Archive | December, 2012

2012 in review

31 Dec

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 190,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 3 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

Mothers who say F**ck

30 Dec

I recently engaged in a robust exchange of views with one of my sons. This particular adult child has long-held a reputation for forgetting to tell anybody things, unless we happen to be in the same room as him when something that might need to be told to us occurs.

On this most recent occasion, the stuff he forgot to tell me was totes important, and my lack of knowledge caused me untold aggravation, and the rest. So I rang him up and let him know where he currently stood with me. As he’s always thought of himself as “the good child,” this came a something of a shock.

First we had to deal with the “oh, it was just a misunderstanding” meme. No it wasn’t, I told him, I didn’t misunderstand anything how could I when you didn’t tell me anything I could misunderstand?

Then we negotiated the “Mum you’re losing control” meme. I’m not losing control, I told him, are you? And by the way, you really need to learn the difference between expressing emotion and losing control. The two are not necessarily the same thing, I told him.

I was also thinking of his wife when I said this. I thought, I bet he says this to her when there’s a disagreement, so I better bring him up to speed about women expressing ourselves. This “you’re losing control” thing is an attempt to shut us up, a projection, and a put down. In my experience it is usually said by males who fear they are losing an argument, though it’s not necessarily gender-based.

Finally, I was reduced by his wilful obduracy to foul language. Fucking hell, I said. “Don’t swear at me down the phone, Mum,” he demanded. Oh my! I cackled, in capital sarcasm font, so in your moral universe me swearing is a bigger offence than you not telling me stuff I really needed to know?

“We’re going round in circles,” he bleated. Indeed we are, I replied, taking pity. Let’s sleep on it and talk again in a couple of days.

My sons taught me foul language. Since becoming husbands and fathers they’ve turned on me. I can’t swear, and I’m reprimanded every time I do something they consider the least bit edgy and that is quite a lot of stuff I do and say. Last time I took Archie out and stopped for coffee, his father asked me if I’d left the baby in the car while I went into the cafe. I looked long at him, and shook my head in a WTF kind of way.  Archie’s mother then stepped in and reminded her husband that he’d survived my mothering quite well, and he should perhaps pull his head in.

I am extremely fond of Archie’s mum. I see a lot of me in her. Archie is also showing signs of a possibly anarchic personality. On his recent first plane trip, and though only fourteen months old, he stood up on his seat and hurled peanuts at the passengers sitting behind him till his dad grabbed him by the nappies and hauled him off to the toilet where he gave him a stern talking-to and probably told him he was losing control.

I’m considering forming a group called “Mothers Who Say Fuck.”  I’m sure I’m not the only mother who overnight finds herself dealing with a role reversal initiated by her adult children who for some reason, and without consultation, have cast her as the irresponsible adolescent and themselves as long-suffering adults who are burdened with keeping an eye on her and monitoring her language. I can’t quite get my head around this phenomenon. All things considered, they have some nerve.

This attitude does, however, make for a special bond between grandmothers and grandchildren. We share a common cause – defying their parents. We will both be instructed to mind our mouths. We will both be exhorted to act responsibly, and to act our age. On the positive side, we can sit at tables and roll our eyes at one another when their parents issue yet another fucking edict. We can slink off and comfort one another when we’ve been reprimanded and given time outs. We will always know we have each other, when everyone else is pissed off at us because we’ve thrown the metaphorical peanuts. Oh, yeah. I see only good times ahead for Archie and me.

Me and Archie




Happy holidays everyone from No Place for Sheep!!!

24 Dec

Be well!! Be safe!! Be kind to one another!! (even if it’s just for a day) 


Lots of ♥ from Jennifer, Mrs Chook & The Dog.

Guns in NSW National Parks: Major Danger, High Risk to Life: Assessment Report leaked

23 Dec


A draft risk assessment report on the dangers of allowing gun use in 79 NSW national parks has been leaked to the Fairfax press.

The report alerts NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to the serious dangers to human life and well-being if  hunters are allowed into national parks:

The Draft Risk Assessment, produced by the Office of Environment and Heritage and dated December 10, 2012, lists groups at risk from ”projectiles causing death and serious injury to people” as parks workers and visitors, including ”families, special user groups, remote visitors”. Hunters, whether shooting by permit or illegally, are also at risk, as well as ”neighbours” with properties that border the 2 million hectares of parkland to be opened to hunters.

