Saturday, April 26, 2014

Shall we dance? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!

In other words, Film Review: The King and I.

I never really warmed to this film growing up, at least not like how I did to The Sound of Music.

I don't understand why this is, although I will hazard a guess later on in this post.

For sure, it's a great film, and I think there are lots of lovely lessons buried within it for both men and women.

What's not to like?
There is great scenery!
There is the 'aw factor' in abundance (the king's children)!
There is feminine allure (Anna and the royal wives)!
There is eye candy and a testosterone factory all in one (Yul Brynner)!


 Speaking of Yul Brynner, I never knew until today that he was actually a Swiss citizen (although born in Russia). I found a compatriot!

The first comment to make about Yul Brynner is that he is the embodiment of why 'Game' works. He is the sort of man who I imagine would have been passed over by many women were it not for his arresting sense of self  and the abundance of confidence which screams 'I am a man'.

This sort of thing is sensed by women in a very visceral way. Add his masculine voice to the mix and to an auditory woman, you have a dangerous situation on your hands :-)

The interaction between the king and Anna is one that is actually fairly unusual among Hollywood type films. It is clearly a dance between the masculine and the feminine, but there is a slight twist to this dance. I shall explain later.

When British teacher Anna Leonowens is asked to come teach the children of the King of Siam english, she accepts, on condition that he keeps his promise to house her and her son Louie in a house of their own, as opposed to his palace, because she does not want to be part of his (already considerable!) harem.

It takes her a long time to get the king to keep his promise. In fact, to get him to keep his promise, she has to keep a promise of her own.

Anna is a tough, no-nonsense widow who is a little bit too 'hard to handle' for the king's liking. I suppose, compared to the docile and sweet wives he already has, Anna is a typical Western harridan of today (but with 19th. century standards, lol).

She is hardly what you would call submissive, but she learns along the way how to be respectful to him. She is also a little too entitled, and goes so far as to demand an audience with the king when the prime minister warns her that the king is in 'bad spirit', i.e. not in a good mood.

But despite Anna's obvious faults, the king likes her. I don't think it is in a conventional romantic way - Anna is far too 'independent' for his liking - but more, in admiration of her education, and perhaps for her 'lively spirit', to put it in the most polite way I can find. :-)

Anna proves useful to the king in many ways other than to teach his children and wives.

He uses her british connections to sweeten up the colonial masters who were getting ideas that he was a 'barbarian', by taking her up on her idea to host a lavish banquet for them.
It was a resounding success, not withstanding a touch of jealousy displayed by the king when he suddenly realises he has competition for Anna's affections from her long-time friend, Edward.

The king's catchphrase of 'et cetera, et cetera, et cetera' is a hilarious reminder of how a man, enamoured of a woman he finds curious will 'parrot' her in much the same way a child might. I think Anna recognised this when towards the end of the film she lets slip to Louie that she thought the king sometimes acted the same age as him! (She meant 'emotional age' in this sense, of course).

The king was supremely masculine, in an almost 'caveman' sense (and yet he was also bizarrely very refined, and certainly hyper-advanced in his thinking: he was a self-taught scholar, a monk no less, despite having many wives and children - and having your wives and children educated to the level he was demanding of Anna was certainly not a common thing in Siam in his époque)...

The king makes some notable quotes in this film. Some of them are hilarious, others are simply eternal truths.
Like this one:

"A woman was made to please man.
A woman is blossom.
A man is like the honey bee, to fly from blossom to blossom. 
A honey bee must be free, but blossom must not ever fly from bee, to bee, to bee."

When Anna insists that Western men are monogamous, the king dismisses this concept as 'not normal'.


Is the King of Siam a Red Pill King???


Nothing says 'alpha' like him in this scene where he is introducing his children to Anna. Note how his 'mini-me' the crown prince has assimilated his way of walking. The apple did not fall far from the tree in this case, did it? :-)
And how sweet that his daughter presents Anna with a flower...

In fact, this whole scene reminds me of another alpha male presenting his many children to an unattached female, with the same panache and poise of the proud father who is master over his children...
Remember Captain Von Trapp and Maria? The same 'military' operation to get the children presented, the pomp and circumstance, the showmanship...
These two guys could be brothers. In fact, the two women could be sisters too, both being 'hard work' for the men when they first encounter them.

