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Something that I have long believed is that not having a rite of passage to denote when a boy becomes a man is a major shortcoming of our culture thus I share a link to this which makes a very good argument for finding a way to make one.
For once rather than to write laughing at the silliness of the left I come to praise a piece in the Guardian, as they argue that 24 hour news channels are well past their use by date and actually increasingly irrelevant to the viewing public. I now have access to sky news on our T box but I never bother watching it and to be frank the actual news coverage on the ABC News 24 is rather dull, a tedium that is only broken by the fact that they do have a few programs that are talking heads discussing the issues de jour.
I think that this prediction has legs :
A news service for the next two decades
The legacy of 24-hour news channels is holding back broadcasters in adapting to the potential of the digital age. If you gave a digital news operation even a fraction of the tens of millions of pounds currently spent annually on a news channel, just think of what you could achieve.
A truly news-on-demand service, with no heritage – not reusing TV material, nor reusing print – could be genuinely ground-breaking, reconstructing a news operation and creating a new relationship with audiences and consumers.
This is starting to be recognised in the US:
• CNN’s Jeff Zucker has planned major changes recognising there is “not enough news” to fill a news channel
• CBS is reported to be developing an online streamed news channel, separate from broadcast channels
• Al-Jazeera in the US has developed AJ+ as an online-only source of video news
• Yahoo has recruited one of America’s biggest news names in Katie Couric to “anchor” their news home page
• Digital companies such as Vice and Buzzfeed are recruiting significant numbers of foreign correspondents and opening global bureaux – built around the web, not satellites
Elsewhere there are fewer signs of experimenting with continuous TV news. ITV, unhindered by a news channel, reconfigured their website into a live stream that is both innovative and regularly beats the competition. The BBC’s director of news, James Harding, has acknowledged the need for more R&D by creating a “Newslabs” team looking at data and visual journalism. But perhaps the industry needs a bolder vision.
Its news Comrades, but not as we have known it
One of the sadly amusing aspects of the way that our society views sexuality is the rather desperate way that so many “gay rights activists want to insist that all aspects of human sexual practice are “natural” and therefore should be absolutely affirmed by society and by extension our education system. Surely it all boils down to precisely how “natural” is defined and its the definition that underlays the piece in today’s Fairfax press that attacks Keven Donnelly for committing the heinous sin of suggesting
‘Forgotten is that many parents would consider the sexual practices of gays, lesbians and transgender individuals decidedly unnatural and that such groups have a greater risk in terms of transmitting STDs and AIDS.”
In the eyes of the “politically correct” it is the worst sin imaginable to be in any way critical of the sexual practices of gay people and the worst possible sin is to claim or imply that such practices are “unnatural” . While I and most other parents are more than ok with the idea that our children should be taught that there is a great deal of diversity in the way that human desire and sexuality is expressed there is no need to pretend that everything done in the quest for sexual pleasure is “natural”. It should be enough for students to learn that the primary consideration when it comes to any sexual activity between any individuals is that it has to be entirely consensual, we don’t have to pretend that there is anything “natural” about some types of sexual congress because homosexuals want to have their desires and sexual practices socially affirmed.
Yet the social engineers of the left just won’t give up on “buggery 101” until it is front and centre in every classroom and they will attack without mercy anyone who might dare suggest that some sexual practices are anything but natural. Thus we find Fairfax dragging out the cudgels to bash Kevin Donnelly just because he points out the widely held belief that not all types of sex are entirely approved of by the parents out there. The politically correct teaching unions of course think that they know better than parents but they forget that its not their place to dictate what is taught to our children. That is the prerogative of parents; teachers are both our servants and proxies in the teaching process not our betters or our masters and they clearly need to be reminded of this fact.
The begging bowl never enhances the look of any business and the SPC bid for government money certainly strikes me as a bit of underhanded blackmail. and what is especially galling is that the parent c0mpany Coca Cola Amatil are far from short of a quid themselves. To be honest the driving force here is the foolishness of allowing unfettered imports of cheap product because it enhances the profits of the supermarkets. As the family shopper I make a special effort to avoid foreign produce and imported canned and preserved fruit but when you see the price differential its hardly surprising that many shoppers are less discerning that I am.
