Last drinks at the Paradise Motel

As I gave up drinking alcohol some 36 years ago, it was probably not surprising I forgot the essential ingredient for a house-warming party. “Um,” said She Who Trusted Me with the Catering, “What about the ice – for those who are bringing something to drink?” Off I went on a mercy dash to buy a bag of ice. The first guest had arrived before I returned and showed me the best way to prepare…

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Water theft a sign of crumbling civilisation

As communities across drought-paralysed Australia patiently wait for rain, reports of water theft, ranging from relatively trivial incidents to a 25,000-litre heist, are troubling. Can we be far from outright anarchy when dishonest (and sometimes honest but desperate), people help themselves to other people’s water? There are precedents for this – just think back to Cape Town‘s ‘Day Zero’ crisis in 2018 when a city of 3.74 million was set to run out of reticulated…

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Return of The Wastemakers

I had a Vance Packard moment this week, thwarting the concept of planned obsolescence, which he wrote about in his 1960 best-seller, The Wastemakers. My triumph was no big deal, but they were hard-won as I finally, after four weeks, got my 32-year-old Technics stereo system working again. Before we get into that, and on a similar theme, I would like to have a rant about the complexities and nonsense of Windows 10. Microsoft’s latest…

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Resolution: we all want to save the world

Blame it not on the Bossa Nova but on the ancient Babylonians, who, 4,000 years ago, invented the dubious practice of making New Year resolutions. The Babylonians were the first to hold New Year celebrations, although held in March (when crops were sown). The Babylonians pledged to pay their debts and return any borrowed objects (thinks: whoever borrowed Murakami’s ‘IQ84’ and Cohen’s ‘Beautiful Losers’, give them back!). An article in <history.com> cites these rituals as…

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