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Category Archives: replays

Busy day, late – and last archive pick for a while

Though I may add some on Ninglun’s Specials later. I do have around 40 Mb of archive to choose from.

Today’s was a “lighten up” post in July 2004.

*****

I went searching, just to lighten up, for some really nice gay jokes. You know, not filthy or demeaning… Um… Well, there is this, with the usual apologies if you’ve heard it…

What a drag it is getting old…

When I went to the bar tonight, I noticed this old boy about 75-80 years sitting all alone in the corner and he was crying over his cocktail.

I stopped and asked him what was wrong.

gaysold He said: "I have a 22 year old lover at home. I met him a month or so ago, right here in this very bar!" He continued; "He makes love to me every morning and then he makes me pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit and freshly ground, brewed coffee."

I said: "Well, then why are you crying?"

He said: "He makes me homemade soup for lunch and my favorite brownies and then he makes love to me half the afternoon."

I said: "Well, so why are you crying?"

He said: "For dinner he makes me a gourmet meal with wine and my favorite dessert and then he makes love to me until 2:00 am."

I said: "Well, for goodness sakes! Why in the world would you be CRYING!"

And he said: "I CAN’T REMEMBER WHERE I LIVE!"

Then there’s this site, whose owner states: First of all, I’m gay, so you know there aren’t going to be ANY anti-gay jokes here. Second, if you’re under the age of 14, get off the net, so I don’t have to censor my page. Third, these are all pretty clean, but still; proceed at your own risk, you’ve been warned. I’ll let you explore that on your own. He has "I support John Kerry" banners as well…

 
 

I was led to one of those English Teacher moments…

By my reading of that newly found archive, that is. Back in June 2004 I noted this:

One of those nice English teacher moments that happen very occasionally.

Are you my English teacher from TIGS? If so, I just thought I’d let you know that the doors you helped open for me helped make me what I am today — a reasonably successful author.

Check out my website.

— James

Yes, it is still there.

hartley

 

Another replay: 10 August 2004

More from the newly rediscovered archive. Truth is I have a rotten cold, but not, I believe, swine flu. Am off to Dr C today anyway.

 

Entry 193: Do you pine for the fifties?

Late again today after some intensive work upgrading the Salt Mine site, particularly the pages for teachers and a bit of calculated kite-flying on my Informer page (and also in this week’s issue of the school newsletter.)

Speaking of the Mine I was quite moved by aspects of the Enough Rope interview with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. There was this sad evocation of z311 John Howard’s Golden Age:

ANDREW DENTON: Mmm, I’m guessing that that wasn’t an easy name to grow up with in the ’50s in Australia.
DR KARL KRUSZELNICKI: Um, no, because I grew up as a wog, having come from the place called Wogonia with parents who spoke Wogonese. And going into a white, middle-class Irish Catholic background, I was sort of picked on a bit and having a big, long name like that made me even more pick-on-able.
ANDREW DENTON: Was there a serious level of social exclusion or was it more that sort of schoolboy stuff?
DR KARL KRUSZELNICKI: No, this is one thing that really affected me and really still chokes me up sometimes. Until I was about seven or eight, I used to speak all the languages my parents spoke – and my father could speak 12 languages and my mother could speak about six – and we’d jabber away happily in English and Polish and Swedish and Danish and German. And I remember going to a cobbler’s shop to get some shoes picked up – they were being repaired. And we were jabbering away happily. And into the shop, while we were waiting in the queue, the parents and another child came into the school – this was a kid I went to school with. And then the parents pushed the kid forward and he came forward up to us and he said, "Stop…" To all of us – this is an eight-year-old kid – said to my parents and me, he said, "Stop speaking those other languages, you wogs." And from that moment I never spoke anything except English.
And even though I didn’t get actually beaten up at primary school, that affected me, that sort of…the intolerance has affected me all my life. And that’s something I want to sort of try and get out to people – that you don’t have to be intolerant.
ANDREW DENTON: Tell me about your parents.
DR KARL KRUSZELNICKI: They didn’t talk to me much because they’d been through the war and they’d been through the concentration camps and they’d been heavily traumatised. And so I only discovered just before she died that my mother had been in the concentration camps and in fact was Jewish. I didn’t know that at all…

Young Karl goes to the Mine right now:

ANDREW DENTON: …Your kids have the same surname as you -Kruszelnicki. Is it less of a burden for them than for you?
DR KARL KRUSZELNICKI: It’s a different world that we grow up in now. At the schools they go to, kids come from anywhere. They don’t care. They’re very understanding of other kids and if I want to teach them anything, it’s just to be understanding and tolerant and kind.
Glad to hear it…

Especially in a state school. Meanwhile John Howard is employing every schoolboy debater’s trick in the book to get around the problem of his reasons for invading Iraq last year (go to that site and cross out all the ones that are now demonstrably bullshit) and to belittle the recent contribution of forty-three of the most experienced and best informed people in the country who would like just a little "truth in government." His minions are stooping even lower, as the alliterative DE-ANNE KELLY demonstrated on Lateline last night:
…The PM’s also been fending off an attack on a second front, this time over the war in Iraq.

MARK LATHAM: Doesn’t the Government now face an unprecedented crisis of credibility as a result of its repeated dishonesty?
KIM LANDERS: The debate over whether the Government misled the Australian public about the case for war has been reignited by stinging criticism from a group of 43 former military leaders and diplomats, headed by two former Defence Force chiefs, two Navy and one Air Force chief.
JOHN HOWARD: May I say to the 43 who penned that letter, in order to establish a charge of deception you have to prove that the Government deliberately set out to mislead the Australian people and they have not done that, Mr Speaker.
KIM LANDERS: And John Howard’s questioned the impact of their intervention, saying all but one had left their posts before September 11.
JOHN HOWARD: I’m not going to cop a charge of dishonesty against myself or against my Government.
The argument that I took this country to war on a lie, is itself a lie, Mr Speaker.
KIM LANDERS: The PM also emphatically denies the involvement in Iraq has made Australia more of a terrorist target, while one of his Coalition back benchers has launched a counter attack of her own.
DE-ANNE KELLY, NATIONAL PARTY MP: These doddering daquiri diplomats – would they have done any different?
KIM LANDERS: As for John Howard, he’s prepared to stand on his record…

And fall by it too, I hope.
torch Later

Hard to believe, isn’t it? Another Olympics almost upon us. So I thought I’d reprise this:

Tuesday September 12 2000–3 days to go
The Torch is in Sydney and has been spotted by R; in fact it passes through his area again today. It passes by here on Thursday at about 9.30 am. Just as well it wasn’t today! Around 9 am a police car (on a high speed pursuit?) crashed into a power pole on the corner of Elizabeth and Cleveland Streets, just where the Torch turns. Pretty spectacular; the pole somehow must have broken the water mains, so there was a fountain about four storeys tall as well. Police cars everywhere, disrupted traffic, Channel 7 crew!
Moore Park is almost finished! Quite amazingly, all the mountains of earth have gone, the turf almost covers the park, trees have appeared, and the footbridge across the Eastern Distributor seems almost ready for business!

Thursday September 14 2000: the Torch goes through my neighbourhood
8 am: Yes, in one and a half hours the Torch goes by!
9.50 am: Well, I saw it at last! The torchbearer had very nice legs 😉

It was amazing how a crowd materialised so quickly. Half an hour back hardly any unusual activity could be seen, but then suddenly people appeared everywhere. On the balcony of the Surry Club Hotel there was a champagne breakfast. And yes, the torch was accompanied by lots of fine specimens of manhood on Harleys! Not sure I saw the one R mentions though 😉

A nice sight was the Mother Theresa nuns (various nationalities, but mostly Indian–there is a convent of them near here) all waving their Australian flags…

It really only seems like yesterday! And I am still using the same computer too.

 

Another from the recently found archive

Most of us write because we like ourselves better when we write. We write because it gives our lives meaning, because we get to tell our stories.

That is from the web pages of Jessica Page Morrell, author of Writing Out the Storm (Portland, Starbound Press, 1998). I have quite an extensive library of books on writing, ranging from the usual reference texts to manuals to literary theory and linguistics. Morrell’s is in the self-help or writing-as-therapy genre, which some might regard patronisingly–but I do not. There are truths about writing in such texts, truths more useful in fact than in much of the academic theory–certainly more useful than most of the postmodern stuff I have had occasion to read lately. But it is not really a case of either/or; different focus, that’s all.

Writing makes your life better because you get to speak your truth and turn a discriminating eye at this weird planet and tell other people just how you see things. Most people who write regularly, who make writing a crucial component in their existence, like themselves better than when they’re not writing. It’s pretty simple. I know it works because it worked for me. If you write regularly–no matter what the subject or format–you’ll shift your muddled worries to clarity, your vague hopes to reality, and your denial to crystal truth….

