SJB Gilmour Writes

…and rants and ruminates…

Month: April, 2015

The Ten Commandments. Really, Dude?

Okay.  If you’re a true believer, you may want to look away now.  I’m about to take a swipe at the Ten Commandments (but you guessed that already, didn’t you, you clever little devils?).  I’m not doing it because I’m anti-Christianity.  Far from it.  My kids go to a Catholic school, and I’m all for just about every aspect of their education – except for that whole “Congratulations Billy, you’re the last winner!” business.  That’s just a wank.

No, I’m writing this because I got to remembering George Carlin, whose message to parents to teach their kids to question what they read, and in fact to teach them to question everything, really struck a chord with me.

Now I know all this might sound like heresy, and well, I guess it is, but there’s a reason for it.  I know my kids are smart.  I know they’re going to challenge authority.  More power to them when they do it, by the way, but when they do, I hope they don’t do it just because they’re being obstinate.  I hope they challenge authority with arguments which are well-constructed and logical.  There will come a time in their religious studies when the Ten Commandments are discussed, and I just know my kids, especially the younger of the two, will pop their hands up in the air to “discuss” just how rock solid these rules are.

My eldest has already asked me what they are, and I’ve put off answering her (mostly because of the adultery thing), but I think it won’t be long before she and I chat about them, and I hope my explanation goes something like this:

The Ten Commandments are really just a set of rules by which we should all try to live.  They’re mostly just about doing the right thing, but if you want analyse them, here, read the Bible.  I have, and do again occasionally, or at least bits of it for reference, and when I get to this bit, this is what I think.

  1. I am the Lord thy God

Oh yeah?  Of course he’s going to say that.  He’s the one handing out the commandments to some poor fellow who’s been wandering around up the top of a mountain for forty days and nights.  And why is it always forty?  Bit needy and insecure if you ask me.  The Indian gods all seem to recognise each other and don’t carry on with all that “I’m the best” kind of crap.

I call this bullshit on this one.  That’s a fail rate of 1 out of 10 so far



  1. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image


Why not?  And, by the way, just look how that one’s turned out.  There are crosses in every church, often adorned with a skinny bloke who looks like he’s having a really bad day.  Stained glass windows, carvings and what not are scattered about too.  You name it, it’s there.  People are using these images whether you like it or not, Mister I’m the only God.


Same deal as number 1.  Fail rate of 2 out of 10.



  1. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain


Okay, so you’re telling us to watch our language.  Hang on, how many times have you cursed people and even your own angels?  Bit of hypocrisy there, old chap.


Fail rate 3 out of 10.



  1. Remember the Sabbath day , and keep it holy


Alright.  I’ll give you that one.  I work five to six days a week as it is.  Sunday is special to me.  I get to sit down with my wife and have eggs on toast for half an hour before the reality of the rest of the day kicks in.  The lawn needs mowing, there’s washing to do, play-dates, miscellaneous other housework.  Hang on, Monday better hurry up.  I need to go to work so I can get some rest.


Fail rate 4 out of 10



  1. Honour thy father and mother


Makes sense… I hope.  If it turns out that I can’t handle them when they get older and have to put them in a nursing home, then you’ve got a pretty good idea of what my kids are going to do to me when I’m old and doddery.

Hey, lookit here!  We got one right.  Score 1 for the good side.  So that’s 4 fails, 1 pass out of 10.



  1. Thou shalt not murder


Let’s define “murder”, shall we?  I take it to mean killing another human without reason.  Hang on, whose reason?  Mine or someone else’s?  If I’m a soldier and, following orders, I kill another soldier from an opposing armed force, am I a murderer?  I had no reason to kill that soldier other than that I was just doing as I was told and if I didn’t, I’d be court marshalled.


1 for the good side, 5 against.



  1. Thou shalt not commit adultery


Dude, not only do I not have the inclination, I don’t have the time, money or energy.  That said, I know plenty of folk who have strayed.  2 passes, 5 fails.



  1. Thou shalt not steal


Really?  Not ever?  And define “steal.”  I’ve got a collection of little soaps from hotel rooms.  Does that make me a thief, or am I taking those things, just as the hotels wanted me to do in the vain hope I’ll return to their fine establishments?  That’s 6 fails, and 2 passes out of 10.



  1. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour


Hang on.  I can’t lie about my neighbour.  Is it okay for me to tell porky pies about complete strangers, or people who live on the other side of town?  Why does the proximity of their domicile make what I say about them a sin or not?  That’s 7 fails, and 2 passes out of 10.



  1. Thou shalt not covet.


Huh?  Sorry dude. I was raised in a merchant family.  I’m fourth generation in the family footwear business (5th if you count the granary and mill that gave rise to the shoe shop).  Profit has always been our main motivator.  We’re in this business to make money.  What’s wrong with wanting things other people have, or even wanting better things than other people have?  We want nice things.  We want to provide for our families.  If nobody else has nice things, the likes of which I’d like too, then why would we work?  This one doesn’t make sense, and between you and me, I think it’s probably why socialism never really works.


Bullshit again.  So with 8 fails out of 10, and only 2 that actually make sense, albeit in a kinda twisted way, the whole 10 commandments should really be taken with a grain of salt.

