What was I up to in October 2011?

These entries from my WordPress blog of five years ago.

So October 2011 comes to an end…

Posted on October 31, 2011 by Neil

What a month in the wider world as well as in Australia! Not much of it has been reflected here in this blog in this corner of Wollongong, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been noting. Increasingly, however, Facebook is the place I go to register (some of) the world’s greater doings, for good or ill…



Posted on October 28, 2011 by Neil

After last Friday (Lovely afternoon in The Gong) I resolved to revisit Yours and Owls. In fact I may make a point of being there most Friday afternoons…




First taste of summer and bitter taste of tabloid “journalism”

Posted on October 25, 2011 by Neil

Let’s deal with the second first. Last night Media Watch excelled itself unmasking yet another example of the strident, cynical, and utterly harmful vomit or two minute hate that passes for journalism whenever Today Tonight touches on a serious political issue. You think I overuse  the abusive terms there? Well go to TT’s false facts fuel fear and weep – or better yet flood Channel Seven with complaints as they were up to the same kind of hysterical shit AGAIN the very same night Media Watch went to air!

Today Tonight’s entire report was aimed at fuelling the myth that refugees are given extraordinary treatment.

Margaret Thomas: Well what have they contributed to our country? Nothing. And they’re giving them more money than we get.
— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 10th October, 2011

And where did Margaret Thomas get that idea? Well, she says, from Today Tonight. She told us that the reporter had …

…showed me on his phone the video of that bloke saying he got $400 a week. Now that just got me very angry. …
I didn’t know he was getting $400 a fortnight. I think that’s very sad and Channel 7 should not do that…I would have preferred to have been told the truth
— Margaret Thomas, 15th October, 2011

Gee, so would we.

Here’s the truth. Asylum-seekers in detention get no cash benefits. Once given visas, refugees, whether or not they arrived by boat, get the same Centrelink benefits as everyone else.
Is it surprising that so many people are concerned about boat people, when they’re fed inflammatory nonsense like this by one of the most popular programs in Australia?

Irresponsible of Today Tonight, wouldn’t you say? But it isn’t about TRUTH is it?

Let’s turn briefly to an interesting graphic from New Scientist:


That links to The 20 deadliest events in human history which in turn cites necrometrics.com.

But here in West Wollongong we had a touch of summer yesterday.


Sirdan–changes coming

Posted on October 23, 2011 by Neil

Looks pretty cool, eh!


It’s Sirdan’s place, up for auction on 5 November. Want to buy it?

0426 002[5]


And here’s where Sirdan then goes: Gympie, Queensland.


A rare find on Gympie’s east side is this spacious block home set on a whisker under 3 acres. Perfectly suited to a couple of horses or cattle the property is fully fenced and has a generous sized dam and a stable. Boasting three large bedrooms as well as an office, this is the perfect family home with all the features. A large u-shaped kitchen with island bench, pantry and dishwasher overlooks the property and will inspire the chef in you. Featuring high ceilings with exposed beams, the living areas are air-conditioned and boasts a fireplace for the cooler nights. The master bedroom is also air-conditioned and adjacent to the two way bathroom. A private balcony overlooks the property which is well supplied with drinking water from 13,000 gallons in tanks. All the storage needs are catered for with a 9m x 6m Colorbond shed with 9m x 3m awning. If you are ready for a lifestyle change or a new start for the family, this one is worthy of inspection.

Quite a change eh!


Sirdan (right) and Ray in the Midnight Shift, Darlinghurst, last Sunday.

Facebook does it for me again…

Posted on October 18, 2011 by Neil

A couple of times in the past I have mentioned the Britannia Hotel and especially two friends I met there.

This is Morehead Street, which I first got to know way back in 1985 when two of my first gay friends from The Britannia Hotel lived there – Philip and Dean. They were much younger than I was – 21 and 19 respectively — but took me, a neophyte, under their wing, as it were. Later, in 1990, M and I were to take a room at Philip’s place in George St Redfern, our first joint address. Philip was a great friend, now living in Melbourne.

Well not any more he doesn’t. Facebook has delivered both as “friends” in the past few days! Smile One lives in New York, and the other in East Timor – and bemedalled as well though I am not sure what that is about. And here they are as I first knew them, pretty much.


Both have stories to tell and both I greatly admire and recall with real warmth. Good to see that they have got on so well these days.

Meantime local politics can be darkly amusing. The latest poll shows that anyone except the current leaders are the ones Aussies want right now, and I have to say I rather agree.


Thoughts on Facebook

Posted on October 3, 2011 by Neil

There is a fashion for negative Facebook and other social media stories. Today, for example, Indonesian extremists turn to Twitter to fuel acts of terrorism. The story does go on to note:

Amid a tepid response by authorities to the phenomena, civil society groups such as the Provocateurs for Peace in Ambon, a multi-religious group led by Pastor Jacky Manuputty, have started using social media and SMS to counter the continuing allegations and rumours trying to stir up trouble in Ambon.

“We know how powerful this social media can be and how it can help our movement fight back,” he said. “The authorities and police here need to do better. There is no centralised place to co-ordinate [combating the rumours] so we just do it ourselves. We could not wait for the government.”

And good for them!

So often stories about the evil done by Facebook or Twitter seem tantamount to blaming the wall for the graffiti…

I rejoice in Facebook. Here are several good reasons:



All those people are real. Some I am related to. Some I only met through Facebook. Some I once taught. Some I didn’t. Some live in Australia. Many do not. Some even live in Assam, where I have a number of mathematical friends… And then there are people from my past, some as far back as fifty years.

I call it wonderful. Don’t you?