SOME MEMOIRS -- by John Ray
Some occasional personal notes from a quiet life...

John Ray's Home Page; John Ray's email: jonjayray@gmail.com . The Blogroll. Photo album for this blog here. A link to memoirs from previous years can be found just above the flag at the foot of this page.


A smile not as good as the famous smile of Antonia Staats but of that ilk. In my late 50s. Not so good now

What am I? I am the tiniest spark in the great conflagration that is life on earth

I have made a few mistakes in my life but it has nonetheless been a pretty happy life

Some people want to live as long as possible. I want to enjoy my life as much as possible.

MOTTO: As Oscar Wilde may have said: "Life is too important to be taken seriously". But the Hagakure had the idea too: "Matters of great concern should be treated lightly"



18 June, 2024

I am a happy monarchist

Being both born into a monarchy and a citizen of the only country to have an entire continent to itself is pretty pleasing to me. Leftists for a while were always telling people to "check your privilege" and I acutely feel and appreciate my privilege of birth.

And the monarchy of which I am a subject is also undoubtdly the grandest one on earth. No-one does monarchy better than the British. And the amount of publicity they have been getting lately has been phenomenal. Politicians would kill for that sort of coverage. I have particularly enjoyed the coverage of the King's birthday celebrations -- even though it is actually not nearly his birthday! A delightful British eccentricity.

I was particulaly moved by the following report:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-13537765/trooping-colour-royals-balcony-prince-louis-comment-kate.html

Like half the world, I was delighted to see Kate looking so well after battling cancer at such a young age

And I had to reflect that the British do military uniforms surpassingly well. And I am pleased that the royal family are an emphatically military family, wearing uniform on most public occasions. I did myself for a time serve in the armed forces so I have to a degree put myself where my mouth is in that respect.

And the young children who were on the balcony for the flyover were a delight too, with Charlotte being a typical big sister by telling her younger brother what to do

And our King is obviously a kind man of goodwill



17 June, 2024

Raw milk does taste better

A few years ago there was a controvesy in America over dairy farmers supplying milk from their cows directly to customers without going through paseurization or going through any official channels at all. Farmers were prosecuted for it.

The matter was resolved by everyone involved claiming it was sold only for bathing in! Once you had it, drinking it was up to you.

I tasted it in my childhod and and still remember it as tasting richer.

It was when we were living at 41 Campbell st in Innisfail. The farmer had his herd where we could see it from where we lived. His name was Augie Sorensen. He used to supply unpasteurized milk (probably illegally) to quite a few Innisfail households -- including ours -- for a while. People would leave out a container and Augie would come along and fill it with very fresh milk.

The memorable thing about him however was his milk delivery vehicle -- a white horse-drawn cart that looked rather like a chariot. It did however have pneumatic tyres. The milk was stored under cover at the front of the cart and Augie stood up at the back to "drive".

I can still see Augie, tall and thin with his typically Scandinavian golden-brown skin and wearing his white pith helmet while standing up proudly in the back of his white cart guiding it along with his long reins. His big chestnut horse always used to have blinkers on -- probably needed if it was to be driven among motor vehicles.

My mother did not patronize Augie for long. She went back to bottled milk -- probably because of health concerns.

I think he was eventually shut down by the govenment. It was a loss. Back-to-nature enthusiasts would have applauded him. He was certainly a brilliant example of low-tech

The reason raw milk was eventually banned is that it was thought to transmit TB from infected cows. So it was amusing a few years later when we schoolkids all had to be tested for TB -- using the Mantoux skin test. We were all positive! We had all had TB without knowing it and were perfecly healthy. Augie's milk could have had something to do with that.



14 June, 2024

I am heathier than ever

I have just got the results from a big range of blood tests going back a couple of years. I was particularly interested in my vitamin D levels. I have spent most of my life hunched over a keybord so my D levels have always been a bit low. But I recently decided that I should take more care of myself so started taking 1000 IU of D3 with dinner

So I was pleased to find that my D levels are now mid-centre of the ideal range.

But the really pleasing thing is that a lot of things I was high or low on a couple of years back are now normal. I have got healthier over the last couple of years! Not sure why but Z would no doubt put it down to all the salad lunches she has been feeding me



10 June, 2024

Found it!

I knew I had written something about alexithymia in the past but could not find it. I thought it should be on this blog but a database search did not find it. I mentally blamed that on Google. It is suprising what they do NOT index and I have no idea what the guidelines are. Though I do know that nothing on my Greenie Watch blog or my Tongue Tied blog will be indexed

Anyway I have some old biographical notes from the 90s that have never been online and I found there what I had written. I think it is of some interest so I give it below:

"My mother was a bit of a social isolate and she inculcated her values into her children also. So that did not help my social development. She had a high opinion of herself and thought that everyone else was silly. I doubt that she ever had much fellow-feeling for anybody other than her own children.

I probably get my own rather flat emotional life from her. "Alexithymia" is the word for extreme cases of it, though alexithymics have psychosomatic illnesses and I do not. At any event, the sentimentality I inherited from my father made me much better able to relate to people than my mother could"



8 June, 2024

A trip to Capalaba

Capalaba is one of Brisbane's older satellite suburbs so is not far from the centre and has a myriad of shops. Jenny drove us there yestrday morning.

And it was a good trip. One of the coffee clubs survives there so we ate there. I particularly like their flat grills and the one I had -- camembert & chicken -- was just right. A big lot of salad too. We then went OpShopping and I did well at the Vinny. I got some cutlery I liked, some boxed hankies, a new wired mouse (which I am using at the moment. I prefer mice without batteries) and I got a fun watch. It looks like a $2000 watch with a lot of dials but they are all fake -- just painted on. Looks impressive if you don't look closely

We then found a real true old-style bank nearby with a counter and tellers, where I drew out some money. Minimal queues. No machines. It was a BOQ. They have always been best for personal service. It was like a trip back in time. Jenny and I joked that it was almost worthwhile to go out to Capalaba to do your banking



5 June, 2024

Some Jungian psychology

Unlike many psychologists, I have some respect for the psychoanalysts of around a century ago. John Maze, one of my tutors at the University of Sydney when I was doing my Master's degree there, was also of that mind and he did influence my thinking about that to some degree

Z likes the psychoanalysts too so she occasionally sends me something from that literature. Below is a comment on why some young men continue to live in the family home well into adulthood. They see that as a sign of immaturity

"What actually led to this phenomenon? Psychologists claim that the root of the problem is that we live in an era of the absent father (he does not have to be physically absent) - young men are expected to leave the comfort of home, overcome the mother complex and shape a worthwhile life, but without the psychological support of their father. It is very difficult, especially in light of the fact that the absent father affects the mother as well. This creates a situation in which the mother tends to become more authoritative in order to compensate for the lack of a male figure in the dream life, but also the failure of the father to give the mother love and support creates an emotional hunger in her that she tries to satisfy through the relationship with the child. This is the moment in which the "perfect storm" is created in which the mother becomes what the Jungians call the "devouring mother", reports "Academyofideas".

https://zena.blic.rs/lifestyle/jung-otkrio-kako-nastaju-slabi-muskarci-i-zasto-je-danas-svet-prepunih-takvih/v7pvnp2

That relates to a lot in my own life. My mother was clearly the boss in our home and she rather disrespected my father --so my father had very little influence in my life. And my mother was very permissive and supportive to me. And she was something of a "devouring mother", who tended to live through the lives of her children. I was aware of that and disliked it

Where the Jungians get it wrong however is how the chidren tend to react to parental suffocation. In my day we simply left home. I did so at age 16 and lot of my contemporaries also did at age 16. It was normal in that era (the '60s). We were NOT permanently "suffocated". We just left the scene. So kudos to the Jungians for some insights but their predictive powers were weak



2 June, 2024

From the Pantheon in Rome


Centred is a peripatetic person I sometimes lunch with. He is in good shape for a man in his 70s. Fortunately he is uxorious so his wife does not have to worry about some thirsty lady racing him off



30 May, 2024

Alexithymia

The search function on Blogspot blogs is very good but has just let me down. I tried to find what I have written about alexithymia without success. I clearly remember writing about it but cannot find where. Anyway, I remember pretty much what I wrote so I will recapitulate.

Alexithymia is usually described as emotional flatness. Alexithymics don't display much emotion. I am very much in that category. I just don't get angry, for instance, and I just see criticisms as useful information, sometimes about me and sometimes about the critic. I am always "cool, calm and collected": Rather British, actually. The English are known for their horror of emotional displays. I fit in with that effortlessly.

The downside of that is that I don't express positive emotions much either. I am perfectly capable of feeling affection for the women in my life but have usually not done much to display it, which has undoubtedly damaged my relationsips at times. I am altogether too "British" in that department too. I am a very poor romantic. Any Italian would leave me in the dust in that respect, though I have had my moments. There is a rather famous movie about "Shirley Valentine" who leaves her boring British husband for a demonstrative Greek man which illustrates the national differences concerned. I have had Shirley Valentine aimed at my head a number of times

So when I heard about alexithymia I thought I might be an alexithymic. I discovered however that alexithymics are very distressed underneath their non-emotional exterior and that is certainly not me. I sail cheerfully through life in complete calm for almost all the time. Even my dreams are pleasant. I have only twice been very upset and those occasions were when the lady in my life walked out. Almost all my relationships have ended with the lady walking out but those two relationships were ones that I highly valued. Fortunately, the two ladies saw enough good in me not to walk very far and I remain on cordial terms with both.

