Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I just don't get it

“Al Fillmore rolls out of the forest on his four-wheeler with blood on his hands and triumph in his eyes. The adrenalin’s still pumping, he says, and he takes a while to collect himself.

An hour before dawn he pulled on fatigues, shouldered a $700 hunting bow and set off into the woods by his home in Wisconsin in search of fulfilment, excitement and venison. He hid and waited. As the sun came up, a 140lb whitetail doe wandered into his line of fire with a fawn trotting behind her.

“I didn’t want to take the fawn, I wanted to take the momma,” he says. So he killed the doe at 19 yards with a single arrow. It was a bad shot, not far forward of the rump, but the arrow’s expanding head severed an artery next to the deer’s spine. He gutted her close to where she fell, then called a friend to help him heave her into a pick-up as the car stereo played Knocking On Heaven’s Door.

He looks contemplative but sated. “I love nature,” he says. “I love these animals. The fawn will be fine.”

This article –in The Times today – is about how Paul Ryan (potentially the new US Vice President) is obsessive about the ‘stealthy art of bow hunting’.

Well I just don’t get it. I simply cannot imagine using a bow and arrow to kill an animal. Perhaps I would have done 5,000 years ago – but in 2012?

But in New South Wales - for the sake of political expediency – the government now allows hunting in National Parks. They broke an election promise because they needed a vote from the Shooters and Fishers Party.

Hunters are actually allowed in amongst the hikers, campers and picnickers to slaughter animals in droves with both guns and bows and arrows. 

Now the purpose of the legislation was for hunters to kill animals which are regarded as pests.

In practice of course they kill anything that moves - including occasionally – I am pleased to say – each other.

They also kill things that can barely move – such as Wombats.

This article tells how the Park Rangers feel about it – and how they find hundreds of mangled and mutilated native fauna – and also have to watch out for their own hides in the process.

I think we have a long way to go if at this stage of our ‘development’ as a civilization we still find pleasure in massacring native animals in such a barbaric fashion. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It does not seem to be very Christian

I have not blogged for nearly a week – for no particular reason – I just did not feel like blogging and had nothing particular to say.

I don’t talk about religion much any more because it is a pointless exercise - but PK brought this to my attention.

I find it fascinating – as I do all requests for intervention from God by sports people and teams – because if they are asking God to help them win – by definition they must be asking God to make the other person or team lose.

This does not strike me as being very Christian - and I have never seen a satisfactory explanation for it.

Sure I pray that I will be able beat Lenny at chess – but I also pray for him – just not quite as much. Lately we have been neck and neck so I might cut down the amount of prayer going his way.

But in the instance of the Texas school – there is really nothing surprising about this at all. 

There are regular battles within the Texas Board of Education to try to get Creationism taught in schools (Rick Perry thinks it already is).

Texas is also where the Republican Party platform states:

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
I am not making this up. The Washington Post article is here.
People like me have little to fear from religion – but I worry a lot about the ignorant nutters in political parties who have the power to subvert education because of their own crazy beliefs.
We had our first snow here yesterday. I did not get a photo so have given you one of Stadtpark in Spring. (Spot the Ducks). 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Many of my relatives in England have been saved. 

The dreaded Badger cull has been ‘postponed’ – and I hope will be cancelled completely.

They say there are scientific reasons for having to murder quite so many Badgers - but the original proponent of the scheme has changed his view and as reported today:

“The government's claim to a "science-led" policy was derided by Lord John Krebs, the architect of a landmark 10-year badger culling trial. He called it "mindless" and signed a letter with 31 other eminent scientists demanding the government reconsider its plan.”

I despair that any time any animal ‘threatens’ any aspect of humanity our immediate response is to kill it.

A classic case is the Grey Nurse shark which lives off the coast of NSW.

This shark used to abound in NSW waters and is completely harmless to humans. In the 1960s I used to surf at Manly (a Sydney beach) and occasionally caught the same waves as these sharks as they fed at dusk.

Through a range of murderous methods we have managed to turn it into a critically endangered species – it was estimated in 2000 that there were only 292 survivors.

Sometimes I despair that we cannot live on this planet without utterly trashing it and its native flora and fauna. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A reward for my patience

We discovered during online check in that Cate was in business class while I was in ‘wombat droppings’ class. This was not expected because Cate does not usually travel business class for shorter trips.

It pleased me because I immediately started constructing a blog post. Cate worried about this for a long time and finally – in the last queue to get onto the plane – she cracked and gave me her boarding pass.

Actually I think it was just a reward for my patience and fortitude while shopping with her – but in reality there is very little difference between business and WD classes except that in business class you get a meal prepared by Do & Co – and this is always good.

On Saturday night we saw Simon Callow in his one man show about Dickens – at the Playhouse Theatre.

I have been a fan of Simon Callow since the early 80s when he did a TV series ‘Chance in a Million’ with Brenda Blethyn (and I have never met anyone else who saw this).

He is a brilliant actor and his show – in which he performed roles from Dickens’s books – just as Dickens himself did in his ‘readings’ – was sensational.

It is a wonderful time of the year for Stadtpark and we had a burst of sunshine yesterday afternoon so I popped over to get some Autumn pictures.

I have put a few of these in Picasa on my blog.

Merisi is in America at the moment and is getting some terrific photos. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

But I did remember the batteries

London was terrific!

I found Sad Bastard’s chairs in every store we went into - and the bonus was that Cate found most of what she wanted in the one store – Hobbs – so I was spared the endless trudging up and down Regent Street, Oxford Street and Long Acre in Covent Garden.

We did end up having to buy another bag to carry home the loot. This is because we always travel with the smallest possible bags so that even when leave home we can barely get them closed.

I am always in favour of large bags because I know we (i.e. Cate) will always buy stuff.

She always says before we leave – ‘no I won’t be buying anything this trip!’


I must say we did buy a lot of books at Waterstones. It was such bliss being able to browse a real bookstore with English language books – and Waterstones in Piccadilly has five floors of them.

So we bought stacks – and could have bought hundreds – But I have noted quite a few I need to get from Amazon.

I was hoping to give you some photos of London – which is beautiful in the Autumn – but when I tried to take photos I discovered that I had left the camera memory card in my iMac – after the last download.

Although I did remember to charge the batteries before we left.

So I only have one photo – taken with my iPhone. Enjoy.

Tomorrow – our night with the incomparable Simon Callow - and what I hate about hotels.