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Observations on Ham

Being so close to Christmas most of us enjoy a beautiful leg of ham at the table during Christmas Lunch with family and friends. This year though you have a friend coming around to have lunch with you. This is person you met through sport or club, but you share a common interest and get along reasonably well.

Now this friend happens to hold a moral belief that eating meat is wrong and has made the choice to be a vegetarian. You don’t share the same views, but they have never said that you shouldn’t eat meat and doesn’t expect that others make the same choice, although, knows that there are some within their community that is vocal about it and believes it to be immoral.

Another visitor to your house is an older uncle of yours, you really only see him at family events, and because family Christmas is at your house this year, he is coming over. This guy has an opinion about everything and is very vocal especially when he has a few beers which most of us do at Christmas. He knows you have invited your friend who is a vegetarian but says nothing about it and you think, because he is family, that he has enough class and respect to show courtesy to your visitors.

Christmas day comes around, and you’re all sitting at the table enjoying yourselves, absolutely a cracker meal. Turkey, Chicken, Prawns, Ham and some excellent salads. Your friend even bought his own vegetarian plate around to share with everyone.

Your uncle questions him a bit about his choice to be a vegetarian and even says that he considers it harmful because he believes a purely vegetarian diet doesn’t provide the protein needed to support a healthy person, even offers him some ham in a joking way. “Common, get some meat on your bones, mate,” he says.

Now perhaps a little off colour but everyone including friend just laughs it off, and the topic moves on to, let us say, New Zealand and how many Kiwi’s there seem to be in Australia at the moment.

The lunch is over, and everyone is sitting down to watch a replay of the cricket played a few days before. Australia versus Pakistan, it is a great game probably because the Aussies win. Your uncle by now has had his fair share of the Crownies (beer) from the fridge, but you have a backup esky in the shed, so you don’t mind and is sitting next to you watching the cricket. Your friend, however, is off talking to some of your other family in the kitchen. All of a sudden the uncle starts making snide remarks and cracking jokes about how we should have served up some ham on your friend’s plate, all in fun as he would have you believe but it’s getting a little out of control. You would prefer your friend not hear some of the comments your uncle is saying and if he keeps going he will probably embarrass you and the rest of the family. So you tell him to pull his head in, keep it together and please respect the visitor in your home. “ahhhhh he will be okay, a little ribbing hurt no one, he shouldn’t be offended by a little joke.” your uncle says.

Well, in my opinion, an event like that just happened recently but it wasn’t at the family dinner table, it was on Twitter in a public forum, and it wasn’t my immediate family but my national family, Australians. So who is the friend? There was a hint previously, it was the Pakistani Cricket Team. Who was the Uncle then? An Australian Federal Senator by the name of Malcolm Roberts who replied to a post by a journalist from Australia’s National Newspaper “The Australian”:

 

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Now despite what the two of them say, they both knew what they were doing while making these comments. Chris Kenny, in all fairness, was cooking a ham, and his may have been an innocuous remark, but I would say that given other bad-taste tweets I have seen from him, it would be only true to form that perhaps there was intent to link his cooking of a ham and going to the cricket to watch Pakistan play Australia, who, to the best of my knowledge, are mainly Muslim. However, I am a fair person, and perhaps nothing was meant by it.

The comment by Malcolm Roberts, however subtle, speaks very clearly to his nature, and the underlying intent of the thought of serving Ham to a team full of Muslims is funny. I know what he will say because I have seen him do it time and time again and I will say it for him before he gets a chance if ever questioned about it.

“I was just commenting on the state of the cricket tour of Pakistan. They haven’t won a game yet and the Ham, well that was just coincidence, you’re making to much of this”.

or

“It’s just Ham, said it as a joke, wasn’t meant in that context.”

Something similar to that kind. Most of the people who replied to the tweet or retweeted, immediately got the connection, both admirers, and haters. Add to this that the Senator has written articles and has been quite outspoken about Islam to the point of quoting Quran, also didn’t get the connection is actually just insulting to common sense.

