29 January 2006
Also I see I attracted a dissenting view on my last post. Good. All about conversations and the comment raised a very good point. But it was anonymous, so do I have a kind of troll or someone making a point/taking the piss?
Update 30 January: absolutely no sign of bubbling in the air trap. However specific gravity has fallen approx. 05 so some fermentation taking place. Not much fermenting smell, though. Damn damn damn.
Update 31 January. Specific gravity has fallen another .1. The sample in the hydometer smelt roughly beer-like. Might be OK. Actually, provided it's moderately alcoholic (and we'll be able to estiamte this from hydometer readings once fermentation finishes), after the first 2 it doesn't matter what it tastes like. Sort of.
28 January 2006
This is nasty, jingoistic nationalism folks. That genie is out of the bottle. Better start getting those flags up in your front yards before the thought police come around.
On the other hand, we could just find someone to blame.
I nominate John Howard. No surprises there. He would "never condemn someone for being proud of the Australian flag". More carefully crafted weaselly dog-whistling words. What a leader. What a man.
26 January 2006
For feeling uplifted, you have to go to people like this - I watched the acoustic concert DVD this morning as an antidote. These blokes are (apart from being consumate musicians) just utterly in the moment: urging each other on and giving each other praise through applause, looks and gestures that reflect a lifetime of playing together, shared values and, one senses, an enduring sense of hope and looking forward (especially Crosby). This DVD always lifts me up and I realise that one day, that other pompous little prick will be a footnote on the pages of history - a broader, more inclusive history that looks beyond simplistic rote stories of white explorers and Donald f**cking Bradman. Keep the faith, people.
25 January 2006
And just for laughs, this . Can someone do a similar version for Australia? Talk about scarifying (and hilarious). I should have hat-tipped where I got it, but regrettably I have forgotten and several minutes' searching has failed to throw it up (so to speak). Will amend if and/or when I find it. (Update) Meh. It was from the blogwatch section of today's Crikey. I gotta get out more.
Remember tomorrow to honour your god, serve your queen and salute the flag. It's unAustralian not to do so. And eat some lamb. You know it makes sense.
24 January 2006
23 January 2006
So rather than rant incessantly about the possible new Ministry, I'll float a few half-formed ideas about how we describe the work we do. I guess we all try to bring about change. I would have thought a Minister would do that by legislating, but maybe championing really is all it takes. Someone in a service job brings about change by delivering the service: hairdressing (always, for some obscure reason) is a good example. It's when we get into the realms of executive jobs that it becomes a little, er, imprecise. I should have kept it, but there was a job advertised in one of the weekend papers that had all the buzz-phrases: innovative; synergistic; client-centred; strategic; on and on it went. And I had no idea at all what business the company was in or what contribution this job might make to whatever the company did. I can only imagine that to get such a job, we write a letter and construct a CV in the same meaningless terms and then, at interview, just reel off the same stuff. What did you achieve in your last job: "I brought about a client-centred realignment through synergistically strategised outcomes." "Beaut, that's just what we want. Tell me, what does this ink blot remind you of?" "Money."
I can't keep doing this. So, in respect of Ministries, I am reminded of the election of the Hawke government at which time the old man, bless 'im, said, "This is the best Liberal government we've ever had." He was right and it's been downhill ever since.
22 January 2006
21 January 2006
It's been a bit of a slow news day so no reason to go into some extended rant about the various iniquities of our elected rulers. Accordingly, also less compulsion to remove demons but I really must practice more. Suggestions?
19 January 2006
I can't be bothered inserting the links, you know where to find stuff.
Such a concentrated dose of bastardry, stupidity, culpability and all the rest of the y words just leaves you a bit breathless, eh? Why can't we be nicer to each other. I need to go away and bone up on realist doctrine. No, that would be very counterproductive. Rather, I'm off upstairs to pick up the 12 string and get some demons out. Keep the faith, people.
18 January 2006
16 January 2006
I reckon I'm being authentic in getting my views out (ooh, can I call this 'bearing witness'?) but I guess some of the language was unacceptable. If I was really being fair-minded I'd apologise but hell, I really loathe that 'government' so I won't.
Interesting discussions around the 'sphere tonight on Geoff Gallup's resignation. Various 'righties' are doing the usual 'just tough it out' approach, others reckon it's because 'lefties' are narcissistic. I reckon it's just a lot more common than is recognised and lots of people have no choice other than to 'tough it out'. That might just be doable in a job that's not on the front line, but with Brogden and Gallup, that option is just not an option.
And in relation to how we relate to each other - I can understand how people like those I linked to can hold the views they do - sort of - but I can't condone it. Is there no alternative to dogs eating dogs, since capitalism won in 1989? Yeah, the commies ate their own too, in greater numbers, and somewhat more forceably. Doesn't make this right, though.
14 January 2006
Instead, what we got was the reassurance that we would be 'relaxed and comfortable' - ie the reassurance of a classic conservative - when all along the dismantling of all the good things about the country was under way. But that wasn't a 'lie' - just a 'non-core' promise.
What cuts me is that he has successfully brought the country around to this view and has, over the last ten years, suborned the instruments of governance that mitigate the inevitable outcomes of such a 'program'. Puke.
13 January 2006
What would I do? I'd turn it around: admit that yes, we do have differences of opinion. But we understand that the world isn't simple and we're working through how we respond, rather than lockstep following of a party line. We think that's the more sensible and inclusive approach that's likely to yield a sensible outcome.
That kind of appraach just doesn't fly any more, eh?
