Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thought for the Day

Arthur Calwell (1896 – 1973) was an Australian politician who:
  • represented the Division of Melbourne in the Australian House of Representatives for the Australian Labor Party from 1940–72;
  • was the Minister for Information in the Curtin Government from 1943–45;
  • was the inaugural Minister for Immigration in the Chifley Government from 1945–49; and
  • was Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1960–67.
Some other Calwell facts:

  • Calwell is also notable for being only the second victim of an attempted political assassination in Australia (the first being Prince Alfred in 1868). On 21 June 1966, Calwell addressed an anti-conscription rally at Mosman Town Hall in Sydney. As he was leaving the meeting, and just as his car was about to drive off, a 19-year-old student named Peter Kocan approached the passenger side of the vehicle and fired a sawn-off rifle at Calwell at point-blank range. Fortunately for Calwell, the closed window deflected the bullet, which lodged harmlessly in his coat lapel, and he sustained only minor facial injuries from broken glass. Calwell later visited Kocan in the mental hospital (where he was confined for ten years), and through a regular correspondence encouraged his eventual rehabilitation.
Calwell after the shooting
Kocan is led away
  • He was succeeded by Gough Whitlam, whose government was elected in 1972, the year that Calwell retired.
  • He was frequently critical of Whitlam, especially since he knew that Whitlam intended abandoning the White Australia Policy, the policy that effectively barred people of non-European descent from immigrating to Australia. It was progressively dismantled between 1949 and 1973.
  • The point has been made that until the 1950’s, most Australians supported the White Australia Policy, so that Calwell’s views were a reflection of society as a whole.
  • Famously having said in parliament in 1947 that “Two Wongs don’t make a white”, he subsequently explained that his comment had been a play on words, being a reference to a Chinese resident called Wong who was wrongly threatened with deportation, and a Liberal MP, Sir Thomas White. The newspaper report had failed to capitalize the word “white” and the joke had therefore been transformed into a racist comment.
  • Was Calwell racist? He admitted being proud of his white race but declared other races should be equally proud of their cultures. He opposed multiculturalism but learned Mandarin to converse with Asian residents and constituents.
  • He also stated "If any people are homeless in Australia today, it is the Aboriginals, They are the only non-European descended people to whom we owe any debt. Some day, I hope, we will do justice to them."

Unfortunate Sticker Placements

Deliberate or unintended?

Caution: some risque content.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Thought for the Day

A Short Story

I came across this somewhere, I can't find any credit for the author.

A little something to read whilst you have your coffee and toast  . . . 

I live in Osaka, Japan and often use the subway to go to work in the morning. One day, when I was waiting for the train, I noticed a homeless man standing in a corner of the subway station, muttering to himself as people passed by. He was holding out a cup and seemed to be begging for spare change.

A fat woman passed by the homeless man and I distinctly heard him say, “Pig.” 

Wow, I thought to myself. This homeless man is insulting people and he still expects them to give him money? 

Then a tall businessman went by and the homeless guy muttered, “Human.” Human? I can’t argue with that. Obviously, he was human. 

The next day, I arrived early at the subway station and had some time to kill, so I decided to stand close to the homeless man and listen to his strange mutterings. A thin, haggard-looking man passed in front of him and I heard the homeless guy mutter, “Cow.” Cow? I thought. The man was much too skinny to be a cow. He looked more like a turkey or a chicken to me.

A minute or so later, a fat man went by and the homeless man said, “Potato.” Potato? I was under the impression that he called all fat people “Pig”. 

That day, at work, I couldn’t stop thinking about the homeless man and his puzzling behaviour. I kept trying to find some logic or pattern in what he was muttering. Perhaps he has some kind of psychic ability, I thought. Maybe he knows what these people were in a previous life. In Japan, many people believe in reincarnation. 

I observed the homeless man many times and began to think my theory was right. I often heard him calling people things like “Rabbit” or “Onion” or “Sheep” or “Tomato”. One day, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to ask him what was going on. As I walked up to him, he looked at me and said “Bread.” I tossed some money into his cup and asked him if he had some kind of psychic ability. 

The homeless man smiled and said, “Yes, indeed. I do have a psychic ability. It is an ability I obtained years ago. But it is not what you might expect. I can’t tell the future or read minds or anything like that.” 

“Then what is your ability,” I asked eagerly. 

“The ability is merely to know the last thing somebody ate,” he said. 

I laughed because I realised he was right. He said “Bread.”

The last thing I had eaten for breakfast that day was toast. 

I walked away shaking my head. Of all the psychic abilities someone could have, that one must be the most useless. What is the hidden horror?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Thought for the Day

Sir Robert Gordon Menzies (1894 – 1978), was the Prime Minister of Australia from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total.

Bonus quote:

While he was speaking in Williamstown, Victoria, in 1954, a female heckler shouted, "I wouldn't vote for you if you were the Archangel Gabriel" – to which Menzies coolly replied "Madam, if I were the Archangel Gabriel, I'm afraid you wouldn't be in my constituency."

Some funnies and some truths

Some wit and wisdom sent by Leo . . .