Trust Me I’m A Politician

Politics is in the air just now. When is it not?

I’ve been thinking of all the votes I’ve cast during my 84 years. Suddenly I found myself hunting up this list of dubious political statements, possibly to help my fellow voters make better judgements. So there we are. Look what I’ve found.

WORDS THAT LINGER – AND FINGER

If you are going to lie, you go to jail for the lie rather than the crime. So believe me, don’t ever lie. Richard Nixon April, 1973 advice to a colleague

No way will the GST be part of our policy. Never ever; it’s dead. John Howard in 1995, one year before he was elected and a little later introduced the GST.

I don’t want in Australia people who would throw their own children into the sea. I don’t. There’s something for me incompatible between somebody who claims to be a refugee and somebody who would throw their own child into the sea. It offends the natural instincts of protection and delivering security and safety to your children. John Howard, 2001.

A number of people that jumped overboard and have had to be rescued, and more disturbingly a number of children have been thrown overboard. I regard these as some of the most disturbing practices that I have come across in the time that I have been involved in public life, clearly planned and premeditated. I imagine the sorts of children who would be thrown would be those who could be readily lifted and tossed without any objection from them. Minister Philip Ruddock, 2001.

Fiction Proven Stranger Than Truth!

But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Miss Lewenski. I never told anybody to lie. Not a single time. Never. These allegations are false. And I’m going to go back to work for the American people. Thank you. President Bill Clinton, 26 January, 1998.

Hussein … spends his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies. Madeline Albright, Nov. 10, 1999 Clinton Secretary of State.

The takeover of South Vietnam would be a direct military threat to Australia and all the countries of South and South-East Asia. It must be seen as a part of a thrust by Communist China between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. R G Menzies, 1965. Really!

It is good contextual information; it can’t be used as league tables. Julia Gillard in March, 2017 on the NAPLAN test.

The nineteenth century American Party, also known as the Know- Nothing Party because members were forbidden to reveal its details, has echoes in our present world.

The Know-Nothing Platform 1856 

(1) Repeal of all Naturalisation Laws.

(2) None but Americans for office.

(3) A pure American Common School system.

(4) War to the hilt on political Romanism.

(5) Opposition to the formation of Military Companies, composed of Foreigners.

(6) The advocacy of a sound, healthy and safe Nationality.

(7) Hostility to all Papal influences, when brought to bear against the Republic.

(8) American Constitutions & American sentiments.

(9) More stringent & effective Emigration Laws.

(10) The amplest protection to Protestant Interests.

(11) The doctrines of the revered Washington.

(12) The sending back of all foreign paupers.

(13) Formation of societies to protect American interests.

(14) Eternal enmity to all those who attempt to carry out the principles of a foreign Church or State.

(15) Our Country, our whole Country, and nothing but our Country.

(16) Finally – American Laws, and American legislation; and death to all foreign influences, whether in high places or low!

Source:  11/12/2017.

Whole Document SourceThe Duke University Special Collections Library: 11/12/2017.

South Vietnam would become a Communist State, and the lives and security of millions who have resisted Communism would be in jeopardy.

The impact of our complete withdrawal, as proposed by the Labor Party, would be felt throughout South-East Asia. We, too, would come under threat. Harold Holt, 1966 – election speech.

In the actions we have now taken we are not concerned to stop Egypt, but to stop war. None the less, it is a fact that there is no Middle Eastern problem at present which could not have been settled or bettered but for the hostile and irresponsible policies of Egypt in recent years, and there is no hope of a general settlement of the many outstanding problems in that area so long as Egyptian propaganda and policy continues its present line of violence. Anthony Eden, 31 October 1956 justifying the disastrous Suez invasion.

Are there not other alternatives than sending our armies to chew barbed wire in Flanders? I have it in me to be a successful soldier. I can visualise great movements and combinations. Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, 1914 aged 40, just before he initiated the disaster of Gallipoli.

*****

To end on a lighter note I conclude this little exposé with a reference to political words of a different kind: creative abuse. I have found no better exponent than

Paul Keating.

Peter Costello was “all tip and no iceberg”, Andrew Peacock an “intellectual rust-bucket”, and Wilson “Iron Bar” Tuckey a “stupid, foul-mouthed grub”. He famously called his 1993 opponent John Hewson, “a feral abacus” with a performance “like being flogged with warm lettuce”, and in saying to him “I want to do you slowly”, delivered a taunt that still echoes in the dark corridors of the Australian political imagination. Keating may have lost the election to Howard in 1996 but one suspects that Keating’s special brand of spoken bastardry will endure beyond any memory of Howard’s words. What, after all, do a majority of votes matter, when your opponent has described you to history as a “mangy maggot”, “the old desiccated coconut”, “araldited to the seat” and a “dead carcass, swinging in the breeze”?

As to the ethics of this, you can decide.

Source:  12/12/2017.

So there you have it; just my little collection of political dalliances with the truth, garnished with some Keating sauce. I hope I haven’t given you indigestion. R.

_________________________________________

Some years ago I tried to do something about all of this deception. I wrote the little book below. It was the subject of an interview on the ABC and raised a laugh there and at other places.

Bastards Cover

It was fun to write. Greg Gaul is a masterly cartoonist who caught my ideas so cleverly.

Here’s a little video I’ve just made about the book.

I have also given it to some political friends with a waiver saying they did not need it. If you want a copy, there are still some left. Just click the PayPal button below. The price is $12.50 AU author signed and posted free anywhere in the world. If you want it, don’t forget to give me your right postal address when you use PayPal.

 

A Survival Guide For Dishonest Political Bastards

A$12.50

Thanks for your company here,

royciebaby.

Mirum Hospitium (Remarkable Hospital)

So you wake up to a morning that seems possibly your last because of a frightening dizziness. The world is spinning so you close your eyes to avoid the turmoil. If you get up you’ll fall over so you stay in bed hoping the revolving world will stop. It doesn’t.

You’ve been dehydrated before so maybe water will fix things. You therefore struggle out of bed and blunder off to the kitchen, hands sliding along a hallway wall to help you avoid falling over. Two big glasses of water.

No relief. So you stagger onto an adjustable chair and almost pass out. Your wife finds you there. In conference, you both decide to ring 000.

Remarkably helpful phone service follows. First the ambulance section arranges for a doctor to talk to me on the phone. She checks things out with pertinent questions.

“Are you in pain anywhere?”

“No.”