His supporters and even he will call me a Libtard, SJW (Social Justice Warrior), Left Wing Extremist, Muslim Apologist, that I had my feelings hurt and my personal favorite, Snowflake. To them, I say yes I hold SOME left wing opinions, but in this case, I am not offended because they are Muslim and that a joke about feeding them ham was made. I am offended because, although you didn’t say it to their face, you offended someone in my home, who was a guest. Who has come here to Australia to play sport, to entertain Australian’s, and as far as I am aware besides perhaps the occasional sledging between players out on the pitch has not been disparaging to us one bit.

If one of Australia’s players had said something in similar vain out on the pitch and especially if heard by an umpire or microphone, they would be fined and perhaps penalised games for vilification. At the very least our media would be all over talking about it. These guys are sportsmen representing our country in sport. Why the hell should an Australian Senator feel, he can get away with such a sly snide remark?

As a kid growing up watching cricket, I fondly remember watching the other nations come here to Australia during the long hot summers. Swimming at the beach or the pool in the mornings and then racing to the front of a TV set to watch my heroes play. During breaks, we would be out in the backyard mimicking our favorite players. Copying the favorite bowlers run up and screaming Howzat as loudly as we could. One of my favorites at the time was Imran Khan from Pakistan. A tall, dark, menacing figure walking out to the middle of the pitch taking his place at the crease. You knew something exciting was going to happen when he was out there and damn, could he hit the ball!!!! At that time I had no idea his politics, religion or ideology all I knew was we had to get this guy out quickly if we were to have a chance to win the game. It didn’t stop me looking on in awe after the ball would leave his bat and disappear over the fence for six. That is what I want my cricket to be. In today’s age, we are surrounded by identity politics, mudslinging to see what sticks on a day to day basis. Leave my cricket out of it, you want to comment on Pakistans recent performance, ridicule them for that if you wish, but don’t insult the beliefs of the visiting nation. “Play the ball” not the man.

I would like to say that, this rule applies even when the other person doesn’t play the ball and decides, as is the case with Malcolm, to sink down to this form of ridicule. Just as he believes, we should act tough when threatened by banning Muslim immigration or insulting and seeking punitive actions against our closest ally and neighbor New Zealand when they make a sovereign decision against Australia’s position on Israel at the UN. Perhaps we should treat him with the same contempt and disdain. At the very least our leaders should stand up and be the decent voice of the majority of Australians. Paul Keating, never short of a few choice words when needed, called the Australian Senate “Unrepresentative Swill” and never before do I think this tag is deserved more by a Senator than it does to Malcolm Roberts, who entered the Senate at the election in July 2016 with “77” first preference votes. Our electoral system, for the most part, is fair, no system is perfect, and Malcolm entered the Senate fair and square gaining after preferences over 500,000 votes. Those votes were either the voters second or third choice but still their choice none the less. A quote from another one of our past leaders Gough Whitlam which I stumbled upon the other day also reminds me of another choice word that perhaps would be used back in his day. Whitlam called members of his own cabinet “Pissants,” again a label that would fit comfortably on the shoulders of Malcolm. Even John Howard in his own way would have been dismissive to this kind of behavior, and as a lover of cricket would have called it out for what it was, pitiful. As I believe some of our previous leaders would have stood up and shown some fortitude, our currents leaders now need to do so.

A lot has been said in Australia and for that matter around the world about the right to freedom of speech. I watched another Australian Senator give a debate about it while presenting a bill for the removal of clause 18C in our Racial Discrimination Act. I don’t like the man’s politics but his speech, for the most part, was well put together and provided some solid arguments as to why this clause should be repealed. You can find it here:

 

The fact that Islam is a religion, ideology and in extreme cases a political system, not a race is apparent and as such Malcolm’s comment may not fit within the guidelines of the Racial Discrimination Act. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the same principles talked about here apply. You have the right to say whatever you wish, for the most part, as long as it doesn’t incite violence or physical damage, just because you might hurt a person’s feelings doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to say something. However, also be prepared to defend those comments and suffer the consequences if it doesn’t fit with the ethos of the company you may work for, a social group you are part of or the Nation you represent.

