This is hard for Koneko to write. Koneko believes in Love. As John Lennon wrote, “All you need is Love” …
[Written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–Mccartney (as all John & Paul’s Beetles songs were) the Beatles performed it as Britain’s contribution to “Our World” (the first live “global” television link). Watched by over 400 million viewers in 25 countries, the program was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnD78Rcd13k ] … but we can come back to that dirty four letter word “love” later …
Most people are familiar with the expression, “blood is thicker than water”. For those who are not, it refers to the concept that family bonds (genetic or “blood” connections) are closer than (placed ahead of) those with outsiders (not related) … remember the “tragedy” that befell Romeo & Juliet for crossing “family lines” ? Blood TRUMPS love? (excuse the irony).
It is unclear, however, whether the saying is meant to be a positive or a negative? Does one “favour blood” in order to be pious? Or is it a curse on those who favour family? Is the simple explanation, “that human beings who, on the whole, are incapable of being impartial, naturally favour Nepotism over Cronyism over Merit” ??? Ironically, the quote itself may be paradoxically interpreted in common parlance (see Footnote)
But again, I digress …
So does the phenomenon really exist? In 2009-10, only 4% of “families”, as identified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), were blended (one or more “natural” children in a household combined, with I guess, one or more “un-natural” ? ). Here is what they have to say …
This number (4%) staggered Koneko for the following reason … 1 in 3 Australian marriages end in divorce! Granted, not all marriages bear children (nor can the participants bear each other clearly) plus not all divorcees re-partner, but the number of brave souls who actually make the conscious choice to expose their “natural” offspring to a new partner in a “family” setting (and succeeds) appears to be frighteningly small!
Koneko smells a big fat rat …
Here are some “statistics” (authenticity unverified) from the “USA Stepfamily Foundation” …
66% of re-partnerings FAIL if children are involved
Is there a more compelling modern day statistic than that to support the saying that “blood is thicker than water” ?
[please allow for the fact that this will be fixed (allegedly) by Donald Trump … like everything else that is “wrong” with America]
Koneko fears that L – O – V – E love isn’t ALL YOU NEED …
especially when you have kids and you L – O – V – E love somebody else who has kids too …
Why is it so? Koneko can only speculate that the protective parental instinct still runs so deep in most of us that we are prepared to sacrifice companionship, connection, intimacy, trust … pure love itself with a partner … to honour “blood” in the case of our natural offspring. The love relationship (if you can still call it that) becomes transactional and hierarchical (kids first).
Under the pressure and stress of modern life, when there is not enough love to go around, the relationship suffers and loyalties are divided along “natural family” lines. Of course the level of “demand” that the offspring place on the natural parent will be a telling factor in the equation, along with the size of the “bucket-of-love” that the parent has to share around. If the USA step-family data is to be believed, only 1 in 3 relationships of the type described survive, indicating that there is a large hole in most people’s buckets!
Kids can be master puppeteers in the theatrics of the step-parent play. Instinctively they know how to leverage the situation and create the necessary level of drama to be able to direct attention to their various plights. At the first sign of discord between natural parent & step-parent they play the “blood card” (me-first), daring the natural parent not to align with them. If there is even a hint of the natural parent siding with the partner, then brooding, withdrawing affection & engaging in willful or self-destructive behaviour are engaged in to remind the parent of the pain and consequence of putting water first. Choosing water means drowning.
In Koneko’s experience, many step-parents delude themselves along the following lines. “It will be different when the kids are older/grown-up”. Sadly, it is a story we tell ourselves to deny the brutal reality. A natural offspring in need, of any age, will come before a step-parent partner … period.
And so we end where we started … This has been hard for Koneko to write. Koneko still believes in Love because love is the only true anesthetic to our existential angst (note that Sartre & de Beauvoir had a legendary love pact and NO children!) … so all together now … all you need is love
Lyrics – All you need is love – Lennon/Mccartney
Footnote: “Blood is thicker than water” may have originally derived from the phrase “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”, implying that the ordinary meaning is the opposite of the original intention.
