Trump trumped. Now to trump Trumpism.

All the elements of Trumpism have plagued the human race forever, in a plethora of forms from viciously-competing religions through various attempts at global dominance like Nazism and totalitarian Communism to virtually countless local variants like Toryism in the UK, al-Assadism in Syria, Bolsonaroism in Brazil, Mahathirism in Malaysia, and of course fake Liberal-Nationalism as currently in Australia.

But The dreadful Donald turned Trumpism into an art-form, and the recent dumping of him and consequent trumping of his supporters and enablers in favour of Biden may be a sign that relief is in sight for those of us who’ve been bidin’ our time to get rid of this virally- spreading evil.

An evil that is characterised everywhere it spreads its virulent influence from the fake ‘People’s’ Republic of China to the theocracies of the Middle- or Muddle-East and elsewhere.

So, in the hope that we can finally start vaccinating the whole human race against it, and thus trump it for once and for all, let’s remind ourselves of the symptoms of Trumpism wherever it rears its ugly head:

Lies trump the truth, or fake news and views trump the facts, as extremely exemplified by the China People’s Daily and the Murdoch media.

Fantasy trumps reality, in every imaginable field from religious ‘faith’ to climate-change denial and/or foot-dragging as in the disgraceful case of my own federal government. This Trumpism can also be expressed in a great many other ways, including emotion trumps reason, idiocy trumps intelligence, superstition trumps science, and my particular long-time favourite, bullshit baffles or in other words trumps brains.

Then there’s greed trumps need, as it does virtually everywhere from the aforementioned Australia to the hopefully at least somewhat resurgent US. And indeed, if we’re not careful, also in each and every one of us.

Not to go on and on too endlessly here, there are almost countless other symptoms of Trumpism, some of them overlapping those listed above, including:

Hypocrisy trumps honesty.

Economics trump ethics and the environment.

Money trumps morality.

Conservatism trumps conservation, and

Ideologies trump ideas and ideals.

Of course most if not all of us have long been aware of such Trumpery, in not only politics and public affairs, but in ourselves personally. But, as inertia tends to trump action, and the necessity for everyday survival tends to trump our personal as well as collective capacities for improving the world, we’ve never done enough to trump Trumpism.

But if ever there was a golden opportunity to get started in good and earnest on this worthiest of projects, in our personal lives and business dealings as well as our nations’ politics, it’s right now when so many of us are hiding at home from Covid, and thus have lots of time on our hands as well as umpteen opportunities to follow Joe Biden’s apparently excellent Trump- and Trumpism-trumping lead.

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Whole-hearted horticulture.

     Thanks to my dear, departed father and mother, who were partners in a rose-growing, retail-nursery and landscaping business, and thus planted the seeds of shared passion for plants in me and my siblings, I’ve had a life-long love of gardening.

     But though most of my adult years I’ve felt somewhat alone in this regard, as few if any of my own wives, children, friends or even acquaintances have seemed to share, sympathise with or even understand my horticultural bent.

     So I had no choice but to embrace horticulture on a solitary basis, and soon came to see it as a delightful escape from everyone and everything whenever I craved some peace, quiet and serenity.

     Until recently, that is, when my wife’s devoted caring for me during my long convalescence from surgeries about which I wrote in morbid detail in a recent post titled ‘Finally feeling almost alwrite’ started to include taking me on brief visits to the nearby home of my daughter and her partner, Lew.

     There they sat me down in the garden that I’d pre-operatively started to renovate as a labour of love for both horticulture and my daughter, and all proceeded to get on with the job themselves while I watched them work.

     And I couldn’t help noticing that that they were not only greatly enjoying what they were doing, but had become amazingly adept and even expert in every branch of horticulture from composting through potting, open planting and soil-reconditioning to the diagnosis and treatment of a diversity of plant diseases.

     While I, for my part, now that I’ve graduated first from just sitting around doing noughticulture, through pottering around doing a little light weeding and watering and now, finally to actually lending the others a hand with such heavy-duty horticulture as tree-lopping, root-grubbing and earth-moving, have finally come to see gardening as not just an exercise in escapism, but also as a form of group therapy.

     And my son who’s long lived in London and has always been more sporticulturally than horticulturally inclined, must have heard in my voice during our phone calls how heart-warming the group horticulture was proving for us all, as he and his family recently joined-in at least virtually by sending us a gift-card to stake us to more plants and other what I suppose you could call boughticultural items.

