A few pictures snapped down the road in Katoomba’s ‘street art walk’.
OK – should have seen this coming.
Some new pieces being created in Katoomba’s street art alley. Interesting how street art appears to be moving away from the style we associate with hip hop and moving in the direction of greater realism. Not sure if this is a step forward or one backward. The other thing I find surprising is that street artists appear to be risk adverse in subject matter but then again, what we have here is art approved and probably paid for by the local authorities and as such and as I’ve said before, it’s more art in the street than art of the street.
OK – better than nothing but, and I know this is an unfair comparison given these are most likely commissioned murals and probably with restrictions on subject matter, where Banksy’s works are often insightful social comment these works do little other than display the artist’s skill in creating large-scale illustrations with spray cans.
Below are a few snap shots I took this afternoon in Katoomba’s ‘street art alley’. Some good works but pretty much same / same as everyone and everywhere else.
Scenes of love and rejoicing in the Australian federal parliament yesterday with same-gender marriage passing the lower house. Today the governor general signed on the dotted line and may the weddings begin. Hope this goes well.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch Trump has proven he fears not being elected for a second term and recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to shore up support of the United States’ rich, retarded and powerful. Retarded because anyone with half a brain would see that on its current course Israel is a train wreck. Was it not John Kerry who said Israel needs to be saved from itself? Here’s a theory about why the Israelis are so determined to grab land from the Palestinians and it has nothing to do with religion. I checked on geology dot com where the beach would be in Israel by the end of this century entering various levels of sea level rise and whilst not as dramatic as say Bangladesh, there would be reason to make Jerusalem the capital because Tel Aviv will have its toes in the water from about 2 metres of rise and so would be very vulnerable to major flooding caused by extreme weather events. But that’s not the only climate change problem they face, according to an Israeli government website climate change and rising sea levels will also cause salination of ground water, extreme heat and cold, food insecurity, threats to economic development and even having to take in climate refugees from neighbouring countries.
They certainly have a problem and part of the solution could well appear to be the territorial expansion of Israel but are policies that in the end will see Israel squeezed between a rising sea and a rising tide of Arab anger a well-reasoned solution?
Funny, if climate change is indeed part of the Israeli / Palestinian equation that Trump is assisting in the implementation of a rather radical mitigation policy. Grabbing other people’s land and I think that if we want to get an idea of the future for all then we need only to look at what’s already happening in places such as the Middle East and multiply it by as much as it would take to result in system collapse and worldwide conflict.
Other than that, been out on the MTB. Again the Oaks trail and noticing what appears to be a collapse of the insect population. I’ve noticed a decline over these past twenty years or so but never imagined it would get to the point where those annoying little bush flies would all but disappear.
Nothing much to say here other than spent the afternoon riding out to a place known as ‘Hanging Rock’. There used to be a ‘hanging rock’ going on photos dating back to mid last century but I’d say the rock itself has long fallen into the Grouse valley below.
Was out yesterday afternoon riding my mountain bike – usual itinerary which is about 20 kilometres of highway followed by 30 of dirt track. Pretty good ride and happy to say that each time I do it I’m walking less of the steep uphills. Stopping at Bruce’s Cafe in Woodford for a coffee, Bruce is a MTB freak himself, before taking on the dirt part of the ride, I noticed the western horizon had turned near Prussian blue but the oncoming storm appeared to be moving slowly so thought I could outrun it down to Glenbrook and that if not, it would swing around the top of the mountains and follow the deep valley south of the ridge along which stretches the ‘Oaks’ fire trail.
For the first few kilometres of trail the storm was hot on my heels but as I climbed higher it appeared to dissipate indicating that it had gone for the valley route rather than climb above the ridge from where I got a few pictures with the point and shoot I always have in my backpack.
Same gender marriage passed with a 61.5 percent ‘yes’ vote with a participation of 80 percent of eligible voters. How that remaining fifth would have voted is something the far right and other conservative groups are probably trying to figure out. Were they so opposed they threw the ballot paper in the bin or are they all people who couldn’t be bothered walking to the post box? If for the most part ‘no’ sayers then the result would have been different or at least a lot closer had they voted. I’d guess Australia is split down the middle on the issue and this same-gender marriage went through because a lot of the against didn’t vote.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation news was happily reporting statistics on participation rates by age group forgetting this was supposed to be an anonymous survey. It appears some were right in being suspicious of the bar codes on the ‘anonymous’ yes or no only form and the government has collected data on how each individual voted.
The yes camp also said there would not be any further social consequences to a ‘yes’ outcome such as gay and lesbian issues being introduced into primary school classrooms. Wrong again – yesterday, the day the result was announced, a mother contacted me saying her 9-year-old son was put in the ‘wrong’ group in a classroom debate on same-gender marriage. Influenced by an ultra conservative Catholic grandparent, he said God made marriage between a man and woman.
The federal senate as I write this, is debating the bill that will legalise same-gender marriage and the issue is freedom of religion, guaranteed in the constitution, and freedom of speech, itself implied but not guaranteed in the constitution. Should a priest be able to refuse to marry a same-gender couple on the basis that marriage is a sacrament in which God himself joins a man and a woman? On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation news this morning a person looking as though her day job is schoolboy impersonator, said that would be ‘discrimination against LGBTQI people’.
Etc, etc and we are now just a day into this and already two basic tenets of democracy, the right to speak one’s mind and the right to religious freedom, are under attack. And we haven’t started on the kid issue yet. Anyways, as Bill Clinton said at the funeral of Helmut Kohl, “we must also let the young make their own mistakes”.
Myself, and as I’ve said before, I support the right to marriage for all but I also support the right to free speech, the right to religious freedom and the right of children not to be dragged into highly emotional adult debates. It’s called believing in democracy and anyone who has a problem with that is welcome to fuck off to countries like North Korea or Saudi Arabia.
The other ‘good’ news is that the Australian soccer team will be heading to the World Cup in Russia next year. Great game last night in Sydney with the Aussies defeating the Hondurans 3 – 1. I’m not a great football fan but the World Cup is a different matter. National pride.
OK – have to also mention the sale today of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” for 400 million US dollars. Aside from all the issues related to social equality this raises, I also could not help but wonder why a single painting is that desirable? It’s like it is a piece of the very material from which the most successful culture in the world was built and laugh out loud, it’s also a painting done by a dude who would be in jail and/or subjected to the reporting conditions of a sex offender were he alive today and lived and created as he did five hundred years ago. Says a lot about what actually created western culture as we enjoy it today – so far.
Result of the gay marriage plebiscite will be known tomorrow. Sad thing is I can’t think of any guy I’d want to marry and that I know for sure to be alive. Anyway, all this social engineering bullshit distracts from what we should be most worried about and that is of course avoiding the sixth great extinction, if that is still possible.
A few recent pictures including one below I took at the ‘yes’ march in Sydney. If you read the Paglia interview you may remember how – back in 1995 – she described the mainstream, gay activist “ACT UP” style, “When I look around and I see the kind of ACT UP style, with the short shorts and the combat boots and a kind of skinhead look, I think, first of all, how childish, and secondly, how desexualized, no matter what people say, how utterly neutered.” Well, nothing appears to have ‘changed’ much in over twenty years. Reading Paglia’s comments I remembered a picture I took at the ‘vote yes’ march parade in September. See below…
OK, not a great comparison but let’s compare the above to Caravaggio’s ‘Amor’ painted circa 1600 (below) and which Robert Hughes described in his “Shock of the New” art documentary as “the victory of sex over culture”. I don’t agree with Hughes but it has to be said he was Australian and the product of a sex-adverse Australian culture particularly at the time when he made that documentary. Sex is front and centre of course in Caravagggio’s painting but the painter would have acknowledged his painting of Amor is in agreement with Mann’s “Death in Venice”. The beautiful Tadzio (below Amor) is Amor and Aschenbach, like Caravaggio, is the artist who bows before divine beauty as made visible to us by the gods in the form of the boy beautiful. This was gay culture at its highest and how it existed up until I’d say the immediate post-Stonewall period when and as the ‘yes’ march photograph clearly shows it became a sad, childish and neutered parody of what it had been.
