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30 March 2016

In the 1960s I heard a story about a young king of ancient days. He wanted to learn wisdom but found that this came in brief items in all manner of books, and wise saying from all sorts of places. So he gathered a team of learned men, and told them that he wanted all the wisdom in the world written into a set of books. And after years of toil they came to him with a set of ten huge books, which the king had printed and distributed to every town.
But after seeing that most of his people couldn’t read or didn’t bother to read so many books, he went back to those that had done them and asked For all wisdom to be boiled down into a sngle book, and after many more years that book was brought to him. Not content, (typical king of the time) he considered again, and asked that the wisdom of the world be brought down to a phrase. And it was, and the king had THIS TOO SHALL PASS engraved over the door of his palace. Still he wasn’t satisfied, and at last, he came back to his sages and asked for wisdom to be expressed as one word and it was. The wisdom of the world is MAYBE.
To my mind that’s right. But I prefer my own wisdom which backs up to the earlier phrase. Endure the bad, it passes, wallow in the good, it won’t last – but it’ll come around again. And be optimistic, people that are, always feel a lot better than pessimists- we also live longer, say medical specialists. In my case that seems to run in the family genes most times. We’re optimists, and I like it that way. Because sure there’s bad times, but you live through them, and then there’s the good times, they’re great and you can look forward to them coming back. And somehow, if you expect them, there they are, on the horizon heading your way. At least, I’ve always found it so.

Nope, that’s another month in which while it’s been hot here, it hasn’t been that dry. As of this morning we’ve had 101mms at Farside for March, so despite the forecaster cries that this summer would dry up the land, kill the livestock, and bankrupt farmers, guess what? Here anyway, none of that’s applied. (And yes, I’m really grateful they were wrong.)

this week I had an email from SFFANZ to say that VESTIGES OF FLAMES, my SF/disaster novel is on the ballot for Best SF Novel. I’m delighted, and fervent thanks to everyone that nominated. Now please, get supporting con memberships, or SSFANZ memberships and vote for it too.

14 March 2016

I’m definitely old – not so my imagination which goes out more often and to far stranger places than I do. However as I mention to editors now and again, I decline to be blamed for some of the themes it creates. It lives its life, I live mine, and sometimes all I do is take dictation.

A GUARDIAN FOR BAMBI, and WHEN GYPSY CAME RUNNING appeared in THE BEST ANGEL STORIES (I got my copies in January) 2016 from Guideposts USA. Theme anthology.

13 March 2016

The news burst like a bomb. Maria Sharapova was a drugs cheat who was standing there and admitting it…but was she a drugs cheat? In my opinion, no, she wasn’t. What she may have been was a victim – of bureauocracy and an oversight by her own people. What are the facts? Well, first that (possibly unlike) some other athletes taking meldonium, Sharapova really does have several serious medical conditions for which her medication is prescribed and which it is intended to treat. Second, that she had been prescribed her medication for the past ten years. And third that she is not ‘taking meldonium’, she is taking ‘mildronate’ and may not have been aware that this is another name for meldonium. I take several medications myself, nowhere on the pharmacy-provided containers does it mention the alternative names for those I take.
What is more likely that after ten years everyone simply forgot that her medication was also known as meldonium? The question for me is, how much of an effort did the authorities make to reach athletes and make sure they know that meldonium was not only now banned, but that it could be known by another name or names? After ten years taking something it becomes so routine it doesn’t really impinge on you. You get up, at a certain time of day you open the third container to the right, and take a pill from it.
Then too, Maria Sharapova is Russian and the drug is legal there, in fact she’s been taking it quite legally for the past ten years. And speaking as one who’s been taking a particular drug – Neocitamin – for the past 40 years, it’s likely that there has been a considerable build-up of meldonium in Sharapova’s body tissues too. (there has of neocitamin for me.) Have they checked – do they even know – how long that would last? What effort has been made to see if there is any other effective drug she can take or are the authorities merely saying, stop taking an essential drug, we don’t care if that makes you sick or kills you, stop taking it or stop playing tennis professionally. And after ten years, how fair would that be?
And one final thing that disgusts me throughly was the speed with which three sponsors dropped her. Remind me never to buy their products or recommend them. Because I can’t help wondering, if they’re that quick to judge, what other failings do they have!

2 March 2016

I’ve learned that violence sometimes is the answer. When reason and logic fail. Then you reach for the hammer.

and due any day now is –

I found a recent item in our newspaper very interesting, if somewhat annoying. Yet another city boy saying something that indicates he doesn’t know his ass from his elbow. In this case a champion boxer named Manny Pacquiao. He’s just been dropped from NIKE for offending the GLBT community. He said, and I quote from the paper. “do you see animals mating with the same sex?” He then went on to say that the GLBT community were worse than animals because animals can tell male from female. Sigh. I can only assume that a) Mr Pacquiao is religious, b) that he is a city boy, and c) that he knows nothing at all about the animal kingdom where animals DO frequently mate with the same sex.
Look, I’ve farmed for a mere 28 years. I know people that’ve been farmers their entire lives and are now in their eighties. We all agree that it’s common for farm animals to mate with their own sex. Personally I’ve seen cows and sheep doing that. There have been documented cases of albatrosses and penguins doing it. (Sounds like that Cliff Richards song.) But the fact is, that no matter how many religious city folk say that animals don’t mate with the same sex, therefore the GLBT community are all ‘unnatural’, the more I wonder, what don’t they understand about the information that the birds and beasts DO regularly mate with the same sex! Religiously, doing so may be wrong, but it is NOT ‘unnatural.’
(And for anyone that wonders about my own stance. No, I’m not gay, but I have long-time gay friends, a recent book was dedicated to one, and no, I believe that it is neither unnatural nor wrong either.)
So please, next time someone out there wants to claim that the GLBT community are “unnatural” because animals don’t do that, find some other comparison, because as any farmer could tell you, they darn well DO!