Monday by the Magazine Stall



And welcome to the magazine stall. The shop is open, even though it’s a public holiday. Does this mean I get time and a half?

So how’s your Easter going?

To open up the discussion, I’ve just read a couple of interesting articles. The first is one which may be of interest to the consumer activists amongst us, and details how the new head of consumer affairs watchdog, Nick Stace, plans to rattle a few cages here in Australia. Direct from the UK, where he previously worked as spin doctor for Gordon Brown, Nick Stace is here to give us a considered dose of reality…

Australia needs to get out of its comfort zone,” he says. “You pay more for your groceries than [people] in many other countries … The supermarkets here do not want to be transparent. That is incredibly irresponsible and incredibly worrying, yet there doesn’t appear to be the desire to have a competitive market.”

Nick Stace has been in the country little more than a month. But the differences he’s already observed between the British and Australian consumer psyche are enormous.

British consumers feel a fatalistic resignation about being ripped off and must be prodded to the point of anger before taking action, but Australians display a curious, complacent optimism.

The second topic, which is completely unrelated, but interesting nevertheless, is “How would you feel if your child was gay?” The author of this article confesses that even though hypothetically she would like to think of herself as being welcoming and accepting, she cannot escape the conclusion that she would be sad and dissapointed.

What would be far greater an injustice – a child who could not realise who he or she truly was and live a lie for fear of what the reality may mean for everyone around them?

A choreographed existence that pleased society but created an unbearable inner turmoil is something none of us would wish on our own flesh and blood.


91 Responses

  1. Reb..looks to be a wee bit of a slow morning so I thought that I’d be game and add re a gay child.

    I think: If they are happy – If they can get married (if they want to) – If they can have or adopt children (if they want to) and don’t mind if my jaw drops and I screetch Oh No! when they tell me. However the screetch applies equally to dropping out of school, being a drug addict (which thankfully has never happened) and Mum we’re pregnant.

  2. Sleep. I need sleep. Must have some sleep.

  3. Rock a’bye and la la and laaaa. Ni-ni’s sweet duck. And may flights of Goslings guide thee to thy rest.

  4. GWB v Zombies

  5. Good one TB. How did the treasure hunt/easter egg hunt go? We were all up a little after 6am yesterday due to across the road’s little girls age 4 and 6 running around the front lawn giggling loudly because eldest was absolutely certain that she saw the real easter bunny. And I am certain that she did.

  6. G’day Min

    EEH went very well – this year the two eldest boys did the hiding, while ‘tothers did the finding…we had invited friends of my son and his wife and they have two boys.

    I also designed an Eastyre Treasyre Pyrate Mappe for five super size blocks of Kit Kat – they had to follow half a dozen clues around the yard…this is the original clue list before I got stuck into it with the 17th century spellynge style…


    From Ben head North – East, to the trees with bent fruit.

    Look to the West and find the old boot.

    Now seek to the South and an arrow you’ll find,

    Follow the point around the bend,

    Search up above, for a sign to the end.

    When you see the light, follow the clue,

    Grandma’s favourite has a message for you.

    Beneath large leaves, dark green and pale

    Lies a final reward for those who prevail

    Ben is a tree BTW (Benjaminus Ficus – in a pot!) bent fruit refers to our banana trees – with fruit!

    Clues along the way – five kids busy working as a team – brilliant! Took about ten minnutes…

    All finished off with a sausage sizzle – 15 happy little vegemites!

  7. Absolutely wonderful TB. Reminds me of a book I inherited from an older cousin (I still have it..she who never throws anything away). And it was a Pirate Map with just clues as Three Lewls (wells) which lead to an ancient oak tree…

  8. Reb. On rereading my first was very negative wasn’t it. What I meant and I said very bady is that I would want my child to be happy with whatever life might throw their way. That I appreciate the difficulties facing gay people and I will argue/fight as I always have for people to achieve equality – to be able to marry if they wish, to be able to care for children. However, it’s a difficult road I think.

    A double however is that for me it’s only guessing..that one needs to have had the experience to know.

  9. Reb, I have a close friend who is Lesbian. She was married for 12 years, and has 3 kids. She and her husband separated a few years ago. Her kids were 10, 8 and 4 at the time. As the stories spread through town, the youngest was relatively unscathed, the older 2 were dropped like hot potatoes by their friends and their parents. They went through hell at the time.

    The older 2 chose to live with their father because of it, the younger with Mum. My friend rarely saw her 2 older children, unless on school holidays, when Dad needed a babysitter. Things were rough for a long time.

    They now accept their Mum for who she is. The funny thing is that Mum was wavering, and tried out a straight relationship for several months. She chose to end it, and be true to herself.

    From my point of view, if one of my kids said they were gay, I would be OK with it. I probably wouldn’t have been OK with it if I hadn’t had the pleasure of this person’s close friendship prior to and after her breakup.

    I also got hooked on Queer as Folk, and it’s weird seeing Brian on Desperate Housewives, as Susan’s partner.

    Anyway, just one Mothers point of view.

  10. “How would you feel if your child was gay?”

