Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

A Milestone

This humble blog just ticked over 100000 unique page views.

Thank you, gentle reader.............

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Electric Dreams

This is one for the petrol heads - except that one of these vehicles doesn't actually use any petrol.

The future is already here.

You can now drive a Tesla from Sydney to Melbourne.

Monday, 5 October 2015


It's time for some music.

I can watch Cohen's version of this over and over again, but this one by Allison Crowe isn't far behind.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Obama is Wrong

This piece by Michael Pascoe nails the issues in relation to gun violence in the USA.

Some extracts - 

In his very fine speech this morning full of sorrow and frustration, President Obama made a mistake: Australia is not like the United States. We decided not to be. We decided to grow up instead and become a more reasonable, rational society that explicitly values human life and prefers to think the best of people, rather than the worst.

And -

The US is too immature a society to be allowed to play with guns. It has never shed its Wild West mythology. Americans still use their courts to kill people, which sends a message in its own way. Read The New Yorker's Account of the Rodricus Crawford case and see a state that thinks taking a life is a no big deal. It's a country that values property more than life.

And -

That was another mistake Obama made: talking of responsible gun owners having firearms to "protect their families".  The statistics have long been in – having firearms is more likely to endanger families than to protect them. Obama is not immune to the paranoia. And so, when domestic terror struck at Port Arthur and John Howard showed political leadership, we overcame our ratbags, our Leyonhjelms, and agreed to reasonable controls on firearms. They're not particularly tough, except in restricting access to weapons specifically designed for killing human beings. Only an NRA member could think that unreasonable.

Pascoe, at the end of his article, notes that he has a gun licence and enjoys clay shooting. I guess this is to counter the accusations of hoplophobia directed at anyone who dares to point out the paranoia driving the debate in the USA.

The same accusation is directed at me, when I blog on the issue. The fact that I carried an SLR on operational service in SVN counts for nothing in the asylum these lunatics inhabit. I am not afraid of guns. I can't say the same of paranoid gun owners.

They always do that, which is the best example you'd ever see of the pot calling the kettle black.

Friday, 2 October 2015


The venue was the Adelaide Town Hall

This week I was in Little Baghdad on the Torrens* for my number two son's graduation from Flinders.

The experience reminded me of how much the world has changed since I was at uni back in the seventies.

In the first place, the ceremony wasn't seen (by me at least) as a big deal back then. In fact, I did not attend any of the three graduating ceremonies I could have, between 1976 and 1981 when I was studying.

In hindsight. that's something I regret.

I have only one other regret - not attending the "Welcome Home" march in 1987.

But I digress....

If nothing else, the ceremony acknowledges the hard graft and endurance that goes into any degree. It also provides an opportunity for friends and family to share the celebration.

It's tougher for graduates these days. In my day, there was a disconnect between the degree and getting a job. I already had one when I graduated for the first time.

These days, a degree is no guarantee of employment.

There's also a whole industry that has grown up around the process. There's academic robe hire, framing and photography, and paying to have your happy snap posted on-line - I kid you not.

Everybody's on the take.

Without wanting to sound cynical, that's probably the biggest change. Back in the seventies there weren't so many hustlers. That is something we have inherited from the Yanks, and something we could do without. Everybody wants to clip your ticket, and charges you for the process.

I believe it's called "The Market".

What hasn't changed is the hard work and commitment necessary to get there.

Congratulations mate.

* Adelaide

Friday, 25 September 2015

The White Marshmallow

Most of my driving is urban.
This is not much of an issue when driving our Focus but manoeuvring the long wheel based ute in and out of shopping centre car parks is a pain in the proverbial.
The size of the vehicle, together with the limited rear three-quarter vision, makes the use of covered car parks pretty irritating. A recently-installed reversing camera helps a bit.
One of my daughters is beginning the learning-to-drive exercise, and a Commodore ute is not the best vehicle for this process.
These are two rationalisations for my purchase of the White Marshmallow.
There's also a bit of nostalgia wrapped up in this. I still have a soft spot for basic trimmed-down motoring, fondly recalling my first car, a 1956 Volkswagen beetle.
 Anyhow, we have a Suzuki Alto. It's a 2010 GL Auto with 43000 kms on the clock, and is pretty much as-new.
Perhaps I'm weird, but I enjoy driving the thing. It's very easy to get in and out of, simple to park, and runs on the smell of an oily rag.
It's also roomy, in the front, at least, and vision out is good. The driver's eye height is actually a little taller than our Focus, due to the fairly upright architecture.
My bride took it for a run the other day, and returning with a big smile on her face.
I may have to compete with her for the keys.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Bicycling Backwards

Pic courtesy ABC.net

Riding a bicycle backwards can be done, but it's bloody difficult.

Forward progression is necessary to remain upright. Don't believe me? Try it sometime. As kids we used to challenge each other to see who could travel the greatest distance backwards on our bikes.

A metre or two seemed the absolute limit.

The same holds in politics, as Tony Abbott discovered last Monday.

He'd been behind thirty polls in a row, so the challenge was far from surprising.

Perhaps it's worth analysing the reasons for his demise.

First was his regressive set of values, the backwards cycling tendency. A true leader recognises the values of his country and exploits them towards the positive. Abbott settled on a set of values learned at the knee of B A Santamaria, and tried to push them on voters.

Abbott was attempting to take us backwards.

His focus (like Santamaria's), was fear. Santamaria used to pop up on Sunday morning TV (Point of View) and warn us about Communism, and how it was going to destroy Australia as we knew it. I can still see his Adam's apple bobbling up and down for the whole ten minutes of his segment, which was what, as a kid, I found the most interesting part.

His ideas were completely trumped by his Adam's apple.

Abbott's strange gait likewise distracted me from his message - but I digress.

The great fear Abbott wielded was Islamic terrorism. Given that two Australians have died on the mainland as a result of terrorist activity in the fifteen years since it became an issue, and one Australian per week dies from family violence, it's not difficult to determine what is the real threat to the peace and security of Australians.

Most Australians were becoming irritated to the point of anger at his "death cult" mantra. Sure, ISIS are a bunch of psychopaths, but they're not about to invade and set up a caliphate in Canberra.

Then there were his "captain's calls". Again, this sort of leadership went out with button up boots. It makes no sense, as a leader in 2015 to assume that everyone else sees the world as you do, and to base decisions on this assumption.

I doubt too many Australians regarded the Duke of Edinburgh as worthy of an Australian knighthood.

Then there was his combative behaviour. He'd been a boxer, and perhaps this was at the bottom of it all, but did we really need a leader who preferred fighting to uniting?

We hear that he was a "nice bloke". Perhaps - I don't know him, but being a "nice bloke" is not a prerequisite for political leadership. I don't remember Churchill being called a "nice bloke".

Now, more than ever, we need a leader.

The last one was Keating. Howard was a politician, not a leader. The only time he provided real leadership was on gun control.

Will Turnbull become a leader?

Time will tell, but he has to have a better chance than Abbott. 

Early signs are that he does seem to be trying to unite, rather than divide us.

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