374m altitude increase from base to summit
2,000m distance base to summit (4km round trip)
Includes 1,349 stair steps !
Natural Beauty …
… hides the challenge that lay ahead
… worth the effort, energy & pain …
… well earned time at Ngarunui Beach (Raglan) NZ
… and Bridal Veil Falls
to the summit and back again … just because you can!
Only 2 days to Xmas … The lead news story, “retailers are predicting Australians will spend $48 billion dollars at Xmas blah blah blah”
Now, in late January, is it safe to “attack” Xmas for the commercial proletariat-pilfering exercise that it is? Oh, have I given it away? Yes, Koneko is … the … the … Grinch!
Warning: The dog WAS harmed after this shot was taken
One of the great singers of Xmas carols in Koneko’s lifetime is Bob Hope. Here is what he had to say about the spirit of Xmas:
“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others”
Do you know how many years Koneko has gone shopping for a “Loving Others”? Do you know what sort of looks you will get from a pimply 17yo sales person when you even ask for a “Loving Others”? Not to mention that you can’t get a park in a “Shopping Centre” without 6 other cars flashing lights and coming at the vacant parking spot from angles never conceived by the engineer …
I could go on, and on, and on …
Boxing Day now there is a DAY … having slept-in (in the vain hope that you can forget the obligatory Xmas Day argument … hi Nanna, hi Aunty Lorraine, hi Uncle Ken haha) … you get up and there is cold (or reheated) ham off the bone … and then there is CRICKET … and if things go really, really well … you will be having a classic Mexican siesta by “tea” (the cricket kind)
Merry Xmas? … Good luck!
Born in the “West” … heart in the “East”. The East-West cultural dichotomy lurks constantly in the Koneko mind.
Australia is categorised as a modern (young) western culture. It is where Koneko was born and resides. In general, Australians are quite patriotic. Not in a flag waving, “rah-rah-rah” kind of way but more in what could be described as a “defensive”, protect our way of life mode.
Bumper stickers grate on me. I notice them regularly. They are usually accompanied by a map of Australia or the Australian flag.
The above 3 examples pretty much summarise the sentiment.
Australia … AREA 7.692 million km² POPULATION 24.3 million [ 3 persons per km² ]
Denmark … AREA 16.6 thousand km² POPULATION 5.7 million [ 343 persons per km² ] Hmmmmm
OK so we aren’t full … but the next argument is less easily refuted. “Love it” … “IT” What the fuck is “IT“? What are we being asked to love in order to be “Australian”??? I’ll never know. But I do know we have a percentage of our population that doesn’t tolerate “un-Australian” (again undefined).
Rather than draw on a wide range of sources to support my argument, I’ll just be lazy and go straight to the top shelf, to the High Priestess of Xenophobia, Pauline-Please-Explain-Hanson.
In her maiden (now called “First”) parliamentary speech, (she has since had a second first speech) we can find the following illuminating gems:
In 1996 the number of people born in Asia and living in Australia was 4.78%. In 2011 (last official records at the time of writing) it was 8.08% So does this make Pauline right? Are we being “swamped”? No! Please Explain? I will.
60% of the worlds population is Asian. If Australia has an open immigration policy then statistically 6 out of every 10 migrants will be … drum roll … phone a friend Pauline? … would you like to use your 50/50 Pauline? … ASIAN. In almost 20 years Australia’s Asian population has grown by less than 4%
Ahhhh but they cluster and form ghettos (I think she means this is baaaaaaaaad for all her sheep who may read this). Hurstville in Sydney, Sunnybank in Brisbane, North Richmond in Melbourne are all densely populated with Asian residents. So is it an Asian phenomenon this “cultural clustering”? A dirty blight on ‘stralia? A very baaaaaaaaad thing?
