Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Life or Death

Just watched a film called ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’. Long story short, four months from the discovery, earth was going to go up in flames. Riots and demonstrations followed the announcement. A placard caught my eye.

‘Water is Life’ it proclaimed. You can’t argue with that.

Water is Life.
We have to have water to live.
Like air, we can’t live without water.

Being so essential to our very existence, one would think that water would be the one thing that our expensive government, would be responsible for.

But no. Our government has shunted off this responsibility on to private bodies. And what do private bodies care about? Well, it’s not about building dams and conserving water.

Instead, throughout the Internet you will find articles on:

how to shower so you can use less water
how to flush – or possibly not flush your toilet – to use less water
how to clean using less water
how to garden using less water

in short, do things using less water, because the water bills keep going up and up - while the water levels are going down and down. 

So, if water – without which we can’t live – is of no interest to our government, what is it that engages their concern? 

'Politicians rack up more than $101 million in expenses' says one paper in 2012. And 'The most outrageous thing pollies have spent our money on' says another in 2016. There's nothing the little people and their bills.

Serious about saving water?  Please share.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

30 Ways to make 2018 a HAPPY year

If you've been wondering whether 2017 could have been better, introduce some of these changes and make 2018 a year to remember.

1. Spend more time with family and friends.
2. Stop smoking.
3. Lose weight by eating sensibly.
4. Exercise to become fit and healthy.
5. Enjoy and celebrate life daily.
6. Start saving.
7. Get rid of your credit cards.
8. Stop spending.
9. Learn something new.
10. Take up something you loved as a child.
11. Volunteer in causes you’re interested in.
12. Organise the various parts of your life.
13. Take a trip – even if it’s just a bus trip to discover the city you live in.
14. Talk to at least one new person every day.
15. Make a phone call weekly to interact with people you’ve lost touch with.
16. If you’re a TV addict, give up the habit for one day a week, and read instead.
17. Get a decent night’s sleep.
18. Get excited about life.
19. Get rid of junk.
20. Think twice about replacing it with other junk.
21. Stop drinking.
22. If you spend too much time sitting around, start walking or gardening or anything that will move you from that chair.
23. Buy a diary and start recording your daily activity, even if it’s only a walk to the corner store. 
24. Start remembering friends’ birthdays and anniversaries.
25. Visit your parents not regularly, but unexpectedly and often.
26. Drive with care and courtesy.
27. Give away what you don’t want or need.
28. Concentrate on doing rather than buying.
29. Meet up for coffee or lunch with friends you rarely see.
30. Do one thing a month you’ve never dreamt of doing – attending a local dance, art show, school fete, theatre production, church service etc.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Guilty or not Guilty

Most books and films portray Nero as a monster. Margaret George in her book, ‘The Confessions of Young Nero’, appears to have gone in the opposite direction, almost suggesting that he was more sinned against that sinning.

The only thing that doesn’t jell with this is his killing his mother; and not killing her in a fit of temper or aggravation, but after a carefully devised plan that publicly would be seen as an accident and not as an attempt on a mother’s life by her loving son.

The plan failed – needless to say. So, what could a son do? You guessed it. He chose a few of his loyal, well-armed followers, to visit her and despatch her once and for all.

Of course he felt guilty (and a lot of good that did his mum) and anxious (his innocence of the crime was not as convincing as it would have been if she’d met her death on a sinking ship for all the world to see).

So, whether he was not quite as bad as history portrays him, killing off his mother, and subsequently other people as well, would suggest that he’d earned his reputation as not a very nice person.

As an administrator, on the other hand, he had much to teach. Instead of trying every case publicly, with great soul-stirring orations for and against a case, he would ask for written submission. He felt this would stop cases being tried emotionally by mob rule rather than law. He would read the case, consider it, and make his decision. This would also be sent as a written document rather than delivered publicly as an emotionally-charged speech.

Imagine the amount of time and public money saved if this were adopted by our legal process.

It is remarkable that thousands of years down the track we still cling to the juror system which had its problems even in its hay day, and even much more so today.

It is a system so slow and so ponderous that some cases take years to be heard; and sometimes years to be resolved.

While the system itself is expensive - the upkeep of the premises, the staff, the filing of the tons of evidence – it is even more expensive for the plaintiffs themselves.

And how just can a system be, when you hear that it’s clever lawyers that help you win a case. And how about the poor who have no money for lawyers - especially the clever, expensive ones who win cases. What are their chances of winning their case?

Now imagine if your submission was wholly in writing. Like a letter to a prospective employer, you’d include anything and everything necessary to make your case as clear as possible. This would be read by, say, a number of judges separately. They could ask for more information if necessary, but once they felt they had everything they needed to make a decision, they’d get together and discuss the case amongst themselves. Then together they’d make their decision which would be relayed in writing to the person concerned.

Seeing as the whole matter is one of legality, why not let judges, whose position is based on their knowledge of law, decide.

I rest my case. What do you think?


Saturday, October 21, 2017

What's Your Favourite Wedding Gift?

It looks like I'm coming to the end of an era.

This morning I got up, and as usual went to the kitchen to make a pot of tea. I rinsed out the teapot, picked up the tea caddy, and expertly pushing down the lever prepared to deliver three scoops of tea leaves. (Yes, I'm going ot be the last person on the planet to transfer to tea bags)

Instead of the three  measured scoops of tea leaves, the  mechanism jammed and out came a stream of tea leaves. Before I finished I had a mountain of tea leaves in the pot, on the sink and on the floor.

As I considered the possibility that the tea caddy might be ready to retire, I realised that of all the weddings gifts that I received more than fifty years ago, there are only two that are still with me; and still a meaningful part of my life.

One is a crockery biscuit barrel (I have an idea it was from my husband's Manchester-born Quaker-lady grandmother). The other is the tea caddy which was from someone's aunt.

I've always found the barrel attractive, and retain it even though it has acquired a chip. On the other hand I didn't find the tea caddy attractive on my wedding day, and I don't consider it a thing of beauty now. However, it was a very thoughtful and progressive gift. Plastic was just beginning to make it's way to the market, and look at the convenience of just pushing in the little thingy down the bottom, and out comes exactly the amount of tea you need!

At least half a house-moves later, these two gifts are still with me, prominently displayed in my kitchen, and still used regularly.

On my wedding day I would hardly have thought that they would be the most treasured and useful gifts of them all.

What's your favourite wedding gift?