My uncle’s books

A couple of years ago, after my uncle passed away I inherited Dad’s side of the family’s books. These were the pre-Bond, post-Biggles boys’ own that my father and my uncle (who was ten years older than Dad) received. There were books given to my late grandmother, dated 1908. Imagine – 1908! Dad’s second cousin’s communion book, my grandfather’s tomes from the 1930s including the eerily prescient ‘Must Australia Fight?’. All are there, all silent reminders of eras past, when there was no TV, no I...
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No mistakes, only biscuit nirvana awaiting

Ah, the days of doors that couldn't be opened by an ever-curious toddler. If this week’s been any indication, those days are numbered, as Gus manages to work out how to stand on the very…. top….. of…….. his…… tippy toes…………..and oh, the pantry door opens, wowee. Chuckles ensue. And hello biscuit shelf, I’m Gus. And I’m HERE!!!!!!!! As we discovered Gus’s Indian Jones-esque exploring qualities, I also coincidentally came across this brilliant summary of Tina Fey on improvisation. ...
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Lessons from Gus: “Ish ok Dad”

My son is awesome. He is a pocket rocket, and at twenty-two months, gone is the baby he was (last week...?!), and a funky little man he is. The other day he also taught me a lesson in keeping it real. Bath time for us is Dad and son time - him bounding upstairs, the ritual him hiding and cackling as I run the bath and then me pretending to have to find him. Dad finds Gus and hilarity ensues. It's what makes being a parent an amazing, humbling experience (and puts the ledger from poo-splosi...
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Why Quinn’s Post matters

I wonder if it says more about me than many that I can better describe the key landmarks on the battlefields of Gettsyburg and Antietam than I can Gallipoli. It was with that realisation and the then soon-to-be-aired Gallipoli on Channel 9 that I read Prof Peter Stanley's excellent book - Quinn’s Post, Anzac, Gallipoli. And it worked. I finally get the geography and the criticality of Quinn's Post and the people and decisions that framed it. Stanley's book is a must-read for anyone inte...
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Why quiet has become quite all right

With a child, one thing I've learned is the value of quiet - but not the 'thank goodness, he's asleep' attitude, but the deeper one, of knowing when to turn the Twitter and email, and TV and radio and everything OFF. Quiet, even for a Twitter fan like me, I've learned, is quite all right. A recent post from Brent Cox Twitter And The Death Of Quiet Enjoyment, via @thefetch, reminded me of how my Twitter habits have changed for four reasons: I have WAY less time now with a child - and if...
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Reviewed – High Wire Act: Ted Rogers, by Caroline Van Hasselt

Where to start in reviewing this 520-page tome? WHAT a book. This book is not just a biography on Canadian media / technology owner and magnate, Ted Rogers, although that's what I bought it for. It is much, much more than a biography, providing detailed insights into the personality and drive of Rogers, whose name adorns cable, sports, wireless and many other businesses in Canada. As well as the personal history of Rogers, the book goes into at times excruciating detail into junk bonds, merg...
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“You’ll be fine, you’ve got clean shoes.”

Funny thing, nerves. Sometimes they appear when you least need them - like when you're about to get up and speak! Three years ago I stood at entrance to a school hall full of high school-aged boys and their parents and teachers at a school in Canberra, as guest speaker for their commencement assembly for the year. I'd been to the school countless times as part of my role for work and had a cup of coffee with the headmaster beforehand. We then walked down to the hall and he went on stage. I...
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Gettysburg – a reflection three years on

January 2012: Three years ago this week I visited the east coast of the US as part of my holiday so I could attend President Obama's Inauguration. On the way from New York to DC I detoured via Antietam and then, on the Sunday before Inauguration on the Tuesday, to Gettysburg. I've often thought of this place since then. The brutality of the Civil War, the biography read of Joshua L Chamberlain. Gettysburg signifies so much more to America, and those of us fascinated by its history, than a bat...
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Tastes of my childhood revisited

Taste. It's one of those wonderful senses that can delightfully whisk you to a time and place, often of happy memories. Some of my most treasured memories are based on food and drink, the latter often to do with coffee. This afternoon, I rejoiced in seeing one of my favourite flavoured milks on sale, so I immediately bought not one, but two, Choc Berry Big Ms. It was my first Choc Berry M in years; though I have gleefully be known to mix strawberry and chocolate Big Ms to try and recreate the ...
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A letter to my trackie dacks

Dear my Canterbury trackie dacks I wanted to write to you and say goodbye and farewell. I know you're just outside, not far away really, but we know, come Tuesday morning, you'll have crossed into trackie dack immortality. I remember buying you that sunny day at Lake Taupo in New Zealand - it was 1999 I think. Parachute silk, glorious red and blue - you needed a good home, trackie dacks, you and that oversized check shirt I bought. It's been seldom used, hanging up in my wardrobe, a testament ...
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