So I am definitely not alexithymic. Maybe I should just describe myself as "British". I do trace all my ancestry to the British Isles and I have certainly got on exceptionally well whenever I have been over there

Maybe I am adaptible, however. Friends and family in Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy are well known for shouting at one another a lot. And my girlfriend haiis from a Mediterreanean country. And we do shout at one-another a lot. But we still love one-another. So I seem to have my Shirley Valentine after all

28 May, 2024

An arrival and a b*rthday

Z has arrived safe and sound in Beograd and has messaged me to say she misses me, so that is all in order. I miss her too

Jenny had a b*rthday recently so I shouted her her favourite breakfast (much smoked salmon) and went with her to buy some flowers. I suggested some led loses (forgive the Chinese accent) but she said she preferred something still living. Big Kath had that preference too. So she got a very pretty orchid in a pot. See below:





26 May, 2024

A departure

Z flew out at 10pm last night for her holiday in Serbia, her native land. She will be away for a few months. She likes to swap the Brisbane winter for the Serbian summer.

I didn't go to the airport to see her off as I no longer drive, but she arranged for us to have a sendoff lunch that day. We went to the Buranda cafe, then back to my place and spent two hours together in all. It was a very affectionate occasion. She was messaging me right up to her departure.

I will miss her but expect to receive frequent messages from her She is my little honey



24 May, 2024

A good dinner

For some time now, Jenny and I have had the custom of having a Thursday night dinner consisting of a Scotch fillet steak and a bottle of my favourite red. Jenny took a picture of part of our dinner last night so I thought it would be a good memoir of our custom. These days, it's the only night of the week that I have wine with my dinner





20 May, 2024

An instant roadside diagnosis

I thought I had posted this little story some years ago but I cannot trace it so I will tell it now.

At one stage when I was driving Anne around, she complained about a rattle in my Toyota Echo. I at first thought it was something loose in the glove box so told her not to worry about it.

One day, however, as I was exiting the carpark at the Buranda shopping centre, I paused briefy at the entrance to allow traffic in the street to pass.

As I did however, a man nearby on the footpath shouted out "timing-chain". From my youth in country Queensland where rattly British machines were all we had to work with, I knew exactly what he was saying and drove straight to the Toyota dealer and asked for the timing-chain to be checked. They in fact found two faulty chains and replaced both.

So that was a remarkable example of quick communication. No palaver at all. Just one word



17 May, 2024

A busy day today

I went to breakfast with Jenny at Buranda at 9:30am; I saw the plastic surgeon on the Terrace at 1 pm for a follow-up visit. We then had a "lunch" of iced coffee and cake back at Buranda.

Z came over between 5 and 7pm; I gave Z a Pulsar electric watch as she likes watches and I have given her a few. This one was in its original box so she was very pleased with it



16 May, 2024

MICHAEL DARBY

Below is his Wikipedia entry, now deleted

Michael John Darby is an Australian who has run for political office for the Liberal Party and the Christian Democratic Party.[1] He is an active business man, having had business ventures in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Darby is the son of long-serving state Liberal MP Douglas Darby and attended Newington College (1957–1962).[2] A former army officer and interpreter, he became active in politics in the 1970s.[3] His first run for office was as the Liberal candidate for the safe Labor seat of Werriwa in the 1974 federal election, running against then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

In 1975, Darby was one of the organisers of the Australian Society for Intercountry Aid – Timor, based in Dili. He was present at the hijacking of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) plane in Baucau by Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) soldiers, who had surrendered to him and asked to be evacuated to Australia.[4]

Darby later contested the 1988 Oxley by-election as an independent, and also ran as an independent in Dickson in 1993. He subsequently returned to the Liberal Party and ran in the fifth position on the Coalition Senate ticket for New South Wales in 2004. In 2009–2010 he was campaign director for the Christian Democratic Party.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ? Hancock, Ian (20 September 2007). The Liberals: The NSW Division 1935-2000. Federation Press. ISBN 9781862876590. Retrieved 2013-10-18. Search this book on
  2. ? Newington College Register of Past Students 1863-1998 pp 48 (Syd, 1999)
  3. ? Squires, Michael (2010-01-04). "Michael Darby on Google, China, Islam and taxes". Digital Journal. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  4. ? Henriques-Gomes, Luke (17 January 2021). "'It was life or death': the plane-hijacking refugees Australia embraced". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  5. ? Nicholls, Sean; McKenny, Leesha (17 February 2010). "Nile scapegoat calls in lawyers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 11 November 2010.

External links[edit]



13 May, 2024

A political memory

In 1983, shortly after Jenny and I had got together, I took her and her children to an election night meeting at Toowong, to see in the election of Earle Bailey, now recently deceased.

Bailey was a Brisbane TV personality so as an established Brisbane figure, the National Party recruited him to contest the metropolitan seat of Toowong in tne October 1983 State Eleaction.

I was a rather active in politics in that era and I was in something of a habit of going along to watch in company as the results for my favoured local candidate came in. So I was pleased when he did get in

I must have done something to help with the campaign but I don't remember what. Michael Darby probably got me invited to the meeting but I think he was elsewhere. I knew him from when we were both in Sydney



In his first major speech in the Legislative Assembly on 30 November 1983, Bailey nailed his colours to the mast when he said—

"To me, the most important principle of human existence is the freedom of the individual. One way of evaluating freedom is by reference to decision-making ability, decision-making being shared between Governments and individuals. It is obvious that decision-making is power, and the more power that Governments have, the less remains to be shared amongst individuals."

So he was a good guy in my book and I am glad to have supported him. He was defeated in 1986 by the local Liberal alderman, Denver Beanland. It was at a time when the National party and the Liberal party were rivals

I had at that time been back in Brisbane for only a couple of months so knew nobody at the meeting, which was probably why I took Jenny along -- for company. I in fact stayed for most of the time with Jenny rather than mixing. But I remember somebody saying how nice it was to see children at the rally. I seem to recollect that the kids (aged 5 and 7) ran around a bit

Reference:

https://documents.parliament.qld.gov.au/speeches/spk2023/David_Crisafulli-Broadwater-20230914-231384023148.pdf



Footnote about Michael Darby: Among his many talents, Michael is quite a good bush poet. I particularly like his poem "The Stranger" It is online here:

https://michaeldarby.net/DarbyFamilyPoetry.pdf

You have to click 44 in the sidebar to get to it. I believe it was based on an actual event



12 May, 2024

The post-Yugoslavia wars

Since my girlfriend is a fierce Serb patriot, I have been trying to get a grip on the wars in that general area after Yugoslavia broke up. Below is what I make of it:

The main conflict immediately after the breakup was between the Serbs and the Croats, which exist basically side by side geographically

in 1991 the Serb population in eastern Croatia (Slavonia) tried to secede from Croatia

The Serb army was however mainly aiming at capturing Dalmatia, under Croatian control. So they were busy in the South, trying to capture Dalmatian Dubrovnik from the Croats. But in the end, the Serbs failed to rip anything off Croatia, both in the South and in the North.

The Serbs in Bosnia however set up an independence movement in 1992. With the assistance of the Serb army, they prevailed and two big chunks of Bosnia were split off under Serb rule, to form a new territory called Republika Srpska which was formally recognized by the UN in 1995


Serbs had the best hats

It was part of the Bosnian war when a lot of Muslim civilians were killed at Srebrenitsa, while Dutch troops who were supposed to be there protecting them did nothing

It was also in that war that the long-lasting siege of Sarajevo took place, in which forces of the Republika Srpska blockaded the Bosnian capital. It was primarily to end that siege that the U.N. granted official recognition to the Republika Srpska

A soldier of the Republika Srpska in dress uniform -- holding her Serbian-made Zastava assault rifle. At its peak, the armed forces of the Republika Srpska numbered over 80,000.

My little Cetnik emigrated to N.Z. in 1995, foreseeing future trouble from Kosovo

So Serbs lost out in their wars with Croatia but had a big gain in Bosnia. Serbs now control roughly half of Bosnia. The Bosnian Serbs were not however allowed to unite with Serbia. They remained an independent State. So there are now two Serb political entities: The Republic of Serbia and the Serbian Republic -- not to be confused! Nothing in the Balkans has ever been simple

But just when eveything had settled down, in 1997 the Kosovars (Ethnic Albanian Muslims) in Southern Serbia rebelled, demanding independence

The Serbs however did not want to lose control of their South so tried to suppress the Kosovars militarily. That attracted a lot of international attention and support for Kosovo independence.

So NATO got involved to help the Kosovars, bombing the Serbs to make them retreat from Kosovo. So the USA under Clinton bombed Christian Serbia to help Muslim Kosovars! The Serbs more or less gave up after the bombing and all is mostly peaceful there now.

There were atrocities committed by all sides in the wars of the 1990s, causing most people living as minorities to flee to the heartland of their respective nations. So most Croatians now live in Croatia, most Bosniaks now live in central Bosnia and most Serbs now live in one of the Serbias. That is probably conducive to future peace. There are however some Serbs still living in Northern Kosovo so that has led to some unrest

An odd footnote. Immediately after the U.N. recognition of the Republika Srpska, its first President was a "Mrs Plavši?". Suprisingly feminist.



Although she never killed anyone, Biljana Plavši? was later convicted as a war criminal. She was in fact a distinguished academic. After serving an 11-year prison sentence in Sweden, she returned to Belgrade in 2009 where she has been living ever since. She is now in her 90s, having survived Covid-19



11 May, 2024

Tickling as foreplay

It is most likely to result in orgasm, a new study suggests

Well, what do you know? I had forgotten this. For a couple of years I had a relationship with C.W., an exceptionally good-looking woman with whom I also had an exceptionally good sexual relationship. I am not normally a great sexpot so that is surprising.

I was around 50 at the time but thanks to Viagra, we normally had sex at least twice a night. She once went around at her office job the day afterwards boasting that she had it seven times the night before I may have gone into her seven times but I certainly did not come seven times. She regularly used to go around with the top button of her blouse undone so people would get a glimpse of her big black bra so she would have been believed

And I did tickle her a lot while we were in bed. Her shrieks of laughter would stun other occupants of the house at Forest St. And, yes, the tickling was a form of foreplay. It led up to intercourse. It was a custom we just hit upon that I attributed to her general good humour so have never done it with anyone else. From what I read below I failed to learn a lesson from my own experience.

