Remember this?

19 Dec

Updated daily until normal posting resumed, which it has. 😉 There are five updates there over the fold.

This is very Christmassy somehow, in a year when Christmas is a touch clouded here… (Yes, Lord Malcolm is still hanging in there.)

Back in October I wrote:

I have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to this blog. I really don’t think my rants, which are far from infallible anyway, will change the world, though I do believe that the blogosphere as a whole can have a great effect through the channels of communications it may open up. One instance of that is recounted on Jim Belshaw’s blog, and strangely it concerns me and a friend of mine. Through our blogs, Jim and I managed to bring together my friend the Aboriginal actor Kristina Nehm here in Surry Hills and the artist Stozo Da Klown in the USA.

Hi Jim!

I want to thank you for putting me in contact with Kristina, she wrote me and I am completely blown away how the internet works and world community is and just the mysteries of life timing etc. I have been surfing the net for years 20 to be exact well that was even before this internet thing etc. She was a dear lost friend and our connection was priceless for me…

mega thanks!!

I would love to refer you to Jim’s account of this…

I can now — at the time Blogspot was being difficult.

Today there is a follow-up email:

Darling man

May you have a great Christmas and happy new year. My friend Ron hasn’t stopped emailling! Thank you again.

peace and love



I have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to this blog. I really don’t think my rants, which are far from infallible anyway, will change the world… Still true. There are many more influential and better bloggers out there, but it is nice to know one has made some difference at least in some lives.

I guess the truth is we never really know the effect of the seeds we sow. That ought to make us a touch more humble and careful, I think, but also grateful for the technology that has given us all our various voices. Long live the diversity!


That’s it until after Christmas, unless something really significant happens… I will still check and respond to comments.

Have a good holiday season. The picture comes from Wilson’s Almanac.

Holiday Reading

1. This really ought to be in “Best Reads of 2006”! The Monthly continues to be the magazine of choice, utterly wiping the floor with Quadrant. The December-January issue refers thus to its rival:

Quadrant turned 50 this month. That is a notable achievement, and it did not go unnoticed. Its golden-anniversary dinner, held in October, was apparently quite an occasion. It was not cheap to get in, but the house was full. The prime minister attended and spoke with warmth and admiration of his favourite magazine … He praised everyone involved with the current Quadrant … he reminded them that they were, as they had always been, a small, beleaguered but powerful force of civilisation, non-conformity and rightness.”

In “The Usual Suspects”, Martin Krygier reflects on half a century of Quadrant, celebrating the magazine’s history of anti-totalitarian thought, its breadth of vision, its high standard of writing – and lamenting its lapse into increasingly bilious rants against the clumsy catch-all of “political correctness”, against baby boomers, against the ABC and the Canberra press gallery and academics, humanists, lawyers.

Quadrant started in opposition to what Owen Harries and Tom Switzer call the “shallow, reflexive, progressive orthodoxy” of Australian intellectual life. Over time, having become used to being labelled, derided and dismissed for no good reason, indeed often for the worst of reasons, some Quadrant people came to adapt to the role of pariah. They came to like it, even to cultivate it. To be despised by those you despised – to be contrarian, that ugly boast-word – became a confirmation of one’s rightness and courage.”

Martin Krygier’s father founded Quadrant. In “The Margins of Our Attention”, Dennis Altman looks back over 25 years of HIV and AIDS, and David Marr offers his definitive word on the Jonestown saga and the “outing” of shock jock Alan Jones. There’s also Charles Firth on Hooters, Kate Holden on the Coptic Church, and much more.

2. The Bulletin again offers a bumper Christmas-New Year issue: Kate Grenville, Tim Flannery and other great Australian writers. Some of that you may read online. I note The Bulletin is Timless now too; apparently he has taken his talent to The Daily Telegraph where he has oversight of opinion. That should boost their even-handedness, eh! 😉

Go over the fold for updates to this post. Can’t totally stop posting! 😉

Update Wednesday

I have been re-editing and augmenting the colonial history in About the Whitfields. There are some new items there.

Update Thursday

There is a new page here: Indigenous Australians. This used to be on Tripod, but has been completely rewritten, partly because of Jim Belshaw’s recent Australia’s Aborigines series, which is ongoing.

And I have just noted Seeking Utopia’s Back on Track, which is kind of good news in its way. Glad I could help, even if the reception is a bit grudging. What Daniel saw as malice I see as legitimate concern.