“Are your limbs functioning properly with feeling?

“Yes.”

I can’t remember the other questions but they made me feel I was  being advised very wisely. Then I was asked to hand the phone to my calm and caring wife to pinpoint the address for the ambulance. I was to stay put and wait.

The paramedics came so quickly to my unit. The date was January 14, 2018. I hope that date brings credit to two fine, professional people.

“Hello,” said one cheerfully at my shoulder. This cheerfulness was magically relaxing to the patient to be.

“That your self-portrait?” he asked jokingly looking at my Frans Hals Laughing Cavalier painting on the wall.

“Every painter paints himself,” I said, “so that is Hals’ self-portrait not mine. A few hundred years out of my time.”

“That your guitar?”

“Yes.”

“Do you sing?”

“Yes.”

“What songs?”

“Folk mainly.”

Then I sang:    O the summertime is coming

And the trees are sweetly blooming

Where the wild mountain thyme

Grows around the blooming heather

to some considerable applause…

While all this was happening, professional expertise had sprung into action. Blood pressure. Standing blood pressure. Blood test. Other tests I don’t understand.

I was in good hands.

A trip to hospital was decided upon. I walked with help to the ambulance. What a spotless, well equipped vehicle! Comfortable travel bed with my paramedic seated beside me getting details – with driver’s licence help.

What a calm, smooth ride to Ryde Hospital, mirum hospitium! The travel bed smoothly unloaded and I’m wheeled into Emergency. Explanation of case by paramedic to one duty nurse.

Ryde Hospital: January 14, 2018

It is hard to do justice with words to the benefits I received there. Such thorough, caring attention by my second duty nurse. There is a businesslike energy in that place. You can feel the concern for you and you can see it in the eyes of the staff. Care for your comfort. Care for your valuables. Care for your identity. Care for your peace of mind.

My doctor’s thoroughness amazed me. So many tests to check my physical and mental capacity. Such caring and helpful advice. My dearest wife too, who braved the traffic to follow the ambulance, and remember we are both octogenarians, stayed in the ward for the four hours I was required to complete. She was treated with much care and kindness too.

And so the diagnosis was benign vertigo. My doctor and nurse gave me the final walking test. Then home in my dearest wife’s care. All free.

Can you see why I am a fan of Ryde Hospital and the fine paramedics who took me there? Lucky country.

Lucky me!

images

Wisdom Begins in Wonder: Socrates

A Teacher’s Thoughts on COMPULSORY TESTING

The Socratic method has long been recognised as an important way to promote the getting of wisdom. It is interesting to pause a while amidst the current test fever in Australia to consider the validity of the classical model. There was never anything trite in the vast area of Socrates’ Curriculum.  Look at the summary of his questioning style: “The Socratic Questions.”

UWASocrates_gobeirne_cropped

Image Attribution: Creative Commons

The Socratic Questions

Source: http://changingminds.org/techniques/questioning/socratic_questions.htm 14/12/17

• Why are you saying that?

• What exactly does this mean?

• How does this relate to what we have been talking about?

• What is the nature of …?

• What do we already know about this?

• Can you give me an example?

• Are you saying … or … ?

• Can you rephrase that, please?

_________________

In the light of Socratic awareness, so many of our current testing procedures in schools fall short because they are concerned with only a small part of the human story. I am not at all sure it is the right part. A new word has come to mind for these tests: TINTs – Tribal Indoctrination Tests (I expanded the acronym for decorum’s sake)

Such tests control the destinies of the young. Success will define tribal acceptability ranging from satisfactory to heroic. Failure will mean confinement to a lesser life.

This judgement of the tribe is focused excessively on the Cognitive Domain. And because of the cost of other methods, the tools of judgement are dominantly one-off tests.

Some of us who have been on the teaching journey for a considerable time cannot help feeling uneasy about the present day league-table fever. And the cognitive area is only a part of all learning. What about attitudes? What about the Psycho-motor area of mental health? How is the current generation faring in those areas? We have no mass-scale awareness of this. Maybe such concern is irrelevant and all we need from the masses is obedience to ad-talk and polispeak.

How strange it is to divide people the way we do into quartiles of visible success!

The category of failure, or even moderate success, is a harsh one these days to belong to. We teachers have learnt the hard way that the bottom fifty percent are half our future.

My Questions

Is TEST preparation replacing other (untested) teaching?

Are categories becoming more important than individuals?

Is stress controlled mathematically in the ranking, especially for the very young?

Is lack of skill with examination technique really a valid reason to berate children?

Is forecasting questions by study-guides a similar invalid variable?

Is postcode an accounted-for variable?

What precisely is the effect of school morale on learning?

Are all test conditions rigorously uniform for valid comparison of schools or groups?

Is there a clear distinction between diagnostic tests and attainments tests?

Does the vast cost of universal testing remove funds from urgent remedial teaching?

Are we really testing the right things?

Unknown       bizarro-stats

Attribution: Creative Commons: Dan Piraro.

_________________

So there you are. Just felt I had to say these things. All those years of sharing learning with my students make you notice things. Things you don’t usually read about in a government’s test reports.

Bye now. 

I Try To Understand

Right now people all around me seem to be on drugs – word drugs. As I watch their narcotised, stupefied, insensible, befuddled, delirious, hallucinating behaviour I feel as though I have just fallen into Alice’s Wonderland. Why is this so?

I try to understand.

Rudyard Kipling once said that words are the most powerful drugs used by mankind. I fervently agree with him. I do know however that some words are as valuable as penicillin. They are not the ones I am thinking of.

The words currently in my mind can lead to the darkest of consequences. Many of the users of these words aim to suppress logic. They seek to give you a good feeling about unverified things and thus take away a great freedom – your ability to make decisions based on truth and reliable evidence.

What is the motive for this? It’s quite simple: to get your money. A second aim is to gain power over you. When your existence depends not on reason and proof but on the schemes and devices of fable pedlars, you are no longer free.

The selling artifice has become a Janus deal for the power seekers of the modern world. And the bend sanctifies the means.

In the table below then are some of my narcotic words. Their possible ramifications are also shown. All of this is a struggle that continues for me.

use-this-one-3-300x300

Attribution: Creative Commons – http://www.theloquitur.com/leonards-turntable-trending-mixtapes/

WORD ADDICTION TABLE

WORD DRUGS

 ____________________

RAMIFICATIONS

 ____________________

absolutely

Slanted perfection.

