Category Archives: random

Reading Books

Opinion: Reading a Novel?

Re-post from WIRED: Reading a Novel Alters Your Brain Connectivity — So What? By Christian Jarrett

So you have just finished your summer break and have taken the time to read a few books. Hopefully the pile of unread books has come down a little, or did you also buy up during Christmas?

Having read a book or two, hopefully your brain will have been stimulated. It starts you thinking. Keen to read another? And then you had to return to work!

Continue reading Reading Books

Distraction

Opinion: Damon Young: Distraction
blame the mind, not the machines

An interesting few words from Damon Young on the machines that distract some people. Damon likes to observe – here’s one of his people observations. I think that too often I have observed his subject.

An ordinary suburban cafe, with an ordinary sullen teenage waitress and faux-friendly barista. The tables are unvarnished barrels. The cups are marmalade jars. And the coffee is bitter, weak and overpriced.

Continue reading Distraction

Political Distraction

Opinion: Rabbott Distracts while cutting deep

rabbott01Very cleverly  the Rabbott Government used the ‘shock’ announcements of vehicle manufacturing closures to distract attention from the government’s cuts to key social programs.

The mainstream media filled headline after headline about the closure of a particular car manufacturing company.

Our loyal opposition parties did not help as they joined in crying out loud through the media about the closures. Meanwhile damage was being done elsewhere in plain sight.

Continue reading Political Distraction

Urbanity – Bicycle

Opinion Piece: cycling on our roads.

First an admission.  I used  to be a reasonably keen urban cyclist . However some time back, I had two serious near misses whereby I was run off the road by local buses. After the last bruising,  the bike sat in garage till one day I sold it on. Whenever I can , I now walk instead. But I do miss the experience of cycling through neighbourhoods.

Today there was a very good summary in the Guardian on the situation and changes to urban cycling across many cities internationally. Click on the image below.

There’s currently a crazy debate here in Canberra about cyclists and vehicles and pedestrians. Crazy because the debate has been dominated by no so cool people who are not accepting of any other point of view. So I wonder what the problem is?

Continue reading Urbanity – Bicycle

Zoe’s Law

Opinion: on the moves to the right

There’s a piece in the Guardian today that says it all. I agree. We need to think this through and resist this blatant undermining of rights.

Here’s the article. and the headline:

Make no mistake: Zoe’s law is an assault on women’s reproductive rights. It’s not a coincidence that those who design ‘foetal personhood’ bills are often associated with anti-abortion beliefs. Australian women have to fight back.

My difference of opinion would be on her statement “Australian women have to fight back”. This is for everyone, men and women, to be concerned about.

The Media

Opinion: The state of Australian Media

The Democracy experiment continues to be under threat

An article from the Asia Sentinel hits the mark on the media issues in Australia.

A milestone of a dubious kind was passed in Australia recently when it was discovered that the number of public relations practitioners had for the first time exceeded the number of journalists actually working as reporters and editors. (Hamish McDonald)

The full article is a good read. Click here.

Food: in japan

Photo-essay

Japan and food – an image

A photograph taken in 2006 of lunch time on a busy back street in Tokyo.

lunch-L1040534

The food was great.  Ordering in such places is always interesting as no-one there spoke English (and this is the usual off the tourist areas) and we spoke absolutely no Japanese. We managed through hand gestures and pointing and thanks to the politeness and very friendly nature of the owners. This experience was repeated often whereby the locals were both helpful and courteous to these foreigners who did not speak their language.

 

Climate Change

“It’s time to stop this madness”
Philippines plea at UN climate talks
click on the image above for the speech whereby the Philippines pleads with the world to get out of their ivory towers and to do something about climate change.
Listening were you Rabbott? Oh that’s right, you had important things to do rather than have Australia properly represented at these climate talks.!

Paul Keating

Paul Keating: a most appropriate  speech

the Australian War Memorial 11 November 2013

Paul Keating’s Remembrance Day address “Those Australians fought and died not in defence of some old world notion of competing empires and territorial conquests but for the new world – the one they belonged to and hoped to return to.

This is why Australia was never in need of any redemption at Gallipoli, any more than it was in need of one at Kokoda thirty years later.

There was nothing missing in our young nation or our idea of it that required the martial baptism of a European cataclysm to legitimise us.”

full text of his speech at Australian War Memorial

Rabbott update

Review: Things beyond belief

rabbott01It it time to monitor the performance of our nation’s pet Rabbott now that he and his followers are inside the pen with all the assets of people of Australia to play with.

The trend is to make fools of the media – and this is a turn around given the role of the mainstream media  in promoting  the Rabbott and Murdoch messages prior to the last federal election.

Continue reading Rabbott update

Melbourne Cup Canberra Style

The Tale of the Moving Holiday

Celebrating Melbourne Cup in Canberra – or not

Melbourne Cup Day in Canberra has a curious history. Here’s a short take on it.

Back in days past, Canberra used to have a special union holiday in March called something such as Family and Community Picnic Day. With the rise of conservative governments, it was thought more proper to not have a holiday linked to those ‘dreaded unions’. It was decided instead to provide a more celebratory event for all of the Canberra’s population, not just the union membership.

