Honest Obituaries

If Colleen McCullough’s woeful obituary in The Australian (Murdoch – of course) hasn’t broken the internet this week, its at least bent it over and given it a good spanking. Everyone with a social media profile has weighed in. Naturally I’m going to add my little bit to the pile. That McCullough’s “plain” and “overweight” appearance was noted before any of her considerable achievements was simply rude and disrespectful.

So the woman didn’t look like Miranda Kerr. Not many of us do. Nor can many of us be a respected neuroscientist at Yale as well as a best selling author but Colleen McCullough nailed both.

When Miranda Kerr eventually sashays off to the Victoria’s Secret runway in the sky her  her obituary will be probably gush about her extraordinary beauty. Imagine the uproar if her send off went something like this –

“Reportedly not the sharpest tool in the shed, Miranda Kerr won the genetic lottery and was freakishly beautiful of face and figure. Her uncommon good looks enabled her to amass a personal fortune of $35m through her various modelling contracts and line of skin care products. After separating from her husband, Hollywood actor and smokin’ hawt crumpet Orlando Bloom, she was romantically linked to billionaires such as James Packer and Steve Bing. In a career highlight, her raunchy photo spread in British GQ was artfully lampooned by the Bondi Hipsters.”

Sent up by the Bondi Hipsters the best career accolade this side of Weird Al.

Sent up by the Bondi Hipsters – the best accolade this side of Weird Al.

I need to clarify that I don’t actually believe that Miranda Kerr is stupid. Beautiful or not, an individual needs a certain amount acumen to build a massively successful brand. I’m doing this to show what things would look like if brains and achievement were valued as much as physical appearances.

Similarly what if men were judged primarily by their looks? The obituaries page of The Age might read something like this in the not too distant future.

Let start with Miranda’s rumored beau James Packer.

James Packer

This overweight Cranbrook boy inherited a seven billion dollar fortune from his father media mogul Kerry Packer. Sadly, he also inherited his father’s unappealing reptilian features and tubby body. An academic underachiever, James Packer did not have the marks to go to university so he readied himself for the business world with a stint as a jackaroo Heck – even his contemporary Lachlan Murdoch is a crumpet with an Arts degree from Princeton.

Being a billionaire he attracted a string of buxom beauties. He had two marriages – both to super models – Jodhi Meares and Erica Baxter.  Sadly his glamorous wives did not stick around despite the absurdly opulent lifestyle. Perhaps it had something to do with his involvement in Scientology?

Though at a cursory glance he seamed like a non-entity, James must have done something right or least surrounded himself with good people. He managed to maintain the value of his inheritance through the GFC. His decision to divest his media assets and build a casino empire was astute (though morally questionable). However he will best be remembered for his rumored dalliance with super model Miranda Kerr. The question on everyone’s lips being -‘ how could she shag that after being with Orlando Bloom? Orlando Bloom is some A grade crumpet.’

To his credit James Packer lost the weight.

To his credit James Packer went from flab to fab.


 Kyle Sandilands

He wasn’t known as “vile Kyle” for nothing. As a young man he was average of feature. The years however were not kind and he became obese and utterly repugnant. Ironically he lambasted the much loved comedian Magda Subanski over her weight. That Kyle Sandilands’ radio show was a consistent ratings winner speaks volumes about the intelligence of the Australian population. (Note not in a good way).

Kyle was a masterful shock jock, expert at garnering public attention by utterances as mean spirited as they were inane.  Nevertheless despite only having a talent for revulsion, Kyle was a judge on Australian’s Got Talent and the X-Factor – again a sad indictment upon middle Australia. It was little wonder that his first wife, pop starlet wannabe Tamara Jaber, dumped his ever expanding arse. His partnership with 22 year old model Imogen Anthony made the Australian public gag. It was almost as nauseating as Dr Geoffrey Edelston and his string of child paramours.


Guess which one's the millionaire? Hint: its not the hawt chick.

Guess which one’s the millionaire? Hint: its not the hawt chick.

Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott was a wing nut to rival Prince Charles. The man’s ears were infeasibly large. Despite much evidence to the contrary ( labelling climate science “crap” and removing the carbon tax) Tony Abbott did much to fight global warming. His ears were so big they blocked out the sun.  It is a little known fact that telecommunications experts considered installing him on the roof of Parliament House to ensure flawless FoxTel reception. A human double satellite dish as it were.

Tony Abbott had three very attractive daughters. The public wondered how it could be genetically possible and suspected intervention by the milk man.

Of course Tony Abbott’s life can not be celebrated without paying homage to the banana hammocks he wore with pride.  He was an ambassador for the iconic Aussie swimwear brand Speedo, whether they liked it or not. Even though Tony Abbott was a wing nut in budgie smugglers he rose to the rank of  Prime Minister  – for a while at least.

The low hanging fruit.

The low hanging fruit.

 Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe was born in New Zealand in 1964. Australia is thus absolved of all responsibility.

But you are allowed to fancy Russell in Master and Commander. Love how I sneaked a photo of Paul Bettany in there. Paul Bettany is some underrated crumpet.

But you are allowed to fancy Russell in Master and Commander. Love how I sneaked a photo of Paul Bettany in there. Paul Bettany is some underrated crumpet.

Bob Hawke

Museum curators are calling for Bob Hawke’s preserved carcass to be put on public display. It seems a fitting tribute to a man who was permanently pickled during his life.


Bob Hawke's body to be preserved in alcohol. Easiest job taxidermists have ever done.

Bob Hawke’s body to be preserved in alcohol. Easiest job taxidermists have ever done.

So many great Australians who aren’t dead yet and so little time.

Who would you like to see an honest obituary for? How would your own read?




So I made an e.book

Here it is!


Master title page med

And you can download it here!


Dadabulous is not one for sitting around waiting for opportunities to fall in your lap. “You want to write. You should write a kids book”. Frankly many of the books we’d downloaded for the girls were story wise quite lame. I’d frequently been heard to utter ” I could pull a better story out of my wazoo”. “Well you should” Dadabs would declare. “I’m serious. You should do an ebook”.

His idea of an ebook and what I believed I was ready for were two different things. He had in mind an extravaganza of fancy pants animation, voice overs and musical sound effects.  I was struggling with the idea of illustrations and layout. I decided to take baby steps and see what eventuated.

About six months ago P1 was completely obsessed by The Voice – Kids. Almost all of her conversation revolved around it. When would she be ready for audition? Is she preciously talented for her age? Could she please do singing lessons? etc etc.  I figured there must be an army of primary school kids equally captivated by the contest. At the same time my daughters adored sassy, fashionista fairies like The Winx.  A kernel of an idea came to me.

I sat at the computer and a short story took shape. In Wish World is an Alice in Wonderland, meets the Rainbow fairies, meets The Voice hybrid with a few current pop stars thrown in for good measure.  Writing was the easy bit. I bashed it out in a couple of sittings. Illustrating it was challenging to say the least. In retrospect it was  a mistake to attempt it myself given that I’m not an accomplished artist. My experience with graphics programs is scant. However it wasn’t worth the outlay of paying someone. I started knocking out water colour paintings at home. The length of this process can measured in geological time. It took frickin’ eons. Species evolved and became extinct whilst I was preoccupied with the paintings.

The next step was the find a scanner that could handle A3 images. In my naive enthusiasm I had made the pictures way too big.  Then the real work began. Hours were consumed by the painstaking process of retouching the drawings and creating back drops on Photoshop. Mind you the only experience I’d had in Photoshop was a six day course at Community College. Undeterred I boldly ventured where no middle aged mother with a background in finance had gone before.

Here’s one of the better paintings. Its the fairy superstar Milo Serious performing his smash hit – “I came in on a bowling ball.”



And here’s the reworked version as it appears in the book.

With some fancy photoshopping.

With some fancy photoshopping.


I was quite pleased with the way some of the images turned out. These two are nice.

Gracie Sue wows the crowd.

Gracie Sue wows the crowd.


Sapphire your glamorous hostess.

Sapphire your glamorous hostess.

However these two simply did not work.

tunnel for blog


It's a hodge podge.

It’s a hodge podge.

