My friend Gary

I first met Gary in 1970. He was then a middle level manager at John Martin and Co. in South Australia. John Martin’s was then a large retail organisation that had its principal office in Rundle Street, Adelaide, as well as three regional suburban stores. Gary was my boss.

Over time Gary and I became close friends and our respective families got along well with each other. Gary has been blessed with a very colourful and effervescent personality, that remains humorous and all embracing.  By this I mean that Gary has a very open and friendly personality, and somehow he seems to have had the knack of naturally attracting all manner of people towards himself. During his lifetime, Gary has assisted hundreds of people in putting their lives back in order, and he has also been a staunch and loyal member of the Roman Catholic Church in South Australia.

Gary also enjoys being part of the Australian political landscape, and he has had a close working relationship with Labor Prime Ministers Keating and Gillard. It is my opinion that, over many years, my friend Gary has played a significant role in the maintenance of Labor party unity and success in South Australia. He will be sadly missed when he is compelled to withdraw from the hustle and bustle of South Australian politics. Gary’s political stance tends to be left of centre. Gary is also my Godfather.

Richard dreams about many great things

His principal goal is to help save mankind from itself, and in the process, the planet as well.

My friend Richard is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. In my opinion his general knowledge about a great number of topics is beyond belief. However, what sets Richard aside most of all is that he has had no formal tertiary education. He is a self-taught person! Richard confesses that he has made blunders along the way and also admits he has persistently misjudged human nature throughout his life. I see Richard as a gentle giant of a man, who is absolutely determined to save the planet from what he sees as the intrinsic evil of influential decision makers. He also loathes human complacency and our collective failure to not try to better understand what is really happening around us, and most importantly of all, not to attempt to do anything about it. I include the environment, economics and political and social justice with these words.

As a mark of honor and respect to Richard, I want to share with you three pieces of the voluminous amounts of material he has forwarded to me over time. For example, I may send Richard half a dozen lines about a topic I feel we are likely to have a mutual interest in, and he then spends countless hours forwarding back to me his ideas about the same topic. Not only does he spend extended time putting his ideas to paper but he researches it as well, principally from primary sources. Richard is proactive in the environment lobby. If Richard could influence a mere ten percent of the population to seriously believe Global Warming was a fact of life, I think he would succeed in his mission to save the global environment. If you take time out to read the three articles, I feel quite certain you would be in similar awe of Richard as I am.

●          Richard working out if he has bought the most efficient light bulb that is commonly available in the marketplace.

●          In response to a note I sent to Richard about the large amount of natural gas that exists in Russia, and the possibility that the Russian government would use these resources as a means of asserting greater political power, he responded in his usual most thorough manner. I had to think hard about a title to give this highly inclusive and interesting document. I could find no words that adequately do the job so I took a coward’s way out. I used language I feel most people could readily identify with.

●          Someone sent me an email comparing how Japan had emerged from the ashes of war to become not only a significant economic power but also has created infrastructure that is amongst the best in the world. The sender drew attention to his opinion that the U.S. was in its dying days of decline, and it was because Japan has no social security system and America has, he claims that this is why Japan is so far ahead in its economic progress. The author has attached copious amounts of photographs of comparison between each country to make his point, including derelict buildings in Detroit, which in its heyday was at the heart of the American automotive manufacturing industry. I think you will find Richard’s reaction as being to the point, and his use of language is vehement. Good on you Richard!

Richard various emails.pdf

My friend Fred

Fred and I worked in a retail store

I first met Fred around 1971. We worked together at a large regional retail store in the suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. We regularly ate lunch together and over time we began to socialize with each other; this continued even after we both left the company. During this period we got to know quite a bit about each other, including our respective life values, hopes and life-long aspirations. However, more importantly than this, we shared our views about there being the possibility of a bigger picture pertaining to reality. In other words, the meaning of all things and what life is all about.

I entered university as a mature age student and Fred did similarly around two years later. We saw very little of each other from that period onwards as our lives went in different directions because of our respective marriages. I had a young family and  Fred was determined to reach the pinnacle of his academic career. I had always felt that Fred was highly intelligent, and I believe that his Catholic upbringing played a large part in his progress. His impeccable sense of honesty and dedication to any task  set him apart from most others. Fred completed a Ph. D. in Biology and later IT studies. As far as I know he now works for a large interstate bureaucracy

The reason I created this blog is because one day around 2000 I received a note from Fred suggesting we get together to once again chat about all things between birth and death. We did eventually meet but our busy life styles at the time were not conducive to meaningfully connecting in the way I had hoped it would. It was apparent to me that our educational differences also probably played a part in this failure to communicate.

Because Fred and I are both living around the fringes of permanent retirement. I will periodically insert material into this blog that I feel may be of interest to him with the hope we may one day resume old times chatter about all things between birth, death and perhaps more speculatively, even beyond that.

My friend Richard of the 70s

I met Richard at University

I first met Richard in 1978. We were both enrolled in the discipline of Sociology at a well-known university. Richard was some fifteen years younger than I. I had enrolled as a mature-aged student at around the age of thirty-six. Richard, I and another mature aged-student (Kaye) formed a fairly close relationship, and at times the three of us would have long chats over a glass of red,  and from time to time get a little high on magic mushrooms. I did my best to get into the spirit of university life, but I never took to mushrooms at all. My domestic life at the time was pretty heavy going, as I was compelled financially to work nearly full-time as well as remain enrolled as a  full-time student. My wife gave birth to an infant son that was very ill from birth, and this did not help my already tight living situation. My income came from a small business I operated from home, offering my services as a handyman doing such things as cleaning, gardening, painting, repairing roofs, grubbing blackberries and the like.

Having completed my ordinary degree, and because I could not find suitable conventional full-time work, I had to make a decision as to whether or not to enroll in the Honours year. I subsequently did so. I kept my little business going and once again I enrolled as a full-time student attempting to complete a double major in Sociology and Politics. Needless to say, with my hectic employment schedule and an awesome amount of university work to complete, I quickly learned that I had taken on  far more than I could possibly chew and began to flounder. It was at this point that Richard came to my rescue. Richard was a highly intelligent young man who went on to complete a Ph.D. in Sociology. He was also a highly efficient operator in terms of completing his own education. Richard graciously stood by my side for almost the whole of my Honours year. He helped me construct essays. He helped me understand highly abstract material relating to Sociological theory, which included Marxism. At the time Richard was a diehard Marxist, so I guess we were both lefties together, but I never really got the full hang of what Marx was on about. I ended up squeaking over the line at the end of the year, but merely by a whisker. Without Richard assistance at that time, the year would have been a disaster for me that would have probably have had a negative effect on my psyche for the remainder of my life.

These are the reasons why I publicly express my gratitude to Richard, who now lives with his family in Switzerland. It is my hope that one day we may again be able to recommence sharing our respective life experiences and contemporary beliefs and values.