Recycle time: April 2006

I think I was in pretty good form eight years back! See Floating Life April 06 ~ November 07.


Don’t Blitz Iran — Brian Cloughley

18 APR 2006

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe Poet has been taking some very good non-erotic photos. The one on the right is called Bellarine Rainbow, and shows the part of the world where he now lives. It is a nice counterpoint to the following.

The Poet has also sent quite a few news items in the past few days. This one he says is a must. I agree. Brian Cloughley was deputy head of the UN mission in Kashmir (1980-1982), Staff Officer 1 (Force Structure) in Australian Army HQ (during which time he was appointed to the Order of Australia, or AM), Director of Protocol for the Australian Defence Force, and Australian defence attache in Islamabad (December 1988 – July 1994). He now lives in New Zealand.

…Even if Cheney and Bush are not lunatic enough to send their cruise missiles and bombers to attack Iran they might manage to have harsh economic sanctions imposed, additional to the unilateral ones in place by the US for years. They usually ignore warning signals, so doubtless they dismissed the unmistakable threat in September 2005 that Iran could endure a self-inflicted cut in oil exports in the national interest of combating what it would consider rabidly hostile action. It is estimated that cutting exports would raise the price of oil to $80-100 a barrel. This wouldn’t matter to the rich in America, who are all that Cheney and Bush care about. But it would matter to the average man and woman who are even now struggling to make ends meet as a result of the rich-supportive tax policy of the present Administration.

There is no point in putting the moral position against attacking Iran. The Cheney-Bush administration has shown itself impervious to argument, and presenting a case against killing thousands of innocent people cuts no ice with blinkered zealots. The planned blitzkrieg of divine strikes will probably take place. It will alter the entire world and create hatred of America that will never be eradicated. And there is nothing we can do about it. At this Easter time (and Thai New Year), God help us all.

By the way, I have cut back on the rants I put up about the state of the world, compared with a couple of years back on the late Diary-X. What is the point? There is little I can add from where I sit. However, people who do have worthwhile things to say may be found in the links on the right.

I do share with The Poet a clear conviction that the patients have taken over the asylum so far this century.

  • Brian Cloughley
  • May 28, 2006 at 7:42 am
  • Thanks for that. I’m now living in France.
    Grumpy Old Man from Burgundy . . .

Spare a thought for Fairy Meadow

20 APR 2006

I spent most of the 1970s in and around Wollongong and taught some of that time at a school whose postal address was Fairy Meadow. I spent perhaps too much time at the Cabbage Tree Hotel, generally known as the Cabbage Patch, on Princes Highway Fairy Meadow. And there were some very butch men in there, I can tell you. I suspect young Peter (see the pic on the link) was not even born then: a shame really.

All this silliness is because Today Tonight trotted out a cliched piece on “political correctness gone mad” tonight, always a good filler between dodgy builders, diets, and consumer rip-offs. Apparently “Sea World on the Gold Coast has decided the name fairy penguins could cause offence to the gay community so now it is now calling them little penguins.”
Well how silly of them, that’s all I can say. I don’t think I have met any gay person, and I have met quite a few, who would lose any sleep over the existence of fairy penguins, so heaven knows what pills they have been dissolving in the water up on the Gold Coast.

There is a sinister twist, of course, as such routine mockery of “political correctness” masks the fact that so-called PC has really done a lot of good. To be aware that our choice of language could marginalise and hurt people is not such a bad thing, is it? On the other hand, there are those for whom PC seems to be the new tee-total, a puritan fetish. One can have an inclusive spirit, I suspect, without tying oneself in too many linguistic knots, and if the spirit is right I think the language will follow; unfortunately the converse may also be true, with habitual anti-PC revealing a malign spirit, or a thoughtless one at best.

Channel Seven goes on: “But not even Santa Claus can escape being in the political correctness firing line, remember when he got the sack from some child care centres worried about causing offence to non-Christians?” Funnily, Santa Claus, with all the commercialism around that image, causes offence to some Christians: I don’t think you will find him in the New Testament. Doesn’t worry me, though, nor does it worry most Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Communists or atheists of my acquaintance.

Go to Weasel Words for much more interesting language crimes — like “rendition” for example.

My past catches up

25 APR 2006

Got this email.

Hi Neil,

I was a former student of yours at Sydney Boys High. Perhaps you still remember my name. I certainly remember most of the stories you told us in English class, e.g. the fellow you met as a child named ‘Rear Admiral Sir Leighton Bracegirdle’. I also remember your recital of Caedmon’s hymn with proper old English pronunciation.

To cut a long story short, I am now working as a Computer Systems Engineer in the city and I am still in the office. I decided to do what I do whenever I am bored – an unclaimed money search.

Do you by any chance have ‘Thomas’ as a middle name? If so, the NSW Office of State Revenue has $76.80 of your money. Even if it’s not you, it should mean something that I thought of you when thinking of people to look up.

Indeed it does; but my middle name is not Thomas. Thanks, V.L. This sort of thing happens from time to time. 🙂

And look what intellectual stuff I taught in class, even if at that time — it was during John Howard’s first term — the reactionaries were bleating about dumbed-down syllabuses just as much as they do today! Pests.

Oh, and I didn’t meet the Rear Admiral: he spoke to us at a school assembly, possibly for Anzac Day.

Addendum 2014

Here is Caedmon’s hymn. The link also leads to a translation:

ca. 737

Nu scylun hergan hefaenricaes uard

metudæs maecti end his modgidanc

uerc uuldurfadur sue he uundra gihuaes

eci dryctin or astelidæ

he aerist scop aelda barnum

heben til hrofe haleg scepen.

tha middungeard moncynnæs uard

eci dryctin æfter tiadæ

firum foldu frea allmectig

And out of curiosity I Googled VL and found 1) he has been in Rake on ABCTV and 2) has done things for WordPress.