Going for semi-realism was my down fall.  Continuity was a big problem. Some of the characters look quite different from one page to the next.  I should have opted for a simpler cartoon style, keeping the back drops crisp and white.

When it was all done the lengthy process of transporting all the images to the iBooks Author program started. Dadabs had to bring a Mac in from his office. Again I was thrown into the confusing world of software I’d never dealt with before. We rejigged layouts and did what seemed like 1,000 proof reads. Christmas came and went whilst we waited for Apple to verify our tax and bank details.

If you are thinking about putting together an ebook yourself its important to note that Apple won’t except your submission unless you are registered for GST. This is an unholy pain the proverbial and something I was unwilling to do under my own business name. I didn’t want to subject myself to regular BAS reporting when I wasn’t making any money. I was very lucky that I could use Dadabs ABN and bank account. So now all the (ahem) profits will go to him. I’m sure he is planning his escape to Rio as I write.

Now all that’s left is to market the thing.

Anyway what we have a is a sweet little book about dreaming big and the power of imagination. Its got some memorable characters and hopefully a few giggles. Despite the home made look, its colorful and cheery. Young kids will enjoy it.  Whilst I admit the output is amateur I have learned so much about the programs and the publishing process. It was a worthwhile thing to do. Hopefully I’ll do it again with a bigger and better story and slicker images.  Watch out!

Meanwhile if you are a blogger interested in doing a review, please let me know and I’ll forward you a free copy.

Do you have any tips to help me market it?








verb (transitive)


to give or delegate power or authority to; authorize

to give ability to; enable or permit
empowerment med

If you are a connoisseur of blogs (and if you are reading this you must be), you may have noticed that a young starlet named Caitlin Stasey (a Neighbours alumni no less – Ramsay St is a training ground for world domination) has caused a stir within our insular circle.  Caitlin started up her own feminist blog with the grand aim of  “reclaiming” the female body  from “the burden of the male gaze”.  Her means of reclaiming the female body… posting a series of artsy black and white nudey photos of herself.  That the photos have not been retouched and she hasn’t subjected herself to a full Brazilian waxing is the cause for celebration here. Sadly all it says to me is that slender attractive 24 year olds don’t need airbrushing.  Ironically I’d imagine the photos are generally pleasing to male gaze and the accompanying talk about “fluid” sexuality is exciting to the male imagination.

The thing  ricocheted around social media causing some argy bargy between certain women’s websites, bloggers and the feminism lite of the mainstream press. Some lauded Stasey as a refreshing new feminist voice.  Others retorted that more naked women on the internet was not needed, whilst many merely yawned. I might have made a comment somewhere about finding Clive Standen’s nudity more empowering than Caitlin’s ( which was in both enlightening and unexpected -not).

For me nude photos are just nude photos. They are neither shocking or shameful. It’s refreshing that Caitlin’s images are unphotoshopped and her youthful body is still completely natural. The vibe is completely different what you’d find in Playboy. Otherwise I don’t see how it helps women realize their full potential or participate equally in society – which is what the essence of empowerment is about.

Yes women are judged by their looks (at times to the exclusion of all else) but the continuous cycle of body image stuff in the media merely perpetuates this. Its up to us to shift the focus. Instead of reclaiming female bodies from the “burden of the male gaze” let’s thrust women’s achievements into the spotlight for everyone to gaze at. If nudey photos are not empowering here are three women whose stories truly are.

Stella Young

The late Stella Young never wanted to be thought of an as inspiration. In fact she railed against the patronizing cliche of the disabled person bravely beating all the odds. She viewed quotes like ” the only disability is a bad attitude” as an impediment to disabled people getting the practical assistance they need to participate in society.

That quote, ‘the only disability in life is a bad attitude’, the reason that’s bullshit is … No amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp. No amount of standing in the middle of a bookshelf and radiating a positive attitude is going to turn all those books into braille.

Born with a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta (the same condition as Quentin) Stella wasn’t expected to live past her first birthday. But she gave the doctors the proverbial middle finger and began her career in advocacy at age 14. She went on to complete University degrees in Journalism and Education. Later she became something of a polymath as a journalist, editor, TV presenter and stand up (or in her case sit down) comedian. Sadly she slipped away last December at age 32 – way too soon. Yet in that short time she challenged Australians’ perceptions about disability, hopefully in a way that will bring about lasting change.

