Hello Cruel World
Monday, October 28, 2002
A poem of love & beauty, regret, despair & fear.
In part his regret is for the breakdown in religious faith in the west,
of which he remembers the good parts, perhaps never having
been very badly affected by the bad parts.

Many people still feel that you can't find meaning in life or a moral
centre without some sort of organized religion/ideology. Alas,
there doesn't seem to be general agreement about just which one,
which leads to even more 'armies clash[ing]'. It is depressing
that so many humans still feel that they need some sort of official
imprimatur [sacred or profane], without which they have 'neither joy,
nor love, nor light, /Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain' and
far more depressing still that - supposedly in search of these -
so much pain, such lack of peace and destruction of joy, love &
light is created (check out William Blake sometime on this if you have
a month or two spare).

Link to this poem at www.poets.org.
Here you will be able to find more about the poet, as well as many
other poets & their poetry.

Dover Beach (1867)
by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Sunday, October 27, 2002
"What does the candle represent?"
"Whose life?"
"All life, every life. We are all born as ... molecules ... in the hearts
of a billion stars. Molecules that do not understand politics,
policies or differences. Over a billion years we foolish molecules
forget who we are and where we came from. In desperate acts of
ego ... we give ourselves names, fight over lines on maps, and
pretend that our light is better than everyone else's. The flame
reminds us of the piece of those stars that lives on inside us. The
spark that tells us ... "you should know better". The flame also
reminds us that life is precious, as each flame is unique. When
it goes out, it's gone forever ... and there will never be another
quite like it. So many candles will go out tonight. I wonder some
days ... if we can see anything at all."
J. Michael Straczynski, Babylon 5: "And All My Dreams Torn Asunder"

Put out the Light, and then put out the Light:
If I quench thee, thou flaming Minister,
I can again thy former light restore,
Should I repent me. But once put out thy Light,
Thou cunning'st Pattern of excelling Nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy Light re-Lume
William Shakespeare: Othello, Act 5, scene 2

we are a local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness ...
We have become starstuff pondering the stars.
Carl Sagan: Cosmos
Saturday, October 26, 2002
Poems from the Late Roman Empire (circa 376 - 380 AD) - Paulinus & Ausonius
During the lives of these men, the world changed, and the Western World fell into what later became known as the Dark Ages. One of these men was a Christian and the other wasn't... (from Poems, Paulinus & Ausonius)

For more poems & discussion of their lives & work, see also:


Thursday, October 24, 2002
The past tempts us, the present confuses us, the future frightens us, and our lives
slip away, moment by moment; lost in that terrible inbetween.
But there is still time to seize that last fragile moment, choose something better, to make a difference.
Centauri Emperor, Babylon 5 (The Coming of Shadows)

(favourite lines from all the seasons of Babylon 5)

Sound-bites of quotations from Babylon 5 are at:
www.babylonsounds.com/en/index.html (also available in German) - this quote is in the 2nd Season, web reference is http://www.babylonsounds.com/en/staffel2_en.html

Here he recommends other sites
http://www.babylonsounds.com/en/links_en.html, namely:
http://www.mnd.fh-wiesbaden.de/~Ebahmann/b5links.html (list of links in a variety of languages)

www.armadafleetcommand.com/~babylon5/b5-downloads-music.html (from a B5 computer game site)

Another fan site: www.clearcity.com/galaxy/B5.htm
and also
www.green-sector.de/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi is a discussion group, because there is some problem at www.jumpnow.de
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Chautauqua, New York, 1936
People have suspected the honesty of this, for one thing FDR hadn't been really involved in the Great War or other wars that the USA had been involved in previous to this time; for another, there was great suspicion that after the start of World War II in 1939, he did try to get America involved, even up to suspicions that he subtly provoked the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Nevertheless, the sentiments expressed, the tendencies discussed, could still hold true today.
It is also interesting to contemplate what things have changed, what history has been gone through, in the last 66 years.


We are not isolationists except insofar as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war. Yet we must remember that so long as war exists on earth there will be some danger that even the nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war.
I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line — the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.

I have passed unnumbered hours, I shall pass unnumbered hours thinking and planning how war may be kept from this nation.
I wish I could keep war from all nations, but that is beyond my power. I can at least make certain that no act of the United States helps to produce or to promote war. I can at least make clear that the conscience of America revolts against war and that any nation which provokes war forfeits the sympathy of the people of the United States. . . .

The Congress of the United States has given me certain authority to provide safeguards of American neutrality in case of war.
The President of the United States, who, under our Constitution, is vested with primary authority to conduct our international relations, thus has been given new weapons with which to maintain our neutrality.

Nevertheless—and I speak from a long experience—the effective maintenance of American neutrality depends today, as in the past, on the wisdom and determination of whoever at the moment occupy the offices of President and Secretary of State.

It is clear that our present policy and the measures passed by the Congress would, in the event of a war on some other continent, reduce war profits which would otherwise accrue to American citizens. Industrial and agricultural production for a war market may give immense fortunes to a few men; for the nation as a whole it produces disaster. It was the prospect of war profits that made our farmers in the west plow up prairie land that should never have been plowed but should have been left for grazing cattle. Today we are reaping the harvest of those war profits in the dust storms which have devastated those war-plowed areas.

It was the prospect of war profits that caused the extension of monopoly and unjustified expansion of industry and a price level so high that the normal relationship between debtor and creditor was destroyed.