    I’d feel a bit sad upon hearing it for the first time, sad for them because their path in life would be harder than it is for the heterosexuals, sad for the emotional and physical torment they would have endured in recognising their same sex attraction. I reckon I would have already worked it out for myself by the time I was actually told though, so I’d be ready with my commitment of love and support for them personally and a welcoming acceptance of the news.

    I would hope that fulfilling love and close friendships will come their way and that they have good health, much success and personal happiness in their life. I would hope to be included in their life and continue to have close contact.

    Pretty much the same as I would wish for all my kids, except I’d now become a gay rights advocate!

  11. The Hawks in Defence heavily pressured the Defence Intelligence Organisation to say that China is a bigger threat to Australia than the DIO estimated.

    Watchdog probes hawks’ Defence Intelligence Organisation push on China:

    …When the DIO refused to change its assessment, Defence sought the support of the country’s peak intelligence assessment agency, the Office of National Assessments. The ONA agreed that China’s military expansion was essentially defensive in nature and the US would remain dominant in the region…

    …The Defence hardliners, led by Mr Pezzullo and backed by Defence Force chief Angus Houston and Defence Department secretary Nick Warner, won the China argument; as a result, the country’s future defence force to be outlined in the white paper will be primarily shaped by fears of Chinese military expansion.

    This means the views of the country’s most senior Defence chiefs on China will not be underpinned by intelligence assessments – a situation unique in the recent history of defence white papers..

  12. I remain convinced that Noel Pearson is a conservative at heart and does not speak for many Indigenous Australians.

    Aboriginal leaders divided on wild rivers as Wilderness Society denies veto:

    SOME north Queensland Aboriginal leaders have split with Noel Pearson over Queensland’s wild rivers legislation, either reserving their position or throwing their weight behind the controversial law…

    … Carpentaria Land Council leader Murrandoo Yanner said the primary issue for many indigenous people was not development rights.

    “The majority of people who aren’t involved would rather have sustainable rivers so we can continue as we have for thousands of years to draw our food and nourishment from those rivers,” Mr Yanner told ABC radio.

    “That’s better than seeing a few Aboriginal people benefit financially at the expense of the rest of us being left in a dust bowl.”…

  13. Just listening to random songs on the iPod, and currently playing is the Johnny Cash version of “If you could read my mind” from “America V”.

    Just an amazinging powerful version. In fact, the whole CD is amazing. Full of great versions.

  14. Min/Angel/Kitty,

    Great words and thoughts.

    I am so fortunate that all my family and friends totally accept me for who I am (apart from a few friends who could not cope). There was an initial reluctance and fear in my brothers – who questioned what it meant for themselves, but they got over it. In my little brothers case, we got over it so much that when he comes to Sydney for rugby he insists that we head out to a gay bar afterwards as he says “I always take you to straight bars, so the least I can do is go to one of yours”. One night he managed to set up a couple of guys (one was very shy) – he left the bar that night very proud of himself. LOL

  15. I’ve been meaning to respond to the kind words of Min Angel and Kitty.

    My own path has been one less fortunate.

    When I was a boy of about thirteen, and just becoming to become sexually aware, being gay was just about the worst thing that could happen to you.

    Especially growing up in a religious (Christian) household. Unfortunately, my parents were obsessed with protraying this ‘perfect’ Christian family veneer. They type you’ll seen on display at Hillsong every weekend.

    Naturally having a gay son didn’t sit well part of this picture-perfect plan.

    I won’t go in to detail, but I’ve had friends who’ve committed suicide because of family rejection, some became heroin users, some embarked on self destructive paths – excessive drug use, risky sexual behaviour, prostitution and/or living on the streets.

    Things are better now, but it hasn’t always been the case.

    I imagine that a much of the youth male suicide that we see today – especially in rural areas – is to do with sexual identity issues.

    While it is a lot easier for young people today, we shouldn’t underestimate the angst that teenagers face today with regards to sexual identity issues, and to some extent it still remains a taboo subject in our education system.

    While a lot has been achieved towards ending discrimination in the last thirty years in broader society, discrimination – and the violence that it fosters – is still perpetrated to this day by the Church and the Catholic Church in particular..

  16. reb,

    So true – I hid my sexuality until I moved to Canada in the 90’s – I think I even hid it from myself. And I acted in descructive modes too. I really feel fortunate that I came out the other side, which I suppose is why I am so concerned about human rights for those less fortunate than myself.

  17. I think that what your experiences show clearly is that parents need to love their children full stop.

    My experience is having to home school son from end Year 8. I was fortunate in that I had one of those ‘it was meant to be’ moments..I sat chatting to another stallholder at the Bangalow market and ‘it just so happened’ that she was also a counsellor for Youth & Teenage suicide. When she spoke, she was describing my son.

    I took son out of school and as above home schooled him so that he could get his Year 10 and have a chance of getting an apprenticeship/further training.

    I dread to think that what might have happened had I instead lambasted son as a failure. Mind you it wasn’t easy sailing, for example I personally obtained B- for Year 10 art (son was off surfing)..which is funny given that I was an art teacher.

