Wednesday, May 27, 2020

#wordlesswednesday Wish I may; wish I might; why are these images so very bright?

Twist of an Arthur C. Clarke quote:

Any sufficiently differentiated teenager defies the science and creates magic.
When an emerging writer met Frank Herbert when she was 13 - that was a magic moment which took her into a literary stratosphere and made it more approachable.
[let me think - the emerging writer was Catherine someone and she does speculative fiction].
And today's teenagers would have you LISTEN TO and FOLLOW the science.
Isn't that right, Greta and Beata?

"As long as you wear your flippy-floppy hat and clean up after the dogs and don't have the dogs clean up after you;
you can go to the beach".

Geology in the garden: shells and rocks of every sort as well as leaves and flowers.
It is a great garden for science and for humanities and both of those sorts of learning.
#thetwocultures #cpsnow

Skating on roller skates.
Facing in the other direction, meanwhile ...
There were some waves which made the young ladies feel like celebrities.

"Keep your friends close and your animals closer!"

When tiredness passes over into overtiredness
it can be very unpleasant for one and one's friends.
Especially as it was past midnight.
Would they get the explorer into the blanket before the witching hour?

"It's not THAT he's frantic - it's what he is frantic ABOUT".
In this case - it was about a puzzle and putting it back from the floor.
"A place for everything and everything in its place".
The little fellow was taught some version of this.

A very sportive pair those two.
Lots of pennants; medals and ribbons.
And jodhpurs and boots in the case of the young lady on the right.
Some look forward to kicking their new footballs; others like to throw balls on or near a wall.

The Gingerbread Kid and the gingerbread cake - along with the gingerbread kid's biggest supporters.
Sometimes people are just too good to eat. Sometimes all you want to do is eat them.
You can do this in a dream.

Our youngest explorer in his grey nightgown and slippers.
It had been a very rainy week and the ground was uneven.
So someone put out the welcome mat.
What was behind the door? Was it a minibar? a refrigerator?

Flowers and balloons and pull-along ducks.
The kind that waddle.
Sometimes you can't choose your nicknames - they choose you.
For example - if people see you waddling like a duck - you get called "Waddle-duck".
"Coursework first - then celebrations!" said the lady in the purple hat and the green dress.
Not many people know that to swoon is to faint.
And f a i n t - one of these young ladies did that
when she was at the most central of Central Stations in Warsaw to meet her friends.
The other young lady is insouciant. As you would be if you travelled first class and expected Firsts in the coming five years.

Dreaming clouds and dreaming stones.
Everyone is supposed to be three stones apart.
And each one has their own cloud.
I believe Dibs said:
Every child should have a tree that is all its own.
Every child should have a mountain that is all its own.

Across from the Bodhi Tree and the misty mountains.
Sometimes the world can be so misty and so frosty.
That is when your shadow self steps in.

Chipotle on the brain! And tomatoes; avocado and so on.
Even malt from the malt shop.

Dreams are very strange things holding them in space and time.
And I don't know how that red got in there.

Some of these animals went on the live export journey
and from the United Arab Emirates to the Fremantle Port Authority they had to come.

Hands and feet and new friends.
If you look very closely you will see the Central Station young man
perhaps when he was very very young.
I think it's the eyes.

Rice paddies are full of work and love, very often.

There are four children and two animals.

And we will end today's adventures with a spa bath or the kind that comes in jets and has towels.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Schuman Day [8.v.2020] / Victory in Europe - Liberation Day [9.v.2020]

8 May 2020
Schuman Day

Did you know that
Pink Floyd
Friday Fundraisers?
#stayhere #withme
#pulse #runrabbitrun

Good writers do backgrounds when they can.
Better planners do the background FIRST
and respect it and put it in due proportion.
That way the foreground and the middle of the field can pop out
or stay disguised/camouflaged depending on what you want to do.

Such was the German President's speech
and Queen Elizabeth the Second's
on the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe / Liberation Day.

Orientation, too, is important.

In the theatre set design can be very abstract and symbolic.
So, too, in music videos and their staging.

Such was the case in The Eddy
which was released on the 8th May in the Netflix world.
It was done by the director of LA LA LAND.

What a wonderful first episode.
I needed something to keep my hands and brain busy.

The drawings come in three by three.

I used five colours and/or shades.

The bottom is a sunset-type image and there is much showing through when it comes to yellow and pink and purple.

The top has a two-toned brown background and then there is red green yellow and blue.

And I wouldn't be me if I didn't do all the colours at some point.

