actual goodwill and charity. Therein is my biggest problem with this war on Christmas idea about the cups, the cups are not what is ruining Christmas, we are.

Put simply, if you’re outraged by these paper cups but not by some people spending Christmas face down in a gutter or soldiers fighting in a foreign land rather than gift wrapping a PS4 for their kids, I have serious beef with you. If you need a coffee shop chain to represent Christmas spirit FOR you, take a good long look at yourself and your relationship with God – rather than getting some barista to scrawl Merry Christmas on a cup, why not do something to keep the Christ in Christmas that has meaning? Soup kitchens always need volunteers, maybe give that red cup of hot choc to someone freezing in the cold and rain, maybe you could get less caught up in some trivial bullshit about a coffee shop packaging design and do something selfless that Jesus himself would smile if he witnessed. Life is much too precious to waste it on boycotting a shop for not selling the right design for you, is the biggest and brightest thing you can think to do this year for Christmas to be the guy who encouraged people not to buy coffee from some place? That’s your impact is it? That is what God wants people to remember in their hearts this time of year? I may not be of faith but if there is a God, he expects us to be good people at Christmas and all throughout the year, whatever our cups look like.

The spirit of the season is one of inclusiveness and togetherness, of spreading joy and happiness to all, friend and stranger alike and Starbucks has done so by offering a neutral stance at a time when some of us get a little too crazy for angels and babies in mangers. God sent his son to preach to us the importance of love and community, not snowmen and trees covered in tinsel. Maybe it’s easier for you to get upset over a cup than it is for you to show genuine concern about how many of us will spend Christmas in poverty or in a hospital bed or possibly won’t even see Christmas at all but that tells us only volumes about you. The Christ in Christmas is in loving one another, not in loving Christmas.

Christmas Day Special – My Christmas of 2014

Trigger Warnings – None.

Merry Christmas folks! Sorry if this is up late but come on, credit where credit is due, even posting anything on this day deserves a pat on the back really doesn’t it? I hope you are all having a jolly good time of this festive occasion, my Christmas hasn’t exactly been what one would typically call Christmas Day but I’m not here to complain, not today, not on Christmas Day, I’ll save you that much. Anyway, Christmas and the New Year come so close together that it is at this time of year, particularly in the evening, we come to reflect on how far we have come since this same time last year and whilst I plan to do a personal post on all that another day, my mind still dwells there and I’ve been rather thoughtful tonight so allow me to share my musings.

So, Christmas was sort of cancelled this year, for us – our family has endured some hard ordeals that have been taxing on my father and my stepmother and a recent family incident destroyed the festive spirit of my Dad, the youngest of our family stole a great sum of money from other members and for a holiday all about family and togetherness, this came as a harsh blow. I’m all for second chances but if you knew the history, this kid isn’t on his second, he’s on his tenth, we’re tired. Anyway, moving on to less depressing subjects, we managed to enjoy some festivity here – there were gifts being passed around, we had a very large dinner and we’ve enjoyed some films and games, as well as you know, plenty of chocolate. Yes, Christmas is a cosy time of year for most of us, we cannot all enjoy it, there are those who still starve and scream even today and for that, we have to be thankful for what we have, as I am sure you are all aware.

I am thankful for a lot this year, even in spite of finding myself unemployed and some less than ideal health issues, mood issues and family issues but beyond that, I have a lot to be grateful for even so. You see, as Christmas looked set to be miserable, I was flooded with love and support from friends and even invitations to join them for Christmas next year if it looks set to be much the same. I dare not think that far ahead but the invitations are very much welcomed and maybe I will take up on one of those invitations, maybe not, time will tell and it is much too soon to make shots in the dark at what the next Christmas has in store for me. I like to think I have been very festive this year, I had a fair sum of money to my name at the time and did what I wanted to do the most with it – I wanted to spoil those close to me, to buy them thought out gifts to tell each of them that I care because each of those people that got something, they got me through the year, they gave me strength and I knew I would not get the opportunity to indulge them too often so I figured why not? I find the most joy in the joy of others, sounds cheesy and stupid but I do. You know what sound I love more than anything? A gasp, a gasp of surprise when you have got someone something they did not expect, when they put their hand to their mouth and smile. I find it deeply satisfying and maybe there is an element of selfishness in pursuing that reaction but it’s a redeemable selfishness surely? I’ll leave it to you to make that call.

I’ve not been a true saint of the holiday, I’ve done so few charitable deeds unless it was for someone within my family or circle of friends, I didn’t help out at a soup kitchen, I didn’t deliver toys to children in hospitals, I didn’t give my coat to a homeless man and such things are indeed praiseworthy, I wish I had the resources to do such things constantly and rest assured, come the new year, I will get back into charity work, it is rewarding and can be quite fun in the right environment. The new year holds a lot in store for me, mostly the reality that I must get my life on track and move forward from this endless wandering in circles. Still, as I said, it being Christmas, let me take this opportunity to thank you all for a great year – my blog is back and better than before, I have such good close friends and I have done so much with this year that it amazes me that this has been one year, it has been a long one for me but what I’ve gained from it, I am happy to have found.

