Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pathetic end of a pioneering era

I don’t know whether many of my compatriots have ever heard of a NSW rural township named Breeza. Here’s a wonderful photo of the Breeza landscape from Ian Stehbens:

Breeza is surely one of the loveliest names you could possibly imagine for a hot flat place out on the Liverpool Plains. One imagines sea breezes floating in magically from the distant Pacific! I heard this name constantly during my childhood, because my grandmother Kathleen Pickering [1889-1964] was born in nearby Quirindi and brought up in Breeza, on a sheep station named Currabubula. What fabulous place names! If you’ve got a map—or, better still, Google—you’ll find that the municipalities named Breeza and Currabubula lie in the middle of a triangle whose corners are Gunnedah, Tamworth and Quirindi.

I’ve just published (through Gamone Press) a family-history book, They Sought the Last of Lands, presenting pioneering stories of my Australian ancestors.

If you’re interested, I invite you to click here to download the chapter in which I speak of my grandmother from Breeza.

Now, some of the few remaining flimsy threads that tie me to my native land are about to be destroyed forever. A Chinese company named Shenhua has apparently received approval from the NSW state government to build a gigantic coal mine on the agricultural lands of the Liverpool Plains near my ancestral township of Breeza. Astounded and shocked by such a scenario, I hardly know what to say.
Australia is selling off to China
 the lands and spirits of her pioneers.
The souls of my ancestors.
Click here and here for press stuff on this unfolding tragedy.

Meanwhile, as usual Down Under, where life is casual, nobody seems to give a coal-mine fuck. Is our Australian people really as apathetic and indeed pathetic as that? Yes, no doubt. I would love to be contradicted...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Love letters to Richard Dawkins

This is the second video instalment of Richard Dawkins reading some of his hate mail. It’s hilarious.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Patriotic sheep

On Australia Day, these sheep got their act together:

But this dumb ram didn’t:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Australia Day thoughts

I’m so stunned and embarrassed by the comical stupidity of that Abbott fellow that I don’t feel like saying anything much at all today. So, out of respect for a land I once loved, I shall remain silent.

PS A sad thought crossed my mind: Things could get worse, alas, if Charles were to become king. And another sad thought: How many of those Australians who joke about Abbott today were actually responsible for voting him in, often with the sole misogynistic aim of getting rid of Julia Gillard? Aussies are a fickle people.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Συγχαρητήρια Ελλάδα !

It would be wonderful if the stunning victory of the extreme left in Greece could be an incentive for vast changes in Europe.

On this Australia Day, it would be wonderful too if my native land, inspired by the Greek example, were to set out at last on the road towards the creation of a republic, capable of recuperating the vast mineral wealth that is being stolen by international capitalists, and using it to build a splendid infrastructure and a decent defense system for the people of Australia.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

US journalists can be as dumb as they come

Fox News has a “specialist” named Nolan Peterson (a former GI) who informed the world, last week, that there are so-called No-Go Zones in certain parts of Paris which non-Muslims cannot enter. This dumb arsehole said that youths strutted around in these neighborhoods wearing T-shirts celebrating Bin Laden. Fox News went on to say that police could not enter such neighborhoods, and that the Muslims applied Sharia law in these zones.

Needless to say, everything that the liar Peterson related on Fox News was pure rubbish... but I have not yet understood his motivations in airing all this make-believe nonsense. Now, there are 2 million Americans who watch this shit, to learn about what’s supposed to be going on in France. Fortunately, there has been a massive TV campaign in France aimed at telling Fox News just how poorly informed they are. And they seem to have gotten around to understanding that they were transmitting pure bullshit.

I feel sorry for naive and well-intentioned Americans who have such rubbish rammed down their throats by stupid and unscrupulous would-be US "journalists".

Since 2003, an abominable lie about France and the French has become widespread in the US, designated by an expression that's popular with dumb US jerks: cheese-eating surrender monkeys. The idiots imagine that, in 1940, the French took one look at the approaching Nazi forces and promptly surrendered. There's little point in getting upset about such a total ignorance of the military events of that terrible epoch. As we say in French: Never try to explain things to arseholes; there's a danger that you might inform them!