The 59-page document said the risks to these groups was ”major and the likelihood as possible … giving a risk rating of high”.

Mr O’Farrell personally negotiated a deal in May that resulted in the Shooters and Fishers Party supporting the government’s $3 billion electricity generator privatisation in return for access to national parks for amateur hunters.

Let Barry O’Farrell know straight away how you feel about guns in our national parks.

Twitter: @barryofarrell

Phone: (02) 9487 8588

               (02) 9228 5239

Fax:      (02) 9487 8550

               (02) 9228 3935



We don’t want amateur hunters armed with guns in our national parks. It’s barbaric, Barry. It’s dangerous. It’s a threat to human life. And it’s your responsibility.


Abbott: when I grow up #2

21 Dec



Abbott: When I grow up

20 Dec
Astronaut training.(AAP Image/Andrew Taylor)

(AAP Image/Andrew Taylor)

The diversion of aid: Carr’s false comparisons

19 Dec

The Gillard government yesterday declared its intention to rob overseas aid of $375 million in order to help pay  the living expenses of asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia by boat.

The money will allegedly go towards supporting the resettlement of asylum seekers who have been released into the community on bridging visas. These asylum seekers need financial support because the government will not allow them to work while their claims are being processed.

They have been condemned to a marginal existence, receiving some 85% of the already meagre Newstart allowance, for some five years, the time it is estimated it will take authorities to process their asylum claims.

It’s not known if the money will also be used to fund off-shore detention centres, particularly the construction of new facilities on Nauru and Manus Island.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr claims this is no big deal, and cites the United States, Canada, Sweden and France as countries that already use overseas aid money for domestic purposes. However, none of those countries have a policy of indefinite and mandatory detention for asylum seekers.

In Sweden it is preferred that asylum seekers work while awaiting a decision on refugee status. In the US the maximum period an asylum seeker must wait before being allowed to work is five months. In most rich countries including Canada, asylum seekers are permitted to work within a matter of months.

However the countries cited by Carr spend their overseas aid money domestically, it is not on supporting asylum seekers for years while they await decisions on their status and are forbidden to work. It is not spent on supporting asylum seekers living in indefinite off-shore mandatory detention. Carr’s comparison of Australia’s asylum seeker policies with those of other countries is entirely false. We have nothing in common with any peer country.

The diverted money is intended for overseas aid and development. If it is to be spent overseas, that will be in our off-shore detention centres. Quite what development will be achieved in that instance is unclear. It’s also unclear how any development might be achieved domestically in denying asylum seekers the right to work, and forcing them into marginal existence paid for by the government for up to five years.

The Opposition, via its mouthpiece Julie Bishop, continue to confidently bray that they will “stop the boats.” As the Gillard government has implemented the most severe conditions we have yet seen, and still the boats arrive, it is difficult to imagine just how Mr Abbott will achieve this goal.

The hospital and the radio station: when management fails who pays the price?

13 Dec


bad management message illustration design


Though there are many unknowns surrounding the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, what is starkly evident is that there are no winners in the aftermath of the prank. Images of her stricken family reveal just how badly things went wrong.

It appears that Saldanha played a very small role, merely answering the call from the two Australian DJs and putting it through to the appropriate staff member. It was not Saldanha who revealed royal medical details.

Having listened to the recordings, I understand why no one was more surprised than 2Day FM DJs Christian and Greig when their silly accents fooled staff, and they found themselves discussing the Duchess’s condition with her nurse. However, in the context, why should nursing staff be knowledgeable about silly Australian accents, and why should they be expected to be on the alert for pranksters?

Clearly hospital protocol regarding access to information about royalty and celebrity needs a review, not to protect those luminous beings, but to protect hospital staff who look after them. Surely it wouldn’t be difficult as a matter of course, to direct all inquiries to a PR professional and leave the medical staff to do their jobs untroubled by  pranksters.