****************************************************

9 May, 2023

A vist to the dentist

Way back in primary school I learnt a little rhyme:

Some tortures are physical
And some are mental
But the one that is both
Is definitely dental

And there is much truth in that

I have good teeth so my vists to the dentist have been rare. I could feel a cavity and a slight soreness, however, so I saw Tina Tavakol at Buranda. I have seen her before and was favourably impressed.

She spent half an hour doing 2 fillings at a total cost of $600+ of which my health fund defrayed $200+. So that was not too bad for 2 fillings

But here is the good bit: Once the local had worn off I had no pain or discomfort whatever. Can anyone ask more? Kudos to Tina!

And Tina spoke Australian English, which is a great help to an old deafie like me. Her surname is Iranian but I am guessing that her heritage is Zoroastrian rather than Muslim

I was amused at what fillings are called these days: "Adhesive restorations".

https://dentalonpark.com.au/our-team/



8 May, 2024

Driving

There is a story below by a woman aged 89 who was confident of her driving ability but who had poor peripheral vision. When she nearly ran over a child she had not seen because of her limited vision she gave up driving

I sympathize with this. I gave up driving shortly after I turned 80 and I am glad of it. I have vision limitations too. I am also pretty un-co-ordinated and shaky and I certainly did not want to be one of the old people who mistakenly hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

I now have no fear that I will ever do that. Not driving is a weight off my mind even though I drove for 60 years without once hurting myself or anyone else. That record will now stand. Fortunately, I have in Jenny a wonderful carer who makes that decision easy. A long time ago I made life easy for her so she now is happy to make life easy for me

And a rather useful auxiliary helper is Doordash! From them I get expertly cooked hot meals without stepping outside my door

https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/i-m-about-to-turn-90-and-i-didn-t-want-to-give-up-my-licence-one-moment-changed-my-mind-20240502-p5foj0.html



4 May, 2024

Am I a philanthropist?

I have never thought of myself that way but I have just realized that I could be called that. Amid the housing crisis, I provide greatly reduced rents for five people, including a disabled person. And I give half my disposable income away to a charitable cause. So I have made a bit of money in my time but I use it in a kind way: No boats, planes, travel or fancy restaurants. I do "eat out" a lot but it is mainly at McDonalds.

I just like using my money and assets in the way I do and am pleased with the results. I have always tried -- not always succeeding -- to live a Christian life even though I am a complete atheist. I think that is simply wise.

And I can prove it is wise. I once married a working single mother with three kids and enabled her to give up working. I also gave her a car. 40 years later in my bent old age she is my carer. I did those things because I loved her but partnering with a woman who already has even one kid is often seen as a no-no. Being generous has always benefited me

So I do not think I am really a philanthropist. I get rewards of some kind for what I do. I benefit in various ways from what I do. It may take time for the reward to emerge but it does emerge. I may make something happen that I would like even after my death



1 May, 2024

Why I like my little Cetnik

There are quite a few things I like about Z -- her good brain and good looks and her good cuddle-power, for instance. But I liked her right from the time of our first meeting. There has always been a something in her that I like that goes beyond the obvious. And I have always struggled to pinpoint it. What makes me feel so affectionate towards her?. It is something in her personality but what exactly?

I think I am finally getting close to it. It is her insouciance. But that is a literary word so I think I need to put it into simpler terms. It is her cheerfulness and good nature combined with a defiant independence. We are both high functioning autistics so tend to be either unaware or disrespectful of social norms and customs. And she is especially so. She is the ultimate contrarian. If something is conventionally believed, she disbelieves it. She says frankly what she thinks but does it cheerfully.

And in talking to me she makes gaffe after gaffe but seems blissfully unaware of it. She expects what she says to be accepted. but she does so innocently and pleasantly so that instead of being offended I feel protective of her. Her innocent irreverence makes her vulnerable and I feel protective of her over that

The Cetniks were a feature of the terrible wars in the Balkans of the 1930s and 1940s. They were primarily Serbian nationalists and also monarchists. They no longer exist in any formal sense but old loyalties don't fade quickly

Update: My little Cetnik has pointed out to me that Cetniks in fact go back a long way -- to the 19th century



30 April, 2024

Good Indian food in Brisbane

I have eaten Indian food in India, Indian food in London and Indian food in Sydney so think I have some claim to knowing Indian food

For various reasons, however, I have not eaten a lot of Indian food in Brisbane. But one thing I have often noticed is that there is an Indian restaurant at Annerley which fronts onto the main road there - called Sankalp. It is part of a chain by that name. And every time I have driven past they seemed to be busy. So I thought I should go there.

I went there tonight, via DoorDash, which was very convenient. I ordered Tandoori chicken. It was a good size came with the proper mint and yoghurt dipping sauce. And it was cooked to perfection. So yes, you can get Indian food in Brisbane that is as good as Indian food anywhere -- a most satisfactory situation. No need for travel and no need even to step outside your house

https://sankalp.com.au/pdf/Annerley-menu.pdf



25 April, 2024

ANZAC DAY

ANZAC DAY is the High Holy Day for the entire Australian people. The Left try to portray it as a celebration of militarism. All the troops marching through the streets can give that impression. But they overlook that on this day we actually celebrate a military DEFEAT. Pretty poor militarism. Two typical ANZAC day scenes below. Note the big crowd turnout.

image from https://www.theepochtimes.com/_next/image?url=https%3A%2F%2Fimg.theepochtimes.com%2Fassets%2Fuploads%2b024%2F04%2b2%2Fid5634357-GettyImages-1484996594.jpg&w=1200&q=100

image from https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2024/04/25/02/84062399-0-image-m-1_1714007779782.jpg

ANZAC commemorations are stlll widely embraced in Australia. To the undoubted chagrin of the Left, there are marches in most of our cities and crowds turn out to watch them and applaud.

What we are really doing on ANZAC day is remembering and thanking our war dead. And as demographer Berard Salt rightly notes, No family was untouched by the two world wars. Some of my relatives were among the dead.
The deaths among the ANZACS at Gallipoli were among the more insane of the military engagements of that war so we rightly praise the grit and endurance of those who participated.

I personally see war as the greatest of human follies. To have men marching into gunfire seems barely sane. Yet it happened and still is happening in Ukraine. Chapter 1 of the Bhagavad Gita makes most sense to me of any writing on the matter.

Yet I am not a pacifist I volunteered for service in the Australian Army and reached the rank of Sergeant. I served in both the CMF and the ARA back in the 60s. I can see why some wars probably have to be fought, WWII, particularly. But WWI can be understood in the context of its times

http://jonjayray.com/short/ww1.html

I exist, however because both my grandfather and father never went to war. My grandfather was excused because he provided a highly skilled essential service. He was a bullocky. And transport is in huge demand during a war. My father volunteered but was rejected on medical grounds. He had a slight limp. I volunteered for the Vietnam war but failed to get a posting there. So here I am still kicking at age 80.

I think it is worth noting that the Gallipoli engagement was greatly marred by the cowardice of the British generals involved. The first landings were unopposed. The Turks were taken by surprise. But instead of charging to take advantage of surprise as any German general would gave done, they decided to wait in place for reinforcements to arrive. The Turks used that warning well. If only the British generals had studied Vom Kriege in their staff colleges



20 April, 2024

Stratford (Not on Avon)

Most of my postings here involve female persons so it must be time that I posted on something else: My first year living in Cairns

1956 was a rather good year for me. I was 13 and in the final year of primary school. The family moved to Cairns from Innisfail half way through the year. It was just after my father's father (Jack Ray) had died and we went to live in the house formerly rented by him.

It was a half-house at Stratford, an outer suburb of Cairns. We were on the main road and a railway line ran on the other side of the road.

It was in the days of rent control and Jack had been given a controlled rent that was very cheap. The rules at that time allowed a controlled rent tobe inherited by the children so my father took advantage of that. He thought he would get work more easily in Cairns, so it was a good opportunity for him

Shortly after we moved I got on the bus from Stratford one morning and found my new school by myself. My mother or father did not go along to help enrol me. I did not think much of it at the time but in retrospect I see it as another example of my mother's indolence. Though I suppose I was an independent little bugger

After that I went to school on the rail motor, which had a stop conveniently over the road from where I lived. It was one of the old red ones and had another stop a short walk from the school in Sheridan St


Wonderful old things. I can still hear the growl of their motors -- probably AEC Diesels

As a result of the move to Jack's old house, I inherited a store of old children's books which I promptly set out to read. I remember a nursery rhyme in one of them: "Our greatest battleship the Hood is made of iron, steel and wood". No wonder the sinking of H.M.S. Hood by one salvo from the Bismarck in the early phases of World War Two made such an impression. (H.M.S. Hood was actually a battle cruiser, of course, which explains why it was sunk so easily).


HMS Hood

Some of the books even predated World War I. They were mostly books given as presents or won at Sunday school to the children of my father's family. After I left home, my mother gave them all away! All the maps of the world in them did of course show vast splashes of red. I wonder how many people in future will know what that signified?

So I got strong doses of Victorian ideas from those books. When they were written such ideas were still current. I still to this day agree with most of them (such as the distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor).

Another thing left at the Stratford (Cairns) house was an old wooden windup gramophone with lots of old popular 78s (78 r.p.m. records). No pictures of the actual family gramophone have survived but the one below is very similar



The spring that drove it had a habit of breaking, unfortunately. After that I rotated the records with my finger. It was my introduction to music of various sorts but the record I particularly remember was "Florrie Forde's Old Time Medley" -- songs from about a century ago.