I want to live in a world where we don’t have such low expectations of disabled people that we are congratulated for getting out of bed and remembering our own names in the morning. I want to live in a world where we value genuine achievement for disabled people.

Advocacy that leads to disabled people participating on a more equal footing in society meets my definition of empowerment. And she did it with epic style.

I want those shoes.

I want those shoes.

Dr Fiona Wood

Dr Fiona Wood is a surgeon married to another surgeon with six kids. That should be enough achievement for anyone but Dr Wood has got a heap more to add to the pile. After qualifying as a plastic surgeon Dr Wood became deeply interested in helping burns victims. In the mid 1990s, working along side scientist Marie Stoner, she developed a revolutionary method of growing fresh skin from a patient’s own cells. Known as “Spray on Skin” or “Cell Spray” the technique involves using an aerosol to deliver specially cultured cells to large areas of damaged skin.  The method helps wounds heal more quickly and leave less scarring than traditional skin grafts. The new technology gleaned world wide attention when it was used on some of the Bali bombing victims in 2002.

Dr Wood went on to win the Australian of the Year Award in 2005. Instead of resting on her laurels she has used her elevated profile to raise funds and draw attention to a cause which she continues to tirelessly work at. She continues to drive research into the complex impact burns have on the nervous and immune systems in order to achieve scar free healing.

Giving burns victims their lives back sounds like empowerment to me.

Giving burns victims their lives back.

Giving burns victims their lives back.

Dame Marie Bashir

When Marie Bashir stepped down from the position of Governor of NSW last year the tributes flowed like the Amazon. No one had a bad word to say about this lady. Ms Bashir has a list of accomplishments longer than Mitchell Johnson’s stride.  First she studied at the  Sydney Conservatorium of Music becoming a proficient violinist. She followed  up with a Medical degree. After a stint as a GP she became passionate about helping people with mental illness and completed post graduate studies in Psychiatry eventually achieving the rank of Professor.  During the 1990s she did much to drive improved mental health services for adolescents and the indigenous community as well as contributing to teaching programs in South East Asia.

Ms Bashir was awarded

the role of NSW Governor in 2001. She used the position to continue to advocate for indigenous and LGBT health. She managed to juggle this big job with the being Chancellor of Sydney University.  At age 84 she has no plans to slide into quiet retirement. She is continuing with her many patronages and is still advocating fiercely for mental health.

A woman reaching the pinnacle of success in public life who is still driven by compassion well into her 80s – I can’t think of a better symbol for empowerment.

Petite lady, bid impact.

Petite lady, bid impact.

Whilst I was tossing this post about in my head it took me about three seconds to think of these ladies. Their achievements have been celebrated countless times so for a blogger they are the low hanging fruit. I use them rather clumsily to point out that we should turn our attention away from women’s bodies and instead talk about achievement, compassion, bravery and perseverance. Its up to us to change the conversation.

Tell me about the women you admire.




What Won’t Happen in 2015

Many bloggers have posted lists of their goals for 2015. They do so to hold themselves accountable to the interwebs. As you know, I am not most bloggers. Rather I am a wimp terrified of  public humiliation. So rather than broadcast a a wish list of things I may but probably won’t  achieve, I have decided to tell you about the the things that aren’t on the cards. You can be 100% sure that I will stick to my word on these.

1) I won’t be going to see the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. As far as sadistic sex goes Game of Thrones has set the bar pretty high. I doubt there’s much in FSOG that would shock me besides the gawd awful dialogue.  The idea of watching one couple go at it hammer and tongs for two hours doesn’t excite me. Its too much like marriage (where 10 years of marital sex has been condensed).  Besides the movie has a very low hunk to screen time ratio and the lead crumpet is to my way of thinking quite generic and dull. It makes more sense to expend my rare movie date night on the upcoming Avengers film as it features a veritable smorgasbord of beefcake. Meanwhile when will Hollywood make a Vikings movie?

No he won't!

No he won’t!