I really like these scenes with the children, by the way. I think in a home where the children are taught how to show reverence to the father in this way, there is order and harmony. And actually, love too. This is fatherly love at its best, I think!

Believe it or not, this started out as a geography lesson :-)

Despite my going on and on about Anna, I actually do not find her the absolute 'star of the show'.


I think that honour goes to the king's chief wife, Lady Thiang.

I think she represents the absolute peak of ladylike dignity and poise. This woman should have been threatened by Anna's presence. But she wasn't.
She simply wasn't.

The king was at liberty to take on more wives. Which he did on a regular basis, I am sure :-)
In fact, he had just acquired a 'gift' in the form of a young girl (who was miserable in the harem because she had her heart on someone else...).
But had the king fancied Anna in the romantic sense, Lady Thiang's position as 'chief wife' could well have been in danger, purely because of Anna's position and status. So Lady Thiang had plenty to fear. But this classy lady had no fear. She just had warmth and plenty of grace.

She slowly taught Anna how to be the ultimate wife without Anna herself realising this.

Lady Thiang knew she could not influence her husband the way Anna could. So she used Anna to do her dirty work for her, with the aim of helping her husband.

But she taught Anna how to do this dirty work in the most gracious way possible, having had years of experience of how her husband ticks.

'Don't give him advice', she warned. 'Just give him suggestions'.

Anna does this, to great success. The scene where she achieves her goal of steering him to do what he needs to do but without making it look like she is advising him is a classic. Funny but delightfully touching. Helen Andelin would have been proud :-)
In the interim, Anna also learns to acquiesce to his demands to never have her head above his - difficult ask, as he usually insisted on sitting or lying down most of the time when he was in her company.
When she submits to him in this way, he gives her what she wants, her own house.

Is there a lesson in there somewhere?

Anna must have found him difficult.
He certainly did her!
His 'you are a very difficult woman!' rebuke at her made me laugh out loud, especially the way he said it with his index finger pointing exasperatedly at her.

Reminds me of another Westerner being rebuked in a similar manner by an Oriental character:
Sgt. Nagata (points to Jim): Boy, difficult boy!

Anna and the king have a certain je ne sais quoi thing going on, but we never get to witness it in its fullness. So this film is strictly speaking not a 'romantic' film as such. The closest we get to romance is this scene.

It is more of a face-off between a man and a woman in a way that is a struggle for respect from both sides, rather than a quest for romantic love.
My theory is that this is what prevented me from warming to this film when I was younger.
My younger female self rejected this film because 'where is the romance!' lol.

But now I see the value of a film like this. Full of lessons, teachings about life, and not to talk of  a-laugh-a-minute.
I wouldn't hesitate to nominate the film as one of the best...ever made.

Monday, April 21, 2014

All about George

Erm, would it be controversial if I said the following...

I LOVE Prince George!

There, said it :-)

Well, he is not the only one, but that's another story.

I think it is fair to say that I adore little boys. They are a special group that I find fascinating. Perhaps it has come across in numerous posts I have written.
I also like little girls, of course, but I feel I know little girls more, having been one myself.

My utter fascination with little boys continues unabated.
I deny having Daddy or Mummy issues, but I may have 'little boy issues' :-)
Hm, is this some sort of reverse 'Oedipus complex' thing going on here?
Any psychiatrists out there? Your professional help is urgently needed over at The Sanctuary :-)

If I should go on to self-diagnose, or at least self-analyse, I would say that one of the traits of little boys that never fail to mesmerise me, is their amusing display of burgeoning masculinity that they either get amazingly right, or appallingly wrong, both scenarios being highly amusing in a sweet sort of way :-)
Equally amusing to watch a little girl twist Daddy round her little finger while you realise that 'this one's a pro'.

Utterly riveting to watch these little ones so frankly play out Nature's little games, and watch them become the adults they will one day be, right before our very eyes.

My history with this phenomenon goes way back.

From the toddler son of a friend who would stand (hands in pocket) looking up at the crucifix after Mass, surrounded by people begging God for favours, crawling about on their knees asking forgiveness, flagellating themselves in repentance (OK, OK, I exaggerate here!) this kid would give God 'the nod', you know, Joey style (as in 'Friends'):

So, Jesus, how are you doing today?

Priceless :-)

To this same kid when I used to babysit him telling me how we were going to spend our time together. (No, Auntie Spacetraveller, we are not sitting at home watching TV, we are going to the park and I am going at the swings, and you ain't yet seen the mother of all tantrums that I can pull off if you don't capitulate...)

