Tuesday, 30 May 2017


Medley of masquerade clips to classical waltz music

The following post was written by Lyn, and she supplied the pictures. 


Hi Cath, I have been so interested in all the prep you have been doing for Acerules' party! What a huge undertaking this is!!! When my son got married a few years back I too made a lot of the decorative items and I know how much planning goes into such a big event. The vases that you have collected and are now painted are so wonderful! Really transformed! What a clever idea; the same but different in shape and style of course but not in color! Very cute. I saw this mask and that it was lovely.

Lynn C.



Friday, 26 May 2017


You shouldn't have but you said it

' And I hope you never come back'
It shouldn't have happened but you let it
Now you're down on the ground screaming medic
The only thing that comes is the post-traumatic stresses
Shields, body armours and vests
Don't properly work, that's why you're in a locker full of hurt
The enemy within and all the fires from your friends
The best medicine is to probably just let her win
I wish I couldn't feel, I wish I couldn't love
I wish that I could stop 'cause it hurts so much
And I’m the only one that's trying to keep us together
When all of the signs say that I should forget her
I wish you weren’t the best, the best I ever had
I wish that the good outweighed the bad
Cause it’ll never be over, until you tell me it's over
These battle scars, don’t look like they’re fading
Don’t look like they’re ever going away
They ain't never gonna change
These battle scars, don’t look like they’re fading
Don’t look like they’re ever going away
They ain't never gonna change
These battle
'Cause you've set me on fire
I’ve never felt so alive, yeah
Hoping wounds heal, but it never does
That's because you're at war with love."
Excerpt from "Battle Scars", sung  by Guy Sebastian and LupĂ© Fiasco. Written by David Harris, Wasalu Jaco, and Guy Sebastian.

Do you ever have days where you go through the motions with your head in a fog, frequently wondering why you went to that physical or digital space, what was I going to do? Why am I here? Why did I do that? What is the damned point?

My hubby told me he would meet me somewhere tonight at a given time. I was in Claudio's, and half an hour later I asked him, where am I supposed to meet him? I took a guess and went to the right place, I got my duties done in a muddled way, the tasks I've done for a million years, the female just getting on with it and wondering, why am I here? What about me? I've forgotten what I ever wanted?

Oh, now I remember. I wanted someone who just "got" me. 

I have been reading "Sophie's Choice" by William Styron. It's a book you should read, if you're an adult and not easily annoyed by rude or long words. However, the book is not helping dispel my drifting aching thoughts. There's the obvious reason, man's unbelievable inhumanity to man, extend that to both genders. 

However, a secondary theme is the relationship of Sophie, the Polish immigrant, and Nathan, her genius boyfriend. She has been through Hell, he has a mental illness and drug addiction, and when he relapses, lives in Hell, so do his nearest and dearest. The relationship is loving until it is volatile. The volatility is a release in itself, the only silver lining, so many tears does Sophie shed, tears she normally holds in all of her waking hours, pushes them down as she makes a living, shops, goes to the pub , listens to music as therapy. When Nathan abuses her she releases torrents of them, a Niagara Falls. He pushes her buttons when he is in an acute phase of his illness " why did you survive while so many died? " Horrendous thing to say, but no worse than her own unbearable feelings, that she tries to push down to maintain smiles and grace. 

When someone "gets" us, they can say the things about us that everyone else is too polite to say, but then still love us. 

I have had my share of volatile relationships, including most recently the Cat and the Chook; but also the calmer kind. So many of the other party were gifted. However it needn't follow that they "got" me. 

Opens for Americans

Opens for Australians, people from other countries could try both or Google the song, it's well worth it:

I want the privatest funeral. Someone there to genuinely pray for my soul. Someone there to make sure that I'm buried decently. But I don't want to be talked about. No wake, no refreshments, no people discussing me. They don't really know me. 

Maybe they could say, if they did: "she strived to 'get' some people, and she still loved them." Sometimes, in a fog of forgetting, love is all of your awareness. 

I don't know, (shrugs), what did I come in here for? 