The middle illustration reinforces the point about backgrounds.

There are people walking all over the pile of rocks and other people floating in fine-tip pen.

One of my more amusing philosophical moments this May
when I was reading the Oxford Companion to Philosophy [the 2005 edition which I acquired in 2012-13]
was about SLIME - not the Internet phenomenon precisely
- how SLIME is applied in philosophy.
It takes up this third space between what is concrete and what is abstract.
And it often connotes feelings of disgust and of fascination - this emotionally ambigious space which is a sense of productive uncertainty.
A sense - too - of sensoria and qualia.

I had some more serious moments too.
On the 29th April 2020 for instance when I spent time with Makers of Modern Culture
and I wanted to know more about the speech act as one of the UK's greatest philosophers has it.
This philosopher is J. L. Austin and he disseminated these ideas about the three forces
[well, these are the three forces which are the most famous].

Illuctionary which is defined as what is done IN saying something
[Anthony Flew: 1981]
Locutionary which is the act OF saying

and finally perlocutionary - what is EFFECTED IN OTHERS by the saying.

These are applications of performative utterances

Quickly summarising: we have in, of and by - "little words that pack a big punch" [I seem to remember an almost preternaturally verbally agile young man called Billy in Beautiful Child {T L Hayden 2002} who said that - and specifically about the word bad

Could easily have been his classmate Jesse - probably unlikely to have been Gwennie because she only came to the class sometimes - and the others Zane and Shane and Venus].

In philosophy - and especially in analytical philosophy - you have to look after the pennies. Even then you have not the guarantee that the pounds will look after themselves and grow interest.

I credit/blame Stephen Toulson and his definitive logical text The uses of argument [1959].

That same day was the 250th anniversary of Yorkshire merchant seaman and explorer
James Cook
and his coexplorer Joseph Banks
when they arrived on the east coast of the Australian continent.
You can read more about James Cook and Joseph Banks in The Conversation.

Also in the Conversation's CURIOUS KIDS section there was an 11-year-old who wanted to know


Good question! And never too soon to learn about the roles of multilateral organisations!

For those of you who can read on the side ... and especially the green highlighted bit ...

The legacy, of course, was and continues to be deeply contested.

During the beginning of May I was pointed to a review of a movie called In Deed which was about a young boy called Benny and how he and his mother Melva meet Abe.

Abe is a churchman of the evangelical persuasion [that issue of the Monthly: Schwartz Media was kneedeep in evangelicalism and charismatics - Shane Danielsen was not immune!] and essentially he thinks/hopes/wishes his church can cure Benny. #mentalisation #filmmaking

A lot of my neurodivergent friends and interested and interesting people will probably have perceived and conceived where this is going.

Unfortunately [?] I did not get to that bit.

I did see scenes of Benny in his school - Abe is a cleaner there - and how he and Melva interact in church - and some attempts at exorcism and getting the demons/spirits out.

And how the rest of the family is - like the sister - and the woman who visits after an interaction in the waiting room.

Another interesting movie I watched - and had wanted to watch since January 2019 -

was Marwencol

which was an artistic and technical paracosm very relevant to this weekend - the macro and the micro ones.

Marwencol is this Belgian town which became a stopping place for veterans and travelling folk who are represented in the form of dolls - Barbies for the women and action figures for the men.

It grabs the viewer and never lets them go in the central dilemma between worlds.

Photography plays a role in disseminating Mark's universe of World War II figures that are based on people in his life that he imagines and reflects on and remembers.

People like Wendy and Colleen and Anna and various of his male friends from before and after the cataclysmic attack which results in brain injury and the associated effects.

There are moments when Mark walks on the streets of the real world with a well-modelled and sturdy tank.

There are so many swirly feelings and swishy feelings [the latter my invented set of concepts for dress; costume and genderplay / genderbending and exploration].

Thank you to the maven who recommended Kanopy.

One can watch 15 movies standardly - that is one movie every two days if you are sensible and/or use the credit-free work.

I noticed there was one on Valued Roles and Normalisation and another musical one.

Lots of sporting interests covered/explored too.

Was looking for a book about The death of the Fitzroy Football Club ...

That was one of those slimy moments of machination and Machievellian feeling - Holmesby represents it so well and so objectively.

One of the more wonderful sporting and human interest moments was when Adam Scott called up a fellow golfer and turned up to their club through the help of a significand ...