I am okay with our politicians standing up in parliament or on the media clearly articulating a case against Muslim immigration or problems with Radical Islamic Terrorism and how to stop it as long as those arguments are based on facts, good governance and within the laws of our country. I don’t have to agree with them, and I should hope we can have a logical debate based on evidence and facts, shake hands and have a beer afterward and find common ground because after all is that not what our politicians should do? The best result is the least objectionable to the worse affected person or group. I know it is not always that simple, but just because it is hard, it doesn’t mean that we should not strive for that.

I would also be okay with a politician who was to say that we should not host Pakistan as a form of protest against their perceived human right violations (we did it to South Africa in the apartheid years), again I may not agree with it, but get it out, let’s have a debate, and may the best person win.

So if this is not about freedom of speech, what is it then? It is about respect, common decency, and good taste. As Australians, I would like to think most of us have these values, but we also call bullshit out when it comes our way and in this regard I call bullshit Malcolm. Treat our guests with respect. We don’t know their politics, and in many cases playing cricket for their nation is a way out of oppression for them.If any of them were to make sly, snide remarks about our culture, you would get upset, and I would be there by your side (as much as I would hate it) condemning them as well. You’re not just a regular Twitter user, you are a representative and Senator of Australia, act like it. I have learned to not expect a lot from my politicians, but I expect better than this and so should the Australian Public.

After seeing this on twitter and some self-reflection, I will now stop following his feed. I will find others that post the information that he does, as most are retweets with some innocuous comment.

Means nothing, I know, probably means even less to him and his followers. I started following him due to his comments regarding climate change, I wanted to expose myself to alternative arguments to my understandings and beliefs and to challenge his statements when I felt them misguided, perhaps even been “converted” with a reasonable argument. I didn’t troll, most of his comments I would let pass through to the “keeper,” but when I saw something which I felt was debatable would question it, respectfully and as nicely as I could. In every case, I got no response, and for the most part, I was okay with that, he is an Australian Senator, after all, I am sure he was busy, and why should he have responded to a small fish in a big pond with almost zero followers. Then I began to notice he would respond to comments, not his supporters or those that had valid points but mostly those that would outright depose his statements. Sometimes they would be the instigators of personal attacks, but also he would be so rude and arrogant to people sharing a different opinion that he would be almost baiting them, playing with them, just to prove his point and justify his own personal agenda. This suggests to me something very wrong at the core of his politics and the tweet discussed here just cemented my belief.

Free speech is necessary, common decency, unfortunately, isnt. Don’t like their politics, say so, don’t like their cricket playing abilities, say so. Feel sorry for them because of their losses to Australia, say that. But in cricket vernacular “Play the Ball” Malcolm otherwise it’s just not Cricket.

So like what I would say to my drunk uncle, Pull your F**KING head in Malcolm.

But perhaps I am over thinking again.

Observations on Animal Farm and its Warnings for Today

If you have read my previous post here, you will know that I read Animal Farm with my 9 year old daughter recently.

For those that are not familiar with it, I won’t go into much detail here suffice to say that the whole book is an analogy of the Russian Revolution in the first part of the Twentieth Century. Further information can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Farm

I am not a historian, philosopher, economist or political scientist so everything I say from this moment on may have some inaccuracies and is purely a personal, introspective view of today’s social and political environment when compared to this old classic. I am happy for criticisms of this critique and welcome anyone who wishes to contradict or share their thoughts on this.

 

Throughout this remember Boxer the workhorse (I will return to him at the end)who’s motto is:

“If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.”

and

“I will work harder.”

I believe that Mr. Jones represents the political system (the swamp) as some commentators and even political figures would have us believe is flawed, corrupt and only allowing for a prosperous few. He represents everything that is wrong with the system. Old Major summarises this as such.

Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.

or

Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself.

Politics today from the left and right is becoming more and more from the playbook of Animal Farm. Politics has always had its fair share of propaganda, but it is consistently growing worse.

The Orwellian dictator in Animal Farm is the pig, Napoleon and his propagandist Squealer who – through vague promises and brute force – appeals to the desperate; the animals who are desperate for another way. A better way. Another, better life. However, in reality, was just making his life better and to his benefit.

“Comrades!” he cried. “You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.”

Changing the principles:

Are you certain that this is not something that you have dreamed, comrades? Have you any record of such a resolution? Is it written down anywhere?” And since it was certainly true that nothing of the kind existed in writing, the animals were satisfied that they had been mistaken.

