Saturday, July 14, 2012
The morning sun at the right angle can trick you into thinking that it is Autumn. Franklin Square, Hobart. June 2012.
It's cold. So very, very cold.
Long Distance I, by Tony Harrison
Your bed's got two wrong sides. You life's all grouse.
I let your phone-call take its dismal course:
Ah can't stand it no more, this empty house!
Carrots choke us wi'out your mam's white sauce!
Them sweets you brought me, you can have 'em back.
Ah'm diabetic now. Got all the facts.
(The diabetes comes hard on the track
of two coronaries and cataracts.)
Ah've allus liked things sweet! But now ah push
food down mi throat! Ah'd sooner do wi'out.
And t'only reason now for beer 's to flush
(so t'dietician said) mi kidneys out.
When I come round, they'll be laid out, the sweets,
Lifesavers, my father's New World treats,
still in the big brown bag, and only bought
rushing through JFK as a last thought.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Love is blindness. The bedroom, Geilston Bay. July 2012.
A Man of the People is a 1966 novel by Chinua Achebe that foreshadowed a coup in post-colonial Nigeria. It tells the story of a young and educated narrator and his conflict with his former teacher who has pursued a career. One represents the changing younger generation; the other the traditional customs of Nigeria.
An interesting novel graphically illustrates the challenges faced by African nations in the 1950s and 60s, it goes some way to explaining to outsiders why the continent has struggled in the aftermath of Western colonialism. Recommended.
Andreï Makine is a Russian novelist who writes in French. Like the protagonist in his more recent novel - The Life of an Unknown Man - Makine is a man without a country (the Soviet Union of his formative years no longer in existence).
This is a novel two very different, albeit related, parts. It is part meditation on finding autonomy even as when losing all control of one’s destiny and realising happiness even in the face of appalling suffering; part exploration of how those who live in prosperous, modern societies can be cursed by excessive choice and expectations.
Makine paints his picture using broad-brush strokes, and rockets through huge swathe of history in the second portion, but this remains a powerful and eloquent novel. I really liked how he has demonstrated at once his passionate attachment, but constant bewilderment, to Russia and the celebration of individual humanity within the oppressive politics of both a totalitarian state and vacuous and indifferent celebrity culture.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
There is no there's no old piano playin' hot.
As far as we could tell, there are no people laughing a lot.
We most definitely did not see any eyeballs peepin' through smoky clouds.
Oh, wait a sec'.
Oh, it's a YELLOW door.
Flame trees? Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart. June 2012.
Theme Thursday again and with the mood I have been in of late I thought that I'd hard pressed with this week's theme of INSPIRING THINGS.
However, after putting a little bit of thought to it, I have indeed been reminded me that there are indeed some INSPIRING THINGS within my current purview:
- David Ireland's The Glass Canoe. After feeling the guilts for reading so little Australian literature, I'm hailing this 1976 book as a lost Australian classic. Seriously, this is a magnificent snapshot of an 'Australia' that I know, even if the blokes within don't make the cut for our glossy, cosmopolitan view of ourselves as a nation.
- Henry's fire. I love my Henry very much, but I've always had a spot of concern with his potential fragility. He's a lovely bloke, but I wouldn't want him to ever not have the confidence to stick up for himself. In this P.C. world of ours the 'gut instinct' advice of "give any bugger giving you trouble a thump" is not welcome or wise. That said, "standing your ground and saying 'no' to wrong-doers" should be a rule of thumb we all apply. But how would Hank respond? After last week's Auskick scuffle (where Henry stood up for a little bloke who was being roughed up by two much bigger blokes) and yesterday's solid effort at righting the wrong of a gutless sucker hit of Ez (from behind no less), young Henry is starting to look a little like Batman!
- Nice people. There are still nice people about. Even though the not-so-nice can sometimes dominate, I need to remind myself that there remain a few fundamentally decent human beings about.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Wallaby. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, Brighton. May 2012.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Little by little, day by day, Henry's kicking is getting just that bit better. All he needs to do now is find the natural rhythm of the action and go with the flow.
Relax and kick.
Relax and kick.
Relax and... dummy kick, handball off the left run hard to receive the return hand ball run harder to evade the chasing player relax and kick the goal!
A house and a mountain. The view from Bath Street, Battery Point. June 2012.
More questions more answers. This week, The Imaginary Meme, Part Five.
81. What’s your favourite action movie?
82. Have (or are) you ever been involved someone much older than you?
Not for any more than a few hours.
83. Do you believe in lust at first sight?
Isn’t that the very definition of lust?