A very lovely Tete-a-tete. Probably not like the ones in Paris cafes between 1929 and 1979 between de Beauvoir and Sartre and their circle - which are so well covered by Hazel Rowley #goodthingscometothosewhowait #andtothosewhosurvive #thriving #flourishing #copology #continentalphilosophy #existentialism #riversideoaks

Sunday, April 26, 2020

#finishthesentencefriday Hot chocolate with chilli for dead gentlemen [Waitrose]; choc banana muffins with psychologists [Henshaw]; tiger salad with friends on/for your side [Liaw]

"When nearly every glass thing in a Cambridge house is broken ... what else can you do but to give your neighbour a plastic bowl of chutney" #thechutneyofeton [Image of herbs and two bowls of chutney and a green-yellow-orange-red human] [text resumes] "And sensible people do not usually fob off dogs or parrots with chocolate biscuits" [hashtags] #thatbarofrespect #modifythebehavioursettlethescore [text resumes; new paragraph] Dogs and parrots usually have the intelligence of at least a 3-year-old; and for dogs chocolate is specifically contraindicated. [paragraph ends] [new paragraph] Some will remind that what I mean by [emphasis] intelligence [emphasis ends] : social and emotional regulation and inter/transcultural adaptation. [hashtags] #chutneywithheart #chutneyforbrains [hashtags end] Not a great time to have a birthday or a big celebration (especially if you're a kid)!
15 April 2020
Hot chocolate is for gentlemen; not for dogs or parrots!
Chutney, on the other hand, is an inclusive recipe
and a great gift...

I will always remember reading an early scene in the Readers' Digest Condensed Work of Sound of a Miracle when Annabel Stehli and her younger daughter Georgiana were cooking together in the labour-saving kitchen device world of 1960s Connecticut.

It was with a mixer and a blender - both of which give vibrations on glass or in a wooden pot - which in the frequencies that complement or over-ride speech and language input/stimulation - and then the yelling.

Say it! - Annabel said to Georgie.

It was after Georgie had failed to say cook several times.

Annabelle felt failure and disappointment at that. She thought her daughter was deliberately withholding.

It is possible that Georgie might have heard only O or everything exceptionally loud and intrusively... or the hard consonants may have clashed and clanged.

And if Georgie had any attachment or feeling for mechanical things or their sensory effects ... this was countered by highly aversive stimuli. Hence her response.

A #textandcontext point for you lot: this was before Georgie had any sort of formal diagnostic process. And certainly before she was institutionalised - first in a very famous New York City hospital and some years later - the early 1970s - a place known as Childville in the book.

Georgie thought other people were strong and brave because they coped with all the sounds in the world and within their bodies - like heartbeats. As you know I think Georgie is strong and brave for so long - until 1976 when she came to Annecy to work with Guy Berard and Cecile Wuarin for those ten days. And all the work afterwards when she came to realise her potential as an artist, a mother, a polyglot and a highly engaging TV guest on shows like Sally Jessy Raphael and I think Donahue - certainly the talk show culture of the early 1990s.

Stehli wrote two other interesting books called Dancing in the Rain and a Snow book which I read about in the early 2000s on Amazon [I remember it was mid-December 2000 when I was answering a Christmas quiz] - or possibly in a review or two. These are short essays of other parents and children who had auditory integration therapy or another closely related sensory-friendly/sensory-informed treatment.

A few months after I read that excerpt and I was watching Blossom or Full House I tried to cook some gingerbread in the microwave.

The microwave had come into my house about a year before and it may or may not have opened so much.

In my house fresh food and garden-sourced food is very important. So most things - snacks and meals - are eaten more or less raw. Levi-Strauss for the win!

Warm drink-making was an important part of my training. Cause and effect is somehow more easily seen - and the role of contribution - when you make a smoothie or a milkshake. And a sound-proof and distraction-free room is important.

Various relatives have been in the hospitality industry - one made Mexican [more properly Tex-Mex food with Commonwealth of Nations characteristics] food on the regular; another worked as a saucier and knew the five basic sauces very well indeed.

I can make a decent tartar sauce.

Some years later - we are in 1996 here - I was expanding my literary powers and for the first time I killed off a character. I will clarify - this is the first time I killed off a character in my Fenland educational narrative.

This character was a psychologist and he really loved his Ovaltine. His name was Dean Swallell.

My protagonist was writing a fictional work which sent her and several of her friends and classmates all over the county and country. And she met Dean.

The point about Dean is that he was a gentleman - gentilhomme - the sort of person who being more than non-threatening - is a joy to work with.

