From under the linoleum
Old newspapers show Mussolini's imperialism looked a lot like today's

I sat on the floor and picked through the tragedy of the country we now call Ethiopia laid out on the yellowing pages. It was eerily reminiscent of the current Iraq adventure.

A tale for our times
The December 1934 assassination of Sergei Kirov

Seventy years on, the killing of Sergei Kirov casts an eerie light on the events of 11 September 2001, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the “war on Terror” and the state-sponsored hysteria surrounding the shadowy figures of Osama bin Ladin and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Ninety-three years of bombing the Arabs
It was the Italians, hell-bent on acquiring an African empire, who got the ball rolling. In 1911 the Libyan Arab tribes opposed an Italian invasion. Their civilians were the first people in the world to be bombed from the air.

Dispossessed all over again
After spending nearly two months in the West Bank the pull towards my village was growing stronger, especially after being detained twice and threatened with deportation … an Australian Palestinian returns to her ancestral home.

The tragic inevitability of a forlorn hope
Australia slides further into the Iraq quagmire
Cabinet documents recently released under the 50-year rule show that, in 1954, Liberal (conservative) Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, and key figures in his Cabinet were extremely gloomy about the prospects for success in an American war against nationalists in Indochina. But eventually they went to the Vietnam War anyway.

Bombing King David
One man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist

Some historians date the beginning of modern terrorism from the 1946 bombing by Zionist terrorists of the British military HQ in Jerusalem.

Don’t loiter near the exit
Military debacle and economic decline haunt the Bush regime

When I was just a young possum in the school cadet corps there was a hoary old war story that we all knew. It was almost certainly apocryphal, but it ruefully expressed a nasty historic truth about the US role in the demise of the British Empire.


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Brushtail Graphics

Neither a biter nor a barker be

4 October 2011

My God, there’s a dingo in the café! Run, run!

A woman with a baby clutched tightly to her breast rushed out of the Brushtail Café, pushed past me, scurried down Werrong Lane, and disappeared around the corner into Sydney Street.

The whole world’s mad I thought, as I strolled into the café. First they let Nick Greiner head up Infrastructure NSW and now this.

But there was, indeed, a dingo. Or what appeared to be one. A rather appealing cream-coloured beast sat meekly behind the bar next to Joadja.

“Nick, meet Master Jesse Kelpie-Dingo”, she said.

“Ah … Hi, Jesse.”

“What’s the story?” I asked Jo as she passed me a cider.

“It’s a shocking example of mission creep. I started off with the intention of getting a small middle-aged female dog and I ended up with a year-old male dingo.”

“Yeah, that does sound like the Afghanistan intervention. Didn’t you go down to the pound to check it out?”

“That’s not how we do things in the brave new World Wide World. The pound was in West Wyalong and the nice pet rescue lady I dealt with was on the Gold Coast. The game plan started to slip when I decided on a lovely young female kelpie called Rosie but then the website went down for a couple of days and when it came up again, Rosie had been put down and I was shattered and the lady emailed a picture of Dingo here, chained to a cyclone fence said why don’t you take this lovely little lady called Jessie. But then when Jessie went to the vet in Wagga to be desexed and microchipped they, um, noticed that Jessie was a male with an amateur desexing job and Jessie became Jesse. He’s a year old. Isn’t he lovely!” 

“Great Mother of Darwin”. I said, “He’ll outlive us both. But isn’t it illegal to keep a dingo?”

“Ah, says on his papers that he’s a kelpie-labrador cross.”

“If he was part lab, he’d have flop ears and be fat already. Why a dog? You know us possums don’t get on with dogs”.

“It’s time you forgot about your father’s death”, said Jo. “All that was a long time ago, and anyway, they were greyhounds”.

“True. But historically, dingos and possums didn’t exactly get along either.”

“Aw, give the poor bastard a break. You speak a bit of dog. Try talking to him.”

Jesse came around the bar wagging his tail cautiously, sat at my feet, and licked my paw respectfully.

“Pleased to meet you”, I said, in broken Dog. “How did you end up in the pound?”

“Wayne pulled up at the Shell Wyalong Truck Stop – the one before town, on the highway – and he went to the eatery and I walked out to the paddock for a piss when I got back he was gone. I fucked up, I’m afraid.”

“Sounds more like the bastard dumped you”, I said.

“No, Wayne would never have done that.”

Just then Bruce and Tarkis from the advertising agency walked in.

“Hey, you’ve got a dingo!” Bruce said.

“Not exactly”, said Jo “ I think he’s a kelpie-dingo cross. All kelpies are part dingo. Anyway, officially, he’s a kelpie-lab cross”.

“We’re going to spend the rest of our lives explaining that”, I muttered.

“Nah, he’s a dingo for sure, what do you call him, ‘Tony Abbott’?” Tarkis guffawed.

What did he say? What did he say?” Jesse asked.

“He said you look like a mean and brainless attack dog.”

“I do not! I am a working dog of noble breed. The dingo is on my father’s side and from Kosciuszko too. Neither a biter nor a barker be – that’s what my mother taught me. She was quoting The Bard you know.”

“Polonius. Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3”, said Old Possum, who’d just strolled in for lunch and who spoke Dog quite well. “But surely an Orson Welles rewrite. Are you a Dingo?”

“Kelpie on mum’s side. She was a great fan of Orson’s work”, said Jesse.

“Was Wayne into Shakespeare?” I asked, knowing the answer.

“Not Wayne. Mostly he played those noisy violent computer games, and he read Robert G. Barrett sometimes.”