By some miracle there is a video of her online singing exactly the songs I remember: The Lassie from Lancashire; Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?; Down at the Old Bull and Bush etc. I think they would still have a broad appeal today. See below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYWygJSetbA

There were also wrecks of various old pushbikes left behind under the (low set) house and, being a clever kid, I used parts from them them to create a single "new" bike. I think my father was rather impressed. I rode it to school after that and seem to recollect that my father also rode it to work for a time. I painted it maroon.

My cleverness extended to being the home handyman. I used to fix the family toaster, the family electric jug and the house fuses, all of which would "blow" from time to time. I knew only what I could see however and had no formal knowledge of electricity. So one day I replaced a house fuse with wire that was too thick -- which let through too much current. It "blew the pole" outside the house -- requiring a a call from the CREB to fix it. My father felt embarrassed by that and started to speak aggressively towards me. My mother however said to him: "At least John does things around the house. You do nothing". It was very crushing and reduced him to silence

The toilet arrangements there were old-style, with "thunder boxes" that had to be emptied once a week. A "honey cart" used to come along early in the morning and the "dunny-man" would come into the back yard to exchange the full receptacle with a clean one. Since it was very early in the day when the light was poor, there was some possibility of the dunny-man tripping over any obstacles left his way -- such as children's toys. So I remember my mother going around the yard the evening before making sure there was nothing there to trip the dunny-man up. A wise precaution.

And then there is the episode with "Rex", the dog. Rex was a "mung" (mixed breed) with a fair bit of German Shepherd in him who just wandered into our place one day. My mother fed him, so he stayed. He was covered in ticks but they didn't seem to bother him. He seemed to have a particular affection for Christopher, my little brother, who was around one-year old at the time. A much remembered occasion is when my mother was telling Christopher off for something he had done. Rex got up and placed himself between Christopher and his mother. He was protecting him from her. Pretty good for a "mung"

I read a bit of the works of Karl Marx at the local "School of Arts" library around this time and occasionally talked about what I had read. For this reason I was sometimes at that time called "Commo John".

At the end of the year I did my "Scholarship" exam, necessary for entry into High School. I got an 80% mark overall. I seem to recollect that that was seen as a very good result at the time. To "pass your Scholarship" was a big deal back then and you only needed to get 50% or more to pass.

Our sojourn at Stratford ended when my father bought a house at 308 Mulgrave Rd, formerly owned by John Timbs, who still lived nearby



19 April, 2024

A good day

Small things make a difference when you are as disabled as I am...

I got up at 8am after a good night's sleep; Around 9:30am Jenny and I had a good breakfast at Buranda; I had my usual Calamari and their excellent iced coffee and Jenny had smoked salmon

Then was the big triumph. I managed to go shopping at Woolworths. I bought some fruit and some frozen food; then next we went to Vinnies and I asked if they had any ladies' watches. I wanted to give Z another one. But they did not have one I liked

I then went home and promptly had a big nap, which I enjoyed

Now it is lunchtime and I am hoping to see Z this afternoon; She gives me "the peace of deep combes, no world anger consumes"



15 April, 2024

A poem I like

It's not easy to access online so I thought I would make it easier. It is a poem about WWI


The Misfit

By C. Day. Lewis


At the training depot that first morning

When the west-country draft came forth on parade —

Mechanics, labourers, men of trade

Herded with shouts like boneheaded cattle —

One stood out from the maul

Who least of them all

Looked metal for killing or meat for the butchery blade.


He wore a long black cutaway coat

Which should have been walking by blackthorn-fleeced

Hedges to church; and good as a feast

Was the spare, wild face much weather had flavoured.

A shepherd or ploughman

I thought, or a cowman —

One with a velvet hand for all manner of beast.


I cannot forget how he stood, bemused,

With the meek eye of a driven thing

But a solitude old as a cromlech ring

Was around him; a freeborn air of the downland,

A peace of deep combes

No world-anger consumes

Marked him off from the herd to be branded for soldiering.


I saw him not after. Is he now buried

Far from pastures buttercup-strewed,

Or tending his beasts again with the same rude

Rightness of instinct which then had brought him

So quaintly dressed In his Sunday best

For the first step along the Calvary road?


13 April, 2024

Double doctors

I get a LOT of skin cancers so I have a skin clinic where I regularly go and am well-known. But today was a surprise. I was attended to by TWO doctors, who also happen to be married to one another. I get on well with Rupert and extra well with Penny, who is a lovely lady in every sense of that term. It was actually Rupert who sprayed my bad bits while Penny watched.

So why was that? My guess is that it was Rupert's last consultation of the day and Penny was simply waiting for him to finish. It was all very pleasant



12 April, 2024

Dealing with a problem of loud music next door

The article below has some reasonable suggestions but I have my own way

https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/love-thy-neighbour-what-to-do-when-you-can-t-stand-who-s-next-door-20240408-p5fi62.html

I once had some young people move in next door and they liked their music loud. I called on them and asked them to tone it down. I also mentioned smilingly that we both had equal rights about playing music.

When nothing changed, I dealt with it promptly. I put my HiFi speakers on the window sill nearest to them and promptly played Janacek's Sinfonietta through them -- loudly. Within minutes the kids came streaming out of the house and into their cars. They couldn't stand it.



The Sinfonietta is brass-heavy avant garde classical music which to most people sounds like scratching your finger-nails on a blackboard . Even some classical music fans don't like it. But I do. It was a very simple lesson in human diversity that some young people needed to learn.

I must mention some day how I dealt kindly with an incessantly-barking dog. I am a psychologist and ever since Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, psychologists have modified animal behaviour



9 April, 2024

An event with an ode

My sudden inspiration to write an ode called up an amusing memory from 1965 when I was a student in the English Dept. at the University of Qld. It was in English I which was heavily populated by student teachers, who had to do that subject as a course requirement for their teaching diploma. So, as it turned out, I was the only real literary enthusiast in my tutorial group. I was there because I wanted to be.

My tutor was a "Mrs Curry", who was a very good looking woman who undoubtedly made Mr Curry happy by having a part-time job. And she too was a genuine literary enthusiast. So we got on well. Teachers have always liked me because I understand immediately what they are trying to convey. So I was undoubtedly her star pupil

So one day we were studying a poem which turned out to be an ode. It was probably Shelley's ‘To a Skylark’. Mrs Curry identified the poem as an ode and asked the class, "What sort of an ode is it?" All heads in the class stayed down, looking at their books, including mine. But I silently mouthed the word "Pindaric". I did not want to be the only smartypants in the room and actually say it. But I had evidently been under expectant observation by Mrs Curry, who promply said, without naming me, "Go on. Say it" which I did, to her obvious satisfaction.

As I said, it is satisying to a teacher when student really knows the subject. But it was one of the many occasions when the student teachers looked at me askance. Student teachers were not as much the bottom of the academic barrel as they are these days but were certainly not the cream of the academic crop. But it was amusing to be so watched that even an unuttered word was taken as a desired answer.



8 April, 2024

A lunch and an ode

I had lunch with an old friend of journalism fame today and was pleased when he recognized my reference to my "runcible spoon". It rather encouraged a revival of my literary inclinations. So what did I do? I wrote an ode! I think it is even Pindaric

Ode to Z

O heart who does just what she will
regardles of restraints
and does so without complaints
Of her I n'er will have my fill

I think between us there is a glue
of strange but strong content
that never once was meant
but keeps us close and true




7 April, 2024

Do autism and psychopathy overlap?

Answering that question runs into a lot of difficulties over definition. For reference, I give the Mayo definition of both conditions below

* Autism spectrum disorder is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior.

* Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes called sociopathy, is a mental health condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to purposely make others angry or upset and manipulate or treat others harshly or with cruel indifference. They lack remorse or do not regret their behavior.


As you will see, psychopathy is no longer called that any more. For a while it was renamed "sociopathy" but now it is usually called "antisocial personality disorder'

There would appear to be one clear area of overlap: concern over other people and their feelings. But the causality would appear to be different. The psychopath is aware of other people's feelings but doesn't care while the austistic person is not aware. Both ignore other peoples feeling but for different reasons. Still, that indifference is a central feature of both syndromes so their apparent identity is an important question.

In my case, I am a person with a pretty full set of autistic characteristics, and I am aware of how little other people's sufferings and feelings impact me. I am not a sympathetic person. I do for instance greatly deplore the vicious October 7 attacks on innocent Israelis by a deranged Palestinian minority but I cannot FEEL anything about that event.

But on the other hand I have always been generous to others in some ways. At present I give roughly half of my disposable income to a charitable cause while living a generally frugal personal life. I have long given away a large slice of my income

So there is clearly a possibility of mistaking the two traits and unwinding any confusion depends on looking at other characteristics of the person

Another potential confusion is the way I drive. I am a "demon" driver and that could be mistaken for psychopathic carelessness. But it is an item of pride to me that in 60 years of driving I have never hurt myself or anyone else. I just work with fine margins, that's all. I have been known to give my passengers the shakes however

So again, things that may look the same may in fact be fundamentally different

This very post is an instance of autistic behaviour. It is common for autistics to be unusually self-revealing. Psychopaths, on the other hand, tend to be devious and to "fake good"

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen is an acknowledged authority on autism and he argues that calling it a "disorder" is wrong.
Like some of the people mentioned in the article linked below I am inclined to think it can be a gift, or even a "superpower"
I commented on that article a few days ago




6 April, 2024

Am I a Christian?

I follow Carnap in thinking that metaphysical statements are not even meaningful, let alone right or wrong. Yet I sometimes call myself a Christian. Why? Because I try to live a Christian life. I do get rewards when I do the Christian thing in a situation. It's rather wonderful how often and sometimes how promptly kind, forgiving and generous behavior is rewarded

I will mention just one small and rather amusing example of such an occasion.