Update Friday

Lord Malcolm has resurrected quite amazingly, though, as he says, he isn’t going anywhere for a while…

Someone in Texas (a Linux user) has been reading me very thoroughly for a couple of days now! Otherwise, I have been further tweaking the Indigenous Australians page.

I draw your attention to this comment that appeared yesterday on Alex Buzo, Australian playwright, dies.

Who can help me on data, facts and/or history about John Traas, mentioned in the article. I am working on a genealogy for the family Traas, from origins from the Netherlands. Every thing will be welcome.

Ruud Smelt
The Netherlands

Maybe someone can help.

Update Saturday

Yum Cha yesterday with Ursula Ng and the other people from the place I do my coaching, then to St Vincents to see Lord Malcolm. His degree of recovery, given that he looked remarkably dead week ago, is quite amazing. He was operated on last Tuesday, and aside from that involving loss of a lot of blood, none of us have actually asked just what was done. Whatever it was, it seems to have worked. Mind you, he still isn’t going anywhere for a while. He is even thinking ahead to the Australian International Air Show 2007. He has been involved in the running of that show for over twenty years.

If you want a potted and extremely tendentious history of western civilisation for the past 2000 years, read the editorial in today’s Australian. Towards the end it becomes almost a parody of conservatism, quite unintentionally I am sure.

Update Christmas Eve

It was Vladimir Korotkov’s last service at South Sydney Uniting Church this morning, aside from tomorrow’s Christmas service which is just a carols and readings affair. He’s off to London on New Year’s Eve to spend twelve months with his daughter and grandchild. The comparatively good news about Lord Malcolm — not a believer by the way — was well received. People there have certainly been thinking about him.

On the way back from shopping after church who should I encounter on Cleveland Street but Oscar McLaren, one of the memorable Class of 2000 (along with Delenio and The Rabbit). Oscar is still working for the ABC, JJJ at the moment. I still expect him to take over from Kerry O’Brien some time in the future. 😉

Posting has continued over at the English and ESL blog. Getting a bit of traffic there now.

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8 responses to “Remember this?

  1. Jim Belshaw

    December 20, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    Have a good break, Neil. I am going to miss my daily reads of your posts and look forward to your return. And thank you for the update on Stozo and Kristina.

    This has, I think, been a productive year in blogging terms as we both refine our niches. I agree with you re impact. However, and as an example, I started getting a small number of search engine hits on Tamworth very quickly (Google is now remarkably quick at indexing my blog pages), so at least a few people out there will see the complete story.

    I look forward to continuing our dialogue in the new year.

  2. The Artist

    December 22, 2006 at 7:19 am

    Calling over to wish you a wonderful Christmas, best wishes, The Artist

  3. Gay Erasmus

    December 22, 2006 at 9:35 am

    Thinking of you and Lord Malcolm, Neil. I admire and have learnt from your blog, and I marvel at the broad scope of news items that you manage to cover on a daily basis. Sending you best thoughts and wishes over Christmas.

  4. Jim Belshaw

    December 23, 2006 at 9:14 am

    Neil, I emailed Ruud giving him the web addresses for TAS and Illawarra Grammar (I think I remember you saying at some point that John taught there) since they may have more info.

  5. ninglun

    December 23, 2006 at 9:25 am

    I should have thought of that. Thanks, Jim.

  6. Jim Belshaw

    December 23, 2006 at 10:43 am

    Neil, did you know that you were a featured blog on WordPress – I end up getting an indirect plug too since my name is included in the lead story!

  7. ninglun

    December 23, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Only because so few WordPress blogs use that tag. 😉

  8. Benjamin Solah

    December 23, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    I’d like to take this opportunity to answer to question (it wasn’t really a question, but kind of, maybe…;)) Can a blog, or blogging as a whole change the world. I’d say no. Active participation in politics cannot be replaced. Though, the expression of ideas through this medium certainly contributes to ideas and because blogging is a somewhat personal medium, it allows for personal experiences to dictate our ideas and not the other way round (this is a major element of Marxism)

    Plus, I think blogging really pisses off the media corporations. I’ve heard (or read about) Murdoch ranting and raving about how bloggers are taking away his newspaper and television audience. Granted, most bloggers don’t have the resources of a corporation like News Ltd, but these corporations have lost the monopoly on ideas that the ruling class have relied on so much to keep the working class in check. You just have to look at the new sedition laws to see that the rise of blogging and other mediums of working class people expressing ideas, to see that our governments see us as threat to their world because we can change it.

    Thanks for the opportunity to express something I didn’t know I had in me. Have a great Christmas and kudos to you for changing someone’s life.

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