Sunday, June 18

Nassim Taleb Talks Antifragile, Libertarianism, and Capitalism's Genius ...



I first read about Nassam Taleb from a comment reference on my blog over 10 years ago where he provided a link to an article called "blowing up" which had just appeared in the New Yorker.
 
Nassam Taleb was once an options trader, whose activities  involve writing call and put options which give the holder the right to purchase or sell securities at a future value at an agreed strike price. His background was one of applying probability theories but of an evening he remained at heart a philosopher. He was interested in a society that could avoid "blowing up" and has written many papers and books.    

Now involved wholly with academia he provides some insightful ideas. Listen as far as it is of interest.      

Friday, June 16

Laughter a recipe for life

From the outset the Malawi Support Meetings have always begun with a reflection. This can be any religious text, philosophical musing, prayer or perspective given by members volunteering from a previous meeting.

This perspective from the archives long ago at the time we found to be both inspirational but also (from my perspective) somewhat simplistic. Even so for the most part I think laughter and a positive attitude can be a good recipe for life.       

This reflection was entitled: you have 2 choices: and took the form of a story:   
James is the manager of a restaurant, who was invariably always in a good mood.
Asked how he was doing, he would reply,
"If I were any better, I would be twins!" Waiters at his restaurant quit their jobs when he changed jobs, to follow him from restaurant to restaurant.
Why? Because James was a motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, James told the employee how to look on the positive side. Seeing this style really made me curious, so I asked him.
"I don't get it! No one can be a positive all the time. How do you do it?"
James replied, "Each morning I say to myself, I have two choices. I can choose to be in a good mood or I can choose to be in a bad mood.

I always choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be victim or I can choose to learn from it. I always choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I always choose the positive side of life."
"But it's not always that easy, I protested."
"Yes it is," James said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk every situation is a choice."
You choose how you react to situations.
You choose how people will affect your mood.
You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood.
It's your choice how you live your life.

Several years later, I heard that James accidentally left the back door of his restaurant open and was robbed in the early morning by three armed men.
While James was trying to open the safe box, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him.
Luckily, James was found quickly and rushed to the hospital.
After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, James was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw James about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Want to see my scars?"
I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.
"The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," James replied. "Then, after they shot me, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or could choose to die. I chose to live." "Weren't you scared I asked?"
James continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine.”
But when they wheeled me into the Emergency Room and I saw the expression on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.
In their eyes, I read 'He's a dead man.'
I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a nurse asking questions at me," said James. "She asked if I was allergic to anything."
'Yes,' I replied.
The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply.
I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!'
Over their laughter, I told them,
'I am choosing to live. Please operate on me as if I am alive, not dead'.
"James lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude."

I learned from him that every day you have the choice to either enjoy your life or to hate it. The only thing that is truly yours -- that no one can control or take from you- is your attitude, so if you can take care of that, everything else in life becomes much easier.

 

Friday, May 26

A GROUP OF SWELLS



Recently four of us (3 singers inclusive of wife and self) plus the pianist who entertains on a regular basis, gave a small concert to some of the residents of an aged care centre. The above number was one performed by my wife and self.

The full program inclusive of lyrics was:

It’s a long way to Tipperary  -

Up to mighty London
Came an Irishman one day.
As the streets are paved with gold
Sure, everyone was gay,
Singing songs of Piccadilly,
Strand and Leicester Square,
Till Paddy got excited,
Then he shouted to them there:
Chorus
It's a long way to Tipperary,
t's a long way to go.
It's a long way to little Mary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye, Piccadilly,
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.

Paddy wrote a letter
To his Irish Molly-O,
Saying, "Should you not receive it,
Write and let me know!"
"If I make mistakes in spelling,
Molly, dear," said he,
"Remember, it's the pen that's bad,
Don't lay the blame on me!
Chorus
It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to little Mary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye, Piccadilly,
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.

Molly wrote a neat reply
To Irish Paddy-O,
Saying "Mike Maloney
Wants to marry me, and so
Leave the Strand and Piccadilly
Or you'll be to blame,
For love has fairly drove me silly:
Hoping you're the same!"
Chorus
It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
0It's a long way to little Mary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye, Piccadilly,
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.