Nevertheless, if war should break out again in another continent, let us not blink at the fact that we would find in this country thousands of Americans who, seeking immediate riches--fool's gold--would attempt to break down or evade our neutrality.
They would tell you--and, unfortunately, their views would get wide publicity--that if they could produce and ship this and that and the other article to belligerent nations the unemployed of America would all find work. They would tell you that if they could extend credit to warring nations that credit would be used in the United States to build homes and factories and pay our debts. They would tell you that America once more would capture the trade of the world.

It would be hard to resist that clamor. It would be hard for many Americans, I fear, to look beyond, to realize the inevitable penalties, the inevitable day of reckoning that comes from a false prosperity. To resist the clamor of that greed, if war should come, would require the unswerving support of all Americans who love peace.

If we face the choice of profits or peace, the Nation will answer—must answer—"we choose peace." It is the duty of all of us to encourage such a body of public opinion in this country that the answer will be clear and for all practical purposes unanimous. …
We can keep out of war if those who watch and decide have a sufficiently detailed understanding of international affairs to make certain that the small decisions of each day do not lead toward war, and if, at the same time, they possess the courage to say "no" to those who selfishly or unwisely would let us go to war.

Of all the nations of the world today we are in many ways most singularly blessed. Our closest neighbors are good neighbors. If there are remoter nations that wish us not good but ill, they know that we are strong; they know that we can and will defend ourselves and defend our neighborhood.

We seek to dominate no other nation. We ask no territorial expansion. We oppose imperialism. We desire reduction in world armaments.

We believe in democracy; we believe in freedom; we believe in peace. We offer to every nation of the world the handclasp of the good neighbor. Let those who wish our friendship look us in the eye and take our hand.
Cablegram: Curtin/Roosevelt
Telegram from Prime Minister Curtin to President Roosevelt

Text of cablegram from Curtin to Roosevelt

After the attack on Pearl Harbour (7/12/1942), Japanese forces swept swiftly down through Asia/South-East Asia. In February 1942, the Air Force (or perhaps the air arm of the Japanese Navy) bombed targets in northern Australia. The city which took the worst of this was Darwin. It suffered numerous raids over several months. This encrypted telegram was sent in this most fearful time. (From state archives of World War II papers.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

SENT: 22 February 1942

The Australian Minister,
No 40. Most immediate. Most secret
Your 330. For President from Prime Minister

Dear Mr President,
    It is heartening to us to have your message.
We have known always in any crisis of this nature that the
United States of America would stand with us in the way your
message so eloquently indicated.

    2. On our part and we hope without
presumption we too have pledged ourselves to the common cause,
and, as you know, our forces have fought in many distant
theatres with a gallantry the world has been good enough to

    3. We are now, with a small population in
the only white man's territory south of the equator, beset
grievously. Because we have added to our contribution in
manpower so much of our resources and materials, we now lack
adequacy for the forces of our homeland in the defence of
our own soil.

   4. You have indicated an appreciation of the
gravity of our responsibililties in reaching a decision on the
matter referred to in your message. It has affected us
profoundly. As we see the whole problem, our vital centres
are in immediate danger. This is the reason and the only
reason for the reply we have sent to Mr. Churchill, which we
now quote in full for your information.

(here follows cablegram to Dominion
Office -- No 136)



Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 22, 2002
"No Brain, No Pain" is a saying I've seen around. What else do we lose, though, when we harden our hearts to the pity & the terror? Something to think about as we contemplate violence to & from other humans.

From "Insensibility" by Wilfred Owen

Happy are men who yet before they are killed
Can let their veins run cold.
Whom no compassion fleers
Or makes their feet
Sore on the alleys cobbled with their brothers...

But cursed are dullards whom no cannon stuns,
That they should be as stones.
Wretched are they, and mean
With paucity that never was simplicity.
By choice they made themselves immune
To pity and whatever mourns in man
Before the last sea and the hapless stars;
Whatever mourns when many leave these shores;
Whatever shares
The eternal reciprocity of tears.
Wilfred Owen

War Poetry in General
Links about Owen
www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Wilfred_Owen/wilfred_owen_contents.htm (Archive of poetry - Owen section)
http://www.1914-18.co.uk/owenspoems (Wilfred Owen Association Poetry Links)
(Review of Owen Poetry Collection) [NOTE: You may have to either search for this if it's been archived, or look for the cached version on the Google search engine.]
Lieutenant Wilfred Owen, M.C., an officer of the Manchester Regiment, was killed in action on the Sambre Canal a week before the Armistice, aged 25 ... Others have shown the disenchantment of war, have unlegended the roselight and romance of it, but none with such compassion for the disenchanted or such sternly just and justly stern judgment on the idyllisers.
Monday, October 21, 2002
How the sauce changes taste when the goose becomes the gander.
Two recent examples:

First Example
Government, wanting to put us under surveillance (IDs, email, cameras, &c.), says to trust, completely, for the next 50, 100, however many years the law will apply (A legal rule from 1863 caused problems this April.) that "You don't have to worry if you don't have anything to hide". We must trust, completely, that no-one involved will ever make a mistake or harbour a grudge; that in 20 years if you are now a member of a union or religious group or subscribe to the RSPCA or Wilderness Society it won't become suspicious (like belonging to some writers' groups in 1933 did in McCarthyite USA, 1953, or being a union official, mentally ill or Gypsy in Nazi Europe, 1943).

