28 February 2007

Sovereignty, of the people or the scum on the top?

Whether it's Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, Uzbekistan . . .
It doesn't matter which country, the situation's the same. The recognition of the sovereign right of whichever elite runs the nation and rules the people within its borders is a matter for that elite.

Thus, today Salah Sarrar at Reuters reports:

"Neighbors Sudan and Chad pledged to redouble efforts to end border violence being fueled by Darfur's conflict, concluding their third agreement in 12 months to end hostilities and respect each other's sovereignty . . ."The governments of both countries are committed to respect the sovereignty of one another and not to interfere in the internal affairs of the other country, and refrain from any hostile activity against one another, and to work for full normalization of their relations," the statement said."
Non-interference in internal affairs. This is the way that China likes to put it, and the reason that the recent UN resolution on Burma failed, given that China is the new world leader and nations like South Africa prefer to vote with China than to follow a moral imperative that one would think was natural to them, but which has become embarrassingly, laughably 'Western' (and why should high-flying morals be laughed at less in the UN than they are in Washington, Canberra, London?).

The Chinese message to dictators and despots is as welcome as the US's has always been, but China's is refreshingly lacking in hypocritical cant. China is making deals and forging partnerships around the world at a rate that has made the US irrelevant (as for Europe, it's been irrelevant for years). Non-interference in internal affairs no matter what when it comes to their own country, is, come to think of it, the way that the great majority of world leaders like the status quo to be, and if I scratch your human rights violations, you scratch mine.

"Respect for each country's sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs are universally recognized principles of international law."
- Human Rights in China - Chinese government 'Whitepaper')

"In carrying out its responsibility in maintaining international peace and security, be it peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy, post-conflict peace-building or activities in other related areas, the United Nations should always follow the fundamental principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs"
- China on UN Peacekeeping Operations - People's Daily

"Burma’s Foreign Minister Nyan Win made the country’s first address to the 60th UN General Assembly on Friday afternoon in New York, using the occasion to highlight the organization’s policy of non-interference in internal affairs."
- Burmese FM stresses non-interference in UN address - Burmanet News

"For a number of reasons, the United States decided that the ICC had unacceptable consequences for our national sovereignty."
- The United States and the International Criminal Court - US Department of State

May 2008 update
- Burma: The Dark Side of Sovereignty - IntLawGrrls

- Zimbabwe: I Refuse to Be Silent - Maxwell B. Madzikanga, Fahamu

"Less talk and more action" -
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, August 2000

"UN chief Ban Ki-moon flew to army-ruled Myanmar's remote new capital on Friday, for a rare audience with junta supremo Than Shwe to press him to accept more aid for 2.4 million people left destitute by Cyclone ..." -
Patrick Worsnip YANGON (Reuters) - U.N. chief to press Myanmar junta boss on aid 23 May 2008

"As a citizen of Burma and an elected representative, I want to stress that, pursuing diplomatic options to convince an intransigent regime like the Burma generals, is like waiting for people to die and time is something that the people of Burma do not have." - Sein Win, the prime minister in exile of Burma,
No Time Left for Diplomatic Options: Sein Win by Lalit K Jha, irrawaddy.org

27 February 2007

I told you wrong a bug back

My life as a spreader of false information hasn't started a war yet, so I can't look forward to a city-stopping tour as guest of an allied nation, but it does bother me that I told you one thing only to find, weeks later, that I told you wrong.

Not only didn't I pay attention to the middle of a creature's back. I let myself be dazzled (blame the creature!) till I didn't pay attention to its mouth. If a person doesn't notice a creature's mouthparts and doesn't care whether that creature sucks or chews, that person shouldn't be trying to identify insects. That person should be forced to eat, televised, a bowl of periwinkles in their shells, the only tableware being a silver soup spoon.

If only I didn't have to try to identify, but could just tell you what I see. (If only I looked to see!)

