NEWS AND GUTS
Seriously America – what the fuck is going on over there! First of all, you hand a maniacal, egotistical, hedonistic man – with very obvious mental health issues – the total control of your country! Even give this same person the title of Commander-In-Chief! Somebody who lives in a world of denial, falsehoods, and indecisions! Somebody who has rushed into power, and is making decisions involving the health and wellbeing of your country on the run! Somebody who is abusing the executive powers handed to him as part of his position, using these powers to enforce his own agenda, and by-pass the machinations of government to enforce same! Someone who does not want to be accountable, or criticised, or called to task! Someone who is, despite your Constitution – which seems to be invoked at the drop of a hat, as a general rule – is trying to control the media to highlight only what his administration want highlighted…be it right, or wrong! The fiasco involving the attendance at his inauguration – which WAS less than for Obama’s – and his accusations of electoral fraud regarding him not achieving the popular vote, are two examples of areas whereby they are trying to control what the media reports.
Unfortunately, we live in an era of weak, unresearched and downright lazy journalism! Too many news mediums no longer report things in an unbiased way, but choose to take sides, which distorts their reportage! Social media – too often a source of news these days, much of which us inaccurate, distorted or just made up to satisfy the blood lust of gullible consumers – has too big an influence, and is – sadly – often used as a “reliable” source by lazy journalists who no longer see their job as reporting the truth! What a sad state of affairs! Thankfully, honest reporting does still exist – not everyone can be cowered by threats – and the glimmer of light is there for those who really care about what goes on around them! Any country who allows its news media to be manipulated, downgraded, and churning out outright lies to its readers/listeners should be ashamed of itself! The right to know what is going on around us, the highlighting of injustice, government and corporate distortions , cover-ups and lies, the peddling of misinformation, and elevating what was in the gutter onto a pedestal is not a privilege – it is a right!
When highly respected – and, until now, retired – journalists like Dan Rather throw their hat back into the ring…you know things are deadly serious. Sick of the lies, distortions and cover-ups of the new…and not very old…President and his administration (if that is what it can be called), Dan Rather has set up his own Facebook page called “News and Guts” to counter the misinformation currently being vomited out by biased news services. Not just journalists, but news consumers themselves need to stand up and demand a “hands off” position in regards to the honest reporting, and holding to account, of the words and actions of those elected to public office! All too often these days we allow those in government, and in the media, to side-step the fact that WE elect these officials!They are answerable and accountable TO US! They ARE NOT there to enact their own agenda’s, to lie, to cover up, to manipulate the systems – or the media – to their own ends. We have allowed this disempowerment of our rights, of our own power as voters, as people who must live under these administrations to do what they please, when the please, for way too long now. Our expectations should always be for honesty, integrity, morality, ethics, transparency and fairness from elected officials, irrespective of their position. Likewise, our media dhould be held to the same standards.
I wish Dan Rather well. I will br watching with intense interest! The return to honesty and integrity in reporting! And bugger the gutless wonders!
Tim Alderman (2017)
Originally published as a Facebook status update. Edired here.
Watching a doco called “President Trump”…quite an eye-opener. The “man” has ALWAYS been a prick! Majorly bad business decisions… caused by a “buying spree” of buying casino’s and hotels, most of which failed. Originally purchased to hig note himself!; a Hugh Hefner mentality towards women & sex; has a lawyer who is nothing more than a bullying thug; seen as a promoter by the banking industry, but not a CEO; pathological personality, who will never admit he’s wrong; no scruples or morality regarding his financial affairs; rejected by NY elite as rough and rude, and not accepted. This has always been been an issue for him, due to his pathological need to be accepted; the perception that he’s a businessman is an illusion created by his television persona; hates being criticised or sent-up, or told he’s wrong; a need for public acceptance…feels inadequate without it
In a few words, he’s a hedonistic, conniving, dishonest, egotistical, sexist, bullying pig! And is, in a couple of days, POTUS. Fasten your seat belts…
One can only hope that common sense prevails somewhere along the line. That this situation has been allowed to actually get to this stage makes a joke of the Presidency. He, and his little band of corrupt ‘administrators” (read as…jobs for the bots) are treating this as a board game, with decisions made on the roll of a dice.
One can only hope impeachment is eminent! Such a corrupt man, and an equally corrupt administration should never, ever, be given the reins of power. Wait and see? I don’t think the world can afford to!