I was working in a Real Estate office when one of the salesmen began abusing me for something I had said. In reply I said: "Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa". I accepted blame in accordance with Matthew chapter 5 but I did it in Latin.

He was however an older Catholic who remembered the Latin mass so understood what I said and was amused by it. So he instantly went from condemning to laughing. Others nearby said frantically, "What did he say? , What did he say?" They thought I had used some sort of magic spell to get such an abrupt change in him, which, in a way, I had



3 April, 2024

One of my alien episodes

I probably should not put this up as it is a sort of boasting and boasting is never wise. But it is too amusing to remain unmentiond.

When I was teaching at the university of NSW, I was also in my spare time doing rather a lot of property renovations. It was mainly a hobby for me. I liked to see how much better I could make a run-down property look. And it did increase the amount of rent I could ask. But it did make some perfectly legal tax breaks available to me. So much so that in some years I paid no income tax

I then did something that most people do not know you can do. I wrote to the tax man and said that I expected my record of having no net taxable income to continue and would he therefore write to the university paymaster and tell him to stop deducting tax from my university pay. And he did so.

So when I got my first pay with no tax taken out I was rather pleased and mentioned it to someone else in the school. The word of course got around and my colleagues were stunned. How the Devil did I manage that? They had never heard of such a thing and could hardlly comprehend it. It seemed uncannily clever to them.

I gather that they were not well pleased to have someone so alien among them



1 April

My life as an alien

Being non-neurotypical can have both negatives and positives. My negatives: I have no interest in sport, no interest in dancing, no interest in the great outdoors and I really don't understand what scenery is all about. I have watched very few movies in my life and almost never watch TV. I find popular music unpleasant. I greatly dislike crowds and meetings and have mostly managed to avoid both. So it is clear that I am so far outside the norm that I might as well be an alien from outer space.

But I am outside the norm in positive ways too. Being a high-functioning autistic brings a high IQ with it and high IQ solves almost all problems. I have been rather successful in both academe and in business. I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation in 6 weeks (average is 3 years) and I made enough money to retire when I was 39.

But I think relationships are the most important thing in life and my record there is a bit debatable. I have been married 4 times so there are some wonderful women who will even go to bed with an alien if he is very self-confidant and laughs a lot. But 4 marriages have also led to 4 divorces so that is a failure. But is it? I regard all 4 marriages as successes. I learnt a lot from all 4 and enjoyed all 4.

So I am pretty alien. But I am a happy alien. A lot of things that bother others don't bother me. I tend to accept criticisms as just information and nothing else, for instance

And my autistic calm allows me to have a very autistic girlfriend who is nonetheless good looking, good humoured very intelligent, very fit and who goes to bed with me a lot. We often fall asleep in one-anothers' arms, which I really like.

Not bad for an 80-year=old, I think



March 31

A good Easter

On Good Friday, 29th, Jenny came over at breakfast time and made us a rather special breakfast -- bacon &eggs with pancakes and Maple sauce

Then that afternoon Z came over at 3pm and stayed until 6.30. She brought with her a big platter of fruit & salad. Our discussions were good and ended harmoniously

On Saturday night Jenny put on a family dinner for Joe, myself and herself. We all got Scotch steak and salad with rhubarb & apple for dessert, which was a rare treat. Jenny & Joe talked quite well but my poor hearing left me out of most of it. But it was good to have a get-together for our remnant family -- most of whom now live overseas

After dinner I was given the choice of what music to put on. I felt like some Gregorian chant so I brought up on Youtube some Renaissance polyphony sung by the Gesualdo Six.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBl1KIyL6OU&list=PLJFPfaQpmP8hVEAnVA32JPs0Lr4R4uvaw&index=25

They sang well but I do wonder why they named themselves after a murderous and rather mad 16th century composer. What they sang were motets by various composers so it was church music -- rather appropriate to Easter

On Sunday morning Joe and I breakfasted together as usual and we did have some restrained discussions. We went to Annerley Maccas.

Then between 3pm and 7pm I saw Z. We went to Nando's for Mediterranean salad. In bed afterwards Z got rather involved in talking about her rather difficult childhood. I endeavoured to offer some helpful comments but may have done more harm than good



Saturday, March 30, 2024

Serbia and the Bhagavad Gita: A reflection

Around 700 years ago, the Serbian empire was a significant European State covering all of what we now know as the Balkans, roughly coterminous with the former Yugoslavia

But Serbia seems to attract wars like magnets attract iron and the modern Serbian State has contracted to a small State of roughly 7 million people. Serbs have fought valiantly and have usually been the victims of attack rather than the attackers.

They have mostly been Orthodox Christians but Matthew chapter 5 in their Bibles has been lost on them, is it has on most Christians

Contrast that with India. The Bhagavad Gita tells Indians that when we are attacked, we should surrender rather than fight. It saves lives. And Indians have done a lot of surrendering. The result? India is a large and important country with a population of around 1.5 billion people. So who have been wisest? Serbs or Indians.

I greatly sympathize with Serbians for their sad history. Their losses of life have been awful and grievous. But they would probably have been wiser to heed their own Holy Book, in Mathew chapter 5. Indians have shown us the results of heeding similar advice. The Serbian empire was a multi-ethnic State, as was India, so the comparison is pretty fair, I think

The British have been wise too, but in a different way. Largely by securing the moral high ground, they have always entered into a lot of treaties and alliances. The result is that a lot of foreigners have always died to secure British independence. In WWII, countless Russians, Frenchmen and some Americans died to Britain's benefit. They have avoided the worst of the wars by getting other people to die for them. That is cleverest of all I think.

As Winston Churchill once put it: "For a thousand years Britain has not seen the campfires of an invader". Contrast that with poor Serbia



28 March, 2024

Another McDermott masterpiece

Canadian John McDermott is a professional singer well known for performing broadly traditional songs. His talent is to put appropriate feeling into what he sings. I have put up recently his version of "Scotland the Brave" and I do go back and watch it occasionally. And I think the song below is very well-done too. It is about an episode in Australian history but I think it is broadly intelligible.



It is an antiwar song so it might seem strange that I am putting it up. Is not anti-war a Leftist orientation? And I am after all a former Sergeant in the Australian army. But many military men are very skeptical of the need for war. They die in wars. But when there is a war on, they are usually keen to go and exercise the skills they have trained for. Even I volunteered for service in Vietnam in that war. But when it comes to the reasons for the war they are involved in they are often deeply skeptical, and particularly skeptical of the management of their war by the "Brass". The song above is an example of that latter attitude.

The song does inspire some recollections. Contarary to what the song predicts, the ANZAC day marches did not wither away. They are still going strong. I was watching a parade once in the company of JHM, my beautiful but demure girlfriend of the time. As we watched, the navy came marching along -- tall men in white uniforms. JHM really came alive at that. She greatly enjoyed that part of the parade. With big smiles she utterered expressions of admiration for those marchers -- not so demure at that point. Women have always liked men in uniform.



27 March, 2024

Surgery

A few weeks ago, a tumour sprang up on my scalp. I had one of those a few years ago which was expertly removed by Tony K. So I went to him again. I also had a prominent growth in the middle of my forehead which had been there for some time so I also wanted that gone. Tony was happy to take out both in the one session so I went for that. From past uncomfortable experience I usually avoid having two procedures at once but it seemed the obvious thing to do on this occasion as both lesions were prominent and not far apart.

And so it was done yesterday. It was a long and uncomfortable time on the surgical couch so it tried my patience but I survived

An uncomfortable after-effect was that there was some slight bleeding from both wounds. But with the help of an icepack, I stopped it. It made me nervous about how I moved however, in case I started it bleeding again. I was particularly concerned that I might do something in my sleep that started it up again. I did however manage a sleep straight through from 11pm to 4am without mishap so that was reassuring. A 5 hour sleep is good by my standards

I got up for a while but went back to bed and gradually drifted back to sleep until 8pm. No bleeding and only slight discomfort

Good Friday update (29th): All feeling back to normal. No discomfort at all. I still look a horror but I don't feel it



24 March, 2024

Limping limpets

I have no particular quarrel with vegetarians but I am a bit puzzled by those who do it on moral grounds. What do they make of me prizing a limpet off a rock? The limpet presumably dies forthwith but does it have any feelings that we should respect? If not what is the morality involved? It seems to me that the limpet is animal life but has no feelings as we understand it so why is it bad to prise it off its rock? Should I feel guilty about making a limpet limp?



18 March, 2024

Travel: A reflection

I suspect that we all have in us an urge to travel, probably stemming from a hunter-gatherer era in our evolutionary past. Until the arrival of the white man a couple of hundred years ago, Australian Aborigines were still in that lifestyle and they are well known for their urge to "go walkabout". And if we are in some way forced to live within an unchanging environment we do go "stir crazy".

I do not travel now but I did plenty of international travel in my '30s

My ex-girlfriend Anne is a real travel-holic. She has been almost everywhere in recent years and is presently in the midst of her second trip around Australia. She is doing it in some style. She has a large caravan pulled by a powerful diesel Prado driven by George, her obliging de facto. So she has a comfortable home every night and all the change of scene she wants. So she is smart. She has got it all together. She living out her final years in an enviable way



17 March, 2024

St. Pat's day

Today is St Patrick's day so all honour to the blessed Saint. I have plenty of Irish ancestry so I respect the day. I just wish St Pat would come back and chase all the deadly snakes out of Australia. We need his like

Some people say that there never were any snakes in Ireland anyway but I doubt that. Nearby England has always had snakes -- adders, grass snakes, vipers etc. So no migration across the Irish sea seems unikely. And vipers are a mean lot that are found almost everywhere



I have actually started the day well. I had a long and relaxed breakfast with my son Joe during which we discussed many things -- from Trad wives to steam trains

And I am expecting Z this evening with some prospect of her bringing Serbian food with her. It's probably not too different from Irish food.