Not so priceless ;-)

To two little brothers (sons of friends) insisting on showing Auntie Spacetraveller their little 'friends' when she was invited to dinner at their home one evening.
Yes, Auntie Spacetraveller has seen it all. And she wants her innocence back :-)

There is a spectrum of course. It's not all hilarious masculinity with little boys. There is also a vulnerability which is so touching, and which immediately detonates the 'aw' factor.
Who could resist Mark Lester's almost feminine baby face in 'Oliver', particularly this scene where he is singing 'Where is love' and you know he is torn between two impossibly unsavoury worlds - the Workhouse or the world of pickpockets, both of which would sooner chew him up and spit him out than show him love?
A veritable tear-jerker...


Back to Prince George ... being the introvert I am, I do not normally extol the virtues of extroverts. Um, except... free pass if you are a bonny little chappie, a prince to boot :-)

This kid can certainly pull off funny faces - I see a future in stand-up comedy as an aside to kinghood.
Now, quite unfairly, the British press already had a nickname for Bonny Prince George three weeks into his life.
A harsh one at that :-(

They called him 'HRH Grumpy' :-(
Apparently because he doesn't smile too much.
Not fair.

So he has an expressive face. Don't we want our future king to have an expressive face? Must we all be smiley all the time? Is that the new order of the day?

What's so grumpy about this face anyway? Why is it not pensive?

I mean, who put this ageing Spanish chick in charge of me? Whose idea was this? When I become king the first thing I will do is go to war with her country. Where are the hot Swedish au pairs? Why do kids of lesser status than My Royal Highness get better nannies than me? What's with that? Don't even get me started on the au pair thing. I ain't got none of that to even look at! And at my age, that 'pair' is actually vital to my survival, so don't judge me.

And they better not even be thinking about having me circumcised. Or I shall decree a circumcision of my own for whoever suggests it to my parents. It would be 'off with his head' quicker than you could say 'George Cambridge'.

Uncle Harry says 'aloof game' works every time. I think he's right. This New Zealand chick in front of me digs me. She might not be the only one. The one behind me has the hots for me too. Oooh I say, fetching headband, lady! Man, I own.

Yeah, I know he's 6 ft 4, but I am sure I could 'ave him!

That toy has my name written all over it. It's's mine...IT'S MINE! Get out the way, headband girl!

Who you looking at?

I think Prince George will be quite a character. His personality certainly seems to be a forceful one. Not a shy wallflower, this one :-)

I also think this:

The choice of nanny for him is a major turning point in British history. His nanny almost became a Catholic nun.
Nannies have a powerful role in the lives of their charges.
Prince George could become the first Catholic British King since Henry VIII's time.

You heard it here first!

And there could be all kinds of constitutional mayhem should he choose to become a Catholic priest.

Oh dear, my imagination is certainly running away with this one.

Time to stop :-)

What do you think of our future British king?
And what tributes for his great grandma whose 88th birthday it is today?

I'll start:

Happy Birthday Ma'am.
Thank you for your lifelong service to Britain and The Commonwealth and your dedication to both God, country and family.
Your long reign is already a record in our hearts and minds - to this end you don't really need to beat Queen Victoria's record of 63 years to be a winner for us.
You already are.

That your commitment to serving your country, devotion to your husband and steadfast faith in hard times and good will serve as a reminder to us all that there are goals to achieve - much bigger than our puny selves.

Happy birthday!

Um, if you are dishing out any extra honours on your Birthday Honours List, I just thought 'Lady Spacetraveller' might have a nice ring to it.

Just a thought :-)

Addendum 23/4/2014:

On this day, the feast day of St. George, patron saint of England, we toast all of you with the name George, Georgina, Georgia, Georg, Jorge, Giorgio and Giorgos :-)

Happy feast day!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

He went his own way

I promised John Lord B3 a post...

And I realise now that it coincides beautifully with another thought that has been on my mind a lot recently.

True confession: this Lent has been a poor one for me. I just couldn't 'settle' into the spirit of Lent as I usually do.
But it seems I peaked sharply in the last week or so.

Better late than never :-)

Tonight, the 'night of impending death' as I like to call it, otherwise known as 'Maundy' or 'Holy' Thursday, my thoughts turn to ... death.

