2011 retrospective–5 — May

I began noting Heart Week. On 3 May – you must recall The Australian was still open to the unwashed – I noted a good story about NAPLAN: “NAPLAN risks ‘repeating US mistakes’”–The Australian.

… look at what I have said here in the past, starting with:

Memo to Julie Gillard and Kevin Rudd

Having pumped up an ‘education revolution’ be very careful about visiting sales reps…


You will be very tempted by anyone claiming to have invented an Education Thermometer which, when stuck up the patient’s fundament, will magically tell you just what’s wrong and how to fix it. The more amazing numbers on that thermometer and the more it flashes and whirs the more politicians, bureaucrats and parents believe in its powers…

It’s never so simple…

Yes, we have been roaring down blind alleys…

Next day morning coffee was at Connie’s at North Beach. I must go again soon!

On 7 May I went back through the archives for that day in various years. This made a pretty good post in fact! I see 9 May was Yesterday–great but also frustrating. Now I wonder what that was…

I set the tone for some of yesterday by just missing the train I meant to catch to Sydney. Being Wollongong on Sunday that meant an hour wait for the next one. You see I had walked to the station at the crack of dawn, more or less. Sunday buses in the Gong don’t wake up until 8 am. But I may as well have caught the bus, as it happened….

Ah yes! I was planning to water M’s plants as he was at the time in the USA, but couldn’t get into M’s place in Surry Hills. The plants never did get watered but fortunately there was enough rain.

Next day When you have a choice between the uninspired and the unspeakable…. is one of a number of posts expressing disappointment with politics 2011 style. Enough said! Both posts on 11 May are tagged climate change and one — The sun rose this morning–no budget cut on that apparently – is also labelled “crap detection”. Oh I do get weary! Thus on 12 May I wrote Back to what matters.

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in the comment department this morning because yet again we see how the same old crap passes for fact in the fantasy world of climate change denial. *** SIGHS! *** …

How was Australia’s Got Talent last night, eh!

That’s the one that really amazed me: Consentino the illusionist

I now had a regular date with Channel Seven and much pleasure to come. Smile

But I was back to out pathetic politics with The mess we have let ourselves be sucked into… next day, the topic this time being asylum seeker policy – the non-problem having become a total incubus on both sides of politics.

So I turned again to sensible topics – like food.

That’s a bowl of pho from The Steelers Club in Wollongong. That same weekend I went to The giant remainder sale.

Got some good DVDs. One of them generated some memories: Going back to Katoomba 60 years ago–Charlie Chaplin’s “Limelight”. Took a walk around Mangerton the next day. Looks good in autumn.

Galileo, Galileo! on 19 May is Alan Jones’s idea of what science is. SIGH!

On 20 May I turned to happier things.

Yes, Australia’s Got Talent!  Then 21 May was the TIGS Fete. “The first one I went to? 1971 probably! But then I was 27 or 28 and a staff member. Today I was just a pensioner visiting… Good fete though. Multiculturalism is alive and well at TIGS too these days.”

I also published one of my nicest photos, taken at lunch time at Wollongong Diggers.

On 22 May I asked you to Spare a thought for Harold Camping. He was the very silly old man who prophesied the world would end by systematically failing to read the Bible intelligently. Selling dog turds as pearls and diamonds was my take on the proposed highly laudable scheme to put tobacco products where they belong. Some people were upset by this post.

I reported This story exploded inside my brain on 24 May.

It’s a long time since anything I have read has had such a powerful effect, where I have closed the book and just sat there saying “Oh my God!” This story did that.

Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice

My father arrived on a rainy morning. I was dreaming about a poem, the dull thluck thluck of a typewriter’s keys punching out the letters. It was a good poem–perhaps the best I’d ever written. When I woke up, he was standing outside my bedroom door, smiling ambiguously. He wore black trousers and a wet, wrinkled parachute jacket that looked like it had just been pulled out of a washing machine. Framed by the bedroom doorway, he appeared even smaller, gaunter, than I remembered. Still groggy with dream, I lifted my face toward the alarm clock.
"What time is it?"
"Hello, Son," he said in Vietnamese. "I knocked for a long time. Then the door just opened."
The fields are glass, I thought. Then tum-ti-ti, a dactyl, end line, then the words excuse and alloyin the line after. Come on, I thought…

The author is an Australian. Currently he is fiction editor of The Harvard Review. He was born in 1978 – his name: Nam Le

Next day Personal catch-ups and other things was partly about Wollongong High ex-students becoming my friends on Facebook – 30 to 40 years on. Nice. That seems to have led me going retro for the rest of the month – for example Still in retro mode,

The last day of May I went up to Sydney and saw Sirdan for lunch, then Dr Cassy. (Haven’t seen her since…)

Here is the photo blog image for May.

2011 retrospective–4— April

Ah, the Royal Wedding!

Watched it, loved it. No apology.

Richard Allen made a perceptive comment on Facebook.

For those who love myth, the royal wedding is myth in the making. Amazing to see a tradition like this so perfectly re-enacted in the 21st century…and yes, let’s say it, good luck to them!

It also has to do with sheer talent in mounting pageantry properly. The Brits really know how to; the Yanks don’t.

On 2 April I shared this:

Well worth looking at again.

Baby Toshiba and the new laptop – 3 April

I was Poetic on 4 April:

I had seen one episode one Sunday afternoon on ABC — the program on George Mackay Brown. “George Mackay Brown (17 October 1921 – 13 April 1996), was a Scottish poet, author and dramatist, whose work has a distinctly Orcadian character. He is considered one of the great Scottish poets of the 20th century.” But new to me!

Also new to me, though it shouldn’t have been, is Sylvia Plath’s “Wuthering Heights”….

5 April was Literacy, Euro-madness, Malcolm for PM. April is certainly proving various so far! Q&A was Such a study in intonation and body language!. Another YouTube posting on 7 April: Danny MacAskill, Scottish street trials pro and YouTube sensation. – that really is worth visiting! The Hallelujah experiment on 8 April is about the variety of renditions of the Leonard Cohen song. I really do think Jeff Buckley’s is the best one.

I began a series on 9 April with Scans worth preserving — 1. I also posted about Raymond Gaita’s compilation Essays on Muslims and Multiculturalism.

On Sunday 10 April I went to church and then the Diggers Club. I do think I am looking better than in March.

The Scans Worth Preserving series occupied me for most of the next week. This had come about because the new laptop came with a new multifunction printer/scanner. 17 April was Lunch with Sirdan at The Trinity Bar in Surry Hills.

I enthused about Grace Karskens in This may well be the best Australian history book I have EVER read!  I had been reading The Colony for some time, beginning in the hospital in March. Next day Living in the Seventies was inspired by my cousin Pat and the ABC series Paper Giants. On 21 April I vented in Insanity rules, OK? about creationism, among other things. Next day What a mixed up post this is! really ended up being about nostalgia.

23 April: Reminder: climate change isn’t really something you can decide by voting… remains true. On 24 April I went to an Easter Sunday jazz service at Wesley Uniting Church, Wollongong. “As well as Easter it was the 25th Annual Illawarra Easter Jazz Festival weekend. The band was just warming up in the clip  — 10 minutes before the service actually started. Gordon Bradbery took the service. He was very good.” He is now Wollongong’s Lord Mayor.

After Anzac Day I explored my archives in Aprils past. The month concluded with book reviews, in the main – for example Revisioning our history: Books read lately — 2.

The photo blog image for April: