Thursday 30th: Another day blackened by a perfidious act in Afghanistan, this time three diggers losing their lives, my heart goes out to their families and those of two others lost in a helicopter crash in that unforgiving terrain.
Fifty years ago today I was literally sick at the news I had twin sisters. Sadly only one survived long enough to trouble my digestive system again. I wish her another fifty years to enjoy the product of her labour.
Wednesday 29th: In Brazil a civil union between a man and two women is permitted, in Germany the homosexual Foreign Minister is in a battle to get equality from the taxman for same-sex couples. Shock and horror! Half a mo though, why should there be different taxation in a legal union and if muslim countries allow up to four wives why shouldn’t Brazil let a bloke sign up for double the ‘trouble and strife’? I guess the Germans might consider just tax advantages for those with children and the Brazilians will have to accept polyandry as well as polygamy.
Tuesday 28th: New poem ‘Sleep’ added.
Sunday 26th: I wonder if Lance Armstrong knows the expression ‘Kangaroo Court’ originated in his home state of Texas. S’funny I never saw a kangaroo when I was living there but the boss of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) is an Australian and he should know what a kangaroo looks like. As a ex-politician he is probably very familiar with kangaroo courts. In my view John Fahey’s statement suggesting Lance Armstrong’s decision not to contest doping charges against him is an admission the allegations “have substance to them” is despicable and more worthy of a dingo than a ‘roo.
Thursday 23rd: Affirmative action (positive discrimination) is about to descend on the Australian Defence Force. I am not in favour of affirmative action in any profession whether based on race, creed or in this case, gender. In a defence force, where in conflict lives can be literally dependent on the leadership qualities of a commander, it is a betrayal of trust and of the covenant between politicians, citizens and those who serve to protect them and the nation. Only merit should determine those who are promoted and only merit should decide who is accepted to serve. I have direct experience of working for an american officer promoted to meet affirmative action quotas. I would not have wished to go to war with him and his US colleagues held him in contempt, not because of his colour but because it was evident he should never have been promoted.
Tuesday 21st: Like elephants, football fans in England never forget. Some even dig deep in their pockets to make sure no-one else does either. When Owen Coyle left Burnley to manage Bolton after taking the club to the heights of the Premiership he became overnight a ‘Judas’ to a whole town in North East Lancashire. Last Saturday he took his newly relegated Bolton team to lose at the home of football, Turf Moor in Burnley. Some wag hired a light aircraft with a personal message for the Bolton manager.
This is a bit of a tradition in that neck of the Lancashire woods, first practiced by a Blackburn fan in 1987. During the last game of that season when it looked as though Burnley would be despatched from the football league a very premature farewell message was trailed behind a plane. I wonder what message will await the newly relegated Blackburn’s fans when they too visit Turf Moor this season? Owned by Venky’s, of India, I suspect it will be something to do with chickens coming home to roost – in Blackburn.
Monday 20th: Would you live in a city with a “15 to 60 per cent” chance of being covered by volcanic ash in the next 50 years? Having just returned from the wonderful ‘City of Sails’ (Auckland, New Zealand) I have to admire the pluck of the inhabitants and hope 50 years turns out to be more like 5000. I have conducted many ‘man overboard’ exercises during my career but today on the river had a dog go overboard from my paddle board. Monty was wearing a lifejacket, had been given his safety brief but still fell over ‘the side’. I now know he can swim and that his lifejacket does work. His recovery would have been much swifter had he swam towards me rather than towards the nearest shore. That is animal instinct for you!
Thursday 16th: When offering a valuable set of first edition Jane Austen novels I was most impressed to hear the intended recipient say: “No, thank you. The value is in the words, not which edition or publisher provides them. I’ll be happy with paperbacks.” Meanwhile in the Kingdom of Oz, three wise men have shown that a benevolent oligarchy can beat a parliament everytime. Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and his team have achieved in six weeks what the Australian Parliament couldn’t achieve in four years. We should have a trial where we just have the three wise men for the lifetime of the next (no longer required)Parliament.
