ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN 2014
Many people, including myself, thought Oscar Wilde had uttered the phrase “everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it”…Wrong, apparently. While Mr Wilde is responsible for the cynical and snobbish “conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative” quote, that other wise guy, Mark Twain, gets credit for the astute pithy take on the topic about which everyone talks but does nothing.
The Irish smartarse Wilde, like Twain, Groucho Marx and a swag of others, offered scores of clever and witty sayings on the issues of their day, many of which, thankfully remain in conversation today. In fact, there was a time, pre Google, if you were unsure of who may have coined a particular pity, sage or humorous phrase; it was a safe bet to attribute it to Oscar Fingal O’Flaherty Wills Wilde. That in itself has now become a hot topic but it’s the weather and its fluctuating behaviour we must talk about.
It turns out Twain “banged on” a bit about the weather including an unkind comment about spending a cold winter San Francisco in the summer. But even from when the dawning of the age of Aquarius in that cold “Summer in the City” city first “let the Sunshine in” motivating creative folk the world over to have thunder in their hearts, to walk on sunshine, chase and catch the wind, stand, sing, cry, dance and even get naked in the rain which was sometimes hard and once purple, IMHO no one has topped MT’s astute observation of humanity’s apathy to all things meteorological.
Everyone still talks about the weather but still no-one does or is able to do anything about it…….Bob Dylan got a bit close with the awakening anthem….” blowin in the wind” but Twain’s wise weather witticism wins out.
We have just entered our sixth day of, depending on which clichéd news network you watch, the sweltering/scorching/roasting weather conditions which are sweeping across most of the South Eastern section of the great southern land including my home in the nation’s capital, Canberra, while at the same time being exposed to the graphic footage of large American cities completely snowbound. And everyone, even those souls lacking in imagination Wilde so savagely slayed with his tongue all those years ago, is talking about the weather. These days though a lot of folk want someone to do something about the weather.
Back in Twain’s day there weren’t too many tub thumping, pig ignorant right-wing radio commentators around talking about doing nothing about the weather.
But lately radio shock jocks have been publicly frothing at the mouth while privately offering prayers of thanks to the heavens for this godsend which is the hysterical debate “Climate Change”. People are still talking about the weather. Al Gore’s pot stirring doco “an inconvenient truth” got the right’s goat on the climate issue. But then again he had the temerity to almost beat George W Bush to the White House. He had to be dealt with.
Climate change or its more emotive and subjective tag global warming is guaranteed to get the punters banging the talkback lines. All the SJ has to do is to mockingly suggest “torrential rain in the Philippines, blizzards in Europe and scorching conditions down under in Australia” WTF…..??
Those with the clipboards and white coats seem to be evenly divided on the hot topic of warming versus cooling. Shockjock gets the Climate Change deniers on air to poo poo or demonstrate (with twisted facts and figures) how distorted facts and figures are polluting the already muddied waters of the climate change debate. There is a very fine line between twisting and distorting and muddied and polluted. It’s how adroitly you use the facts and how “expertly” your hand picked expert presents them.
I’ll paraphrase a TV weatherman in the US who suggested climate change should be “left to Mother Nature to sort, it’s way too big for we mere humans”
“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it” still rings true after all these years. Those who can, can but won’t ,including Australian PM, Tony Abbott, who is on record as saying “climate change is crap”. Like most pollies he only has eyes on the next election.
So Mr Twain, it would appear, was way ahead of his time.
Might I humbly suggest, with the deepest of apologies to Mr Wilde, a couple of thoughts to balance the literary ledger? If Wilde were still around he may have been tempted to update or refresh a couple of his gems thus…..”There is only one thing in life worse than not talking about climate change and that is talking about climate change” and “we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at where the hole in the ozone layer is going to be”
And without doubt Oscar’s favourite song from the pop era would be about the weather…………The Weather Girls 90’s hit “It’s Raining Men”
FROM Canberra CIty News Jan 2011
GOOD Morning… it’s Jorian Gardner filling in for Mark Parton and Mike Welsh over summer on the Breakfast and Drive shows on Talking Canberra 1206 2CC.
Today on the program… the third spear carrier to the left in a new amateur production of “Cats” will join us; the homeless guy who lives outside the Canberra Centre – what are his political views? And, don’t miss this one, but I will have live in the studio today – that’s right LIVE! – an exclusive with that guy who washes your windscreens whether you like it or not on the corner of Northbourne and Wakefield Avenues in Dickson. An interview not to miss!
Ahh, summer. While the big guns get to retire to their summer homes down the coast or somewhere in Europe, it’s yours truly who’s left to carry the can and provide the good people of the national capital with quality talkback.
But you all know Canberra don’t you? It’s a veritable ghost town from just before Christmas to basically the end of January – which just happens to coincide with when I am on air.