In Indonesia, AUSTRALIAN migrants tend to cluster and live together in common suburbs. Bali is a classic example. But back in good old Perth, WA, we can draw on the best example to counter our Aussie mate Pauline’s opinion. This comes from a professional demographer, Bernard Salt, who extracted the following from the 2006 census:
“One of the tightest ethnic concentrations in Australia is a collection of comfortable beach-side suburbs on Perth’s north-side. In postcode 6028, Burns Beach, 26% of the local population was born outside Australia – in BRITAIN. That’s right Bolshie Burns Beach is as full of British migrants as the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta is of Vietnamese.
So wherever you are, and WHEREVER YOU ARE FROM, on the 26th of January … just have a great day … even you Pauline 🙂
Koneko has relocated. Not in a ‘witness-protection’ sort of way but a significant move all the same. Her man servant Cato (aka Nala) has moved with her. The transport went exceedingly well given that Koneko is a noted ‘non-traveler’. She is now her normal sprightly self … and both behaving & thinking silkily.
So why the change? In a word, SIMPLICITY.
In a world full of choice, simplicity can be difficult to attain (or retain / maintain). For Koneko it is a homecoming of sorts whereby she has returned to the origins of ‘us’, the place where she & I & her human ‘mum’ first met. In order to fly she needed a veterinary certificate due to her age. The conversation with the vet went like this …
Vet: Hello, what can we do for you today?
Us: We plan to fly this week so we need a certificate to meet the airlines rules.
Vet: You only need a certificate if the animal is over 12 years of age.
Us: Yes, that is right.
Vet: This animal is not over 12?
Us: I think you will find she is?
After a thorough inspection, the veterinary surgeon confirmed that our Koneko was well in excess of the 9 years of age that she had estimated from first appearances 😉 So why is Koneko aging like an expensive bottle of fine red wine?
It used to be more valuable than gold … but now $, sadly, seems to be the only currency on most people’s radar.
Once upon a time … before Koneko roamed the earth … SPAM was only a brand of canned, pre-cooked meat made by Hormel Foods Corporation …
I imagine a SPAM filter might have been something deployed in the SPAM factory to keep germs and bacteria out of the SPAM?
Nowadays SPAM is the use of electronic messaging systems to send an unsolicited message (spam), especially advertising, as well as sending messages repeatedly on the same site. Apparently your Internet Services Provider (ISP) gets pretty upset when your website is hacked and then used to SPAM people 🙁
So to everyone who genuinely likes Koneko.life, sorry if your enjoyment of this site has/is impacted by the unscrupulous few who have chosen to use it for malicious purposes. We learn, we move forward.
But the final word on SPAM can come from no-one other than these guys … an inspiration to black cats all over the planet … as opposed to the cats from the dark web …
Mark it down. Recall it to your grandchildren one day. The week ending Friday 8th January 2016 is when “PC” in Australia sent us all around the twist. As a nation we are a mad house. We’re officially Bonkers!
It is entirely possible after considering this post that you, the reader, add Koneko to the list of those who “don’t get it”. The Don’t Get It List is where everyone who doesn’t agree with a yet-to-be officially ratified, Political Correctness School of Philosophy, is banished for speaking out against politically correct philosophical pronouncements (PCPee-Pee).
Note: At the time of writing nobody can confirm whether an offence has been committed by the use of the term “pee-pee”.
What IS extremely certain is that having a “pee-pee” is problematic nowadays! So what did happen this week that sent us off the PC equivalent of the Richter Scale?
The first mistake made was a seemingly innocuous one. We watched cricket on a summers eve (what were we thinking in retrospect? Bad move!) On a day where our forefathers would have packed a Test cricket venue, NOBODY attended a Test Match. EVERBODY, however, tuned in to the Big Bash. The Big Bash is where cricket mad Aussies, instead of hating the Paki’s or the fucking pommie bastards all dressed in white, get to cheer on teams dressed in bright colours. Sri Lankans, South Africans, English, West-Indians, Aussies & others play side-by-side in an atmosphere of camaraderie and high spirits. Personalities we once hated with a passion … such as KP & Freddie Flintoff … now boom into our lounge rooms as comics, entertainers and genuine great blokes (not sure if I can say bloke either?)
