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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My gelak with Doktor Gigi.

.I’m extremely grateful to the Malay language(s) for a good many words and phrases that strike me as more expressive or onomatopoeic than their equivalents in English.And perhaps my favourite of these is ‘Doktor Gigi’.

Because it not only sounds less forbidding and more fun than ‘dentist’, but saying it, as also articulating the word ‘gelak’ in place of the English word ‘laugh’ does, actually forces one’s face into a smile. Which is great by me, as there are few appointments with destiny that make me feel more down in the mouth than those for having my teeth attended-to, or, in other words, attacked with sharp metal implements

.Or that’s how it usually goes. But, having just returned home from having a pre-molar extracted, I’m inspired to express what a comparative giggle this experience was, thanks to my current Doktor Gigi and his gila nurses.Their willingness to have a laugh with me always makes the dreaded dental ordeal far less painful/sakit than it would have been in strictly serious and straight-faced circumstances.

Thus once again demonstrating the effectiveness of so-called ‘bio-feedback’, the ability of physical activities to affect our minds and emotions, as in that the arrangement of the facial muscles to simulate or mimic a smiling expression can actually cheer us up.

Admittedly a visit to the dentist/Dr Gigi may have been even more of a giggle back in the old days, way back before even my time, when the only available anaesthetic was nitrous oxide, better known as ‘laughing gas’.But, as much of a scream as it apparently was to inhale, and as many otherwise screaming patients it may have helped, nitrous oxide has long been superseded by safer if far less entertaining local anaesthetics.

Which in my extensive experience are almost as painful when being injected as the agony of the drilling, filling or pulling that they’re meant to prevent.And after the event, as here and now, the persistent numbness makes it a bit of a pain, metaphorically rather than literally speaking, to control one’s mouth movements.

Plus, to add insult to this injury, we’re supposed to strictly follow a set of post-extraction rules, including no drinking of alcohol, no smoking, no drinking of hot liquids or eating of hard foods, and no strenuous physical activity.A list that, as far as I’m personally concerned, seems to permit only writing, as long as I’m extremely careful not to hit the keys of my laptop too hard, or sleeping, as long as I don’t do so too heavily

.But let me get back to the point of this short piece, which is to celebrate the gift of the word ‘gigi’ for which I’m so grateful to Malaysians in general and my Ipoh-born wife in particular, as it has since made my visits to the dentist, despite all the gagging and gargling still involved, so much more of a gelak and a giggle than previously.

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More procrastinotions.

During a precrastination coffee and chat with a friend this Monday morning, I recalled that I’d previously procrastinated way back in 2009 by writing about procrastination in piece titled ‘pro- and con- crastination.

And then repeated this ploy by re-publishing the thing in 2018.

Here, in case you never got around to reading it the first two times around, is a repeat repeat of it, at least in part, while I procrastinate about posting something new:

Are you sure you’re ready to peruse this post right now? Absolutely positive you haven’t something more pressing to do before you start reading the thing, like I tried convincing myself that I had before writing it? No seemingly petty but nonetheless imperative tasks to perform first, like having a coffee or two, consulting your horoscope for the day, answering a few emails, visiting a couple of your favourite websites and breaking for an early lunch like I did? No? You’re really, truly ready to roll?

There’s no rush, you know. So if you’re thinking how much fresher and more mentally alert you’d feel if you paused for a quick shower before you settle down to concentrate on what I have to say; or how much less guilty you’d feel about wasting your time over it if you cleaned your house first, go right ahead.

I honestly don’t mind waiting. I’ve procrastinated so long in producing this piece that a delay of another few minutes, hours or even days before you get around to tackling it won’t make the slightest difference. In any case, if and when you do get around to reading it right through, then you’ll be stuck with the task of dreaming-up some other way to delay tackling whatever tiresome task you’re keen to put off.

‘Procrastination’, as my dictionary reveals now that I’ve finally taken the trouble to consult it on the subject, derives from a combination of the Latin words ‘pro’ (forward) and ‘crastinus’ (tomorrow). No rush to finish this today, then.

So I’ve been taking time out for a little light Googling. One site I’ve stumbled on, procrastinationhelp.com, reveals a report by researchers Tim Pychyl and Jennifer Lavoie that 47% of the time spent by people online is for the specific purpose of work-avoidance.