11 January 2006
The show was pretty damned good - for a big band (8) they were extremely tight and, in their post Michael McDonald period they sounded exactly like they did when they first got big. Played all the good stuff and the crowd was up and rocking. The only slightly bizarre note was that the bloke taking most of the lead vocals - Tom Johnston - looked exactly like Jim Haynes.
10 January 2006
- complete politicisation of the military, Federal police, Reserve Bank board and public service;
- belting the judiciary and ABC into submission;
- left the ALP far behind in how to look after your 'mates' ;
- children overboard;
- demonisation of homosexuals;
- extreme interference in people's personal affairs (isn't this what they always accuse the ALP of doing?) such as the ban on discussing euthanasia, intrusive anti-terrorist legislation, proposed mandatory counselling for divorcing couples; band on RU486 - this list just goes on and on;
- misleading the public on commitment to the invasion of Iraq;
- student unionisation;
- etc etc (waterfront, 'Pacific solution', bailouts for mates, Kerry Packer's memorial service and so it goes).
Of course what is most distressing is the lack of a viable opposition. So you can forget about any change in the 'leadership' for a while, it seems. Except this isn't leadership as it is normally defined - providing a vision of hope that people can sign on to. It's division and fear. Better get used to it.
09 January 2006
- not to assert that globalisation (in its full incarnation) is inevitable;
- not to confuse consumer sovereignty with citizen sovereignty, which this article does when it starts to discuss the 'contractual deficit' that has arisen because people are demanding more from their governments;
- to consider that rather than small government as an absolute panacea, that governments which tell the truth might be preferable in the first instance (eg not making outrageous claims for the benefits from trade deals, such as happened with the Uruguay Round - and others);
- not to conflate citizens' responsibilities towards their elected officials and each other with the apparent 'responsibility' to keep consuming, even if (rather bizarrely) they should consume fewer 'SUVs' and only take one holiday a year.
I note that the author is involved with Young Labour in the UK and is following an honourable tradition of accepting the precepts of Hayek and Friedman as if they were engraved in stone and therefore need to be adopted in the policy platform of every party.
The world - or, more accurately, the people in it - don't work quite that simply. That said, a little more truth, followed by action, from some governments in relation to their industry subsisidies would go a long way towards helping developing countries reliant on these goods for a living.
Well, this post pretty much sums up my dilemma about economic policy - the degree of economic liberalisation we have experienced in recent decades has worked pretty well hasn't it, and so more liberalisation will continue the trend.
I keep thinking about thelaw of diminishing returns (although not in such an economic sense as portrayed here, maybe - do I mean unintended consequences)?
07 January 2006
06 January 2006
A few of us to whom I'd apply these comments have had the advantage of some training courses that forced us into being more open in our communications with each other and with other people. See previous post...
04 January 2006
Well, not actually. It was, I think, in about October 1968. And this is more or less what she looked like.
A 1958 Morris Isis, mine was in a fetching faded shade of green with white (well, kind of faded off white) side stripe and roof.
The greatest feature of the Isis was that you could carry about 23 people in perfect comfort along with any necessary accessories for luxury travel such a kitchen, billiard table or swimming pool. A throbbing 2639cc of C-series power (about 55 hp if I recall) meant a relaxed touring speed of about 70 mph or slightly higher if you didn't mind welsh plugs popping out.
I sometimes wish I still owned one, but then I wake up screaming. Instead, I bought a 1/43 scale handmade model in white metal. The finish is reassuringly British. When the digital cmera eventually gets fixed I might see if I can be bothered taking a picture that's actually in focus.
But what gets lost in all of this is the effect of the 1973 (?) abandonment of the gold standard as a first step in unwinding the 1945 Bretton Woods accords. A more economically literate, and a more seasoned, government would conceivably have acted appropriately. But after 30 years of postwar growth and stability, it seems that no-one really foresaw the consequences of walking away from Bretton Woods. Unintended consequences, they're everywhere. And so we got stagflation and everybody said "how did that happen?". Hence the end of Whitlam.
How would a McMahon government government have handled the situation, I wonder?
03 January 2006
This isn't going to be a blog with opinions backed up lots of in-depth research on these sorts of issues, but I hope I can put across my personal perspective on such issues without being dogmatic on one hand, or just bloody anodyne on the other.
Learning to have genuine conversations with people, particularly those with whom we disagree or with whom we feel uncomfortable (or who simply make us want to hit something, usually them) is an ongoing evolution. I'm hoping this blog is part of my learning.
The gut instinct (hmm...that should have been the name of this blog) says it all stinks. We'll see.
02 January 2006
About the brewing...I've been doing it for a year. The first couple of batches worked according to Hoyle, but every batch since then has seemingly failed to ferment, in that there were no tell-tale bubbles in the air trap. I restarted the third batch and it turned out OK. Tried that again on batch 4, but while it seemed to bottle OK it's pretty flat. But drinkable, it's simply a very obvious home brew. Batch five I have yet to test.
I had brewed up a fair bit in anticipation of the son and heir (ha ha...but that's a story for another day) joining us over Christmas. He decided not to, so I have a stack to get through over the rest of summer. It's a dirty job...
We're going to be talking about music, politics, extremely basic economics, motor vee-hicles and what it means to be a baby boomer as the cohort gets greyer. Oh yeah, I forgot, we have it all so what's to discuss?
In short, the human condition. May as well set the bar high.
As someone once said, "it's all or nothing with you".
Fasten your seat belts, folks.