No applause for the manopause.

As quite a few of the women I know well are aged in their late forties or early fifties, many of them are, according to both their personal reports and snatches of their conversations that I can’t help overhearing, going through the menopause.While I, thirty years or so older than them at 79, find myself facing what’s often called the ‘male menopause’ and that I can’t help thinking of as the manopause.

Of course many experts cite the fact that we males by definition don’t and indeed can’t ever menstruate as irrefutable evidence that there’s no such phenomenon as the manopause, period.And I have to admit that these people are right, anatomically and physiologically speaking. But psychologically and sexually I’m manopausing for sure.

But I’m not, thank goodness suffering any of the many moanopausal symptoms that so many menopausal women have to endure, like, as I’m informed by both Google and articles I’ve read in women’s magazines aka hag mags, irregular periods, mucosal dryness, hot flushes, chills, night sweats, slowing metabolism with consequent weight gain, thinning hair, dry skin and loss of breast fullness.

However, when it comes to that most notoriously mean side-effect of menopause, eratic mood swings, I’m your man. Though my rages are largely triggered by the same political and other atrocities that I’ve railed at all my life, and otherwise at myself for getting so old as to reach manopause at all. In other words, I’m hopping mad at the fact that my life seems destined to end not in a climax, but in what used to be called the climacteric. Or as poet T.S. Eliot so concisely expressed it, to end “not with a bang, but a whimper”.

Because, to cut to the chase here, the sole sign and symptom of the manopause is that, despite pharmaceutical defences that drug companies like Pfizer have erected against such emergencies, my formerly steely stiffnesses keep getting viagravatingly limper. And I’m all too aware that this manopausal blow to my sexual skills and self-esteem will at my age prove both manoprogressive and manopermanent.Whereas women, as signified by the old-fashioned euphemism for the menopause, the ‘change of life’ or simply ‘the change’, have years if not decades of renewed existences to look forward to.

Sexually speaking, for a start, they are finally liberated from the problems and pains of PMS and menstruation, plus the possibilities of pregnancy and parturition, and thus fancy-free to enjoy their physicality to the full.

Or, alternatively, they can at last abandon and instead embrace some religious sect in what I can’t help thinking of as amenopause. While many other females turn their finer feelings towards the care and collection of felines, or, in other words, opt for menopaws, menoclaws and menopurrs. And so on.

But I and my fellow manopausals have no option but to increasingly switch from phallic pleasuring of our partners in favour of digital and labio-lingual. Thus effectively, as the late Dennis Hopper, director and co-star of the cult classic “Easy Rider” claimed of himself in his final years, turning lesbian.

Which as far as I’m personally concerned is no bad thing. After all, it’s in the very worthy manocause of focusing our erotic efforts far more on giving rather than receiving. And in any case the only other alternative any of us manopausals have is to settle for living out what remains of our lives as terminally sexless manobores.

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Getting the band back together.

Not to give you an inflated impression here. We’re not a band in the Rolling Stones sense, though I happen to be the same age as Keith Richards, and our most senior member, Sue, is way older than any of the surviving Stones.

Nor are we a band musically speaking, though Sue is, or was for many years, an orchestral violinist, Sandie sings in the chorus one of Australia’s premier opera companies, Kate and Santa both learned piano to advanced levels at school.

And Michael can play only the fool. But not even he or my playing of second fiddle to him, can possibly can make our band reunion as riotous as that of, say, the fabulous Blues Brothers.

But it’s lots of fun for me and my close cronies in our Sydney home suburb of Stanmore, to be getting our Stanmorning coffee and conversation group back together after being banned for months from banding together during Sydney’s now-suspended Covid lockdown.

Thank goodness that our favourite cafe, Mrs. Underwood’s, with her intrepid front-of-house staff Manoela and Sean, kept the coffees coming all the way through those dark days. But because our group and other, fellow patrons were legally required to consume them away from the premises and preferably at home alone, we were effectively forced to disband.

And some of our members went to extraordinary lengths to socially distance themselves from the rest of us. With all opera perfomances suspended for the duration, Sandie returned to her home-base in Brisbane, and Kate took herself off to her home town in the bush to both work online on the program promos she creates for a television network, and also to help care for her ailing aged parents.

But now we’re all finally back together in Stanmore, we’ve not only banded together again, but started recruiting some more fellow Stanmorons like Judy, Robyn and Sandra to our group.