Or worse breaking the rules.

The seven commandments, which were meant to summarise Old Major’s principles kept changing and although the animals thought they remembered them differently accepted them with little questions.

A few days later, when the terror caused by the executions had died down, some of the animals remembered– or thought they remembered– that the Sixth Commandment decreed “No animal shall kill any other animal.” And though no one cared to mention it in the hearing of the pigs or the dogs, it was felt that the killings which had taken place did not square with this. Clover asked Benjamin to read her the Sixth Commandment, and when Benjamin, as usual, said that he refused to meddle in such matters, she fetched Muriel. Muriel read the Commandment for her. It ran: “No animal shall kill any other animal WITHOUT CAUSE.”

 

Given today’s technological age, it is hard to not have anything in writing, video or audio. Although there were many instances in politics, especially recently where statements were denied and said to be false which seemingly satisfied many without valid objection.

“If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.”

It is Snowball however that represents everything at the moment: Snowball firstly was what could be considered a competitor of Napolean, who was subsequently driven out by Napoleon’s attack dogs and lies. It is Snowball that genuinely believed in equality and fairness and had the plans to provide leisure and comfort and the sharing of wealth to all animals.

Like all of Napoleon’s speeches, it was short and to the point. He too, he said, was happy that the period of misunderstanding was at an end. For a long time there had been rumours-circulated, he had reason to think, by some malignant enemy-that there was something subversive and even revolutionary in the outlook of himself and his colleagues.

Or:

Whenever anything went wrong it became usual to attribute it to Snowball. If a window was broken or a drain was blocked up, someone was certain to say that Snowball had come in the night and done it, and when the key of the store-shed was lost, the whole farm was convinced that Snowball had thrown it down the well. Curiously enough, they went on believing this even after the mislaid key was found under a sack of meal.

And Lastly:

Comrades, do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!

Snowball represents many things today in the eyes of our current political leaders, terrorism, religious ideologies, climate change, globalisation, immigration or terrorism. Depending on what side of politics you sit is what “Snowball” you use and sometimes a combination of them. We don’t have a Snowball’s chance in hell (Pun Intended).

Other quick comparisons, and there are many others:

Foxwood and Pinchfield Farms: China and Russia, trading between them as foes and friends depending on what suits the narrative at the time.

Sugar Candy Mountain: In the book, it was heaven or the hope of something better. The hope the dream of “make XXXXXXXXXX Great again.”

The Windmill:  The building of infrastructure, jobs, a better way of life. This is their saviour and is going to provide the key to making Animal Farm the paradise once promised by Snowball.

As I was reading the book to my daughter I couldn’t help but draw on many of these comparisons on what has occurred and is occurring in our social, legal and political climate today. For those that are not aware Australia has had a federal election in July, the UK had a vote to leave the European Union and I doubt many people don’t know about the entertainment that was the US elections (the Netflix show House of Cards was nothing compared to this, sorry to any US readers).

 

Mostly you see people refer more commonly to Orwell’s 1949 political satire Nineteen Eighty-Four in today’s age. However, I would argue that there has never been a more relevant time than right now to consider the themes of Animal Farm than when it was written and the warnings that it produces.

So that’s it. Now I am sure if I was to hand this up in a political science class it might just scrape by with a pass, if lucky. I have only so much time to devote to this, and it may seem that such an analysis could be pertinent for many different occasions and historical periods. I guess what struck me the most was the changing of the rules and principles. How often do the majority that mattered looked the other way? Just as poor old Boxer did.

All too often we look at our side and none other, be careful of the Napoleon’s in your echo chamber.

“If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.”

I will leave this post with three of the quotes that we should consider for the future:

As Boxer is taken away to his death when no longer of use:

The time had been when a few kicks from Boxer’s hoofs would have smashed the van to matchwood. But alas! His strength had left him; and in a few moments the sound of drumming hoofs grew fainter and died away.

The final rule to end all rules:

“All animals are equal, just some are more equal than Others”

What those that are critical of the status quo now may become:

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

But perhaps I am over thinking again.