When Irish eyes are smiling –

There's a tear in your eye, And I'm wondering why,
For it never should be there at all.
With such pow'r in your smile, Sure a stone you'd beguile,
So there's never a teardrop should fall.
When your sweet lilting laughter's Like some fairy song,
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be;
You should laugh all the while And all other times smile,
And now, smile a smile for me.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

Mountains of Mourne -

Oh Molly this London's a beautiful sight
where the people are workin' by day and by night
They don't sow potatoes nor barley nor wheat
but there's gangs of them diggin' for gold in the street
At least when I asked them that's what I was told
so I took up my hand at this diggin' for gold
but for all that I found there I might as well be
where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea

I believe that when writing one wish you'd expressed
as to how the fine ladies of London are dressed
well if you believe me when asked to the ball
faith, they don't wear no tops to their dresses at all
Oh, I've seen it myself and I tell you in truth
I can't tell if they're bound for a ball or a bath
don't go startin' those fashions now Molly Machree
where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea

You remember young Peter O'Laughlin of course
well now he is here at the head of the force
I saw him one day I was crossing the strand
and he stopped the whole street with one wave of his hand
And there we stood talking of days long gone
while the whole population of London looked on
But for all his great power he's wishin' like me
to be back where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea
I saw England's King from the top of a bus
still I don't know him still he claims to know us
and though by the Saxon's we once were oppressed
still I cheered God forgive me I cheered with the rest
and since that he's visited Erin's green shore
we've been much better friends than we've been heretofore
when we get what we want we're as quiet as can be
where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea

There are beautiful girls here-Oh, never you mind
With beautiful shapes nature never designed
And lovely complexions all roses and cream
but O'Laughlin remarked with regard to the same
That if at those roses you venture to sip
the colours might all come away on your lip
So I'll wait for the wild rose that's waiting for me
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea

 
I’ll walk with GOD –
I'll walk with god
From this day on
His helping hand I'll lean upon
This is my prayer my humble plea
May the lord be ever with me


There is no death though eyes grow dim
There is no fear when I'm near to him
I'll lean on him forever
And he'll forsake me never

He will not fail me as long as my faith is strong
whatever road I may walk alone

I'll walk with god
I'll take his hand
I'll talk with god he'll understand
I'll pray to him
Each day to him

And he'll hear the words that I say
His hand will guide my throne and rod
And I'll never walk alone
while I walk with god.

We’re a couple of swells –

We're a couple of swells
We stop at the best hotels
But we prefer the country far away from the city smells
We're a couple of sports
The pride of the tennis courts
In June, July and August we look cute when we're dressed in shorts
The Vanderbilts have asked us up for tea
We don't know how to get there, no sirree
No sirree...

We would ride up the avenue
but we haven't got the price
We would skate up the avenue
but there isn't any ice
We would ride on a bicycle
but we haven't got a bike
So we'll walk up the avenue
Yes we'll walk up the avenue
and to walk up the avenue's what we like

Wall Street bankers are we
With plenty of currency
We'd open up the safe but we forgot where we put the key
We're the favourite lads
Of girls in the picture ads
We'd like to tell who we kissed last night but we can't be cads
The Vanderbilts are waiting at the club
But how are we to get there, that's the rub
That's the rub...

We would sail up the avenue
but we haven't got a yacht
We would ride up the avenue
but the horse we had was shot
We would go on a trolley car
but we haven't got the fare
So we'll walk up the avenue

Yes we'll walk up the avenue
And we'll walk up the avenue till we're there

 

 On the road to Mandalay   -
By the old Mulmein pagoda Lookin' eastward to the sea
There's a Burma girl a-setting, And I know she thinks of me.
For the wind is in the palm trees, And the temple bells they say
Come you back you British soldier, Come you back to Mandalay.

Come you back to Mandalay, where the old flotilla lay, Can't you hear those paddles chunking From Rangoon to Mandalay, on the road to Mandalay, Where the flying fishes play, and the dawn comes up like thunder, Out of China, cross the bay.

