Archive for July, 2006


Jack Cooper Lawton

…born 14th July (Bastille Day) 2006, weighing 9 pounds 1, to Rohan and Michelle.
Mother and baby doing well. Click on thumbnail to see gallery. Another nephew for me, but the first on my side of the family. It makes an uncle out of my brothers Darren and Andrew and a father out of brother Rohan.


Terrorist Hysteria

The media hysteria surrounding this current “foiled plot” annoys me. The implication is that we are facing a particularly new threat in the guise of liquid explosives. Not true. Authorities have been aware of this particular type of threat since – at least – 1994 (12 years) (see here). Also not fully reported is that these types of explosives are unstable and hard to manage. See:
So while it is true that there are a committed bunch of nutters trying to cause “carnage”, most of us will never have to deal with the threat first hand, and if our intelligence and security organisations do their jobs, and our politicians start to address the root causes of terrorism politically (instead of milking the mass media generated fear), the future could be a much happier place.

I choose not be afraid. It’s much easier and more reasonable to live that way.

I was unfortunate enough to be listening to Fox FM the other day, yet it provided me unexpectedly with a pearl of wisdom from Ray Parker Junior: “I aint afraid of no ghost!”

(And as I finished writing this a couple of articles appeared on The Age site today which I think restore some balance:
“Terror aims high again” and “Who benefits from new hysteria about security?”)


Petrol in Camberwell

I was strolling across the carpark in Camberwell today when a young lady in distress came up to me. She told me that her car had been syphoned for its petrol and she needed a hand. She was vague but apologetic.

The facts seemed to be that she had come across from Brunswick West to visit a friend, thought she had half a tank, but when returning from the shops found that the car would not start. She had asked others for help but had not had much help. Of course this is Camberwell:  whitebread aussies with loads of loot, so pretty much what you’d expect. She’d have been better to break down in Brunswick West.

Actually to tell you the truth I doubted her story, but thought I’d walk her to the petrol station, borrow a jerry can, give her $5 of petrol, have a chat to a stranger and no harm done really.

Did you know the Safeway Petrol station at Camberwell does not lend jerry cans?! I had to buy one: A $13 jerry can, and $5 worth of petrol. Not that I was counting. The service station attendant was a cool guy and very apologetic so I cursed the evil Woolies empire under my breath. They’re making millions. People complain about the lack of community today and organisations like Woolworths make petty decisions which allow them to profit at others misfortune. Great business leadership guys!

So ranting and raving (in my head only) I walked the lovely lady back to her car. I found out she was a student. Her car confirmed this: a bombed out Astra, like the one I used to own when I was student, although I didn’t tell her this. I’m surprised to see a guy sitting in the driver’s seat reading a book!  This guy was <em>reading</em> a book while his girl – or friend – was out begging for petrol. What a lazy arsehole!

I left and wandered off trying not to feel too smug about helping someone out. She had asked for my details so she could pay me back. I had mumbled something about helping the next person if she could.

I walked to the bottle shop to find a nice wine and some whisky. I just had to tell someone my story so I barked out my disillusionment with Safeway petrol station policy, and Woolies in general, to the checkout guy. (Checkout people have to listen that’s why they are so great!). But then, as I pick up my liquor to walk away, I realise I’ve just spent $50 at the new Dan Murphy store, owned by the same “evil empire” I had just been “going off” at.

F***ed either way!


Reflections on Soccer and Nations.

A lot has been written about the national loyalties of Australian soccer supporters. It seems to have stirred the likes of Andrew Bolt who just doesn’t “get it” apparently.

I often stop for coffee at a particular cafe and the store owner and I talk about travel. She is born in Australia to Greek parents. She thinks of herself as Greek. That’s the way she feels. I can’t really argue with that. I can’t tell her how to feel.

I know of people who have supported their “ancestral” nation for the last 30-40 years and so continue to support them before Australia now.

Then I see supporters who have adorned themselves in the colours of both countries when the loyalties have been divided.

Then I see clusters of young men, full of piss, smashing windows and generally running amok.

It’s just a game, right!?

And then I read articles like Bolt’s that draw parallels with French riots, Sydney riots and branch stacking. This is maybe taking things a little too far.

A colleague went to Germany as an Australian supporter. He is Greek-Australian. Whenever he tried to drape the Australian flag over his brother he would be rebuked: “Get that Union Jack off me!!” What would a Greek-Australian see in the Union Jack? Even England doesn’t play under this flag. No-one at the World Cup does.

Another new phenomenon is to see supporters’ cars with flags. But yet again you rarely see the Australian flag, but rather the green and gold adopted flag.

So what does it mean to be Australian? Or specifically what does it mean to be Australian to a non-Anglo Australian soccer fan? And what is it with the Union Jack?

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