Another Dark Little Corner

moon phases

Started this before change to "New Blogger", as backup in case of trouble with digiphoto blog "In a Small Dark Room", or rants & links blog "Hello Cruel World" . Useful - at one stage Dark Room was there, but like the astrophysical Dark Matter, we could't see it ... better now, but kept Just In Case.

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There is nothing. There is no God and no universe, there is only empty space, and in it a lost and homeless and wandering and companionless and indestructible Thought. And I am that thought. And God, and the Universe, and Time, and Life, and Death, and Joy and Sorrow and Pain only a grotesque and brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that same Thought.
Mark Twain (letter to Joseph Twichell after his wife's death)
[me, on a bad day]

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Remember the entry about more affidavits? Well, during phoning, writing, copying, etc, also checked tax situation.

I think that one reason to work hard at establishing myself (yet again) as his legitimate de facto [is that an oxymoron?], rather than getting his superannuation paid into an Estate Trust (and straight out again to pay the debts), is that "the funds in the hands of dependent beneficiaries are free of tax". The spouse, de lege or de facto, is defined as a dependant - you don't have to worry if you earnt some money yourself.

As it is, the combined superannuation payouts will just about cover the debts - both the ones outstanding at his death & ones since - so if a large chunk is subtractedby tax, that leaves me, relict, sick, insecure & generally in a considerably worse situation than before.

At least if the debts are covered, I'll only be in a somewhat worse situation, mostly because of my permanent health disability and the worries about needing money to pay for mother's care as she deteriorates. But I wouldn't have a continual drain from continuing to pay debts in arrears.
As I've said many times, I am just so thankful that we are in Australia. Though things are getting worse in our health & aged care systems, it is much better than some of the others around the world. Although I couldn't have gone on without my friends, many workers in the system have been very helpful, and supported mother & myself.

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It was all over in a flash of security badges
October 25, 2003
Richard Glover

It was like the visit of the boy in the bubble as the hermetically sealed President was whisked through Canberra ... No one's done a country quicker since the old days of the Women's Weekly Tour of Europe, in which, legend has it, they got Italy down to 3 hours, including lunch and a loo-stop. ...

Of course, the President did address Parliament ... warmly thanking us for being birthplace to the new Californian governor-elect ... In thanks, the whole Liberal Party broke out in a spontaneous display of alpine yodelling, while the Labor back bench made a human pyramid - neatly accommodating those who wished to crouch backwards, those who wished to bow, those who wished to scrape, and those who wished to stand to attention singing The Internationale ...

Yet, since no one got near the President, can we be sure he was even here? Saddam Hussein had body doubles, why not Bush? Why else did they keep everyone a few kilometres back? ...

Late in the day, on the way up the War Memorial steps, three Aussie bush flies made heroic attempts to make contact, but the President's security patrol took them out, using a combination of mace, ju-jitsu and grenades. At least they got closer than any of the Aussie journalists.

On a More Serious Note
How Margo Kingston saw it in 1998
Date: August 21 2003
An extract from Margo Kingston's 1999 book Off the Rails: The Pauline Hanson trip.
Chapter 18: We're all poor lean people and we're bangin' on your gate
DAYS 28, 29 AND 30

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A friend pointed me towards this column - I've seen good work in this site before, by a different writer.
Please Become More Selfish
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

(This link is mentioned in the column above Anyone But Bush by William Rivers Pitt (truthout))

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Whoo-hoo! Looks like The Ascent of Man DVD is on its way
(Here is a reminder of why I want it.)
An earlier post of this in Hello Cruel World

The Danger of Knowing for Sure

A special joint edition of The Millenium Project and Quintessence of the Loon
September 12, 2001

I can remember the first time I saw the image at the right of the screen. It comes from the television series The Ascent of Man and the particular episode was called "Knowledge and Certainty". It shows Jacob Bronowski reaching into a pool of black mud, black because it contains the ashes of people murdered as the result of an insane belief system. In the middle of the 20th century civilisation was threatened as an entire country seemed to go mad, and millions of people died as a result. A new word was invented [OK, no - he may mean "genocide".], "holocaust", to describe something which even today almost defies belief - that someone could propose, and execute, a plan to destroy a large part of the world's population simply because they had the wrong genealogy - their parents and ancestors were the wrong sort of human.

Some people thought that Bronowski was making a play on the words in the series title and showing that, as well as an ascent of humankind towards civilisation, there was always the possibility of a descent back into primitivism and savagery. This point was certainly being made, but the main idea was contained in the title of the episode - "Knowledge and Certainty". Bronowski was making a distinction between science and non-science - between knowing something with confidence and knowing something with certainty. The Nazis knew with certainty that they were right. Science, and its handmaiden skepticism, is based on the principle that knowledge is testable and that ideas and beliefs can be rejected and replaced if they can be demonstrated to be wrong or outdated. It is a process of continuous learning. Yes, science can have bad outcomes, but those bad things can be challenged and changed if necessary. When ideas cannot be challenged then learning, improvement and the correction of mistakes are impossible. There is no way back.