Many years ago, on this night, Our Lord was pacing up and down the Garden of Olives, otherwise known as the Garden of Gethsemane, thinking about his impending death. He had just had a meal, washed the feet of a few of his closest friends...knowing one of them was going to condemn him to death, death by a kiss, the kiss of betrayal. He was imploring his friends to stay with him, watch with him, pray with him.
They were falling asleep, human as they were :-)


Some of my most introspective moments came at moments where I witnessed impending death. I have witnessed a few.

A number of them stick in my mind like a sore thumb.

It strikes me that the reason I have such vivid memories of these impending death situations is that they are moments of great honesty.
It all hangs out.
No holding back.

It is both beautiful and ugly.
It is both fascinating and frightening.
It is both strong and vulnerable.

A few months ago, I was chatting to an 89 year old man. I won't go into details, but he was near death. He knew it. I knew it.
With this particular man, the hilarious thing about his feelings about his illness/impending death was that it would interfere with his routine. It bothered him that the set-up he had carefully laid out all his life was about to be disrupted - not so much death itself but the bothersome illness and the 'caring' that would be foisted upon him against his will. It is not an exaggeration to state that he was more than a little peeved by it all. His attitude was only hilarious because it appeared that others cared more for his life than he did.

But I know different. At least now I do.
Thanks to my understanding of the MGTOW movement and its nuances, I am more open-minded than ever on the variations of life.

This man was a never-married man. He had a few siblings but his favourite of all was his 85 year old little sister who had several children and grandchildren. One of these grandchildren was a young man in his 20s with whom he was particularly close. This young man was his. He was his lad.
Of all his relatives, this was the one he felt the closest to. As he told me about this young guy, his eyes lit up and he was as animated as you could ever see an 89 year old be.

I remember distinctly the moment he told me he was a single man. He expected me to somehow show surprise that he had never married. I know this because he told me so.
It seems he had had a certain response (especially from women) all his life. He was used to it. He expected it so much that when I didn't react in this way, he felt the need to tell me.

He, of course was not to know that I had, um, had a 'special' education in this subject over the last few years, by way of strangers on the internet, lol.

He almost became apologetic. "I love my own company too much", he said to me by way of explanation. An explanation I really didn't need, but he wasn't to know this.
"I never felt close to any woman throughout my life. I was happy without one all these years. I had my garden, I like to read, potter about, you know..."
I knew.

"But there was always this pressure to find a wife and settle down."


"I was happy on my own, this is what no-one understands. I could have made some woman miserable."
Um, well, who knows...

"I have never felt lonely. I have loved my life. Now I am ill, they will force someone on me to 'care' for me. That is my worst nightmare."

I really understand this sentiment. This really is the introvert's worst nightmare.

"I have my lad. He comes round to see me. He is like a son to me. He is enough".

Good lad.

It is inexplicably important to me that I did not 'judge' this man in his last days...

So, John Lord B3, whilst I would not choose this man's lifetime solitude, I get why he chose his. And I bet he loved every minute of it.

There are people who do not choose a life of solitude - it is foisted upon them against their will, but they adapt to it.
Others have their own reasons for choosing what they choose.

I have thought and thought about the MGTOW movement since the moment I first heard of it. It has fascinated me and I have indulged my unquenchable curiosity ad nauseum.

But it takes someone's moment of impending death for me to see the humanity involved. So when you ask if I have a personal view of MGTOW, this is it.
A dying man's honest description of how he lived it.

I am not sure it can get any personal than that.

I have similar stories of two women who also lived the GTOW life until death. The nuances of their stories differ slightly, but there we are.

In the end, life will be lived. With or without our consent the moment we are born kicking and screaming into an unforgiving world.

The details of said life?
The devil is in the detail, as they say.

And with that, I bid everyone the holiest and happiest Easter ever.

The ultimate MGHOW?

Addendum 19/04/2014:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spacetraveller's law


The above is by no means akin to Newton's laws of motion or anything :-)

Just an observation that I have never seen broken, yet, although I expect there are exceptions that prove the rule...

About rules/laws/mandates, I find I quite like them. They are general 'guidelines' by which, when lived out, simplify life, rather than complicate it, which is what we do best as human beings. But I accept that there are limitations beyond which even the most useful rule does not help. Such is life.

I go off at a tangent again, but I think it is a good time to remind myself that sometimes, what we don't know, we mustn't fret about... because God knows. And somehow, He imparts the necessary detail to us should he choose to, and at the right time when we are most likely to be receptive to it.

