Get the kids off Nauru, maybe

We’ve been learning a protest song for our choir’s Christmas concert. Actually it is a plea for peace, the musical equivalent of a street march – “What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now.” John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Happy Xmas/War is Over starts by asking the universal question so many of us end up asking ourselves: “And so it is Christmas, and what have we done? Another year over, a new…

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Human Rights and Halloween

You always have to look for the silver lining; like the Queensland Parliament introducing a Human Rights Act on the same day (31st October) that people were walking the streets dressed as ghouls and zombies, reminding us that Christmas is just 55 days away. Christmas Island is just around the corner too – well, it’s precisely 1,550 kms north-west of Perth. But it is an Australian territory, unlike Nauru and Manus Island. I mention human…

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Septuagenarian motorbike dreams

I’ve been having recurrent (and happy) motorbike dreams lately, a few days short of a significant birthday. I had no idea what septuagenarian meant. Also, as my spell-checker immediately informed me, I did not know how to spell the word either. A septuagenarian is a person between the ages of 70 and 79. There’s a lot of this about, with the quintessential baby boomers (those born in the immediate post-war years (1946-1950), throwing big parties…

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Self-service gets our enterprise for a bargain

You may call me a peevish old man, but these self-service supermarket checkouts give me the pip. I only encounter them when venturing out of the village, as our service-oriented IGA does not as yet have automated check-outs. Not so a certain Brisbane supermarket which, around 5pm, seems to have nobody staffing its numerous checkouts and only one person ‘helping’ people scan their own groceries. I usually ignore the self-service corner and will wait an…

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