ANZAC Day 2021

If ever a song encapsulated the exploitation of patriotism and the horror of war it is Eric Bogle’s: And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. My dad fought in the 14-18 war. He was invalided out after being wounded. He was lucky, as he completely recovered. Others of course didn’t fare so well, as I discovered when I started work. Being severely traumatised, they were treated with circumspection by their workmates. Even non-combatants … Read more

Bill Gates and Me

Now, I’m not going to pretend that Bill and I are best mates or just friends or even that he vaguely remembers me, but we have met and shaken hands and conversed. This was back in 1983/4, so that probably explains it. Besides, he’s a very busy man, as I would be if I were building a huge global business. The encounter occurred one evening in Sydney at a computer exhibition. I … Read more

The Dictionary of Lost Words

Every now and then a book comes along in which I become totally engrossed. This is one such.  Despite its title, the book is a novel, the first by Australian writer, Pip Williams. The background is a period during the creation of The Oxford English Dictionary, which began in 1857 but wasn’t completed until 1928. As evidenced by those dates, it was an enormous task requiring the labours of a team of … Read more

Greenwash is eyewash

This article by Belinda Noble, founder of BeNoble Communications, was published by crikey.com.au on 11 January 2021. 2021 must be the year greenwashing dies Fossil fuel companies are adept at pretending to be part of the solution, when they’re actually the cause of the problem.   PROTESTERS TAKING PART IN A NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST MINING GIANT SANTOS IN DECEMBER 2020 (IMAGE: AAP/DEAN LEWINS) Early this year, scientists will put the … Read more

…but a whimper

Watching Trump’s refusal to concede the presidency reminds me of the final lines of TS Eliot’s appropriately named poem, The Hollow Men: “This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.” Substitute “presidency” for “world”, and that is how I expect him to finally leave the White House. However, there are some who believe he will need to be dragged from the White House on Inauguration … Read more

Our functioning democracy is skin-deep

“Our political system has the outward appearance of democracy, but it is largely controlled by undemocratic forces. We find ourselves on the wrong side of the portcullis, watching helplessly as crucial decisions are taken about us, without us. If there’s one thing the coronavirus fiascos show, it’s the need for radical change.” This article by George Monbiot is about the UK political system, but there are obvious parallels with the Australian system, … Read more

Who will challenge Trump?

In mid-July we will learn who will run against Donald Trump. On current indications, it looks as if it will be Joe Biden. I bet Trump is hoping so. I’m not a fan. He’s too close to the corporate elite, and has a chequered history on women’s rights (voted against Roe v. Wade, for example) as well as supporting cuts to Medicare and social security. As Sanders said yesterday, his presidency would … Read more

Corruption on a gargantuan scale

I cannot describe my feelings on this while I’m living through the worst bushfire season we’ve ever had, with 1000 homes already destroyed, but the influence of the coal lobby in preventing action to ameliorate the adverse effects of global warming can only be described as criminal. Please watch the video (15 minutes) to understand the severity of this issue. Dirty Power: Big Coal’s network of influence over the coalition government   … Read more

A Modern Christmas Story

Santa Claus gathered his dozen or so elves together late one Friday afternoon and said, “No need to come to work on Monday, fellas. I won’t need you anymore.” The shocked elves turned to each other in disbelief. “Why not?” asked Shinny Upatree. “Because over the weekend I shall be installing a shipment of robots. They will do your jobs faster and be so much cheaper, too. Unlike you lot, they’ll also … Read more

Looking Forward to Christmas

As a turkey, I have mixed feelings about Christmas. On the one hand, I’ll get to be a significant part of the festivities, but on the other I’ll be leaving my brothers and sisters behind and all the friends I’ve grown up with. Today is the day the farmer told us we would be picked out and carried away to our new homes. Not all of us, though; just the fattest and … Read more