If there's something east of Suez, Where the best is like the worst, Where they're ain't no ten commandments, And a man can raise a thirst, For the temple bells are calling, And it's there that I will be, By the old Moulmein pagoda, Looking lazy at the sea, Looking lazy at the sea. 
Come you back to Mandalay, Where the old flotilla lay, Can't you hear their paddles chunking, From Rangoon to Mandalay, on the road to Mandalay, Where the fly in' fishes play, and the dawn comes up like thunder Out of China cross the bay.

With a little bit of luck -All

The Lord above gave man an arm of iron
So he could do his job and never shirk
The Lord above gave man an arm of iron
But, with a little bit of luck, with a little bit of luck
Someone else will do the blink in' work
(With a little bit, with a little bit)
(With a little bit of luck you'll never work)

The Lord above made liquor for temptation
To see if man could turn away from sin
The Lord above made liquor for temptation
But, with a little bit of luck, with a little bit of luck
When temptation comes you'll give right in
(With a little bit, with a little bit)
(With a little bit of luck you'll give right in)


Oh you can walk the straight and narrow
but with a little bit of luck you'll run amok

The gentle sex was made for man t'marry
To share his nest and see his food is cooked
The gentle sex was made for man t'marry
But, with a little bit of luck, with a little bit of luck
You can have it all and not get hooked
(With a little bit, with a little bit)
(With a little bit of luck you won't get hooked)
(With a little bit, with a little bit)
(With a little bit of bloom in' luck)


You made me love you-

You made me love you
I didn't want to do it
I didn't want to do it
you made me want you
and all the time you knew it.
I guess you always knew it.

You made me happy sometimes
sometimes you made me glad
but there were times, dear
you made me feel so bad.

You made me sigh for
I didn't wanna tell you
I didn't want to tell you
I want some lovin', that's true.
Yes I do, indeed I do, you know I do.

Give me, give me, give me what I cry for
You know ya got the brand o' kisses that I'd die for
You know you made me love you.

You made me sigh for
I didn't want to tell you
I didn't wanna tell you
I want some lovin', that's true.
Yes I do, indeed I do, you know I do.

Give me, give me, give me what I cry for
You know ya got the brand o' kisses that I'd die for
You know you made me love you.



Familiar numbers for the future are as follows:  
        You are my hearts Delight – Franz Lehár

Girls were made to love and Kiss - - Franz Lehár

Pack up your troubles in your old Kit Bag – WW1 marching song

So in Love – Cole Porter from Kiss me Kate

Tea for 2- Vincent Youmans from No No Nanette 

My Blue Heaven – sold over five million copies.

It had to be you – from the films Melody and Melody Man

By By Blackbird – 1926 hit with numerous revisions

Yes sir that’s my baby – 1925 hit with numerous revisions.

Strange Music – Song of Norway.

I’ll be seeing you – popularized by Vera Lynn

The Desert Song- Sigmund Romberg.

Sing in’ in the Rain- centerpiece musical same name.

Baby Face – popularized by Al Jolson.

I whistle a happy tune – The King and I.

Try to Remember -The Fantasticks

Ah Sweet Mystery of Life – from Naughty Marietta.

Stranger in Paradise- Kismet

The Impossible Dream – Man of La Mancha.

The Rain in Spain – My Fair Lady

On the Street where you live – My Fair Lady.

You Raise Me Up. 

 

Wednesday, May 10

Lake Tyers










In April we visited Lake Tyers, a 4.5 hours’ pleasant drive from Melbourne which is located just past Lakes Entrance in East Gipsland. The pictures above are of nearby Nowa Nowa, one of the lakes, the homestead and 90 mile beach.   
East Gipsland boasts 11 world class Coastal Parks and Reserves with 400 square kilometers of lakes to make it Australia’s largest inland waterway. Housing a wide variety of wildlife there are 200 species of birds and the marine life includes dolphins and pelicans. The Ninety Mile Beach is one of the longest uninterrupted beaches in the world, which faces Bass Strait and backs on to the extensive network of Lakes.  
Lake Tyers Beach, is on the south-eastern shore of Lake Tyers, close to where the Lakes outlet enters the sea. Lake Tyers is a river valley separated from the ocean by only a thin strip of sand dunes, whose outlet remains closed by a wide sandbar, except for occasional overflows after very heavy rain.
 