  18. SMH:

    What I am about to write questions much of what I have written in this space, in numerous columns, over the past five years. Perhaps what I have written can withstand this questioning. Perhaps not. The greater question is, am I – and you – capable of questioning our own orthodoxies and intellectual habits? Let’s see.

  19. Reb. I have been thinking about your story. Just a question (hopefully not an impertinent one), but do you and joni think that ‘awareness’ comes at puberty or earlier? The reason that I ask is that an acquaintance has a young son who although he relates to other males perfectly just prefers more female pursuits (his little girl classmates love him and he is very popular). This young fella’s uncle is gay.

    However this is a generalisation (re gay blokes), and the young lad may indeed be straight, but just like girl things. A problem I think is generalisations about being gay.

  20. Min

    I really do not know the answer – I suppose on some level I always knew I was gay, but as it is my “normal” nature I do not know anything differently. By this I mean that I did not wake up one moring and went – Oooo, I think I am gay.

  21. Agreed joni..I didn’t think that you wake up mornings thinkin’ much of anything 😉

    What I was thinking is that gay-ness is often linked to sex (aka it happened at puberty) rather than something that the person always was.

  22. Min – you do know me!

    And I am not sure that sexuality is purely related to sex. I think it is more inate than that.

  23. The Age:

    CONFIDENT that the Prime Minister can steer us out of the financial crisis? Don’t be. Every policy announcement, every job-creation program, every plan to fix the economy point to one thing: The Government’s just makin’ it up.

  24. about trying to get blood out of a stone. Ya recon that you were born gay or was it a sudden ‘awakening’ a puberty. And reb..I haven’t forgotten about you either!

  25. Min

    That is the whole point. There is no “eureka” moment, it is inate within us, that is – it was always there.

    And so I reckon we are born gay, I do not believe in nurture as being a factor.

  26. Joni..that’s what I figured. Just nice to have you say so.

    What I was getting at is, Is gay about sex? Therefore an awareness at puberty. Or is gay something else?

    Most people think that gay means nothing more than ‘sexual orientation’ = one’s choice of partner.

    I personally think it’s ‘something else’.

    I am not even sure about the nature versus nurture debate. Some consider that this ‘abnormality’ is due to nature or maybe this ‘abnormality’ is nurture. Me, myself I think that this ‘condition’ is the same as being born with a particular eye color.

  27. “I think that this ‘condition’ is the same as being born with a particular eye color.”

    Totally agree Min.

    I’ve know all along I was attracted to other boys even when I was about 7 or 8 years old. It’s just when one hits puberty, and the hormones kick in, that’s when it becomes glaringly obvious and can cause a lot of emotional and pyschological distress and confusion.

    And not to mention fear of isolation, ridicule and bullying/bashing from peers, religious groups, sports people and so on.

    That’s why shows like the Footy Show and people like Sam Newman just make me sick.

  28. Allo’s me and the blokes.

    I just think that I was lucky because my parents had near neighbors who are gay. Remember my mention on Tim Dunlop’s blog about my dad calling them ‘the bachelors’.

    Well friend’s partner passed away (they were together as partners from when I was 18yrs old). Friend is in his mid 80’s and never came out, but everyone knew that he was gay because my mum and a lady neighbor caught them kissing down the side street on the way to the supermarket. has passed also and so friend choofs up most days to see that mum is ok and mum choofs down to his place to see that he is ok.

  29. See Min, they/we are just normal people!

  30. “they/we are just normal people”

    Speak for yourself..!!

    I’m “special…!”


  31. Interesting Talking Heads repeat last night, featuring Jeffrey Smart, who, as a young man, thought he was the only poofter in Australia (his words). He was later to discover that a lot of the artists he admired, as well as many writers and poets, were also queer. He found this knowledge extremely liberating.

    Discovering during this time that he was not quite straight and that Adelaide was too square, he left to stretch his wings. By the 60s his insatiable appetite for culture settled him in Italy where he has now lived in picturesque Tuscany for almost 40 years. Here the light industrial areas which feed his imagination and his works are not far away.

  32. Oh really..ya don’t say…I had this sneaking suspicion that you lot might be normal.

  33. Yes Min, reb and myself have been known to perform some suspicious sneaking… hehe.

  34. I had two workmates who were gay when I worked for the CPS. We were a very small department and all knew each other and most interacted socially, including our two gay friends.

    What was very interesting in retrospect, was the total, unconditional acceptance of both at a time when gays were still the subject of deep suspicion, ostracism and bashings.

    They both obviously felt very comfortable with their fellow workers, because they didn’t feel the need to disguise their orientation. Looking back, I feel proud (it’s not the right word, but can’t think of another) that they were happy at work and secure in the knowledge that they were respected and loved.

    I was very close to one of the men-he and I were always being bellowed at because we were constantly talking and falling about laughing. The other lad was a mate, but he was a fair bit younger than me, so we didn’t have such a close relationship.

    We also used to confide our romance problems-he was living with a dentist who couldn’t keep it in his pants and broke my friend’s heart on a regular basis. Eventually, he split with his partner and there were lots of consolation sessions. Unhappily, he was killed in a traffic accident some years ago.