She presented me with an attractive raw food lunch yesterday.



Update: Z did bring me an assortment of Serbian food at about 5pm. It was good and did include a lot of potatoes, in the best Irish style



13 March, 2024

A visit

I was eating my dinner on the verandah when an intelligent-looking face appeared on the handrail in front of me. It was a substantial mother possum with a well-grown joey on her back. I didn't react. My startle response is often absent. So she came over and sniffed at my dinner but I held it away from her. So it was a a peaceful encounter beween possum and person. She was rather a big possum so an Abo indigenous person in a tribal context would have thought his dinner had arrived

A peaceful contact with an attractive wild animal was a rare pleasure. We were nose to nose at one point. Only in Australia

Another pleasant surprise of the evening occurred as I was preparing for bed. I found a rather nice little panty on the rug on the other side of my bed.



Sadly, there was no nearby empty champagne bottle to go with it so the significance of the panty was much diminished by that

I suspect that finding a discarded pink panty beside his bed would be aspirational for many men



12 March, 2024

Being intellectual

It's a well-known thing that some autistic people have extremes of ability in various ways, often in music or mathematics. My oddity is to be extremely intellectual. That had advantages in my academic career but it does tend to cut me off from most other people

It is of no importance but something that may put me in a minority of one is what I do when I get itchy and scratch. I say out loud "Oh,oh, oh. Totus ardeo": An absurd thing to say. It's obviously a literary quotation and seems to be Latin but where is it from? I have just remembered. It is from a line deep within (song 22) the Carmina Burana:

Oh, Oh, oh, totus floreo, iam amore virginali totus ardeo, novus, novus amor est, quo pereo.

The full sentence says the singer is bursting with love. I will have to sing it to Z some time



10 March, 2024

A commemoration

As any frequent reader of this blog -- if there are any -- will know, Z and I have had our ups and downs but we have nonetheless been together for over two years and I am happy about that. And Z is too. She has suggested that we commemorate "two years of love" (in her words). As I have said here previously that I love her and always will, that is an ideal state of affairs.

She has suggested that I buy her a watch as commemoration. She likes watches and I have previously bought her a couple from OpShops that I liked. This time she wants one that she has chosen -- seen in a jeweller's shop. So I am giving her the money for it. I am glad that I am able to give her something that she likes

I was originally going to buy her flowers but she asked for a watch instead

She arrived at my place around 2pm. Our afternoon consisted of a trip to Nando's for a salad lunch; a trip to Coco's to stock up on fruit and veg; A trip to Macca's for a cold Mocha coffee. We then mainly lay around until about 5pm, when she left in a happy state. I was happy too.



9 March, 2024

A sad day

Anne is off for another around Australia trip so today was the last time I will see her for around 6 months. We breakfasted at Buranda: Calmari for me and a Viet omelette for Anne.

We went back to my place afterward and spent the rest of the time until 12 chatting desultorily, as we usually do, and listening to Bach



7 March, 2024

A pretty good day

With the aid of various pills and potions, I got a good night's sleep last night so woke up not long before 9am.

I then texted Z for a while but she was in a negative mood

Jenny arrived shortly after 9 to help me with a medical appointment and left after that.

Then around 10am Anne arrived ready for brunch. We went to Buranda where I had a breakfast of smoked salmon and a big mug of iced coffee. Gourmet stuff! We then back to my place where we relaxed and listened to some medieval polyphony, which we both enjoyed. Anne left at noon.

Then at around 5.30pm Jenny arrived ready to spend the night at my place, which she did. At around 6pm she cooked me some tender Scotch fillet with fried onions and plenty of salad. I am skipping bread rolls these days so that I eat more salad.

So it was a pretty good day for a geriatric 80-year old. A pity that Z was not in a positive mood but you can't win 'em all



6 March, 2024

Excommunicated by Medium.com

Google has deleted some of my blog posts because of their political incorrectness. But I now have a new censor: Medium.com is a site where people can put up their personal thoughts and stories. I use it as somewhere to go when I have time on my hands.

Its posts are mostly open to the public but you can become a "member" by paying a small monthly fee. I have paid that fee as I do get some value out of the site. And there is a privilege attached to membership. Some posts are made available to members only. How that selection is made is a mystery to me.

The site does allow and encourage comments on its posts and I have put up comments occasionally. They have however now put up a flag whenever I log on to say that I have violated their rules The rules concerned are a very long list so I have no idea which rule I have broken and when. And I now no longer get the privileged members-only emails.

It would be nice if they had the manners to tell me which particular comment they disliked. Even Google does that whenever they delete one of my blogspot posts.

It will be interesting to see if they take their monthly fee from me. It will be a test of how hollow or not their pretensions of having principles are.



5 March, 2024

Some original mini-plays meant for household performance

In English country houses of yore, guests up from London over the weekend were always welcome. Country life was a bit boring so guests were a welcome distraction.

But what did you do with guests when you had them? During the day was no problem. There was always huntin' 'n shootin' 'n fishin' -- which is mainly what the guests came for. You can't do much of that in London. And for some there was also tennis.

But what about the evening? What about after dinner? Port and cigars were helpful but not always quite enough. So amateur entertainments were often organized: Often for the last day of the visit. There were charades and concerts and amateur plays written for the occasion that people rehearsed in their spare time up until the actual performance. And the amateur theatricals had the advantage of involving the ladies, who otherwise mainly read the latest novels and gossiped.

I thought that those traditions should not die entirely so I have written some mini-plays for performance at parties I attend:



Waterhouse (Concerning the Professors Waterhouse in Sydney)

Unselling (How a retailer sells you what he wants to sell you)

AN EDWARDIAN TRILOGY

Following are three plays with Edward VII as the central character. They can however all be performed successfully as individual plays without the context of the other two plays.

BOOK 1: Building the "Dreadnought" (An Edwardian version of "Yes Minister")

BOOK 2: The King's trip (Concerning Edward VII as a diplomat)

BOOK 3: The King's idea (The King had an idea about how to deal with the alarming Mr. Roosevelt)



All plays are copyright but no permission is needed for home performances. Author email: jonjayray@hotmail.com



4 March, 2024

An irrational attachment

An irrational attachment is one that persists despite the balance of positives and and negatives in a relationship being unusualy adverse. Social psychologists usually see in good male/female relationships a clear favourable balance of values. Each parter gets satisfactions out of the relationship that clearly outweigh sources of dissatisfaction. People who want positives only, with no negatives, are immature and will stay single.

There are for me many negatives and only a few positives in my relationship with Z but I none the less feel very affectionate towards her. We both agree that there are large incompatibilities between us. So the relationship should not exist by conventional criteria.

But despite that I have told her that I will always be here for her. And I mean it. Because of our incompatibilties, she has often tried to leave me and has sometimes been very abusive to me. But I am always happy to have her back and renew our relationship. My feelings towards her are rather inexplicable but they are strong.

She fears that I will leave her for someone else and I can see why she fears that. I have other female friends. But her fears are groundless. I could never dump her. It would go against my admiration of her for me to do so. And despite trying, she has never been able to dump me either.

So it is a real romance. We do love one-another. A romance that exists despite obstacles is usually admired, with Romeo and Juliet being the classic examples of that. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, however, Z and I are in no danger of killing ourselves over it.



26 Februry, 2024

Today's crunchie, wunchie lunchie

Around 3pm Z brought over a big dish of salad which she had prepared for us



It looked good, tasted good and tended to promote good health. It was in effect a crunchy vitamin pill. It reflects her concern for my health, which I appreciate. The dark red bit in the middle is pureed beetroot, which provides iron that I need for my blood as my haemoglobin level are too low. So I appreciate both the food and the thought behind it



26 Februry, 2024

Am I a narcissist?

Z has a great interest in psychiatric diagnosis. As I am a psychologist, it is is something we occasionally discuss. Z is particularly interested in Freud and the post-Freudians.

Freud was in fact the effective originator of the idea of a narcissistic personality -- in 1914 in Zur Einführung des Narzissmus -- but we do not have to accept his explanation of its origins. Freud himself doubted the adequacy of his account.

Z sometimes toys with the idea that I am a narcissist so let us look at a modern definition of it.

The Mayo definition:

"Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence, they are not sure of their self-worth and are easily upset by the slightest criticism"

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662

The Mayo clinic is America's leading hospital

So I think that lets me off the hook. Far from being "easily upset by the slightest criticism", I am one of those peple of whom it is said that I "have a hide like a rhinocerous". In other words, criticism has to be pretty severe or repeated before it gets through to me or bothers me. I in fact usually regard it simply as information -- sometimes as information about reality and sometimes as information about the person criticizing

I am certainly self-confident but I am not a narcissist.



23 Februry, 2024

Back on track

The relationship between Z and me seems to be fully back on track. She had an afternoon nap in my arms today, which is an aspect of our relationship that I have always particularly liked

So we have been together for two years and are now headed into a third year of similar times together, which I am greatly pleased about.

I bought her some flowers today in recognition of the times we have spent together.



She has alway shown particular concern for my health and so has made me many "healthy" meals, something that will now resume. She follows the raw food diet, which has had many reports of health benefit



22 February, 2024

Am I a nocturnal animal?

Our bodies retain remnants of our evolutionary past. The obvious example of that is the light covering of hair on our bodies. They suggest that we were once furry animals but lost most of the fur when we became marine animals. Many marine animals have lost all fur -- whales, dolphins etc. So we were well on the path to that but did not quite get there because we started doing something else

And what that is seems obvious. We became arboreal. We started climbing trees. Our closest relatives, the monkeys, mostly climb trees and have hands like ours -- good for grabbing branches.

