The Death Of A Tree

 

When I see a tree cut down
whose life was not yet done
I look upon it with a frown
and then look at the sun.
For the sun that nurtured every limb
and every leafy branch
has one less tree to care for
that never had a chance
to say to man
‘Don’t cut me down.
Don’t let me die.
Don’t let the sap
within me dry.’

For every tree that’s been alive
that’s grown upon this earth
is a gift from nature to us all
that’s always known its worth.
The problem as I see it
is man who cannot see
just what it probably feels like?
To be the cut down tree.

It took less than 20 minutes. A man with an orange vest and a chain saw climbed the 30 foot tree next door and sawed it down into mulcher size portions. I heard it grinding up all the good green stuff.
I also heard a sunbird trilling shrilly in dismay. Two other birds whose names I didn’t know, had to veer off in disarray after flying up to land and take a rest at a familiar spot,  then found it gone.
Where will bluebird hide or the pheasant coucal skulk?
It was evergreen and bore delicate mauve trusses of flowers which attracted honeysuckers and lorikiets.  I regret I didn’t know its name.

How red is my neck?

Conservatism and its modernising, anti-traditionalist rivals, liberalism and socialism, are the dominant political philosophies and ideologies of the post-Enlightenment era. Conservatives criticise their rivals for making a utopian exaggeration of the power of theoretical reason, and of human perfectibility. 

Conservative prescriptions are based on what they regard as experience rather than reason; for them, the ideal and the practical are inseparable. Most commentators regard conservatism as a modern political philosophy, even though it exhibits the standpoint of paternalism or authority, rather than freedom.

Andy Hamilton:  Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy                                           http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/conservatism/

I pretty much agree with that and identify myself as of a conservative nature. Back in the day I was regarded as a left wing liberal and warned of deportation in apartheid South Africa.

To gauge my conservatism, I have being trying to articulate what things get my goat or with which I tentatively and delicately disagree.

Let me say first of all that I believe respect and equal opportunity should be offered to everyone, until they stuff it up by poor conduct (and I’ll be the judge of that! Heh, heh!).

The rise of socialism has led to vast numbers of unproductive, dependent voters who have realised how their benefits can be prolonged. The give of the left and the take back of the right result in pendulum governance which can rarely apply sufficient measures to ensure the future economy which is the foundation of a healthy society.

The political party whip and majority rule systems reduce major issues to oversimplified bilateral voting which frequently deny voters’ intents.

trump-clinton-liesA thought that recurs since the Brexit vote and the Trump emergence is how the electorate has seized inappropriate vehicles to express their discontent. It seems democracy has failed to a great extent in the First World . It never succeeded elsewhere really…

 

Arrests and arraignments should be public. The public’s interest is served by knowing the criminals amongst them. Not guilty does not mean innocent. The redress for wrongful arrest is appropriate compensation. I also believe that life imprisonment is nonsensical.

I particularly dislike unbridled media sensationalism which has been given licence to demand immediate response from participant, afflicted, accused and authority all in the name of public interest. Political opportunity is seized and knee jerk responses ensue to ensure something is seen to be done. This has lead to media sponsorship of newsworthy behaviour.

What also gets me is the opportunity and prominence given to yowling of the previously disadvantaged. This is a carriage that has been built without brakes nor uphill in sight. Its wheels turn equal opportunity and traditional courtesy into reverse discrimination and patronisation accusations as quick as a wink.

Please do yowl if you dislike my sentiments: I agree with myself far too often.

Bike Rides in the ‘burbs

I have been riding bikes for a loong time. At age  14, when helmets were unheard of, I fell off my first bike and landed on my head causing concussion which kept me out of school for a week. .

As I get nearer 70 the involuntary dismounts are more frequent, as confidence, strength and timing dwindle. I fell off again today because I dithered about turning into a path and did so too slowly … so ooover the handlebars I went!

yellow-faced-whipsnakeEarlier I had swerved around a snake which fortunately also took rapid avoiding action – a yellow faced whip snake, I think.

When I was stationed in Mtoko, Zimbabwe, I usually cycled to work on my trusty old bike, riding home for lunch. As I returned one afternoon, I met a group of men who were talking and gesticulating excitedly as I passed thempuff-adder. I didn’t take much notice.  I rounded the bend, and saw a  puff adder writhing about in the dust right in front of me.

Like a jack in the box, I rolled backwards off the bike, which fell over the snake. The men had broken its back with stones and left it. I managed to retrieve my bike and put the snake out of its misery and dispose of the body, so no-one else would have a near heart attack. Fortunately my undignified tumble and twitchy actions thereafter were
unobserved.

Some time ago, I arose at a virtuous 5 a.m. to go on my early morning ride. It was still dark at that time with only a faint glow peeping over the horison. My headlight batteries were expiring so it only emitted a glimmer.
Through the houses onto the path  down a hill to the creek, round a curve to the bridge – a wooden footbridge about 6 feet wide … to be met by a dog, which I swerved around, then its master who I missed, then his other dog who I skilfully avoided, feeling pretty … until the third dog loomed smack in front  … whump!! .. dog over the side and me over the handlebars! Fortunately dog OK and me just shaken (not stirred) – reassured to see it trot off (Staffie X) – it was a neighbour from down the street.
Getting too old for falling off bikes!!
cycle crash.jpg

 

 

They paved Paradise …

… and put up a parking lot.

So sang Joni Mitchell about beautiful Hawaii in her 1970 song ‘Yellow Taxi’.

That describes a bit of how I feel about Fraser Island. Going there and catching fish, enjoying the camaraderie of friends and the break from the home domestic regime was good; a rare experience to be treasured.

Fraser is a world heritage listed site: a 75 mile long sand island, girdled by wide sandy beaches and a sea full of fish. The middle bit is covered by Casuarina trees, natural bush, clay cliffs, sand dunes and freshwater lakesfraser20islandStreams and rivers of cold, clear, beautifully pure water flow over the beach to the sea  every few miles. And dingoes prowl the edges of camps.

Fishermen flock there especially from July to September: the tailor ‘run’. Shoals of that lovely swift, fierce, tasty fish spawn there in their thousands. Whales sail by, spouting and breaching; few boats are seen. It is not too difficult to catch a fish. The beaches are wide, one can camp almost anywhere at the back of the beach and the sand will yield clams and bloodworms for bait.

Here’s the rub: fishermen and campers love powerful 4×4 vehicles and many spend preceding months perfecting these mechanised marvels. They congregate in groups and tear up and down the beaches on the firm sands at low tide looking for good fishing or camping spots at speeds of 80 to 100 kph!  This is an almost continuous stream. Some tow trailers laden with camping and fishing gear. They are joined by special high power buses for backpackers who descend on the viewpoints in droves, before boarding and resuming the charge up or down the beach. At certain spots the sand is demarcated for landing strips for light aircraft which arrive in flights, full of sightseers.

I suppose that it is a symptom of modern-day life and I am flailing against a hurricane … but I don’t know if I wish to return there.common_dart

My fishing reputation was enhanced by catching one of the biggest tailor (about 2 – 3 kg) and a few Dart  which are a lovely fighting fish; surprisingly tasty too!

Fisherman’s Fancies

surf-fishing

Let me be the first to say that I am not a catcher of many fish, but I have caught fish in many places including:catch-fish

  • the mighty Zambezi River (where I hooked a hippo);
  • Lake Kariba, with its spoon flinging tigers and tasty bream;
  • the Okavango river – big 2 spot bream and tiger there;
  • Henties Baai in Namibia where I caught a 6kg steenbras
  • Kosi Bay where I caught zilch, twice
  • Coffee Bay where we ate the bait (squid)
  • Tofu, Mocambique for barracuda and an amazing display of big sea fish like black marlin, sailfish and whaleshark
  • A dorado from a boat off Umhlanga Rocks
  • Blue cod off Oamaru in New Zealand
  • Trout in the NZ high country lakes
  • A 50kg guitarfish in Moreton Bay, Queensland

Not to forget a few barbel and bluegills in Swaziland waters.tailor

Well I am about to broaden my horizon and maybe my bragging rights – on Sunday I leave for Fraser Island. The tailor (Australian for shad) run up the coast to spawn there and it is apparently good fishing.

The only problem will be if you have to be good to catch fish…!

Don’t hold your breath.dingo

My wife has unselfishly declined to come, as have the 3 other wives of our party, so we will bravely cook for ourselves.

Excitement bubbles have been controlled by repeated fishing tackle inspections and casting practices.

We are easily moved!!

Constant Irritant

I try to avoid driving when schools close for the day. Schoolkids are generally energised and impatient so their road sense slips. I saw one young fella riding his bike across a major intersection absorbed in his cellphone, maybe chasing Pokemons.

He was wearing a uniform of khaki shorts and shirt and grey woollen stockings – this is sub-tropical Australia after all!

Here’s the stinger – he was wearing a tie!

Mind schoolgirl tieyou, he was lucky – other schools require their pupils to wear grey flannel trousers, blazers and wide brim felt hats too. The girls wear below knee skirts and ties as well. Can you believe it?