Oh, I remember a symbolism that struck me. Trump this week at NATO is Nathan, the New World, blundering in, and Sophie is Europe. There he stands, yelling at her "look at what you did, why should I help you?" Through his own fog, layers of it, ( like Europeans have layers of bodies and history literally buried) , Trump is isolated, insulated, and groping in the uncertainty, for love. Just as post war USA groped sightless with having to help Europe then. As Acerules honestly said in the previous blog post "I have not been through it, I can't pretend to know."  They do not "get" it.

One step away at all times from stepping off the unseen cliff .


The following post was written by Acerules, age 15 and she supplied the song and picture. 

On Monday night thousands of excited fans crowded round at Manchester Arena, none would  foresee such a attack, especially not the lady of the hour Ariana Grande. The teens, children and parents began filing out after the concert, when a suicide bomber using an improvised explosive devise, detonated himself in the foyer of the venue. 

Many concertgoers reported they heard one or two loud bangs at the end of the show as the light came back on. 23 people including the bomber, were killed , including the youngest an eight year old girl. This is said to be the worst attack since four suicide bombers killed 52 people on London's transport system in July 2005. 

The victims have everyone's support with even the Queen visiting those in hospital.


As for how I feel, anything I say is superficial as I wasn't there. I didn't hear the screams, I didn't see my family and friend bleeding and crying. I can't imagine what the parents, children and friends of the victims are feeling and I'm not going to patronise them by implying I understand what they're going through. I'm  not saying I don't feel empathy and compassion towards those who are victims of the attack, i'm just not going to downplay it and compare it to other attacks. It was a horrible, barbaric thing to happen to anyone. They all left behind people that will never forget them. These people just need your support. The just need to know that when they get back up you'll be there to catch them if they fall. 

I wasn't there, I'm not qualified to do much more than state facts, but I hope those who were there know our hearts and thoughts go out to them.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


"You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for
Turn out the light
Don't try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right."

Billy Joel -You may be right.

Ten free visits to a shrink per calendar year in Australia, actually six, then you have to go to a doctor and ask for four more. After that you're paying over $100 per visit. 

It's not enough for people in crisis , in acute, or chronic mental illness. It's not even one per month!!! 

Get your values together , Australian government. You've helped the rich enough, now help the rest of the population. 

Detail of The Scream by Munch




On Saturday night I went to a dance eisteddfod. This is a competition for dancers, in various categories, that is trained for and taken seriously by competitors. 
It was held at a grand old theatre that has been recently painted inside with new carpet and a new colour scheme of gold and marsala.
The costumes were excellent, very detailed and professional. The standard of dancing was very high. The evening I went, all dancers were teenagers.





The food was homemade , cheap and really flavourful, and one of the reasons I go.  I had lasagne, pumpkin soup, jelly slice, coconut lemon slice and cups of tea. It's necessary catering, because the dancers come from all over our region and further afield, with their costume and makeup bags. They are a good injection into the local economy. Each year, we start to see girls wandering around town with ballet buns or plaits across their heads, often with their parents, and we know the dance eistedddfod is on. There is also the occasional boy. 






Our girl competed for awhile. It was interesting for her Dad. He didn't want to see the others perform much, only her. He would go out and sit in the foyer or on a street bench with a book, when she wasn't on stage. This Saturday I noticed other men doing similar, one was glued to his laptop.

I am sorry to have to report, that photos and videos of the performances weren't allowed by the audience, this is common in eisteddfods these days. I tried to find similar online, to give you an idea, the dancing was as good, but the costumes didn't do justice to what our performers wore. Indeed, in Australia the costumes are quite valuable, due to the hand beading etc on them, which is a task I did myself for awhile. 






Categories I saw on the night, were :

Song and Dance Solo,

Tap Troupe,

Classical Solo, 16 years and over, 

Character Solo, 14 years and under 16, 

Own Choreography Solo 16 years and over, 

Classical Solo, 14 years and under 16 Open, 

Neo/Contemporary Troupe, 

Jazz/Modern Solo, 12 years and under 14, 

Contemporary Solo, 14 years and under 16, 

Jazz /Modern Duo/Trio , Open age. 

