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  • AUSTRALIA

    Parents, it's time to spike the spank

    • Barry Gittins
    • 18 June 2018
    4 Comments

    If you are inclined to discount expert opinion from medicos, lawyers and criminologists, you could consider the evidence of your own eyes. Observe the body language around you if a parent hits their kid in public. A hush descends and tension increases. Post-Royal Commission, violence against kids is more and more on the nose.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A Romantic view of 'darkling' modern world

    • Brian Matthews
    • 06 September 2017
    2 Comments

    Born a few months after Shelley drowned and desperate to understand the living Nature the Romantics had known, Matthew Arnold too found the natural world had gone silent. Where Wordsworth had heard 'strange utterance [in] the loud dry wind' and 'the sky seemed not a sky / Of earth - and with what motion moved the clouds', Arnold sadly concluded that 'the world, which seems to lie before us like a land of dreams, so various, so beautiful, so new, hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light ...'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    What I did in my holidays

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 16 January 2017
    7 Comments

    It seems incredible that there were ten of those summers, consecutive ones when three generations coexisted happily. My siblings and I had an idyllic Ocean Road beach practically all to ourselves, the men went fishing every afternoon, except when, to Grandfather's annoyance, an easterly was blowing, and the women, in time-honoured fashion, kept everybody fed. Of course change was inevitable, although I didn't really believe it, and started with my grandmother's death. I was 19.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and resurrection on Christmas Rock

    • Deanne Davies
    • 04 April 2016
    1 Comment

    The breeze spills, engulfing gorges, ruffling trees. The leaves whisper ancestral stories, signalling from hill to hill creation mysteries. The track wends past abandoned tennis courts, their turf is crushed, compacted anthills that salmon gums reclaim. The creek is waterless but when seeded with rain froglets bleat like lambs. Once trees flaming orange were common ... the granite, grey with age, once barren, yet when Earth trembled, it crevassed and soil collected, water funnelled, plants sowed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bob Ellis the gifted troublemaker

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 04 April 2016
    7 Comments

    Ellis' work is a prime example of the notion advanced by the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: that committed literature, and the act of writing, are political and ethical acts. Even in a film script, one can ponder social political change. Always of the left, but never formally the structured party man of faction and following, the dishevelled, sometimes wild Ellis proved contrarian even to Labor stalwarts. There were never pious reflections, or unqualified praises.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Count the human cost of Australia's overseas mining interests

    • Fatima Measham
    • 06 March 2016
    3 Comments

    In 2012, a pregnant woman and two of her children were killed in their own home in Tampakan, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Tampakan is the site of a new mine with Australian interests. The woman was the wife of a B'laan tribal leader agitating against the mine. Over recent years indigenous peoples of Mindanao been harassed, displaced and killed by militias, some allegedly with the imprimatur of the Philippine army. Much of this has passed without notice in Australia.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    I was a teenage Cold War Russophile

    • Brian Matthews
    • 17 September 2015
    9 Comments

    When Josef Stalin died on 5 March 1953, a couple of months into my Matriculation year, my Russophile leanings seemed about to be intensified. Research in those days was a matter of consulting encyclopaedias, or, if possible, going to the Public Library, but in Stalin's case the newspapers were full of reports, history, anecdote, judgement and various degrees of relief, so there was suddenly plenty of information.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Flowers react to Spring

    • Chris Wallace-Crabbe and Les Wicks
    • 07 September 2015
    2 Comments

    Big daisies bulge on their bush, the lurid cyclamens are crouched in squeals of shocking pink, but raggedy scarlet geraniums have been out all winter and don’t give a stuff.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The seven Dadly sins

    • Barry Gittins
    • 03 September 2015
    7 Comments

    As Father's Day looms, I embrace zen introspection. My beloved Keeper and I have two offspring, a daughter — a sweetheart aged 12, turning 30 — and a son — boisterously nine. Life changed unrecognisably with their arrival, and overwhelmingly for the better. This Sunday I will join the ranks of sleepy paters, gingerly drinking dubious coffee, eyeing off culinary abominations and graciously acknowledging new socks.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Anzac Day a jarring experience for migrant Australians

    • Fatima Measham
    • 19 April 2015
    65 Comments

    Since John Howard promoted the memory of 25 April 2015 in the years after 9/11, it has become entrenched in the public imagination as the definitive Australian moment. I look upon it from a distance, in awe, and as the deification of the white male soldier continues apace, with a deeper sense of alienation. As a non-white Australian who migrated to this country from the Philippines, I did try to make it relevant for myself for a while.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Helen Garner's 'Best Essays' triumph

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 12 February 2015

    The Best Australian Essays 2014 finely illustrates the unnervingly unclear line between essay and short story, but no-one plays with form quite like the indomitable Helen Garner. She offers such a brooding, aching ode to her mother. Proof again that good writing is an inexorable, spiritual exercise that seers itself into the reader's memory. How does she do it?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Paul Collins illuminates sectarian divide in Australian history

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 18 December 2014
    4 Comments

    The chasm between Catholics and Protestants is thankfully unknown to my children. Paul Collins' new book A Very Contrary Irishman - The Life and Journeys of Jeremiah O'Flynn is a labour of love that presents a very driven man of the colonial era whose actions - and attributed actions - changed lives and helped shape our culture.

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