Some of us write for the sheer joy of putting words on paper, but for others there are leftover hurts or a deep, dwelling loneliness begging to be healed. Most writers know that pain is eased by the company of words. So we write. [Writing Out the Storm pp. 2-4]

Certainly this diary began (offline) in 1999 because of a "dwelling loneliness begging to be healed." I am less lonely now, thanks to certain events over the past two years, but the writing bug is still here, and I recommend writing to anyone. I don’t write every day, but pretty damned close! Just fifteen minutes or so is as good a form of meditation as I know–and now and again it even results in something better than a rant!

Writing Out the Storm has some good practical advice on writing, all the more valuable as it counterbalances the tendency to dehumanisation that academic writing inevitably produces. Academic writing is often very bad writing; is it not ironic that we actually have to teach some of the very worst vices of academic prose to students whose natural inclination is to write well? We have to prepare them to stifle their authentic writing voices so that they can produce the turgid over-nominalised polysyllabic stuff that academics regard as appropriate.
Gary B. Larson’s portal to an annotated directory of writing Web sites, editorial style manual, concise writing guide, personalized advice and writing forum is also well worth visiting.

On other matters, a very well-researched book I have been reading lately is Neil Miller’s Sex-Crime Panic (Los Angeles, Alyson Books, 2002) — from the excellent Surry Hills Library. It is very fair in its depiction of 1950s therapeutic and criminological views of homosexuality, American of course but not dissimilar to what prevailed in Australia and coloured my own views in my late teens and twenties. It is quite a cautionary tale. The review I have linked to tells you more.

— 15 September 2002

 
 

…another school term, and much else, going down the tube…

New Series: Entry 12

rabbit 16 September 2004: It turns out the Salt Mine’s Deputy went to the same school in Armidale where Mister Marsden (see previous entry) was a junior seminarian…

Oh yes, the computer – a Pentium 4 – in my Salt Mine staff room was stolen yesterday afternoon: all its inner workings neatly removed. There’s been a bit of this happening lately.

Back in 1962 Dr Marsh, the best lecturer on Shakespeare I ever had – he had completed a book on Cymbeline while in prison in South Africa, told our tutorial group who, at the time, were discussing Yeats’s "The best lack all convictions, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity" that the problem with the then South African regime, which he opposed, was not that they were evil but they were so absolutely sure they were right. This came back to me while watching With God on our Side last night.

You will get the general picture very effectively by perusing The Jesus Factor, a PBS production. On that site Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourner Magazine – well worth visiting, says:

… When Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney talk about the necessity of American power and supremacy, military supremacy in the world as the only way to peace, I understand that as a foreign policy. I think it’s not a wise foreign policy, but I understand it.
When President Bush adds God to their formulation and says God’s purpose or intention is somehow linked with American military preeminence, that’s a very dangerous thing. President Bush [and] the White House basically choreographed a liturgy at the National Cathedral. President Bush was a chief homilist. In the pulpit of the National Cathedral, he made a war speech. He called the nation to arms in the pulpit of the National Cathedral, and he claimed a divine mission for our nation to rid the world of evil.
That is not only bad foreign policy or presumptuous foreign policy — I would say it’s idolatrous foreign policy to claim God’s purpose for that mission. And in the language that Mr. Bush has used, he does this again and again and again. Our role, and his role as president, this is acclaiming a righteous [decree] that Pax Americana is God’s foreign policy. This is a very unsettling thing.

Unsettling all right. "It is sobering to recall that … Athens, as the leader of the Delian League, was destroyed when it arrogantly began to impose its will on other states," writes Denis Kenny in the latestDissent. "President Bush especially, has been congratulated by his supporters for his ‘moral clarity’ in waging the ‘war on terror’, when by any recognised thical standards his pronouncements read like those of a moral cretin." In the same magazine, Dirk Baltzly says: "Whatever its moral value, deception has sometimes been used successfully as an instrument of foreign policy. Self-deception never has." Looking at the escalating insurgency in Iraq, and the manifest continuance of terror elsewhere, not to mention the fact that recruitment to terror is actually rising, it is hard not to see the black-and-white nostrums so beloved by George Bush and his offsiders – Condy Rice is another born-again for example – as setting them all up, and us, for self-deception. Not evil: just too damned sure they are right.