Pollies, business people and pretty much anyone with a life (obviously, that’s not me) clear out of the capital for summer, leaving me with a roster of guests that’s about as long as the list of friends of Kyle Sandilands!
But fear not talkback lovers – I relish a challenge, and while everyone else might be in holiday mode, I will be scouring the news and getting the guests on that matter.
It’s lonely at 3.30am in the studio, especially in the Silly Season when interview subjects are either hung-over or still drinking. But necessity is certainly the mother of invention and no topic is too large – or for that matter too small – for me to tackle, so expect some, ummm, “surprising” guests.
“Welcome to the program Guido the office cleaner, who’s going to tell us, for the next hour, how recycling really works!”
But seriously, I am not worried about summer on 2CC, there will be still be great interviews, music, comedy and news and more. The season gives me more time to spend talking with the people who do matter – my listeners.
The stark, and unfortunate, reality of an Australian summer is that there will be bushfires and floods and accidents and all manner of tragedy that the media will report on.
But let’s really hope you are listening to me interviewing that third spear carrier from the left, because that will mean that those horrible summer catastrophes aren’t happening.
By Mike Welsh
IF the city of mostly true believers is still disappointed by the election result it could always build a bridge and get over it. Speculation of a brand, spanking new structure spanning Lake Burley Griffin might just be the tonic.
The National Capital Authority has confirmed a study of completely replacing Commonwealth Avenue Bridge will begin, rather than building a separate structure to accommodate light rail to Woden.
AND if a new bridge doesn’t do it, a naked man walking across the existing one with a pumpkin on his head surely would. Thankfully we won’t be exposed to such a spectacle after Sydney journalist Eddy Jokovich reneged on his pledge to “walk nude from Sydney to Canberra balancing a pumpkin on my head” if the coalition won the Federal election.
Pumpkinhead Eddy’s copped a shellacking on social media in the days since, pathetically responding on Twitter: “To all those perverts with their binoculars out there expecting this to happen, if the Liberals can lie and break their promises, so can I. None of the polls predicted Morrison’s re-election, few expected it. People make mistakes. Go and have a cold shower, all of you”.
Given shrinkage and Canberra’s climate, a nothing-to-see-here-folks headline has gone begging.
SCOTT Morrison’s miraculous victory has brought the “fast tracking” of Canberra’s light rail to Woden to a shuddering halt. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr must now explore other avenues of funding. Stage 2 was more likely under a Shorten government with its pledge of $200 million. A shellshocked Barr suggested the re-election of the coalition was “going to set back the time frame, there’s no doubting that,” with 2025 “a more realistic time frame”.
IF the next ACT election takes on a Trump/ScoMo presidential tone the Canberra Liberals will need Mark Parton as its leader. Armed with little, the local Libs won’t be able to resist a “Barr will tax you to death” version of the “Crooked Hillary” and “Shifty Bill” template which worked a treat for Donald Trump and Scott Morrison.
Morrison is the consummate salesman. Parton is a very good salesman. Both have extensive experience in media roles before entering politics and the skills to “buy and sell” career political types such as Bill Shorten and, locally, Alistair Coe. Political campaigns are now 100 per cent sizzle with no room for sausage.
WITHIN 48 hours of the first quiet murmurs of a Labor defeat turning into a loud roar, reinstated ACT Labor senator Katy Gallagher had put the bite on me. Late on Monday I received a “Don’t mourn, join” email from the former ACT chief minister. “Mike, Saturday night’s election was disappointing for Labor supporters and voters across Australia. But now it’s time to rally together and look to the fight ahead”. Before the signwriters had even reattached the shingle to her new/old office, Katy was asking me “to join our progressive movement and become a member of the ALP”.
THE once fierce resistance to Canberra’s annual kangaroo cull has dimmed over recent times, but the 2019 program targeting a record number of roos has reawakened protesters’ rage. Twenty four organisations, including filmmaker Creative Cowboy and British-based vegan charity Viva, have issued a statement condemning the killing of 4076 kangaroos and unknown numbers of joeys. The group claims: “When global scientists have issued the strongest call yet to reverse ‘nature’s dangerous decline’, the ACT government is overseeing the cruel mass slaughter of over 4000 kangaroos.”
STILL on activism; Manuka’s fashionable district is not known for its tree huggers nor is it traditionally a haven for those with a penchant for civil disobedience, which is a relief because such action is no longer necessary to save a mature London Plane tree in Franklin Street. A ruling by the Conservator for Flora and Fauna Ian Walker, has blocked the destruction of the tree standing in the way of a proposed European-style, neoclassical, seven-storey hotel near the Capitol Cinema.
THE good folk of Curtin have been very generous with donations to the recent Anglicare Pantry appeal. Volunteers spent the weekend outside the local Coles store and gathered around 5000 items. The supermarket manager says that takings were up $30,000 for the week and the food items donated during the weekend filled more than 40 trolleys.