     But let me not, in my enthusiasm for sharing my love of horticulture with my nearest and dearest, lead you, discerning reader, up the proverbial garden path.

     As gentle an activity or even art as gardening may seem, it also, like real life, involves slugging it out against a veritable multitude of creeping, crawling, slimy, slithering, sap-sucking and of course flying pests.

     And despite all my protestations of love for horticulture, I have to admit that I’ve devoted what some might see as far too much of my leisure-time to naughticulture, and spent most of my erstwhile working life selling-out my true self and whatever creative talents I might have in one of the virtually countless varieties of what can justly be perceived as whoreticulture.

     Or, in other words, and in my case, advertising. But I like to console myself that I was pandering and pimping only for the peddlers of commercial products and services, and in any event nobody in his/her right mind believes ads anyway.

     And thus I like to at least kid myself that I’ve done far less damage to society than those who prostitute their talents in the promotion of power-crazed politicians, as the presstitutes of the China People’s Daily do for the Xi Jin Ping regime, and those of the Murdoch media have been doing for years for the likes of Donald Trump in the US, Boris Johnson in the UK, and Scott Morrison here in Australia.

     But I seem to have somehow wandered off my topic of horticulture, which these days is my refuge from all such rubbish, and even more so now that I’ve discovered that I share it with not only my real-life loved-ones, but also, to judge from the many posts I see, with a great many of my virtual ones too.  

And for this, my kind kin and kindred spirits, I’m eternally thankful to you all.

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Januairy or Januwary?

Despite all the sincere but ultimately airy-fairy Happy New Year and “Good riddance to 2020” messages flying around right now, I can’t shake my Januweary feeling that 2021 is certain to prove just as much of a mixed blessing for us all than its late, unlamented predecessor did.

Or, to express this in the immortal words with which Charles Dickens began his ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ back in 1859, 2020 was, like every year “the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way”, and 2021 will be no different.

 I was starkly reminded of this when I did my customary surf around the news sites this morning and was confronted with a tale, not of two cities but of two nitty-gritties: will the vast majority of us be fortunate enough to keep surviving the still-exploding Covid-19 pandemic, while millions more of our fellows will certainly succumb to it; and even more crucially, will we or will we not finally achieve the degree of will-power/won’t-power that’s required to stave-off our collective extinction by global warming?

 And when it comes to politicians who are supposed to do something about such situations, it’s all too often a tale of two shitties: is Trump a shittier president than Bolsonaro? Or Australia’s Scott Morrison a shittier prime minister than the UK’s Boris Johnson? Or is China’s ruling regime shittier than that of Russia, Syria, Malaysia or pretty well any other corruptly and callously misgoverned country that comes to mind, if not all other such countries put together?

Then my usual quick scan of the latest posts on Facebook told me its usual twin tales of pretties and pities, and even more graphically, if you’ll forgive me, a tale of two kinds of titties: the plump and perky ones on display for the purpose of titillation, and the shrunken ones of refugee mothers helpless to save their babies from starvation.

And of course there was the continuing Facebook tale (tail?) of two kitties, featuring plump and pampered pets on the one hand (paw?) and lean and hungry rejects and strays on the other.

Compared with many of the above tales with alternative happy/sappy or else crappy possible endings, however, I have to admit that the issues that most concern me personally this Januairy, Januwary or even Januworry, like the pains and perils of old age and how to put up with the perennial penury of surviving on a pension, seem every whit as itty-bitty as the kitty one.

And thus, sad to tell, reveal me to be as self-servingly nit-witty, if possible, as the political leaders, bleeders and bottom-feeders that I so constantly and ineffectually criticise and complain about every year, month and day of my life.

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Happy holidays and holy days!

     As much and as sincerely as I appreciate all the “Merry Christmas” messages that friends send me, I have to confess I’m not wholly comfortable sending Christmas greetings myself.

Not that I have anything against people of the Christian, Jewish and who knows what other faiths who still believe that this festive season is holy.

But I’ve been on permanent holiday from religions of every description for decades now, and if I pretended to be still a believer I’d feel like an unholy hypocrite.

Just like the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison should feel, claiming as he does to be a Christian, but callously keeping a family of Sri Lankan asylum-seekers in solitary confinement in a location named, of all things, Christmas Island.