Tim Alderman (2017)
It is no secret that my brother Kevin died a horrendous death at the hands of my father, in December 1965 (https://timalderman.com/2012/04/23/kevin-pickhills-the-unspoken-name/). It is a long time ago now, though the memories have never dimmed, and despite the sage advice that time heals all wounds, it may dull the starkness of the memory, but it never really disappears. The filing cabinet we call a brain shifts the files around, but always leaves the drawer slightly ajar.
I am not obsessed by my hrothers death, but whenever it does a flit across my mind, the questions surrounding it flit along just behind. The frustration of severed relationships is the unanswered questions! With my father long dead, my mother out of the picture at the time, and my fathers sisters all now dead, I know the questions will never be answered – ever! But that knowledge doesn’t make them go away! So, here are my demons. My reasons for listing them is purely to dump them! To many, the questions will be unfathomable without the back story. For a few, the poignancy of them will hit a feeling of deja vu in their own lives. There are many sad stories out there, and they nearly all have their unanswered questions.
Some questions are simple and straight forward – almost ruminations in their own right. Others are complex. Because questions demand answers, the fact that answers will not be forthcoming almost negates them. But they live on, and I will go to my grave knowing that only at that point do they no longer exist.
- Where in the hell did Nancy Thompson come from! How did my father find her, and what possessed him to think that bringing such a hard, unfeeling woman into the house would be a good thing! I mean…she smoked, and he hated smoking! What were the conditions of her employment? She certainly had more disposable income than my mother ever had! I went clothes shopping with her, so I know! Was he seeing her before bringing her home? Was she a fling? It certainly went from plutonic to sexual very quickly – even as a 12yo I knew that! Her, and her son Stephen were such hateful, spiteful people, and I can’t believe he wasn’t aware of that. When questioned in court at the hearings into Kevin’s death, she stated that I was an effeminate child! Was that opinion voiced to my father? And after he finally got her out of the home unit in Kogarah – whatever happened to her? I pray that no other family was subjected to her! For someone who blew into our lives for such a short period of time, chaos followed in her wake! She is as much responsible for Kevin’s death as my father, yet I have little doubt that she left with a clear conscience! I hope Kharma has delivered justice!
- What were my fathers thought processes on the day of Kevin’s death? It had been such an ordinary evening up until the instant he pulled up in front of our house! Was it a spontaneous action, or was it pre-meditated? At any stage, had the same course been set out for me? Frightening…but the thought remains! What was going on in his head as he drove to The Gap? Surely you can’t take your own sons life blithely, with no thought to the implications, the trauma, the horror! It’s a long drive from Sylvania. At no time did he not want to turn back! It’s not a question – it’s a nightmare!
- And the most harrowing thought of all – did Kevin suffer! How quickly did he die in the cold waters of Watson’s Bay. Was he knocked out or killed on impact – I truly hope so! He trusted my father – was he aware of the betrayal? What flashes of thought as he eent over that cliff! The sheer horror wrenches at the heart!
- Was my father guilty about his own survival? The actual event – threw Kevin over, or jumped over with him – has never been ascertained! It is one of the great unanswered questions. Did he invent a story to cover-up the deed? Indeed, we’ll never know!
- After being released from gaol – what a joke all that was, and no justice for Kevin – did he seriously think…in typical 60s fashion…that life would just go on like nothing had happened? Did not talking about it mean it never happened? Was the thinking that the events of that time had had no affect on me whatsoever? Kevin was swept under the rug like a pile of dust! It was like he never existed! On the day he arrived home, Nancy took me to the front gate and told me to run to mert and embrace him! I didn’t even want to know of his existence! The only thing crossing my mind was – why was he back here! And did I still have to call him dad! His touch was abhorrent! For all the years up until his suicide there was no love, or respect! And I think Kevin’s death was his demon up until the day he died!
- And then the great questions about Kevin and myself as siblings. What would our relationship have been like as we got oldrr? Would he have been straight or gay? If he was straight, would he have married…surely, one would think! Would he have had children? Would I be a great uncle? Would we have shared confidences? Would we be close – as when we were children – or distant?
- And what is perhaps the first and greatest question – how totally different would life have been if mum never left home, for this was the catalyst for all that was to come! I like my life, and I like that for much of it I have had the freedom to live it my own way, with no questions, and few fears. Would it have panned out the same if circumstances had been different! That is a very interesting question. That I would end up gay wss inevitable…but would the process be different? I actually don’t want an answer to that one!