On 11 September, 2001, civilisation was again attacked when hijacked aircraft were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, and again we were presented with indelible images that will stay in our minds forever. At the time of writing, the people behind this atrocity are unknown, although there are suspicions and clues. For my purpose, however, it does not matter who did this or whether the motivation was political protest, religious bigotry, racism, extortion, whatever. What is important is that the people who did this were absolutely certain that they were right. The hijackers entered the planes in the certain knowledge that not only were they going to die themselves, but that they were going to kill an unknown number of strangers, people who had never harmed them in any way. It must take a special kind of madness to train for months for a suicide mission, to be so absolutely certain about your belief that there is nothing that could change that belief, regardless of the consequences to you or anyone else.

You might say that I am talking about extremes here, just as it would be extreme to use the examples of human behaviour that we have seen over the years in Cambodia, Rwanda, Ireland or the collection of tribes that used to be called Yugoslavia. Yes, they are extremes, but they are all examples of the failure of rational thought. It is not just civil wars, however, that exemplify the problem. Agricultural production was damaged for decades in the Soviet Union because ideology decreed that the science of genetics be rejected, and the same country held on to an inefficient economic system long after its faults and weaknesses had been demonstrated. People are campaigning against the development of an AIDS vaccine because they think the loss of millions of lives is irrelevant when placed against their belief that all vaccines are evil. Others hang on to ancient superstitions and medical systems with no proven effectiveness and proudly state that these things must work because they have not changed for centuries. Countries with enormous natural and human resources are held back by religious traditions which may have been appropriate when armies fought with spears. People have their savings stolen daily by liars who pretend to contact their dead loved ones or who promise miracle cures for incurable diseases.

Skepticism is sometimes confused with cynicism. Skeptics are seen as people who don't want to believe anything. This is incorrect - skeptics, like scientists, are people who just want to be confident that what they believe and know is the most likely thing that accords with reality. Put another way, a skeptic is someone who likes his facts to be correct. It is difficult to change long-held beliefs and it can be distressing to find out that you have an emotional investment in something which is wrong. Sometimes, however, it is just necessary to put away childish things, because there can be real danger in knowing things that just ain't so.

Peter Bowditch
September 2001

It ain't so much the things we know that get us into trouble. It's the things we know that just ain't so.
Some people know that Artemus Ward said this; some people know that Josh Billings said it;
some people know that Mark Twain said it; some people know that Will Rogers said it;
before I looked it up, I knew that Ralph Waldo Emerson said it.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13:11

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.
Oliver Cromwell, 3 August, 1650
Text copyright © 2001 Peter Bowditch
Jacob Bronowski Quote From the "Knowledge or Certainty" episode from the 1973 BBC series "The Ascent of Man", transcribed by Evan Hunt (extracted)
... It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false: tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. *This* is where people were turned into numbers ... And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality--this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.

Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge or error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we *can* know although we are fallible ...

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Review of Bad Boys II from the Sydney Morning Herald
By Paul Byrnes
September 18, 2003

He doesn't like it.
But I rather like the review.
Odd how sometimes unpleasant things can cheer you up.

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More bad news. The other people want four statutory declarations about the relationship between Chris & me.
They refuse to send superannuation to the estate, but want to pay to me personally -- hope they will pay it into the Estate Account, because it can go straight from there to pay his crushing debts -- but then they want all this proof. That is more proof than the Supreme Court needed!
Now have to find if I can find copies of all the affidavits & so on, and add a few extra ... bloody painful it is.
For goodness' sake, everyone, make out a will. The pain you put people left behind through is an unkind legacy indeed.

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Following Friday, 19th September up: For one of the "two very very important things" they wrote back, asking for yet more documentation! One of which they had specifically said on the form I filled in, that they didn't want me to send (i.e., they said, "don't send [this] send [something else] instead, which I did").


It may, of course, be possible that:
  • It's part of a cunning scheme to keep Australia Post (formerly known as the Postmaster General's Department before they split it into separate mail & telephone parts) going. All this stuff is sent by Registered Mail with an extra fee for delivery acknowledgment (you can also pay extra fees for extra insurance & person-to-person delivery, but you have to draw the line somewhere - possibly quite tightly about certain necks...);

  • It's part of a scheme to keep the (semi-government??) body they're in looking busy so they don't get "rightsized" into the unemployment pool - cold, dirty & carnivore-infested bog that it is.

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