Tying decorated strips of cloth around one’s neck is folly and a clear symbol of submission to the yoke of ridiculous convention.crazy-silly-funny-dog-hat-glasses-tie-27515651

I can understand uniform and tradition as part of the pomp and rituals on special occasions. But not as an everyday practice.

Why oh why are our children obliged to wear ties? They are such stupid, obsolete items of clothing! They are awkward, impractical, functionless, uncomfortable and unnecessary decorations.

I suppose I am farting against thunder; getting Education authorities to embrace reality and the future is not going to happen: their emphasis is on standards, measurement, uniformity and compliance.

Surely school is about enlightenment, creativity and freeing adorable-baby-wearing-diaper-tie-sitting-briefcase-188809developing minds of our youth! What other impractical conventions are adhered to on such a mass scale?

The Blackface Outrage

A Mum proudly posted a picture of her son who painted his white face black, donned a dreadlocked wig to look like his favourite football player and won first prize at a local library parade where children dressed as characters.

She was torched by rants of outraged objectors who claimed the act was racist and she felt compelled to remove her post.

So the boy who won the prize, the librarians who awarded the prize, the boy’s mother who proudly posted the picture are all racists.

White people who imitate Halle Berry or Imam or Jamie Foxx or Michael Jackson may face similar condemnation. Should we ban sun tanning?

But Coloured people in Cape Town proudly and joyously parade in blackface in their own self styled Coon Carnival?Cape-Coon-Carnival

Of course just making oneself look like a black person is not ‘blackfacing’ is it? Shakespeare’s  Othello  has been portrayed by blackfaced Lawrence Olivier, Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins – to world wide acclaim.

 

There are too few presumptions of innocence and too much sensitivity to possible harm; too many ready to squeal as a means of drawing attention. Kneejerk reaction based on a single perception assumes harmful intent and attracts swarms of the righteous brigade under the cloak of outraged virtue and political correctness.

It is time that we hold to account the people who unjustifiably claim offence without substantial foundation. Media authorities should penalise publicised information that is based on puffery: that will cull some of the overblown, scandalised cries of hyper-sensitive attention seekers.

This type of one sided, righteous non-sense is what drove reasonably sane and normal people to vote for Trump and Brexit.

 

*picture by Rosalin Deuters

HR is a Pink Ghetto  

      There was a predictable outsplurge of unhappy bleats at this comment uplifted from a survey of HR practitioners in New Zealand.

The emphasis of these squeals has been on the pink aspect. Pink has variously coloured the causes of women, LGBTI (MNOP…?), communists (pinkos) and breast cancer victims. In the above context the suggestion is of over-representation of women in the HR function with all the connotations of glass ceilings, misogyny, chauvinism, discrimination and all those vices of males in business. We must not forget that women known as “welfare secretaries” started HR in the late 19th Century… but I digress.

Ghetto is my focus. It has a hint of slum – a place where the inconvenient people are quartered, presumably for control purposes. Quite often these people have competencies perceived as threatening by those in power.

If they do their job, HR are inconvenient: they say to bosses and employees “you can’t do that; you must do this…” They are wise like witch doctors. They have studied human beings and laws so know what must be done to be compliant. They are usually right.

Bosses don’t like HR because they fetter their authority, give strong advice but never carry the can and usually know where the bodies are buried. Employees don’t like them because they decide who is employed, who can stay, who must go, who gets paid more or less and worst of all: at the end of the day they will side with the Man.

Well, now the unions’ work is done by government, who regulate welfare and naughty employers, and most other functions can be outsourced. IT collect all the stats and accountants rule the roost, so decision-making is logical and economical and labour is just a commodity, right?

Why are HR still there? Because they are the termination experts!

That’s why HR’re in the ghetto – so they get the message and leave.

What they need to do is get outta administrivia cocoons and come back in the front door with skills that ensure utility; facilitating the maximisation, collaboration and sharing of talent intelligence which will dictate future modes of delivery in the post post capital age.

Sometimes I’m glad I am retired; otherwise I would have to know what the last bit means…

This is the dawn of the new Revolution

I am becoming increasingly convinced that we are moving into a new age.

My daughter who is a devoted teacher immured and overburdened by the system. She is a creative butterfly who inspires sparks and joy from her pupils. But if she cannot see a way to be free of the systemshackles, she will flee …

This looks like a light for education ahead, but will the dawn come quick enough?

RSA ANIMATE: Changing Education Paradigms

But here is another article from The Huffington Post that will give us more information about our future world:

Something Extraordinary is happening..

We have to change and long held conventions must be the targets.

I said it years ago when I set my sights on the necktie…!

 

Aluta Continua!