There were additional categories on other days of the eisteddfod. With the variety, I did not get bored. 


Similar to the ballerinas I saw, but ours were a bit older:


Character dancing tells a story, the ones I saw were very good, similar to this


I won't bore you with too many details, but here is one section for example.
Section 57 -Character Solo 14 to 16 yo contained competitors from Beaconsfield, Traralgon, x2 , Stradbroke and Maffra. The standard of costumes and dancing was very high. The results were

  1. The execution of Anne Boleyn - 1st place
  2. The artful dodger - 2nd place
  3. The snow queen - honourable mention
  4. The war bride - honourable mention
  5. Juliet : the balcony scene - 3rd place

No. 1 had very good execution. After the judging and speech from the adjudicator I offered that opinion to her. She agreed in all seriousness. I was forced to explain the joke. 
She appeared to be a very sweet woman who tried to give a prize to everybody on the night.

Person to watch on the night- Maddison Tosch, her dancing was TV quality, her movements whip sharp and fast.


The lifeblood of any Aussie country town are its volunteers. 




Public domain photo


Monday, 22 May 2017

CONTROVERSY CORNER - Part 2 Growing a terrorist

Continuing our two part series by Fizzfan from England , polite comments in the section at the bottom are welcome.

At the end of the war there were unsavoury validated reports of Iraqi soldiers being buried alive by bulldozers as they remained in their trenches, and the bombing of thousands of soldiers as they withdrew from Kuwait City (albeit official surrender had not been verified at that time) on what became known as the Highway of Death. The U.S. had also called for uprisings in the Shia south and Kurdish north and then just left them to Saddam’s revenge.

Iraq never fully recovered from the devastation as they were then crushed for 12 years under U.N. sanctions.   Ambassador Madeleine Albright admitted this contributed to the deaths of half a million Iraqi children. 

To give that some perspective, that's more than the combined death toll of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But never mind because she said it was WORTH IT.

23 secs




David Kelly was employed by the British M.O.D and a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq. He was due to appear before the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee to expose there were no weapons of mass destruction but decided to kill himself two days beforehand by cutting an artery?.......

Unperturbed by having no actual proof of these WMDs, the U.S. and Britain invaded IRAQ just in case they did and were thinking about sharing them with their new best enemies Al Qaeda. 

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and it pretty much destroyed Iraq. Afterwards it unleashed a civil war and GAVE RISE TO THE TERROR GROUP The Islamic State in Iraq, which later merged with terrorists in Syria to become ISIS.


Think it's time for a death tally here........

Iraqi Deaths somewhere between 1 and 2 MILLION (difficult to get any accurate figures) Occupying Forces below 5,000.

Another legacy left behind when the troops left Iraq is that birth defects soared due to the use of DEPLETED URANIUM in our weapons.


It's also a good time to ask a thus far avoided question. How do these people feel? 


These are a random selection of widespread comments from the general public:-

“All the Western world wants out of the Middle East is oil, and nothing the West says about democracy and freedom is genuine. If it were, the West wouldn't have supported regimes that oppressed us, like Qaddafi in Libya, and Mubarak in Egypt. They are hypocrites. We cannot trust them at all.” 

“They” do not have an interest in helping us build factories, roads and schools. All “they” care about is taking “our” natural resources at any cost before leaving the country".

"America held out hope to all, came to Iraq, promised it liberation and prosperity, and ended up destroying the country."



These youth will grow into young men and they may well have issues over what happened to them.




(This was written by Jeff Faux a renowned economic American Author)

The only answer that makes sense is that it reflects the subordination of US policy in the Middle East to the interests of

  1. the despotic dynasties that rule Saudi Arabia and the gulf sheikdoms; 
  2. the Israeli government, especially under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; 
  3. the American politicians, pundits, lobbyists, and national-security bureaucrats whose careers and bank accounts are enhanced by both. 
  4. It is in the interests of all three to divert attention from the catastrophic consequences of our intervention in the region.