 Absolutely correct = 100%. Correct also = 100%. The big word merely looks better.

Absolute implies an extreme. So we are inspired absolutely to buy. 😯

get one free

You can first decide on the profit margin.

Then divide the needed selling price by three. The three you buy thus pay for the ‘free’ fourth.

Things are not free if you have to buy something else to get them. 😢

35% Off

It is possible to add 35% to the original price before the sale.

You can then with a flourish take off 35% in big letters.

Often the befuddled  buy the “bargain” and lift sales and profit. A big trick. Consider this! 😨

just 950 dollars 

“Just” can be a false diminutive.

It shrewdly implies you are getting a bargain. It can deceive you.

So go ahead and buy that match-box for just $19.50. Trust the fake mood? 😻

it’s new.

So what? Newness is vague value. Not necessarily good.

A new virus can make all the current medicines useless.

It’s time you knew ‘new’ can be a fake virtue. 😼

50% less fat

Meaningless batter.

Less than what? A pig’s foot? A ton of dripping?

“More” and “less” mean nothing unless all things compared are shown. 🤔

some people say…

Who the ‘some people’ are is never revealed in case you check up.

Are the SP mad? Are they criminals? Are they paid? No information given.

You are mad to see unchallenged truth in such shadowy statements. 😈

recent research shows

Once, recent research showed that man could never fly. Details are direly needed..

Researcher named? Size of sample given? Methods shown? We need to check it all!

Non-reliable non- valid research will eventually crumble like fake prophecies. 😵

ad hominem

Your position weak? Put a bomb in ‘em.

If your opponent is smart, attack his intelligence.

If your opponent is clever scientifically, attack science. 👹

being political

This “crime” has recently been the accusation used by one politician against another.

“In using that argument, the honourable member is simply being political,” said the Minister.

Pray what else should a politician be if not political? Are we not in fact suggesting here that  all politicians are bad people? ☠️

strong, firm leadership

Status quo rules. Police state in disguise?

Harsh penalties for dissidents. Laud our way of life; ignore its sins.

Enemies are said to be everywhere. Border protection is stressed. Weapons needed. Jobs and shares rise. Yea!    👿

taxpayer’s dollars

Unlimited funds to support banks, weapons and war.

Not so relevant re. education, hospitals and the aged. Save money for the truly important things and  privatise!

Open University Pty Ltd. 😎

big government

Corporate no no.

Viva Efficient Market hypothesis! Market triumphalism: core creed as we cash in on the Commons.

Auction off all that the people own. Make CEOs symbols of righteousness. Fund banks👺

expert advice

Henry Ford’s lawyer said, in 1903, that the car was only a fad.

Lord Kelvin of the Royal Society said in 1883 that X-rays were a hoax.

So the unsinkable Titanic sank. 🙃

the 99 cent gimmick

It seems a dollar cheaper. $4.99 is really $5.00 but the brain sees $4.00.

A deliberate trick to mislead. Yes deliberate. Count the examples.

‘Tis a subconscious swivel to twist reality in favour of the seller. 🙄

buy for $225 and save

You can reduce the cost but do you really save when you spend?

Etymology: Latin salvare ‘to make safe.’ Safe by spending? Maybe.

My daughter said long ago: “I was good today Daddy. Did you see all the things I didn’t do?” 😇

got highest awards

What were they? Were they valid? Is the brand story a convenient fantasy?

Self praise is an overt, lucrative form of fake flattery.

The going price for a knighthood from James I in the 1600s: £38. ♛

nothing but the best

The word best is often a fictitious superlative – a risky thing.

Accurate proof is rare. Glib tongues reap undeserved best rewards often.

Thus it may follow that the best possible outcome may be but the least worst option!  😼  

THANK YOU  FOR SPENDING YOUR TIME WITH  ME.    R.

🙏

Post Script

514887926

Things are not as bad as they used to be, as this Public Domain archival image shows.

 

It’s Not Cricket.

“It’s not cricket.” Did you know that the first recorded use of that expression in England was early in the seventeenth century when folk were accused of playing cricket on a Sunday. That was one way out of a Laurel and Hardy “revolting development.” An excuse was needed to avoid God’s wrath.

Regarding the rules of ethics though, is cricket today the moral pastime it was once claimed to be? No comment from me. You decide.

I do have a comment here however. About something else.

This little speech of mine is a consequence of 50 years of teaching: 29 teaching children or youths K to 12, and 21 teaching teachers. Yes, it is definitely not about cricket. A topic for between seasons perhaps. Anyway here it is. You decide.

I am a graduate of Fort Street, a selective high school in Sydney Australia. I remember Fortians with affection. Yet my memories of my students who struggled to learn with me in underprivileged Western Sydney also give me much comfort in my old age. Learning can be such a victory for some of us! I have noticed that the joy of sudden understanding lasts even  longer sometimes than the school itself.

A Parting Plea

Education is not a black and white simplicity. It is technicolour!

An infinite range of variables can influence the learning success of a child. We can mention postcode, home conditions,  parent ambition, gender, health, height, hearing capacity, eyesight, teacher-child-relationships, relevance of subject-matter, difficulty of subject matter, teacher mastery of subject-matter, intelligence (whatever that is), attendance at school, change of school, constancy of failure and constancy of success as some of the potential controlling variables. I do not claim this list is complete.

 Therefore, how do we measure teaching competence?

Don’t you dare tell me we can measure teachers via pupil performance in objective or one-off single day written tests! Don’t you dare tell me you can measure the competence of a teacher of literacy in the same way!

You have to get into that teacher’s classroom. That is where the essential action takes place. That is what needs to be observed. That is the cauldron where learning has to happen. The judge has to be there; has to taste the climate that children face every day; has to smell the smells; has to see what windows don’t open in hot weather.

In my school teaching days I was inspected by experienced, observant mentors twelve times. Twelve times they passed judgement on me according to what they saw in my classrooms. Once, two Year Eleven boys tried to help me. They said loudly for the inspector’s benefit as they left the classroom,”Gee that was a good lesson!” The inspector smiled and winked at me, but those two young men knew that a glossy CV was not enough for me to get promoted in that system. They knew that I was on display there where you cannot hide incompetence. The inspectorial system was replaced some years ago by a Harvard business model in my part of the world – alas!

More cricket next time, if the weather is fine.

R.

Memories Of A Second Class Cricketer

A Good Innings

 III

“Look after that shine please!”