As anybody will know who recalls my now very old column/blog “Christmas Jeer”, I have several other reasons for my festering feelings about the ‘festive’ season.

For a start, it seems to me for a great many people to be a celebration of capitalism rather than Christianity or any other ‘religious’ sect, and I find it as hard to be merry about Chri$tma$ as I do about Christmas.

Then, perhaps because I come from a family that was as dysfunctional if not more so than most, in that some of its members tended to turn it into a Christmess for the rest of us by perceiving it as an excuse for making it an alcoholicday.

An observation that brings me to the fact that even the moderate or even non-drinkers like myself tend to stuff ourselves so greedily on dinner, pudding and such as to turn it into an excessively hogly and high cholesterolly day.

All that being said, however, I’m almost tempted to resume doing Christmas if only to demonstrate my contempt for the Sultan of Brunei and the similarly deranged theocrats in some other countries who’ve deemed the celebration or even mention of this Christian feast-day a criminal offence.

But I think I’ll settle for wishing you all, my dear friends, “Merry Christmas” in code, as in “Happy hollyday” or “Happy ho-ho-holiday”.

Meanwhile, my daughter and I will be having ourselves a totally jollyday celebrating her mother/my wife’s birthday, which, unlike the allegedly virgin birth of Jesus, which historians have calculated happened sometime in March according to our current calendar, genuinely falls on December 25.

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Finally feeling almost alwrite.

At last! After almost four months out of print since completing and posting my previous piece here, I finally feel ready and perhaps even able to get writing again.

I sure as hell hope that I’m right, as writing, along with its close relative, reading, which I’ve also been unable to do for months, has long been one of my leading loves in life.

And for far too long now, my love of living has largely been lost in a struggle to merely survive.

Not that stopping smoking in preparation for the surgery for suspected lung cancer that I prefigured back in my previous post proved actually life-threatening.

But quitting did, as I’ve found during previous attempts at going smokeless, consume all the concentration I need for literary composition, and thus render me as good as dead, writingwise.

And I presume that my inevitable anxiety at the approach of my September 14 surgical deadline must have been an additional concentration-killer.

For me, perhaps, but apparently not for my surgeon, who on the appointed day was supremely sharp in his performance of the minimally-invasive or ‘keyhole’ procedure he employed to locate and remove the suspect lung lesion I presented with.

The pathology department too, was as acute and I presume accurate as could be in identifying this lesion as cancerous, but also, to my considerable relief, adding the assurance that it hadn’t had time to spread or metastasize and thus supporting the surgeon in pronouncing me “cured”.

After nine days in the thoracic ward recovering from the operation, and mentally celebrating rather than chronicling my being cured, I was rudely awakened to the fact that I’d apparently also been cursed.

By an artery or vein that, presumably damaged or weakened by the plastic drain tube inserted at operative site, started haemorrhaging in the dead (!) of night on September 23.

So nearly succeeding in drowning me in three litres of my own blood that, a I later learned, I had to be resuscitated three times before a life-saving emergency operation to shut it down, hopefully permanently.

And as if that hadn’t been enough to wreck my prospects of a quick and relatively easy return to the new lease on life and its loves that the cure of my lung cancer had granted me, I started experiencing symptoms of a syndrome I’d suffered after my hip-replacement procedure years ago: the dreaded dysgeusia.

This being the medical term, or so Google informed me, for the post-operative perversion of a patient’s sense of taste to the point at which all or most foods and drinks seem disgusting.

So disgusting in some cases, very much including mine, that the very thought of eating or drinking, let alone attempts to actually do so, makes the sufferer sick.

And very soon even sicker with the resultant malnutrition if not outright starvation, and even more immediately serious dehydration to a degree that results in renal damage or even failure.

Probably a side-effect of anaesthesia that affects a small minority of most patients, but far more common in elderly ones like myself, dysgeusia doesn’t seem to be taken very seriously by the medical profession.

Or so it seems to me, as all the hospital staff I tried to discuss it with, despite listening to me patiently, tended to dismiss it as a mere trifle if not a figment of my imagination, and advised me to eat and drink as much as possible, regardless.

So I eventually found myself discharged from hospital in desperately thirsty and starving state, into the care of my muse when I’m capable of writing, and my ever-amusing friend, companion and lover, my wife.

And, indefatigable researcher as she is in both academic and daily life, she embarked on a tireless search for foods and beverages I could consume without throwing-up.