    Most recently, my brother-in-law. We don’t see each other a lot, but always have a wonderful time together when we do, because we have the same sense of humour and a great deal else in common.

    I feel very privileged to have known these men and to have been allowed into their lives, even if only for a short time. They were great blokes and have enriched my life.

  35. You reckon we have problems!

    A Polish politician has criticised his local zoo for acquiring a “gay” elephant named Ninio who prefers male companions and will probably not procreate, local media reported.

  36. joni and sreb

    Thank you.

    As a heterosexual, who grew up with “gay joking” from my father, and in auto workshops and the army, all, at the time, considered “innocent fun”, I have no idea how gay men must have suffered. (and never will)…however, I have always been horrified at gay bashing (any bashing for that matter!)

    I confess to “taking the mickey” out of gays as they do me, being hetero but hope its seen as adult humour not “put down”.

    The Minister and I have five grandsons and a granddaughter, any one (or all!) of them may be gay – all would be supported and the subject has been discussed openly at family gatherings.

    Our friends of over fifty years have a lesbian daughter, we love her dearly – and her partner. Although initially, her parents were horrified – at what we, and others, would think…we had known their daughter since birth…you don’t just turn your feelings on and off that simply …

    Sad, though, thirty years ago, I’m not sure I could have written the above…

    …learning really is a lifelong experience.

  37. TB

    Nice words. Much appreciated.

    I also think that we need to distinguish between the “icky” feeling that people have over homosexuality and fear/disgust at homosexuality. I can understand why some people (and a mate of mine comes to mind) finds it very “icky” the thought of two men together, but is a great friend of mine and has been known to come to a gay bar with me for a drink. (Very funny when he gets hit on).

    But the outright abuse and violence towards us is the real problem (IMHO) that some of the religious leaders not only seem to condone but promote with their actions.

    In my mind, homophobe (or indeed a racist) is someone who cannot accept that others are different from themselves. Those who have that “icky” feeling and still accept me are those that make me proud to have then as friends.

    My mate even had a go at a taxi driver a few weeks ago who said he was disgusted with gays when he drove down Oxford St. He pointed out that just because they were different did not mean that anyone should be subject of violence or derogatory comments.

  38. TB..I did have the experience of my Mum’s neighbor being Unmarried Gentlemen but I think that my little bit of reality came via working the markets at Bangalow.

    When J was on the disability pension I made leadlight jewelry to help supplement this. And not half bad if I do say so myself.

    A gay couple (blokes) come to the stall and one said, Would you like one of these? I said, Can I help? Bought out the mirror. I said, Would you like to try it (it was an iridised glass pendant which I carved via a glass grinder, copper foiled on a neat leather tie). They were very shy as if I was kidding. And from there on I thought that EVERYONE should be able to have normal experiences. And that’s it in a nutshell.

  39. “I may disagree with you but I will defend to the death your right to have that opinion” (Voltaire – I think)

    Seems to fit with this thread too…to paraphrase…

    I may not be gay but I will defend your right to practise the sexuality of your choice…

  40. Practise??? By now I am bloody good at it. hehe

  41. Oh good’re the can come over and help with the ironing. Hehe yourself.

  42. Joni…the thing that I hate the most (well one of them) is that somehow people being gay and wanting to form permanent relationships somehow ‘drags down’ the idea of marriage.

    The violence and gay bashers are also the Chinese bashers, the old lady bashers, the child bashers.

    Re icky 2 men being together. Most women in my experience (including my 84 yr old mum) do not have a fact it’s sorta cute (why females luuve Brokeback). However, some blokes do have, but I don’t know why.

  43. thirty years ago, I’m not sure I could have written the above…

    …learning really is a lifelong experience

    Thank you TB. I know exactly what you mean.

    Thirty years ago, I grew up as a teenager in a household where all I would hear from my father was that queers should all be rounded up and shot.

    He was incredibly homophobic, aided by his fervent religious beliefs (and the fact that it was still a crime to be gay back then).

    Sometimes, I think, if there is a meaning to life, perhaps part of it was that I was sent to challenge his own bigotry and hatred.

    He was prone to violent outbursts and before he “found the Lord” he was an unpredictable and often violent drunk.

    The only thing that changed when he became a christian was that the alcohol was removed from the equation. The violence (towards women and children) was condoned by the Church as “discipline” and of course the religious beliefs that God hates Fags was everywhere.

    Anyway, fast forward 30 years, this month he turned 74. We speak every other week and he mentioned recently that he introduced himself to his new neighbours “two gay guys” he said, and he could’ve been describing their hair colour. It was no longer a big deal.

    It was perhaps the first time I have heard my father using the term “gay” without it being in the same sentence as “they should all be shot” or something smililar.

    Anyway, I guess my point is, that we all continue to learn and change..

    Perhaps in years to come I might get over my vehemnet hatred of the Church. And then there might be a certain poetry to all that’s happened in the past.

  44. Reb..Just maybe this was your dad’s way of saying I love you..mentioned 2 gay neighbors. Just sounds like something my folks would do, nothing overt just hints.