"Two-valued orientation, the mindset that perceives a clear separation between good and bad, black and white, right and wrong, is a stage of consciousness that everyone experiences as part of the maturation process. Some people remain there instead of growing into the more nuanced stage of formal operations and beyond, and these people can be described as fundamentalists. They exist in Islam, and also in our society. Not all, or most, fundamentalists are terrorists or capable of terrorism, but all, or nearly all, terrorists are operating at the fundamentalist level of human consciousness." So writes Courtney Nelson in "THE NATURE OF THE CONFLICT: AFTER 9/11/01." Good stuff too.
We have not been well led…

  • "Let’s look at the facts for a second. The Bush/Cheney administration’s record on terrorism is not exactly the best. They delayed military operations in Afghanistan long enough for Osama bin Laden to escape our grasp. They failed to crack down on Saudi Arabia, the country that produced fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. And, in the coup de gras, they attacked Iraq, a war that terror experts feel was a diversion from the real war against Al Qaeda. In the words of the author of Imperial Hubris, who wrote anonymously but is known to be a senior CIA official fearful of losing his job, the Iraqi war was a ‘Christmas present’ to bin Laden. We gave him a delay from our operations against him while at the same time leading many new recruits to terrorist groups." — "The Politics of Terror" by Dave Rosenberg (The Bentley Vanguard | Bentley College Thursday, September 16, 2004.)
  • Far graver than VietnamThe Guardian (UK) Thursday September 16, 2004: "’Bring them on!’ President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is ‘winning’ in Iraq. ‘Our strategy is succeeding,’ he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday. But, according to the US military’s leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush’s war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: ‘Bush hasn’t found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it’s worse, he’s lost on that front. That he’s going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It’s lost.’ He adds: ‘Right now, the course we’re on, we’re achieving Bin Laden’s ends’…"

    Falwell_Robertson Last night we had a reprise of Jerry Falwell’s disgusting comments on the subject of September 11 2001:

    I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way–all of them who have tried to secularize America–I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."

    A soul-mate of Abu Bakar Bashir?

    # Just in case you have been wondering and hadn’t noticed the date, this is from my long dead Diary-X blog, second series 2004. I have found a CD-ROM with quite a few archives on it.

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    Posted by on September 14, 2009 in blogging, nostalgia, reminiscences, reminiscing, replays

     

    Sunday is music day (on Monday) 15 — “Keating”

    This was rebroadcast on ABC1 last night.

    See also Extraordinary kindness… and It’s Keating day….

     
    Comments Off on Sunday is music day (on Monday) 15 — “Keating”

    Posted by on April 27, 2009 in Australia and Australian, Lord Malcolm, memory, music, replays, Sunday music, TV

     

    This post has no title

    Just a bit of a Saturday miscellany really.

    on reading

    I stumbled upon this via Stumble Upon:

    Reading_Test

    on Prince Harry and his vocabulary

    Indigo Jo, a British Muslim, is one of the bloggers I trawl from in my Blog Picks: “In which an unemployed graduate has an excuse to use his politics degree. Religious, tech and media issues (and anything I fancy).”  I was struck by how much more sensible he was on the Prince Harry story than most people I’d read: Prince Harry and his little friend.

    On Sunday, the News of the World (also known as the News of the Screws, a tabloid "scandal sheet" owned by Rupert Murdoch known for printing kiss-and-tell stories) put on its front page a story about Prince Harry, the second son of Prince Charles (and Diana) who is currently an army officer, who shot a private video of his Sandhurst comrades waiting for a plane to Cyprus, and calling a Pakistani fellow cadet "our little Paki friend, Ahmed". They also accused him of somehow insulting the Queen by giving what sounds like a perfectly normal goodbye to his Grandpa, also known as Prince Phillip (by the way: the NOTW’s weekday sister paper, the Sun, is known for supporting a republic, and responded to the Queen’s coronation by telling her she had had her fun and should abdicate the next day). Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation has called him a thug who had been trying to portray himself as being like his caring and respected parents.

    When I first heard of this news, I started writing a piece defending Prince Harry, because the event happened three years ago, when he was still a cadet, and someone has decided to betray a trust and leak this video to the press for his own personal reasons – having fallen out with someone or fallen on hard times. Then I actually saw the video, and it turns out that the offending phrase – "there’s our little Paki friend, Ahmed" – was used pretty much behind his back, or at least, in such a way that Ahmed could not hear. Whether we should still consider him what we would consider someone we had just seen say that – a racist jerk – is open to question, but it certainly discounts the argument that this was just banter between colleagues.