This changes when we're discussing, say, the International Criminal Court. Suddenly there's worries about people harbouring grudges, corruption in the system, or what will have changed 10 or more years from now.

Second Example
Business, when it wants employees to give up home, health, family, social duties, &c., put work above everything else; move from place to place; accept very long, unreliable & short-notice working hours, give up long-fought-for conditions & go back to 19th-century master & servant-style rules, chants: "Flexibility".

When there is some difficulty with supply, prices, taxes, competition, &c, however, the cry is: "Certainty".

Even the Herald never put stories about Swiss border guards turning back fleeing Jews (e.g. Sabine Sonabend, Joseph Spring) in WW II next to discussion of current refugee problems. [see www.jewishsf.com/bk971107/ivictim.htm &

Sunday, October 20, 2002
"PopPolitics is an online magazine that blends pop culture and politics and covers the connections between them."

culture clash The soul of PopPolitics. Here's where journalists, academics, historians, cultural critics, artists and others come together to address a single topic from a variety of perspectives. The idea is to investigate both the pop culture and political angles, and to discuss the effect of each. A different topic is introduced every two to three months, and new articles are posted throughout the duration of each issue.

Issue 1. Marriage
Issue 2. Work
Issue 3. Identity
Issue 4. Religion
Issue 5. Crime
Issue 6. Kids
Issue 7. War (current)

Outside Observations Political news coverage coupled with historical analysis, cultural commentary and personal essays that relate the news to everyday life.

Mixed Media Serves up straight reviews, interviews and in-depth criticism, and explores the influence of popular entertainment.

Pop Forum The art of conversation. Where great minds go to dish, expound, rave, critique, debate, confer, question, holler and raise the roof.

Some extracts:

The Ultimate TV Candidacy
by Chris Wright
Forty-two years after the Kennedy-Nixon first presidential TV debate, it has come to this: Rupert Murdoch and FOX's cable channel, FX, are bringing to television American Candidate, an American Idol-like game/talent show in which 100 political hopefuls will strut their stuff in an attempt to be picked by couch potatoes nationwide to run for president ... results will be broadcast live from the the Mall in Washington, D.C., in July, 2004. Buoyed by the publicity, the winner will presumably be encouraged to run as a third party candidate.

Surprisingly, the United States wasn’t the first country to propose such an idea. A Buenos Aires television channel beat Murdoch by a couple of weeks when, in early September, it announced the launch of The People’s Candidate, a reality TV show that will not only put its winner up as a congressional candidate in 2003, but will also launch a new political party...

Political parties don’t want us to think about structure (though we do nonetheless). They want us to see it as pure reality, to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. But this simply illuminates that politics and campaigning is already a show, no more perfectly “real” than an episode of, say, The Mole. American Candidate, then, may simply be an inevitable step in the process.

And it might not be such a bad idea. Imagine if the 2004 pool of Democratic contenders appeared on ABC each week (the network that most needs a hit) with Clinton-adviser-turned-journalist George Stephanopoulos. They could debate the issues and take part in challenges: Persuade a foreign head of state to side with the United States on invading Iraq! Find Cheney’s hidden lair! Get the country out of an economic slump and deliver a tax cut -- all without destroying Social Security! An impartial group like The League of Women Voters could serve as judges and Democratic voters nationwide as the jury, voting off one candidate each week...

Private Names, Public Spaces
by Daniel Kraker
Across the country, communities are putting their civic landscape up for sale
... [as a child] ... I even learned by rote the names of each team’s ballpark: Comiskey, Fenway, Memorial Coliseum, Veterans Stadium. These names were old, proud and noble; fit to house my heroes in pinstriped jerseys.

But in the last 15 years, as owners have played cities and fans against one another to build ultra-modern new stadiums at public expense, the old names of my childhood have died with the old ballparks. Owners have left no seat unturned in their quest for new revenues to pay ever-escalating player salaries. They’ve put microbreweries in the concourses, hot tubs behind the right field fence, and installed a new seating hierarchy, from luxury boxes to club seats. And, of course, they’ve sold the names of the stadiums themselves.

But in the last few years, the name game has rapidly spread outside the athletic sphere and into the public sector. In cities across the country, the nomenclature of our civic landscape -- from our parks to our high school scoreboards -- is up for sale. The trade magazine IEG Sponsorship Report estimated that in 1999 alone, 50 cities inked deals totaling $100 million with corporations willing to sponsor public assets.

To state and local politicians trapped between the public’s impossible demand for high-quality services and lower taxes, nothing is sacred. The Chronicle reported that San Francisco Supervisor Mark Leno, who voted in favor of selling the ’Stick’s name, said cities like his are in a bind. It doesn't make sense to turn down the revenue when "[t]he feds cut back, the state cuts back, but we're here dealing with all the misery in the streets, all the demands on our social services."

Many politicians across the country agree with Leno. Throughout the country, hospitals, parks, libraries, performing arts centers, theaters, convention centers, fairgrounds, high school sports facilities and shopping malls are available for the right amount...

Last year, Massachusetts officials reviewed proposals to rename four of Boston’s subway system's busiest stations (they had already renamed their electronic toll system "Bank Boston Fast Lane” -- now known as "Fleet Fast Lane"). Business groups in Washington, D.C., urged local governments to sell naming rights to area roads to pay for transportation improvements, prompting a Washington Post columnist to suggest that Cuisinart buy the rights to the infamous “Mixing Bowl” intersection...

But Lake Forest, a bedroom community in southern Orange County, has taken naming rights deals to new heights. In exchange for $100,000, the city not only named a new city skatepark after the Etnies shoe and clothing company, it also gave the firm exclusive use of the public land at certain times to shoot commercials and hold events. And to help defray the city’s share of the park’s $1 million price tag, Etnies T-shirts are being hawked on the city’s Web site and at the Lake Forest City Hall...

Even before this latest corporate assault, most people’s lives were already saturated by advertising. The average American, according to the July 9, 2001 issue of Time magazine, sees 3,000 ads a day. No longer limited to TV, radio, and print and online media, ads are imprinted into beaches, stuck on taxi hubcaps, and beamed from lamps onto sidewalks at night.

And ad-free space is shrinking. Over the past few decades, the courts have systematically struck down laws intended to protect public space. Last year, the Supreme Court overturned a state measure prohibiting tobacco billboard ads near schools. Advertising, like campaign contributions, is no longer considered to be much different from the words we speak, and it’s increasingly garnering the same legal protection...

The public commons is the last largely logo-free frontier. Advertisers can’t go there -- unless officials give them permission. Once they do, we risk sliding down a slope that’s very difficult to reverse. The temptation will only grow as public coffers are stressed and as advertisers inevitably grow more aggressive as their traditional targets -- our virtual and built environments -- are clogged.

As the Enrons of the world collapse like giant card houses, perhaps the Enron Fields of the world will follow suit (Enron was forced to relinquish the naming rights to the Houston Astros’ ballpark, but they were promptly resold to Coca Cola as Minute Maid Park). And with CEOs no longer being worshiped as folk heroes out of Horatio Alger novels, perhaps city leaders will think again about selling to the highest bidder.

There has already been some backlash against corporate names. When a new football stadium opened in Denver in 2001, fans unsuccessfully sued to keep the fabled Mile High Stadium name alive. A local agency sold the naming rights for 20 years to Invesco, a financial services company. The price tag: $120 million...
Friday, October 18, 2002
Have new toy in small digital camera (putting toe in water, not a v. high quality expensive one, which friend Alex predicts I will probably feel the need to upgrade in some time between weeks & months - doubt that funds will allow it, however).
You can see samples of digital photos here.

BTW: Did you see the article on Monday in the Herald about sniper training courses in the USA? Check it at
Some odd stuff from the ABC site & a related one.
Fred Watson's web page (from the Anglo-Australian Observatory)
His appearances on ABC local Sydney breakfast radio

Andrew Olle Media Lecture - Transcripts from previous lectures.
(Still have to wait for one from Lachlan Murdoch (Chairman of News Limited and Deputy Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation) for 2002 has an audio stream.

(the local morning weekend program)
includes lots of useful things. One of the not-useful but very funny sections is Boofhead of the Week: http://www.abc.net.au/sydney/simonmarnie/features/boofheads.htm
"Facts are mere accessories to the truth, and we do not invite to our hearth the guest who can only remind us that on such a day we suffered calamity. Still less welcome is he who would make a Roman holiday of our misfortunes. Exaggeration of what was monstrous is quickly recognised as a sign of egotism, and that contrarious symptom of the same disease which pretends that what is accepted as monstrous was really little more than normal is equally unwelcome."

from A SUBALTERN ON THE SOMME in 1916: Mark VII (Max Plowman)
(Tolkien as Post World War I Novelist)

There is also a matter of "the polarization of consciousness - what [Fussell] calls 'the gross dichotomizing' - imposed by the war - the habit of reading the world and all experience as a struggle between our side and 'the enemy'"
Fussell writes "'We' are all here on this side: 'the enemy' is over there. 'We' are individuals with names and personal identities; 'he' is a mere collective entity. We are visible; he is invisible. We are normal; he is grotesque. Our appurtenances are natural; his, bizarre. He is not as good as we are . . . Nevertheless, he threatens us and must be destroyed . . ."

Fussell, Paul, The Great War and Modern Memory (London, 1977), gets quoted in
Brogan, Hugh, "Tolkien's Great War", Children and Their Books: A Celebration of the Work of Iona and Peter Opie, (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989)
Monday, October 14, 2002
Thinking of the terrorist bomb exploding on the Indonesian island that was always supposed to be the safest & friendliest place, reminded me of the vision of it in James A. Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific" - rendered into a utopian idea of peace & beauty in the musical set during World War II South Pacific. (by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II)
I hope you know the tune, it's dreamy, enchanting, luring. You can hear it - and other Rodgers & Hammerstein songs - at this selling site for a compilation CD shopping.yahoo.com/shop?d=product&id=1921497958
See other similar songs discussed at Utopian Songs

Bali H'ai
Bali Ha'i may call you, any night, any day.
In your heart you'll hear it call you: "Come away, Come away."

Bali Ha'i will whisper on the wind of the sea:
"Here am I, your special island! Come to me, come to me."

Your own special hopes, your own special dreams,
Bloom on the hillside and shine in the streams.

If you try, you'll find me where the sky meets the sea;
"Here am I, your special island! Come to me, come to me!"

Your own special hopes, your own special dreams,
Bloom on the hillside and shine in the streams.

If you try, you'll find me where the sky meets the sea;
"Here am I, your special island! Come to me, come to me!"

Bali Ha'i, Bali Ha'i, Bali Ha'i.

which also reminded me of another song from that musical -- it has quite a few enjoyable songs, and a few 'deeper meanings' in the plot. You can get an
original Broadway cast recording (Mary Martin & Enzio Pinza) South Pacific Original Broadway Cast recording SONY SMK 60722 [56:44] (Amazon link ),
the earlier film (Mitzi Gaynor, Rossano Brazzi & John Kerr (II) see at imdb, Amazon soundtrack)
or a more recent ("grittier") film (Glenn Close, Rade Serbedzija & Harry Connick Jr - imdb entry )
There are a couple of other recordings of it, such as this 1996 version which is a "complete" version (with Paige O'Hara, Justino Diaz & Sean McDermott), and a 1986 UK cast one, with Mandy Patinkin, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Jose Carreras & Sarah Vaughan

Carefully Taught
You've got to be taught to hate and fear
You've got to be taught from year to year
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
Or people whose skin is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught before it's too late
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught
You've got to be carefully taught

Oscar Hammerstein II wrote a lyric for South Pacific that was eventually cut.
"Now is the time, the time to live, no other time is real.
Yesterday has gone, tomorrow is a guess, today you can see and feel."
It seems appropriate. And it's hopeful, if you yield to it. Now is the time we have, and it is the moment between something that has "gone" and something that is a "guess."
Saturday, October 12, 2002
Am trying to grasp the differences in amounts of money in the 'real' world.

You say "a million dollars" fairly quickly, and the actuality of just how much it means is difficult to grasp. It also happens especially when there are a lot of these large amounts being dealt with - houses worth $3.5M, well-paid persons receiving $4M, $7M, etc. - compared to more everyday sums, even ones large by the working stiff's standard, such as a whole year's earnings.

I think in the latest Australian statistics, "average" income counting males & females in full-time work is $45,000. (This is somewhat higher than the amount earnt by the most number of people (around $38k-$40k), because the mean is pulled upwards by the small number of extremely high incomes, but it's commonly used.)

Time comparison
For example, at an untaxed income of $45,000 pa it would take 22 years, 81 days, 43 minutes to earn $1,000,000.

At $1,000,000 pa ($114.16/hr (the calculator says 114.15525114155251141552511415525), it would take 394.2 hrs (16 days, 10 min, 12 sec) to 'earn' $45,000.

[Note: My mind isn't naturally mathematical. If these figures are wrong and anyone can correct them, please do.]

Space comparison
The traditional method is to compare heights of piles of money, but I'm a bit wary of measuring that for notes. Would need quite a few to stack up, then put a weight on (donations gratefully received. Would be nice to compare, say $10 & $100 notes to check if they're different thicknesses (look, we can all dream)). Haven't found enough one dollar coins to stack up to do a calculation reasonably accurately. (Donations of these also gratefully received - hey, anyone wants to give me money, I'll take it, man.)

I hope people can work out this display - it may need rearranging for better comprehension.
In Notepad, I have put in extra spaces so that the numbers line up under one another, which makes comparison easier for non-intuitively arithmetic brains, but this display seems to compress multiple spaces back to one. I think there's a way around this, but will have to work out the HTML for it.

Australian Banknote sizes (in 2002)
$ 5 = 65 mm H x 131 mm W = 8,515 sq mm
$ 10 = 65 mm H x 138 mm W = 8,970 sq mm
$ 20 = 65 mm H x 146 mm W = 9,490 sq mm
$ 50 = 65 mm H x 152 mm W = 9,880 sq mm
$100 = 65 mm H x 159 mm W = 10,335 sq mm
[Note: 1 sq m = 1,000 x 1,000 mm]
[ = 1,000,000 (1 million) sq mm]

Number of notes to make up one million dollars
$ 5 = 200,000
$ 10 = 100,000
$ 20 = 50,000
$ 50 = 20,000
$100 = 10,000

Laid end-to-end, would stretch a length of:
$5 = 26,200,000 mm (26,200 metres = 26km, 200m)
$10 = 13,800,000 mm (13,800 metres = 13km, 800m)
$20 = 7,300,000 mm (7,300 metres = 7km, 300m)
$50 = 3,040,000 mm (3,040 metres = 3km, 40m)
$100 = 1,590,000 mm (1,590 metres = 1km, 590m)

Covering an area of
$5 = 1,703,000,000 sq mm (1,703 sq m)
$10 = 897,000,000 sq mm (897 sq m)
$20 = 474,500,000 sq mm (474.5 sq m)
$50 = 197,600,000 sq mm (197.6 sq m)
$100 = 103,350,000 sq mm (103.35 sq m)
You can multiply these by however many million dollars applies, e.g. 13.8 for George Trumbull, other multiples for Brad Cooper, Rodney Adler, AMP departing boss, etc.

Number of notes to make up forty-five thousand dollars
$ 5 = 9,000
$ 10 = 4,500
$ 20 = 2,250
$ 50 = 900
$100 = 450

Average wage, laid end-to-end, would stretch a length of:
$5 = 1,179,000 mm; 1,179 m = 1 km, 179 m
$10 = 621,000 mm; 621 m
$20 = 328,500 mm; 328.5 m
$50 = 136,800 mm; 136.8 m
$100 = 71,550 mm; 71.55 m

Covering an area of:
$5 = 76,635,000 sq mm; 76.635 sq m
$10 = 40,365,000 sq mm; 40.365 sq m
$20 = 21,352,500 sq mm; 21.3525 sq m
$50 = 8,892,000 sq mm; 8.892 sq m
$100 = 4,650,750 sq mm; 4.65075 sq m

Well, it may give you some sense of it ... (don't be depressed).
[Reminds me. This week I noticed that someone had glued down a $5 note on my nearest pedestrian crossing. I wonder if they were trying to show that our neighbourhood was too rich for people to bother picking one up? Or that we were rich & greedy & would risk stopping on the crossing (even when the "walk" sign is on, traffic comes around the corner onto you) to try & retrieve it? Or, since it's school holidays, maybe it's just something for a young person to watch & be amused by.]
Thursday, October 10, 2002
While checking for a source for Slavenka Drakulic's beautiful/tragic/thoughtful piece about the destruction of the Bridge over the Neretva River at Mostar, originally in The Observer in 1997(?)
(quoted at users.tyenet.com/kozlich/workshop.htm), I found this interview, entitled The Normalcy of War Criminals
It deals with subjects my friends & I have been considering.
(I remember Clive James writing in one of his essays that he feared if he had been a German in the 1930s & 1940s, that he may have ended up being a camp guard. We nearly all have the capacity for extraordinary things, both good & bad.)

Meanwhile, another place to find some interesting discussions (apart from my favourite, Margot Kingston's Webdiary [NEW SITE webdiary.smh.com.au]) on the Sydney Morning Herald site)
is on the United Kingdom's "The Independent" newspaper site:
which includes one of the people who know the Middle Eastern situation, Robert Fisk, e.g. his piece on the first Anniversary of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA at One year on: A view from the Middle East - part of their general coverage of that anniversary, which is at Reflections on September 11.
Oddly, he doesn't seem to appear in their list of regular columnists or commentators, tho' if you use their "Search this site" box with his name, he obviously writes fairly regularly for them.

* A bunch of possible links:
www.un.org/ Pubs/ chronicle/ 2004/ issue3/ 0304p77.asp
www.haverford.edu/relg/ sells/ mostar/ mostar.html
A list of references to the story of the Mostar bridge
www.geocities.com/ Heartland/ 1935/ bridge.html
www.archaeology.org/ 9801/ abstracts/ bosnia.html
Against anthropocentrism: the destruction of the built environment as a distinct form of political violence (urbicide)
www.theage.com.au/ articles/ 2006/ 03/ 23/ 1143083899330.html

Labels: , , , , ,

War Prayer
Checking out some things about TV series Babylon 5 (parts of which reflect current subjects of interest) [In-depth analysis:
I was intrigued to find episode title "The War Prayer" (www.midwinter.com/lurk/making/warprayer.html) came from a short Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorn Clemens) story. Pertinent whenever & wherever someone is whipping up bellicose feeling, e.g. India v Pakistan, etc, etc, etc. He also is an interesting writer in several ways. Here we are rather fond of his comments about Australia when he visited. Will have to look them up for you.

This is a short biography, with links to several stories:
and a more 'literary' discussion of him, especially his skepticism: www.yorku.ca/twainweb/filelist/skeptic.html

The War Prayer links (It's been used recently too, about current subjects:):
One of my reasons for reading science fiction (as opposed to sword & sorcery style fantasy or space-located varieties of westerns, &c) is that it can deal with all sorts of ideas & speculations about humanity, society, reality, &c. This edited extract deals with a subject that's been discussed very many times.

From "Inheritor" by CJ Cherryh
(p 365 of my paperback edition)
Third in a series set on an alien world where 'stranded' humans are co-existing uneasily with another race who are said not to have emotions in the same way as humans. CJC tends towards the 'higher' end of 'space opera' — lots of action & excitement, but touching on bigger themes — tho' she also does other sub-genres.

"Not love, he thought to himself. And then thought, ... maybe they'd had such rotten luck with the love and man'chi aspect of relations because that word in [English] blurred so many things together it just wasn't safe to deal with.
They were lovers. But Ragi said they were sexual partners.
They were lovers. But Ragi said they were associated.
They'd made love. But Ragi said there they were within the same lord's manchi.
They'd made love. But Ragi said there were one-candle nights and two-candle nights and there were relationships that didn't count the candles at all.
They'd made love. But a Ragi proverb said one candle didn't promise breakfast. ...
He was quite out of his depth trying to reckon that. But with Jago he certainly wouldn't count the candles. Whatever they could arrange, as long as it could last from both sides, that was what he'd take."

Statistics in Wonderland
The Fallacy of Averages OR Spreading it Around?
[NOTE: If you can suggest a better title, I'd be glad. Am not happy with any I've given it.]
Take a happy group of 10 survivors on the bead economy.

When we first meet them the bead distribution is:
One lucky beado with 90 beads;
one poor beader only 10;
eight get 50 beads each.
Total 500, average 50 beads.

'Big Boy Beado' gets tax cuts and subsidies - funded by cutting general public physical and social infrastructure and ‘middle class welfare’ - does beadstock option speculation - partially funded through cutting company workforces, and wages and conditions, &c. of average working beaders (moving beads from them to him*). ‘Disadvantaged’ Beadie gets social equity beadfunding from the government to 15 . One lucky / clever / cunning BeadHolder more than doubles his to 110 (maybe in Microsphere shares or real beadstate).

Now we have:
BBB with 225 beads instead of 90;
DB gets 15 instead of 10;
BH has 110 instead of 50; and
seven little beaders only have 25 where they had 50.
Total 525, average 52.5 beads each.

"We’re ahead!", cries the Tribal Council. "Average beads are up!" and "The poor are better off!" and "The pie is bigger!" they crow.

But 7 of 10 are worse off beadwise, & underlying social/infrastructure support for all is less. Even the poorest is worse off compared to the highest (earlier 10/90 (=1/9th) is greater than current 15/225 (=1/15th)).

Which do you think is a happier & more cohesive group; before or after?

[*If they do have shares, or their superannuation trustee has, their dividends or equity increase is far less each than that of a very large beadshare holder - rather like the difference between what you personally could do with the $3-$4/week recent average tax cut and what the government could do with the total]
Anniversary Exchange
(from the ABC's Foreign Correspondent guestbook)
Name: steve
Visit Time: 19:49:14 10 Sep, 2002 EST
September 11 will be a day that I will never forget. As I sat watching from relative in Melbourne I found myself crying and angry at the appaling loss of innocent life. It makes me angry when I read people justifing these attacks because of American foreign policy...

Name: Mezza
Visit Time: ? 10 Sep, 2002 EST

Dear Steve,
it is disappointing, after a whole year of repeating it, that people can't or won't understand. "Justify" is not the same as "explain".
People were asking (11/9/2002): "Why did it happen?"
Then when you say anything other than: "They are evil; they hate us because we are good.", you are accused of supporting them!
This thinking has killed millions over the last couple of thousand years (if not longer), causing untold suffering, destruction & waste as each side proclaims God or History or Righteousness is on their side. I've considered trying to shut all the dogmatic fanatic types of all ideologies/theologies into the world's largest high-security enclosure to let them beat each other to death with rocks while the people who can live together peaceably continue with their lives outside, but it seems impractical, alas.

Subject: Re: Anniversary Exchange
On Wed, 11 Sep 2002 14:41, Alex wrote:

> I liked that response. Very Henri Barbusse.

> The guy was French. In WW1.
> In Flanders. Wrote a book about people drowning (literally) in mud.
> Wrote, EXTREMELY CLEARLY of the average soldiers hatred of the
> politicos that put them there. Wrote that he wanted to see the
> politicos "locked in a cage naked, killing each other with lumps of
> wood." This was a sentiment echoed by Erich Maria Remarque in "All
> Quiet on the Western Front" ... again lumps of wood.
> Remarques book is very well known because of the film, and because
> of being burnt by Hitler. Personally, I found Barbusse' book to be better.
> Sadly not enough people have read either book, but I found the
> vitriol in your sentiments to be particularly reminiscent of the time.
> I personally, would gas the whole f...ing lot of them.

On 11 Sep 2002 at 16:02, MC Pye wrote:
>> Henri Barbusse?
>> Had a quick look up of his details -- he was born 1873, so in his forties
>> during The War To End Wars. Different to many of the young idealists so cruelly disillusioned during WWI.
[Here is a translation of his most famous book, Under Fire (Le Feu). See also a few notes on the group he was involved with after the Great War, Le Clarté, and his contribution personally to the art of World War I, and as an inspiration for others, e.g. the painter Otto Dix]

>> Interesting about lumps of wood. I originally (quite a while back)
>> had image of the hardliners in Palestine/Israel being walled off in
>> a rocky/sandy quarter, where large lumps of wood are rare & rocks in glut.
>> Have since broadened to fundamentalists of all descriptions, whether
>> communist of whichever faction, Hindu, Christian, 'economic
>> rationalist', etc. Whoever puts resulting truly awful human
>> suffering & destruction of natural world lower than some ideal.
>> Some suffering is virtually unavoidable without having a
>> "With Folded Hands"
) (Jack Williamson story about ultimate 'Nanny State') world.
>> Why in hell make it worse?
Amongst My First Reactions to sitting, glazed with horror & seeking a path through the pity, foreboding, terror, of the late-night 'adult themed' drama which unfolded across my television screen over the evening & early morning (here in Australia) of September 11th & 12th, 2001

The bitter ghosts of so many ruined cities now have their smoking mirror in the body of the United States. A sunny summer day is split by the hard rain of glass & rubble, a blue sky broken by smoke. How many shattered families [in other cities] will hold up faded photos, bloodied clothes and say "Do you see how it feels"?

Irony: woman interviewed on the New York street is saying 'we won't kill mothers and children' - do you think she's forgotten or she doesn't know?

But vengeance is a poison pleasure, I struggle to abjure it for the comparatively little injuries done to my land, my city, my home - that way starts the slide back down to tooth & claw; the little rolling stones down the scree slope that build into a tidal wave of rock killing & crushing. Justice is just us.

Here in small-hours Sydney the starry sky has clouded and cold rain is glazing the city. Here we are field mice in the grass while hounds attack a giant boar; our futures can be crushed in sideshow 'collateral damage'. Flicking across television -- CNN, ABC, BBC, radio reports -- is looking at a cracked mirror through a broken window. Heroism has happened today, a glint of gold always in the dirt & blood, a seed of hope like mountain ash that quickens in disasters - but life creates enough [disasters] without help. The maze of shadows deepens and we hope in fear that the kind & strong among us can keep their guiding lights to help us go beyond it, not back.