I know that this may horrify some of my conservative friends but it seems to me that this whole saga is a very good argument for grower’s cooperatives running canning companies to preserve and market their produce. Its also a damn good argument for tariffs imposed upon all agricultural produce that we ourselves grow.
In another example of shopping sadness the butcher shop that I have been patronising for nearly thirty years is to be either sold or closed within the next 12 weeks and I am less than pleased about the prospect. Angus and Tom have been great examples of the perfect store keepers with well priced quality product and exemplary service to their customers. Its the very old story of a shopping mall management greedily charging outrageous rents and greedy adjacent supermarkets (Aldi and Coles) selling packaged meat at below cost prices. If they can find a buyer they will sell the goodwill but if they can’t then they will walk away. I know that that is the reality of free enterprise but I can’t help but think that its a far from attractive reality.
Strewth, looking back on this post I think my inner lefty has escaped! Now that is a real worry!
Don’t we all love family holidays?
There is the joys of packing and preparing one’s house for the planned absence, making secure that which you otherwise don’t ever lock, ensuring that nothing will be left to rot while you enjoy the seaside. The packing is a battle between having all that you need and not overloading the car (four people and everything needed for a week into one Tiida makes that pint pot look voluminous) but we did it. Then there was the drive there, which was mostly OK thanks to the driver having a good grasp of pain management and a Zen like discipline that enabled him to distance himself from the inevitable squabbles on the journey. Supermarkets are much the same, even in Yamba and once we had added groceries into an already tight squeeze well things got even nicer for the last little bit of the journey to the house that we had rented.
For me being horizontal was the long held dream and I left the family to unload and set up while I tried to recover…
My son was keen to try fishing and we gave it a go a couple of times, he caught his first fish sadly it was tiny and too small to keep but I think that it was a lovely moment none the less.
I read a complete Ian Rankin Novel which I enjoyed even though the plot was rather untidy and not exactly well resolved. I also read about half of “The snow falling on the cedars” which I found annoying because of the way the narrative jumped backwards and forwards in time I don’t think that I can be bothered reading it any further.
My beautiful wife did the walks north and south of where we were staying at Brooms Head, went swimming with the boy every day and generally reminded me of the things that I just can’t do any more. My daughter, who was most reluctant to come with us at all spent most of her time on the play-station enjoying virtual adventures but I did manage to get her to see the beach once while we were there.
All good things must come to an end and its also the same with family holidays and I would love to say that the journey home was just as smooth as the the drive there bit is was rather more tense and well, some war zones are more peaceful, all I will say is that teenagers are fun in confined spaces when mixed with emotional mothers and meal breaks and our neurotic hound who was the other passenger on this adventure. To top it off my beautiful wife left the hot chicken that we stopped to pick up for our dinner at the checkout of the Dayboro IGA so when it was time to make dinner we had just what I could scratch up from the (depleted) pantry for dinner last night.
As I opened with “Don’t we all love family holidays?” you may think that I hate them but the truth is I don’t, but this last one will not go down as a great time over all but I am sure that given time it will not be considered a disaster, just one of the lesser lights in the holiday firmament.
There is no place like home Comrades, no place at all.
Ah we are on the home stretch to Christmas and I for one have heaps of things that I want to do before the red suited one comes to visit. There is the inevitable cleaning up and preparation for the social event. some final shopping that has to be done to make certain there are enough provisions for seasonal feasting and and good cheer. There are still a few presents that need wrapping, still parcels through the mail that are anticipated and over which I worry about late arrival precipitating a disappointed son next Wednesday.
It seems like a big mountain to climb at present but we will get there, incrementally , one step at a time as most of us will mange to do at this time of the year and I just know that it will be worth it. That said I expect that my posting might be a little light on for the next week or so as I anticipate more time spent with ore serving the family.
So dear readers take this as my round about way of wishing you all a great and Merry Christmas
Ho ho Ho Comrades
Ah its the end of the road for Holden making cars here, well is anyone really surprised?