Someone you can be honest with and be able to stay honest - or even in the room!

Sometimes les psychologues like or prefer you and them to maintain the relationship outside the session and the offices.

In that context you may make - or they may offer - in this third place/location:

Hot chocolate and chilli

Today I borrowed a recipe from Waitrose and the only change I would make is the chocolate can come from anywhere - it is the proportion which matters. Also the multiples. also have several good ones and I think another recipe website. If your favourite magazine or one you read has a Test Kitchen [not a Test Chicken!] that is so much to the good - like GOOD HOUSEKEEPING or the AUSTRALIAN WOMEN'S WEEKLY or BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS.

And there are Test Kitchen principles and practices you can adapt.

Chilli Hot Chocolate

This is the most fantastic combination of rich chocolate with spicy chilli. South Americans have been matching these ingredients for centuries - we are just catching on! If you'd prefer not to use chilli, the hot chocolate will still taste delicious without it.
  • Preparation time:10 minutes, plus infusing
  • Cooking time:5 minutes
  • Total time:15 minutes, plus infusing 25 minutes
Serves: 8


  • 1.136-litres whole milk
  • 2 red chillies
  • 200g Plain Chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 200ml single cream


  1. Pour the milk into a saucepan. 
  2. Carefully slice the chillies in half lengthways and deseed, leaving the stalks attached in order to remove them from the milk easily. 
  3. Add to the milk.
  4. Slowly bring to a shivering simmer. Remove from the heat and infuse for 10 minutes, so that the milk takes on the chilli flavour. Reheat the milk, add the broken chocolate and cream and stir on a low heat until the chocolate is dissolved. Remove and discard the chillies. Serve garnished with a slice of fresh chilli.
Ah - seems simple!

I thought there would be 700 grams of the chocolate.

When Maman and I would type recipes we would make the verbs bold and put them at the start of the sentences/phrases. This applied to school and community fundraising campaigns throughout the 1990s and even into the 2000s.

Many companies have a public service interest when it comes to recipes. You never know when someone might like to eat choc banana muffins. A challenge for you: when it comes to muffins do you say --

  • banana and chocolate muffins
  • muffins with chocolate and banana
If muffins were people [and sometimes parts of people are referred to as "Muffin"/muffin] there would be a split.

Some of you - or most of the people who read Halfway up Rysy Peak - would want to respect the muffin's identity as it itself has stated it. For example, a muffin might be a banana muffin through and through and doesn't acknowledge their chocolate part. That is fair; we respect that!

Thank you Laura Henshaw from Keep it Cleaner - she also works as a Vitality Ambassador for an insurance company.

I noticed there was Greek yoghurt; milk; rice malt syrup/healthy sweetener - and that there is a lot of choice and option within this recipe. Yes - it is important to be flexible!

  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 heaped tablespoon Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup flour of choice [gluten free/plain/spelt]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 80 grams dark chocolate chips
  • coconut oil or butter for greasing [optional]
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Line muffin tray with patty pans or coconut butter.
  3. Mash bananas in large mixing bowl.
  4. Add eggs; Greek yoghurt; milk; rice malt syrup to the banana mixture
In another bowl [this is the whole wet and dry ingredient issue] combine almond meal; baking powder and chocolate chips.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until combined. The next mixture should be of similar consistency to a standard muffin mix.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are cooked through when checked with a skewer and golden brown on top. As oven temperatures may vary, be sure to check these are thoroughly cooked through before moving on from the oven. You may need to leave them in a couple of extra minutes.

There - that was not so painful - at least not to type! It may be painful to make.

If you like savoury muffins those are good to be able to make as well. Especially with spring onions and/or chives and pumpkin.

This recipe of chocolate and banana muffin was found at the back of a magazine - one where a comedian is being interviewed about what he knows about women. This comedian's mum was really fun to hang out with!

Right now it is Ramadan and the crescent moon was in the sky a week ago.

Coronavirus became very serious with the Lunar New Year and all the travelling which could not be done. We are all trying to #stayathome and #slowthespread.

This recipe comes from a Master Chef of ten years ago - Adam Liaw. In Mandarin it would be called Lahou Cai and nearly every website - New York Times; British Broadcasting Corporation; Special Broadcasting Service; France24; Deutsche Welle - has a version or two of it. 