But everyone wants identification, and I have been too impatient to show and tell. And not only that — if it's something like the "Common Brown Butterfly", horrors! Thousands of these made December 2005 a wondrous month here. If only they weren't "common", for no matter how mysterious their lives, no matter that most people on earth have never seen one, well, it's not the same as if I'd told you they were Painted Ladies, is it?

Yet, perhaps you think this is getting away from the main event. Too right!

Revisiting my shame:
The original sin laid naked (7 February), now covered with a brief forward:

Jewel beetles vs. 'bugs' . . . (later) er, vs. my misidentification
leading to my further parading of ignorance on the 16th, as of today bearing a coat of information at least as impervious to criticism as some I couldn't possibly identify:
What would you call a gathering of Buprestids? *especially if they weren't

24 February 2007

Read everything by Célestine Hitiura Vaite

and you'll wish there were more, but until then, you'll want to read these again.

The Materena Mahi trilogy:

Breadfruit: The Drunken Marriage Proposal and Everything that Happened Next

Frangipani: The Mother Whose Daughter Amazed Her and Everything that Happened Next

Tiare: The Husband Who Didn't Deserve His Wife and Everything that Happened Next

in quite a few editions and a growing number of languages.


22 February 2007

In praise of (pocket-size) books as companions

This delightful book is no bigger than my hand. Its type size is perfectly legible — 9 point, well leaded. It fits a pocket, as all magical companions should be able to.

It might not be good body armour, however. Is the breastplate size of current fiction and the vehicle-armor size of current non-fiction a reflection of the paranoia of our times?

What do you think about the size of books? Is small effete? Is super-size just right to go with the house and the car? Or, non-pejoratively, just right because it's more comfortable for what you want a book to be and do?

Where do you read, and how? How do you store your books, if you do?

As to type size and leading, should books be printed as if they're for the vision impaired; and if so, what do you think about newspapers and legal documents?

Frontier earth, for unlimited unexplored wonders

This was found on a forest floor today.

Every day everywhere, there are frontiers that haven't been entered — all on our planet, and many, at our feet.

17 February 2007

I've got the proof of intelligent design, but what or whom was it made for?

Found on a beach and kept in this case, the proof exhibits sophisticated use of tools (waves, abrasive surfaces), and nipples.

It is cleverly constructed from a sea urchin's exoskeleton, though whether the urchin was struck dead to furnish the art material or whether this is recycling of trash, is something that others might debate.

This object couldn't randomly be produced.

Taking the pledge to drink recycled sewage

"More than three-quarters of Australians say they would drink recycled sewage water. The Sydney Morning Herald/ACNielsen poll taken at the weekend shows that 78 per cent of Australians (80 per cent in NSW) would support the introduction of recycled water."
- We'll drink recycled sewage, say eight in 10, Mark Metherell, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 February 2007

As long as it's sold in a bottle.

Who drinks water from the tap any more? Certainly an increasing number of Australians don't. We're so socially aware about the superiority of bottled water that we suck it up from the limitless French and Italian sources to less costly but perhaps more lucrative flows pristine. Our supermarkets sell water that is bottled in China,

*We're now so used to water being a beverage to buy, not water to quench thirst, that water fountains are as archaic as a working public phone. We're so used to having a slug from the bottle at all times and all places that the thought of waiting till the court adjourns or the press conference is over, is — unthinkable. Indeed, not drinking bottled water or, in a long meeting, asking for glasses and a pitcher filled with water from the tap, might be considered ratbaggery.


Consumer research suggests that bottled water is consumed by people of varying age groups and occupations. The large majority however tend to be young singles and couples, in particular females aged between 14-35 years.

