Sunday, June 27, 2010


misunderstanding, difficulty, issues, problems, sadness, grief, loss, tragedy.
Are these life's realities?
Growth, hope, optimism can seem to be cerebral abberations that keep us keeping on in spite of the evidence that life is real, life is harsh, life is often sad, unrewarding and disappointing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Never Learn To Milk a Cow

Virley Dunning is a local older woman - (well, so am I, but Virley is older again) - who writes. In a short piece, she warmly recalls her mother, who, coming from a Victorian upbringing, had great difficulty in talking about sex.
Virley recounts how when she was about 13 she was out walking with her mother, who suddenly said, "Have you noticed that Alison doesn't go in swimming some days?"
"No," I answered.
That was all. We kept walking.
And that was the totality of her mother's information to her daughter.

Similarly, on the eve of Virley's wedding, her mother's sole piece of advice was not about sex or even housekeeping, but: "Never learn to milk a cow."
Virley writes of her life as a farmer's wife, and the chores from endless feeding and cleaning to replacing ewes' retroverted uteruses -uteri?-, resuscitating lambs - with brandy as a last resort -, mustering bullocks - (even, in desperation, barking at them).
But, she didn't milk the cow. As she witnessed the gritty, mundane imperative of the twice daily rounding up and milking of a reluctant cow, she says that: "Thank you," I'd silently say to my mother. "It was great advice."
Affection. It's always a pleasure to read of, witness, or experience.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Looking through my bank statements I saw that, at one stage I had a balance that earned 0.03 cents in interest for the month.
That it would have cost me about $60+ per month, or thereabouts, to borrow this sum from the same bank irked me considerably, as did knowing that if I owed someone 3 cents, I would be obliged to round it up to 5 cents.
The banks, whose billion dollar profits escalate each half-year, don't have to round up. Why?
It reminded me of other grievances, such as energy-saving light bulbs. "40 watts = 80 watts"or somesuch, they trumpet.
I've come to the conclusion that, re light globes, when they put up these equivalences, they are talking about the COST of having these things, not the output of light. My standard lamp has 3 bulbs, by which I should be able to discern the germs under my toenails, but instead I find myself peering at, and trying to decipher, the written word. I don't think, for a minute, that the three of them churn out more than about 60watts. But, my electricity bill continues to climb, so I assume that when they speak of equivalence, they don't mean that 40 watts provides the illumination of 80 watts, they mean that the cost of 40 watts of this new stuff is equivalent to the cost of 80 watts of the old.
Of course the new ones carry the exciting possibility of occasionally exploding and showering you with glass shards.
Paying more for supposedly using less electricity, makes me feel exploited, just as the bank makes me feel exploited. I feel that we are all being squeezed just a little too much.
These are, I suppose typical small grumbles of "small people", as the BP executive recently referred to the populace at large.

I read that BP is going ahead in autumn with a new well in the Beaufort Sea that is far riskier than its Gulf of Mexico one. BP has "been implicated in each of the worst oil disasters in American history, dating back to the Exxon Valdez". BP was also the biggest donor to Obama's campaign, and I am inclined to think that multinationals run the world. Or destroy they choose.
No wonder so many of our "leaders" resort to advising us to pray: governments can really do nothing, as Frank Rich explains (NYT 18/6/2010). Our power has slipped away.

And when I read that the newly nominated candidates for Senate for Kentucky and Nevada have marked for elimination or privatisation the Department of Education, The Federal reserve, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and also marked the Energy Dept; the Environmental Protection Agency; Social Security, the Dept of Veteran Affairs, and Medicare, I feel that we are entering the uncharted territory of the robber barons. Alas, where the U.S. goes, we tend to follow.

The world, and the "small people" in it need a Wat Tyler. Now.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

And further....

all names in this and every other post on this site, are not the real names of any person in the incident.
If we are making mistakes about how we categorise people, does it matter?
Well, maybe we could adopt other values that might lead to different paths. At present we are locked into some fractal Mandelbrot set that is neither advancing us nor getting us what we want. We need to change the equations.

I thought it wrong that Glen was sent to Iraq, because he is the sole parent of a 7 year old child.
Equivalence sent him there, because equivalence looks at the adults, not the child.

More contraversially, I was shocked that Anna, a police officer and mother of 4 under 8 years old, was sent out at 3.30 am into malicious, demonic seas erupting out of the icy antarctic rampage to attempt rescue of some in that particularly deadly annual Sydney-Hobart yacht race. She received a bravery award for this.
Her husband, also a police officer, could have been sent, but wasn't. ...but, that's equivalence, isn't it? Anna certainly wouldn't object, but I would. If her children had been 10 years older, I would have a different point of view.
But our regulations have no time for these or any other subtleties.
Once I knew a man who had worked in logging camps in Canada in the 1920s. He said that when a log jam occurred, a very dangerous condition, the cry went out for all single or childless men to get to safety, before the situation was tackled.
The uncalled for gallantry of this appeals to me: but, it also reinforces my suggestion that the divisions within society that we have set up and endorsed are arbitrary, and perhaps do not reflect our basic values.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wot's the difference?

There is an understanding that people are 3rd world or 1st world, "white" or other, male or female, rich or poor, literate or not, primary, 2ndary, tertiary educated or not, married or single, hetero or homo. And no doubt more dichotomies. But are these the best way to sort people, if that is what you need to do?
In our society "married" or "single" seems to have become fairly irrelevant. Once I used to, from curiosity, discreetly gawp for a wedding ring: I don't think that I have even thought about doing that for about seven years.
Once, a hyphenated name was a rather snobbish indication of exalted status. Now, I just assume that it means that the parents are not married, and I couldn't give a figurative.
The biggest differences now seem to me to be between the aggressive and non, the vindictive and non, the competitive and non,........but mostly, the ambitious and non.

"Fling away ambition," says one of Shakespeare's bods. "By that sin fell the angels. How can man then, the image of his Maker hope to win by it?"
Irrespective of whether or not you are hoping to win the image of your maker, I find a piquant attraction in the idea that competition, aggression and ambition are inborn negative traits that we should aim to educate out of children.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Of Mice and Me

I saw a mouse in my kitchen.
I am going to have to kill it, because I have found that we can't cohabit.
I would prefer not to slaughter.
Give you a little leeway, Mouse, a little tolerance, and you run rampant through my cupboards, drawers, shelves, ledges and floorspace, defecating liberally as you ramble. I understand that the odours from the house are delectable, but I put perfectly edible and delicious food into the compost heap. You are free to enjoy it all, and your poop would only help things along.
I understand that my home's attraction now is that it is warm, while winter leers outside. So, you really have to choose warmth or death, Mouse. You have a fur coat, and there are heaps of you - or you can manufacture heaps fairly quickly - so, I can only tell you what I would advise.

I am not going to kill you with bare hands or bare teeth, but with discreetly placed poison pellets, and I understand that your death is not sweet.
Once, when the front of our dishwasher was removed during repair, I saw the skeleton of an adult mouse - mum? - in an embrace with a crouching skeleton child. That still saddens me, Mouse.
Do go away. It's nuclear against spears, Mouse. Retreat and live. Please.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

There is a lot that I don't understand

Why, if healthy gums mean healthy teeth, do skulls have teeth?

Why do people who value unspoiled places visit them?

If sex is an industry, will they have vocational courses in high school ?

Why is correctness "political"?

Are conservative women born with better-behaved hair?

Why can't I give $5 a week to sponsor a scientist?