And of course you, dear reader, are entirely welcome to join us as a guest or better still jest member, or even, if you prefer, as a groupie, should you ever find yourself in the neighbourhood.

There’s no joining fee, no set of rules to observe, and not even the obligation to drink coffee, though of course you’ll be all the more welcome if, like the rest of us, you’re addicted to caffeine in some form or another, and especially so if you also appreciate the odd hit of nicotine.

Rest assured that you’ll enjoy being a part of our band, just as long as your tastes in drinks, snacks, companionship and conversation are anything but impossibly bland.

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On the road again!

What a pleasure it is to head a post with the title of one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite singers, Willie Nelson. And what a buzz it was to be out on the highways and byways again with my wife and ever-wanderlusting wife after so many months being Covid-confined to just a few km from home!

We’re back at home-base now, but still tripping on the memories of six days and nights freewheeling around country and coastal New South Wales.

First heading north up the M1 to near Newcastle, then over to the New England Highway to Tamworth and finally Manilla, the small and delightfully sleepy town to which my youngest sister has recently escaped from the city.

And, as we travelers discovered, has made short work of the many travails involved in putting-down roots in her new rural environment, both figuratively in making herself at home in her newly-bought house, and literally in transforming its garden.

 In fact we felt so similarly at home hanging-out with her there inspecting her new plants and sitting out on the front porch watching the birds they’re attracting and wallowing in heaping helpings of hospitality that it was tough to tear ourselves away after just two days and three nights.

But that was all the time we could take if we were to make it to the coast for some of the salt-water swimming that my semi-aquatic spouse had her heart set on after far too many months marooned on dry land.

This quest took us on what we fancied would be a fairly easy four-hour drive, but that finished-up frightening the living daylights out of us both with some of the most death-defying hills, bends and steep ascents and descents that we were almost as burnt-out as our brakes were by the time we reached the relative safety of Taree and then our onsite-caravan accommodation at the quaintly-named coastal haven of Old Bar.

Even more quaint, indeed quite strange, was that the toilet and shower facilities where we’d booked were, as we’d been warned on the AirB&B site, unroofed and thus entirely open to the air.

And also, as it happened, to the rain that set in at dusk and persisted all night. But what the hell, dinner at one of the local Thai restaurants was great, and the drumming of the downpour on the roof of our caravan lulled us both into the soundest sleeps we’d had in living memory.

Unfortunately the wet and rather cold weather at Old Bar, and the fact that the beach, while perfectly picturesque, featured both savage-looking surf and no sign of life-savers proved something of a barrier, swimmingwise.  

So we resorted to our next pre-planned stop, Tuncurry, in high hopes that a combination of its climate and the relative calm of its rumoured seawater rock-pool would be more conducive to swimming.

In the event, however, it proved too icy for even such an indefatigable back-stroker and free-styler as my wife is, so as far as swimming was concerned, our road-trip was a bit of a wash-out.

But we consoled ourselves with another of our favourite traveling activities, which is diving into every charity shop we spot, in search of bargain wearables, books and whatever other kinds of bric-a-brac that takes our fancy, which in this case turned out to be a treasure-trove of indoor plants and pots.

With the result that now we’re back there’s so much gardening work for us to do, both indoors and out, that we’ll pretty soon need to hit the road again to recover from the effort. And this time around, I hope we’ll be taking the high road to Ipoh, Malaysia, and a long-awaited reunion with family and friends up that way.

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Spring cleaning and cloning.

Admittedly it’s all a bit late, as its been officially spring down here in Oz for seven weeks or so, but I’ve finally overcome my lockdown lassitude sufficiently as to swing into the seasonal spirit.

Or rather my wife has, and for the sake of marital togetherness and mutual support I’ve swung into line. Or at least started to, by carrying some of the boxes of surplus books she’s been sorting-out from the heaps of them that have been piling-up around the house and transporting them to local street libraries.

I’ve also finally cleared-away the clutter of pens, sunglasses, papers and other such items that I’ve been keeping handy beside my space at the kitchen table.

Of course I’m concerned that I’ll never be able to recall where I’ve put them if and when I ever need them again, but meanwhile I have to admit that their absence helps make things look quite refreshingly spick and span.