Generally bottled water consumers can be described as being more health conscious, contemporary and socially aware.
- bottledwater.org "The Australian Bottled Water Institute"

*We is untrue. Not all of us drink bottled water, but enough and growing. The Age reported last year, "Clean, safe drinking water is vital for human health. While for most Australians this is simply a turn-of-the-tap away, increasingly people are buying their water in bottles. Bottled water consumption has doubled over the past six years. Global consumption of bottled water was 154 billion litres in 2004 - a growth of 57 per cent over five years. Australians consumed 550 million litres of bottled water in the last financial year - an increase of about 10 per cent. Demand for bottled water has even grown to include pets."
- Vikki Leone, Danger: Bottlenecks looming, The Age, 6 March 2006

All this prelude is an excuse to direct you to this gloriously splenetic, drunkenly truthful rave by Roger Scruton (who isn't against bottled beverages):

Bottled water is the greatest fraud in the whole history of food fetishism, The New Statesman, 1 December 2003

A closeup of yesterday's meeting

16 February 2007

What would you call a gathering of Buprestids? *(especially if they weren't)

* (27 Feb 2007) Thanks first to George Hangay and Pavel German's excellent Insects of Australia that I found in the local library yesterday, I can now tell you that I have been terribly wrong in my identification of the beautiful insects on this posting. I thought they were those much prized insects, the Buprestids, otherwise known as jewel beetles. They are, in fact, jewel bugs — also called metallic shield bugs, and this species pictured here is always properly called Scutiphora pedicellata — a very big difference to a beetle of any stripe. As the Chew family's excellent and most humble (they call themselves "the non-professionals") Brisbane Insects and Spiders (with topnotch photos) says about the Scutiphora pedicellata:

This bug is in the Shield-backed bug family. Shield-backed bugs are plant suckers. They can be distinguished from other shield bugs by their scutellum completely covered the whole abdomen and wings. This is why sometimes they are miss-recognized as beetle. They are easily distinguished from beetles by having sucking mouthparts and the shield on the back is continuous, not the divided wings cover with separation at the middle.
Well, rot my boots, of course! Anyone can see the sucking mouthparts here (anyone who looks!), and the fact that the shield on the back is not divided wings, meeting in the middle.

So, now to the other difference between beetles and bugs. Bugs are usually reviled. Insects of Australia says this about the S. pedicellata: Contrary to its common name, it is a scutellerid, or jewel bug. Often it can be seen in groups as they converge on the fresh shoots of shrubs. They suck the sap, causing the shoots to wither.

Oh, my. They eat plants! And here, I thought I had been privileged to see a nectar eater, especially since its behaviour seemed perfectly innocent, and the buprestid I thought this was, is a nectar eater.

True bugs have an unfortunate reputation no matter how beautiful they are, because of bugs like another spectacular metallic jewel bug, Tectoris diophthalmus, otherwise known as the cotton harlequin bug.

Beetles can be plant eaters, too, even some of our beloved Australian Christmas beetles. Here's what Hangay and German have a pretty picture of a roudy crowd feasting on eucalypt leaves. They say about Boisduval's Christmas beetle (Anaoplognathus boisduvalii) —

This large Christmas beetle can be found on Eucalyptus teretricornis and E. platyphylla. It favours the young shoots of these trees and sometimes occurs in large numbers, causing significant damage to forests.
A letter in the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this summer commented on the fact that there are no butterflies to be seen in Sydney any more. Why should there be? They are only the next stage in the life of a leaf-eating caterpillar.

There are plenty of butterflies out here three hours south of Sydney — but here, there are hardly any people.

This diversion doesn't excuse my miss. But I feel more embarrassed to be somewhat disappointed that they are bugs and not beetles than I am at displaying my ignorance in public.

Prostanthera lasianthos, the dog-Latin name for the Victorian Christmas Bush

This is usually a bush, but in this case a nondescript tree, easily overlooked. The Prostanthera lasianthos is the largest of the 'native mint' bushes in Australia. Crush the leaves and you'll smell at first, a savory, not quite foody bouquet of pennyroyal, oregano, and thyme. The scent is unusual in that it increases in complexity after a few minutes, finishing with a lovely depth of sage.

The flowers are the size of a human baby's finger joint.