  45. You may be right Min.

    It might be his way of saying “he’s changed”.

    My parents both accept me as who I am now, and accept my partner of 15 years like a second son too.

    They stay with us every now and then.

    BUT, it still doesn’t make it any easier for me to get over the violent upbringing, the domestic violence, the emotional trauma of my childhood and adolescent years. Leading to substance abuse and a host of other problems.

    It’s a miracle that I’ve actually survived it all really. Many of my peers didn’t.

  46. No wonder Kamahl roams about the joint rambling “why are people so unkind…”

  47. Well each and every way..and here you are reb. And we your friends count ourselves fortunate indeed.

    My father when drunk (very) used to tease by threatening to stick cigarette butts into my arms..I would have been about 5-7yrs. I am hearing impaired due to being hit around the head when a child. I have 35% hearing left ear and very crook right ear (have to go back to the doctors, but I think that it’s not good). But what the heck hey. I think that I have fortunate life.

  48. Thank you MIn.

    I didn’t realise that your hearing impairment was due to abuse from your own father.

    I guess we all have a story to tell. And yes, even still by comparison we live very fortunate lives.

    One only needs to travel to Cambodia and witness children with no limbs begging on street corners to be reminded of that fact..

  49. Well reb, it was mum not just ‘teased’ re cigarette butts (this was a bad time during his life)…mum didn’t mean it. A clip around the ears was a normal form of discipline in those days. I also have moderate conductive hearing loss which is an hereditary thing.

    Anyway..we’re still here and choofin’. Speaking of which have to now go. Jeff has popped the soy chicken sate on the bbq and am doing some stir fry veg and rice.

  50. My father died nine years ago – as I said on another thread, a painful and slow death…I do not miss him one jot.

    I stopped him beating my mother when I was 23, by threatening to kill him if he did it again, my forearm at his throat against a wall, for emphasis – he never did it again…my first attempt was when I was ten – I pushed him over a crate of Babycham drinks (the Poms will know it – similar to Piccolo in size) …he turned his foul temper on me…

    But he got his revenge long term – my sister (seven years my junior) controls my parents’ estate and my mother …and my sister only sees $$$$$$…there ain’t much anyway but it was done to goad me – and it does…

    Sounds like there’s a few of us out there…from the fifties and sixties…maybe it was the war (suggested by a friend – I don’t believe in excuses only reason…)

  51. I’ve tracked them down: my imaginary online enemies.

  52. (reb)That’s why shows like the Footy Show and people like Sam Newman just make me sick.

    They make me sick too reb and i’m not even gay!
    Can’t stand Sam Newman and Fatty isn’t much better on the other footy show.

    I don’t think I would have liked your father 30 years ago either judging by your description of him – guess it just goes to show that people really can change. Unfortunately the damage done is often irredeemable. Your father is lucky that you have forgiven him, he has caused pain to yourself and your whole family with the DV and bigotry.

    Like you, I cannot condone the way religion gives sanctuary and support to ugly natured people. Brutal, unkind people with a stick in one hand and a holy book in the other, they hide behind religion and their bible interpretations. Keep your vehement hatred of the church alive, it is no friend to you. When all religions stop inciting hatred and violence of gays and women and giving safe harbour to the offenders, then maybe you (and I) can find something to forgive. I continue to wonder why so many women think religion is on their side too, they are seriously deluding themselves IMO.

    Anyway, glad that you have healed the wounds somewhat, tell me, is it your father’s fault that you turned out to be a ‘wealth crazed prick’? 😆

  53. …Re icky 2 men being together. Most women in my experience (including my 84 yr old mum) do not have a problem..

    hehe, a man and a woman together is not icky? A woman and a woman? Sex is icky no matter who is doing it, only the flowers and bees manage to look good whilst pollinating!

  54. TB Queensland, on April 14th, 2009 at 6:20 pm Said:

    “Sounds like there’s a few of us out there…from the fifties and sixties…maybe it was the war (suggested by a friend – I don’t believe in excuses only reason…)”

    Dunno, TB, but I heard a lot of these stories from widows when I worked for War Service Homes. Their husbands went off to the war “a lovely man” (their words) and came back complete strangers, moody, verbally abusive and sometimes physically violent, alcohol abusers.

    Obviously, not all of the returned men had these problems, but a significant number did. I’d suggest that most, if not all, the men with these problems were quite likely suffering some kind of post-traumatic stress, which largely went untreated.

    Unfortunately, there was very little understanding of these hidden war wounds, despite the ghastly “shell-shock” cases from WW1; you just had to be a man and get on with it and the families also had to just get on with it and bear the brunt of the men’s behaviour.

    I don’t know your father’s situation, but it’s so sad that he was so unforgiving and was so spiteful to you and your mum even from the grave. Sad also that your sister is obviously cut from the same cloth.

    But you’ve really had the last laugh; you’ve made a great success of your life and have a family who think the sun shines out of your b*m and vice versa. How fantastic is that?

