An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: Z

Zealots.

Originating as a religious/political group in the Holy Land, the term Zealot has now come to be associated with any extreme religious or political belief and practices.

zealot
/ˈzɛlət/
noun
1.
a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.
2.
HISTORICAL
a member of an ancient Jewish sect that aimed at a world Jewish theocracy and resisted the Romans until AD 70.

I am not religious, but I am happy for anyone to believe in any religion that gives them comfort, as long as their beliefs are not forced on others in any way.

Zealot is not used that much these days, as the modern term we recognize has become the more familiar ‘Fundamentalist’. This can apply to Muslims, Christians both Catholic and Protestant, as well as other religions practiced around the world.

In most cases, it involves the hatred of any other religion, and the assertion that their religion is the only one that should be allowed. We have seen what happened in history with the Crusades, and the Muslim conquest of much of Europe. Further east, the Ottoman Turks established a vast empire, and presecuted Christian Orthodox people in the conquered lands.

Then there was forced conversion, making subdued people convert to a religion on pain of death if they refused. In more recent times, we have seen what fanatical religious beliefs can still do, from the sectarian killings in Northern Ireland, to the terrorist attacks carried out by Muslim fanatics all around the world.

Large groups like ISIS have conquered territory and murdered thousands of people, and in America, New Zealand, and other countries, Christian Fundamentalists have attacked black people, immigrants, homosexuals, and Muslims.

These people are not practicing the religions in the true sense. They are spreading hate, fear, and terror. Many claim to be doing so because of their ‘God’, whatever their professed religion.

This is the 21st century, not the 1st. There is no place for Zealots in the modern world.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: Y

Yappy Dogs.

I love dogs, and there are few breeds I am not attracted to. I even like tiny dogs. But why oh why do so many of them have to constantly bark in such an annoying ‘yappy’ fashion?

Some of the worst offenders include these breeds.

Pomeranian. (Sorry Kim)

My uncle had one of these for years. It would sit on his shoulder and yap constantly at anyone who came into the house. It could never be silenced, making conversation almost impossible.

Chihuahua.

One of my fellow dog walkers owns one, and it never stops yapping at everyone and every dog it sees. He has to resort to holding its mouth shut.

Miniature Pinscher.

These tiny dogs like to be heard. They yap for attention, yap at people walking toward them, and yap at any dog they don’t know.

Dachshund.

Perhaps being so low to the ground makes them nervous, but the miniature variety of this breed is also famous for constantly yapping.

Other well-known ‘Yappers’ include Yorkshire Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers. I really like all of these breeds. They have great personalities, and also make very loyal companions.

But I don’t like that yapping!

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: X

Xenophobia.

This was originally a Greek word. For anyone unfamiliar with it, here’s a definition.

xenophobia
/zɛnəˈfəʊbɪə/
noun
dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.
“the resurgence of racism and xenophobia”

Also known as ‘Fear of strangers’, this has developed in modern times to become little more than a racist ‘blame game’

“They are taking our jobs”.

“I never liked the French”.

“They want us all to be Muslims”.

“They get all the new houses”.

“The migrants all want to come to Britain for an easy life”.

“You can’t trust Arabs or Turks”.

And so on.

Since 2016, this has been fuelled by Brexit in Britain; and in America, Trump’s claims about his wall across the border with Mexico.

Then Coronavirus came along, and many people rushed to blame anyone but themselves for spreading it.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that we live in the 21st Century.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: W

Water.

Yes, it’s an unusual one, because I love to look at water. Whether a river like the one above, or an idyllic lake.

Even a stormy sea can be wonderful to behold.

But I don’t like being in it, or on it in boats of any kind.

I cannot swim, and I get seasick in the gentlest seas. Even on the calmest lake or still river, the thought of falling in worries me constantly.

So water is something I love to admire, but not get involved with.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: V

Violence.

I was brought up in a tough district of South London. It wasn’t long before I saw my first real fights, once I started at Secondary School. As an observer, I soon concluded that people who settled arguments with their fists usually did so because they did not have the intelligence or vocabulary to argue or debate their way out of a confrontation. Many of those same people were also natural bullies; emboldened by their physical size, or fighting ability. They enjoyed the reputation that came with inflicting injury on others.

Later on, I witnessed fighting in pubs, where alcohol played its part of course. This was also more dangerous, as pubs provided weapons like chairs or glasses to potentially do more damage.

In adult life, I worked for a long time as an EMT. Victims of violence became part of my everyday life as I attended to them, and on more than a few occasions, I was also attacked and injured by violent or drunk patients.

Sadly, it is nothing new. From the tavern brawls in Roman times, to the football hooligans of the 21st century, so many arguments have ended in violence. And it is not just men, believe me. Females can also resort to violence at times, and some are also physical bullies.

It would be nice to live in a world where random violence was no longer a fact of life. But I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: U

Urgent.

This sort of thing. You know what I mean, I’m sure.

It is usually on the front of an envelope containing unsolicited mail. The envelope normally contains either an appeal for a donation, or a message that you should buy something before the bargains end soon.

When I was young, ‘Urgent’ meant something. It meant whatever it was really was urgent, and required immediate attention. Like they were going to cut off your electricity, or you had a job interview the next day. It didn’t mean an appeal for water aid to a foreign country that had been going on since I was ten years old, or the chance to buy a sofa that would almost certainly be cheaper next month anyway.