How about we all agree to try to be nice to each other, not force our own beliefs down other people’s throats or blow them up, and that if there is a higher power, being a good person is all we really have to do to stay in his or her good books?


There.  I’ll leave you all now and just watch as the hate mail begins to pour in.



The Movies I Left Off My Top 100

I ran out of numbers, pure and simple.  So, to make up for that, here are the films I’d have included if I’d done a top 125:  (Oh, the numbered list thingy won’t let me start at a number other than 1, so I’ll just have to trust you to do the math yourselves.)

  1. Highlander
  2. Labyrinth
  3. The Dark Crystal
  4. The Lost Boys
  5. The Nutty Professor (1996)
  6. Happy Gilmore
  7. Beverly Hills Cop
  8. Kindergarten Cop
  9. Hook (1991)
  10. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  11. First Blood
  12. Get Shorty
  13. The Neverending Story
  14. Goodfellas
  15. So I Married An Axe Murderer
  16. Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery
  17. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
  18. Austin Powers In Goldmember
  19. Split Second
  20. The Canonball Run
  21. Robin Hood: Men In Tights
  22. The Producers  (2005)
  23. The Toxic Avenger
  24. The Sicilian
  25. Mortal Combat


There.  I think that covers it…  I hope.




My Top… Umm, How Many???

In a cafe with my father this morning, we got to talking about our favourite films.  One of his is Ghostbusters.  We got to musing about our top ten favourites.  Not having a pen, I began counting on my fingers.  I ran out pretty quick.  I would have taken off my shoes and begun counting on my toes, but that probably wouldn’t have gone down too well with the establishment’s proprietor.

When we left, thankfully with my shoes and socks still on – it was cold outside, I continued to ponder.  I couldn’t list just ten films.  I might be able to put together a list of a hundred though.  Same applies to books.  No way I could limit my faves to a mere two digit number.  Hell, I couldn’t even limit my favourite authors to such a small number, let alone the books they turned out.  As for music – hell no!

So, today being Friday, and I’ve been procrastinating for all I’m worth, I sat down and tried to list my top 100 favourite films.  So, in no particular order, here they are:

  1. Best In Show
  2. Burn After Reading
  3. The Usual Suspects
  4. Fargo
  5. Miller’s Crossing
  6. Blade Runner
  7. Alien
  8. Aliens
  9. Kill Bill 1
  10. Kill Bill 2
  11. Pulp Fiction
  12. A Night At The Opera (An old Max Bros, but a goodie!)
  13. The Spy Who Loved Me
  14. Thunderball
  15. Live And Let Die
  16. Diamonds Are Forever
  17. Star Wars (Episode IV, A New Hope)
  18. Star Wars (Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back)
  19. Home Alone
  20. The Breakfast Club
  21. St Elmo’s Fire
  22. Dune (1984)
  23. Logan’s Run
  24. The Thing (1982)
  25. The Blues Brothers
  26. Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life
  27. Monty Python And Now For Something Completely Different
  28. Monty Python And The Holy Grail
  29. The Silence Of The Lambs
  30. Yellowbeard
  31. Captain Blood (Another oldie from 1938, staring Errol Flynn)
  32. The Crimson Pirate (More swashbuckling stuff, from 1958 this time)
  33. Barbarella
  34. Dirty Harry
  35. The Shawshank Redemption
  36. Jaws
  37. Robocop (1987)
  38. Beetlejuice
  39. The Addams Family
  40. The Addams Family Values
  41. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  42. The Mummy (1999)
  43. The Mummy Returns (2001)
  44. The Exorcist (1973)
  45. Better Off Dead
  46. Caddyshack
  47. When Harry Met Sally
  48. Top Gun
  49. Stripes
  50. Ghostbusters
  51. The Howling
  52. Friday The 13th (1980)
  53. Friday The 13th Part 2
  54. Friday The 13th Part 3
  55. Cool World
  56. The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane
  57. RED
  58. RED 2
  59. The Fifth Element
  60. Mad Max
  61. Mad Max 2
  62. 300
  63. E.T.
  64. Candyman
  65. Snatch
  66. Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels
  67. Sin City
  68. The Matrix
  69. The Matrix Reloaded
  70. The Matrix Revolutions
  71. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  72. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
  73. Ladyhawke
  74. The Crow
  75. The Big Lebowski
  76. Mulholland Drive
  77. Good Morning Vietnam
  78. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  79. The Shining
  80. It
  81. True Romance
  82. Heathers
  83. Pump Up The Volume
  84. The Incredibles
  85. Predator
  86. Interview With The Vampire
  87. Scream
  88. The Return Of The Living Dead
  89. Misery
  90. Conan The Barbarian (1982)
  91. 50 First Dates
  92. The Terminator
  93. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  94. Blade
  95. Blade 2
  96. Underworld
  97. Hardware (1990)
  98. Starship Troopers
  99. Soylent Green
  100. The Wedding Singer

So there you have it folks.  I’ve probably left great number out, but I set the limit to 100, so 100 it is. Who knows?  In a few weeks, I might have a go at my favourite authors list.