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.

Your ABC

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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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Rambles: Peace & Goodwill  
We had some of the nicest Christmas weather in Sydney for a long time. It started with some rain on the days before over a lot of places that have been in drought or bushfires. A few spots, like Mt Wellington above Hobart, and some parts of Victoria, even had snow. There was some hail around too, one storm damaging around Armidale. Here it started quite cool (17C/63F) & cloudy, but by lunch and during the afternoon it was pleasantly warm (24C/75F) with cool breezes, like spring rather than summer.
My close family died & others are scattered, I'd thought to have a quiet little time on the day, with some earlier celebrations like official and personal times at work, or visiting a neighbour of my late partner, now also a widow. But a friend organised for me to go to the family group he is close to, which is a reasonably large 'do', but very friendly.
After visiting his mother, now in a retirement home overlooking a bushy valley, for the morning, with a tasty -- but not overly-filling -- lunch of baked vegies, seasoned chicken & ham, with fruit salad for dessert, we headed from the north-east to the south-west, well out on the outskirts of Sydney. Only practicably accessible by car (20 minute drive to nearest train to Minto). They have a lovely large yard, and after their lunch (we just had a handful of nibblies and shared the green tea), singing and present-exchange it was host to a backyard "soccer" game...

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Assembling Links to Carl Sagan Memorial blog-o-thon  
I'll be adding these over time
  • On Carl Sagan (at John Scalzi's Whatever): whatever/ 004702.html

  • Carl Sagan's Pizza: a story from RICHH: ~faber/ RICHH/ general/ Sagans_Pizza

  • Ten Times Around The Sun Without Carl, his widow's thoughts on the day: the_observatory/ 2006/ 12/ ten_times_aroun.html

  • Memories Of My Dad one of Nick Sagan's occasional pieces: nick_sagan_online/ 2006/ 12/ dad.html

  • See December 10th for Carl Sagan Memorial blog-o-thon idea from Joel Schlosbberg

    Some Raw Material

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    Return of the Light  
    Northern Solstice approaches. We remember that somewhere, for someone, there is always hope that it can improve. And that it might be us who can help, somehow, with what we can. blog/ archives/ 2006/ 12/ 15/ the_return_of_the_light.html

    Herer in the Great South Land, a long, hot, dry, flammable summer stretches ahead. We, too, need to help each other.

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    We're the Government, and we want to wish you Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year  

    We're the Government, and we want to wish you Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

    Had just spent nearly the last of my liquid funds — leaving just enough for the medical bills — to make my dead partner's place and my late parents' flat habitable. The plan is to use money from rent to save up & fix my own house, neglected for years during the medical crises, struggle with inherited debt, and caring for mother in her decline. Suddenly the State govt decided to ask for all the back taxes on my partner's estate — about twice my salary.

    First installment due today.

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    Carl Sagan memorial blog-a-thon  

    December 20, 2006 will be the tenth anniversary of Carl Sagan's death.
    Some are organizing a special memorial "blog-a-thon" among Sagan's fans throughout the blogosphere.
    Announcement 2006/ 11/ announcing-carl-sagan-memorial-blog.html

    Existing Sagan material online 2006/ 12/ sagan-stuff-from-around-web.html

    My earlier entries mentioning Carl Sagan
    Frail Granules All — 29th March, 2004: Horst Sommer on "Why Sagan, despite his failings, will always be the greatest of my heroes"

    Depressed & Fearful in Lent — 8th March, 2004: just a passing mention as one of my heroes

    Carl Sagan's 'In the Valley of the Shadow' — 9th June, 2003

    Trawlings caught in the net — 3rd November, 2002

    "What does the candle represent?" — 27th October, 2002

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    Barefoot & pregnant - comment on ABC phone-in Friday 8th December, 2006  

    Barefoot & pregnant - comment on ABC phone-in Friday 8th December, 2006

    In your phone-in this morning I was disappointed that you did not correct the woman who attacked the earlier woman by claiming that the earlier caller had called her "barefoot and pregnant".

    The first caller was disapproving, as I do, of the policies of the current government which attempt to push women back into dependence and narrow, non-paid, roles. How *useful* it would be for the "back to the 1850s" nostalgists (who are also trying to go back to old-style industrial relations) if we went back to having a huge unpaid and pretty powerless group who'd look after the old, disabled and sick, as well as children, mostly in their own homes.

    Think of the savings to the government if they could cut back on the amount of buildings, services and staff they had to supply! No regulatory bodies, either. After all, control and regulation is just "bureaucracy" and "red tape".

    No matter that we have seen and experienced the waste of human potential, the suffering and abuse that such a system is liable to.

    After all, we see even today in places the suffering and abuse that the contemporary version of the old Master and Servant Act style of industrial relations entails. Yet piece by piece and step by step a century or so of advances for the majority of the population, that used to be part of the definition of Australian ideals, that made us proud, and something to be aspired to by less-fortunate people in other countries are being pushed back and chipped away.

    I see something very similar with women's situation. As a mid-40s widow who had to step back from full-time work to care for a frail parent for several years (without carer payment), and who must now in her 50s manage her own affairs into old age now this worries me.
    Younger, I would be worrying how to bring up children and not lose all my 'market value' for the rest of a long life, ending up like some of my ancestors doing menial, low-paid, in-home work with very poor conditions once my children were grown.

    Again, very convenient for the people who employed them, whether piece-work manufacturers, agencies who farmed out the work, or the families who privately employed housekeepers, nannies, and the like.

    All this is, of course, covered over with a beautifully embroidered, colourful veil of rhetoric about womanliness, motherhood, the joy of children, etc, etc; twisting what is good about it into a weapon against those women and men trying to oppose the dirty little underside. Just like your later caller twisted (unconsciously?) someone supporting her rights into someone attacking her.

    There isn't time here to speak properly to the very bad idea it is to encourage overpopulation through these kinds of policies. We need to work our way through the demographic bulge of the post-war boom, not devastate the world and our children's futures by trying to blindly perpetuate it. People have been explaining this for at least thirty years, and now I would have thought some of the problems are becoming obvious even to those who've been stalling and denying all that time, but somehow, if it doesn't fit their purposes, people will behave as (self)destructively as plague mice despite our supposed place of reason and consciousness.
    I enjoy your program, even if I do find parts of it provoking. Just spent an hour on this I need to spend on important personal business, but the ABC is still our place to discuss important social issues.

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