It is said, probably with great wisdom, that one should never question what is, try to imagine the “what ifs” of life, as that is not how it has gone. It is what it is! We all know that, but as thinking, reasoning beings it is inevitable that what could be seen as sage advice is not going to be heeded. We are curious animals, and life’s great unknowns frustrate and intrigue us! Any relationship that is abruptly terminated is always going to leave questions in its wake. The worst of it is knowing that even if my father were still alive, the questions would, in large part, still be unanswered!
Perhaps that is what destiny held in store. At least now, they have been voiced!
Tim Alderman (2017)
According to my Facebook Timeline, this has geen a bad year, particularly for celebrity deaths, which have gone on right up to now…and still a day to go. A lot of those I know have beaten breasts and gnashed teeth over these losses…and that is fair enough if that is how you handle loss. However, I am not one of those! I’m not blasé about it, but neither am I caught up in a type of collective hysteria that surrounds these deaths.
I have become very pragmatic about death over the years. I am not surprised by it, nor caught up in cries of “too young”, “before their time”, “had so much more to give” or the suchlike. Death is never fair! It doesn’t give a fuck about age, sex, skin colour, fame – or lack of, health status, religion, race or any other of the intricacies of life. This year, some have died from old age, some from ongoing or sudden illnesses, some through suicide, some for reasons unknown. It seems like a random pointing of a finger…and perhaps it is.
We act as though life comes with a guarantee – but it doesn’t. There is no too young or too old: no too healthy or too inhealthy; no soo much more to give or nothing more to give; no fair or unfair; no famous or infamous; no good life or bad life. There is no real reasoning behind it other than just being human!
To me, yes – these celebrity deaths are sad…but all death is sad, and always unexpected! I didn’t personally know these people. I didn’t touch them, or socialise with them. They weren’t friends or family, or relatives…or even acquaintances! I have lived through enough death – both personal and collective – in my life to last me several lifetimes. It has made me a realist about death, about its fickleness, suddeness…and finality. I don’t believe in God, so have no one to attribute blame to. It just is! There is no good that comes from wallowing in it for, after all, you can’t bring them back.
And as the ultimate pragmatist would say – none of us can escape it! It is the finality of being human! So, I acknowledge it – but then move on! It is just a reminder of the inevitability of what faces us all!
Tim Alderman (2016)
There seems to be a bit of a ruckus about the standard of education being doled out to our kids in school. People always like to bang on about the “3 Rs” but I often wonder – and I’ve now had 48 years to ponder the subject – if it’s not more than that. A real desire to immerse yourself in the full scope of education also comes into it, and I think that somewhere along the way, berween the traditional and contemporary schools of thought, that the real heed to tailor education to specific groups has been ignored.
I started school around 1959, and though I have little recognition of it, I do remember the little school house in Sylvania Rd, Sylvania Heights, and using slates and chalk. Around this time, Sylvania Heights Public School was built, and I was there from kindergarten to form 6. I spent 12 months at Gymea High School, before being sent to be a boarder at St Gregory’s Agricultural College at Campbelltown, to complete the last three years of my education. I hated school, and was one of those who said a definitive NO to a final two years, and was glad to get out at the end of 1969.
Okay, so we set the “3R’s” as the educational standard, but not all of us feel that way about it. I excelled at English and Social Studies/History at school, tolerated Geography, and loathed Arithmetic/Mathematics and Science. Not only did the subjects not interest me, I could see no value in them, and did really badly in them at exam time. My love of English & History has stated with me all my life, Science has held no place whatsoever, and my use of Mathematics has only ever been at the level of basics, as used in the retail trade.
So, to me, it would have been of more benefit to me to only have been taught some basic modules of Science & Mathematics instead of years of it, most of which was a waste of time. Algebra, volumes, and that sine, cos & tan stuff was unintelligible to me then…and still is! I think most of us know roughly what directions our lives will take after leaving school, so surely more personalised and directed education would be of more benefit to us than 12-14 years of enforced subjects, most of which ends up being of no value.
My life has revolved around English & History, so it is not surprising that I excelled in them. When I left school in 1969, one of the Marist Brothers, who tutored me in English, told me That with my imagination, and my ability to use words, that I shiuld take up writing. It took nearly 20 years for me to realise that he was right. Even in Primary school my compositions (often incorporating themes of Science Fiction and Fururism) were considered pretty over-the-top by my teachers. It is probably not surprising that in 2004 I finally obtained my Graduate Certificate in Writing, and also the realisation that I’m not really a story writer, but more inclined to articles, historical pueces, and opion pieces. Writing comes naturally to me, and the basis of an article can be stimulated by a single word, or thought. Likewise with my interest in History, a subject I excelled in all the way through school, often coming out at the top of the class.