Liaw's serving suggestion is that TIGER SALAD is sufficient for four people. He also makes a comment about the role of salads and side dishes in northern Chinese cuisine:

• 4 thick spring onions
• 1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into thin batons
• ½ green capsicum, very thinly sliced
• 1 large red chilli, very thinly sliced

• 1 cup loosely packed coriander sprigs
• ½ tsp sugar
• 1 tsp soy sauce
• 2 tsp rice vinegar
• 1 tsp sesame oil
Halve the spring onions lengthways and slice very thinly on a steep diagonal. 
Place the slices in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate for 20 minutes to curl. 
Combine the cucumber, capsicum, chilli and coriander in a bowl and refrigerate along with the spring onion....
Combine the ingredients for the dressing and stir to dissolve the sugar. 
Drain the spring onions well and combine all the ingredients and dressing together. 
Toss and serve immediately.

Now this is quite a mouth-watering recipe!

And I do not quite understand 'thin batons'. When I cut cucumber I cut it into halves and then slice it. Usually with the skin on.

I do understand 'very thinly sliced' though ...

and it seems that half the recipe has disappeared? The bit of the recipe to do with the dressing? Some people have their stuff white-linked or reversed. Or perhaps this came through in the wash.

The chilli does make it very tiger-like, doesn't it? So do the coriander sprigs.

It is a terrific recipe to have with friends - especially if they love cuisines which are on the edge of cultures.

And some people love tomatoes - or tomato sauce - with everything. One example is Australian footballer Tayla Harris... another example is a tour guide and traveller.

I have noticed in both the chilli recipes that deseeding is important. What do you do with chilli seeds? Do you save them; do you dry them out; do you replant them?

I will end as I began - with another cooking story from the world of educational psychology as that has come down to us in the popular literature.

Group work this time [though much good cooking and preparing is group work especially for entertainment purposes] - an eight-year-old with a very big heart and who can barely read has a moment with a mixing bowl.

This author has a very famous ice-cream recipe and is a great hand with dulce de leche.

It is a moment worthy of Flora Rheta Schreiber and her belles-lettres.

Our young lady breaks the bowl and the whole world comes crashing.

She did have other positive cooking experiences where her friends were on her side and for her.

She exposed them to a life full of recipes and beyond recipes.

Friday, April 24, 2020

#finishthesentencefriday "I might have fallen for that when I was fourteen and a little more green ... It's amazing what a couple of years can mean" [Lavigne 2002]

I don't often think of knowledge in terms of the things I wish I had had as a teenager. I do wish that I had been able to process and cope with that knowledge - and with not knowing - in a decent way and with grace.

I think of people I know or wanted to know better; or feel better or different about. I think of things within and outside myself.

Especially the things I wish I had given - and not taken.

The times I won and I lost - and the times there was no result; or no apparent result.

The things I could and would control - and the things I failed to control - and should not have tried.

If you are bitten by the bug you give without ordinary thank yous.

And with the gratitude in the world - there's no such thing as an ordinary thank you! Or thank you and gratitude become ordinary. Thanks Theo Peeters.

With Avril Lavigne's debut album I got the sense that she was a very grounded young woman, especially when dealing with her professional relationships. This too I can identify with because I sought a professionalised or professional-adjacent identity - which was congruent with my personal life and aspirations and the people and the environment about me.

Interacting with knowing - are remembering and imagining. I did not know if they were a special form of knowing - and of course knowing comes in many forms.

Many students are advised

and knowing goes beyond remembering

when they are doing their terminal examinations.

And I think: "Ah, true!" If knowing did not go beyond remembering I think I would be pretty unknowing and unknown - and because it does there are so many possibilities and truths.

I learnt about the greenness that Lavigne sings about when I was reading The Getting of Wisdom - Laura - a rural scion - becomes a schoolgirl at a prestigious high-fee school and moves in very different circles in which she always feels an outsider and thinks she could get on the inside without sacrificing herself or earning very much cred.

Credibility was a presiding issue with my teenage self which laid on my heart and that I pressed on others - whether they were adults; peers; seniors; younger people. I wanted to believe you and to believe in you apart from the relationship that was between us - I wanted to know that you were something solid [and sweet and yummy].

How you could get it and lose it and get it back again informed and stretched my mind.

Credulity is another closely related word - it reminds me of times when I might have fallen for that - but I didn't! Or I might have - and did not see the consequences until later. There will be more about consequences and comeuppance - or maybe there will not be...

To be or not to be

that is such an emerging adult/teenage question! Thank you Hamlet and happy birthday to the man; the writer; the behemoth we know as William Shakespeare.