Which is more than I can say for the floors of our flat, which are still looking quite shockingly messy where the piles of books and other random stuff used to be before this bout of cleaning broke out, as my daughter and her partner are currently using the vacuum cleaner that we jointly own with them.

Meanwhile, my tirelessly, indeed relentlessly house-proud spouse has been busy re-filling all the recently-cleaned and decluttered rooms with pots of plants that she’s been cloning from cuttings.

And inspiring if not outright pressuring me to do likewise outdoors. In the last couple of weeks, with her expert assistance, I’ve not only pruned countless plants that have outsprung their pots, but also used the off-cuts to clone most of them.

The reason for this being that those that I put out on top of the wall and in the shop next door’s driveway in the hope that they’d survive the winter, as I wrote about in my “Hanging gardens of babble-on” post way back then, have survived and thrived so successfully as to become a minor local attraction.

Thus, so as not to disappoint their admirers, I’m leaving them out on display and planting cutting-generated clones of them, or in other words their offspring, in my previously cold and gloomy but now increasingly sunny courtyard.

Also becoming much sunnier, as evidenced by the fact that I’m finally writing for fun once again, is my outlook on life, thanks largely to the fact that Sydney’s lockdown rules are due to be relaxed this coming Monday.

So I can finally look forward to a break from all this cleaning and cloning and get back to conversing and clowning around with not only my ever-loving, ever-light-hearted wife and a tiny coterie of close cronies, but also with my wider circle of acquaintances at my at my favourite cafe.

And who knows? I might soon even be able to look forward to climbing aboard a flight to Malaysia for a long-awaited reunion with family and old friends in KL and Ipoh, and finally meeting face-to-face with some of my Malaysian Facebook favourites.

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Wedlucky even in wedlockdown.

Time sure flies when you’re having fun, as evidenced for me by the fact that it’s two years since I wrote the following in celebration of my wife’s and my 25th wedding anniversary, but seems like only yesterday. And now, even after a near-death surgical experience and 18 months or so into the Covid pandemic, I can think of no reason to change a word of what I wrote to mark that marital milestone:

25 years of wedluck

The standard concept of wedlock is a bit too cramped, confining or outright claustrophobic for my taste. Especially considering that it commits if not condemns the happy, sappy couple to a lifelong confinement in each others’ company, with no prospect of time off for good behaviour, until death

I should know. I served two terms imprisoned in wedlock before I met my present and I hope final wife, and both ended not in death, but very prematurely indeed, in dearth.

A dearth on my part, mostly, of such vital virtues of a fair if not fabulous husband like patience, forbearance and above all unfailing willingness to bear the heavy husburden of keeping myself husbound to my promised intention to forsake all others.

In short, for my conspicuous and at times despicable lack of such qualities, I was husbinned by both women with whom I successively but unsuccessfully attempted wedlock, and so deservedly so that in hindsight I consider that after the second failed attempt I should have been outright husbanned for the rest of what remained of my life

.Back then, despite treasuring the son born of my first metaphorically abortive attempt at husbandhood, I felt like a total hus-been, and thus vowed to never again be so husblind as to try kidding myself that I could so husbend myself as to behave husblandly enough to hack yet another attempt at the dreaded wedlock.

And of course it was just as I’d thus given up all hope of having a marital rather than a martial relationship with a woman ever again, my wedlock deadlock was broken by a piece of amazing wedluck

.Not that I was aware when I first met my now wife in Hard Rock Cafe, KL, that she’d be my next wedding belle, or even, for that matter, bedding belle, but I sure as hell liked her just swell.The only hitch being that she happened to be my junior by 29 years, and, as I gradually started to gather as our friendship progressed, a potential handful from hell.

Preposterously plain-spoken, feisty to a fault, and apparently wedded to such refreshingly un-little-womanly, not to mention unwifely attitudes as ‘what you see is what you get’, and ‘like it, lump it or get lost’.

In short, I came to realise that she was far more true to herself and far further far-out rebellious against custom and convention than I’d managed to become in more than double her span of years, and thus possibly an even worse candidate for wedlock than I’d twice proven myself to be

.For example, though her own parents were evidently most happily hitched, she perceived matrimony in as dim a light as I’d come to view it: as more like madrimony, with a tendency to soon decline into matrimoany, and eventually even further into martyrmony, for one or more likely both parties.