Many arboreal creaures are also nocturnal. They come to life at night

So, like our body hair, it seems likely that we have some evolutionary remnant in us that inclines some of us to being nocturnal. And there is evidence of that. Many party-goers and night-clubbers jokingly refer to themselves as nocturnal because of their tendency to carry on late -- up to 3am in the morning or thereabouts.

I think I share those tendencies. Parties tend to bore me as everybody gets drunker so I don't stay long at them but I often am brightly awake at midninght and tend to nap a lot during the day.

But being nocturnal has its problems. It puts you out of synch with the normal activities of daytime. Just when you are sleeping nicely, you may have to get up and go to work.

At age 80, I no longer go to work but I do have some morning activities that I value so I try to sleep at night and be awake during the day. But to do that I have to take sleeeping pills to bomb me out before midnight. So I go against what my body wants me to do. I am very tempted to throw away the pills and just sleep when I am tired. And I will see if I can make arrangements to accommodate that.

I did do it once before. I went pill-free and ended up still getting enough sleep -- mostly during the day



20 February, 2024

Valentine's day recollected

Feb. 14th was a big day for me this year. In recognition of all she does for me, I made Jenny my Valentine. We went to the Buranda coffee lounge for breakfast, followed by a visit to my doctor, who works close by, followed by a trip to Woolworths to buy flowers. Jenny chose her own, which was a bouquet of native ones.



We then went to Coco's to buy chocolate-coated nuts as a present to her. Jenny then drove us to Dan Murphy, where I bought Seaview "Champagne" and Rosemount Traminer Riesing.

The big surprise was yet to come, however. Shortly after Jenny left, Z arrived, as I noted on the day. I had not seen Z for weeks so that was the big event of the day. A Valentine surprise for me. So I saw two fine women on Valentine's day

Then, the next day (Thurs), I saw Anne. I had planned a Barramundi breakfast for us but the fish-shop was out of it. So we both ended up having a McDonald's breakfast on my verandah, which was still quite pleasant. I also gave her chocolates and flowers


Flowers for Anne



18 February, 2024

She IS back

Z came to my place about 4.30pm yesterday and we went to Nando's for a 5pm "lunch" of salad. We discussed the issues between us and made some progress. She went home at about 6pm but we continued our discussions via text messages. We did eventually seem to resolve the issues between us and I have received some positive messages from her this morning. She wanted me to make some revisions to what I wrote on this blog and I have done that. I look forward to a calm and affectionate relationship with her from now on



14 February, 2024

She's back, I think

After a gap of around 6 weeks Z called on me this afternoon. We went to the Buranda coffee lounge for lunch. After lunch she came up and lay down beside me in bed, which is our usual custom. So that was the basics of restoring our relationship.

Both at the cafe and in bed, however, she spent almost the whole time criticizing me, which was quite unpleasant. I put up with it in the hope that she will be more civil in future. We were together for about 2 hours of the afternoon but she left wihout making any arrangements for us to meet again. But I imagine I will see her again some time soon

I deeply regret upsetting her as I do love her




A good song

One of my faourite songs is the "alternative" version of "Scotland the Brave" associated with Scottish singer John McDermott. McDermott is known for performing traditional songs to a high standard.

I wondered however where McDermott got "his" version of the song. Did he write it? He is professional singer rather than a poet so it seemed unlikely. So I did a bit of digging.

And it seems that McDermott has simply extracted the best bits of a rambling 19th century poem by James Hyslop. The result is very powerful but rather mystical. Poem are often rather mystical, however, so a clear effect is still conveyed.

I give below a video of a good performance and end with a listing of the original poem



The words being sung are given at the foot of the video

The original words, by James Hyslop (1798-1827), are as follows:

Let Italy boast of her bloom-shaded waters,
Her bowers, and her vines, and her warm sunny skies,
Her sons drinking love from the eyes of her daughters,
While Freedom expires amidst softness and sighs:—
       Scotland's bleak mountains wild,
       Where hoary cliffs are piled,
    Towering in grandeur, are dearer to me;
         Land of the misty cloud—
         Land of the tempest loud-
   Land of the brave and proud land of the free!

Enthroned on the peak of the dark Highland mountain,
The Spirit of Scotland reigns fearless and free;
Her tartan-folds waving o'er blue lake and fountain,
Exulting she sings, looking over the sea,—
          Here 'mong my mountains wild
          I have serenely smiled
   When armies and empires against me were hurl'd;
         Firm as my native rocks,
         Calmly sustain'd the shocks
   Of Denmark, and Cesar, and Rome, and the World!

When kings of the nations in council assemble,
The frown of my brow makes their proud hearts to quake,
The flash of mine eye makes the bravest to tremble,
The sound of my war-song makes armies to shake;
         France long shall mind the strain
         Sung on her bloody plain,
   Made Europe's bold armies with terror to shiver !—
         Shrouded in fire and blood,
         Then sung the pibroch loud,
    "Dying, but unsubdued — Scotland for ever!"

See at the war-note my proud horses prancing,
   Deep groves of steel trodden down in their path;
The eyes of the brave like their bright swords are glancing         
   Triumphantly riding through ruin and death!
         Bold hearts and nodding plumes
         Dance o'er their bloody tombs—
   Shining in blood is the red tartan's wave.
         Dire is the horseman's wheel,   
         Shivering the ranks of steel
   Still victor in battle-field, Scotland the brave!

The poem appeared, apparently for the first time, in "The Edinburgh Magazine" (April, 1821), pp. 360-361.



13 February, 2024

Insomnia cured

I have had trouble sleeping as far back as I can remember. My nervous system is just too active. For a long time I cured the problem by drinking. I would drink myself to sleep. Sometimes I would drink half a bottle of gin a night.

But that could not go on so in more recent times I have used sleeping pills instead. I relied for a long time on Temazepam, a common benzodiazepine

And the interesting thing is that all my heavy drinking seems to have done no harm. My liver and kidney function tests come back normal. Zero cirrhosis. So I appear to have cut out the booze in time. I would still have one drink a night but that was all

A complication has emerged recently, however. I have prostate cancer -- a pretty common occurrence for an old guy like me. I am on medication to stop the cancer but the stuff I take has the side-effect of waking me up. So my sleep difficulty has got worse recently. The Temazepam is no longer enough to get me to sleep.

I have however just found a new drug combination that works. I take Ibuprofen twice a day followed by Stilnox at bed-times. That works. For three nights running I have now had a normal night's sleep. That might not seem much but it is heaven for me. I am just hoping it continues.

Update of 27th: The effectivesness of the above combination did not continue. I now take both Stilnox and Temazepam at bedtime. A wee dram helps too. That works so far.



11 February, 2024

My days of wine and roses

Some of the things I write in this post are excerped from things I have previously written here. But with Valentine's day looming over us, I felt inclined to do a summary. Below is the famous poem behind my heading:

"They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.


They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream"


In other words, one is expected to have some happy years in one's youth which soon vanish never to return.

I have been much luckier than that. My days have been good most of the time. I have drunk much wine and given many roses. I count my good days as the ones I have been in happy relationships. And in my last 60 years that has been most of the time.

In April, 2021, when I was 76, however, I came out of a long relationship. The older one gets, the harder it becomes to form new partnerships so my prospects of more wine and roses seemed bleak. Many old people die alone.

But my luck held. At the very end of that year, I met Z, a lady of Serbian origin, also in her '70s.

It was not love at first sight but we did like one-another from the beginning and that soon deepened into a very loving relationship. The biggest surprise is that she and I are about as incompatible as it gets. I fail to understand her strong European accent a lot of the time and I am as unfit as she is super-fit. She jogs for miles every day and I walk only short distances. She is still pretty good-looking for her age while my looks break cameras these days. And that's just the start of our differences.

So compatibility is not all it's cracked up to be! You CAN fall in love without it!

So how do I analyse what worked between us? Hard to say definitively but I think it begins with us liking one-another. And we are both around top of the IQ range. She once said: "I used to go for handsome men but they are all stupid!"

I think the main influence that keeps us together is a principle I have always followed: If you find two good things in another person all the rest can be negotiated or adapted to. And the two things I particularly look for in women are a high IQ and a liking for classical music.

And my little Serb has both of those two rare qualities. She is even strongly moved by the music of J.S. Bach. That latter would mean nothing to most people but it is huge to me as I feel the same way about Bach. Mine are minority tastes but as an academic I am stuck with them.

We are also both high-functioning autistics so understand one-another's autistic behaviours when they emerge. The fellowship of the autistics is an unlikely concept but something like that does seem to work for Z and me at times. And aging does mellow one. At my age I have nothing to prove and no need to achieve. So I can just sit back and just enjoy a relationship for what it is.

On Christmas day, 2022 we just lay in bed talking for most of the time together -- with her doing most of the talking, as usual. She spent some time talking about Trajan, which is a pretty intellectual topic. I am myself interested in Roman history so I knew what she was talking about. She has a lot of intellectual interests -- principally in ancient history, European literature and clinical psychology. We have shared high culture interests and that pleases both of us. On one occasion, when Z wanted to mock me as being idle (I am) she quite appositely referred to me as being an Oblomov, which is an allusion to a classic 19th century Russian novel.

On another occasion, Z gave me an extended lecture in moral philosophy. She likes Erich Fromm's rejection of relativism. I said nothing in response but I was familiar with her topic. I have had a few academic articles on the topic published.

Z also has a good sense of humor and a liking for kisses and cuddles. She often has fallen asleep in my arms and I like that. So there was a lot of affection between us. It was a real relationship. It lasted for two years and I have many good memories of it. It still seems amazing to me that I had so many days of wine and roses so late in life.



6 February, 2024

I seem to have lost my litle Serb

I have not seen or heard from her for over a month and in her last text message to me she declared her independence of me.