The other subjects I did wellmin, though not part of the standard curriculum were Agriculture, and Wool Classing. Perhaps I should have been a farmer or grazier! Heaven knows but that with the right encouragement – not likely in my family – I may have gone on to do journalism.
So, I personally think we need to stop forcing our children tonundergo years of forced education in things that do not interest them. Yes, do the basics of the 3R’s if necessary, but give more attention to tailoring education towards subjects that interest and excite them. Education should not be a chore, but something that stimulates you, and sets you up for the future.
Tim Alderman (2016)
So what riveting and biased news has Facebook passed onto me in the last few weeks? Well, evidently some very bad muslims were kicking down Australian, New Zealand & British war graves…video evidence available to view. However, it’s bullshit, and never happened. Then there was the hue and cry over the guy punching out the kangaroo that attached both his dog, and him. Again, despite the impromptu nature of the attack, we have very clear and steady video of the incident. The general consensus, except from those who live their lives in bullshit land, is..fake! Then we have a whole string of memes telling people that I am going to wear my poppy (for Renembeance Day) despite being told I shouldn’t…except…wellll…nobody said you can’t! Another bullshit rumour trying to make muslims look bad. Then only a couple of days ago, a photo of a donut with odd writing as a decoration, and an outraged rant that muslims were now using donuts sold in schools to promote their dirty and evil causes. The writing on the donut is, in fact, elvish ie of no particular type. Don’t even start me on the ignoramuses that spout rubbish about halal certification, and Sharia law – I hate to disappoint you, but it won’t be introduced here. Now, of course, it’s Christmas – so we have all the memes demanding that it be called Christmas, and not a “holiday”. Nobody has insisted on it NOT being called Christmas, nor called for a ban on Santa, lights, decoration or trees. I’d love to know where this all comes from, and though I call it Christnas from habit, to me it is just a holiday. You see, there is this particular “Christ” word in Christmas, and as an Atheist, I find that a bit off-putting. But all the same, I don’t see why “Christmas” or “holiday” is an issue. If you want to call it either one, or the other, then…go for it! Only anal retentives are going to say anything.
What concerns me most about most of this misinformation is the anti-Muslim slant of it all, making muslims seem like the bad guys who want to move here – or elsewhere – and destroy our culture. There is something nasty and evil about it. Opinion-creation via musinformation is just wrong.
I watched a documentary on Australian architect Glenn Mercutt only a week ago. Glenn was in the process of building a mosque here in Australia. During the building process, Glenn!0’s son, who had an incurable illness, took a turn for the worst, and was close to death. Glenn was deeply touched when the muslim community he was building the mosque for included his son in their prayers – despite neither he, nor his son – being of the Islamic faith. My immediate thought was…why is nobody posting something positive like that!
As much as I love social media, there is so much garbage & lies spread throughout my feed. People are so lazy now that they don’t bother to research if something is true or not – it’s just all taken at face value.
Next time you share a meme of this nature, do us all a favour…and don’t!
Tim Aldernan (2016)
56 NAMES FOR SUGAR
I don’t hate sugar per se, but I do hate how it is snuck into just about everything we eat. It is a highly addictive product, despite the sugar industry denying it – no shock there! The only way you can avoid sugar is to not shop in the centre of your supermarket! The less processed foods you eat, and the more you prepare yourself, the healthier you will be. Sure, you do go through withdrawal, and everything fresh & healthy tastes “wrong” for a while, but that passes, and once you adapt, it is hard to go back. I get posts in my feed of things like Malteser desserts, and Tim Tam’s and the such like – and all it does is put my teeth on edge when I think about how sweet they would be.
When I did Nutrition as part of my Certificate III in Fitness, the tutor asked the class, during a lesson on sugar, what one thing would the body burn first to give you a burst of energy. I was the only one in the class who said…sugar! The human body is intrinsically lazy, and hares to expend energy to run itself, so it looks for the easy way out. Given the choice between sugar, and fat as an energy source – sugar wins because it is easier to burn. However, if you don’t burn it off, it stores it to burn later…thus you get fat.
The sugar industry itself is responsible for a multitude of misinformation, dishonest advertising, and self-funded health reports relling us sugar is not a baddie! It is all very underhanded, and badically caters to the lazy cook, and those who really just don’t care!
There is no harm in some sugar! Have an occasional slice of cake, or biscuit, or a dessert…just don’t do it daily.