  55. Gee, there are some bad stories here. I cannot remember ever being hit as a child. My parents were very strict, At 16 my Dad would take me to whereever, and pick me up at 10pm. They always made contact with the parent in charge.

    So, is that a record? Never being hit, I mean.

    Kitty, I have a very funny story about icky, female / male. I can’t put it up here. It’s so far past icky it’s not tellable on line.

  56. Me too Angel. My father liked a drink and there were a few bad times when he made my poor mother’s life a misery, but overall my childhood wasn’t too bad.

    There were far more positives than negatives and they were always there when I slunk home with my tail between my legs.

  57. Jane, I didn’t slink home, I had nowhere to slink from as I wasn’t allowed out. Neither Dad or Mum drank.

    My Dad died when I was 16, and I got away with a lot more after that. Way too much more, in fact.

    It’s a shame we aren’t born with wisdom.

  58. Kitty, I have a very funny story about icky, female / male. I can’t put it up here. It’s so far past icky it’s not tellable on line.

    dammit, now I want to hear it!

  59. Yeah, I know. It’s frustrating when that happens. It concerns………….I just can’t say it. You can email me if you want, I Il send you the story. BUT, you can’t tell.

  60. That’s what being young is for, Angel, being always priggishly right, making mistakes and acquiring some wisdom along the way. Hopefully you have parents who’ll pick up the pieces and set you straight, as well.

    I wasn’t allowed out when I was a teen and still living at home, either. My slinking didn’t happen until I was working 350kms away and really appreciated home. Both my parents are dead now and I still miss them. Being an orphan sucks.

  61. Jane

    Thanks for that last sentence – yes I do have wonderful family and life…some luck, some management, some work…

    …off to the local dam with daughter and five grandkids today…they’ll be trying to catching redclaw (- I’m proofing my son-in-laws assignment for his Diploma)

  62. KittyLitter @8.46pm

    Thanks for the kind words KL..

    No you wouldn’t have liked my father at all 30 years ago. My parents were both working class. Dad worked in the shipyards in Glasgow, would get drunk every night and then come home and more often than not, get angry and violent.

    I may as well blame my father for me becoming a wealth crazed prick (we all lived in a rented flat at one stage). 🙂

    However, being working class, my parents remarked not so long ago, that they both wondered “where I had come from”.

    I remarked that that sentiment works both ways, and “how on Earth did I grow up in a family like this?”

  63. Irony Alert:

    It’s never wise to imagine that either man or technology has the upper hand in the natural world.

    Caitlin Arctic Ice Survey member Pen Hadow, talking about the group’s failing equipment, apparently unaware of the irony of the statement coming from someone who believes that both man and technology are driving climate change towards warming.

  64. No you wouldn’t have liked my father at all 30 years ago. My parents were both working class.

    Working class might have been his redeeming feature reb, I was thinking of the bible thumping bigotry and domestic violence when I said I would not have liked him.

    I remarked that that sentiment works both ways, and “how on Earth did I grow up in a family like this?”

    It has made you what you are today – driven to succeed and also to escape (physically, emotionally and economically). But we never really leave it all behind do we? – the scars do itch and pain sometimes and there is a need to anaesthetise with alcohol etc.

    The best thing of all is that you are a man who is not repeating the same aggressive and violent behaviour patterns as so many others do.

    Sounds like you are at least now able to have a better relationship with your father. As they age, (some) men seem to gain some wisdom and will quieten down and reflect on the past – he may have regrets of his own and wish he could have done things differently too.

    Isn’t it a shame that youth is so wasted on the young!

    Keep on laughing and remember to be kind to yourself reb!

  65. It’s amazing that someone who used to be amusing now just sound whiney:

    “I’ve been feeling sorry for Belinda Neal. Neal, you will recall, is the Labor MP who let fly at a waiter when he asked her to move tables at Iguana Joe’s a restaurant/night spot on the NSW Central Coast.”

    Maybe a few “Mr Speaker”s and a bunch of giggling supporters behind him is what i needed?

  66. Umm joni..Neal or Costello???

  67. Whoops..well that’s different. The original was as per the headline (no details) and has now morphed into the above.

  68. Neal was never amusing. Costello was (sometimes) amusing.

    You think that he would use his immense experience and “talent” to actually some use. You know – we have major issues out there in the real world and the best use of his column in the SMH is to write about “anger management”.

    Keating was right – he is all tip and no iceberg.

  69. From Joni’s link, Costello:

    I’ve never been to this sort of counselling but I can imagine how it operates.

    Oh really? Maybe Costello should try anger has built up within himself leading him into revenge scenarios years and years later. And stewing years and years later about things such as a so-called promise to be handed the leadership on a platter.

  70. To act on revenge and to have anger requires two things that Peter just does not have. Balls.

  71. PS. Min. Great joke.

  72. “But we never really leave it all behind do we?”

    Ain’t that the truth KL.

  73. reb, my paternal grandmother came from the Gorbals. She and her mother and sisters got out of there pre-WW1, leaving Wee Jimmy behind.

    He was a terrible drinker, renowned for standing on street corners accosting the lassies (and occasionally, the brokes) and even propositioned Grandma one evening when it was her turn to bring him home for dinner.