This really is just a snapshot of over 100 years of 'interventions' from the West. 

It only scratches the surface but for a long time now I've asked these recurring questions:-

Why do we keep sticking our noses in? Has any of it actually helped? Will it ever help? And the cost!? (Apparently Trillions)

Nothing seems to improve, in fact it seems to get worse. 

Are we containing a problem or just making it even worse?

I don't think any occupation or intervention in someone else's territory is likely to leave the people living there without scars and grudges. Keep doing it and those grudges will unquestionably gather conviction.

I don't condone terrorism or indeed any violence AT ALL, but that is not the same as saying I don't understand how years of foreigners occupying their lands after carving it up without regard for the citizens, then destroying their homes and the devastation of witnessing the wholesale killings of their loved ones and also imposing sanctions that crucify them afterwards, would not eventually breed hardened feelings of absolute hatred in some.

AND FINALLY AND VERY IMPORTANTLY when you add to that their very strict religious indoctrination that is largely at odds with our own lifestyles and beliefs, you definitely have a recipe for some seeking hideous and glorifying forms of revenge.

There have been 85 'conflicts' in the Middle East since the demise of the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago. The West have NOT been involved in the vast majority but unhappily the statistics reveal they have been involved in the deaths of as many as all the other conflicts put together, and through sanctions even more.

The BIG question of course is what our motives really are?

Is it humanitarian, oil and resources, combating terrorism, or just control and dominance? 

I think it started off as control and dominance, that quickly became the oil and resources and the humanitarianism aspect was invented to give us a reason to protect the other two at any price. The terrorism is just an end product we're stuck with.


Swallowing the mantra from George W Bush’s of "They hate us for our freedoms”, is absolute garbage and much more to do with the fact that we are FOREIGN INVADERS supporting whichever regime seems to be advantageous to US thus giving them an unfair advantage. THE OPPOSING SIDE WILL NEVER FAIL TO BE ENRAGED BY THAT.

The end result is that THE WEST have given the fanatics fantastic leverage to glorify their causes even more and not surprisingly spawned a rising tide in Terrorism against us.


LIBYA:- Got rid of Colonel Gaddafi. They're now in the midst of a brutal civil war with no end in sight.

IRAN:- Iran and Iraq had an 8 year war and it was common knowledge The U.S. provided arms. Nearly 40 years later we've only just brokered a rather tenuous deal with Iran by lifting crippling sanctions in exchange for them restricting their nuclear programme. We've yet to see how that works out because Iranian hardliners aren't happy about the deal.

IRAQ:- Got rid of Saddam Hussein with his Invisible Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Now Mosul their 2nd largest city is under siege by ISIS and 1 million people have been displaced and thousands killed.

Now SYRIA:- The U.S. just started to get involved with air strikes.........Russia like the other guys...........?!

Of the regimes and leaders that have been toppled, it looks like they've only been replaced by splinter groups that have made things even more unstable. 


To simplify things, I see the Middle East as a bit like Hydra, the multi headed monster. Trying to slay it is useless because it just grows even more heads. Leave it be and it might stop growing new heads like ISIS, or at least contain itself. Even if it doesn't, at least we won't be caught up in the blame game anymore, and maybe, just maybe, the rising tide of 'terrorism' against us would start to decline?

Of course I know this won't happen because we're in too deep to pull out, but scratching our heads and just demonising them as evil lunatics fighting a cause that we are wholly unaccountable for is something I now question and view rather differently. There are always two sides to a story (and this is a VERY complex one) I'd just never thought about the other side.






Sunday, 21 May 2017

CONTROVERSY CORNER - Growing a terrorist

Today's guest post and photos are provided  by Fizzfan from UK. Please direct your (polite) opinions to her in the comments section at bottom of the page.


I can't recall 'TERROR' being on the news too much while I was growing up but there were always news reports of wars somewhere. Apart from 'the troubles' in Northern Ireland (our close neighbour), Egypt and Israel seemed to be mentioned a lot and somewhere called Palestine. Then there was this place that always seemed to be getting bombed a lot called Beirut. In fact when I was young if I went somewhere that looked run down or bleak I always used to say "Christ it looks like Beirut". 

