Monthly Archives: April 2009

Enough already with calling it “his” fortune

I’m tired of reading newspaper stories saying that Mel Gibson is set “to lose half of his estimated $1 billion fortune in the divorce.”

He ain’t losing anything because it’s not his fortune. It’s Mel Gibson and Robyn Gibson’s fortune, accumulated during 28 years of marriage, during which she supported him when he was an unknown, penniless actor, and then reared their seven children. For sure it’s all gone wrong now, but it was a genuine partnership, and the assets of the partnership belong to both members.

You might just try arguing that Mel brought some special talents to the marriage, and therefore deserves a greater share of the matrimonial assets. But one of the reasons that Mel could charge ahead with a high flying acting career was that he could depend on his partner to rear their children, and keep their home running. As I’ve argued before:

When you invite someone to share your life, you invite them warts and all, and more importantly, you offer yourself, special talents and all. If it so happens that you earn a whacking great amount of money through your special talents, then that is part of what you bring to the marriage. And upon its dissolution, that’s what gets shared out. Of course, you get to keep your special talent – no one can take that off you. But in the period of your life when you were in a marriage, then whatever you earned through that special talent is part of the marriage. All the more so, if you could only deploy that special talent because your spouse supported you.

So stop with the talk about Mel Gibson losing half of “his” fortune.


I would write a long think piece, because I made a promise to Daleaway, and I intend to fulfill it, and I know exactly what I want to say, and I have written some of it, but my left hand is cramped up, which I think is the aftermath of slapped cheek fever, which is comparatively innocuous in children, but can result in nasty joint pain in adults (that would be me, whereas my daughter just got the rash), or it could be the result of swapping to a left handed mouse for a few days. Who knows. Whatever. It means that my ability to type is a little restricted at present. And whatever capacity I have for typing I want to hold in reserve for Blogging against disabilism day on Friday 1 May, because I have promised that I will make a post for that, and I want to make sure it goes up on the day.

So there you have it. Or actually, you don’t, to be precise. Because this blog is a bit of a nothingness at present. But that will pass.


Live blogging Sunday afternoon

It is cold outside.

Sometimes it rains.

The fire is going inside.

I am marking essays.

Mr Strange Land is teaching the strangelings how to achieve world domination.

The strangelings are winning.

Update: 4.28pm Mr Strange Land says that the strangelings have taken to Risk like dogs to offal.

Update: 4.57pm Miss Ten has conquered the world. She is perhaps not the most gracious of winners. Mr Strange Land has declined to wrangle the game any further, and has gone out for a nice, peaceful walk. I am marking another essay.

Update: 6.16pm The strangelings have found Virtual bubblewrap, and they are happily popping bubblewrap on-line. It must be the 21st century. I think I will ask Mr Strange Land to pour me a nice glass of wine.

ANZAC Day irritations

Last year, to my astonishment, the mother of one of the strangelings’ school friends expressed surprise that we, as new migrants to Australia, from New Zealand, knew all about ANZAC Day. “Why yes,” I said, “ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. New Zealanders and Australians fought together at Gallipoli.” “Oh,” she said, clearly put out.

Then there’s a turgid hymn often dragged out at ANZAC Day ceremonials, God Bless Australia, which describes Australia as “home of the ANZACs.”

Funny that. I thought a fair proportion of the ANZACs lived in New Zealand.

And there was the line in an otherwise excellent book that irritated me some more. Australian travel writer and historian Tony Perrottet wrote a fabulous account of the first age of mass tourism in the Roman Empire, Route 66 A.D., since republished as Pagan Holiday. In it, he recounts the travels he and his long suffering wife took as they traced the standard tourism routes of the rich and even middle classes in the early Roman Empire. As it turned out, these routes took in the Dardenelles, and what we now know as Anzac Cove. Like many Australians and New Zealanders, he took the time to go and remember the fallen. He mentioned that soldiers from many nations fought there, but then he says something to the effect of, “But the Australians died in great numbers.” The implication is that the Australians suffered much the greatest casualties and deaths. So with casual language, he depreciates the losses suffered by other nations.

Through the magic of google and Wiki, it’s not too difficult to find death and casualty statistics for all the nations involved in the misnamed Great War. Look here, here, and here. For your convenience, I have summarised the death and casualty rates for Australians and New Zealanders (at the time, Australia had a population of about 4.5million, and New Zealand about 1.1million).


This is not supposed to be a pissing contest, and frankly, who wants to win this kind of contest. In any case, the numbers are a little fuzzy, but only around the edges. Nevertheless, they are good enough to show that around about the same proportions of New Zealanders and Australians were killed or wounded in World War 1, and at Gallipoli.

My plea is this – that if you are commemorating Anzac Day in New Zealand, you do not forget the “A” (not that I have particularly noticed this to be the case back in the old country, but if you have different experiences, please let me know), and if you are commemorating Anzac Day in Australian, do not erase the “NZ.” They are equally important parts of the Anzac story.

Friday Feminist – Christine de Pizan

Cross posted

After hearing these things, I replied to the lady [Reason] who spoke infallibly: “My lady, truly has God revealed great wonders in the strength of these women whom you describe. But please enlighten me again, whether it has ever pleased this God, who has bestowed so many favors on women, to honor the feminine sex with the privilege of the virtue of high understanding and great learning, and whether women ever have a clever enough mind for this. I wish very much to know this because men maintain that the mind of women can learn only a little.” She answered, “My daughter, since I told you before, you know quite well that the opposite of their opinion is true, and to show you this even more clearly, I will give you proof through examples. I tell you again-and don’t fear a contradiction-if it were customary to send daughters to school like sons, and if they were then taught the natural sciences, they would learn as thoroughly and understand the subtleties of all the arts and sciences as well as sons. And by chance there happen to be such women, for, as I touched on before, just as women have more delicate bodies than men, weaker and less able to perform many tasks, so do they have minds that are freer and sharper whenever they apply themselves.”

Continue reading

In Adelaide, it is raining

I am very grateful for the rain. But it is cold and wet outdoors.

So I have done this.


Now it is warm inside, and my soul is being warmed too, by the lovely, warm, red flickering light.

Update: The cat is much happier too.


The labours of Herakles

When we were home in New Zealand over summer, we visited Puke Ariki, (pronounced: pu-key ah-ree-kee, with the ‘u’ in ‘pu’ sounding like the ‘u’ in took, and look, and the ‘e’ in ‘key’ being a bit shortened, and while you are at it, roll the ‘r’ in ‘ree’), the wonderful combination of library and museum in New Plymouth. There was an intriguing art exhibition there, by Marian Maguire, who in lithographs and etchings shows the Greek hero Herakles as a New Zealand colonial pioneer. They are witty and provocative, and had I a spare several thousand dollars, I would race out and buy the lot.

The works can be viewed on-line (scroll down). They all appealed to me, but two especially have remained in my mind, for their irony and humour respectively.

Herakles dreams of Arcadia

Herakles attempts rabbit control

And of course, Herakles’ attempt to repulse the Amazons is Futile.