Responsibility for the second mistake falls squarely on the shoulders of the Hobart Hurricanes bowlers. Why-oh-Why did they bowl 14 hapless deliveries that allowed Chris Gayle to plunder 41 runs? THAT interview would never have taken place. Without their misguided contribution we might still be teetering on the edge of sanity. But it happened. Squire Gayle entertained us like Zorro wielding willow and then proceeded to plunge mankind (used deliberately) into a new gender-based Ice Age. If you have just been released from a mental institution and don’t know what I am talking about click here.
In summary, the crime was to flirt on television. His punishment = $10k fine. OUR punishment = not getting to see him Down Under ever again? All on top of the pain & suffering we are experiencing as a result of the pandemic known as PC.
Let me state right now, before I exercise my right of free speech, that I support equality, and I deplore discrimination and domestic violence.
Playful flirting and practical joking is NONE of these things. Do not trot out the “but this is her workplace” claptrap. Do you know how many people find their spouse or partner through “the workplace”? And do we really think that this would be the same story if Meg Lanning had propositioned a male reporter during a WBBL mid-match interview? Indeed footage materialised of a female news reporter “chatting up” a bare chested male beach goer. This was deemed fair television. Equality?
If the fight is for equality, where is that elusive beast in all of the hoo-ha we are now being subjected to? And where does “freedom of expression” stand? Is it dead? A patron (he was a MAN) was ejected from the MCG at a subsequent BBL game for holding up a banner that read, “#standbyGayle”. In the very same ground a patron was NOT ejected (she was a WOMAN) for holding up a sign saying, “Marry me Marcus Stoinos”. Fancy harassing poor sweet Marcus in his place of work like that? Shame!
But it doesn’t end there. No it is only the beginning of the week that was.
Enter Peter Dutton MP. Most of us will admit to having “drunk text” at some stage and got it horribly wrong. Mr Dutton needs no such lubrication. The technology “Gaff-father” can do it sober as a judge and cock it up monumentally. Not only did he use the incredibly offensive description “mad fucking witch”, he inadvertently text “mad fucking witch” TO the mad fucking witch, which opened up the damned broom closet on a whole new front.
Let me share the following with you as Exhibit A for PC out of control. The Sydney Morning Herald (referenced below) contained an article entitled, “Witching hour at Peter Dutton’s office as protestors call for sacking over text”. Let me quote …
“The term ‘witch’ is generally thought of as a gendered insult when used by men to describe women. Feminist author and commentator Jane Caro told Faifax Media: By saying mad fucking witch you are actually painting a picture of something that is very different from “mad fucking idiot”, which would have been fine because it is an equal opportunity insult”
An EQUAL OPPORTUNITY INSULT … WTF? Leslie Nielsen (yep Leslie can be a boys name) could respond best. Surely you aren’t serious? I am serious and don’t call me Shirley!
I can’t speak for you but I do not want to participate in a society that even contemplates an “equal opportunity insult”, let alone one that actually has a name for it! The article goes on to recommend Mr Dutton be sacked … and replaced by a woman (one proficient in the use of mobile technology I presume?).
In a parallel Universe, a politician (call him Mr Button) accidentally sent a text (meant for a parliamentary colleague) to a male journalist calling him a “mad fucking warlock”. And, curiously, NOBODY jumped to the journo’s aid by trotting out an “equal opportunity insult” defense. How would it even go? Ahh Mr Button you shouldn’t refer to Barnaby Joyce as a warlock it would be more appropriate and non-gender-offensive to call him a mad fucking idiot?
Meanwhile, back in our universe, the following occurred:
Violence is violence. Discrimination is discrimination. Abuse is abuse. If you threaten ANYONE with violence THAT is the issue. Not gender. According to the media a woman in a restaurant is a WOMAN but a man is a PATRON or a DINER. What would newspaper articles look like if gender was not allowed to be disclosed? “A patron in a bar alleges that they were threatened by another patron with chopsticks”, reads very differently from “Drunk AFL star threatens woman with a weapon”
Here is the Ko-down … and it is an incredibly important one. Feminists, activists, PC devotees take note.