84. Favourite type of venomous snake?
85. Do you drink alcohol?
86. If you wanted to talk to someone who'd lift your spirits, who'd you call?
87. What do you wear to feel sexy?
As little as possible.
88. Do you like to learn?
I love to learn. If you’re not learning, you’re dead.
89. Have you ever been hit on by someone who really overestimated their attractiveness?
A number of times. When I was a younger fellow I used to take great delight in pointing out that fact to them. Yes, I was a cruel bastard.
90. Where did you last go on vacation?
When we went to Burnie in February, I guess.
91. Dallas (as in J.R. & Bobby) returns this week. What film or TV series would you loved to be resurrected?
I prefer to just leave things in their own proper place. Have we really become so bereft of ideas that every second-rate film or TV show from the 70s and 80s is worthy of a few million bucks reworking it?
92. Explain your karma beliefs.
“Non-existent”. Anyone that has any experience in the world and thinks that anybody gets what they deserve in life (for good and bad) must not be paying attention. [Yes, I’m having one of those weeks.]
93. When do you think that you have a hard life?
There are moments when I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, then I give myself a good, hard slap and remind myself of the poor bastards all around the world who really do have it tough.
94. Favourite comic strip?
All time? Peanuts.
95. Have you ever broken a heart?
96. Should pot be legalized?
I’ve answered this one a number of times. [See 6.]
97. Have you ever gone skinny dipping with someone that you shouldn't have?
That’s not a decision that ‘d ever be likely to make.
98. What do you do when you're down?
Withdraw into myself. Very helpful, I know!
99. Last time you were really angry?
Sunday night. There is something about the ingratitude and rudeness of children when you’ve slogged for hours doing nothing but catering to their needs. A familiar tale, I am sure.
100. What is your favourite flavour in general?
I like spice and I like tartness. It’s a toss-up between the bite of a jalapeño and the zip of a lemon.
Monday, July 09, 2012
A man's conscience and his judgment is the same thing; and as the judgment, so also the conscience, may be erroneous.
Tap in the morning light. The backyard, Geilston Bay. July 2012.
Do you ever have those days where you just cannot be bothered? I’ve got that right now…
As you know, the Internet is a wonderful place filled with the rich and varied treasures of the world holds (as well as a lot of very lonely people.) The following are some things that I've had a look at in the last week. I call this: a Compendium of Click-throughs for Monday Morning..
- The animating spirit of Smith's The Wealth of Nations is 'interest' or 'self-love'. Conversely, that of The Theory of Moral Sentiments is one of 'sympathy' or 'fellow-feeling'. How might we approach this apparent contradiction in Adam Smith's writing?
- "Universities are no longer educational in any sense of the word that Rousseau would have recognised. They have become instruments of capital. Confronted with this squalid betrayal, he would have felt sick and oppressed." How depressing!
- Headline of the week: "'Religion' is no excuse for mutilating yourbaby’s penis".
- "Ahead, turn left and catch your reflection in the driver’s side window, self as other present to itself, cast against the rushing pavement. You have arrived—not where you intended, but at a point where you agree to be still." Imagining Jean-Paul Sartre as your GPS...
Sunday, July 08, 2012
It's time. The living room, Geilston Bay. July 2012.
Sunday Top Five time and today I venture into what I am told is controversial territory (it generally isn't in the circles I frequent): My Top Five List Of The Most Stupid Arguments Against Same Sex Marriage!
- Marriage has been this way for thousands of years, so why change it now? Yes, in much the same way that we’ve not accepted change in the area of equal rights for women or property rights for slaveholders, institutions never change.
- Heterosexual marriages are valid because they are primarily about furthering the species (i.e. producing children). Yes, much like the laws that we have around forbidding infertile couples from wedding and the compulsory divorces once menopause kicks in.
- The Bible doesn’t allow it. In the same way as we don’t allow bowl cuts (Leviticus 19:27, "You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads); tattoos (Leviticus 19:28, "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord."); polyester (Leviticus 19:19, "You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together"); and eating lobsters (Leviticus 11:10 reads, "But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you"), it would be a terrible affront to break that rule…
- Gay marriage undermines traditional marriage. Oddly enough, we’re doing a reasonable job of that without the gays getting in on the act. I struggle to understand why, with straight couples seemingly less interested in getting (and staying) married than ever before, why proponents of marriage want to be locking people who really want to be in the club out.
- Same-sex parents will raise gay (or problematic) children, for want of duel gender role models. This one is obvious, in the same way that straight parents only raise straight, wholesome and adjusted children. That can also be extended to single parents.