Fighting the good fight without going mad

So Donald Trump is the President of the United States and a lot of people are very frightened.

I am a student of history (literally, I studied it at university) and I see very alarming parallels between the actions of the Trump administration and the early days of Hitler and the Nazis.  I’m not alone in this. The tweet below went viral this week, because many people can see the same similarities.

holocaust-museum

I am worried about where this is going and I am worried about what is happening right now. Continue reading

Encouraging change. Or, how not to be a dick about things that matter

Okay, I’m going to make myself unpopular here, I’m sure.  Because these days, it seems that everyone has a cause and the way they show their social responsibility is by being a giant pain in the arse about it. And dog help anyone who dares to suggest that they should get off their soapbox for a second.  But I’m still under the influence of the Honesty Ferret, so what the hell, I’m going to suggest exactly that. (At some length, too, because it’s taken me a while to tease out these ideas, so consider yourself warned!)

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am the last person to say that one shouldn’t have ideals, causes and campaigns.  As someone concerned about the environment, poverty, women’s rights and social justice – and far from quiet about any of those issues – it would be very hypocritical of me to say anything of the sort.

And I’m not going to mention a certain person, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that there are changes happening in the corridors of power in 2017 that are making a lot of people very edgy.

But I’m here to say that it’s precisely because there are important issues in the balance – vital issues, matters of life and death – that we have to be nice to each other. When the world appears to be going mad, we HAVE to find ways to talk to each other, even when it seems we are on opposite sides of a chasm.

Let me explain.

I think that, if you truly want to change something – a big complicated something that requires a society-wide change – you need to change people’s hearts and minds.  Continue reading

Ebook or Paper? You Decide!

Every now and again, the ‘battle’ between ebooks and paper books rears its head again, in the columns of media outlets with slow news days on their hands.  I think, as I have always thought, that it’s kind of silly, so I wrote a silly thing in response.  If silly is your jam, I think you’ll enjoy it.  🙂

Ladieeees and Gentledudes!  It’s here!  What you’ve all been waiting for!

The stoush of the century, the showdown to beat all showdowns, the take-no-prisoners death match of all time!

In the red corner, we have the champion, the old faithful, the never-beaten, bastion of taste and quality, the protector of all that is good in storytelling, the… PRINT BOOK!

And in the blue corner, the upstart challenger, the take-on-all-comers, cheap and cheerful bringer of the apocalypse the… E-BOOK!

It’s going to be an epic battle, one for the ages, so settle in and…

“Excuse me…”

The man with the microphone halted abruptly, startled into silence by a tug on his sleeve.  He wouldn’t normally have been put off his stride by a trifle, but this was no normal tug.  The hand on his sleeve was made of words.  Or, more accurately, one word.  The word ‘hand’, swelled in some places and twisted in others to make a workable finger and opposable thumb.  It was supported by the word ‘arm’, elongated to cover the distance between him and the screen of the e-reader in the blue corner.

He rubbed his eyes, but the hand didn’t go away.  Then he heard the voice again.

“I think you might be misrepresenting our relationship.”

There could be no mistake.  The voice was coming from the e-reader.

Continue reading

What I learned in 2016

US Two 409

This year, I have discovered that roses reward even a small amount of care with great beauty.  Which, come to think of it, is a good metaphor for the self-care I talk about below.

If I had to boil down 2016 into a single lesson, for the world at large, as well as for me, it would be that you shouldn’t take anything for granted.  Life can knock you down, knock you sideways or just end, when you are least expecting it.  So cling to the things you care about and fight for them!

But it also taught me, personally, a bunch of other things.  These are the ones that come to mind this hot January afternoon…

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New Year’s Notions

safe_image-phpIt’s coming up to a new year, after a year that left a lot to be desired (see previous post) and, as usual and culturally normal, I’m thinking about what I want the coming year to hold.