John Blomley, Brilliant Swing Bowler

imagesAttribution: Wiki Commons

I have explained earlier, in my personal cricket narrative, that in 1958 I gave up my sporting ambition and returned to teaching. My appointment at a one-teacher school in the outer reaches of the Hunter Valley, with week-day accommodation only, meant that I spent my weekends closer to the city of Newcastle. So how could I not play cricket again?

The 1960 green field I had the good fortune to return to was situated at Stockton, on the north side of the Hunter River. It was a joyous return to the welcoming friendships and support I found there in that club that was a vibrant part of the Newcastle competition. I hope my surviving team mates and all families will forgive me if I focus just on one team-mate. After all these years I realise more strongly that ever what a brilliant human being he was.

My motive therefore is to make this little piece of mine an obituary in effect to a special friend, John Blomley. Off the cricket field when I knew him, John was a doctor serving the Stockton community in particular. On the playing field he was a star. That star shone not only on the cricket field. As a medical student he had been a fine Rugby Union centre-three quarter with Sydney University, New South Wales and Australia.

Here is a little more on the football side of things:

Born 7 March 1927 at Tumbarumba in New South Wales, Blomley attended St Joseph’s College, Sydney where he came under the watchful eye of the famous rugby coach, Brother Henry. Here, the young Blomley learned the rudiments of the game. Brother Henry insisted on a solid foundation for the young footballer. “There is no room in a college fifteen for a boy whose hands are not safe,” he counselled. “All the footballers at the college must learn the rudiments of the game.”

So Brother Henry turned out Jack Blomley as a polished inside back. After leaving St Joseph’s College in 1944, Blomley entered Sydney University to study medicine and naturally played for Sydney University in the metropolitan competition.

… Although he declared himself unavailable for the Australian Universities tour of New Zealand early in the year, Blomley looked forward to the 1949 representative season with the Maori side touring Australia for a Test series to be followed by a Wallaby tour of New Zealand. Blomley won selection in the New South Wales team that met the Maoris in the third match of their tour. The visitors produced a strong forward display to win 19-14, but Blomley did enough to be selected to play for Australia in the first Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

(Source: Loc.cit. the link below)

Here is an image of John at the height of his Football power. He was known as Jack in his Rugby days.

blomley-john

  Attribution: Loc. cit. the link below

You can read more on the Rugby career of John here at this Rugby site.

Returning to matters of cricket, I can say with some confidence that wicket keepers tend to judge bowlers’ ability accurately. The bowler has a huge hand in the making of the ‘keeper’s status. Part of my destiny was to keep wickets to the bowling of John Blomley.

Now although I was a mere second class cricketer, I have been lucky enough to keep wickets to a number of Australia’s Test bowlers including Johnny Martin, Pat Crawford, Grahame Corling, John Watkins and (as a Golden Oldie) Robert Holland. I have batted against Gordon Rorke, David Sincock and Peter Philpott, all Test bowlers. You can add to that perspective keeping wickets for countless other bowlers from inter-varsity and the Grades of Sydney and Newcastle, as well as the brilliant Merv Black at Arundel for the Australian Old Collegians. Nowhere in that conglomeration of experience can a find another John Blomley.

I am not saying he was the best in my experience. But he was up there, unrecognised largely, with the stars. He was unforgettable with his wit and boundless energy. How sad for him to die aged 43.

John loved every moment of his cricket. His enthusiasm was catching. He polished that ball, especially at Stockton’s oval, like the finest medieval craftsman at work. If you bounced that ball with a throw, you were doomed to hear a torrent of abuse.

He rode the mystic winds of Stockton Bight with that ball like Pegasus. Perfect control with windy support. Three outswingers and then a sudden inswinger at LBW time. A sudden slow ball for a caught and bowled. A faster one, the wicket broken and a bail harmlessly hitting my jaw.

John was a busy doctor too. More than once play was interrupted by the urgent needs of a patient.

He was patient with me too, amidst all of his quest to overthrow batsmen. Cheerful with mistakes and generous with success. I still replay a missed stumping that would have given him a hat trick. It was a legside inswinger that left the batsman and me stranded and resulted in four byes. I have replayed that moment so many times that I am sure I could catch it now, old as I am.

It is such a long time now since I marvelled at John Blomley. We all fade away eventually don’t we? All that is left of our dreams is a memory in the minds of others. But somehow that is a very important place to be.

R

Tea Break From The Cricket

Poems Through A Glass Starkly

News

  A Word On The Yellow Press

That picture above of the Yellow Kid is linked to the reason we have the current term “Yellow Press.” The cartoon character was the creation of Richard Fenton Outcault who was working in the 1890s in the United States for the extremely racist media mogul Joseph Pulitzer and his New York World. Outcault with his narrative cartoon style is generally regarded as the beginner of newspaper comics.

The Kid was an overtly shallow and uneducated character and spoke in a kind of  uneducated and “immigrant” language. One key aim: denigration. Pulitzer would have been pleased with the colour yellow as he had an intense hatred of Chinese, especially the mid-nineteenth century gold seekers. The head of the Kid was shaved, a common sight in that age of head lice, and he wore a nightshirt that was an inheritance from a sister and on which were written strange, attention getting statements that many thousands of readers took delight in.

Now the story of the Yellow Kid or, to give him his appointed name Mickey Dugan, has a quite startling relevance to our contemporary lives. His adventures were set in a New York Slum – Hogan’s Alley – in a time of widespread poverty and vast social and racial tension. These exploits captured the interest of a multitude. Newspapers largely without real news suddenly were beginning to make a profit – a big profit. Two pennies bought Mickey; to Hell with thinking about worldly matters!

The Yellow Kid was very significantly a distraction from vital news. He sold newspapers and helped change Pulitzer’s insignificant rag into a goldmine of 300,000 circulation. Arm in arm with rape and murder and scandal and war the Kid helped set a news-media pattern that still exists all around us today. The task for Pulitzer and Hearst was not to educate with true, important information but rather to present news selectively and fill the gaps with non sequiturs. That meant attract attention in your market in any way you can.

So today, when chosen samples of worthless and sensational trivialities seize our time and create a vast ignorance of reality, the  name”Yellow Press” is relevant. Mickey Dugan and his world live on.

Randolf Hearst saw the yellow light and stole Outcault from Pulitzer with a higher salary. The Yellow Kid remained the property of Pulitzer (verified by court decision) but another colour achieved similar objectives. But the diversion from reality continued. Other distractions like Buster Brown flourished.

