Very long weekend reflections

The blog seems to have been running itself very nicely during my summer slowdown, and with a big and lazy four-day weekend coming up it will have to.

Best wishes to all readers and commenters for Christmas and New Year, summer solstice or whatever other feast and holiday you plan to celebrate.

As usual, please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in lengthy contributions suitable for holiday reading.

43 thoughts on “Very long weekend reflections

  1. 4 day long weekend eh? The newsagent next door & myself always get a wry laugh from this standard conversation:

    customer: (whilst making purchase DURING the long weekend) “Having any time off over the holidays?”
    merchant: “No”
    customer: “I’m not having any time off either, just the 4 days. Well, cheerio! Enjoy the weekend!”
    merchant: (staring laser beams at the back of departing customer) “You too mate.”

  2. “Don’t get me wrong, I like the US alot. However it’s hypocrisy often bothers me, look at this article from BBC News:

    Not sure the BBC is able to give an independent view of anything to do with the US.

    “The US fights a war in Iraq to remove a dictator and establish a democracy (whether the war was justified or not is another matter), but they are content for one of their allies, Egypt, to arrest the main opposition leader on trumped up charges of fraud. All the US has done is “voice concernâ€? over the trial. If they trully believe in spreading democracy in the Middle East, why wouldn’t they use their status as a supporter of Egypt to tell Hosni Mubarak that this is simply not on. Politics I suppose. ”

    My guess is that “voice concern” is diplomatic speak for having registered an objection. But telling Mubarak what we think is one thing, sending troops is to remove him is quite another. If we sent troops in everywhere someone did something that didn’t sit well, we’d have troops everywhere. It seems to me that the appropriate action to the arrest of an opposition leader would come from the UN, and be in the form of a resolution. Has the UN stepped in to condemn Egypt’s action and demand, through a binding resolution, that it release the political opponent?

  3. I must confess to taking Christmas Day off – but that was mostly due to the fact that I didn’t think we’d get any customers.

    Still I COULD have come in and got caught up on the book-keeping so I guess I’m rather letting the small-business-owner side down.

  4. I’m a little surprised that no-one has commented yet on Kerry Packer’s death.

    Packer was an extraordinary individual – a great man, if not necessarily a good one.

    He was possessed of a first-rate intellect and boundless imagination and drive. He was also known for his exceptional capacity for generosity and his charitable contributions.

    He was also ruthless and unscrupulous in the pursuit and exploitation of wealth and political influence.

    I won’t presume to judge the man, he was too complex and my knowledge of him is limited to what I gather from the distorting mirror of the media.

    I will simply note that in a world where the impact of individual business entrepeneurs is increasingly being eclipsed by the growth of megacorporations and the growing influence of the managers who control those corporations, the independent tycoon in the mold of Packer (and Murdoch) wielding vast personal power seems to be a dying breed.

  5. I am a bit surprised by the demise of Kerry Packer. I thought he might be immortal. Apparently not. Obviously it is a sad day for his family and friends.

    James will now be the third generation to play with this fortune. Few family enterprises make it past three generations. One wonders what forces have shaped the character of James Packer and how this will play out over the next few decades. I suspect that his experience with One.Tel leaves him better prepared.

    The face of media is obviously going to change rapidly whoever the players in the game are. I think that the media content of the future will be much less controlled from the centre.

  6. Hi Mephi, got some good ones: an unfinished Aubrey-Maturin in facsimile from Dan, and an ultra-modern corkscrew from Leigh and Bree.

  7. On Kerry Packer: he was the iconic Aussie bloke – in all his shades and light – writ in superscript; particularly when it came to the punt. Still, I thought the most telling comment was one by (I think) Paul Barry yesterday. It was something along the lines of maybe his greatest achievement being a far better father than Sir Frank ever was. He’d probably have quite liked that, quietly.

  8. Kerry took over PBL when he was 37, on the death of Frank at the age of 68. James takes over at the age of 38, on the death of Kerry at 68.

    Lest you think the pattern is a bit eeery, grandpa Robert died at the age of 54, leaving Frank as the heir at the age of 26.

    But Kerry started a family earlier – James was born when he was thirty. James has yet to have a child, so family formation in the third generation is different. One effect of this is that the Packers have no heir, taking us back to the very early years of Frank.

  9. Kerry Packer limited his choice of heirs by having so few kids. The Roman emperors of old increase the available list of candidates by considering nephews etc.

    Bill Gates has said that his kids will be rich but they will not inherit a corporate empire.

  10. You might like to have a look at what Andy Carnegie did to his widow and daughters – left them with practically nothing while the money went to generalised philanthropy, much the way he had earlier treated his workforce’s yields. He apparently thought he would be depriving his heirs of valuable experiences if he left them anything substantial.

  11. Happy New Year to John and his readers!

    Unfortunately Newman Campbell (or whatever the Lord Mayor’s name is) spoiled it for me and my friends by not having fireworks at Riverside – and so we traipsed up to the park overlooking the Story Bridge for a distant view of the Southbank fireworks obscured by city buildings!

    But a few gin and tonics restored festive spirits!

  12. Geoff Honour has said

    ‘On Kerry Packer: he was the iconic Aussie bloke – in all his shades and light – writ in superscript; particularly when it came to the punt.’

    The word ‘iconic’ is long overdue for revision; millions of typical Aussie blokes won’t gamble because their parents squandered etc etc. The most interesting thing I’ve learned about Kerry Packer in the last week is that he never drank. Which makes him untypical.

    Some anonymous Asocial called CS has said, in considered reponse to my remarks about the Divine John Lennon:

    ‘Will, I trust you know that, when I say you’re an idiot, I mean that in the kindest possible way.’

    Thank you for your kind comment, CS. I will never change my opinion that Saint John, like many of the current heroes of 15 year-olds, might actually have been a nasty little shit. To Brian Epstein and other, Lennon was indeed a very nasty little shit.

    In a sense, using the term ‘kindest way’ to demean people was very much the bitchy, John Lennon, method.

  13. In trhe course of another discussion, i hapapned across the following:

    Unemployment benefits cost the Federal government around $5 billion. That’s out of a total welfare budget of approximately $85 billion and a total budget of $195 billion.

    The bulk of welfare payments don;t go to the unemployed, they go to the elderly and to families with children. Payments to the unemployed are less than those fro veterans and their dependants and less than half those of to people with disabilities.

    Can we maybe have a stop to whining complaints about how taxes are too high becasue of all those damn dole bludgers?

    Because if we totally eliminated unemployment benefits we might be able to cut taxes by around 2.5% (assuming there was no increase in law enforcement or medical costs as a result.)

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