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The diaTribe blog is our occasional take on life, the universe and everything. Observations on current affairs, the environment, politics, humour and music/gig reviews. Travel diary and extreme sports stories, along with the usual rants/raves are also chucked in for good measure.

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Nov24

Where I find My Heaven

Bandanna Club Photo Gallery (opens in new tab/window)

Orchard life is fairly tough most of the time.

Day after day, I struggle to keep up with everything that nature throws in our direction. Spring is often unsettled and the risk of damage to new shoots in the vines is high; an entire years work can be destroyed in just a few minutes from a brief shower of hailstones or a few hours of high winds.

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Nov07

Why The Brits Dislike Trump (Intensely)

Worst President EVER!

Fake News King

Someone on Quora recently asked: “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?

Granted, the question is blindingly obvious to an increasing number of us (even some Americans) but few of us are capable of properly articulating our feelings and position.

One Brit however, knew exactly how to answer and his reply is the stuff of legends!

Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote this magnificent response:-

A few things spring to mind.

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace. All qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.

So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.

I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost in-human.

But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.

Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront. Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world and no soul.

And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that. He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat. He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba-the-Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully! That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a sniveling sidekick instead.

There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could NEVER do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.

So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:

  • Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
  • You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.

After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on, ad-infinitum.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.

In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:

‘My God! WHAT have I created?’

If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.

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Oct20

Origins of the Haka

Haka Warrior: Creative Commons (opens in new tab/window)

Last nights RWC quarter-final between New Zealand and Ireland was a match to remember, with some class rugby played by both sides.

It was also a timely reminder to non-AB fans around the world:

DON’T mess with the Haka! razz

It just pisses off the All-Blacks and THAT motivates them like nothing else.

The natural response for teams (and fans) facing the psychological power of the Haka performance, is sometimes to attempt to shout it down, which is what happened last night, when Irish fans – in a spirited and united chorus – drowned out the Haka performance by the All-Blacks, with a rendition of “Fields of Athenry”.

…and that was a BIG mistake!

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Sep19

The Meaning of Life

Sunset Beach Get Together

Can’t believe it’s taken me so long to figure this out. Guess I’m just a slow learner…

If there is one thing the world really needs that is still within our power to give as individuals, it’s more kindness.

Be kind to those around you. Be open and generous, not just of your material resources but of yourself in whatever way you can and whatever way is needed.

Large or small kindness makes no difference, for the will and intention is the same and each act you perform will increase – in a tiny way – the overall happiness of your own life and the lives of those with whom you connect.

There will always be some who mistake kindness for weakness, but this should not deter you as they are still few and the kind are still many, despite what those in power would have us believe. To surrender that aspect of your character is to forsake a huge part of who you are and will only serve to hand a victory to the ruthless and the self-centered of this world. Be kind despite of them and know that victory is yours.

Live, laugh, love, listen, look, think, learn, care, touch, feel, taste, sing, dance and play to find your happiness, and share with others when you can to find joy. No-one finds lasting happiness or joy in the pure pursuit of status, power, wealth or possessions, not because we cannot obtain these things, but because we are doomed not to want them, once we have them.

Far beyond the doctrines of religious belief or social convention, the happiness and joy you help create is the true measure of the value of your life and is found in those small moments of integrity, passion and empathy which – little by little – help lay the foundations for a more enlightened and better world.

I have never found a greater meaning of life than this.

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Jun23

The Peg Leg Tavern (ballad to a Sydney landmark)

Visit the Peg Leg website (opens in new tab/window)

Just returned from a short break to Oz.

Had a fantastic time as always; too many great experiences to recount but there is one in particular that I wanted to do a little rave about.
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Sep27

Bill Bailey Classic

Comedic genius Bill Bailey shows how the U.S. national anthem played in a minor key makes it sound Russian.

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Aug22

Obituary for Common Sense

An Obituary printed in the London Times..

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
  • Why the early bird gets the worm;
  • Life isn’t always fair;
  • And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
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