But I am emphatically NOT talking about New Year’s Resolutions, because we all know that they are not worth the paper or cyber-space they’re written on.

I’m also not going to participate in the annual self-flagellation that marketers love so much to capitalise on.

We (and the mags and websites with content to fill) love to talk about what we should do less of: we should weigh less (always, and quite regardless of whether our health will actually benefit).  We should eat less; less  altogether and especially less sugar/carbs/fat/cheese/meat… or whatever is the bête noire of the moment.  We should drink less coffee or alcohol or diet coke.  We should spend less money and less time on social media.  We should work less – or relax less, depending on who you ask.

It’s a curiously puritanical approach to life, in a culture that simultaneously urges us to indulge our every whim.  Continue reading

It’s Christmas and I’m grateful

three-musketeers

This picture was on display in all of our houses.  It’s a few years old now, but still a favourite.

2016 hasn’t been the best of years.  As a family, we’ve had some complicated health issues, and we lost a dear friend, whose spirit wasn’t ready to die, but whose body had finally had enough.  She fought for every one of her sixty years.  I loved her and I miss her dreadfully.

But today, it’s Christmas, and I’m grateful for the good things.  Because I am a believer and it’s Christmas, this has come out in the form of a prayer.  If that’s not your style, feel free to skip the God parts.  I hope that you, too, have things to be grateful for this festive season and that you like it. Continue reading

What’s your weakness?


It’s official.  When it comes to garlic bread, I have no chill.

I always cook more than I need and then the only thing that stops me from eating all that I’ve cooked is manners.

But that doesn’t work if there’s no one else there, or the only one who is has already had enough. Then it’s just me and my certain knowledge that my gall-bladder-less body will punish me violently if I continue.

So far, the fear is winning.  But once my stomach has settled, I make no promises about these leftovers.

What about you? Do you have a food kryptonite?

The Honesty Ferret

So, this return to the blog has been interesting…

I was under the paw of the black dog of depression for a long time.  Well, a long time for me.  Not compared to those who have struggled always, but it took two years out of my creative life.

Recently, I got help and I’m feeling much better (you can read that story here if you want to) and the words are flowing again.

But what words!  Something interesting has happened.  I don’t know whether it’s the relief – make that the unbridled joy – of feeling normal again, or whether it’s opening up about my malfunctioning brain, but it seems my filter has fallen off.

In one week back on the blog, I’ve posted about mental health (mine, as above), music (nothing new there) and religion.  I don’t know what the modern list is for ‘things you shouldn’t talk about at the dinner table’ (or on social media), but I think I’ve hit two of them there!

Continue reading

George Pell and shame

Fair warning: I’m about to talk about faith and religion, so if they aren’t your bag, please feel free to wander away now.  Also, this post is kind of long and very personal and if any of that, or incandescent rage, offends, you might want to look away.  If you want something lighter, may I suggest the post about what makes a man sexy?  That will be much more fun than this one.

Warning over. Read on at your own risk!

So, a couple of days ago, this happened.

Continue reading

Some music for the mid-week slump

Sometimes, whether it’s mid-week, mid-day or mid-life, you need a lift.

Music is one of my favourite lifters and recently, I have been delighted to discover  Postmodern Jukebox.  Their specialty is covers of modern songs in older styles – and man, do they have style!

I’ve included some of my favourites here, but there is whole rabbit hole full of others on youtube.  Make yourself a cuppa and go try a few.  There are links underneath the videos to buy recordings if you want them on your playlist.

Enjoy!

I can’t tell you how much I love this.  Actually I can.  I’m learning it and intend to include it in my future cabaret act!

The Star Wars arrangement alone is worth the price of admission, but Sarah Reich is fantastic!

Sadly, I can’t do an Andres-sisters-style number by myself, otherwise this might be on the list to learn too!

There is something appropriate about ‘Thrift Shop’ being done in a vintage style!

And finally, All About That Bass with harmonies and actual bass!