Tuesday 14th: Why is it that some people do not get that children and alcohol do mix? That is to say children should be educated that a taste of wine, beer etc. is not evil incarnate and will be allowed a little when appropriate by parents exercising common sense and good parenting skills. How much worse to prohibit alcohol entirely and for your child to become an irresponsible binge drinker when reaching legal age?
Very sad today reading about the Kiwi diggers killed and injured in a firefight with the Taliban last week. What insanity to put New Zealand lives on the line in a fight which is, almost literally, a world away from the South Pacific. I suppose though only as insane as the French government authorising the destruction of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in this peaceful harbour of Auckland.
Sunday 12th: Do we have any respect left for the animal kingdom? Apparently San Diego’s Seaworld include whales performing to rock music. Tommy Lee of Motley Crue doesn’t want their music played there as it makes life “hellish” for the whales. And today I’ve heard of bovine colostrum, that milk essential for newborn calves. So you might think the press would be asking if the calves need it why can’t they have it and why let humans consume it? But, no, the press are asking whether its use is legal for elite athletes as it (naturally) contains a banned substance. What a screwed up world we have created. PS. Whales aren’t the only ones who find your music hellish Tommy!
Saturday 11th: A young girl is murdered. Her body found yesterday in her own home a week after she was reported missing. This is London during the Olympics. So many children are victims not of strangers but of relatives, ‘friends’ of the family or trusted acquaintances. However British society is awash with legislation hindering people (IE strangers) from working with children, including in sports, that much of the impetus of the UK’s Olympic success may yet be lost to future generations of school children. On the same day Virgin Australia announce they are (rightly) reviewing their policy not to allow 50% of the population to sit next to unaccompanied minors.
Wednesday 8th: A blessing or a curse? I have a poor memory. Goodness knows how I got to where I am today and if you know where that is, perhaps you would be so good as to tell me! However, which is the genuine blessing or curse – is it to have a good memory or a poor one? With a good memory you can recall every mistake, insult, defeat and ailment. Perhaps that intimate knowledge of oft perceived brushes with failure leaves many with a perennially ‘half empty’ glass outlook on the world. On the other hand, while not being able to remember the detail of the past may well mean you repeat the occasional mistake, or forget where you left your spectacles it may also mean you are less concerned with looking back over your shoulder. Perhaps that is why, despite regularly falling over at life’s hurdles, my glass is more likely to be ‘half full’. Cheers!
Sunday 5th: All life is a competition, from ‘nature red in tooth and claw’, through humans struggling just to survive, to the dedication and perseverance of an olympic gold medal winner. When you are the top of the pile you are lauded, whether a lion, a dictator or said gold medallist. Why is it that the higher you get the more people want to give you, when your needs are probably much less than ordinary mortals who surround you?
Friday 3rd: So the athletics begin at the London Olympics. Watching the lady heptathletes I was struck by what great all-rounders these competitors are. Surely they are true Olympians. Imagine if you can, Bradley Wiggins in the 100 metre hurdles (not easy lifting a bike over each hurdle) or Michael Phelps putting the shot. Today in Australia RMIT announced they had identified the gene within our DNA which gives (some) of us that competitive edge. Now that’s spooky, because some countries will inevitably test their kids at an early age and some will spend their lives preparing for track and field while others will be abandoned to McDonalds and Play Stations on the sofa.
Wednesday 1st: So here we are on the first day of the month which used to be called Sextilis until 8 BC some six hundred years or so after it had become the eighth month of the year. What did the Romans ever do for us, eh? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August I ended last month musing about ‘free speech’ which made me consider where the boundary lies between tolerance and intolerance in societies. Certainly that boundary is intangible and is often shifting. It is interesting that young people often perceive the older generations as intolerant but I suspect its because we have already made so many of the mistakes we are trying to prevent the young from making for themselves.