'The next morning I was woken more pleasantly. A young round-faced Indonesian man was peering down at me. "Sabran" he said, pointing to his chest . . . Talking to him was not easy for I still had not acquired much conversational Indonesian, but he and I soon evolved a pidgin of our own which served our particular requirements. One morning as we were steaming slowly up river, he called me and pointed excitedly to a tree on the bank.
Burung ada,'" he said. That I understood. There had been a bird there.
Apa?" I said, meaning — what kind of bird?
His answer to that, however, defeated me. He repeated me. he repeated it several times but I was baffled.
Then he said "
Irena puella puella." And that I understood immediately. It had been a fairy bluebird. Sabran knew the scientific name from his time as a zoo collector and I from my study of the field guide to the birds of South-east Asia. I was delighted by the thought that he, who had never left his native Borneo, and I, a stranger from England, should have been able to make ourselves mutually understood by speaking the dog-Latin that European scholars had used during the eighteenth century.'

— David Attenborough, Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster, BBC Books, 2002, London

14 February 2007

Xzamadhoom and the Lamp of History

Kidderweens grmph.


found Fairy's

Time passed
. . .
and Twistery

Mystory's tellatives?

Xzamadhoom, Lamadhoom, Post-xzamahamadoom!
History's relatives! Bumphit and Bumph.

Australian bookstore 2007

Rain, finally

13 February 2007

"What is mine is mine, and what is yours is to be negotiated"

This is a mess of articles and quotes and people, but the hell with aesthetics.

"It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression, and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously." - Nancy Pelosi, Dean and Pelosi, Carter's wrong about Israel, The Jewish Daily Forward

If America's policies can be wrong and the American people (and Australian people) can support governments that don't know their justice from their Guantanamos, why is Israel super-humanly above that possibility? If South Africa can come out of ethnically based oppression and vote to keep a nation oppressed, why can't any nation that should know better and be a beacon of goodness and dispenser of sugar and spice act as a dictator's tout, or be above criticism?

As for that spreading of democracy, well . . .

"This is not what the administration had in mind," Indyk told TIME today. "They were expecting that Abu Mazen backed by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, would be moving into a process of excluding Hamas. They did not expect that Abu Mazen would compromise with Hamas. They didn't want him to compromise with Hamas, and they didn't think it was necessary." - Is Washington the big loser in the Mecca deal? Time, Feb 9, 2007

Prospects for peace

"Far more certain than the vague prospect of negotiations, territorial withdrawal, and peace is the relentless creation of settlement facts on the ground by Ben Gurion’s heirs that are catalogued in the Settlement Report. Their deeds speak louder than any words."
- Words alone will not end occupation, Settlement Report, Vol. 17 No. 1 | January - February 2007

"The news of the first tenders announced this year by the housing ministry, which invited bids for construction of 44 new units in the largest Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, came as Dr Rice and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were in the midst of a three-hour-long meeting at the Premier's Jerusalem residence."
- Israel announces settlement expansion, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, January 15, 2007


"When Israelis give up this attitude of greed, this morally bankrupt notion that what is mine is mine and what is yours is to be negotiated, and this contempt for the Palestinians as a people, then and only then will there be peace."
- Nayyer Ali, Will Israel Ever Recognise Palestine?, altMuslim

"If Hamas is to recognize Israel, will Israel recognize Palestine? If Hamas is to honor previous signed agreements with the PA, will Israel? And if Hamas is to end the armed resistance, will Israel end the belligerent military occupation? Without any answers to these three questions the position of Hamas is clear and has been voiced already. There is nothing to talk about. Hamas is not against a political compromise. It is not against a state on the 1967 borders. Israel, it is often said, is a de facto reality. But so are Palestinian refugees. There are 4.1 million registered Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. These people cannot and should not be ignored. Hamas wants a solution to all of these problems. And it wants it in one package. The previous agreements and negotiations between the PA/PLO and Israel have not led us any closer to a solution on any of these issues. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that rather than bring us closer to peace, the process based on stages has failed. Israel has not lived up to its commitments under Oslo or under the so-called roadmap plan for peace, and has thus cancelled both. It is time for a new approach to be tried. The world should, without pre-conditions, at least sit and talk with Hamas to hear what ideas the movement has for resolving the conflict." - Ghazi Hamad ( editor-in-chief of Al Resala newspaper in Gaza), Sit and Talk, Palestine Monitor, originally published in Bitter Lemons