So in an effort to unravel the mystery of the never ending conflicts in the Middle East  and the rise of Terrorism, I decided to do some digging. However, I added a caveat of focusing on OUR involvement in those conflicts.


Once upon a time about 600 years ago this happened....







Well it seems just after the 1st World War two diplomats from victorious Britain and France, Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot, were tasked with dividing up the the fallen Ottoman Empire who'd made a bad bet and backed Germany in the war. 

Their only concern was imperialistic advantage and they carved the region among themselves with no regard at all to the Arab people's ethnic birthrights. 

They had also promised the Arabs independence but instead installed Kings and rulers of THEIR choosing so WE could have a say in how things were done and run.

I had no knowledge of this, but the Arabs most definitely do!



Well of course! Not long after, Italy, the U.S. Germany and Russia all wanted a piece of the pie and have been overthrowing and intervening in all sorts of political wrangles and governments in Libya, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Iraq ever since.

There are way too many to mention so I've just cherry picked a few to give a flavour of  the complexities and the death toll.

In 1953 Britain and France together with the CIA staged a coup in IRAN replacing a DEMOCRACY with a MONARCHY. This was because the elected prime minister had sought to nationalise British-controlled Iranian oil. It was done to safeguard the WESTS OIL INTERESTS and Iran have never forgotten it.

Three years later they (Brits & French) combined forces with Israel to attack EGYPT when President Nasser decided to take control of the Suez Canal which had up until then been controlled by Britain, France and Israel. It was used for the free passage of trade and Nasser wanted to start charging for this to fund building the Aswan Dam because the loan agreed by the U.S. and Brits had been pulled because we didn't like Egypts political ties with Russia.

So we secretly colluded with each other and planned that Israel would head up an attack and then us Brits with the French would join in.

However, once it all kicked off, the Russians sided with Egypt which made the U.S. a bit twitchy and they told the Brits, French and Israelis to butt out or they'd intervene with oil sanctions and our access to International Monetary Funds.

Thus ended the Brits dominance and the U.S. took over as the main external power. The Brits did allegedly have one last 'Secret Service' shot at killing the rather popular President Nasser with poison, but it failed.

The Arab Nationalist Movement was formed opposing Western imperialism and Israel.

Moving on to the 1970s, Egypt switched sides from being friends with the Russians and cozied up with the US. It earned them $2.3 billion a year in military and economic aid.

In 1981 military hardman Mubarak began his 30 YEAR Presidency of Egypt and joined the US. in attacking IRAQ in the 1991 GULF WAR which earned them a 50% reduction in their foreign debt. 

He also supported attacking Iran, along with King Abdullah II of Jordan and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia who we're still best buds with too.

Seems to me that 'SIDES' are being established and this particular game is WAR. The opposing teams and all their fans and supporters will be very well aware of who's supporting who and the fact that one of them is an OUTSIDER with a lot of CLOUT, might seem a bit unfair.

Also, Mubarek was very unpopular during his 30 year Presidency, dodging several assassination attempts but finally stepped down in 2011 following mass waves of protests. Seems from our actions we liked him though?

Quick skip back to 1980. The U.S. supplied arms which tipped the balance in the war between IRAQ and IRAN. We may not have liked IRAQI Saddam Hussein, but we were even less keen on IRANS Ayatollah Khomeini. It was a brutal eight-year war but the arms, intelligence and chemical weapons we provided helped win Iraq the war. 

IRAN once again not happy. 

So about that GULF WAR?

In 1991 the U.S. landed with a vengeance in the GULF WAR to help out KUWAIT against IRAQ this time.

Famously, to mobilise American public support, the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador FALSELY testified before Congress that Iraqi troops were pulling the plugs on incubators in Iraqi hospitals.

The CIA even paid for her to have acting lessons! 

She deserved an Oscar and if you want to see it here it is: