Hello Cruel World
Saturday, December 28, 2002
Some Old Stuff I'm keeping here for the record

Tax or vision
Tuesday, March 13 2002

...Merrill Pye is depressed and frustrated by the petrol excise freeze
and the new homebuyers subsidy...

Do we have anyone who cares for the future in any position of
power, or is it only the ruthless, grasping & generally thoughtless
who bother to obtain or can plot to get it?

On March 5th's Webdiary you said John Howard said "...It is the
people's money, and they want it used in an intelligent fashion,
particularly when we've retired so much debt already." Whether
justifying a previous denial of basic supports to a decent human
society by producing a surplus was "wrong", or not, this petrol excise
cut is NOT using it in "an intelligent fashion"!

Jerry Schneider, professor emeritus of civil engineering at the
University of Washington in Seattle: "It makes me very
sad to see large sums of money being spent on ... dumb
things instead of technologies ... that hold some potential for
dealing with the truly horrendous congestion,
carnage and pollution that we are experiencing in all of our large and
medium cities."

The same goes for the ruddy pathetic, disgustingly
short-sighted policies our government has recently
been following.

I have similar feelings in relation to the new home payment.
What about the idea of only getting the allowance IF assorted
sustainability/low energy/recyclability/use of recycled
material /water saving/&c, &c, technology was used? And a higher
allowance for more such features! These are things already available,
just awaiting some large-scale use. Quite a few are Australian

I was bitterly confirmed in my contempt for the cupidity &/or
stupidity of various groups by the lost opportunities in a number
of large-scale developments in the last 5 years or so.
Ignorance is curable & can be forgivable; stubborn unwillingness
to improve or learn is less so, particularly when the results are
so damaging.


Straight from the heart
Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Howard and human rights - here's your feedback, the most
since the diary started.

Merrill Pye
... imagine a jackboot stamping on a human face, over & over
[1984, G. Orwell] --
or to update, perhaps we could swap jackboot for stylish
polished slip-ons.

To apologise, I regret I haven't been able to adequately address
the absolutely stunning piece of, of -- what would you even call
it!? -- announced today by what I'm ashamed to call the Australian

Fair go mate (remember that?), the UN does have its problems;
so have the Christian church(es) & other religions or beliefs;
so blasted well has humanity as a whole. Does that mean you tear
up even the most basic of human(e) social foundations? Break
down the bedrock - the mortar - of human respect? Here we could
speak of babies & bathwater; spitefulness to nose & face, any
number of cliches.

If we want to protest internationally about trade problems or overseas
abuses of various sorts, we could think on the saying ''Do as you
would be done by.'' Or is this what they want, which is even
more worrying?

Our elected representatives seemingly wish to ally themselves
-- thereby daubing _every_ Australian with that dark & sticky tar
-- with the basest of tyrannies, dictators, ''warlords'' & ''strongmen''.

Nowadays people associate Germany with two world wars, & the
horror of the Final Solution. For a hundred or more years before,
though, it was associated with philosophy, poetry & music. Can we
be so sanguine about Australia? ''The price of liberty is eternal
vigilance'' and you must know for what to be vigilant.

Was originally going to say I was dumbstruck, but don't think
that'd hold up to examination. Couldn't start until galvanised
when Margo spoke on LNL tonight. So much more to say but this
is long enough. Have had unsuccessful & depressing experience
with most of my idealistic causes, but am cheered that there are
others who care about things I consider important.

In Remembrance
September 11 2002

The Webdiaries of September 12 and 13 last year follow

Wednesday, Sept 12, 2002

Merrill Pye in Sydney

My worries for reverberations continue, but down the bottom of
Pandora's Box was hope. Just maybe some sort of common feeling
might come out of this. New York and Washington DC now maybe
can feel like Belgrade and Baghdad did. Those pretty pictures,
like movies or computer games, missile-cam and night-vision,
now connect with reality, with pain, grief, loss and destruction.
Monday, December 02, 2002
December First. Advent thoughts
December 1st, Advent Sunday
When all the troubles of the world eagerly flew out of Pandora's Box to scatter themselves across the world, last of all, scrabbling out from where it had beencrushed down to the bottom, was hope.

Is hope perhaps the most devious of humanity's woes? Or is the price we pay for it; the longing, putting off, tearing apart of hearts, worth that toll?

Ten years ago now, during her final illness I got a card for my friend Bernadette. The drawing showed from behind a fairly plump & fluffy cat with an anxious expression hanging by its front claws from the slowly shredding paper of the card itself. The motto beneath was something like "Keep on hanging on". After her death, I found at the same local shop (one of the many that have come & gone in the maelstrom of Darling Harbour retail), a t-shirt with the same design & wore it several times to work to help cheer us all up, and at other times 'round home. It is still in my home wardrobe.
Maybe next time I get back there I'll remember & have time to have a look for it. It might be a help now too.

In Frank Herbert's 'Dune', one of the main differences between the Fremen & Harkonnen — partly emphasised by the gross obesity of the Baron & the way he avoided its difficulty using gravity lifters – was pointed out by Liet Keynes (Keynes is a resonant name, like Fremen – I always pronounce it like 'free men'). He said that the Fremen could wait the longest time he knew between desiring something & reaching their hand out for it. Advent is about waiting, about turning to hope out of the depths.

At another place the villainous Baron talks to the nephew he hopes to inherit his power (see also Commodus character in 'Gladiator') and tells him to always be hungry, because desperate, hungry people will do anything to survive, and that is the kind of drive he will need to keep power.

There are more & more people round who look like Baron Harkonnen, pointing out some of Herbert's morals — why was the verb for the spice trade always "flow", for instance? Shakespeare's Caesar, tho', pointed out the danger in 'lean & hungry men' too. There are driven, pinched types eager to bring others 'into line' who we also
should be wary of — zealot, fanatic, hardliner, the doctrinaire type. No matter what their belief system: religious, political, economic — even (this is difficult to say for me) some people called conservationists or environmentalists.

Cock-eyed Optimist, from South Pacific
South Pacific lyrics at guntheranderson.com
South Pacific lyrics at rochester.rr.com
& you can hear it at the Amazon site South Pacific merchandise & sound bites at Amazon

This includes the lines:
I could say life is just a bowl of jello
And appear more intelligent and smart
But I'm stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope
And I can't get it out of my heart
Not this heart

Casey Chambers' 'Ignorance' has a quite different idea; a dark & powerful song. [NB: Beware popups at lyric sites.] (hidden track at the end of Barricades & Brickbats album)
Ignorance lyrics at azlyrics.com
Ignorance lyrics at lyricscafe.com
Ignorance lyrics at poplyrics.net

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Sunday, December 01, 2002
On the first day of Summer, my true love gave to me ...
December 1st (1/12/2002), is the first day of Summer in Australia.
Unlike many countries, due to a quirk in our early settlement here in
Australia, we change our seasons officially on the first day of the
month, rather than going by the equinoxes & solistices.

We are not celebrating greatly. Autumn & Winter were warm & dry.
Spring has been very hot; dusty, dry, drought-struck. Water
restrictions have started in many places: in some by request,
voluntarily, until certain water storage levels; in others already
by regulation. The bushfire season has started fairly badly, &
our memory of the awful time we had last summer builds dread
for this one.

More Whinging follows in the Good Things - in case you want to avoid it
One Small Good Thing:
I was diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer just before Easter
(end of March - our Autumn harvest festival), had radiation &
chemo-therapy, then an operation in July (mid-Winter). After
some time healing up after this, there was more "mopping up"
chemo-therapy, which just finished on Friday (end of Spring).
Friday we had our first widespread heavy rain for over 6 months.
Today we had some more.

The operation & its consequent permanent physical disability;
the travelling (just over an hour each way) by two buses to & from
the hospital has been a real trial of mental & physical strength.
Sometimes the glare & heat walking from the stops or waiting
in the 'shelters' (Some eejut designed new ones with flat glass roofs
& sides! We routinely get 85-95 degree days each summer,
100+ scarcer, but always some; and Sydney humidity can be a killer.)
while in pain & exhausted has been difficult to bear. Apart from
getting almost no rain at all for almost 6 months, the humidity
has been extremely low; 5-25%.

Despite these problems, I don't know if I would have coped in a 'normal'
Autumn/Winter/Spring, which would have much more wind, rain &
cold & grey, cloudy days. Hobbling along painfully & with difficulty
with my stick & medical supplies, trying to cope with a flapping
wet raincoat & hold an umbrella or hat, or put up with rain soaking
hair & running down neck under coat. Tho' I prefer cold to heat,
dark days depress me deeply and the horrid wet-blanket sticky
heat building up over November enervates me entirely.

Between pain, sickness, bodily humiliation & my partner's death,
letting go would have been even more tempting than it has.
'A consummation devoutly to be wished'. There mightn't have
been the energy needed to summon the 'inner mongrel' to growl:
"Bugger youse all! I will survive to gnaw your spurning heel again,
you cold, careless, greedy bastards. You won't win, without a
bloody good fight."; to grit the teeth (literally, my jaw gets sore) &
carry on.

"Sheer plod makes plough down sillion shine".

Still, does it balance, so far, a couple of other human deaths,
thousands of livestock & wildlife dying or horribly suffering, the
destruction of homes & farm buildings, millions of acres of bush &
pasture burnt out, thousands of tons of our thin soil blowing
out to sea in duststorms, families, farms & businesses going
broke (possibly some suicides -- even worse, murder-suicides),
who knows what other horrible effects?
Would it not be foolish, tho', to blame myself for getting some
unplotted advantage from such distress & destruction. I don't think
I've either caused or furthered it, or gloried in others' pain, but rather
conserved our little domestic water & contributed to aid appeals
as much as we could, now I'm on upaid leave & surviving with my frail old
mother on her widow's pension.

One Big Good Thing:
At least we're in a country with some sort of decent social security
& medical system. In the 'developing' world, I would probably
have just died in an extremely unpleasant, slow way -- perhaps
sending any family into penury trying to pay for some sort of medicine.
In the USA or Japan, I might have survived, but again probably
only by bankrupting myself & perhaps others, and perhaps taking
myself & mother into the poor, sick, unwanted 'underclass'. I don't
know very much about the medical/social setup in other places
in the 'developed' world.

The people who are eating away at this system are just one example
of the type I mentioned before, that I hope to survive to frustrate with
whatever strength & mind remain.

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 / . 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.