It’s the nature of the prank that it takes its subject unawares, and plunges her or him into immediate confusion and self-doubt. The nurses involved may well have felt there was something amiss, and found themselves in the unenviable position of having to make a spilt-second decision that either way would backfire. What if they’d hung up on the Queen? What if they’d wrongly questioned her authenticity? The victim of a prank can never win.

I am interested to know how hospital management treated Saldanha. While a spokesman has been at pains to reassure her family and the media that she was not formally reprimanded, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t shamed in other ways within the hospital system, by administration and other staff. Was Saldanha held solely responsible because she answered the phone and put through the call? What about the nurse who gave out medical information?

DJs Greig and Christian have been widely blamed for instigating the prank that apparently led to Saldanha’s presumed suicide. However, it seems to me that like Saldanha, they are in some sense scapegoats for managerial hierarchies that have in both cases failed to adequately protect their coal face workers. Greig and Christian performed the prank, a prank that was approved by the station’s lawyers, and that was situated in a station culture of pranks. Apparently, the DJs can only air what is approved by management.

Saldanha, Christian and Greig have in common a position of being small but very visible cogs in powerful managerial wheels that are largely hidden and protected from public scrutiny.

No matter what one thinks of them, the careers of Greig and Christian may well be over. They are bearing the brunt of global fury at the dreadful outcome of the prank. At any time several layers of  2Day FM management could have pulled the plug. Nobody did. Will any management heads roll at the station?

Jacintha Saldanha is dead. Will any action be taken against the hospital management that failed to implement protocols to protect staff and patients from violation of privacy?

What is needed is an ongoing exposure of the normalised managerial culture that allows those with minor decision-making privileges to become scapegoats for the  less visible but extremely powerful individuals who are running the show. Ultimately these individuals are responsible when things go wrong, and they are responsible for the culture of the institutions they control.

Daily Life bitch slaps yummy mummies.

11 Dec

Up front, I’m not a fan of “most influential” anything lists, however I do like/admire several of the women on the latest such list doing the rounds at the moment, and I do think they have done more than their bit to challenge the stranglehold destructive orthodox attitudes still retain on our society.

But. When I read the blurb accompanying nominee Chrissie Swan, I felt like poking out somebody’s eyes. I don’t know who wrote it, but in one sentence they undermine the stated ethos of the entire “most influential” thing, and reveal what really occupies the minds of organisers of contests such as this one, which is the value or lack thereof, of a particular type of woman. 

Swan is described thus: “An earthy antidote to the proliferation of bourgeois, pearl-clutching yummy mummies, Swan’s influence lies in simply being herself.”

Where do I begin. I am so offended by this statement I can’t think quite straight, and I don’t even wear pearls. I did once own a very nice strand of quite good pearls with a garnet clasp, but I lost them because I am careless and do not understand the value of such things. I also like to think I was in my bourgeois youth a yummy mummy. I just dug out photos of me giving birth to my second child in a bean bag in our lounge room and my fingernails, as I thought, were manicured and painted bright red which in itself ought to be testament to my yumminess.

I was during this period entirely myself, despite my middle class circumstances, my yumminess and my pearls. Who else could I have possibly been? Can a woman only be herself if she owns no pearls, and works very hard not to be yummy? If the only real woman is the “earthy” non bourgeois variety that likely disqualifies most of the other nominees, none of whom look particularly “earthy” and all of whom look middle class, although Germaine Greer is if not earthy, at least a little bit scruffy.

Anyone with a skerrick of talent ought to be able to describe Chrissie Swan without resorting to pejorative remarks about women who are not Chrissie Swan in order to establish Ms Swan’s credentials. That the organisers of a most influential women contest have failed at this elementary task is discouraging for feminism and makes something of a mockery of the whole venture, despite their intentions to the contrary.


Pearl clutching.

Pearl clutching.


Thank you

10 Dec

No Place for Sheep has suffered lately as a consequence of personal matters that have consumed my energy and time. However, in spite of the lack of new posts, some people have stayed around, talked among themselves and stuck by the blog.

Thank you. When things have been really difficult and I’ve had five minutes just to look at Sheep, I’ve seen you still visiting and still engaging with each other, even when I haven’t posted for days. I find this remarkable, and I count myself lucky to have you here.

I think the worst is over, and I can get back to the thinking, writing and sharing that I love.

Thank you!

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