Merry Christmas readers and a Happy New Year to all. Give me a little present of a like and a share and be sure to like my page on Facebook. Thank you for reading and let’s see what the new year brings for us all!

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Chains Of Avarice

Trigger Warnings – None

Christmas is coming, unless you’re Australian, it already came, or you don’t celebrate Christmas in which case I apologise, this article probably won’t interest you. As I was, Christmas is coming, it’s almost here for us here in the UK and so in honour of that occasion, I plan to do two little Christmassy posts, today and tomorrow. Yes, I am that dedicated to you my readers that I will be giving you all the gift of two festive posts, I hope it beats another ugly tie or pair of socks. Granted, your feet will be no warmer but perhaps your mind will be a little more open.

Right off the bat, I’m going to assume we all know the story of the Christmas Carol, if not then you either REALLY don’t celebrate Christmas to the point of not acknowledging it even exists or when someone mentions fiction, you look confused like “People write stuff that’s not true? I thought that was just The Sun?”. Zinger, I know. Anyway, as a brief recap the Christmas Carol is the story of a greedy businessman called Scrooge being visited by the ghost of his dead friend Jacob telling him to change his ways or spend eternity bound in the chains of his greed and so Scrooge is visited by spirits that show him visions of his past, present and future which upset, disturb and enlighten the old miser so that come Christmas morning, he becomes a jolly philanthropist like none other. I’ve sometimes questioned if Scrooge actually changed or if he was just scared straight, certainly in the actual novel he has a hellish time of it meeting his unwanted daughters, seeing his own gravestone and realising that everyone who has ever been important to his life resents him, but he keeps the spirit of the season well and being scared into good will by visions of chains is much akin to having the moral imperative of virtuous behaviour for fear of fire and torture in eternity.

Erhem, pretentious musings aside, I love the Christmas Carol story, it’s one thing I have always wanted to act in but never have (Incidentally, as either Scrooge himself or Bob Cratchit), my acting career has never really existed beyond some dynamic reading and a bit part in a school play. My favourite interpretation of the story you ask? Well, I love the one filmed in Shrewsbury but I most commonly watch the Muppet version, I like how it brings forward the core message of the story in a way children and parents can watch, it’s devoted to the story but not too seriously and it’s much more visually pleasing with colourful puppets and impressive acting than say, plain old animated versions for kids – we all know kids engage more with anthropomorphic characters than emulated realism. I bring up the Christmas Carol because I feel there’s an important part of the message people forget and that is just why Scrooge needed to change his ways. You’ll probably shrug and say “Come on Jake, he was greedy, all he cared about was money and he was a bitter old man ignoring those in need, that’s a bad guy, the story is his redemption”. Key point there, he was greedy, the story is about how his GREED is a curse, not his money. Greed has a much broader definition than a lust for gold and silver.

I often get called Scrooge for not being festive out the wazoo as I don no antlers, wear no silly jumpers and don’t constantly burst with excitement, nor do I sing along to any carol or song but I think a modern Scrooge would actually take part in those things, Scrooge is not a caricature as simple as “Don’t like wreaths of holly? You grinch!”, give Dickens more credit than that, Scrooge is a man made bitter by years of isolation and he lusts for money because money doesn’t betray people, money makes sense, money can be understood in ways you can’t apply to people. So why would a modern Scrooge enjoy Christmas? The focus of greed has changed in the past few years, money is something we all yearn for, even those who have it, so judge someone by their drive for financial success is plain hypocrisy but what is truer now than it was in Dickens’ time is a greed for consumerism, a desire for receiving gifts and getting what we want, ensuring our Christmas is the best it can be, a modern Scrooge is the guy who has a clear cut Christmas list you can’t deviate from or he’ll begrudge, a man who doesn’t always return kind gestures at this time of year, a man who complains when he receives the accursed wrong gift. I’m looking at you entitled children of the world, your parents got you the wrong make of iPhone? You’re the Scrooge now, your selfish greed will be your undoing.

At this time of year, some of us go overboard, in particular parents wanting to spoil their children rotten with brilliant presents, which can present a problem. I saw a Facebook post recently that made me think, parents shouldn’t label games consoles and bikes as being gifts from Santa because then less fortunate children might question as to why Santa got them some new jumpers and a couple of action figures whilst his best friend Timmy got an XBOX One and an iPad. Maybe this is the poor boy in me speaking but I resent such spoilt children and people who do so, it is excessive and only fuels this greed in the child, who will expect more and more as the years go on. I got games consoles at Christmas, sure, but it wasn’t mine, it was a shared gift and even then Dad would tell us “If you want something so big for Christmas, Santa will have to bring you less gifts to make room!”, which we agreed to, even by needy child logic that seemed fair. Do not make your children slaves to greed and if you must buy them big gifts, tell them it was you that bought it, not Santa, make it fair and help your child realise that the gift is not just a reward for good behaviour, but a sacrifice and an investment made by those that love them and should be revered as such. If you say Santa gets them everything, their love is for Santa that day, not the parent and they feel they deserve everything they get in life, which is a terrible lesson to teach because it’s not true – good work can go unrewarded.