 

 

References:

Shmoop Editorial Team. (2008, November 11). Animal Farm. Retrieved December 20, 2016, from http://www.shmoop.com/animal-farm/

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Animal_Farm

Observations on a Classic Book through new eyes

My original attempt at this post was to make a point about some similarities I found with current events and a book that I loved as a boy. However, it grew too large, and I am breaking it up into at least two posts. Each making their own points. This is the first.

As a young lad in early high school, I had an English teacher that inspired a love of literature. I feel I need to explain who this teacher was as she could be considered as the most unlikely person to have an influence on a teenage country boy. I have no idea how old she was, but she looked a hundred at the time, a larger woman as well and most surprising for me at the time she was a Catholic nun (having gone to a Catholic school I was schooled by a number of sisters.In her class we were introduced to books and literature such as Shakespeare (Hamlet and Macbeth), Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck), Lord of the Flies (William Golding) and George Orwell’s Animal Farm. It is the last one that stuck with me the most. Now most of these I guess was required reading at the time, but it was her passion for these books and the deeper meaning that sat behind them which inspired a love of reading and critical thought that has lasted through to this day.

A few weeks ago my nine-year-old daughter mentioned to me that she would like to start reading more “adult” books. My wife is an avid reader as I have been in the past. However, it is a fine line as to what type of adult concepts she should be exposed to as a younger girl. As primarily a fiction reader, most of the novels my wife reads have complex social issues that would perhaps be confronting for a young girl and would raise some questions that would be complex for us to explain and for my daughter to understand. The books I like to read are quite varied and can be autobiographies or fantasy/action something that would not probably interest a young girl. What to do? We wanted to encourage her reading and ensure she remained interested while finding literature appropriate to her age (at least her ability to understand the story).

My thoughts went back to the stories that I read in English class (and at home)so many years ago. I mean classics are classics for a reason right? They usually have a broad appeal and good story. I had re-read Of Mice and Men a few years ago and had it sitting on the bookshelf at home so I suggested that, until my wife reminded me that it contained aspects of sexual abuse and murder and that even she cringed most of the way through the book.So the next day I visited the local bookstore and purchased Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies.

Both of these books had the benefit of having adult concepts and words while appealing to some extent to a child’s imagination. Quickly flicking through the books, I realised that some words may be to difficult to read for a child of her age and as such, she would probably get four or five pages in only to put it down. What to do? I thought I might read the books to her, with her help. Not only did it have the benefit of her hearing the stories and learning but it gave us an opportunity to spend some one on one time. Also after two kids I am sick of reading “Where’s the Green Sheep” or any Dr. Seuss (who I think just wanted to torture parents with some of his tongue-twisting sentences).

So we began with Animal Farm, for those familiar with the book you will understand it’s rooted in the Russian Revolution in the first half of the 20th Century. For those that aren’t I can’t recommend it enough for reading especially given today’s political and social climate, but that will come in my next post. For reference, however, see this link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Farm

I was so proud of my daughter however as we were reading and at the end of the book when she was able to ascertain some of the concepts and analogies that were being used.

  • She correctly identified “Sugar Candy Mountain” as what we deem to be “Heaven”, I am at best agnostic but send my kids to Catholic education, so she is familiar with these concepts.
  • She understood the concepts of the seven commandments and how they kept changing to suit the Pigs such as the change from “No animal shall sleep in a bed” to “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.”
  • That Boxer the horse and the other animals were being used and treated unfairly by the Napoleon and the other pigs
  • That the dogs were used to enforce the rules as the pigs sought fit.
  • Finally though that the pigs had become no better than the humans (i.e. Mr. Jones the original owner of the farm).

However, it was at the end of the book when I explained to her it represented something that happened in real life that she astonished me the most when I asked her what she would do in such a situation. Now I will paraphrase here a little because I am unable to remember the exact words she used.

Her: “I would stand up for my friends, Dad. What they were doing was wrong”.

Me: “How would you do that?”

Her: “Well I would march up to those Pigs and try to tell them what they were doing was wrong, I would tell them to stop changing the rules.”

Me: “Well that’s great, but what if they didn’t listen? After all, they had the dogs to protect them.”

Her: “Well if they didn’t listen, I would kick them in the knees and punch them in the face, but only after they I tried talking to them as you should always solve your problems with words.”