    I’ve seen photos of Isabel and the sisters-Isabel looked very sour and the more I heard about Wee Jimmy, the more I understood it. Grandma was a very good egg, a fine cook and a magnificent strawberry grower. She babysat my cousins and me while our mothers worked.

    My father remembers her grimly treadling away on her sewing machine making garters to order during the depression. Wee Jimmy was a tailor and had taught her the tricks of the trade.

    Apparently, she was very fond of her father, an emotion not shared by her mother and the other sisters, I believe. He did track them down, though, but I don’t know much more than that.

    Wee Jimmy’s grandsons carried on the tradition and were all big drinkers-alcoholics, really. But they never seemed to get violent physically although I can’t speak for Uncle Jimmy, because I never met him.

    My father could get nasty verbally, which made me see red especially if he got stuck into my mother, and we had quite a few shouting matches. We didn’t speak for 2 years after one performance.

    All that aside, he was a good father with a great sense of humour. The drink was responsible for the volatility in our relationship.

    I’m glad you and your dad have been able to reconcile.

    All the crap about “queers” has been drummed into people relentlessly since time immemorial. For some reason being gay was considered worse than being a rapist or murderer! In fact it was akin to having an “illegitimate” baby or a mental disability. Oh! The shame!!

    Obviously, the people here have seen through that propaganda for the bollocks it is.

    Reading about fellow bloggers’ childhoods makes me reflect on the strength of character of those of you who’ve had to overcome some pretty ordinary starts to life. Giant pats on the back to you all!!

  74. Thanks Jane. For those kind words.

    The Gorbals is where my grandparents hail from as well.

    I think alcoholism was/is endemic in that part of the world, so much so, that it’s just considered to be normal.

    Funnily enough, I had an Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Isabel too. Maybe we’re related!

  75. Agreed joni, revenge viz stewing requires no balls whatsoever. To take action, to take a risk needs balls.

    Good grief, I know that the smirk can be amusing sometimes (but not lately)..but I should imagine that the famous smirk is a wee bit difficult to deliver from the back bench.

    First we had from the ‘Graph:,22049,25330031-5005941,00.html

    So am thinking that Costello’s counter re Neal and ‘anger management’ is a wee bit sad. That he can no longer deal with issues but has to dredge up old news re Neal.

    I think that he has lost it. Costello:

    “Don’t you know who I am?” she demanded.

    Didn’t Costello mean, Don’t you know who I AM, he demanded.

    And then Costello adds:

    You’ve visited an establishment offering sexual titillation.

    Costello has lost it completely and should immediately seek counselling.

  76. I think Min may be able to relate to this amazing story:,27574,25337010-2,00.html

    A BRISBANE teenager who sparked a national search after going missing for nearly two weeks is back home – after riding his bicycle to Sydney.

    Ethan Johnson, 15, of Fruitgrove, was last seen by his sister about 7.50am at Fruitgrove Railway station on March 30, on his way to school.

    Ethan, who has a mild form of Aspergers syndrome, was then captured on closed circuit television about 9.20am that day, leaving the Robina train station on the Gold Coast.

  77. Jane at: April 15th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    All the crap about “queers” has been drummed into people relentlessly since time immemorial. For some reason being gay was considered worse than being a rapist or murderer! In fact it was akin to having an “illegitimate” baby or a mental disability. Oh! The shame!!

    Me thinks, just going back in memory that The Worst would have been bringing home a baby. Being gay could be excused, such as..he’s a bachelor. I have 2 male cousins who are bachelors 😉

    One can make ‘excuses’ re being a bachelor but one cannot hide the shame of a baby born out of wedlock. It was always ‘what would the neighbors think’….

    Mind you many did hide the fact such as having a miraculously appearing younger sibling.

  78. Thank you I hadn’t seen this story and so thank you for forwarding it along.

    Love it:

    He had riden his bike 950km south, sleeping at truck stops along the Pacific Highway and eating fast food.

    Youngest did similar..quit uni, took off to the snow fields [no idea how she got there..just took off], ended up in Melbourne (thankfully grandparents there), then to Cairns, then to Townsville and now she is 12 months away from obtaining her PhD in Science.

  79. Under the heading of Costello being one sick puppy:

    Let’s take another case study. You’ve visited an establishment offering sexual titillation. Do you (a) deny being there; (b) call an identification parade to see whether anyone can recognise you; or (c) say you were too drunk to remember what you were doing and ring home to apologise?

    The savvy political conclusion is answer (c). It shows you are one of the boys, humanises your image and should lead to a bounce in approval ratings.

    Umm Costello..this was in the year 2003. This is now the year 2009. Rudd t was the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and 2003 was of course all about ‘image’ and ‘approval’ ratings. Hang on something else happened ’03..oh yes that’s right the Invasion of Iraq.

  80. And as a double re sick puppy:

    I called my old press secretary last week to complain that he had never once advised me to boost my approval ratings with a couple of boozy hours in a lap-dance club. I asked: “Where were you when I needed good ideas?”