Here is Buster.Buster_Brown_alone_mod_color-1

Attribution: Publisher: New York Herald. Date: May 4, 1902. Artist: Richard F. Outcault.

In contrast to the Yellow Kid, Buster Brown was good looking. Buster Keaton at the time was a child actor so the name was popular. The character was drawn first for Pulitzer but when Outcault transferred to Hearst the character went too as another circulation booster for Pulitzer’s former protege and then his rival. Buster appeared for both magnates but a court decision forbade the use of the name by Hearst. Hearst created many more circulation boosting comic figures. Let us not be too hard on the comics as a distraction. They often entertain after all. It’s non stop murder, rape, scandal and violence including war subject matter that need a line to be drawn. The saddest line of all is always a Siegfried line. What have the media done recently to stop wars?

_________________________________________

An Examination of Testing 

It’s testing time in the madhouse

As the beasties seek to see

If the alphas, gammas or deltas

Deserve a right to be

But the testers have delusions

That illusions must be inclusions

So that all they ever find at best

Is who can do their test

No data on morality in this ordeal hiatus

Just an empty number that proclaims your evil status

Sweet alpha we cannot kiss today for I’m an epsilon

I failed their test and can you guess I am now fit to be spat upon?

So all we humble guinea pigs must make a contribution

While flaws and lies imposed on us have a normal distribution

Someone should write a poem now to expose this dark stupidity

Reliable yes to sort the sheep but what about the validity?

Attribution. Cartoon Source: http://www.thelandscapeoflearning.com/2012/09/please-climb-that-tree.html Date of Visit: 16 October, 2017

_________________________________________

 

 Ad Ventures In The Gloom

Whoops we diddle and take ‘em down

Fiddle the riddle and kindle the middle

Bash the rash and fake the cash

All for the sake of a sale O

Beguile the smile and sell off the Nile

Export the nought to feed the rort

Flog the log till we’re all agog

All for the sake of a sale O

Enchant the egg to fall off the wall

Invent a rent for the incident

Conjure the wise to standardise

All for the sake of a sale O

Walk like a noodle to feed the fake

Peddle a medal to market the rash

Rat the fink so the price will sink

All for the sake of a sale O

Hoodwink the horde but smile the while

Hoax the folks and delude the fool

Inveigle the bagel to feed the greed

All for the sake of a sale O

Outwit the weather and say it’s fine

Pull a fast one on the last one

Cock-a-doodle let us canoodle

All for the sake of a sale O

17 October 2017

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Attribution: Source Creative Commons; precise origin unknown.

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Attribution: Source Creative Commons. Link: https://unclestinky.wordpress.com/category/pop-culture-stench/page/2/ Date: 17/8/2017

After the break, more cricket.

R.

Memories of a Second Class Cricketer

A Good Innings

II 

One of the most captivating aspects of the Victorian age was its tendency to confuse issues which ought not to have any logical connection at all. Among these the concept of the Gentleman loomed like a cloud over the landscape, permeating every backwater of social intercourse, tilting the balance of debate.

Benny Green A History of  Cricket  Barrie and Jenkins, London, 1988, p. 125.

The theme of this second part of my cricket tales is overwhelmingly ‘my gentlemen.’ It had nothing to do with class or with a capital ‘g.’ The only social status they had was to be in the same place as I was for a serious cricket match. Many of them are no longer alive yet I feel so fortunate they are still with me in my mind.

My performance for Combined Country in February 1957 led to my selection in the Petersham-Marrickville First Grade Team. Our home ground was Petersham Oval. I love that ground.

It was our school home ground for Fort Street and we won the Sydney High Schools competition in 1949. Our opening bowler at the time was Alan Wyatt who went on to open the bowling for New South Wales. I gained selection in the Combined Sydney High Schools team as an opening batsman. I had not taken up wicket keeping at this stage.

Here is our Petersham Marrickville team in 1957 as revealed by an ancient press clipping. These people are some of my ‘gentlemen’ but as you can see, the newspaper decided to give them capital letters.

Petersham

Clive Johnstone was at times captain of New South Wales. Noel Hughes had recently returned from a stint with English cricket. His sons, young at this time, were to grow into a distinguished cricket and football family.

Johnny Martin was yet to be the noted Test player. He was incredibly hard to “read” as a bowler for the wicket keeper that I was. We had an agreement that he would nod for a wrong ’un. Alas his mind and his body were not always in harmony so I would often get the wrong message. Poor batsmen though! He would trick them constantly too. But then I had to stop the ball to prevent four byes.

Johnny Martin was a lovely human being. A man of massive talent with bat and ball. As a first slip player he often stopped byes from a ball I missed. He was a true friend, humble and supportive. I had got to know his two brothers too in earlier days.

Vince was an opening bat for Stockton in the Newcastle competition I later played in. I rode in a taxi, when I was teaching in Maitland, driven by Johnny’s brother Tom. He said to me, “Keep an eye out for that young fellow (brother John). He’ll play for Australia some day.” He was right.

Johnny is also famed for his big hitting on Melbourne Cricket Ground. With ordinary bats too, not the supercharged 20/20 ones of the present.

Kevin Cantwell was a slow medium for whom I stood up to the stumps and got a stumping in one match match against Gordon. He was a brilliant field and a leading baseball player. I remember Brian Taber as the Gordon ‘keeper in that match, before his Test fame had arrived.

Pat Crawford had just returned from bowling for Australia at Lords . He was quick. I had met him in the National Service strangely enough. He represented New Holdsworthy’s troops while I was the wicket keeper-batsman for Old Holdsworthy. Keith Herron, a First Grade wicket-keeper for Drummoyne and a very diminutive person, had to deal with Pat’s bowling on a mat. I remember one of the deliveries almost going for six byes – or more accurately these days six wides.

Pat was kind to me and supportive, a rather overwhelmed country lad that I was. The other three team members were very good bowlers. Bruce Livingstone was the opening bowler for New South Wales, along with Pat Crawford.

Ken White was a skilful off spin bowler. Television came to Australia in 1956. The ABC was televising Grade cricket matches in 1957. In our match at Bankstown Oval, Alan McGilvray and Michael Charlton were busy describing our all-day performances. Ken was bowling to new batsman Grahame Thomas. He moved out to a yorker, missed, the ball hit my ankles and I missed the stumping. Thomas went on to get fifty, play for Australia and have an oval at Bankstown named after him. So as I see it everything happens for the best.

