Works in progress: with 1st, 2nd and 3rd colours applied!
= Possibly the funkiest kitchen furniture ever created! These are some second-hand and reclaimed chairs (table to be painted at a later date) that my wife and I have sanded and re-sprayed in four gorgeous colours. The chairs have been released into their natural habitat - our dining space - and can be seen gambolling delightedly at all hours.
Ah, Teacher Eyes. A mix of the psychotic, the insomniac and the “I can’t believe that you just said something so very stupid in front of me so I’ll give you a moment to re-think your strategy”. Don’t waste your breath on pupil’s dumbness.
It turns out you might need to apologize when you write something like this about slavery:
Slaves were valuable property, and much harder and, thanks to the decline in supply from Africa, costlier to replace than, say, the Irish peasants that the iron-masters imported into south Wales in the 19th century. Slave owners surely had a vested interest in keeping their “hands” ever fitter and stronger to pick more cotton. Some of the rise in productivity could have come from better treatment. Unlike Mr Thomas, Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.
So, here’s the apology from the Economist:
In our review of “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward Baptist, we said: “Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains.” There has been widespread criticism of this, and rightly so. Slavery was an evil system, in which the great majority of victims were blacks, and the great majority of whites involved in slavery were willing participants and beneficiaries of that evil. We regret having published this and apologise for having done so. We are therefore withdrawing the review but in the interests of transparency, anybody who wants to see the withdrawn review can click here.
It’s a good apology. It doesn’t offer excuses and try to suggest that people who were offended made some sort of mistake. It’s short and to the point.
And it’s also, I think, a good reminder for people who insist that objectivity somehow involves telling the story of the potential upside of world-historical crimes like slavery or genocide.
There is no upside. Don’t go looking for one. You won’t find it.
A good point simply made.
I’ve just bought a month of Sketchbook Pro, dug out my old Bamboo tablet. This is a scribble, nearly two hours. I went for something ugly, obviously, and even though I’m picking a hundred holes in it as I upload, I’m posting it as a reminder to myself that ‘perfect’ isn’t the goal. Scribble, evaluate, improve and move on.
This is true of me most of the time, except when I’m casually parachute-dropped into senior classes where I get to analyse poetry, introduce big concepts and help unpack the meaning of life with teenagers whose eyes get bigger the more we talk. Then, I am in my element.
Gosford anglican church telling it how it is in Australia. Our Prime Minister is a [insert offensive euphemism here] if you didn’t know. Sending Asylum seekers to Cambodia? One of the poorest and most corrupt nations on earth.
I’m not of the Anglican church, but I certainly appreciate this challenging of morality. It’s sad to hear Australians proclaim how egalitarian and welcoming we are, only to hear about the turning-away of yet another boatload of desperate people (the majority of whom will be recognised as refugees).
Me: ”Two minutes ago you were running around outside. You had a forty minute break. I saw you playing basketball because I spent twenty soul-sucking minutes on duty during which NOBODY started a fight or did anything to break the monotony. You had FORTY MINUTES in which to go for a quick wee against a tree and yet you choose NOW, while I’M doing the talking, in which to go and alleviate YOUR tedium? Suck it up, Sunshine. I’m about to make you take NOTES!!!”
My parents recently visited, bringing with them the rest of my books and all the LEGO they’d bought for me over the length of my childhood (and, ahem, the stuff I’d bought as a big person).
I like to collect things, but I also enjoy the sensation of cutting something adrift, choosing to excise it from my heart. It was a pleasing sensation to open up the boxes and the bags and inspect all the little people, the sea creatures, the boats, the oddly-shaped curved bricks that you tried to use in twenty different ways but were confounded by (because you’re a perfectionist) and all those very many pirates.
Some of the pieces were unfamiliar to me. They didn’t belong to my sister, so they must’ve been mine! Yay!
Most of all, it was like pulling a long-forgotten photo album off the shelf and remembering all those happy holidays spent with good friends. My parents bought my sister and I most of the LEGO while Mum was doing her Social Work degree. Our school holidays coincided with her study/exam times, so we’d get a big box of lego each and leave her in peace for two weeks straight! She still feels guilty about that, which says more about her capacity for manufacturing guilt than anything else.
With LEGO I built worlds of wonder, much like the dreams that my sister regularly has: they’re weird, have their own rules and are very boring when being explained to you. But they were my worlds, where the heroes were in my hands and justice prevailed. Viva LEGO!
Well, school reports done for another semester! So it must be time for a cool bit of poetry. Again, from Gray’s ‘Dharma Vehicle’.
I turn out the lamp.
Leaves, twigs, berries falling
on the tin like rain
in the night.
- It was the monk
Fa Ch’an-ang, in China,
heard a squirrel screech
out on the moon-wet tiles, and who told them
"It’s only this".
I’ve followed this public discussion with much interest and THIS is the most concise summation of the argument so far. As an ‘andrist’ (ie. a man), I’ve gotten the ‘wary’ vibe from women many a time and have never minded because I’ve also overheard many men’s discussion and have felt totally icked.
when #robertgray has more references to random movie-stars than to the Australian poet: Robert Gray. So let’s work a little bit harder, shall we? As my contribution to this world-improving effort, I provide a section from his ‘Dharma Vehicle’, an epic meditation on the history of Buddhism and everything else. Robert Gray’s New Selected Poems is always in my bag when I travel, and ‘Dharma Vehicle’ is the poem I turn to when I need to feel that, in the concluding words, “it’s all right”.
begins, of a sudden, its bellowing and stamping,
the lowering of its shoulders,
blowing from them.
The surf comes in as though alive and tearing free
from under the net of foam -
making its break
with the panicky, bounding gallop of some great animal up