BREAKING NEWS: Anne Hidalgo, Socialist mayor of Paris, has just announced (January 20) that the city will be taking Fox News to court over their outrageous "news", which prejudiced gravely and stupidly the French capital. In the following shoddy CNN interview, their interpreter sounds as if she has trouble understanding French, and the audio is not handled correctly:

I'm happy to see that the great city is standing up for itself against a band of dumb US arseholes.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


The Cournouze is like an old lady (or a young lady, for that matter) who has wrapped her shoulders in a white woolen shawl.

Click to enlarge

This is the first time this winter that a little snow has settled onto the slopes of our Bourne valley.

Anecdote. I was amused to discover, this morning, that my external surveillance camera looks upon every falling snowdrop as a potentially undesirable intruder. That’s to say, during the early hours of the morning, the camera emailed me a pile of uninteresting warning snapshots composed of big white blobs.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Religions are rubbish

There are several fine articles in the English-speaking press that criticize the ridiculous notion that Islamophobia would be a greater problem than Islam. Unfortunately, here in France, in the land of Charlie, citizens are not really free to tackle this primordial question, because any publicly-expressed negative remarks concerning the tenets of the religion of Mahomet can be construed immediately as an incitation to hate the “race” (?) of French citizens who adhere to this religion. And that’s a crime here in France.

This confusion has something to do with the French mindset. French people don’t seem to be able to distinguish clearly between ideas and individuals who claim to be adepts of those ideas. This goes back at least as far as Philippe Pétain. Many people of that epoch might be pardoned for looking upon the Maréchal as a lovable old fool, who had been a World War I myth, but his ideas—that’s to say, his acceptance of the Armistice—were totally abject. French people seem to have trouble realizing that many good people can adopt bad ideas, and that certain good ideas can even be held by people who are essentially bad. A typical example of the latter situation is the pedophile priest taking care of children in need.

At a superficial level, the suggestion by Pope Francis that you might have the right to punch somebody who insults your mother doesn’t sound very Christian to me. In fact, as Jerry Coyne demonstrates here, the pope was frighteningly close to condoning—indirectly, of course—the kalashnikov actions in Paris. See the frank reaction of a celebrated US humorist, Brian Keith Dalton, who pulls no punches:

Click here for a brilliant exposé of the “religion of peace” myth.

Clearly, our leaders who talk casually about blasphemy as if it were a crime, just like those who decry Islamophobia while insisting that Islam is a "religion of peace", are simply trying to appease their Muslim fellow citizens. Why? That’s a big and complex question, which I would not try to answer…

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Three days that shook France

It’s not easy to people outside France about the role in contemporary French society of a press organism such as Charlie Hebdo, and the immense sadness and fury of countless citizens when they see that a team of celebrated cartoonists has been decimated by dumb cunts armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, followed by the slaughter of innocent Jewish shoppers in Paris buying Shabbat supplies. Judging from world reactions to these tragedies, I gather though that countless observers in other nations realize fully what a shock this has been inside France. Some strongly symbolic images have reached us from abroard. In particular, there was Barack Obama visiting the French Embassy in Washington and finishing his written statement with Vive la France!

The slain cartoonists would have been greatly amused by this image of Times Square:

And this solemn tribute from the United Nations headquarters:

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was plunged into darkness as a sign of respect.

Among the 17 innocent victims, there were two in particular, Charb and Cabu, who had become the celebrated champions of satirical cartooning in France. We looked upon them as talented and lovable individuals, and it was unbearable to learn that they had died in such a stupid and brutal fashion.

Charb’s illustrations of Mahomet had maddened the Islamic killers, who were far too coarse and brutish to understand, let alone appreciate, our everyday concepts of satire.

The cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo never ceased to make fun of pompous adepts of the three so-called monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The cartoonists considered—and it was their right to have and express such opinions—that the pages of the so-called holy books would make good toilet paper.