Ron Briggs for Bankstoen had been batting all day before Thomas came in, and finished with 187. Alan McGilvray was very sympathetic for the stressed out keeper with hours in the field who missed that one of so many balls. Had I made that stumping perhaps there would be an oval named after me instead of Grahame. (Only joking,) Just a few mistakes sent me to Second grade and thence back to a lifetime of teaching not cricket.

Combined Country 

Here is an ancient and  just surviving record of the Country innings on the first day of that match: February 13, 1957.

Petersham.pdf 2

My happiest memories are linked with the human qualities of the players, the gentlemen. First, the chance to talk for an hour after the match with Brian Booth, a captain of Australia, was a delight. A man of great status, he was so humble and so easy to talk to. His words were a fine complement to the artistry of his batting I observed on the field. His opening partner Warren Saunders was also a sheer delight to share time with.

Here is the Sydney innings. It clearly shows the cricket powers of those two players in particular.

Country Inns 1

It was an interesting experience too to be treated by the Cricket Association as representative players. Accommodation in the now extinct Hotel Sydney was very comfortable. Hire car transport to and from the SCG was relaxing for the players. Cricket boots left in the dressing room over night were cleaned with bright whiteness next morning. A small player wage we got to cover costs was quite an honour and a new experience.

Sam Trimble broke a finger facing Gordon Rorke. He was taken away for medical treatment and resumed his innings later. That was the starting moment perhaps of an illustrious career with Queensland and later Australia.

The haloed SCG itself was another joy. That “visitors” dressing room had served many players of distinction. A haloed place to be,

My other Sydney opponents in that match of long ago are still remembered.

Ken Muller I had met in my school days. He was a Fort Street student as I was. Peter Philpott was twelfth man for the 1949 Combined High Schools team I played in. He was a thoughtful bowler who turned the ball quite sharply and deserved more wickets. He was also a stylish batsman. I was destined to play against Grahame Thomas later in the year, as I have discussed elsewhere.

My Second Experience of Sydney Grade  

In the 1957/58 Sydney season I played four matches in First Grade and two in Second Grade. I batted only twice in the four First Grade matches for 20 not out against Gordon, and 49 not out against Waverley. I was not called on to bat against Western Suburbs and Bankstown. In Second Grade I scored 71 against Paddington at Rushcutters Bay and 20 against Glebe-South Sydney at North Sydney Oval. So my batting average was rather good.

After the demotion I felt a stronger calling from the profession I loved — teaching. I decided to leave the city, if the Department of Education so decreed, and rejoin the permanent teaching ranks. I was appointed far from the city cricket scene to a one-teacher school at Chichester via Dungog in the Hunter valley.

At Chichester I was unable to get weekend accommodation so I had to stay with my parents at Ferodale, four miles north of Raymond Terrace.

Thus, with the help of Fate, I was able to return to cricket at Stockton in the Newcastle competition. This in many ways was the beginning of another cricket adventure. The next part of my narrative will focus on this.

To end this chapter, these links might interest you:

(My special thanks to the wonderful Marrickville cricket researchers.)

Marrickville Cricket Club, in my time joined with Petersham, has a long and proud history commencing in 1910.

Notes From The Net and My Memory

As you know, I played with Johnny Martin and Pat Crawford. I admired from outside the fence Barnes , Alley and Moroney. Alley became a test umpire in England and in his very first Test with the very first ball he had to give a decision. It was out, caught behind and he was right. Andrews was before my time.

I saw Jack Moroney when I was an admiring kid, hit a six right over the rail arches in a Grade match at my Glebe home ground, Jubilee Oval. He was a solid Test opener but he could be aggressive too. Two ducks in a match were an inaccurate cause of demotion in that seven Test match career. He was a high school maths teacher by profession.

Marrickville CC’s players include Johnny Martin, Pat Crawford, Sid Barnes, Bill Alley, Jack Moroney and Tommy TJ Andrews  It has been home to Australian Captain Bob Simpson and three of Bradman’s ‘Invincibles’ – Ernie Toshack, Bill Brown and Ron Saggers. I remember the grace of Ron Saggers when he played for New South Wales. To clash in time with Test star Don Tallon from Queensland was bad luck for Saggers.

Here is a link to the Marrickville site:

http://www.marrickville.nsw.cricket.com.au/content.aspx?file=4224%7C23309m&print=1

Leg bye now,

R

Memories of a Second Class Cricketer

A Good Innings

I

Because cricket was for many years my chief escape from what are sometimes  laughingly called serious affairs, I promised myself I would never write about it. This is the seventh book I promised never to write.

Benny Green A History of  Cricket  Barrie and Jenkins, London, 1988.

For my agnostic father Alex, cricket was a religion. Perhaps it was an obsession.

Whatever it was, he bowled countless leg breaks or wrong’uns to my brother Vic and me in our backyards or on holidays wherever we went. That was probably the reason I hit Australian leg-spinner Peter Philpott for four leg-side boundaries on the Sydney Cricket Ground for Combined Country against Sydney in 1957. I don’t wish to imply I was ever a first-class cricketer, so that makes those boundaries an even greater achievement for my Dad.

During our annual visits to Berrara, a camping place of long ago (in the Forties) south of Nowra, off Fisherman’s Rock Road, we took a big spade and made a turf wicket for the “Test” matches that went on through the school holidays. There were plenty of players from the tents around us.

Mum and Dad were parents of the Great Depression and I was born in the alleged winding down year, 1933. Dad made me a billy-cart for Santa one Christmas, and added a cricket bat he also fashioned himself. Lots of cricket bats followed though, real ones, with compound cricket balls (cork not leather)  to play with as times changed for the better.

I remember buying a Stuart Surridge bat from Mick Simmons’ sports store:  George Street, corner with Campbell Street. Simmons made his money first from tobacco and then branched into sporting goods. Creams and shirts were bought there too. I loved going into that shop. Mick also would employ famous sportsmen to serve there, another big attraction for me and many others. Sport was not a corporate business then so the “stars” of the time were probably often glad of that job.

As I write, other sporting stores of my era come to mind. I bought my first wicket-keeping gloves from Bert Oldfield’s store, 243 Pitt Street Sydney. He taught me where to stand behind the stumps, advice I kept for the rest of my wicket-keeping days. A funny anomaly in those first cricket days was the sticky stuff we used to put on wicket-keeping gloves. Now I realise that if you didn’t concentrate, didn’t watch the ball and thus moved too late and snatched, the glue was a waste of time and money.