And also like me, she saw monogamy, with its inevitable, indeed inherent, monotony, as almost certainly destined, indeed doomed to descend from its initial high of honeymoonogamy down through the mutual dullnesses of moanogamy to the depressing depths of disenchantment, disinterest or outright disgust, or monughamy.

But after co-habiting as friends and lovers for a spell, we finally decided to legitimise ourselves as parents for our darling developing darling daughter-to-be, and take a chance not on wedlock, of course, but on what we felt was our amazing wedluck.

Naturally, in the time since she switched from waif to wife, or, if you prefer, sweetheart to spouse, the young woman I first knew has changed somewhat. For example, politically she’s switched from apathetic to apoplectic, and professionally from ad-chick to academic. But such changes have been merely skin- rather than sin-deep, thank goodness, and thus essentially she’s still as spicy as a spouse could be, and as saucy a source as ever of entertaining trouble and strife.

The very phrase ‘trouble and strife’, coincidentally, being both cockney and Australian rhyming slang for the word ‘wife’ .A fact that finally brings me to the point of this piece, which is to say that, at least for me, her other half in this exercise in what some may perceive as weirdlock, married life has been, and shows every sign of continuing to be, as long as we both shall live, and continue to not take but give, a wonderfully happy and often hilarious wedlark.

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Afghanistunned.

After all the atrocities I’ve witnessed in my life, mostly, by good fortune, from a safe distance, I’m amazed that I still find them so appalling and take them so personally.

Or would be if I wasn’t such a devotee of scottish philosopher David Hume and his writings about human sympathy, in the light of which I’m astonished, indeed aghast at the fact that so many of us alleged humans remain dedicated to denying and defying our common humanity.

The latest case in point, of course, being the slaughter of Afghanis and others outside Kabul airport by agents of terrorism so crazed by sectarian errorism as to we willing to kill and maim others to achieve their myth of martyrdom.

But ISIS-K, or whoever the agents of this outrage were, are far from alone in their guilt for this latest Afghanistain on the world’s conscience.

Most obviously, at least to some observers, is that it’s yet another stain on the reputation of a rampaging US, whose inability or even unwillingness to learn lessons from history, even from history as relatively recent as written in Vietnam and Iraq, is enough to Afghanistrain belief.

But even more fundamentally, it’s an Afghanistain on the reputations of religions and their murderously competitive sects, in this case Sunni and Shiite Islam, for preying on both the the incredible credulity of their ‘faithful’ and on the lives and livelihoods of of those they condemn as infidels.

Not to mention an Afghanistain on Islamic theocracies like terrorist-inciting Iran and the governments of Islamic-majority countries ranging all the way from Yemen-sacking Saudi Arabia and self-destructing Syria to the fatally corrupt and incompetent now former US-backed ‘legitimate’ regime in Kabul to the Muslim kleptocracy misruling Malaysia.

Then, not to selectively revile the various versions of Islam, there are all the self-styled ‘Christian’ countries that continually Afghanistain what little remains of the reputation of what they claim to revere as the religion of peace and compassion by ceaselessly waging wars against supporters of The Prophet for the purposes of power-politics and military-industrial profit.

And as Afghanistained as much if not more than any of the ‘Christian’ nations involved in this latest ‘crusade’ is my own country of Australia.

Which not only sent troops to support the US and its many other allies in what has turned out to be a monumental misadventure, but failed to mount timely investigations into alleged war crimes by a small minority of them, but has also apparently done nothing to save Australian citizen Julian Assange from persecution and prosecution for his Wikileaking of information about US war crimes.

These armchair warriors have also quite literally left many of our Afghan-war veterans for dead after their repatriation, to judge from the shocking rates of suicide and other symptoms of PTSD they have suffered.

And they’ve made merely token efforts to help refugees from Afghanistan, leaving those who’ve already arrived here in a temporary-protection-visa limbo or else endless offshore detention, while leaving thousands of Afghani-Australian citizens and local translators, guides, embassy guards and others who’ve worked with and for our troops, in the lurch in the ongoing shambolic withdrawal.

Conveniently forgetting, or possible never knowing in the first place, that Afghanis played such a proud role in pioneering modern Australia through their operation of camel-trains from back in the 1860s to carry freight back and forth between Adelaide and settlements to the north that they they’re fondly memorialised in the name of the present-day Adelaide-Alice Springs-Darwin rail line, The Ghan.

Small wonder, then, that I and so many of my fellow Australians, especially veterans of this accursed war, are so Afghanashamed of our government’s typically callous lack of Christian compassion for the Afghan refugees that it’s left to the tender mercies of the Taliban and ISIS-K.

And thus more and more of us are hell-bent on taking an Afghanistand against the PM Morrison and his whole lying, vote-buying, minority-bullying, morally bankrupt or in other words monstrously hypocritical majority Pentecostal-Christian government in the fast-approaching Federal election.

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Like watching grass grow.

For most of my life, this has been my favourite simile for near-terminal tedium, as in waiting for the bell to bring down the curtain on seemingly endless schooldays, or longing for agonizingly boring religious sermons, political speeches, business meetings and such to finally finish.

But these days, now that I find myself in both my dotage and the latest Covid lockdown, there are few experiences I find more exciting.

Watching my wife’s indoor pot of pet ‘Live Wire’ grass grow, for example, and being struck with wonder at the way the tiny, translucent flowers on its stems sparkle like droplets of dew in the sun streaming on it through the window.

Or witnessing the way that so-called Mondo Grass (actually grass-like Ophiopogon planiscarpus, for the information of botany buffs) sends up green shoots that turn so dark purple as to look almost black, and impatiently waiting for the spikes of lilac flowers that the tag it came with promises that it sends up in summer before they turn into black berries.

Or, on a much larger scale, scanning the lawn area at the house of my daughter and her partner for the first signs that the buffalo grass we planted there last year could be soon starting to awaken from its winter slumber and getting ready to celebrate the approach of summer.

Of course, as I’m sure many readers are itching to inform me, there are countless other more exciting sights to see and activities to engage in, even at my age and in the grip of lockdown-induced cabin fever.

But unfortunately, the most serious symptom of the cabin fever aka stir-craziness resulting from long-term lockdown is, at least for me personally, a downswing in mood. Complete with all the usual symptoms of depression, including sleeping too much, physical and mental listlessness and, most troubling of all, the dreaded anhedonia.

In other words, a virtually total loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities, which in my case include a long list ranging from reading, writing and watching TV and movies to stimulating conversation and sex.

No point weltering in this slough of despondency or gulch of gloom, however, so I’ve been making concerted efforts to rise above it. Striving to raise my own spirits and by extension those of my family and friends by resorting to every trick in the book, from writing however much it’s against my will, through as much social interaction as possible during lockdown, to watching the Olympic Games with my wife.

Who herself is not as irrepressibly gay, in the ‘cheerful’ sense of the word, as usual, despite her heroic efforts to vaccinate herself against catching Covid-lockdown lassitude and poor attitude from me by treating herself to massive doses of online yoga and creative cooking.

But, superwoman as she is, even she can’t work miracles, so I’ve put myself onto as strict an anti-anhedonia program as possible. A self-prescribed course of treatments comprising not only writing and Games-watching, but also having (take-away) coffees with as many close cronies as I can manage to find wandering out on the streets, conversing with my very best friends online, and scrolling through Facebook for posts that I find uplifting in every conceivable sense, from the spiritual (as distinct from the religious, of course) to the sexual.

And when all that doesn’t work, as is all-too-frequently the case, my last resort is, to get back to where I started with this post, sitting around witlessly watching the grass grow, and seeing signs of its seeming to be growing faster by the day as the Sydney winter warms-up towards spring.

All the while, naturally, striving to avoid becoming re-depressed by witnessing the world’s grossness grow on every conceivable front from governments’ failures to control the Covid pandemic to their refusals to act seriously to combat climate change.

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Freedom from the freedim!

That was how I and it seems most of my fellow Australians reacted to the televised spectacle of thousands of anti-vaxxers and various other Covidiots marching in Sydney, Melbourne and who knows where else yesterday for what they called ‘freedom’ from the current lockdowns.

Not because we’re anti-protest per se, but because we hate to see the concept of freedom so abused by all the freedimwits and freedummies that the pandemic has panicked into expressing their psychological pathologies.

At least some of the marchers clearly belonged not so much in home lockdown as in secure psychiatric care, as evidenced most vividly for me by a woman brandishing a placard bearing the doubly-demented message that “The blood of Christ is my vaccine”.