One example of adolescent rebellion I represent in my own drama is a young woman who thinks despite all the evidence Bacon wrote the plays. Very un-stateswoman-like moment! Tapping into the fear and delusions of her mother.

Another big word which begins with C would be conformity. That implies, of course, that you have a form or a shape. Or that you can be formed and shaped. It's okay to be amorphous! I thought of a very cool line today:

she bounced back like Silly Putty

which was based upon an experience I had the Easter long weekend 2020 of taking out Silly Putty - which had now become very slimy! [Lots of 2010s and 2020s teenagers are loving their slime at the moment - and I was very fond of Gak; so much so that I had it in my home prior to a disco. It is a good touch and it makes a good noise]

I had made the Silly Putty for the first time in 1995 during a science exercise.

So the Silly Putty was out of a Lego block or two or possibly a window.

What I remember about the putty is that it was very light and green from food colouring and it could be well-pounded. It was also made so that it could be put in a canister.

Two more C words for you - complaisance and complacence/cy [I think this latter is how Americans would write - the former is how Francophones would do it].

And compulsion. Now my younger self knew that:

There is no compulsion in religion

and that was from reading about a Malaysian prince who had kidnapped the children he had had with an Eurasian-Australian woman who came from these very persecuted beginnings as a schoolgirl and a teenager - I would never forget

Chinese; Japanese; dirty knees; money please

and it didn't make me any less racist!

You move from avoiding the overt stuff to seeing the covert stuff and feeling it from the inside and bringing it out.

This happens a lot with conceptual and cognitive growth. Some of it can be anticipated or pre-taught.

How does this tie in with compulsion? If you experience this compulsion as a force from the outside; a force to be fought [or to be flown from/to - similar to what Tamara has said about flying and how important it was to her as a teenager to have the possibility/option of flying even if it could not happen in reality] - you know what it is; what its name is; how it relates to other forces.

If it is something from the inside - it becomes very ... mysterious and inaccessible.

I am thinking at the moment about the animal-groom cycle [of which BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - a favourite musical and movie as a teenager - I remember the moment I discovered the Beaumont writer - and it became consciously and unconsciously part of my mythos] and the goose girl stories.

The goose girl mythos/fairytale is about autonomy and the animal-groom cycle is about intimacy and maturity.

The goose girl is very relatable to people who have enjoyed The Ugly Duckling [which I had always known was about Andersen himself and how he felt in the literary world and in the world outside his fairytales]. Sometimes she is a girl and sometimes she is a goose - and sometimes she has a job which involves geese or a similar following/imprinting bird.

Very often we are called geese in an affectionate or a mocking way. And I remember reading a book about a girl who

couldn't say boo to a goose
and if anyone said Boo in my world it was in a sporting context or it was a ghost uttering that syllable. Or even Karen Brewer who used to say that about things she did not like. The theatrical aspect did not come until later. As in "Yah; boo; hiss!" and that was definitely not a thing in daily life. If there was a lot of yah-ing and hissing - and don't geese hiss? And girls too; when they become angry?

One of the modern classics which influenced me a lot was a book called Annabel - Annabel on the cover had a duck following her and that was significant in the blurb. Lots of tie-ins to the goose girl and even to the animal-groom.

Yes - the groom is an animal in this trope. It signifies the animalistic nature of humanity and especially sexual[ised] humanity. And how you live with or overcome the repulsion and the disgust and the ickiness.

Ickiness was big with Madonna when she was a teenager - this came through a lot in the Morton biography which I read in 2003 - and she always wanted to be in control of herself. This was a way of coping with a dead mother when she was five; a father who she often contended with and brothers who did not understand her.

Madonna realised through her physical self and her academic accomplishments a measure of success - she had a driving ambition.

I was much more into Olivia Newton-John. A very sunny and entrepreneurial lady who did things for and with the environment - especially koalas and lots of other unique Australian fauna.

Discovering May Gibbs in a biographical context was big for me. This is a thing my grandmother took the time to share knowing it would help me for my future - a big gift where nature and nurture are concerned and the interactions in between. Complexly infinite and infinitely complex.

If I can think of something more concrete it would be that charity is not justice.

If you participate in Fair Trade or try to reform the supply chain you learn to see this so much more quickly. The ways that it was talked about in the 1990s made it very exceptional; a bit hippie.

Charity, of course, comes from the Latin from caring or love - caritas.

Charity is what happens when justice has failed or is about to fail. Because justice is blind there is a lot that goes on. Failure is built into the principle of justice - and if we didn't have failure we wouldn't need justice.