Yes times did move on as I’ve implied. In that past, you oiled your bat with linseed oil  – quite a test of your loving care. I think I remember rolling it with a broom handle and bouncing cricket balls on the surface to harden it. How different things are now – iron clad surfaces already on some of the bats you buy!

I remember too Stan McCabe’s store. He was a very quiet man who always served you courteously and humbly.  I bought in particular practice cricket balls from him. I was very sad to hear of his untimely death when it happened long ago now. His deeds against bodyline don’t die.

My introduction to Sydney Grade cricket came from Glebe South Sydney. This was because we moved to Newtown. I have learnt that the administrators of the grade competition decided, I think around 1910, that you had to live in the area of the club you played for. That aimed to strengthen the competition and draw crowds. So because I lived in Newtown, off I went to Jubilee Oval Glebe via the Glebe Point tram.

Albert (Tibby) Cotter, Warren Bardsley, Charles Kelleway and Bertie Oldfield all played for Glebe. Cotter, Bardsley and Kelleway also went to Forest Lodge Primary where Bardsley Senior was headmaster for many years, having taught one time in Warren, New South Wales. Oldfield was secretary of the Glebe Club in 1915.

Tibby Cotter was actually killed, in his life’s prime,  at the Battle of Beersheba in October 1917. He chose to join the cavalry charge although not strictly required to do so. As I write, the centenary of that event is being celebrated with full military honours. We can actually join the celebration of this and other fatal events for a deposit of $500 AU and then further payments. Death and destruction have strange bedfellows these days.

We young Glebe players were cared for paternally by a small group of senior players. I remember especially Jim Bowden, the First Grade keeper and later a Sheffield Shield umpire. A lucky friend for me. There was practice at the nets and there were practice matches mixing the grades on the main oval.

It was a great inspiration for us lower grade players to practice with the seniors. Ron Kissell, a state player, was there. He played eleven first class matches for New South Wales between 1946 and 1952. Bobby Madden was also there, an opening batsman briefly for New South Wales and a soccer player for Australia. I remember when he was dismissed for 99 for the state. 

One of the umpires in those practice matches was George Borwick, an umpire in the Bodyline series. Mrs Borwick made and served, with other ladies, afternoon tea for us. That was the kind of community we had then and will always need.

Mr Borwick was an influence on me. I remember a durable piece of advice: “If you think you are not out, look in the scorebook.” That has stabilised me many times since.

I was chosen in the club’s Green Shield (under 15) team as a leg spinner. I remember in a match at Waitara Oval that the fence was far to close for my bowling..

I made it into Fourth Grade as a batsman however, and so began a beautiful friendship. Then a wicket-keeper was needed so I volunteered. The friendship blossomed. Jim Bowden was a great help to me down a few years.

Those years passed and I worked my way up into Second Grade. Never to First Grade with that club.

Then came the family move to Ferodale, four miles north of Raymond Terrace on the Pacific Highway. In his usual way, Dad fostered my cricket interests as well as all the others. In conversation with Doug Rawlings, the manager of a shoe-store in Raymond Terrace, Dad found a link with Northern Districts Cricket Club in Maitland.

Another beautiful friendship began there, both with Doug and family and with cricket. Maitland has a special place in my life. I met my wife there much later. The cricket too is a lasting memory.

I remember Doug Rawlings, a memorable man who drove me up from Raymond Terrace each Saturday, and often rolled the wicket before a match. Col Johnstone, a State second eleven player, was our captain and my mentor. Our opening bowler’s name was indeed Mudd. The other opener was Keith Smith – a source of inspiration too as he had lost an arm in a factory accident. He batted quite well and bowled very well. He got a hat-trick against a visiting Sydney team (Western Suburbs). There, with those true friends, I studied the game further.

Inter-district cricket was one of the joys of that time. I met Doug Walters then, a while before his fame. He was a Dungog lad. I noticed the strength of his forearms.

The inter-district cricket led to selection in the Combined Country team of 1957.

Combined Country Selection

It all happened because I had resigned from teaching for a year to play cricket. First came the selection trial match at Tamworth. I survived that. On next to another match in Armidale. I survived that. Finally on to Grafton Oval. No mistakes there either, and I remember taking a diving catch out near square leg. That may have helped me gain selection in the final team.

At this time of writing I interpose a momentary reflection on Robert Holland. “Dutchy” has just passed away. Fate has been kind to me as I had the honour of playing Golden Oldies cricket with him in Vancouver and in Queensland.

A most inspiring person. Kind, humble and gifted in sport. I was present at the Sydney Cricket Ground when he took ten wickets against the West Indies when they were at the height of their power. I lost my voice for a week or so from cheering. I remember his Lords achievement of many wickets too.

Another kindness of fate was my sitting next to him in an Air New Zealand plane en route to Vancouver for twenty-odd hours. There was so much to share on that lucky journey. He told me of his talk with Bill O’Reilly when he Robert was chosen for Australia. O’Reilly told him the bowler was captain when the bowler bowled.

When he went to England, Robert saw fit to talk to the great English leg break bowler Douglas VP Wright, whom I saw dismiss Don Bradman with a lifting “leggie”  at the SCG just after the war. Wright apparently took eleven hat-tricks in his cricket lifetime. The advice from the Englishman, who by the way had a long run up and spread his arms like wings just before his last stride of the delivery, was to bowl the third ball of the hat-trick fast and on the stumps.

“Dutchie” was a gentle man; he was humble and not intent on winning above all else. I am so lucky to have known him and he gave me a stumping in one of his Golden Oldies overs. I am sad he has gone but memory eases the pain a little.

Now back to my narrative… (I will go on writing from here soon.)

Au revoir to the reader,

Royce

Gateway

My Time With Gateway

This is a little story about a university group. It is a tale of adversity, determination and, in many cases, ultimate triumph. The students who joined that group had experienced life the hard way. Some had been floored by drugs, there were several divorcees with children, one candidate had MS and used to talk to me each week about how his friends were getting weaker and sometimes dying; I have a beautiful painted shell given to me by one of several indigenous members of the group, and there was a blind student who typed her answers deliberately without using brail.

Gateway was a program, funded by the Federal Labor government in 1989, at the University of Wollongong. It was a spin off from the similarly funded “New Start” program, which my colleagues and I ran at UWS, two years before, with promising success.