This is my 'lesson of the day', LOL.

I just got back home from a walk. I came across a park which is also a cemetery for lost soldiers from the Second World War.

All the soldiers buried here are 'unknown'.
But what a great way this is expressed:

'Known to God'.

I was blown over by that description. On every single gravestone, there is a distinct absence of a name, rank, birthdate and deathdate. But all of these men (I presume they were men but of course it is just possible a few may have been women?) are 'known to God'.

'Unknown' to us, 'known to God'.
How lovely...

I somehow got the message that although it would have been lovely for us (and especially their grieving families and friends) to know who exactly these men were, somehow it is not crucial anymore - God knows their identities. That's enough. Case closed.

I have been back and forth to the UK in the last few months. I did promise John Lord B3 a post about a personal encounter regarding MGTOW, but as usual, my thoughts were derailed by something else I would like to share, and possibly discuss ad nauseum :-)

A new dating show in the UK, by the title 'Take me out' has been a source of great insights into todays' SMP for me. In many ways, it directly replicates a longstanding older one known as 'Blind date' presented by a lovely elderly lady known as Cilla Black.

I think the spirit of 'Take me out' is very different from 'Blind date' however, just by removing the element of 'parental presence' in the form of a woman who could jolly well be your mother :-). The presenter of 'Take me out' is a young man. Different and interesting vibe, but interesting all the same.

Yesterday, the 'old school' were temporarily back in town. A young Scottish man came on 'Take me out' not just with his Mum, but his ex-nursery school teacher (Mrs. H)! Why, you may ask...

His Mum thought his ex-nursery school teacher had the wisest opinion on girls, so each time it was time to 'vet' a girlfriend, he not only brought her to his Mum, he also took her to meet Mrs. H.

I think it's sweet, but I get why some may be annoyed that not just one woman but two women are meddling in this young man's business.
It should be mentioned that this man was complicit in Mum and Mrs. H's meddling though, just so you are aware :-).

Early on in the show, Mrs. H was asked which of the 30 girls she thought would be good for the young man. She picked a girl. He ended up picking that girl. And she made herself available to be picked by him.

I immediately got why Mrs. H picked the girl. She is the kind of girl that is perfect. Beautiful, little make-up (not 'glaring' like some of the other girls), nicely dressed, and very nice in personality. She was very likeable, and I hope she and the guy hit it off.

The whole episode reminded me of a saying I have mentioned here before.
Mrs. H may or may not be right about this girl. I really hope she is right, of course.

But choosing a wife is very much a man's business. And usually requires a male opinion, preferably an older male's, but also a contemporary, or even a younger man's would do. But of course, I now know that many men do not seek advice from anyone at all in matters that are private. I get that. I think women are much more 'help-seeking' than men in this regard. Fair enough - we are different creatures afterall...

But...if an opinion is welcome from a woman...
I have seen how a woman that the man trusts and respects can help a lot in this process. A mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, even a female friend.

This is what I am about to hijack as 'Spacetraveller's law': (um, excuse my delusions of grandeur...what I meant to write was 'an observation ST seems to make over and over again :-)

Where a trusted female who has a man's best interest at heart repeatedly declares that a woman he is romantically interested in is bad for him, she is almost always right.'

The collorary is, that where she says a woman is good for him, there is a 50/50 chance of her being right.

The importance of my observation is where she says she is bad for him.

Women seem to be really good at smelling out bad women where their sons/brothers/friends are concerned.
But perhaps not as accurate when deciding about a good woman.

In statistical terms, I think this is best expressed as 'negative predictive value'.

Has anyone come across instances where a mother says to her son: this woman is bad for you, son!' and she turns out to be the opposite?

(Note: I am not talking about a nasty mother - I mean a mother who really does love her son and wants the best for him - of which there are many more than not...).

As an aside, here is a little gem from a film: I am keeping up with a previous assignment of watching as many of the old films as I can get my hands on, and I enjoyed this one very much:

Here is an MGTOW from 1951's thoughts on marriage:

Marriage is slavery for the woman and prison for the man.


Where have I heard this before, especially the second part?

Interestingly, in this film, it was the father of the girl deciding that the man she was interested in was bad for her.
Girls should of course always listen to Daddy...
He is always right - about everything! That's ST's second law...