And justice seems to have nothing to do with success. Which I thought was wildly unfair.

There were people like Tony Robbins and Stephen Covey around - walking on coals and walking through air like in The boy who could fly and Pippi Longstocking. That was a great moment when Pippi walked on the wall with the sticky stuff and The Glue Man was an awesome character in his own right - unlike some of the other adults who were seen as unduly childish perspectives or "bad" characters like the Headmistress - who I came to respect.

The Head Girl was a little bit shrillish. I am not sure about this word. Libby West reclaimed it more or less. For me shrill and leadership and management don't go together. Maybe it's an aspect of not liking to be out of control - or to appear so. Moral soundness and empty vessels sounding deep!

Justice, done charitably or in a charitable way, has lost some of its sting.

I think too of principles. Pleasure and reality in particular.

Losing touch with either or both of those ... is probably a moral and occupational hazard if it is more than occassional.

And don't be so quick to judge your fellow teenagers as intellectually disabled or mentally distressed.

When I came to embrace the sense and sensibility inherent and developed/cultivated among youngsters and elders - I learnt to look back and forward with courage and not only be confined to a limiting present - or what I perceived to be a limiting present.

I came to develop fears of groups of teenagers on a basis similar to a father defending his vulnerable daughter - because I know what they do - and because I fear the unknown.

Another thing I wish I had known about when I was a teenager - or I had known the name and the words for the thing - the expectation-industrial complex.

I only came to it in my early 20s after some existential and existential-adjacent crises.

And another thing in the philosophical space [thanks Juliet Butler; Camille Paglia; Susan Faludi and all those late second-wave feminists coming into the third wave and into the fourth - I'll talk about Faludi later especially in terms of Rambo and Rocky and how they shaped Sylvester Stallone] would be


In that world I think about display rules and how they inform our emotional intelligence and our social performance.

There were lots of theories about social and emotional learning which made a lot of things explicit that needed to be explicit. And there were lots of disagreements and conflicts.

No relationship can survive without conflict - this is something I learnt from Rachel Simmons who studied relational aggression. If there is no conflict you may be holding back your values and your vulnerability.

Now there are a lot of reasons to engage and sustain conflict - and to do it directly and openly when you can risk/afford it. And there are a lot of reasons to disengage too.

And this is where Faludi and Stallone come in for today.

It all started when I was listening to Survivor's Ever since the world began.

My favourite lyric in that song would be: Just another part of the puzzle; just another part of the plan.

Planning and puzzling would be a big part of how I and others move in the world.

Inevitable that YouTube or Deezer or Soundcloud would give Eye of the tiger which makes me think of my theatrical life on and off stage. A particular adventurous character would be given that cue.

And then on an early morning this week the Rocky 4 and motivational soundtracks would be.

I had an unconscious Rocky interest in 1992. The whole Italian Stallion theme was relevant to my interests at the time - Ferraris and Fiats were my vroomables. Yes I know. I was a very high-octane person when it came to my energy and presentation.

To be very honest I was much more a fan of the sons than of the father. There is a great story about Sico the robot and Seargoh's relation with it which became part of the Rocky complex.

And then Susan Faludi opened up in Stiffed about the original author of the Rambo universe - David Morrell - and why a whole generation of American men may have been attracted to this story and the way it was told. And how it may have reflected on their attitudes to women and womanpower [as Germaine Greer popularised in THE FEMALE EUNUCH - which I only knew through Adrian Mole as a girl and young woman! Not the most satisfactory situation - and by the time I was aware of Greer there was THE CHANGE and she had written other important books on art and the art market and was teaching].

A lot of insight into the script/screenplay writing business and how these stories are shaped for this mediated audience. The 12-25 year olds who go to movies and are part of that top left hand quartile.

Remember too [and imagine if you don't know the book] that Stiffed is subtitled THE BETRAYAL OF THE MODERN MAN.

The MODERN man. Not the post-modern man. Not the pre- or trans-modern man.

The Finding Ninee administrator talked about raising awesome men and awesome people.

I think of the wonderful and humble Paul Potts and how he sang You Raise Me Up.

And that man's identity is shaped by betrayal; the anxiety of betrayal and the efforts to avoid it and abandonment.

Central to the journeys of Rocky and Rambo - which is what a lot of people had in the 1980s and into the 1990s where STIFFED begins - with the whole aerospace scene which was declining a lot in the USA [like the automobile industry in more recent times in Australia and really any subsidised bit - the recession made people very scared]. There was a camaderie, a comradeship, a humanity. It is also in books by the late Joe Bageant who had and has an outsize impact. The moment I picked up Deer hunting with Jesus was a seminal one; along with Rainbow Pie which is lots more autobiographical.