It's fifteen minutes since the last Holocaust memorial service

Brave new world war: Holocaust politics in the service of Anglo-American hegemony - Gilad Atzmon, Peace Palestine

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Jimmy Carter in his own words - Democracy Now

Carter's critics warp the debate he hoped to create - James Zogby, The Huffington Post
Even before the book appeared, political leaders were pressed to distance themselves from the former president. Major pro-Israeli groups and leaders issued denunciations using extreme and shameful rhetoric in an effort to ridicule and demean Carter. He and his work were termed: "indecent", "outlandish", "mendacious", "an anti-Semitic canard..."shameless and irresponsible", "a crude polemic", and possessing "a warped sense of history... and a blatant abuse of our sensibilities." This, of course, was not intended as part of a debate, but rather as a heavy handed effort to silence discussion of the book and isolate Carter from the mainstream of political discourse.

"It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to speak in defense of justice or human rights for Palestinians. Very few would ever deign to visit the Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City or even Bethlehem and talk to the beleaguered residents. What is even more difficult to comprehend is why the editorial pages of the major newspapers and magazines in the United States exercise similar self-restraint, quite contrary to private assessments expressed quite forcefully by their correspondents in the Holy Land."- Jimmy Carter, Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine: Jimmy Carter says his recent book is drawing knee-jerk accusations of anti-Israel bias, The Los Angeles Times

Denenberg: 'The Economist' Has Fallen Into Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Ways Of Europe And Its Media - Herb Denenberg, The Bulletin (Philadelphia)

"There is a misperception in various world locales of Washington's debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Namely, that substantive debate exists at all."- Michael, F. Brown, Debate? What Debate? Bitter Lemons

Carter is No More Critical of Israel Than Israelis Themselves - Yosi Beilin (a member of the Knesset, is chairman of the Meretz-Yahad Party), The Jewish Daily Forward

About "the only democracy in the Middle East"

"When a state affords democratic rights to only some of its citizens it is not democratic."

Women fight back against ultra-Orthodox Jews - John Russell, AFP, The Middle East Times

The human rights of Jewish women - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in Marriage, Divorce, and Family Law

" As has been well documented, Jewish women can be discriminated against in marriage and divorce under Jewish law. While ancient Jewish law was designed to protect and support Jewish women, today that same law is being used by some as a tool to deny women their rights to equality in marriage, divorce, and the founding of a family."

Israeli Democracy - Michel Warschawski, Znet
This essay has been adapted from chapter 8 of Michel Warschawski’s Toward an Open Tomb: The Crisis of Israeli Society (Monthly Review Press, 2004), which presents an important dissident Israeli perspective that is rarely given a hearing in the United States. Warschawski is cofounder and director of the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Jerusalem and a well-known anti-Zionist activist. He is also the author of Israel-Palestine: le défi binational (Textuel, 2001) and an award-winning memoir, On the Border (forthcoming from South End Press).

A group just starting up

Enough! Enough! Enough!
and perhaps the most obscene aspect of all this is the fact that people still say Never Again.


The United States Holocaust Memorial is doing something about holocausts. See projects of their Committee on Conscience


See their students' essay projects:



For those who miss the current deadline for Darfur essays, there is always next year, unless the human resources have been used up.

Michelangelo's surreal postcards

A collection of duds from the bottom of the pile, and a commentary that fits it to a gloriously apropos misprint. Be transported by Michelangelo to his 'Greetings from' in the ever-surprising, always thoughtful Giornale Nuovo.

12 February 2007

Smiling at 'Pucker up: The Fine Art of Whistling'

Several weeks ago this documentary by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner was shown on Australia's ABC TV. It's out in DVD and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.

I can't stop thinking of the whistling and the whistlers, and smiling.