If you try to push the barrows of equal opportunity and respect for women through the media using controversial sensationalism, then the men who most need educating will shutdown and an opportunity will be lost…
Do not underestimate the potential for those with a pee-pee to throw the baby out with the bath water. If you want to make a real sustainable difference then keep the message simple, pure, fair and easy to understand … and don’t target sports people.
The week where Aussies lost the plot completely just happened to coincide with the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo shootings … Liberté, égalité, fraternité
The world is far from perfect.
The above statement does not need any justification. Anyone who has drawn breathe (and is old enough to think about having drawn breathe) will acknowledge it as self-evident. How much “imperfection” we are willing to accept is influenced by a number of factors. In this little rant I am going to focus on PROXIMITY and how this factor has become increasingly relevant through the spread of information technology and social media.
Proximity simply means how close something is to you. Generally it is measured in distance and considered as geographical. If leprosy or the Ebola virus is rampant in your town then you are far more likely to be concerned with this specific imperfection in the world than if you live in Alaska. Again, pretty obvious? If terrorists fly a hijacked plane into a building in Omsk in southwestern Siberia then in Australia we may not even see it on the evening news. Do the same thing in New York on 0911 and the impact reverberates forever. Both Omsk and New York are roughly equidistant from Australia’s broad shoreline so you could argue that in terms of proximity they are “equally close”. So why the massive difference in interpretation?
As Australians we regard ourselves as a “Western” culture politically and socially. We are allied to the United States. We see and hear about events in the US constantly. Even if we have never been there, or have no inclination to go there, we are likely to feel proximate (very near) the US because we have been conditioned so. About all I ever learned about Siberia was that they have salt mines … don’t they? Back when a phone looked like this, the only way you could get the result of the weekend round of Rugby League (now NRL) was to ring a special number at the PMG (now Telstra after a million reincarnations in-between) on Sunday evening and listen to a very proper voice announce the score. Nothing more just the score. For example Round 17, 1973 … “St.George versus Cronulla-Sutherland … pause … St.George 15 … pause … Cronulla-Sutherland … pause … 10.” How things have changed. Now I can watch live NBA on my mobile phone travelling at 320km/h on a Shinkansen.
Is it any wonder that a person can now feel “closer” to an event 10,000km away than something happening in the very next street!
Back to the title of this post (when I say “back” I recognise that I haven’t even been remotely on topic so far), so I need a decent segue! Our newly appointed Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, was recently quoted as saying, “ISIL have more smartphones than guns, more Twitter accounts than soldiers.” Let’s think about that for a moment … through the eyes of say Derek Zoolander …
Interviewer: The Australian PM has said that, “ISIL have more smartphones than guns, more Twitter accounts than soldiers”. What do you think about that Derek?
Derek: The Malaysian Prime Minister said that? Wow! So that means that like Apple & Googley are responsible for the rise of the Death Cult? Steve Jobs would be pissed!
Communications & technology have ALWAYS been central to warfare. We celebrate the efforts of Pheidippides in 490B.C. when the Olympic Marathon is run every 4 years. Imagine how his life would have changed if instead of running from Marathon to Greece he could’ve just tweeted “Victory” on his i6+ ? Think the enigma machine invented by German Arthur Scherbius and the decoding work of Alan Turing in WWII. The Cold War “Arms Race” between the US & the Soviet Union was an example of a technological dick comparing session of global proportions. During the Gulf war, we the public were introduced to modern warfare on our TV screens (and PC’s for the advanced / fortunates), when detailed images of bombs dropped by fighter aircraft hit their targets in Kuwait & Iraq. The war was in our lounge rooms and suddenly closer than Mrs Smith in Number 17, two doors down … PROXIMITY.