    He answered: “(a) I was never drunk enough to think of it, (b) you were never drunk enough to go through with it, and (c) you’re from the Liberal Party.”

    By that he meant that since journalists are predominantly pro-Labor you can’t expect easy treatment on the other side of politics.

    Where do we start..let me count the ways. Yep just the sort of fella we need as leader of the Liberal Party, just the sort of fella who should replace Turnbull.

    Re (a) Costello was obviously very inebriated when he wrote this (slash..who ever wrote it on his behalf). It’s one of those moments where one would be very embarrassed in the morning.

  81. Unbelievable, really, that for a bloke regarded by so many on the Labor side as “yesterday’s news” he really gets the chatter going when he rears his head. Costello, that is. There’s a saying about protesting too much and I think it kind of applies here. The sharp increase in volume of the abuse whenever Costello’s name is mentioned suggests to me that Labor and their supporters, far from regarding Costello as irrelevant dead wood, see him as their greatest threat to continuing in government.

  82. But, but James..he was talking a whole heap of twaddle.

    Now honestly, if you or I sent a Press Release containing such a huge amount of garbage, would it be printed? Of course not.

    Labor is doing the right thing, ignoring him.

  83. Labor are far from ignoring him, Min. And if you can’t see the double standards that he describes, can I suggest that you open your other eye.

  84. Not certain what you are talking about James. I have been posting re Costello being a ‘sick puppy’ this afternoon.

    Or are you suggesting that Costello’s umm ‘arguments’ are worthy of consideration?

    All that I can see re Costello is a bitter man who has been taking some sort of joy in trying to undermine his party.

    For example, should Costello have been a loyal party member then he would have stated Yay or Nay as to whether he will even contest his seat.

    It’s at the stage of ridiculous..try umpteen months of speculation re Costello making a move. Costello puts out a press release. Turnbull puts out a press release. Costello puts out a press release.

    The whole thing is making Turnbull look weak and Costello knows it. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if Costello doesn’t even stand if he thinks that he might lose the next election. But in the interim he is undermining the party..and he knows it.

  85. Firstly, Min, these are “opinion pieces” not “press releases”. Press releases are something quite different and relate to an announcement. As you have said yourself, Costello has not made any announcements. Secondly, Min, the opinion piece is directed at the ALP. And in my opinion, it hits the mark. Thirdly, Min, Turnbull does not need any help from Costello to look weak, he is well achieving this all on his lonesome. Costello, like almost everyone in politics, is ambitious. If you think Julia Gillard is just sitting there happily with no ambition to be PM you are kidding yourself. Let’s see how she goes still sitting there after 11 years. As far as Costello’s continuing ambition goes, well none of us really know, I reckon he still wants to be PM and has sat back giving the alternative leaders a crack so that when and if he does rise to leadership, then he will be more secure in the role. Not the worst strategy, mind you, it worked very well for Howard. But I am certain, Min, that the Liberal Party appreciate your concern for their ongoing stability.

  86. James. Yep, you’re right. But oh deary me, when do press releases become opinion pieces? And how much is spliced together.

    Costello’s recent twaddle was clearly a Press Release as it had his name after it and was not an opinion piece.

    I don’t know actually how ‘ambitious’ Costello is as he is still waffling on about things that happened 5-10 years ago. He is beginning to sound like a Fraser or a Keating..just waffling on about things that happened years ago.

    Interesting..the difference between Costello and Gillard. Perhaps in a sitting there after 11 years and seeing how Gillard goes (your comment).

    I think that Gillard (had she been Costello) would have told Howard to shove it. I cannot imagine anyone at all sitting there down on bended knee, hands up to heaven about Howard’s promises and from then onto the back bench.

    Yet it could still be James. Wasn’t it 2 leaders before the ultimate leader appears (can’t remember the link but I don’t think that it was Hillsong..but it could have been).

    Sadly for the Libs, the Labs are looking like a fairly organised team…at least in comparison.

  87. Let’s see how she goes still sitting there after 11 years.

    Only difference is… Gillard’s got the balls to challenge! 😆

    Labor research on a Costello leadership switch (larvatus prodeo)

    …What’s significant about this leak is that it shows that the ALP would quite like Costello to be leader – and/or that another round of Liberal leadership speculation wouldn’t go astray from the Rudd government point of view. Let’s see if the opposition and the press respond on cue…

    Labor Party gets ready for Peter Costello to lead Coalition

  88. reb, on April 15th, 2009 at 12:03 pm Said:

    “The Gorbals is where my grandparents hail from as well.

    I think alcoholism was/is endemic in that part of the world, so much so, that it’s just considered to be normal.

    Funnily enough, I had an Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Isabel too. Maybe we’re related!”

    You never know reb, 6 degrees of separation etc. And an extra rellie never goes amiss, I reckon. I’d be delighted to have you in my family.

    Min, the kid whose sister turns out to be his/her mother was quite common, I believe. Apparently, that was the case with Jack Nicholson and coincidentally a girl I went to school with.

    It was either that or have the baby adopted. I guess you were lucky if your parents would agree to take on the responsibility. Sad though.

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