2) Lose 5kg. I want to but I’m a realist. Heck I should be exercising now but I’m sitting on my lily white ass wasting time writing this blog.

3) Follow the blogging rules. “Have a niche” they say, “provide useful content”, “write what people want to read” yada, yada yada. This is my anarchic piece of the internet. I will continue to write whatever I feel like even if I’ll never its not typical Mummy blogging fare, particularly useful or even of interest to anyone else . I doubt my sass will translate into popularity but as Shakespeare says “to thyself be true”.

Historical records show that Shakespeare looked nothing like Joseph Fiennes.

Historical records show that Shakespeare looked nothing like Joseph Fiennes.

4) Judge the parenting of others. To judge others implies a degree of concern that I simply don’t have. As long as your children and neither abused or neglected I’m too preoccupied managing my own parenting to worry about yours.

5) Appear on Wife Swap. As per point #4 I am just not the type of person to go into someone’s household and tell them what to do. I have enough controlling Chez Abs. More to the point why would I risk giving another woman a taste of Dadabs? They might not want to go back to their own husband.

6) Appear on Real Housewives:  I think that I’d be an excellent candidate if it weren’t for two small points ie: I still have my own (small but perky) breasts. In reality TV land this translates as having no salable assets, no personality and no sense of humor. Combined with my notable lack of botox, I’m a non starter regardless of how many sequins I wear.

Not much about the housewives remains real.

Not much about the housewives remains real.

7) Quit the gym: Despite the fact we’ve established that I wont be losing five kilos, I doubt I’ll get my act together to stop my fortnightly donations to the gym. After all someone has to invest in the eye candy of the future.

8) Quit sugar, alcohol, gluten or caffeine:  As my motto goes I’m middle aged, married with kids but not dead yet. Sometimes these four items are the only thinbgs keeping my pulse pulsating. Besides quitting sugar has not made Sarah Wilson any more interesting.

9) Eat Paleo:  I’m probably missing something here but I haven’t grasped why people think it is a good idea to eat like a cave dweller. If you got through childhood the life expectancy of paleolithic humans was 54 years. I’m gunning for 85 at least. I’ll stick with a sensible diet and Western medicine.

What a lame excuse to post   Nicholas Boshier from Soul Mates.

What a lame excuse to post
Nicholas Boshier from Soul Mates.

10) Take a belfie:  Today’s wide angle lenses are simply not wide enough for the job. It would take Ken Duncan – a photographer known for his sweeping panoramic landscapes to do mine justice.

11) Vote for Tony Abbott: There’s a no brainer. I won’t be voting for Tony Abbott in 2015 because the federal election probably won’t happen until the end of 2016. (unless the Canberra gang go and do something really, really, really dumb like a double dissolution). Believe me – I can wait. Much to y great relief I won’t have to vote for Bill Shorten, Clive Palmer, Jacqui Lambie or the The Greens in 2015 either.

12) Have word for the year: Some people are attempting to encapsulate the essence of what they want from the next twelve months into a single word. Its always something quite high minded like “freedom”, “calm” or “integrity”. I’d like my word for 2015 to be “crumpet” but that in no way differentiates the current year from any other year since I first laid eyes on Duran Duran’s John Taylor in 1984. I think I’ll just skip the word -year association thing altogether.

What won’t you be doing in 2015?





Things Can Only Get Better

We are assaulted by such brutality and injustice on our daily news feeds that many of us simply tune out. Others despair about the kind of world our children will inherit. There’s no doubt that this world is a “vale of tears” but what if I were to tell you that in the context of human history things are getting much, much better? In fact the progress that humanity has made in a relatively short space of time has been remarkable. Over the course of a single generation tolerance for minorities has become the norm in much of the world, violent crime has retreated, hundreds of millions have been lifted from poverty and even war is losing its edge. To quote Harvard Professor Steve Pinker “today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species existence”. The really great news for us is that here in Australia we are experiencing the very best of it.

I present 15 mostly magnificent and occasionally surprising reasons to be cheerful.

1) No one expects a Spanish inquisition. It officially ended in 1834.


2) Small pox has been eradicated, polio is now as rare as hens teeth and malaria is on the way out. AIDS remains an enormous global problem but the rate of infection is gradually slowing.