We shouldn’t be scared of ISIS. The minute Tony Abbott said we should be, I knew I was safe! There has always been, and will always be, “enemies of the way we live our life”. ISIL are vile and evil. So was Saddam Hussein, Hitler and others before them. Indeed an Iraqi will think the same of Obama … after all aren’t all American Presidents mass murderers? All that has changed is that Daesh is closer to you than any of their predecessors … in fact they might be in your pocket right now!
The following paragraph appears in a work by Phil Harker & Ted Scott entitled “Humanity at Work” …
“High regard and praise are heaped upon those that win life’s competitions. It is tempting for the winners to believe that this success was all their own doing, however, they neglect to take into account the powerful shaping effects of their genetic inheritance and their social history. This is not to suggest that the individual has no part to play in their success, it is simply to point out that much of the success that people take personal credit for, and base their sense of self-worth upon, is the result of a combination of factors over which their control has been more apparent than real.”
Paraphrased … keep a balanced view of your “successes” AND your “failures” because a whole lot of your life’s “cards” were dealt to you well before you entered the game!
If I am 170cm tall, not a gifted aerobic athlete and born into a family of Rugby League supporters living in country Qld, there is a good chance I won’t get drafted into the AFL. Let’s break that down in terms of what “I” had / have control over.
As I watch the 198cm, 97kg, AFL champion strutting his stuff on centre stage it would be easy for me to have feelings of inferiority and envy. Through no fault of my own, I simply could never be that person because I wasn’t dealt that hand. All I can do is follow my passion and be the best 170cm AFL player I can be and reach whatever level I can reach. It may well be that our 170cm “nobody” leads a rich and rewarding life and our hulking, famous AFL athlete ends up in prison. Self-worth comes from within and is not a reward for winning life’s competitions. It is determined mostly by the stories we choose to tell ourselves about our endeavours.
I was reminded recently of a quote by African American tennis great Arthur Ashe, ” … The doing is often more important than the outcome” he said. Arthur Ashe graced the world’s tennis stage as a champion and died from complications related to a contaminated blood transfusion. He had no control over his athletic gifts in the first instance or the source of his demise in the latter.
Another quote from Vincent Van Gogh, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”. Sage advice from a man who, although brilliantly talented and ultimately famous, possessed a very low opinion of himself and was a much troubled character.
Attribution Theory was put forward by Heider (1958) and is concerned with how and why ordinary people explain events the way they do. Here are the two key concepts that, if applied in everyday life, can assist us to keep a balanced view of ourselves and others 🙂
1. Internal Attribution: The process of assigning the cause of behaviour to some internal characteristic, rather than to outside forces. When we explain the behavior of others we look for enduring internal attributions, such as personality traits. For example, we attribute the behavior of a person to their personality, motives or beliefs e.g. “Frank is just naturally an angry prick”
2. External Attribution: The process of assigning the cause of behaviour to some situation or event outside a person’s control rather than to some internal characteristic. When we try to explain our own behavior we tend to make external attributions, such as situational or environment features e.g. “We would have beaten them if it was a dry day”.
In general, if we learn to apply a little bit more external attribution to others (“Frank is a nice enough bloke, he just gets angry sometimes when the big boss applies pressure”) … and a little more internal attribution to ourselves (“We played poorly today in the conditions, they deserved their win and we will get them next time”) we are likely to be more effective and at ease with ourselves.
Here is the trick however. Many people are way too harsh on themselves internally. They beat themselves up by telling themselves stories about events which have a very harsh internal edge such as, “I’m shit at that I always have been” or ” “It’s all my fault, I suck”. Clearly this isn’t conducive with robust self-esteem!
In summary, there is a lot about “us” that we don’t get to choose … but we choose how we deal with what we’ve got … and what comes at us in this “random universe”. As Harker & Scott propose, “Self-worth comes from within and is not a reward for winning life’s competitions. It is determined mostly by the stories we choose to tell ourselves about our endeavours”.