Now I don’t condone violence, and I would be devastated if they were to ever become physical with anyone. However, it also showed to me that she was prepared to fight for what she believed in especially for injustices either with words or actions.

But perhaps I am over thinking again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observations on Absence

So it has been a while since my last post.

The reasons for this are many; suffice to say that life away from the keyboard takes priority.

I want to thank this article for reinvigorating my commitment to blogging:

Why You Should Care About Blogging

I will start over the next few days posting some thoughts, but I will provide a warning before I do.

A lot has happened over the last few months that I feel I need to get off my chest, most of this is some realisations on political and societal changes that have occurred in this time.

This may not be for all of you, so I apologise in advance. However, I am taking the advice of the linked page in the hope that it will help me make some things clearer, if only for me.

Perhaps I am overthinking again.

Observations on Renewable Energy

30 or so years ago I was a young lad at school when a massive storm hit my state. I remember being in my classroom as the roof was shaking and tin sheets are tearing off it, it was reported afterwards as a mini tornado, rare for South Australia. It was terrifying and a talking point for months to come in the playground and finished up as one of those moments in your childhood that you never seem to forget. Back then it was claimed to be a one in a hundred year event.

So recently there has been another similar weather event which led to a massive power outage in South Australia. The whole state was left without power for hours due to a failure in the infrastructure.

You can read all about here:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-29/worsening-conditions-cause-more-blackouts-across-sa/7887020

Almost immediately after occurring the stories and blogs started pouring into the internet about how it was South Australia’s renewable energy that was to blame for the outage.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-29/rushing-to-renewables-risks-sector’s-reputation:-uhlmann/7888290

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/28/entire-state-of-south-australia-has-power-black-out-because-of-flawed-climate-change-energy-policy/

I will start off by saying that I am not an electrical engineer and that a power network is a sophisticated complex beast hence will not attempt to explain these types of things.

Also know that this is a highly sensitive issue for some and that factors such as renewable energy, CO2, climate change, etc. can reach religious proportions. However, it seems that once something this significant happens that a lot of people turn into “experts” and string together conclusions based on initial reports and political commentary. This first and foremost was a failure in infrastructure not in renewable energy. Now I cannot honestly say that South Australia’s energy mix may not have had something to do with the outage and I am sure due to the complex nature it may have had some impact, but the fault occurred in the infrastructure that supplies the power, not the electricity generation itself.

You can perhaps blame high prices, regular unreliable energy, black outs or brown outs to renewables in South Australia but to place the blame of recent events at the feet of South Australia’s Renewable Energy policy and generation is at best laughable.

Now I know my two children can’t live without wi-fi and electricity for more than five mins and I certainly felt the consequence of that during the failure, but if that is the worse that we as a state or society have to contend with then, we should consider ourselves lucky.

Now people will say that it’s not about the general public, it’s hospitals and other critical infrastructure that rely on the power that we need to worry about. To that I say correct…but that is why those places have a backup, and it’s all part of the makeup of the power “network.”

I guess its just not as simple as saying it’s renewables fault. Initially, it was the fault of the bad weather that was predicted and expected. Perhaps all that is needed is a change in procedure when events such as these are predicted?

This event could also be used by those that accept anthropologic climate change is a reality and that the utilisation of renewables is an effective means of mitigation against its effects.

Anthropological or not if you were to accept that our climate is changing to more frequent and intense events it could be argued that we should be adapting our infrastructure to cope with these events more often. The common term that was used when the weather system was heading the way of SA was a One in the Fifty-year event. There was a time when these were called a One in a Hundred; how long until they become a One in Twenty, Ten or Five, if you accept climate change predictions this is most likely what will happen.

This level of acceptance has an enormous financial impact as to create a more robust network means greater capital and maintenance costs. Rather than blaming renewables perhaps the answer is to embrace as part of bigger solution localised power sources and battery systems which are now becoming part of sustainable developments across the nation.

http://arena.gov.au/project/solar-and-storage-trial-at-alkimos-beach-residential-development/

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/new-document/7463020

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rnafternoons/australia’s-most-sustainable-street/7452824

Other first world power networks have greater failures than this due to extreme weather events, more often and affecting a more significant amount of population, and they are not renewable based.