The film's been called 'a competitive whistling documentary' but it's much more than that. It's sparked delightful conversations such as this one in the Mudcat Café, which includes this un-straightfaced post from 'Susan':

Wal, now me, I pucker up and blow, but I also pucker up and suck. You can do that all day and never stop making notes just to get a little air in? Whistle blowing out, as well as sounding notes pulling the air back in. Must be how harmonica players do it, too. Who needs a harmonica though-- if you got yer pucker witcha, you don't need nothing else!

What is it about these whistlers? The music was as pure as birdsong, and as experimental as some birds' repertoires . The practice of whistling was mostly a solitary act — at the least, a smiled-at personality quirk, but often a societally ridiculed, illicit activity that was censured (especially for the whistler who could not stop whistling, even at a funeral). The honing of their skills was as determined and mostly self-directed as any lyrebird's. Their passions are aberrations, the beauty of the music they make often unnoticed because of the supposed silliness of the way they make it, so even if they appear in some show, they are treated rather condescendingly. So each of these fine musicians bore a sadness that heightened the beauty of the songs, even the most joyful of them. One after another performed with great personal style,and what they produce was, so many of them, was what I would call finely crafted, great art. Each whistled emanation sounded like it was drawn pure from their souls. Souls that had something to say that wasn't me me me.

The venue, The International Whistlers Convention, was a welcoming one, the competition mood quite unfashionably un-nasty — so refreshing in itself.

The only part of the competition that made me fret was when a bit of the children's competition was shown. They had clearly been taught, and were being encouraged to whistle. Of course! It is only natural that the organisers want to further the aberration as an art. Yet, I can't help thinking of a possible future, when everyone will have a whistle inside them, and you won't be able to stand in a queue without the people on both sides of you sidling up and telling you that they've been thinking of this little number that they've been thinking of doing . . .

Hopefully, the efforts to legitimise whistling will fail, and artists such as these in the film will continue to whistle for the joy and passion of it, damn the respectability.

08 February 2007

Circuses at The Voltage Gate

Jeremy Bruno is a great circus impresario. He's juggling 3 of them at his Voltage Gate.

Go to the 17th Circus of the Spineless!
The theme this time is The Symbology of Invertebrates. Jeremy writes:

Demonized or analyzed, animals - invertebrates in particular, for our part - have always been symbols of psychological and philosophical meaning for us. For this edition, we'll discuss some of the more obscure mythology related to the submissions I've received, and relate a fraction of the stories told before the dawn of science. What stories do we tell today?

See what a Tangled Bank he weaves:

The 18th century was a time of new ideas and imprisonment for them, sound ideologies hijacked by tyrannous dictators and perhaps most importantly, the temporal cradle of modern scientific techniques, dubbed the Age of Enlightenment.

Swing in The Festival of Trees.

Bravo, Jeremy! Loved the shows even if no cephalopod performed in golden hotpants.

07 February 2007

The flu and solidarity

Today Indonesia is being chided for wanting to make a buck out of bird flu in the spirit of the market economy and in solidarity with Chinese sensibility, which combines capitalism and nationalism to a New World Order advanced degree.

"Flu solidarity needed", whines The Financial Times (London). Its editorial advocates "richer nations to help poorer ones purchase vaccines, while investing more in seasonal vaccines and pandemic vaccine research at home to stimulate ways to make more sophisticated, rapidly-produced and cheaper vaccines for all." The problem with this approach is that it doesn't recognise the complications of mutations (picture a man running after a horse, bridle in hand. Well, he did grab the bridle, didn't he?) and resistance. And, possibly because industrial farming is such big business, the FT doesn't mention the disease problems inherent in industrial-scale farming, nor the impossibility of being ahead of the ball when it comes to diseases that jump the species barrier.

More sky-is-falling stuff?

"the question I am asked daily: 'Why are you so worried about 151 deaths from H5N1?' Well, go back to 1916, to Etaples in northern France, where a form of flu causing heliotrope cyanosis (a characteristic lavender coloration of the face) with a case fatality of 60% was beginning to spread. There were 145 cases. At some point in the next two years it mutated to become more infectious and 30 times more virulent. Then it killed 50 million people. Doesn't this ring a nasty bell?"
John Oxford (who is at the Centre for Infectious Diseases, Retroscreen Virology, Queen Mary, University of London) , in "The Next Pandemic" (Nature, 28 December 2006) his review of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching by Michael Gregor.