I could have told them that, though their figure of 47% seems a bit on the low side from what I’ve observed over the years of my own behaviour and that of my colleagues in various offices in which I’ve been paid to put off doing some work.

As I see on quotegarden.com and other sites I must someday get around to bookmarking, lots of famous people have made decidedly disapproving remarks about postponing what needs to be done.

“Procrastination is the thief of time,” for example, which I recall was a favourite of my old school Latin master and which, given his unaccountable enthusiasm for dead languages, I assumed to be a translation of a line by Ovid or one of those other ancient Romans who dedicated their careers to making future generations of schoolboys miserable. But no, it was an English poet named Edward Young, apparently, who uttered the immortal line in 1742.

A few Romans reputedly did proclaim on the topic of procrastination, however. The poet Horace for one, who wrote, in Latin of course: “Seize the day! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.” But this seems ambiguous to me, in that it could equally mean either seize the day and get something done, or seize the day, forget work for now and have fun doing some random surfing.

Decidedly unambiguous, however, was Roman statesman Cicero’s stern statement that “in the conduct of almost every affair, slowness and procrastination are hateful”. Other similarly negative remarks on the subject include “You may delay, but time will not” (Benjamin Franklin), and “Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin” (Victor Kiam).

Then there are those that go even further to warn of the depressing consequences of delay, like “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task” (William James) and the even more dispiriting “Every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties at its back” (Charles Kingsley).

The only ray of encouragement I can find for those of us who prefer to think – or resort to almost any other diversion – before ripping right in and getting our work done is Mark Twain’s admonition to “never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow”.

Though I strongly suspect that Twain failed to follow his own advice, as he wrote many longer and far more famous books than I ever will and still found time to dream-up cynical sayings.

     And so on and so on. Naturally, I’ve had a few more crazy notions on the topic during periods of procrastination since penning that. For example, there’s the thought that religions are just ways for people to praycrastinate in the face of disasters like their deaths, if possible eternally.

     And that my homeland of Australia is currently a procrastiNation under a conservative coalition government determined to endlessly delay action against any improvements whatever, from the construction of proper Covid quarantine facilities and rapid vaccine roll-out instead of the stroll-out, loll-out or outright LOL-out they’ve achieved so far, to anything but a pretence at recognising the reality of climate-change, let alone the need to do anything about postponing it.

     That’s about all I have to say on the subject right now, you’ll be delighted to learn. Because I’m sure you must be eager to get on with your next means of procrastinating before getting on with  what you’re supposed to be – and even paid – for doing right this minute.

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Beating the lockdown blues.

While I haven’t been in lockdown myself lately, my mind certainly seems to have been, as I haven’t written a publishable word for weeks.

At first I consoled myself that this was a simple case of the kind of block most writers and other would-be creative people chronically or periodically encounter, and thus would pass with the passage of time.

But when it showed alarming signs of persisting for longer than usual, I started to suspect that it might be something more serious, like permanent verbal blockdown.

Caused, or so I surmised, by my online association with and intense sympathy for all those of my virtual friends and who were suffering so severely in viral lockdown.

A great number of them were complaining about bouts of almost terminal tedium. While many others were experiencing extremes of social isolation.

And here I was, helpless to console or comfort them in their times of sighsolation and crysolation with even as much as a kind or caring word.

So thank goodness there were lots of unquenchable spirits on the net to show them – and me – that lockdown isn’t necessarily a matter of luckdown, and in fact can actually be more like likedown.

Most of the usual jokesters were on the job as usual, thus demonstrating that lockdown can actually be a larkdown; cooking enthusiasts galore were still posting pictures of dishes showing that lockdown can be a total wokdown; and myriads of music-lovers were turning the lockdown into a rockdown.

While all those people posting pictures of near-nude, nubile beauties were as busy as ever showing that lockdown isn’t necessarily, if you’ll forgive me, a total cockdown.

And of course lots of advocates of vaccination, social distancing and other anti-Covid measures were out in force on the net pushing their point that any amount of isolation, social or otherwise, at least beats the hell out of diesolation.

Despite all these excellent peoples’ efforts to spiceolate us from the direst effects of lockdown, however, some of us almost gave up hope of ever seeing a lockdawn.