While many other protestors were apparently just getting their anti-social rocks off by hurling epithets and various missiles at the hapless police charged with keeping the peace, and even, in at least a couple of cases, assaulting helpless police horses.

What a pity it all was for all concerned that all this enraged energy was wasted on such a loony and clearly losing cause when there are so many genuine and thus far worthier cases crying-out for freedom in contemporary Australia.

Freedom for Australian aboriginal/indigenous/first-nations people from racial prejudice and deep-seated disadvantages of every kind, ranging from medical and educational to shockingly disparate rates of incarceration and deaths in custody.

Freedom for asylum-seekers/boat people/refugees from detention for up to a decade in many cases, in contravention of international treaties and universal human rights.

Freedom from poverty and all its attendant personal and social evils, especially though not exclusively for homeless people, for single-parent families, for people surviving on age and other pensions and for people with disabilities.

Freedom for females from the disgraceful degree of sexism still evident everywhere from domestic abuse and murder statistics to unequal pay and other conditions of employment, plus workplace and even parliamentary rape and sexual harassment.

Freedom for us all from the threats facing us and our descendants on every front from increasingly ferocious fires, storms and floods to threats to our water and food supplies from climate change/global warming.

And, for the sake of achieving any or all of the above freedoms and a good many more sorely-needed ones besides, freedom from governments like the one we’re currently stuck with in Canberra that systematically privileges the rich over the rest, economics over ethics, fossil fuels over renewable energy, secrecy and lies over transparency and truth, and ideology, however idiotic, over ideas.

Freedom, in other words, from the corrupt and incompetent Scott Morrison-led conservative coalition government whose preference for supporting hotel proprietors by using their premises for quarantine purposes instead of constructing proper facilities has, in combination with its dire mismanagement of vaccine acquisition and administration, arguably caused the need for the current lockdown.

Fortunately, freedom from this rotten ruling regime is in sight, as a federal election has to be held by sometime in March 2022.

But that still foredooms us to nine long months of possible lockdown due to the Delta variant of the virus, and thus the risk of more protests by the aforesaid freedummies.

And, even worse, to the ever-present possibility that the same dills and dullards who voted this gang of drones and drongoes back into office last time will feel free, in return for the customary pork-barrelling fee, to be so dim as to do it all over again.

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Billionair-heads.

Like a great many others, I find myself scandalised by the spectacle of three billionaires, Bezos, Branson and Musk, splurging megabucks on their race to send paying passengers into space.

And amazed that people who evidently have so much empty space between their ears have managed to amass so much money in the first place, let alone be so air-headed as to squander so much of it on such a fatuous ‘contest’.

After all, since Yuri Gargarin first made mankind’s first return trip into space way back in 1961, this feat has been repeated by so many cosmonauts and astronauts as to make the current would-be cashtronauts look like nothing but cashtronoughts.

Especially when you consider how many challenges there are right here on Planet Earth for these would-be billiondare-devils to spend their energies and fortunes on tackling.

Like, to name just a few, the Covid pandemic and countless other endemic diseases, catastrophic climate change, starvation and population-displacement by armed race- and religion-based conflicts.

Of course it’s all too predictable that I, as one of the world’s vast majority of nilionaires, to be hyper-critical, even if arguably hypocritically so, of the super-rich.

A great many billionaires, of whom Bezos’s ex-wife is just one example, have shown far more billioncare for mankind by their willingness to billionshare their wealth with worthy causes more generously than I do of my more meagre financial resources.

And then there’s the thought that, for all that we relative paupers might envy them their billions and make bilious remarks about how they spend them, at least Bezos, Branson, Musk and many others of the mega-rich have made their fortunes honestly, or at least legally.

Unlike, say, media barons like Rupert Murdoch who’ve made their money out of publishing and broadcasting bare-faced lies; or out the kingpins of crime cartels who’ve made massive killings out of the drugs, weapons and people-trafficking trades; or kleptocrats like the notorious 1MDBillionaire Najib Razak of Malaysia who’ve outright robbed the people they’re supposed to rule.

Those who get rich from such rackets seldom spend their ill-gotten billions even on such relatively harmless hobbies as space-racing, NASA-style, preferring instead to splurge them on such NAuSeAting self-indulgences as mansions, super-yachts, fancy watches, jewellery jet-setting and other such ego-trips.