Greed and impatience are cornerstones of our society really, aren’t they? That cannot be avoided but if it could, this is the time of year for it. We all neglect certain people in our lives, mostly those that are strangers to us, but let us not forget that it was greed that doomed Scrooge, not money, Scrooge didn’t find salvation in throwing every shilling he had into a lake, he found it in selflessness – buying a feast for his loyal clerk, rekindling the love lost in his relationship with his nephew, donating to charity – money in itself can be used as a force for good if the person that holds it knows to keep the spirit of selflessness in their heart

As always readers, thanks for your time and a Merry Christmas to you all! Please, spread the word, let us remember what this time of year is all about! Remember to like, comment and follow me on Facebook at my official page, call it a gift to me from you!

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A Load of B.S

Trigger Warnings – Strong language throughout

So, I don’t know if you’ve heard the news, Cards Against Humanity pulled off the biggest commercial prank of the year when on Black Friday this year 30,000 customers bought boxes of literal bull shit at $6 a pop only to respond with cries of horror and outrage when they received exactly what they paid for. Cards Against Humanity has always been a bit risqué and out there, it’s a party game for people with a very broad and very weird sense of humour and this latest venture on their part only reminds us that they are not your typical company.

So why the bullshitting? Like, literal bullshitting here, this article will be full of that term so brace yourself. Well, Cards Against Humanity have pulled a prank like this before, last year on Black Friday they actually increased their prices on the day of the mega sale craze and to their surprise, sales spiked! I should point out, this wasn’t a subtle bump up of the price tag when nobody was looking, this was advertised as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime price spike!’ and people went for it as if just seeing the phrase ‘once in a lifetime’ set off their shopping senses and deprived them of their normal ones. Co-creator Max Temkin said “We all really hate Black Friday, it’s just kind of a horrible day, it comes after this day you’re supposed to be thankful for what you have and then it’s just this whole huge media spectacle of people fighting each other to save $50 on a TV.”

Pleasantly refreshing to hear someone in business say that, it’s certainly something I’ve never much liked nor do I like how Britain has adopted the idea without Thanksgiving so just out of nowhere comes this one day of “70% off everything, kill your fellow man for a cheap laptop!” and boom. Admittedly Shrewsbury, being a sleepy town, was rather calm and there wasn’t exactly hordes of angry shoppers but we had our fair share of news footage showing people punching each other and hitting each other across the head with lightweight televisions and such. Hardly the American big beat ’em up brawl we all know from the news but still, it’s not far off, give it a few years. I don’t see why Britain aspires to be America in this instance except to compete with online business but which idiots were so desperate to make a bit more money that they saw crowds of people gouging eyes out over XBOX consoles and said “Yup, let’s do that”

The company hasn’t profited from this so for those of you about to make a joke about dirty-dealing or a shitty business strategy, the boxes were sold for $6 each but $5.80 of that was to cover the postage and packaging, the other $0.20 went straight to a charity that supplies farm animals to areas of poverty. The stunt wasn’t planned as a charity drive, that idea came second to the idea of “I wonder if we can actually sell these idiots a box of literal bull crap, that’d be funny”. A cautionary tale then perhaps? A tale that we as consumers are ravenous idiots too keen to throw money at anything that catches our attention, 30,000 people literally bought boxes of poo because they thought they were buying special edition game cards or rare collectible items that’d never be made again or such like, how stupid can you get? The item description did include the words ‘literal’ and ‘bull faeces’, this wasn’t a con or a trick, they violated no trade standards and haven’t actually done anything wrong – you can’t call it exploiting someone if you gave them a big warning sign and they pushed it out of the way shouting “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”

Consumerism has become a real problem with our society, we fight and feud for material rubbish and it’s such a corrupt influence even the Pope weighed in on unbridled consumerism being the force that is tearing the planet apart. Hard to argue, what with deforestation, constant Amazon gifts going back and forth over the big blue. I doubt Cards Against Humanity wanted us all to sit in the corner and think about what we’re doing with our lives but maybe this’ll shake some sense into people… then again, the public has been caught out two years running, I’m keen to see what CAH has in mind for Christmas 2015 – boxed killer bees or something.

So there you go, that’s tonight’s article – total bull… no, actually no, I won’t, every fucking article I read ended with the line total bullshit, I will not end with that same line of total bullshit, I refuse to end this article on the words total bullshit.