Although we did not participate in the walks organized by our friends from the bush walking club there was evening meals and coffee stops which provided many opportunities to share experiences about the day’s events.
One member from the group who went for a morning brisk walk along the beach encountered a pair of emus who maintained a steady gait ahead at a respectable distance until finally disappearing into the sand dunes. On another occasion a member’s nephew, whose interest is conservation, gave a fascinating account of local bird life. He shared his local experience from his app as we listened to about 50 different species of bird calls he had encountered, identifying reasons and pitches applicable to each of the species. The following day we shared in a short walk with him as he identified the many diverse plants along the way.
 
Early history
The site was first visited by Europeans in 1846, named after C.J. Tyers who was then Commissioner of Crown Lands.
In 1861 an Aboriginal mission station was set up on the northern shore to farm crops, fruit trees and sheep. These agricultural pursuits were complemented by traditional hunting and fishing.
 
Closure of the mission station was proposed in the 1960s and many Aborigines moved to surrounding towns, particularly Nowa Nowa.
However, in 1970 the station was transferred to Aboriginal ownership. Although the school closed, other community services have been established and farming activities have been successfully extended.
Recent developments
Under the Native Title Settlement Act 2010, the first signed agreement was made with the Traditional Owners, the Gunaikurnai nations. The agreement was between the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC), representing Traditional Owners whereby the Gunaikurnai people undertake joint management of 10 parks and reserves in consultation with Parks Victoria.  There are more than 600 Traditional Owners, all of whom have proven their ancestral links to one of 25 Apical Ancestors registered in the Native Title Consent Determination. Pictures below are of the settlement to day.
p7 p3
p5
 
 
p6
More local history
A school and church was constructed in1878. In 1886, a Hotel and grand guest house to seat 120 guests was established. Visitors enjoyed established forest walks, fishing and lake boating trips, Accessibility was enhanced once a coach service began from nearby Orbost.
The principal industry from the 1890s, was timber which was transported to Lakes Entrance by tramway. The logs were then floated across the lake to various Sawmills dotted around the lake until the late 1940s. Production gradually fell way until in 1972, 5300 hectares of remaining forest surrounding the lake were proclaimed a Forest Park.
The first industry was a glass factory established in 1908, using local quartz sand and manufacturing cups, bottles and ornaments before the contracts were lost and the factory was abandoned in 1912. Later a school and another guest house was constructed.
Postwar period
A small number of housing blocks and estates with subdivisions ensued so that the local community and holiday homes were soon sufficient to support a general store. By the early 1960s boat ramps and jetties were constructed to cater for the growing number of holiday makers.
Today there are just two caravan parks, a general store, a hotel-motel and some holiday accommodation. The school had only 26 pupils in 2014. Lake Tyers Beach might be aptly described as still a small very quiet holiday location with a number of permanent residents.
What attracts most visitors are the fishing and boating on Lake Tyers. There is also the opportunity to hire boats or go on scenic lake cruises.
Nowa Nowa,
One day we met up at Nowa Nowa, which is about 20 km north of Lakes Entrance and whose early pioneers harvested timber which was shipped to local sawmills. Nowa Nowa served for a couple of years from the 1890s as a location for the Tambo shire council. However settlement did not eventuate until the 1900s, with a school and railway which breathed new life to the fledgling community, followed by a road and bridges. By the1930s there were six sawmills and a local football team, a rifle club, a Country Women's Association branch, a thriving community of stores and a hotel.
Today there are about 140 residents in this township.
We enjoyed the township and lake and the Nowa Nowa gallery where there was displayed the root system made into a sculpture of Messmate – Eucalyptus obliqua. The tree grew in one metre of sandy loam on top on a limestone shelf. Where the root failed to penetrate the limestone, the roots grew laterally. Its age was estimated to be up to 300 years old and width of the root system was 7 metres.
Local historical site
Another excursion was to Nyermilang Heritage Park which was once a holiday retreat for a wealthy Melbournian, but now is in public ownership. The gracious old homestead of the 1920’s era is open to the public surrounded by an extensive garden and 5 walking tracks.