Wrong. Not Right

In the good old days when I had a career, it mattered what people thought of me. Making a good impression was essential to getting more interesting (rewarding) work. Two of my biggest weaknesses were that I had a habit of not finishing my sentences and forgetting words and the second “weakness” was that I was (am) fat. So naturally, often people thought I was fat and dumb. Being fat and being dumb are seen as significant moral character flaws. One of these flaws on its own is not an insurmountable problem, but combined, the difficulty level for climbing the career ladder increases.

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Landing It

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

To travel to my home town, the place of my birth, would take a number of days by car. For a family with small children that journey would likely stretch to over a week. When I was a child, the cost of plane fares was also exorbitant, hence our family rarely visited our relatives in Far North Queensland. I remember a special occasion when our family did make the trip by plane. Perhaps it was my first plane trip. It was very exciting.

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Numbers Down

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

Canberra’s coronavirus restrictions were eased slightly at the end of last week and will be further eased at the end of this week. Some restrictions will remain but we can now connect again with friends and family, albeit in small numbers. Stay-at-home provisions have applied since Delta arrived here nine weeks ago. During that time, I have taken great comfort from the competent, calm, compassionate and informative approach of public health officials in our local government. The health team and the government could not have been any clearer about what they needed us to do, and because no sector of the community were given preferential treatment over another, Ken Behrens* largely did what was asked of us. I think it is fair to say that at times our Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, outshone others in the spotlight. I’m such a fan.

One of the many strategies to help us open safely has been to get as many Canberrans vaccinated as quickly as possible. Just prior to lockdown, approximately 48 percent of the Canberra population over 12 years of age had had one dose of one of the Covid vaccines, while just shy of 25 percent of us were fully vaccinated. Now 98 percent of us have had one dose and 83 percent of eligible Canberrans are already fully vaccinated. Howzat! Thankfully the rest of Australia is not far behind us. Unfortunately, a small number of Canberrans have died over this period and our hearts go out to their families. The vaccines are very effective but as we have learned there still can be breakthrough infections. There is also likely a growing group of Canberrans whose vaccine protection is waning and who, therefore, will need to get a top up quite soon. It does sound like there will be no rest yet for the public health team and frontline health workers who have been working so tirelessly to keep us safe.

Today, my shout-out is to Canberra’s health workers, and Dr Coleman in particular. Thanks for caring. As Dr Coleman is originally a sand-groper (that is, someone from Western Australia), I thought I would choose my Friday song from a singer/songwriter from that state. Today, I have chosen Andrew Winton, performing his song Number’s Down. How apt, don’t you think? The chorus is very easy, so sing it with me.

Take care, everyone.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

* Each day over the last nine weeks, members of the ACT government have held a press conference to keep Canberrans informed of how the Delta outbreak was unfolding and the necessary steps to keep us safe. During one of these press conferences, there was a sub-titling error that referred to Canberrans as Ken Behrens and henceforth the name has been adopted wholeheartedly by the Canberra community.

Reminiscing

As you do … on cheap electricity and a gas-led climate emergency.

The late, great John Clarke, together with fellow comedian, Bryan Dawe, explain Australia’s energy market. [Videos might only be available to Australian audiences.]

But don’t mention the planet.

You have to wonder if those companies with large long term contracts for electricity are paying proportionately much less than small users of electricity? It would make sense. Discounts for bulk purchases are pretty standard, aren’t they? I wonder if small users are thereby subsidising the big users? Do we know by how much? On top of that, the Australian government has committed $600 million to fund a new gas-fired power station to boost capacity when domestic demand and hence, gas prices. peak. As gas is expensive and government will want to reduce the budget deficit incurred from the pandemic (including clawing back the cost of its gas-led recovery investments), it doesn’t sound like future electricity prices will be minimised. Maybe this will just spur more businesses and individuals to go off-grid? That is likely to make it even more expensive for those who can’t afford to make that switch. It doesn’t seem to be a win for the hip pocket or the planet. Who does win then?

When Work Sucks

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you. This week I have two pieces of music to tell a sordid story of potential abuse and dereliction of duty of care.

When I was a young lass and fresh out of uni, I applied for a job as electorate officer in the then PM’s office. I recall sitting in the foyer waiting for my interview. Coincidentally at that moment the PM appeared down the hall, a halo of light fell on him as he sauntered back to his office after Question Time. He oozed confidence. The Treasurer followed, also cock sure of himself. All the office staff leapt to their feet to stand as the great man passed. I didn’t know what to do. Should I stand or stay seated? I wondered whether I would have to leap to my feet every time the PM came into the room? This did not sit well with me, so I stayed seated. After all, who did he think he was? The PM? I didn’t get the job. I was pretty enough but the other applicant had more relevant experience. Fair enough. That wouldn’t have been hard in this town.

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Acknowledgement and Justice Overdue

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

A report on an investigation into alleged war crimes carried out by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan was released yesterday (19 November 2020). The investigation found credible evidence that war crimes had been committed. The Chief of the Australian Defence Force noted the report’s findings that a warrior culture and toxic competitiveness contributed to the breakdown in military discipline (a transcript of his remarks was published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

In other words, the people involved and the people that enabled the crimes, were bullies (or complicit, or rendered powerless). Bullying has become entrenched in Australian society so we shouldn’t be surprised. The national infatuation with the ANZAC myth and our war legacy, has become a form of national narcissism which diminishes us all and fails our servicemen and women. Justice must be served for the victims of these alleged war crimes.

It seems trite to finish these comments with a music selection, but that’s why I’m here, so let’s get on with it.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Can An Election Bring Us Together?

Welcome to my regular Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you. I think I need a really big ballad this week (cue violins).

Residents of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), also known as Canberra, voted in their local election last Saturday. It was a different election, a healing election.

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When Am I Too Much For This Place?

This week’s theme for the Lens Artists Photo Challenge is Sanctuary.  I’m not sure what more can be said about this topic that I haven’t said already, so I’ve decided to re-post my earlier discussion/photos on this subject.  At that time, I said that I didn’t feel safe anywhere.  That is not quite true.  I do feel safe with my family.  Thank goodness for that because in these days of Covid and being confined to home (provided you are lucky enough to have one of those), there are many people fearful of the ones they should be able to trust the most.

WordPress (and now the Lens-Artists Challenge) has asked us to explore what it means to find your place in the world.  Where’s your safe space?  Where do you go when you need to feel inspired or cheered up?  Do you prefer the city over a small town?  I have to admit I find this an incredibly difficult challenge because I feel very ambivalent about my place in the world.  I don’t feel safe, or comforted, or any of the things that WordPress has asked us to explore.  I feel that I am possibly too much, that we are too much.  However, I am here.  I live in a wonderful place and I’m grateful for that.  The issue of whether I, and we, can live sustainably is a complex one.

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The Returned

A Short Story

The old man slaps his car keys down on the kitchen table. It’s cold inside the house and he is tired. It’s been a long drive in heavy rain. He has to take a slash. His water works need fixing. That’s why he is here. Back in Canberra.

The mobile rings as he is zipping his fly. “H’lo,” he says loudly. It’s his eldest daughter on the line. The cranky one. Of course, it is not the youngest daughter. She doesn’t ring. She is too busy working in the old folks home. His son doesn’t ring much either. If the old man knew how to text, they might communicate more often.

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