This was and still is an extreme weather event first and foremost, one that strains the state’s infrastructure and emergency services to its limits.

Rather than worrying about the state’s power which was mostly restored after four hours, we should perhaps be more concerned about the strain on our water drainage systems which will have a lot greater impact both economically and physically to the state.

So as much as perhaps we want to BLAME renewable energy for this maybe we should stop blaming and using misfortune to make irrational point scoring and start looking at building modern infrastructure across the state and nation to have a greater resilience overall.

But perhaps I am overthinking again.

 

Observations On Bruce Springsteen

So its late at night here, the family is in bed and asleep, they have been for hours.

Tried to go to sleep and laid in bed for half hour trying to put my mind to rest.

Doesn’t work………. television is on, and the Late Show is on with Stephen Colbert, (much prefer him from David Letterman, although didn’t have a lot against him, just didn’t find him all that funny).

Stay with me reader because I do have a point.

The melancholy has set in and isn’t going away anytime soon; then I hear Stephen Colbert talking to Bruce Springsteen.

Always been a kind of fan of Springsteen, I remember him and his music from my younger days……. Dancing in the Dark (did you know it is Monica from the 90’s TV show Friends who is dancing with him in the film clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=129kuDCQtHs ), Born in the USA, etc.

It wasn’t until later that I found out my Father liked Springsteen music as well, mostly his earlier stuff, which I hadn’t heard until my brother, and I gave him a collection of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band for father’s day.

It quickly became a collection that my brother and I listened to more than poor old Dad. Come to think of it not sure where those old cassettes finished up????

Anyway, Bruce starts talking about his book, an autobiography, and his love of music. Now, plenty of musicians talk about their love of music, but Bruce took it to a whole new level for me…or perhaps it was my state of mind at the time.

Here is the link for that part of the interview if you’re interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoOVIRpizL8

By the way, I think this was one of the longest interviews I have seen on a late show before as it was drawn out over several commercial breaks, so the interview, I believe, would total nearly 20 mins.

Note: the links are in 8-minute segments and encourage you to watch them all in sequence.

The part that triggered an “Observation” for me, reader, however, was when Bruce spoke about his depression/anxiety and how his father and other family members also suffered from it.

This hit very close to home for me….and I felt a close affiliation with “The Boss” when he began telling his story. Provided in this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LvQNM_uLIs

Now……. At about 1:30 mins in Colbert questions Bruce about his “night terrors.” I won’t say anything more about this because you can hear it from the man’s mouth.

However, I wanted to share one thing from this interview.

Paraphrasing Bruce says:

“I was a neurotic young kid, and his music was medicinal”………. he used music to calm down, to centre himself, not think about time but rather be in the present.

Perhaps I need to keep learning my guitar because would that be a euphoric experience, to do something you love so much and enjoy it to a point where it heals you, if only for a short while.

I encourage any of the readers to listen to all the interview fan or not. A great interview that perhaps made me “over think,” but in a right way this time, and now his book will be on my Christmas list…might even get me reading again.

Okay, so it’s even later, my mind is running at 1000 miles an hour, and I have to get up and be a responsible and fully functioning adult again tomorrow……Hopefully, this post has got my mind back to a place where I can now sleep, or I might try to squeeze in an episode of Mr Robot before bed, but I will leave that for another post.

The Eyes Have It 

Love the pic and the recognition of living in the moment. Something I need to learn to do more of as well.

lenzilla_happy

And they rowed into the sunset like some strategic madness had engulfed them… I stood there mesmerized by their uniformed motion and just like that Captain Jack Sparrow flashed into my mind. Seriously, could I not get my thoughts to stay serious for a moment? Funny brain!! Then I remembered that I had to stop at the supermarket to get an eyeliner…

Eyeliner, my eyeballs! Stuff the magical sunset. I had to make sure that I get my eyeliner because if I turn up to work in the morning and there happened to be no lines, yes, zilch lines around my eyes, then everyone would be asking if I was coming down with some sort of illness or worst the plague. I seriously did not have to be controversial like that. No, thanks!

So I took three snaps from my tiny mirrorless camera and then all was forgotten. I hurried…

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