But I was always immensely impressed (as a keen student of the history of Judaism and Christianity) by the perspicacity of Charb’s awareness of the fine points of the subjects that he satirized, particularly in his albums on Mahomet (created with the assistance of a lovely lady named Zineb El Rhazoui).

A few months ago, I had contemplated contacting Charlie Hebdo to see if I might be able to collaborate upon the translation of the Charb/Zineb albums into English. Today, I believe more than ever that English editions of these albums should be published.

Today, throughout France, the proportions and intensity of public reactions to the horrible events of the last three days have been overwhelming. Never before has there been anything like it in France. And tomorrow, in Paris, the spectacle is likely to be utterly gigantic… with the presence of many foreign heads of state.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


After this morning’s outrageous attack in Paris, the time has come to stop talking about Islamic actors in fuzzy terms. They are crazy homicidal outlaws, and must be treated as such.

As they said in the legendary Far West: WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE. Dead is definitely safer. Their distinguishing feature is a war cry: Allahu Akbar. God is greatest. If you hear somebody yelling out this war cry, don’t bother putting on white gloves and trying to reason with him, because he's almost certainly of a suicidal nature. Simply aim at his head and shoot! God (his or your’s, no matter) will protect you, and you might well have succeeded in eliminating yet another crazy Islamic bugger from the surface of our planet.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Rosalie’s duck

Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from wise and intelligent people and have revealed them to children."                                                                                — Matthew 11:25
I’m convinced that, if ever the individual referred to as Jesus had existed, he might indeed have said something like that. That's to say, Jesus—himself a bright fellow—surely understood that there was great clear-sightedness, discernment and rationality in the regard of a child.

Back in 1977, when I was driving around Scotland with my children, visiting places that I planned to mention in my forthcoming tourist guide to Great Britain, my 8-year-old son François provided us with a wonderful example of childhood wisdom. We were sitting on the shores of Loch Ness, and talking inevitably about the legendary monster.

Click to enlarge

François: “If ever the monster existed, down at the bottom of Loch Ness, it wouldn’t waste its time wondering whether or not we humans exist. So, why should we spend our time wondering whether or not the monster exists?” That was symmetrical reasoning of a high order.

A few years later on, at the Ruflet estate in Brittany, Christine was talking with the children about a serious family problem that had arisen. I don't recall the details, but it was quite complicated. No matter what solution was imagined, there was always a good reason why it wouldn’t work. So, everybody was moving around in circles, looking for some way of solving the problem. After a long pause in the discussion, young François voiced an unexpected opinion: “It’s like Rosalie’s duck.” 

Now, to understand that remark, you need to know that Rosalie was a rural lady (maybe a window by that time) who had spent her life in charge of the main farm at the Ruflet domain. For us, she was renowned for the excellent poultry she raised, which was constantly present on festive tables in Christine’s family context. And we must imagine that, in the midst of Rosalie’s chickens (with thighs like champion Breton cyclists), there was a duck.

Manya was rather angry to hear her brother’s remark. “François, here we are, talking about a serious family problem, which nobody seems to be able to solve. As soon as we think there’s an answer, it turns out to be wrong. Then we have to start looking for another possible answer. And stupidly, in the middle of our discussion, you start talking about Rosalie’s duck… which has nothing whatsoever to do with what we’re talking about.”

The reaction of François was simple but brilliant: “Manya, you’ve obviously never tried to catch Rosalie’s duck.” He went on to explain that he himself had often tried to catch Rosalie's duck. But, whenever he made an attempt to jump upon the bird, it vanished instantly to another spot. It was impossible to pin it down. And François had realized that this was the essence of the family problem that was being discussed.

In fact, Rosalie's duck was behaving like a run-of-the-mill quantum event. The animal was acting with the elusiveness of an electron. These days, I’ve got around to thinking that, in my forthcoming philosophical autobiography to be entitled We are Such Stuff, I may well use the expression Rosalie’s duck as the title of my chapter on the greatest metaphysical question ever asked (dixit Heidegger):

Why is there something rather than nothingness?