Continue reading Melbourne Cup Canberra Style

Halloween

Why do we do this?

I do not get this one. The supermarkets and other retailers  have again attempted to convince us that Australia celebrates Halloween and we should be encouraging children and teenagers to wander around and knock on doors to demand sweets. I do not think so!

I’ll migrate that appropriate saying from that other not so relevant event: Bah Humbug.

Continue reading Halloween

those damn leaves!

Need to rake those damn leaves!

September 2013.

Casual roaming of the neighbourhood can reveal some of the oddities of local urbanity.

First a background story. Going back several decades, there used to be tradition in Canberra that each winter the residents would rake their leaves in the street gutter and then set fire to them. The neighbourhoods were full of smoke from these frequent local burnings. Eventually the local government put a stop to this local tradition.

Continue reading those damn leaves!

Lou Reed

Music Music Music

Lou Reed has left us. Too many lyrics and tunes in my head to make much of a comment. We need voices to question our society. Not so sure that the next generations of singers are so committed.

We will have to play a few of his albums this week.

Thoughts go to Laurie Anderson. Another strong voice on so many things.

Here’s a link.

 

Continue reading Lou Reed

Signs of Life

Review: Signs that assist us daily

Always interested in how signs work and how our environment is being cluttered with so many well-meaning signs. Here’s one from near the Canberra airport.

This sign warns drivers to watch out for a certain animal (kangaroo) that apparently is much larger than humans. Note the size of the creature in relation to the human being in front of it.

I suggest that anyone driving along this road should definitely keep an eye for this giant.

Maybe it is a warning to parents about how dangerous giant kangaroos are to children.

(click on the image for a larger version)

Sign-P1010921

That Media Sneer

A note on Crickey Reporting

cyclistEver so often, actually a little too often, Crickey puts out a silly and patronising report that leaves you feeling What was the point?

Here’s one by Andrew Crook, who has a few of these out there.

Hold the bus! He has researched the possible annual income of the outgoing Prime Minister. Well that ‘s important information I needed to know!

One can not help sense that he is not going to let that Julia Gillard retire quietly and resume life peacefully in her new roles. Must be some dirt here somewhere. Surely such a ‘senior journalist’ could do some real journalism. Is that asking too much?  Andrew – get a life, on your bike…

Democracry under threat

Be Alert and Be Aware

The democracy experiment continues to be under threat in the United States.

A revealing article on a the web site, Independent Australia, explains how frightening the current political crisis is within the US and the background to the government shutdown.

Unfortunately it does not take much to join the dots as to what is going on behind the scenes in Australia now with the Abbott government.

here’s the link to the article – hope it dos not spoil your spring day.

A Word

 Give PM Julia Gillard credit where credit is due

an article re-published   – in no fibs – was originally published by Mary Crooks
Executive director Victorian Women’s Trust on 5 July, 2013 as a full page advertisement.

I identify with her finishing paragraph:

“The truly ugly aspect of our national life revealed by the past three years should give cause for us all to reflect on what else is required to restore and maintain respect, civility, common decency and a fair go for women – in our society and in our democratic politics.”

read the original piece as reproduced here

When Names Stick

Sometimes your image of particular people changes to something silly and from then on they can no longer be taken seriously

It was while I was sitting at a meeting a couple of years ago that I became quite irritated and maybe even a little bored with the posturing, the rantings and endless domination of the conversations by one particular male at the meeting.

Continue reading When Names Stick

Truth is out there?

Julia’s ‘murderous rage’

An article in a paper today by Alecia Simmonds stopped me in my tracks.

In the piece she discusses the reporting of the conversation between Anne Summers and Julia Gillard in Sydney. Alecia questions why the reporting concentrated on the statement by Julia when she referred to ‘murderous rage’. Alecia point was that such reporting was about manufacturing controversy yet again. There remains so many celebratory aspects of this event to be highlighted and discussed but too many reporters have yet again chosen to concentrate on making a headline as some form of criticism.

Continue reading Truth is out there?

Truth is out there

political spin at its worst

This morning on the ABC program, INSIDERS, the group were discussing the two very successful events last week whereby Anne Summers had two conversations with Julia Gillard, one in Sydney and the other in Melbourne.

Julia had made a statement that it was not acceptable to do things that undermine the government and the labor party. She was clearly having a go at Kevin Rudd and his close supporters and their three-year campaign to internally disrupt the Prime Minister and her government and to create the environment for Kevin to be re-installed. Continue reading Truth is out there

Exhibition chatter

When roaming the art galleries in Sydney recent, I came across a couple of women in Martin Browne Contemporary. As they slowly walked through the exhibitions they were chatting endlessly about all sorts of gossipy things and were not really stopping to look at any of the art on display.

They managed to meander through the two floors of the space without actually stopping to look and without pausing their conversations.

Amazingly I ran into them twice more at different galleries and they put on the same performance. Chat, slow wander, and no contemplation or discussion of the works.

They were not whispering. They spoke reasonably loudly, so it was hard to ignore, and the conversations were just plain boring!

what the F? was going on – it seems they were going through the motions of visiting galleries and exhibitions but in fact it was simply a meaningless social occasion.