    In my experience – and several of my best friends are of Pakistani origin, as much of a cliché as that sounds – a lot of youth of Pakistani origin don’t find the word Paki in and of itself offensive, and many of them actually use it amongst themselves. It does not have the same heat that the "N word" carries, probably because the history is different. Pakistan itself is only just over 60 years old, Paki is only short for Pakistani, the word "pak" means pure, and however oppressive the British empire was at times, Asians are not descended from people who were slaves to British masters. However, the fact remains that people do remember its use as a racist term, a way in which it is commonly used, and telling its use as banter and its use as a racial derogatory term is pretty easy: if it’s used in conjunction with other insults, or if it’s used to mean any Asian rather than an actual Pakistani, it is an insult, and if it is used by a non-Pakistani, especially a white person, most people won’t appreciate it. During the discussion of it on the talk shows last night and this morning, the presenters (Dotun Adebayo and Vanessa Feltz) insisted that people did not use the word – I suspect that this is a station policy – and even suggested that the media should not be using the word openly, particularly in headlines.

    I think that his comment was clearly inappropriate, but not heinous; he used it as a student on another student, not as an officer on soldier, or even an officer, under his command. That would have brought bullying into it, which has been a serious problem in the Armed Forces. I have heard it said that this sort of behaviour should be expected from Prince Phillip’s grandson, and the history of the Royal family is not full of people like the present Queen and Lady Diana – there have been quite a few controversial figures in its history as well. However, it is disappointing to hear someone who has a possibility of being the figurehead for this country talking that way, but in general, one should not expect exemplary behaviour when looking over the shoulders of a group of male friends, let alone Army mates.

    nightmarish: makes one question human ingenuity

    This one is far too long to reproduce: Robots at War: The New Battlefield by P W Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution and the author of Children at War (2005) and Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (2003). “This article is adapted from Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, reprinted by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. © 2009 by P. W. Singer.”

    From this perspective, war becomes, as one security analyst put it, “a global spectator sport for those not involved in it.” More broadly, while video images engage the public in a whole new way, they can fool many viewers into thinking they now have a true sense of what is happening in the conflict. The ability to watch more but experience less has a paradoxical effect. It widens the gap between our perceptions and war’s realities. To make another sports parallel, it’s the difference between watching an NBA game on television, with the tiny figures on the screen, and knowing what it feels like to have a screaming Kevin Garnett knock you down and dunk over your head. Even worse, the video segments that civilians see don’t show the whole gamut of war, but are merely the bastardized ESPN SportsCenter version. The context, the strategy, the training, the tactics—they all just become slam dunks and smart ­bombs.

    War porn tends to hide other hard realities of battle. Most viewers have an instinctive aversion to watching a clip in which the target might be someone they know or a fellow American; such clips are usually banned from U.S.-hosted websites. But many people are perfectly happy to watch video of a drone ending the life of some anonymous enemy, even if it is just to see if the machines fighting in Iraq are as “sick” as those in the Transformers movie, the motive one student gave me for why he downloaded the clips. To a public with so much less at risk, wars take on what analyst Christopher Coker called “the pleasure of a spectacle with the added thrill that it is real for someone, but not the spectator.”

    There’s an account in that essay of “tiny but lethal robots the size of insects, which look like they are straight out of the wildest science fiction”. The mind more than boggles at what the Pentagon is researching.

    four more from my blog roll

    I was just updating the Google Reader and thought I would promote four entries here as well. There is such good stuff on my reader; I can say that because it’s no boast, though I guess I am congratulating myself for my good taste. 😉

    1. The pretty boy barber by Alex Au (Yawning Bread) is just so urbane, so intelligent. He’s been blogging since before there was blogging, and I have been a devoted reader since the year 2000!
    2. Creativity and play by Bob Leckridge (Heroes Not Zombies), the Scottish doctor. Read him to see what wisdom looks like, and the Scottish countryside.
    3. Symbolic Moment by Jon Taplin, a US writer on mostly economics issues. Today he makes wonderful use of the recent amazing bit of crash-landing in the Hudson River – and what a story that was, eh!
    4. Surry Couple by James O’Brien (who also lives in Surry Hills). James has a new template! This post is just beautiful – and local.

    bonus pic: not everyone loves Clover Moore

    I collected this in Prince Alfred Park yesterday. Clover Moore is Sydney’s Lord Mayor.

    16jan