3) Thankfully no one has used a nuke since 1945.

Despite our worst fears this hasn't gotten us yet.

Despite our worst fears this hasn’t gotten us yet.

4) We no longer believe its a good idea to remove aboriginal children from their families. This was occurring as late as the 1970s but is now viewed as so “on the nose” that the Australian government issued a public apology for it.

5) Chocolate manufacturers everywhere have learned the benefits of embedding salted caramel chunks in their product. Oh my.

6) On line streaming could render TV ads a thing of the past. Yay!

7) Despite the news cycle leading with what bleeds on a daily basis, violent crime is in fact declining. Thanks to shows like The Wire we tend to think of the USA as a massive  crime ridden ghetto but over the past two decades rates of violent crime have dropped off dramatically. The US murder rate was actually lower in 2012 than it was in 1960. Overall rates of violent crime (including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) have almost halved since 1990. Dont believe me? Its all here on Wikipedia where someone has kindly condensed the findings of the Bureau of Justice Statistics for us.


The trend is similarly rosey in Australia. The homicide rate peaked in 1988 at 2.4 per 100,000 head of population. It currently sits at an historically low rate of 1.1. In other words it is less than half what it was 27 years ago.

8) Marriage is often portrayed as a dead duck but despite all the break ups we see around us, the divorce rate is actually declining steadily. According to the ABS the crude divorce rate (number of divorces per 1,000 people) was 2.1 in 2013 compared with 2.7 in 1980. That’s a 20% drop demonstrating that some people are willing to work through their problems. Meanwhile in the USA the crude divorce rate tumbled from 4.7 in 1990 to 3.6 in 2007.

9) In December 2005 a group of Lebanese youths assaulted a team of life guards on Cronulla beach. Yes it was a low act and yes ethnic gangs had been causing a public nuisance on the beach in the weeks prior. The (over) reaction was the Cronulla riots.

Ten years later in December 2015 a lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, took 18 people hostage at the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place. Two innocent lives were lost and three people were injured as a result of the drama. The public’s reaction was #illridewithyou, a coming together across all faiths  and thousands of people visiting Martin Place to lay floral tributes to the victims. I’m sure you’ll agree that this was a vast improvement on race riots. Well played Australia.

10) One of the siege victims Tory Johnson was an openly gay man. Nobody gave a shit. The nation’s heart went out unreservedly to Tory’s family and long term partner Thomas Zinn. If the incident had occurred 40 years ago Tory’s sexuality would have most likely been swept under the rug.

I am not trying to argue that homosexuals don’t still face prejudices and exclusions in society but acceptance is far greater now than it ever has been. According to a recent poll by the Crosby Textor group, 72% of Australians support same sex marriage. In the USA Barrack Obama became the first President to publicly declare support for gay marriage and it is legal in 36 states. Polling consistently shows that over 50% of Americans support same sex unions. In the UK the figure is up around 68%.

Contrast this with the treatment dished out to Alan Turing, a man who changed to the course of World War 2 and laid the foundations of modern computer science. In 1952 Turing was convicted of gross indecency due to his homosexual relationship with a younger man and given a choice of imprisonment or chemical castration. He chose the latter and suicided two years later.  Thankfully this seems unimaginable now but it happened in our parent’s life time.

Benedict Crumpetbatch as Alan Turing. Any excuse!

Benedict Crumpetbatch as Alan Turing. Any excuse!

11) Whilst I have frequently bemoaned the mindlessness of social media, there is so much good stuff. I am thrilled on a daily basis to the see The I Fucking Love Science (IFLS) FB posts getting far more shares and commentary than Hollywood gossip pages.

12) On the science front great things are happening. In 2014 a paraplegic man regained some movement in his lower body when stem cells from his nose were planted into his severed spinal cord. Awesome! Solar cells reached record levels of efficiency. A double amputee in Colorado was fitted with two  prosthetic arms which he controlled via his thoughts. Scientists had developed software which interpreted the electrical impulses from the man’s brain and translated them into instructions for the artificial limbs. Far out! Then there was the comet landing…

The robotic arm is being controlled by thought power!

The robotic arm is being controlled by thought power!

13) Feminism is still headbutting a glass ceiling. However in Australia much as changed since the late 1960s and early 70s. Prior to 1966 married women were barred from work in the public service. Equal pay for equal work was not enshrined in law until 1972.  Maternity leave and the single mothers pension only came into being in 1973.  The Sex Discrimination Act was passed as late as 1984. There is still a long way to go but that’s alot of change for one generation.

14) According to the World Bank there are currently around 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty. (Defined as living on under US 1.25 a day). That’s appalling. As bad as that figure is, it’s a drastic improvement on the situation in 1980. 700 million people have been lifted out of dire poverty since that time. Unsurprisingly the most progress has happened in China and India but the UN is optimistic about Africa too.  The Yale Global website declares that “We are in the midst of the fastest period of poverty reduction the world has ever seen.”

15) This week we’re trying to make sense of the Paris shootings and the massacre of over 2,000 in Northern Nigeria by Islamic extremists. In 2014 we again collectively face palmed about the deteriorating situation in the Middle East? War is good for absolutely nothing and it is everywhere. What if I told you that war was actually becoming less deadly? Its a counter intuitive claim but the numbers bear it out.

An estimated 80 m people were wiped out in World War 2, representing an incredible 3% of the global population. Can you imagine? The 20th century also gave us gems like the Stalinist Russia – 20 m citizens dead. Not to be outdone Mao wiped out 60 m Chinese.  Absolutely atrocious things have happened since but nothing of the same scale. In Rwanda, Congo, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan and the Middle East millions have been brutally sacrificed. Nevertheless as this graph shows war deaths as a portion of the population are in steep decline.


I am not trying to blow utopia up yo’ ass – actually scratch that Australia is kind of a utopia. Terrible, despicable things still happening on a daily basis all over the world but great things are too.  The difference is that thanks to global communications we hear more about the bad and I believe generally people give more of a crap about the human suffering that we see. So I am not going to be one of those who despairs about their children’s future. I think the following generation will build upon these changes and make the world generally better.




Love the quote. Wish they hadn't covered Ghandi's face.

Love the quote. Wish they hadn’t covered Ghandi’s face.


How To Stay Sane These Holidays

I’m over at the new look Mother & Baby magazine today.


I’ll betray my age and tell you that I grew up in suburban Sydney during the 1970s and 1980s. I have sun drenched memories of school holidays spent free ranging around the neighbourhood with the local kids. There was relatively little parental intervention except for the odd trips to the beach. Movie days were an extra special treat. Occasionally my father would take us to the local oval to kick a ball around. Other than that all parents really had to do was supply food. Toasted sandwiches washed down with orange cordial were enough to satisfy. A serving of fish and chips was heaven on an old newspaper.




If you are a regular reader you’d know that Dadabs and I are a particularly ambitious pair. We blow aspirations out of our aspirations. Dadabulous is working zealously on his goal of becoming a grumpy old man and I have a dream that no one can take away – the dream of becoming a dirty old lady. I’ve bought the cougar pants and I intend to wear ‘em. I also bought this age inappropriate top. Riooowwwwww.

I've got my cougar pants

I’ve got my cougar pants


And this age inappropriate top

And this age inappropriate top

My problem is that over recently weeks its as though my husband and I have switched modus operandi. He’s been swanning about making the most terrible (and dirty) puns. They don’t bear repeating. Lets just say its a good thing that our kids don’t understand double entendres yet. Their idea of risque is to chant “Shake yer bum, bum, Shake yer bum bum” implying  they possess the wit and sophistication of Nicki Minaj. I really expected better from them at age 5 and 7. But I digress and you love it when I do that.

Oh my! Tom Hardy. He is really hawt.

Oh my! Tom Hardy. He is really hawt.

See what I mean!

Anyhow back at the ranch Dadabulous is channeling his inner Dick Emery (Ooooooh he is awful but I like him) and I am finding myself in an almost permanent state of annoyance. It is as if I not Dadabulous,  is morphing into Victor Meldrew. Sadly I’m more often like this.

queen med

than like this.

Somebody get me some Bolly STAT.

Somebody get me some Bolly STAT.