Dehydrated cane juice
High fructose corn syrup
Free flowing brown sugars
Corn syrup solids
Fruit juice concentrate
Some of these you will recognize as sugar, but what about ethyl maltol and maltose? Manufacturers are sneaking these types of sugar into everyday products without the consumer knowing what they are eating or drinking. Even the most health-conscious of us consumes processed foods, even if just on the odd occasion. However if we don’t know what these sugars are called, and what they can do to our bodies, how can we make informed decisions? Is the answer to simply avoid processed foods altogether, or are we simply misunderstanding sugar and the effect it has on us?
Tim Alderman (2016)
WORLD AIDS DAY
It’s the day after WAD, and as usual, I’m ruminating! For many years now I have been looking at how I now view HIV/AIDS – through the lense of objectivity. Emotion only muddles the issue, and history has a trail of misinformation, mixed objectives, venom and misunderstanding!
Even recently I have encountered those who, for reasons known only to themselves, have never been able to move on! The hate is still alive, the dragons still circling. I could be one of these, who still feel that the experiences of the 80s & 90s are still alive, an uncompromising hard line that leaves me stranded in a time that has passed by. Fuck knows there is a lot in my past that I have never fully moved on from – family business that could, at any time in the past, have left me sitting in a gutter, needle dangling…or in a bar, in an alcoholic stupor – and fuck knows I flew very close to the latter at one stage! More so than many, I have reason enough to be bitter, to be a victim. My experience with AIDS has left me close to blind, and there are many who would agree that that is reason enough. But, as in my latter teens, with full knowledge of my families dysfunctionality, living with a solitary knowledge of my younger brothers horrendous death, of violence and unspoken secrets, of my being gay, I made a quiet vow to myself that I was not going to let it get the better of me, to smother me, to stop me being who I would be! So to with AIDS – my survival alone was an unexpected surprise – and blindness! To buckke under, to attribute blame, to become a victim, to allow it to hold me back, swallow me up, would be saying…I do not have the strength for this, the self-empowerment whereby I would become someone who even I didn’t recognise!
To move on, one has to acknowledge that the past is just that – the past! Yes, what happened was dreadful – the hatred, the discrimination, the accusations, the blame, the misinformation, the segregation, the fear! We need to acknowledge – 40 years along now – that we were all scared shitless. Straight, gay, male, female, religious, non-religious, politicians, doctors, journalists, activists…ad infinitum…were all scared. Perhaps not since the scourges of the Black Death have we encountered something we all knew absolutely nothing about – not even those who, perhaps, should have known! And what does human nature do when it is faced with an unknown that can just kill at will, shows no mercy, is no respecter of life at all – it looks for scapegoats, attributes blame, hands out punishment! It just so happens that the scapegoat was the gay community, and given what was happening at that time, it perhaps should not have been surprising. Minority groups have a long history of misunderstanding, stigma, discrimination, hate and ignominy! I am not defending the direction it took…I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot…but the point is, it was quite a while back now, and as awful and relentless as it was, as a community we not only survived it, but we fought back with the tools to hand – knowledge, facts, patience and dogged determination.
One can’t deny that some of the negatives from that era live on. There is still prejudice, discrimination, stigma and musunderstanding! But it is also true that we don’t have it on our own – just ask any person with Down Syndrome. To hang onto the hate, and all the other negatives from that period in our history is to hold no one back but yourself! You know, we all walked in the footsteps of those that suffered, those that died! But by walking in their footsteps, when their footsteps stopped…ours continued on! To live with the negativity is to deny that a lot of good, positive, beautiful things were still going on. The community still lived, loved, and laughed. We supported each other, we were staunch in the face of adversity, we celebrated the lives of those who died with a gusto that was ever born of love. If ever there was a time I was proud to be a member of the gay community, it was through the 20 years of that horror!
Okay, it damaged me! As a fanatical reader & writer, it chose to attack perhaps the most important assets I had – my eyes! But it also presented me with new opportunities, new roads to venture down, new challenges to tackle. I can’t carty the hate because, despite everything, my life has not stopped, nor my humour, my inquisitiveness, my talents, nor my ability to just get on with it. I no longer go to candlelight vigils, or other AIDS memorials. It is too raw, too emotion charged, to ready to rip open healed wounds. I don’t forget – those who died are too entrenched in my memories for that – but now I choose to remember in more gentle ways. What every single one of my dead friends would have wanted is for me to get on with my life. Once a year their ghosts are going to waft around, to cajole me to tears, to invoke memories of wonderful times that will stay with me forever.
But I’ll wake up tomorrow, and the ghosts will be gone. And just as they wanted, my life goes on. Who am I to argue with them!
Tim Alderman (2016)