Category Archives: Literature

‘By Heart, not Rote’: some observations on geeks and geekiness

Chrissie Amphlett and the Divinyls provided a decent chunk of the soundtrack to my young life; reports of her early death (aged 53) hit me in the childhood memories, hard, much like the arrest of Rolf Harris, or pictures of Berliners crawling over the remains of the Wall. I have, by saying those things, disclosed […]

Bilbo baggage

The further back you can look, the further forward you are likely to see. Winston Churchill. With the release of the first film of The Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, the blogosphere is rife with Middle Earth allusions. My favourite is Frances Woolley’s wonderful post (with some great comments) The Macroeconomics of Middle Earth, though […]

'Do you have trouble with reading, writing, and numbers?'

There have been many campaigns, over the years, to improve literacy in Australia (and in other developed nations, too). It is well known that even with universal, compulsory education, a percentage of young people finish their schooling and really struggle with reading and writing. Finding ways to address this is a common and worthy cause […]

MCMXIV

Those long uneven lines Standing as patiently As if they were stretched outside The Oval or Villa Park, The crowns of hats, the sun On moustached archaic faces Grinning as if it were all An August Bank Holiday lark; And the shut shops, the bleached Established names on the sunblinds, The farthings and sovereigns, And […]

For I will consider my cat Jeoffry

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry. For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him. For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way. For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness. For then […]

Tony Abbott is a Spanker

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has admitted he’s not only a reader of “mummy porn”, the steamy sub-genre of literature featuring descriptions of sex scenes, he has a preferred author. Mr Abbott told the Sydney Triple M breakfast show The Grill Team, that he had read both The Bride Stripped Bare by Australian author Nikki […]

Fifty Shades of Meh

SL and I must be en rapport because we’ve both jumped on the Fifty Shades of Grey bandwagon at the same time: her earlier comments are here. The common thread is that neither of us are impressed, and neither of us likes bad writing. The difference with my review is that I broke my resolution […]

You’re not all that. You’re really not.

The other day, Pavlov’s Cat drew my attention to this piece on why bullies bully, particularly in schools. The tl;dr version? Telling kids that they’re all that produces narcissistic, entitled little monsters who think the world owes them a living. Contrary to the mythology, bullies have high self-esteem, not the opposite. Well well well (three […]

Year Zero, or all Revolutions Devour their own Children

Few people are aware that it was murdered Sturmabteiling (SA) leader, Ernst Röhm, who quipped — apparently just before his execution during the Night of the Long Knives — that all revolutions devour their own children. His papers, discovered after the War, reveal that he thought this observation applied to all revolutions. There was no ‘good’ […]

Your merit good is not meritorious, therefore it has been cancelled

Instead of doing, you know, actual work last night (how do I hate thee HMRC, let me count the ways), I spent quite a bit of the evening reading articles and responding to the news that new Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has cancelled (I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but never mind) the […]