At first all the edibles she could come up with that I found non-emetic were avocados and vanilla yoghurt, and the sole liquid that I could tolerate, a popular Australian soft-drink called Solo.

And I subsisted on these, with the occasional return to hospital emergency for sorely-needed rehydration with a litre or three of saline, for weeks.

Then she had my trying every kind of soup from her own beef broth to every flavour of soup in the fine Campbell’s range, until I was totally fed-up with them.

The crucial breakthrough into solid comestibles came when I confessed to a fancy to try my long-time favourite item on the McDonald’s menu, the Filet O Fish, and which to my own and my wife’s surprise and relief, I found as edible as ever.

And the drink I chose to accompany it, the Macca’s vanilla thickshake, also went down a treat.

Since then, to cut this seemingly endless and certainly dreary story short, my diet’s developed to almost normal, pre-op dimensions, and I’ve even started to regain a few of the 15 or so kilos that the two operations and resultant dysguesia cost me.

And, into the bargain, as you’re witnessing here, I’ve also regained my resolve to resume my literary efforts. Of course, as I’m sure you realise, this first attempt after such a long break is not so much writing as several hundred words of self-indulgent wittering.

But with more practice I hope it will improve to the point at which it’s worth continuing with, which of course will be when you and a few faithful friends out there finally find it alwrite to read.

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But on the cigacredit side…

In my previous post I now realise I was a trifle too negative in my cigarhetoric about having to cigaredit my cigaraddiction out of my cigawriting life.

Because so many people, cigareaders and non-cigareaders alike, and even those so extreme in their opposition to smoking that to them the very thought of it is outright cigaheretical, proved positively supportive or at least sympathetic in their cigaresponses.

A few, of course, expressed good cigariddance to what they perfectly accurately perceive as a habit that’s as filthy as its potentially fatal, but the majority of commenters proved to be kindness itself in expressing a range of reactions from feelings of total empathy to intentions to fall to their knees in prayer.

But as profoundly cigagrateful as I am for all of these signs of friendship, the one that I find most cigaresonates with me is a caution that signing-on for thoracic surgery at my age could be kind of cigareckless, and that thus I should consider letting sleeping dogs, or in this case lung lesions, lie.

Certainly I’d be lying if I didn’t see this suggestion as the chance of a win-win situation: no further need to dread undergoing a highly cigarisky operation, and thus a great cigarexcuse for cigaresuming smoking and simply hoping for the best, as previously.

On the cigacredit side of my continuing to quit smoking, at least until my complete cigarecovery from the proposed thoracic procedure, is that I find breathing somewhat easier.

Then there’s the far-from-insignificant cigareduction in the cigarexpense of my wife’s continued enjoyment of smoking tobacco whose price continually cigarescalates, even on the black market where I buy it.

Most cigarewarding of all, however, is that, perhaps for the first time in my adult life I’ve sufficient sense of smell to fully appreciate every olfactory delight from the deliciousness of my wife’s cooking to the scent of approaching Spring in the air.

And, just as soon as the bandicoot-repellent stench of Dynamic Lifter fertiliser disperses from the garden, this coming Spring should be especially redolent of the freshness of home-grown vegetables and the fragrances of flowers ranging from sweet peas to mexican-orange-tree blossoms.

Not to mention those two to me most compelling of all natural perfumes, the smell of rain on dry, dusty soil and the glorious aroma of new-mown grass.

And all of this the result of weeks of hard gardening by my wife, my daughter, her boyfriend and yours truly while we’ve been confined at home by COVID-19.

Of course, talk of gardening inevitably reminds me that, as least for a smoker, perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of this or any other form of hard manual labour is the taking of regular cigarest-breaks, traditionally known in the Aussie vernacular as “smokos”.

So I’m sure you can well imagine that, during my current short stint as a temporary or even terminal non-smoker, I’ve been finding my smoke-free smokos decidedly frustrating.

But hey, here I go getting all cigaregretful again when I’m supposed to be looking on the cigacredit side of quitting smoking. Which only goes to show, I suppose, that despite the positives I’ve mentioned, I’m thus far by no means committed to quitting.

Quite the opposite, in fact. Because at this very moment, all I can think of is how very much I’m looking forward to finding some plausible cigarexcuse to justify my burning desire to as soon as humanly possible quit quitting.

 

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Cigaretteless and cigawriteless.

As only the pitifully few surviving smokers in my already highly- select audience are capable of appreciating, my forsaking of cigarettes for the past fortnight or so has left me so cigarestless that I can hardly sit still here at the keyboard, let alone cigarwrite anything worth cigareading.

So, as I hasten to assure fellow tobacco fiends and also reassure myself, thank goodness that my physical cigarestlessness, mental cigaretardation and other such cigarwretched symptoms of my cigarettelessness are only temporary.

I’m not so cigaregretful of my 57 years of smoking as to quit or cigaretire from it at this late if not terminal stage. Especially having so relatively recently written such declarations of defiance in the face of the forces of anti-smoking activism like “Butt out, anti-fag nags!” (https://deanjohns.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/butt-out-anti-fag-nags/) and its sequel, “And now, cigarats!”

The fact is, all I’m doing is taking a cigarest from cigarettes for the minimal period of four to six weeks specified by a thoracic surgeon as a condition of his agreement to attempt the ‘minimally-invasive’ removal of a suspicious lung lesion I’ve now had for years.

Having eluded all attempts by medical science to identify it by means of X-rays, CAT and PET scans and even a needle biopsy, this mystery object has, in the absence of any definite identification, been given that diagnosis of last resort, “better out than in”.

And consequently its removal has been scheduled for September 14, but only on condition of my solemnly promising not to take even a single puff of a cigarette in the interim.

Or, in other words, and more appropriately, my my giving a solemn undertaking not to smoke and thus raise the already cigaregrettably high cigarisks of death by anaesthetic or post-operative infection.

In case you’re wondering about the obvious right now, which is why I don’t tell the surgeon a lot of cigarot about quitting for the duration and just keep on smoking regardless, forget it, just as I’ve had to.

Because pre-surgery I’m booked for a 2-hour battery of tests that will surely reveal whether I’ve been cigaratting on my promise to go at least temporarily cigaretteless, and my operation will be rescheduled or even totally cancelled in cigaretaliation for my failure to self-cigaregulate my behaviour.

So, as deeply uncigaready as I feel to cease all my cigaregular activities like cigarwriting, cigareading and sundry other such life-cigariching activities, here I am two weeks or so into my pre-op cigarettelessness, and looking at another four weeks to go.

Whether these will prove as much of a cigarwrite-off as the past two have been, of course I can’t tell for sure. But one thing’s for certain, and that’s that if I survive the cigarextraction of this cigarotten lung lesion, I’ll hardly be able to wait to get back into my old, accustomed, cigarette-smoking rut again.

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Extra-wife strife.

A male member – in both senses of the term, obviously – of my family-in-law in Malaysia, long divorced from his first wife and apparently happily married to his second, has put the cat or rather pussy among the pigeons by announcing his intention wed a new, additional woman.

In other words, he’s planning to graduate from serial monogamy to bigamy, and, given that as a Muslim Malaysian male he’s permitted up to four wives simultaneously, perhaps eventually all the way to polygamy.

As I’m sure you can well imagine, many of his relatives, especially the female ones, are in quite a flap about this. For several reasons, the most obvious of which is their sense of sympathetic sisterhood with his existing spouse, who’s not only young, attractive and presumably still sexually active, but also the mother of his two-year-old son, and thus seemingly in no way deserving of such shabby treatment.

Treatment that’s even more shabby than is customary in such cases, considering that she left her own country and family and also abandoned her former religious faith in favour of Islam for the sake of what she surely must have presumed would be monogamous marriage with this guy.

And even more shocking to her must be the fact that the woman for whom her husband is proposing to half-replace her is not, as is customary in such cases, a newer, sleeker, spicier spouse with superior breeding potential, but a childless divorcee of an age that puts her past her reproductive use-by date.

So why, I and many others keep wondering, is he so hell-bent on playing this polygame? I’m told that the sole explanation he’s been offering anybody who asks is that he doing it out of a similar sense of compassion for his new intended that The Prophet famously showed in wedding the widows of three of his warriors.

But where’s his compassion, some of us can’t help wondering, for his existing wife and the young son she’s given him, but also for the son from his first and now former wife who’s spent most of his decade or so of life being passed around like a waif?

Speaking personally, as an infidel with some knowledge and experience of infidelity, I’m cynical enough to suggest that this alleged compassion for the new wife-to-be must surely contain a considerable component of sexuality, or, in other words, comepassion or cumpassion.

