Let me tell you / how it will be / There’s one for you / nineteen for me …

Ooh-ooh I’m the taxman.

Ken Henry is a dude from Taree.  He likes wombats.  He is also the head of the Treasury.  The Treasurer asked him to do a big old review into what’s what in the tax system, and what we should do next.

Continue reading Let me tell you / how it will be / There’s one for you / nineteen for me …

Free Alcohol

If you could get alcohol for free, what would happen?

I thought so.  But this was a thought experiment, not a party invite.  Consider this: the Government bans alcohol and then makes it available for free at pharmacies, in regulated doses to registered people.  Kind of like some people propose for illegal narcotics. What would happen?  Would we still drink? Would alcohol still have allure? Continue reading Free Alcohol

Haiti and three kinds of development aid

Haiti was hit by an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 last week.  The death toll estimate in this morning’s newspaper stands at 200,000.  We can only hope that the estimate cycle is at its peak, and it will be revised down later.

Earthquakes registering on the Richter Scale at 7.0 are rare but not unheard of.  There were 16 Earthquakes of this magnitude or more in 2009.  Six people died in Japan when an earthquake measuring 6.8 hit there recently.  The  disaster is as much the poverty and ill-rule in Haiti.

Continue reading Haiti and three kinds of development aid

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal looks like this.
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It’s a mausoleum, which means there’s dead people in there.  Dead person number 1 is Mumtaz Mahal.  Mumtaz was the wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, and he built the Taj Mahal for the sole purpose of housing her dead body.  He really liked her a lot.  Then, when he died, his son installed him in there alongside his lady.  The Emperor was the second and final person stowed in there. Continue reading Taj Mahal

Campaign: Ride like you walk!

I ride a lot.  When I ride for fun,  I wear sports clothes, avoid the city, and go fast.

I also ride to get to places, and when I do, I wear the clothes I want to wear at my destination.  Sometimes this means I’m riding in jeans, sometimes I’m wearing a suit, sometimes boardshorts and thongs (i.e. flip-flops).

And when I’m riding in my suit, people go past me.   I want to tell them it’s not a race, I’m not playing your game, I’m not even trying.  But they looks so smug.

Continue reading Campaign: Ride like you walk!

On ‘The Road’

At 1am last night, as Melbourne sweltered through its warmest ever night, ( a minimum of 30.6 degrees celsius was reached only at 8.49am), I picked up ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy.

As the temperature gradually dropped through the 30s I plowed through his post-apocalyptic, grey, dark and snowy book. By 4.30 am I finished the last page.

Cormac McCarthy was born in 1933, and his 76 years on earth have gifted him a particularly bleak outlook. I was familiar with his work only by having seen the film No Country for Old Men. Which may have been the most powerfully horrible, morally destabilising film I have ever seen.

So I was prepared for the book’s epic-scale serving of bleak. I’d guess no book I ever read  had the word ‘grey’ in it so many times. A man and his son traverse a post apocalyptic land (probably, but not identifiably, America) along a road full of the hopeless, the starving and the violent. The Road. Continue reading On ‘The Road’