There are still three other ladies who call on me and I have reorganized my social life around them so I am feeing no loneliness but I do nonetheless greatly regret the loss of an affectionate relationship that lasted two years.

I know she is actively looking for a new partner so I do hope that she finds one that suits her better than I did. She has a good heart so deserves a good relationship

Conicidentally, I have recently come across another Serb lady whom I admire. I have been watching recordings of coloratura operatic singer Radoslava Vorgi?. I think she has the most powerful soprano voice I have ever heard. She is in full voice below



The words (Excerpted by Handel from "At a Solemn Music" by John Milton)

Let the bright seraphim in burning row,
Their loud, uplifted angel trumpets blow.
Let the cherubic host, in tuneful choirs,
Touch their immortal harps with golden wires


She's got blue eyes too:



Die ganze Welt ist himmelblau
Wenn ich in Deine Augen schau\'
Und ich frag dabei: Bist auch Du so treu
Wie das Blau, wie das Blau Deiner Augen



2 February, 2024

A strange day

Yesterday (Thu.) was a very strange day. The strangeness actually started the day before (Wed.). I woke up with slightly sore eyes and slightly blurred vision, which was annoying. My vision was so blurred that I could not read my Greek New Testament. I was having trouble with Zeta, in particular, which is just a squiggle in lower case. Why was I bothering with the New Testament in the original Greek? It is all here:

https://ntwords.blogspot.com/

Anyway, I had a pleasant dinner at Annerley McDonalds with my son that night so I went to bed in a good mood. But next day (Thu.) I woke up early at 4:30am with a ragingly sore right arm. I took various things for it, including Tramadol, which is a rather powerful analgesic. The pain made it difficult to get back to sleep but I managed some sleep and woke up at about 9am with my arm still sore. My eyes had recovered and I could read my Greek New Testament again but that was slight consolation. The arm was so sore that I thought I needed to go to the hopital with it. So I rang Jenny to get her to take me.

But when she arrived, the pain had receded a bit so we thought we should wait and see if the arm got better by itself. I had my usual DoorDash breakfast from McDonalds while we were waiting. The arm did slowly get better. At around 3pm, however, I was chatting to Jenny when I sudenly got nauseous and had a big chuck. I had a chamber pot nearby as a receptacle so no great harm was done and I continued chatting for a while afterwards. But after that I went to sleep for the rest of the day and evening. I woke up at about 10pm and had a big drink of my favourite beverage: Cold water. I felt quite well after all the excitement of the day.

After that I went back to sleep until the morning and feel OK now after my usual breakfast



28 January, 2024

A new earworm

An earworm is a tune you can't get out of your head. I am rather prone to them, But my latest one is a lulu, it is a line from a cantata written by Vincent Lübeck in 1728 in North Germany. My autistic brain comes up with some weirdly intellectual stuff. The cantata is Gott Wie Dein Name.

The line that keeps coming to me is:

Und deine Fusstapfen triefen von Fett

Its a line from the Psalms but I won't translate it as it sounds absurd to modern ears

It is on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/O_Lhz-t6JF8



22 January, 2024

A b*rthday lunch

Anne is having a b*rthday soon so I put on a special lunch for her today. We have a formula for special meals: I get in a dozen French cutlets and she supplies a dozen Sydney rock oysters. The oysters she brought today must have been very fresh as they tasted divine. I can never figure out why people drench oysters with sauces etc. A fresh raw oyster has a taste that cannot be improved.

The weather was hellishly hot -- 37 degrees -- so I took my big electric frypan out on to the verandah where we always get a breeze. So Anne cooked there in a lot more comfort than she would have if we stayed indoors. I have a big pine table on the verandah so we could both cook and dine there

And Anne cooked the cutlets to perfection -- both tender and tasty -- and I had fresh bread to go with them. I opened a COLD bottle of Tyrrells Verdelho, which went down really well with the cutlets. And I even got out my best crystal goblets to drink out of. I ended up having two glasses of wine instead of my usual one.

We finished up listening to music as we usually do. We listened in comfort under air-conditioning. I put on Taras Bulba by Janacek, which Anne liked.


B*rthday flowers



21 January, 2024

A disappointing experience with Uber Eats

The disappointment started as soon as I logged on. They did not have an option to add in something from a nearby shop. Doordash has that service and I do use it.

I ordered from Taco Bell and that was bad too: The chips were cold, the Taco was doughy and I got the wrong drink.

In summary I will not again use Uber eats or Taco Bell. It's a pity because I quite enjoyed tacos when I was in Mexico and the Southern USA. What I got from Taco Bell was weird by comparison



20 January, 2024

Janacek and a double breakfast


The cafe "MK Bower" is in Stones corner at the far end of the restaurant strip

https://mkbowercafe.com.au/ at 433 Logan Rd.

It has a big and very tempting menu and provides outdoor seating as well as indoors. So Anne and I went there this morning. I particulary like their "Off Grid" breakfast. It is only $21 but is so big it is a challenge to eat it all. As well as the customary bacon, eggs and toast, you get two sausages, gourmet baked beans and a dish of chutney. So it is two breakfasts in one.

I failed to eat all of mine but Anne got through just about all off hers. She is a moderate eater in general but can eat up when she likes it enough. And we sat in the shade outdoors so it was a memorably good breakfast.

Then after breakfast Anne asked me to put on the Jancek Sinfonietta, which she had seldom heard in the past. It is a very clangourous piece with lots of brass so is a bit much even for some classical music lovers. I think I introduced her to it as I have aways liked it. It is basically an exciting piece of music. It was written in in 1926 so is "modern"

Anne loved it so I went the next mile and also put on for her Janacek's Glagolithic mass, which is quite similar to the Sinfonietta. Anne liked that too. When it finished it was such an experience that we agreed we could not put on anything appropriate to follow it. I must try her out on Taras Bulba next week

Anne and I normally relax in bed while listening to music but the Janacek interested her so much that she got up several times to have a close look at what the orchestra was doing. The show was from the Czech Philharmonic via YouTube


Leos Jancek

So we had a morning together that it would be hard to beat

And Jenny is coming over this evening bringing dinner so that will really cap a good day for me



17 January, 2024

The SIT, a most remarkable institution

Would you believe a fully accredited college situated at the end of the world that charges no fees, offers degrees up to doctoral level and is headquartered in a town of only 54,000 people? And it even has a respectable score in the world university rankings

Such is the Southern Institute of Technology, headquarterd in Invercargill, New Zealand. Invercargill is about as close as you can get to Antarctica and still live a normal life. As Invercargill is close to the sea, its temperatures are moderated somewhat, nothing like low Candian extremes

I have family in town at the moment who live in Invercagill so that has sparked my interest in the SIT

The SIT has a number of campuses in addition to the one at Invercargill, notably one at Queenstown and a small tentacle at Christhurch. And all of them are "free" to NZ citizens. They also have around 2,000 overseas students who pay, but mostly not very much -- around $US15,000 per year. The overseas students come mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines, which are warm countries. Invercargil must be a shock

And the SIT has a rank of 400+ in the world university rankings. Not bad when you know that is out of about 11,000 colleges worldwide. The major NZ universities score around 200+ but none are up to the standard of its big neighbour. There are two Australian universities in the top 50 worldwide. I went to one.

The courses listed on the Invercargill campus offer a wide range of technical subjects plus some degree courses. You can become a degree-level nurse, teacher or accountant, for instance

You could certainly do worse than to take courses from SIT. They are fully recognized by the NZ accreditation authorities



6 January, 2024

Two divorces in the one week!

The new year has certainy proved new for me. The first week of the year is not gone and yet it has already featured two divorces for me. Neither Anna nor Zoe is talking to me and there is no indication of if and when communcations will resume.

So I am down from having 5 ladies in my life to only 3. Those three are however around my age, bright and highly compatible culturally. So I am still pretty pleased about my life.

Still, I saw a lot of the divorcing ladies until recently so my life is a lot quieter than it was. I would enjoy any resumption of communications



3 January, 2024

Proof that I am uncool

At age 80, food is a major satisfaction for me. I miss out on some of life's pleasures but food remains. And something that has always been part of that for me is a cooked breakfast. If there is someone at home to cook me a breakfast that is fine but if not I have always gone out to a nearby cafe and ordered bacon & eggs etc. So that is a pretty conventional breakfast

But I have excelled myself lately. I now get all my solo cooked breakfasts from McDonald's via the Doordash delivery service. It costs me about the same as a cafe breakfast and is a lot more relaxed and convenient. So below is the docket I got with my most recent breakafst.



All the cool cats spit on McDonald's from a great height but I see that as mere snobbery. The various ingredients that were once denounced by the "experts" -- fat, salt, and sugar -- have now been rehabilitated by epidemiogical research. Fat is now good for you, excess salt is excreted and if sugar is bad we are all dead. So I am very relaxed about my uncool liking for a McDonald's breakfast



1 January, 2024

A quiet New Year

I am pleased and rather surprised that I have made it into 2024. When you are as old as I am each new year seems a privilege -- even a quiet one

My New Year's eve was not very social. I had a pleasant breakfast with my son Joe but that was it. I had no visitors in the evening. But I had a lot to do with end-of-year blogging so that was no problem. I kept busy. I didn't even get up to watch the fireworks. You can see some of them from where I live.

Today I am scheduled to have lunch with Jenny but nothing else so far. So I am looking forward to lunch. I had a very good breakfast courtesy of Doordash and McDonald's

Pink beauty

The Crepe Myrtle tree nearest my back door has responded prolifically to all the rain with a great mass of pink blossom





For posts on this blog in previous years, click

2023

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

etc.










Brief bio


My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher in my 80th year in 2022. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. I am Australian born of working class origins and British ancestry. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools.



See here for the notes and pix occurring in the side column of the original memoirs blog



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