The very beginning of the 7th chapter of Stiffed talks about the Vietnam syndrome.

To say that Vietnam and its War shaped my own view of South-East Asia and middle-power responsibilities is to share a truth. Myanmar [Burma] was also big and Indonesia and Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

Reagan was an actor before he was President.

It was Clinton - and HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] which shaped my views about progressive politics and social liberalism in the USA / North American sociopolitical context. George Bush the Senior made barely a blip at all except for Iraq.

From a distance the world is blue and green

and if you're in Australia - or the Middle East - the world is yellow and brown and red. But they don't make saccharine songs about that, do they?

Thinking of Madeleine Albright and the big points she made about international co-operation. Along with Hana S [Polish Prime Minister in 1993ish - before Wlodimierz C and even Jerzy Buzek anyway - just as well I can spell the current Prime Minister of that country - Morawiecki - without yelling at my keyboard] - this was a Central European woman in the corners and corridors of power. Sweetly pretty and pious - and so much more of a model.

Oh: Marilyn Young called Vietnam WAR AS PERFORMANCE. Thought that was more linked to the first television war. The one on the Cable News Network.

And Fox wasn't even around until 1996! Nor Al-Jazeera! Yes - there was an era before 24-7 news cycles.

The media was relatively slow and patient - even though intelligent people got bored with magazines within three days of reading them - which was a problem when they were supposed to last a week or a month. And you passed them on like collector cards.

Books, too, were considered disposable and disposal. And that was before disposal was a legitimate stage in the information cycle.

When I read in the World Book that 1980s adolescents seemed generally more conformist [than the ones in the 1960s and 1970s? And what did this say about the 1990s ones? Not to mention the third millennium] I was good and shocked. Yes, there was a lot of very conservative and preppy stuff - especially around what I remembered of Reagan II. And it seemed more marketed and advertised and regulated than anything. More mass-y than messy.

So Be bold; make a mess and be messy - and know when you messed up?

And Vietnam helped lots of people understand trauma and stress and put that into a framework.

In as far as trauma has a reason - like "love always finds a reason" or at least a level [thanks Elsa and Glen!] - there is more to it than war and/or rape - which were the two standard narratives - very gendered ones.

In the Ramboverse one of the writers [D. Rabe] talked about his faith in coaches and people in authority which was this team state of mind. It often echoes in talk about Team [insert nation state here]. I note it is not teenagers leading this talk or even following it!

Even though team and group identity can be important in positive and pro-social behaviour and attitudes and values. Not the way daggy dads try to manage it - which seems to be the model of leadership and management these days. Dag is a thing which comes off a sheep and it is a holdover from the agricultural world.

Thinking too about the sociologist who talked about the four groups less likely to follow coronavirus advice/pandemic stuff:

  • Pleasure seekers
  • Self-centred [what I might have called terminally and chronically intolerant and inconsiderate - when this applied to Others - rightfully or otherwise
  • People without hope
  • and one more group
And I might have counted myself in the first two - had I not known health anxiety and community connection when it came to public health imperatives and demands.

Like local councils and head lice and vaccination/immunisation procedures.

So CREATURE IN THE MIRROR [and the imaginary audience is a big thing which I found out about in a Lifespan Development textbook which was published in the 1990s and I read in early 2006 from a church outreach] THE FANTASY CAVALRY TO THE RESCUE. 359-406 [Faludi 1999]

At the end Faludi says after her interview with Stallone I knew the odds were daunting. You only escape in the movies.

Escape to what? Escape from what? How and why and where and when? #sixservants #rudyardkipling #youllbeaman #if

The next chapter in Stiffed is about Waco [Texas]. To think last Sunday it was the anniversary of the McVeigh bombings. That is another 30 pages long.

Rescue and catharsis are big motivators. So are the desire and the need to make a difference - and to live honestly and with authenticity. Lionel Trilling was really good with and about that.

And if you don't over-interpret and over-determine what a couple of years can mean - or have meant for you - may the good; bad and the ugly be with you and of you! That is how Goodbye was originally meant in courtly love and other courtly circumstances of the type Hilary Mantel writes about in her Cromwell Trilogy.

And to you; to you; to you; Auf Wiedersehen; adieu; goodnight! [Sound of Music]