My friends' theories centre either on one of the USA's own anti-government /anti-corporate groups or a Middle Eastern-based one. Well organised & co-ordinated, striking some key points quickly before alerts can go out, then a follow-up to catch crowds, rescuers, &c. Very media-savvy. The recent assassination of the main Afghanistani anti-Taliban leader is now perhaps making a part of this pattern -- he might have been used as a rallying point against whoever is found to be responsible.

Suspect John Hunt/John Howe/Michael Howard/John Howard's visit might end early. Hope he doesn't get ideas - never did find out if that Olympic security Act got its sunset clause despite Ric Birch's personal assurance.

Will try to sleep now, and later work once more on my fossils of human fault & foible, justice struggling to be born.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002
William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918) - Flawed Jewel
A writer who, tho' odd, I recommend (c'mon, suck it & see). After an active life Hodgson's literary career was short-lived. He joined the Royal Artillery at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, and was killed in action in 1918.

Here be links, stories online, stuff about him.
Also try checking back "up" the directory tree on these addresses, as some sites have other literature, horror & other parts that you might like to explore:

You'll need patience for the loading of this one [big grafix & 2D scrolling needed], but there are lots of different bits you can get to from here including Lovecraft stuff and quite different subjects:
(don't miss http://home.clara.net/andywrobertson/dslnotesoncontent.html)
... you may recognise one portion :)

For an example of his 'straight' horror/mystery style, see the story 'A Voice in the Night' -
for the story itself (some of these have others of his stories, or ones by other writers).
and also vcme.org/WHH.html
home2.inet.tele.dk/bibliste/text/whh_voic.htm where there is a music piece based on it.
There is supposed to be a movie of it made in 1934, and it was an episode of Hitchcock's Mystery Theatre (or Hitchcock's Half Hour or whatever that old Alfred Hitchcock TV series was called). Probably pretty hard to find either.

Then there's this Lovecraftian site (WHH is in a similar vein to his 'school'):
Hmmm ... (well, haiku are supposedly 'cooler' than limericks (which I prefer - OK, even Homer nods, but you can say serious things in them - will post examples))

Other, vaguely related things, include Annotatorman (in 'Athens'), someone who obviously has a lot of time on his hands, or doesn't sleep or something. [This is the sort of thing I could do - my brain works that way ... No! No! Retro Satanus! ... that way madness lies.]
Not that I'm ungrateful for it all.

That'll keep youse-all busy for a while if you're into this type of stuff at all.
Among the uncollected poems left after his death is this one.
It shows some of both his good & bad features:

To God
I am dying, and my work is all before me;
As a pencil that doth break beneath the knife
So have I brake before the bitter sharping
Of the grim blades of thought that shaped my life,
And made me fit and keen to speak before Thee,
And now I die, just trained enough to sing.

Why must I die when I was fit to speak?
And why the bitter training of these years -
That bred expression's need, and the live promise
That I should sing my song? And now, too weak,
I see my glories through a mist of fears,
As a dumb seer that dies beneath death's kiss,
Seeing great visions from a cask of iron.

O Thou Who Art; but not by man described -
A Force all hidden from the eyes of Proof,
Believed in dumbly, or with foolish word,
By man whose thoughts are by emotions bribed,

If Thou art there, so utter and aloof,
Answer my heart that flutters, here, absurd,
Asking unguided questions of the Dark -
Hope asking - Hope that can but Hark.
Note that like Shakespeare he can pun in serious mode
(see the Dover Cliffs scene in King Lear).


The Spider, Walt Whitman 1819-1892

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

Golden Orbs recolonise Olympic Park (Sydney Morning Herald, 10-Apr-2003)

Recipe 1: Juniper Love-apple Salad for Two
Juniper Love-apple Salad for Two
2 small/medium tomatoes
1 large salad-type potato
(or a couple of smaller ones)
2 handfuls watercress (more if you like greens)
(may include up to 1/3 other savoury greens, e.g. Italian parsley)
8-12 juniper berries
[for omnivores, add]
1 thigh or equivalent amount of smoked chicken
1/2-1 tbsp oil
(plain olive, lemon-olive or plain mustard)
1/2-1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Cube potato, just cover in water with a dash of the oil & half the juniper berries, cook to desired texture.
Break up or crush remaining juniper berries, add to oil, briskly mix in vinegar, leave to infuse.
Dice tomatoes & place in bowl.
Cube smoked chicken (if wanted). Add to tomatoes.
When potato is cooked, spread on plate to cool (in fridge if you're in a hurry, but don't chill). If desired crush & add cooked berries to dressing. Alternatively, add hot potatoes & leave to cool after adding dressing.
Rinse greens if there's any grittiness, tear leaves off main stems & tear larger leaves into bite-size pieces, chop stems into small pieces. Add to tomato mix.
Add potato cubes. Quickly toss & mix ingredients.
Add dressing to salad, toss to coat other ingredients - some may prefer to take the berries out first.
Serve after a short while, or longer if waiting to cool.
Goes nicely with plain wholemeal bread.

Powered by Blogger
Feedback by backBlog

 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

This is my blogchalk:
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.