For me personally, I fancy, the problem was that my afore-mentioned sympathy for those perceiving lockdown as nothing but schlockdown has until now been magnified by the feeling of iceolation in which I and my fellow citizens shiver down here in Sydney during the southern-hemisphere winter.

But the recent arrival of the winter solstice, with its promise of gradually lighter and warmer days, has clearly thawed sufficient of my writing neurons to enable me to verbalise a few thoughts again.

On the downside, however, is the fact that the so-called Inner-West of Sydney, which includes the suburb of Stanmore in which my wife and I live, has today been declared a Covid red-zone, thus road-blocking us from taking a planned three-day driving trip.

We’re not too devastated by this, though, as another piece of news is that out west, where we were headed, the mouse plague is still so out-of-control that it’s even caused a jail out there to go into such extreme cell-blockdown that the prisoners have to be moved to other penal establishments.

An event that should serve to remind all of us who see lockdown as little short of home detention that, however boring or saddening or even infuriating it may be, at least it beats the living daylights out of serving time in the slammer.

And also, for that matter, beats the hell out of endless incarceration in Australia’s shamefully and even criminally cruel system of refugee/asylum-seeker detention.

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Vaccination vexation.

Is anybody else out there as sick to death as I am of the mass-debate that’s raging about whether, when and with which of the available vaccines to get anti-Covid shots?

No matter, I’m vexed enough for all of us by all the ever-vocal anti-vaxxers, vaccination vacillators and other varieties of pro- and con-vaccine factions.

As far as I’m concerned personally, the simple aim of vaccination action is to achieve community immunity so we can all get out of lockdown as soon as humanly possible.

But even a great many of us who are crying-out for our jabs are finding it tough to get the job done due to the cretinous if not outright criminal degree of what can appropriately be called laxination on the part of our governments.

Down here in Australia, for example, where anti-flu vaccinations have for years been routinely administered with considerable efficiency and effectiveness, the powers that be seem pretty much on vacation when it comes to anti-Covid vaccination.

Having months ago vowed that he and his federal-government varlets had vaulted Australia to the ‘head of the queue’ when it came to vaccine supply, Prime Minister Morrison has now revised his story in the face of his typical failure to deliver.

And as if his and his regime’s vividly-evident laxination and slackcination, vaccinewise, haven’t been sufficiently vexing, they’ve simultaneously been vehemently denying the need to replace the nation’s highly-suspect hotel-isolation system with proper, purpose-built quarantine facilities.

Thus unnecessarily both endangering the lives of the local population and denying thousands of Australian citizens stuck in catastrophic Covid situations in India and elsewhere around the world their right to repatriation.

But mention of India reminds me that my own and other Australians’ vaccination and related vexations are trivial in comparison with the vast majority of people in less prosperous countries around the world, where the urban and rural poor facing the Covid pandemic are being literally left for dead.

And their praying to whatever gods they worship clearly doesn’t work. Quite the opposite, in fact, as massively-crowded ‘religious’ festivals have themselves caused fresh waves of Covid infections and countless fatalities among both the faithful and their unfortunate infidel contacts.

This appears to be the case in Malaysia, where numbers of infections and fatalities have soared since the relaxation of masking and personal-distancing precautions for the sake of Hari Raya shopping-sprees and celebratory gatherings.

And the same racist and religionist government that chose to close one eye to the all-too-predictable risks of this sectarian permissiveness is proving every bit as lax as Australia’s in getting the population vaccinated.

So that a good many Malaysians are, like the people of the Australian state of Victoria, now languishing in lockdown, and thus have as much if not more cause to be vexinated with their national government’s Covid vaccination and quarantine failures as I am with mine.

And every bit as eager to finally vaccinate their country as I and increasing numbers of Australians are against more of such vacuous, venal and outright vicious misgovernment by giving the incumbents the chop – or, in a word, axinating the bastards – at the earliest electoral opportunity.

I have to confess that I’m not too optimistic about this, however, as Malaysians haven’t yet even managed to Razakcinate their country against kleptocratic former PM Najib and his cronies; and far too many Australians seem unwilling or unable to factcinate themselves against Morrison and his minions’ pathological mendacity.

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