We have had so many factors working towards this eventuality for the last decade that I for one am entirely unsurprised. Definitely saddened but unsurprised. These days the daily driver is a Nissan here at Chez Hall and before that we had a couple of EB Falcons a Subaru, a Mazda Ute , a Diahatsu Hi Jet and many years ago I had a couple of different Holdens, in the first instance I had a FE utility and then I had a HR sedan. Like all petrol heads I had a sort of love affair with each of the cars that I have owned over the years and those Holdens are remembered very fondly.
The FE Ute was something of a journey and to be frank I don’t even remember how much I paid for it, or even where I bought it but I do remember that I bought it to do up, that it had no engine in it and I subsequently spent ages, many weeks in fact, cutting out the rust and welding in patches with the a borrowed Oxy set. I scouring the countryside for all of the right trim and parts to make it go. Thus I briefly owned a Torana that donated its engine/gearbox and disc brakes to the project a station wagon provided an alternative rear section to delete the spare wheel door and to allow a full rear bumper to be fitted. the love affair ended and I sold it on and even though I was good with that decision it was still a very sad day when I sold it to a local guy and sadder still when I would see it being driven around the town.
The HR I bought in the eighties as a going concern for the princely sum of $600 and apart from needing small rust repair in the floor it was a lovely old boat. Sure it was no sports car and after the 1200 Datsun that had taken us all around the country it was an absolute Limo, so we dubbed it “the Limo” at that time it was old enough to have a certain class of its own as an honest working car. The steering was a bit, shall we say, vague, the performance was stately rather than at all brisk but I loved its interior space after the Datsun and it had a certain charisma that keeps the model in the heart of many Holden buffs to this day. It was the car I owned when I got married and it carried us on our honeymoon tour of NSW national parks. The HR affair only ended because a stupid bitch ran into it in the Library car park badly denting the drivers door. I got a replacement door but I could never get it to fit as well as the original and it was just never the same car for me after that either.
The point of this ramble is to explain that the demise of Holden may have lots of economic reasons and I’m sure that the political hacks on both sides will give us a fine reasons and excuses why the company has finally decided to cease manufacturing here but personally I think that what it boils down to is that there is no longer very much to love about owning modern cars, they have all, almost without exception, become entirely bland and as ubiquitous as washing machines, there is next nothing to distinguish them one from another in performance , economy or style. Without romance it comes down to buying decisions on cost and perceived economy and the Commodore, like the Falcon suffered from the architecture of its design being big and heavy with a large lump of an engine. If only they had been innovative enough to put their cars on a serious diet that say them shed a few hundred kilos each while retaining the useful interior space that endeared them to generations of Aussies things might be different now.
The day has arrived, yep its the day upon which I usually get my annual dose of god bothering. You see each year I usually go to the local Carols on the mountain up at the Mount Mee show-grounds. But its raining here at present and they predict that this weather may well continue all day and that it may even intensify into a heavy rain this evening.
It will be a shame if it is washed out because its one of those events that brings the local community up here on the mountain together, we say our ‘hail fellow well met(s)” and share mutual acknowledgement and the sort of trivialities that are the communal glue of any society. I will also be a shame for our children who enjoy the theatre of the event and even for unbelievers like me there will be the disappointment of not having an opportunity to explain to my son that there are some admirable aspects to the Christian template for a good society once you strip away the supernatural nonsense and undeliverable promises of an afterlife of eternal adoration and servitude to the deity. What is not to like about kindness to our fellows, forgiveness to those who wrong us, honesty and respect to others? Mostly though I just like Christmas with its feasting and gift giving to those who we love. I also love the conceits and theatre of the festival. For instance I just adore the patter with my son when I talk about what Santa may be bringing him this year.
“There is no Santa dad” my boy tells me every time and I always pretend to be shocked at his statement.
“Of course there is” I repeatedly insist even though I know he is not buying it.
“We all know that its you who buys the presents” he shoots back with one of those grins that melts my heart
Which of course leads into some far from subtle hints about just what those presents should be.
Mean while my lovely daughter points out that my Ebay search list has a new category that is consistent with her own hearts desire and I just smile…