Read an interview of John Oxford

Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching

Read the book. See the video.

Jewel beetles vs. 'bugs' . . . (later) er, vs. my misidentification

NOTE, 27 February 2007: This might be an interesting post for people interested in beetles, but due to my slackness, it does not match the pictures, as the little beast here is a bug, and quite an interesting one at that. Please read this later posting. I should be sucked dry by an interesting spider.

This little discombobulator interrupted me the other day. If it hadn't flown into my carefully posed leaf cutting, I would not have known it existed.

Only three weeks ago, there was a loud hum of bees in the Angophora floribunda ('rough-barked apple') and the songs and chirps of many birds, from the brush-tongued rainbow lorikeet parrots to long-beaked wattlebirds. The tree looked baubled, but little did I see that it was jewelled.

The jewel beetle's visit was short. It flew away after only a few moments. The tree was silent, the flowers shrivelled changelings of their former selves, so I visited the tree's sheddings underneath its branches, and found

And the next day, I visited again

"Estimates of the number of species of Coleoptera (beetles) so far described in the world vary between 277,000 and 350,000. It is a notable fact that, whereas 70 percent of the known species of animals are insects, no less than 40 percent of the species of insects and about one-third of all animals species are beetles. The number of species of Coleoptera known to occur in Australia is greater than 19,000. This total will, however, be considerably exceeded when the fauna is thoroughly studied."
- E.B. Britton, "Coleoptera", The Insects of Australia: A Textbook for Students and Research Workers, Division of Entomology, Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation, Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1970

So, getting to that obsessional what? First, the easy part. They are members of the family Buprestidae, otherwise known as jewel beetles. ("world species 12,000: Australian species 850" - Trevor Hawkeswood).

I think these are from the principle genus Stigmodera, and I'll punt further to say that - oh, no I won't, even though s. variabilis is tempting. What I will say is that Trevor Hawkeswood wrote, in his Beetles of Australia (Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1987) :

"The nectar-feeding buprestids often become intoxicated through indulgence".
I'm sorry I missed their high time in the flowers high above the ground, but none of the characters I met earthwards, walked a straight line.

Not a bad way to live a three-week life as an adult.

Not a bad way for a human to be discombobulated, either, instead of sitting in front of a screen screaming at 'bugs' in the quite inaccurately named "new and enhanced" Blogger.

Real bugs are beautiful.

01 February 2007

Lewis P. Morley’s 'Tin Toys that Never Were'

This month's feature in The Virtuous Medlar Circle is the second in my 'Favourite Artists' series.

Lewis P. Morley is a man who lives his dreams as his day job, and plays his dreams after hours. Boggle at the what and why of his 'Tin Toys that Never Were', and empathise with him, if you're the soppy type, when reading the interview in which I pin him and his creations to the Board of Inquiry and shoot questions at him about art and Art, fetishists and curators, toys and Komics and adulthood, and just what he thinks he's playing at. He didn't squirm once, but Yohoho! See him bristle!

As to those (what others would call 'amazing' but that word needs to be put in a rest home for flogged words for a century or two) 'never-were's', you've got to see them, and I'm not giving you a peek in this posting.

The interview didn't go into all that horrible personal stuff that is so popular now (except to reveal his obsessional love for the small but extremely curvy Peregine Besset). I do think that there should be a carnivore-infested swamp between a man's personal life and what is exposed to the gawking crowd. So here and now I can only take you into the bedroom he shares with his 'soul-mate' Marilyn Pride where you can gaze at their bed from several angles.

And now have a peer at their dunny door.

He based the paintings on Marilyn's paintings, but designed, made, and painted the bed and the door.

As for the effects of their sleep of reason, words to the wise are lacking in the presence of a photograph.


'Tin Toys that Never Were' - An introduction to and interview of Lewis P. Morley