And a few recent pictures of mine and such as they are…
Out again riding my mountain bike – down the highway and then the dirt highway to near the bottom of the ‘mountains’. Inverted commas because they were much, much higher a few hundred million years ago and before that? A flood plain and before that the sea bed.A friend found a rock with smooth, regular corrugations whilst bush walking in the area and that a geologist would know was at the bottom of the sea a few billion years ago. Australia is a very old continent. Anyway, cranking along through an ancient landscape whilst thinking philosophical things and remembering past loves is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Not much improvement in performance other than I was less wasted than last time by the time I got to the end of the track. Could have something to do with the extra water I took this time and which I remembered to mix with the green stuff that is supposed to replace the stuff you loose through sweating. Must actually work.
OK pretty boring post I know. Best is you jump on a bike and get out there yourself. Anyway – took the picture below walking to the shops earlier this evening. With some post work as in really going to town on its poor pixels, I think it turned out pretty well.
Blessings to all.
Been reading up on the climate change latest and “Go party like there’s no tomorrow”, would be considered advise for today’s young people. Basically the young of today have two choices, party and wait for death and disaster or find a way to scrub copious amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and not forgetting they will also have to find a way to pay for the scrubbing the cost of which is estimated to be in the hundreds of trillions of dollars.
Not good news and the trouble with all these predictions is that they are made by scientists. People who are fenced into their area of expertise which do not necessarily include big picture views of the implications of their predictions. They are most often told to butt out of questions related to policy. An exception to this rule is professor James Hansen who is vocal on policy but unfortunately most of what he says falls on the death ears of politicians despite his well-founded warnings of economic collapse and the world becoming ungovernable. I would recommend everyone, especially if under middle-aged, read his papers, watch his videos and get angry.
Other than imagining battles for survival, life in a cave and a world-wide shortage of sun lotion, I’ve not done much recently, brain not clicking into gear for some reason, and so went the other day for a mountain bike ride. Katoomba down to Woodford which is about twenty kilometres on the highway and then thirty kilometres off-road on “The Oaks” fire trail to Glenbrook. Not bad for someone whose license was canceled last month on the grounds of allegedly being too ill to drive a motorcar. No one worry though – I’m not dying yet – just doctors who misdiagnose, prescribe the wrong medication which did make me feel seriously ill and then are incapable of admitting they made a mistake when I recovered as a result of taking control of my own health. In any case I’m seriously thinking of cutting up my license so I can look my grandkids in the eye and say I did all I could to save them from starvation and world war three.
Not doing as much as I’d like but have been taking pictures and experimenting with ways to get the effects I want – pretty dark I admit but that probably is just a reflection of my mental state. Below are two that are proving to be popular on photography websites.
Blessings to all.
The politicians are at it again
The state premiers and the federal prime minister struck whilst the Las Vegas iron is still hot, all agreeing the police and the secret squirrels (intelligence persons) should have access to driver license photos to enhance the effectiveness of facial recognition technologies. Fact not mentioned is that none of that would have prevented the Las Vegas massacre. One premier waffled on about how we should resource the heroes who ‘put their lives on the line’ to ensure our safety but again and whilst that may well be true – that they do take risks – he could have also mentioned the farmers, transport, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, mining and health care and social assistance workers all of whom and in that order are at greater risk of death and injury than police and intelligence persons. Priest is the safest profession in case you were wondering – except for the risk of arrest as a result of falling prey to the charms of Eros but let’s not go there now.
Another oft repeated point made by these politicians is that their first duty is to preserve the safety of citizens. That is untrue – their first duty is to preserve the democratic system of government which includes preserving the ability of citizens to remove those elected to govern should the need arise. In keeping with that same principal of all powers, legislative, judiciary, executive, remaining with the people it needs to be reminded that the authority and duty to enforce law remains (executive) at all times with the people and is not surrendered to the police. “The police are the public and the public are the police”, as said Sir Robert (Bob) Peel, creator in 1829 of the first modern police force. The reason British police are to this day still called ‘Bobbies’.
For the people to exercise their right and duty to be the sole government of a democratic nation they need the ability to meet, discuss and take action free from intervention by those who in power might not have or are not acting in the nation’s interest. This is why we have freedom of speech, of assembly and freedom to communicate.
Yes I understand the need to keep criminals and terrorists under surveillance if they present a danger to the public but measures that impede on the rights of all citizens should always be temporary. We never hear Australian politicians mention ‘sunset clause’ and that should be a concern to anyone who values democracy.
Make up your minds that happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.