Like so many words in this modern world, it has lost all the impact of its true meaning, to the extent that this type of mail often goes straight into the bin without even being opened.

So, all you companies and charities that do this, I don’t like it. Please stop.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: T

Toilets.

I mean Public Toilets of course, not those in my house, or the houses of friends and relatives.

I have to be pretty desperate to use a public toilet, believe me. And since many of them were either closed down, or are no longer attended by someone who cleans them regularly, I would quite honestly sooner go up a tree.

It is not just the fault of the provider or the establishment where they are situated, of course. The users must also carry a lot of the blame for the state of so many of them these days.

Even those that might appear to be ‘reasonable’ on first sight can still turn out to have floors that are damp and sticky with urine, and evidence that the interiors have not been cleaned for a very long time.

There are some notable exceptions. Using toilets in first class hotels is usually a pleasant experience, and airports and hospitals tend to have regular cleaning routines that make the toilets acceptable, if not gleaming.

But as a rule, I avoid them all.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: S

Saudi Arabia.

This mainly desert kingdom has far too much influence outside of its own country.

And there are good reasons for that.

The proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia are the reportedly 2nd largest in the world, estimated to be 268 billion barrels (43×109 m3) (Gbbl hereafter), including 2.5 Gbbl in the Saudi–Kuwaiti neutral zone. … The Saudi reserves are about one-fifth of the world’s total conventional oil reserves.

On May 20, 2017, U.S. President Trump and Saudi Arabia’s Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud signed a series of letters of intent for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to purchase arms from the United States totaling US$110 billion immediately, and $350 billion over 10 years.

The UK licensed the sale of at least £4.7 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, since the beginning of the civil war in Yemen, but the real figure was expected to be higher as claimed by CAAT.

The top imports of Saudi Arabia are Cars ($8.87B), Broadcasting Equipment ($4.83B), Refined Petroleum ($3.72B), Gold ($3.33B), and Packaged Medicaments ($3.15B).

With a total worth of $33.50 trillion, Saudi Arabia has the second most valuable natural resources in the world. The country has the second-largest proven petroleum reserves and is the largest exporter of petroleum in the world. It also has the fifth-largest proven natural gas reserves and is considered an “Energy Superpower”.

Despite its archaic laws, human rights violations, treatment of women, and dominance by the family of Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, it seems that country can continue to do what it likes, where it likes, with no fear of any foreign reprisals. Even its blatant involvement in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center was blamed on Iraq instead, and the wrong country paid a heavy price for placating Saudi Arabia.

And those archaic laws I mentioned?

Criminal law punishments in Saudi Arabia include public beheading, stoning, amputation and lashing. Serious criminal offences include not only internationally recognized crimes such as murder, rape, theft and robbery, but also apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery.

Stoning? (To death) Yes that’s right. One of the punishments for adultery.
It looks like this.

Public beheading is done by a sword, in the main squares of the cities.
Like this.

In fact, executions are so common, the country has had to resort to advertising for more executioners. (Source: BBC)

Saudi Arabia is advertising for eight new executioners.
Apparently no special qualifications are needed for the jobs, whose main role is “executing” but also involves performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences. The advert was posted on the civil service jobs portal.

Yet these barbarians are described by numerous western governments as ‘Our friends’.

Disgusting.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: R

Remakes.

It will come as no surprise to long-term followers of this blog that film remakes feature for ‘R’. With a handful of exceptions, the constant remakes of great films are usually unnecessary, and completely pointless too.

Yes, they remade ‘Carrie’, that classic Stephen King adaptation from 1976.
And it was truly awful.

Taking on one of the best British gangster thrillers ever, they remade the wonderful ‘Get Carter’, in 2000.
Why? Please tell me why!

Seemingly out to murder another classic Michael Caine film, they remade ‘The Italian Job’, in 2003.
COME ON! Just stop it!

I could also write a book on how they remake foreign language films for people who can’t handle subtitles, always ruining them in the process.
One of the worst examples has to be ‘The Vanishing’. They changed the ending in the US version, to make it ‘happy’.
GRRRRRRRRRR!

And don’t get me started on Japanese Anime classics with western actors voicing the characters!
How wrong does this sound? Very wrong, believe me.

BUT WAIT!

While I am on ‘R’, I have to mention ‘Reimagining’. In case you don’t know, this is the blatant plagiarism of classic fiction, ‘Reimagined’ for the modern reader. Take ‘Jane Eyre’, set it in modern-day California, call it something else, and you have ‘reimagined’ the original. You get the idea.

DOUBLE GRRRRRRRRR!

Film makers and writers, I have a suggestion for you.

DO SOMETHING ORIGINAL!

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: Q

Quiche.

Q is a hard letter to find things to add, whether you like them, or don’t.

I don’t hate quiche. I have eaten it, and would politely still eat it, if it was served to me by someone.

But as a snack, it would never be my first choice. Years of weddings and funerals, where small pieces of quiche or the now familar ‘mini-quiche’ are always on offer. Sometimes the pastry is undercooked, and they are also usually served cold too. Shop-bought versions are often lacking in flavour, and just plain boring.

These days, you can buy ‘dressed up’ quiches, even ‘Vegan quiche’.
Like this one.

But on any list of tasty edibles, quiche would be at the bottom for me.