In which case it seems to me that it would be far easier more fun to keep the new woman as a mistress rather than going to all the trouble and strife of taking her as a wife.

Or even more potentially come/cumpassionate for all concerned, not to mention way cheaper than establishing and maintaining two separate households, to all agree on a so-called “polyamorous” arrangement in which the core couple remains married or otherwise committed, while lovers for each or both parties are free to come and go.

Of course I’m all-too-well aware that such suggestions are ridiculous in the circumstances, which happen to be both Muslim and Malaysian, and thus totally biased in favour of male convenience in matrimonial as most other matters.

In theory a husband who finds himself lusting for more variety in his sex-life, or longing to spread his seed more widely, or both, in theory needs the consent of his existing wife (or wives) to marry an extra one.

But in practice, as everybody knows, he can always marry a foreign wife in secret, or just proceed with the marriage regardless of how grudging or ill-gotten the existing wife’s consent may be, as the guy we’re talking about here seems hell-bent on.

Despite the fact that, as he’s bound to learn from bitter experience, he’ll soon be so doubly bored with sharing himself between only two wives that he’ll find himself yearning for yet a third woman he finds extra-worthy of his com/come/cumpassion.

 

 

 

 

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Missing old Uncle Sam.

Having grown-up feeling grateful to the US of A, firstly for saving my own and the rest of the word’s sorry asses from Nazism and Nipponism, then for leading a war-shattered world back to peace and material prosperity and stirring our souls with everything from rock ‘n’ roll to its resolute defence of democracy, I miss its avuncular presence in the world.

Because the Uncle Sam of whom I was formerly so innocently and naively such a total fan has turned out to be such a sham.

My first reality check in this regard, as I recall, were the embarrassing or, if you prefer, embarrUSing anti-Communist witch-hunts whipped-up by that notorious nutter Senator McCarthy back in the 1950s.

And the virtually simultaneous revolt of white bigots, especially in Southern states, against President Eisenhower’s enlightened attempts to racially integrate the nation’s schools and universities.

Then, in the ‘60s, came that mother of all fiascos/fiUScos, the Vietnam War, and all its consequent squandering of lives, countless trillions of taxpayer dollars and, due to its support of an undemocratic, cowardly and corrupt South-Vietnamese regime and its eventual humiliating withdrawal if not defeat, a catastrophic loss of US credibility as a paragon of global power for the good.

While back home disunity ruled, due to the still-hotly-debated assassination of yet another president, followed by strident anti-war and, as usual/USual, more anti-racism protests.

And here and now, today, paradoxically, the self-styled “home of the brave” is afflicted with a leader so craven as to have dodged the military draft by means of the doubtful claim that he suffered “bone spurs”; and the “land of the free” can dubiUSly boast the highest rate of imprisonment of citizens on the planet.

I could go on and on historUSising here about Uncle Sam’s countless shams and scams, but that would give you the mistaken impression that I’m so disenchanted by the US as to be totally disgUSted.

While, on the contrary, I’ll always be thankful for the countless gifts its given me. Firstly, as mentioned above, freedom from the threat of being a subject of imperial Japan’s intended ‘Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere’, and since then virtually countless others.

For example, the first book I recall my father’s reading aloud to me and my siblings, Mark Twain’s great “Huckleberry Finn”; the first rock n rollers, like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis (ElvUS?) Presley and others too numerous to mention; a close-up view of the first Saturn rocket launch and first moon landing; the joy of reading such journalists as Tom Wolfe, David Halberstam and above all the supreme critic of all the failings and faults he deplored in his beloved America, the ‘Sage of Baltimore’, H.L. Mencken.

But, like the great Mencken, if on an altogether more miniature scale, I do have to admit to disappointment that the nation I’ve so long admired for being united in its regard for the enlightened ideas and ideals enshrined in its constitution is actually so riven by idiotic ideologies as to be in many ways its own worst enemy.

There’s nothing fun, for example, but a great deal that’s mental as insane about fundmentalist Christianity. Nor is there much profit in capitalism enabled or encouraged to such extremes of greed as to constitute outright crapitalism. Or freedom of speech when it extends to freedom to screech packs of lies and peddle pernicious neo-conservative propaganda like Fox ‘Fuck the Facts’ News and its ilk are permitted go get away with in support of the same Republican Party that was adorned by the great ‘Honest’ Abe Lincoln, and now so disgraces itself as to support the grUSome Donald Trump.