This so-called equity scheme was a one-semester course for non-matriculated students to give them a chance to enter university. There was an English component, a mathematics component, and introductions to various aspects of university life, such as the library and the student union.

I am not a mathematician so my information on that is zero, except to say that the staff member was a revered member of the Mathematics Teachers’ Association, had both feet on the ground, and was a highly experienced university teacher.

As for English, we taught them that when you speak, you write on air, but when you write for formal occasions such as essays or examinations, it stays there for everyone to see and judge. We focused on the university essay and ways to make it good. We discussed especially the power of the sentence as a package of meaning; faulty package: damaged meaning.

We explained that every essay, whether it is an assignment or an exam question, ALWAYS has two components: the topic words, which tell you what to write about, and the directives, that tell you how to write about it. So, for Compare and contrast Sydney and Melbourne as modern cities, the topic words are Sydney and Melbourne, and the directive is compare and contrast as modern cities. To succeed here, you must talk about both cities; you must both compare and contrast them and not merely describe them; you must also discuss them as modern cities, not (necessarily) as football teams.

There is another essential. To do well you must have worked hard and know a lot about the two cities. The point though was that a fountain of knowledge sabotaged by irrelevance or incompleteness leads to at least disappointment, if not failure. Naturally spelling, grammar, style and narrative structure were among the outcomes of the weekly marking and post mortem discussions.

Can you decrypt this code I filled their first essays with: KTTQ?

It was Keep To The Question. Failure here still is a common weakness.

Candidates were given a 250-word essay to write each week. It was marked and returned to them in the next lesson a week away. There was always a post mortem session on strengths and weaknesses before the next lesson started. Words in excess of 250 were penalised. Too many, and the essay was marked but with a zero score. They were all informed of Blaise Pascal et al.’s famous words: “I am sorry I have not time to write you a short letter; I have to write you a long one.”

We worked through some of the commonest university tasks: description, analysis by resolution of controversy, analysis through definition or clarification, analysis through interpretation, the writing of technical reports and individual creative responses. We learnt the best way: with quick feedback from our mistakes. Everyone had to give a speech before the class group (a terrifying task for some) and we nurtured each other through that and every other ordeal. It was good for me as the teacher too. To teach is to learn something twice. Notice I prefer the word “teach” to “lecture.”

Now I want to talk about a few people I remember specially. No names, as we have such respect for each other, and they seem to be sitting beside me now, although it is part of two decades ago.

In one of the night classes, a man and a woman were sitting at the back of the room. I said to the class, “I might bring my ‘thesises’ next week to show you.” Within about two minutes, both of them were standing up waving their dictionaries at me. “You should have said “theses.”

I was a student of Professor Wilkes, at Sydney University. He had spent much of his life getting rid of Latin and Greek endings in English. I brought them my Collins Dictionary, which Professor Wilkes edited, and there was my version too. But I agreed with them that their version was easier to say.

The male student is a lawyer now. During his Law studies, he became World Champion Client Interviewer. It was a very big contest, run for law students around the world. He won the final in Scotland. The woman who waved the dictionary was an expectant mother. The baby joined us about a week after the Gateway course finished, and I had the delight of giving a present to a beautiful baby girl. Her mother was a brilliant student, went on to an honours degree and a position at the university.

On another occasion, I was spoken to on the telephone by the daughter of a potential student, who was seeking admission to the program for her mother. It turned out that both the mother and father were involved in a bus disaster some time previously in Queensland. Both were unconscious for a long time and both eventually survived. Recovering, they returned to Wollongong and were getting on with their usual life when the father dropped dead at the family home. The daughters wanted a remedy for the empty sadness.

We admitted the mother to the course. I could hear the screams of joy from her daughters in the background when I rang to tell them. That student walked with the aid of a walking stick. I remember her delightful, meticulous, small handwriting, and her willingness to discard her former ways and try something new. One of the first things I had said to each beginning class was “Warning! Warning! This course is dangerous to your preconceptions.”

The vision I remember most, however, of that particular brave person is her long walk to the stage on Graduation night, without her walking stick, in a beautiful, sparkling, black dress that contrasted with her neatly arranged, white hair. She entered university and studied with one of her daughters.

On another memorable occasion we had a call from the Secretary of the Steelers Rugby League Club, seeking a place for one of his young players. I was impressed by the caring attitude of that League official and his concern for the player’s welfare. The young man was qualified to enter the course, so in he came. He did the course, but was a star second-rower in First Grade for many seasons, with no time for university. Perhaps he could have used his entry qualifications later in life.

I remember too, a brave and diligent divorced mother with children who was badly treated by a recalcitrant ex-spouse. She dreamed of becoming a family lawyer. She became one.

We had a very popular leader of a musical group, suddenly dreaming of becoming an academic. Through Gateway, he gained university entry and an Honours degree in Creative Arts. He went on to his PhD thesis. Alas! When he passed away two years ago, I lost a true friend.

I am not sure I can explain the success of this group. In the six years I taught in the program, I could feel a sense of their bonding, their support for each other in a common cause. It is something that is hard for teachers to create, and even harder to define.

The Gateway group was the most successful of any identifiable undergraduate group in the University. Changes came, with lack of funding from the Federal Government, but I was gone then and the struggle belonged to somebody else. Sadly that gateway is now closed.

I still have a message from one of the women in the very first Gateway class, on a card given to me on my retirement from the University. It says, “Royce I will never forget you.” She had won the University Medal for Psychology.

Somehow, when I think of all my failures, of all the things I wish I had done better, people like these tap me on the shoulder and say, “Never mind; you did your best.”

So here I am in the wasteland of advanced maturity. Can you imagine how I feel, with my background, when I see the barriers to university study placed on students today. Wherever I go – OfficeWorks, Woolworths and Coles checkouts and elsewhere – I wish young people good luck with their studies and with their HECS payment. Almost always they smile back and thank me.

I have three degrees, each taking six years of part-time study. Because of the whims of time I have not paid one cent of HECS.  In fact the Department of Education of New South Wales actually paid for my first degree’s university tuition.  Such a golden age that was. Somebody then understood that the thousands of pupils in my 50 years of teaching would all fill workplaces and pay taxes. Lord what fools these present day political mortals be!

And what bigger fools vote for them!

Afterthought

If you have failed in one of those diabolical, terminal, one-off qualifying tests and still want to go to university, don’t give up. Go for it as a provisionally matriculated student. You’ll have experience on your side. R.