Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Eggs

And then there's
and this one, just to show what Google has saved me from.

On the other hand

I'm still in with a chance on this:

Update: no, it went for double my bid. Damn. I should have gone up. How can Gina Hancock resist things like this?

For one glorious moment

I was the highest bidder. For five minutes.

It's still not outrageously dear. I know I'll regret letting it slip away.

Well, that (going to Options, changing Line breaks tick from 'Use
tab' to 'Press Enter for line breaks', Done) didn't work.

Try again.

Line breaks

Apologies. Apparently the switch to the new Blogger/Google + format meant that posts no longer took a simple Enter key as a line break - you had to add it in HTML. Which plays merry Ned with William Carlos Williams. I have now reset it. I'm still having trouble getting to Edit old posts quickly; currently I have to go all round Robin Hood's barn, to throw in another good old English idiom too little used in these degenerate times. Though somebody in the cricket commentary the other day did use the term 'curate's egg' correctly. Which is a plus.
Bishop: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones". Curate: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This is just to say

I have been anointed with
the oil
that was in
the ampulla

and which
you were probably
for the sanctifying of a king who would regain the realm lost by his ancestors

Forgive me
my lice were itchy
so soothing
and so cold

Personal Grooming, Importance Of

From Lancaster and York, the War of the Roses, by Alison Weir:
On 13th October 1399 Henry was crowned in Westminster Abbey with oil said to have been given by the Virgin Mary to St Thomas a Becket for the sanctifying of a king who would regain the realm lost by his ancestors. Unfortunately, as the sacred moment of the anointing arrived, the Archbishop discovered that the King's head was alive with lice.
So, as Rose says, what happened then? Did the Archbishop withhold the benison? Did he swash the oil around in the hope that St Thomas could work a miracle and do a NeutraLice? Did he scream "Ooh, yuck" and jump, spilling everything so that the courtiers all slipped in the oil and did pratfalls? Regrettably, we are not told. Just that
At the offertory, Henry dropped his gold coin, which rolled away and could not be found.
So, more slapstick, then.

Here am I, in my decaying years, and still catching up on errors I made when I was twenty. Listening to Janis Joplin sing Oh Lord Won't You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz the other evening I realised I'd had this whopping mondegreen for nearly fifty years. It's "Dialling For Dollars is trying to find me", not "Darling, four dollars is trying to find me...." Which points to a rather more significant character flaw: I don't interrogate my inputs, I just let it all flow over me. Still. Forty-seven years. I've been singing it for forty-seven years.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I see that the micro-USB cable I just paid $25 for at Dick Smith's could have been had for $1 online. A learning moment, one hopes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Please please please please

Sarah Palin says that in the case of a brokered convention, she'll 'help'....
"Obama transformed "a shining city on a hill into a sinking ship," Palin said Saturday."
She hasn't lost it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Article in the Age

Too little honour for the world and work of women

Carol Schwartz

February 8, 2012

Caring professions are being ignored in our awards system.

Another Australia Day, another round of fireworks and another honours list. Another evocation of the qualities Australia admires and the fields that Australians look up to, from which we can deduce that Australians think the things men do are twice as worthy as the things that women do.

As in previous years, fewer than a third of the names on the Australia Day honours list are women. As in previous years, women are given more awards in the lowest grades than in the higher.

When Gough Whitlam brought in Australian honours in 1975 to replace knights, dames, the Order of St Michael and St George, the British Empire Medal, and all the baggage of the British court, he wanted to show the world that Australians had a proud record of achievement, a vigorous culture, and a diverse society. In those first years the proportion of women on the list was less than 20 per cent, yes, but back then that was a progressive achievement. Half a lifetime later we've painfully inched up to 30 per cent, nearly all that gain coming in the 1990s.

What's particularly discouraging is that the situation is now actually getting worse. The peak came in 2003, and the trend line is now dropping by about 2 per cent a decade. Just sitting back and hoping for women to achieve fair, equal recognition is not going to be enough.

Much of this disproportion arises from the unquestioned fact that recognition of women's contributions lags in other areas of Australian life. About a tenth of the list are professors, and women make up nine out of those 43. Doctors make up about another eighth, and women make up 11 out of that 54. About an eighth of the awards are for services to business or industry, and women make up just two out of those 55. If those three sectors rewarded women at the current average rate - not half-and-half, just no worse than other sectors - we would already be a third of the way to full equality.

It's also notable that the areas of Australian life where women are dominant are almost completely missing from the awards. If we turn our minds to people who do good for others, just about the first images that come to mind would be nurses and teachers. Both professions are weighted towards women. Yet nursing gets a bare four mentions in the Australia Day honours list, while teaching gets three (all of them in the field of teaching the arts rather than firing the imaginations of 20 unruly schoolchildren desperate for recess). There's one therapist on the list. There are no social workers. It would be easy for a foreigner to come away with the impression that Australia had more professional sportspeople than care workers.

Nobody is suggesting a conspiracy. Women who are nominated are given awards - even if they are predominantly the less elevated awards - at a higher rate than men. It's just that women simply don't get nominated often enough. Australians - men and women - get their impression of the kind of people who should be nominated for awards by looking at people who received the awards in the past, and the stereotypes are self-perpetuating.

Public role models are to be found in more than a few sectors, and at every level of every hierarchy.

Only by widening our concepts will we be able to open up the field, and it's only by opening up the field that women are going to have a chance to reach equality in the presentation of gold wattle brooches with a little crown on top.

Women who make it in this society have had to do much more to reach the same elevation as their male peers, and deserve their weighting in the nomination process. There's no theoretical reason why women should not make up half the honours lists.

Women's Leadership Institute Australia and Our Community are doing something to help rebalance the situation, but we can all do much more. There's nothing stopping any one of us from picking out from our acquaintanceships the women we most admire and filling out the forms on their behalf.

True, the disproportion of awards is only a symptom of an underlying fault - but if we get together to fix this, that will get us a large part of the way to the kinds of organisational infrastructure we need.

Australian women are not less talented than Australian men, or worse leaders, or less public-spirited. What we are, unarguably, is worse at organising networks for official recognition of those in our networks. Come on, let's just do it. If every thousandth woman in Australia downloads the nomination forms now, we can get this thing sorted overnight (quicker still if men get on board, too). And there aren't many social problems that are that easy to fix.

Carol Schwartz is chair, Women's Leadership Institute, Australia.

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