In the process having so perverted Lincoln’s vision of government as being “of the people, by the people, for the people” to something more like “of the people, by the rich people, forget the poor and otherwise powerless people.”

Especially those people, like Bernie Sanders and his supporters, who are so idealUStic as to call for more economic, social and medical equality for all, as well as protection from the increasingly dire degradation and dangerous warming of their living environment.

Protection too, and even more pressingly, from the coronaviral pandemic, about which, as with every other issue, the monstroUSly mendacioUS present POTUS, Donald Trump, has so persistently and poisonUSly obfUScated that this plague has taken such a world-beating toll of his people that it could justly be termed the coronavirUS.

And yet this hopelUS, uselUS, brainlUS, gormlUS and altogether fatuUS fraud still has the shamelUSness to try provoking conflict if not combat with China in a desperate scam to scare enough witlUS voters into supporting his bid for a second term in office.

 

In short, and in merciful conclusion, I hope I’ve made it clear why, with all his admitted imperfections, I so much miss old Uncle Sam, and so greatly wish there was some prospect of a replacement for him who’d turn out to be worth a goddam.

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Bandicoots and BNdicoots.

A couple of months ago I posted two pieces called ‘Guardin’ the garden’ and ‘The garden plot thickens’ about an invasion of what all the mess and mayhem it was committing suggested was an animal called a bandicoot.

I couldn’t tell for sure, as, according to my wife’s extensive online research, bandicoots are entirely nocturnal and thus extremely difficult, or, as in my case, impossible to catch sight of.

But because this inoffensive-looking little creature looks decidedly bandicute in pictures I’ve seen of it online, and is a protected species to boot, and any case wasn’t causing too much damage, I decided that it was a case of ‘live and let’ live.

And in any event, I figured that it would move on to greener or at least grubbier pastures as I expected it would when it exhausted its supply of grubs, worms and such in my small patch of soil.

But no such luck, I’m afraid, as this bandicoot has shown no sign whatever that it ever intends to bandiscoot.

In fact it not only seems be be settled-in permanently, but also, I strongly suspect, in addition to feeding-off my garden beds, has revealed itself to be a randycoot that’s breeding in them to boot.

In short, my bandicoot problem has become so serious and persistent that it reminds me for all the world of what can justly be perceived as Malaysia’s perennial BNdicoot predicament.

For those unfamiliar with Malaysian politics, I’m referring here to the corrupt and also in many other ways criminal coalition of parties called Barisan Nasional(BN) that’s been in control of the country for all but two of the past sixty-three years.

In the process not only causing as much ruin to the country as my bandicoot(s) have to my courtyard garden, but also breeding so many similarly greedy offspring as to threaten its very destruction.

How or when Malaysia is ever going to get rid of these billionaire BNdiclots is anybody’s guess. But, thanks to my wife’s research and advice from an expert at The Ashfield branch of what I think of as Australia’s hardware-and-garden-supplies heaven, Bunnings Warehouse, I have a plan for banning my bandicoots.

A two-point plan, in fact, that involves leaving the floodlights on every night because they don’t like the glare in their eyes during their nocturnal activities, and simultaneously assaulting them with ammonia.

Not, I hasten to assure you, by poisoning them with this powerful chemical, but by subjecting them to its pungent fumes, which they reputedly hate.

So, having left the garden lights on for the past few nights, I’ve now spread an ammonia-emitting fertiliser called Dynamic Lifter all over the place, and as soon as the rain stops I’ll add rags soaked in cloudy ammonia to my arsenal.

I hope to hell this multi-pronged approach works, because if it doesn’t, but I’ll also be lost for an alternative.

As I’ve already mentioned, bandicoots are both too bandicute and legally protected to bandishoot. And I’m assured that they’re so there’s no point in catching and relocating them elsewhere, as they’re so territorial that they keep coming back.

So I have no idea what I can do if the all-night lights and the lashings of ammonia fail to convince these banes of my existence that they’re forever bannedicooted.

But at least I’ll have plenty of company if this worst-case scenario comes to pass, in the persons of almost 30 million Malaysians who clearly haven’t the faintest idea of how to for once and for all rid themselves and their beloved country of BN bandits.

 

Or, in other words, to stage the ultimate anti-BN bandicoup.

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