But in our albeit justified enthusiasm for criticising careless, conscienceless and outright criminal billionaires, let’s mot forget or forgive our very own billionscary behaviour.

While we may not be filthy-rich individually, we certainly are collectively, as albeit small shareholders in our national economies.

And far too many of us ridiculously fail to realise, or worse, just plain don’t care, that in voting for and otherwise supporting our governments’ miss-spending billions and trillions of our collective wealth on everything from tax-breaks designed to make the rich richer at the expense of the rest of us to funding environment-raping projects for the financial benefit of individual and corporate cronies and doing corruption-riddled deals on ‘defence’ equipment and other such stuff we don’t need, we’re as reprehensible as they are.

I could go on and on listing such billionatrocities that we fail to prevent or actually outright vote for, like the mindless construction of massive toll-highways instead of improved public transport, and vanity sky-scrapers in place of more desperately-needed housing.

But instead let me content myself by concluding in short that, until we finally unite in holding our governments responsible for spending our collective resources and other riches wisely and well, we’re collectively every whit as guilty of waste ranging from the careless to the criminal as any individual billionair-head could possibly contrive to be.

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Less lockdowns, more lockups.

While it won’t keep many Brazilians from dying of Covid, the threatened impeachment and possible imprisonment of their poisonous President Bolsonaro aka ‘The Tropical Trump’ could prove some consolation for all the suffering and death he’s inflicted on them.

Not that I trust the system that this despot relies on to keep him in power to actually convict him of complicity in vaccine-related corruption, let alone of dereliction of his presidential duty in his denial of the Covid crisis while 500,000 of his citizens have died in the course of this curse.

But even the remote prospect of his being locked-up may well give him and his fellow Covid-related criminals and incompetents around the world some cause for caution.

It’s heartening to see the original Trump facing some time in the lock-up too, albeit on federal fraud and related charges rather than on an indictment for making America great again solely in the number of Covid casualties caused by his defiance of the crying need to defend the US against the ravages of the virus.

Of course not all lockdowns are the result of arguably criminal neglect and/or corruption by Trump-like bleeders posing as leaders.

Governments, for all the misguided confidence so many of them have in themselves, are, like the rest of us, only human and thus fallible.

And it can be dreadfully difficult for us citizens to distinguish between honest mistakes and intentional malfeasance. For example, down here in Australia a great many if not most of us are once again in lockdown largely due to our federal government’s abject failure to secure sufficient supplies of vaccines and to administer those doses that are available, and also its refusal to fund purpose-built quarantine facilities.

Whether our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and his accomplices in this appalling cock-up deserve to be locked-up for it is, of course, a highly moot point.

But they sure deserve to be locked-out of government for a very long stretch for the systematic lying and spin they continually engage in, and thus I’m hoping that a growing majority of my fellow Australians are looking forward to vetoing rather than voting for them in the election that’s due by March next year.

And I’d say the same for the current government of Malaysia if such an entity actually existed. But, at least from this distance, it seems that it doesn’t, as all the usual political suspects, most of whom should long ago have been locked-up for their corruptions and other criminalities, are locked in an apparently ceaseless and totally confusing struggle for power and plunder.

Meanwhile, while billions of the rest of us are locked-down at home and many, maybe a majority are thus locked-out of employment and locked-in to penury, the world’s billionaires are on such a good lurk that several of them can afford to lark around in some stupid and grossly wasteful space-race.

Speaking of a waste of space, the world’s major religions seem to be at such a loss as to how best to con their congregations into believing that they’re Covid-relevant, with some continuing to prey on their adherents’ belief in the power of prayer, despite its clearly evident hopelessness, while others prefer to portray the pandemic as some kind of divine punishment.

So that as far as I’m concerned, it’s clear that clerics of all kinds should be locked-up in their own churches, chapels, temples and mosques for as long as it takes to stop them from preaching such loads of bollocks to their unfortunate flocks.

Of course, as long as I’m in lockdown myself these days, I’ve got so much time to go on about who should be locked-up, and why, and for how long that I could go on and on and on here socking it to the agents of schlock.

But I’m sure you’ve got lots of better things to spend your own lockdown doing than reading any more of this load of cock, and I must stop or at least pause for a meal-break, as all this hard work at the keyboard has been running my gastric clock down.

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