My general cranky disposition may be hormonal. I’m turning 45 this year and am probably in perimenopause. However I’m noticing a distinct correlation between my mood and time spent on the interwebs.

It all started a back in early December when TV and radio host Yumi Stynes took her baby to a red carpet event clad in just a nappy. Forget Kim Kardashian’s naked butt this was the thing that nearly broke the internet. A frenzy of shaming, counter shaming and shaming those who shame broke out. Even Derryn Hinch weighed in. Mind you he was concerned about the public hygiene aspect. The thing about all of this white noise was that I didn’t care. I simply did not give a proverbial shite. I didn’t want to see comment after comment on my Facebook feed about this non-story. The worst thing of all was the media kept referring to the baby’s attire as “a diaper”. As far as I’m aware Australia isn’t the 52nd state of America YET.

Whilst all this was going on Mark Latham took aim at leftist feminist Mummy bloggers, particularly his Fairfax colleagues.  I can just imagine the Fairfax editorial team rubbing their hands with glee at ensuing brou ha ha between Mark Latham and the Daily Life columnists. It was click bait that kept on giving.

Suddenly all the huffing and puffing was interrupted by the Martin Place siege. Frankly that wasn’t good for anyones mood. I dealt with the ensuing melancholy with pinot noir and vintage David Bowie. I scrawled aimlessly through Facebook becoming increasingly annoyed at the commentary as only a person who drinks pinot noir and listens to Bowie can.

In retrospect Australia’s response to the tragedy was exemplary. The police did a stellar job under the toughest of circumstances. I don’t usually heap praise on politicians but Tony Abbott and Mike Baird displayed strong leadership with their calls for calm. Even the media showed admirable restraint (except for the Murdoch rag). Most heartening of all was the coming together of Australians across all creeds to condemn the violence.

Yet despite the flood of goodness that flowed from this terrible event I was still shitted off. I had to contend with a number of posts featuring Australian flags with slogans along the lines of “wake up – Australia”. One FB “friend” put up a post in support of Pauline Hanson. WTF? That old chestnut? I toyed with the idea that she was being ironic but decided the individual in question didn’t have the mental capacity to do irony. Unfriend.

My few remaining brain cells were assaulted by a discussion where “civil libertarians” were said to be “destroying the country” and that the “fabric of society was falling apart”. Unfriend.

Interestingly I’ve enjoyed a couple of weeks of peace and my crankiness has slipped back to moderate irritation with the kids which is to be expected over school holidays. Now when I’m subjected to simplistic catch cries, meaningless statements and cliches at least they accord with my particular view of the world.

Was I wrong to unfriend these people simply because I disagreed with them? Is social media and media in general acting like mental metamucil for you too?

Is it in fact me who is the very annoying person?

Anyhow I hope in the coming weeks to convince you that Australia is infact “awake”, “civil libertarians” are not running wild, the “fabric of society” is hanging together and Australia is far from being “destroyed”.



PS: This piece needs some clarification particularly in light of the Paris shootings. I am not trying to argue that terrorism isn’t a real threat and shouldn’t be taken seriously. There’s no denying the existence of a tiny but dangerous element who could potentially do disproportionate harm. BUT to suggest that the Australian government is somehow “asleep” to this is just daft.  Since 2000 only 4 Australians have been killed on home soil in terror related incidents and 130 overseas (95 in the Bali bombing). At the same time the Federal government has committed $600m in funding for counter terrorism over the next four years. They’ve also tightened up counter terrorism laws restricting the movement of terror suspects, granting ASIO and the Australian Federal Police greater powers as well as collecting everyone’s meta data. Are these measures offensive to civil libertarians? – Definitely. Will they save lives? – It’s impossible to quantify but most probably. Would more lives be saved if $600m was instead channeled into healthcare? Life’s never simple.


I wanted to post this on my Unfriends timeline but sassy Joss Wheldon dialogue is wasted on them. BTW:  Vintage Nathan Fillion is hawt.

I wanted to post this on my Unfriends timeline but sassy Joss Wheldon dialogue is wasted on them. BTW: Vintage Nathan Fillion is hawt.


Bowie man!

Bowie man!