Welcome to the latest edition of Ramble, a compilation of what I have been pondering, learning and enjoying for the past month or so.
Now, grab a beverage and let’s begin.
I really only stumbled on to the Friendly Jordies lot recently. I must say that their videos are fairly entertaining and incisive.
Other than being quite left-leaning, they take a good swing at the old target of 'Australian politicians are mostly awful and pathetic'.
This was a good one:
And so was this, before it was removed from YouTube:
The main interestingness that comes out of these is how little willingness there is in the masthead news organisations of the country to take up the stories.
What I am Reading:
Dialogues and Letters (Seneca)
A classic stoic text. Short and sweet.
The Fatal Shore (Robert Hughes)
This is a classic of early Australian History. Specifically the early history of the British 'continent as a prison' experiment. Some of the factoids in the periphery of the story are fantastic.
- Like how the Solomon Islands are named after King Solomon's fabled gold mines of Ophir - by half-starved and very lost Spanish conquistadors who were blown off course around 1567.
- Or how Makassan traders from the island of Celebes had been visiting modern day Arnhem Land in the sixteenth centruy to hunt for sea slugs.
- Or when a crazy religious Portuguese chap named Pedro Fernandez de Quiros though he found the great southern land, full of "...millions of innocent heathen souls, ripe for salvation", he named it Austrialia del Espiritu Santo and went nuts, proclaiming that the new Jerusalem would be built there among the coral reefs. In the end, he missed, having landed in the New Hebrides island group. But the naming is interesting - "Austrialia" was in reference to his King's Hapsburg bloodline (from Austria - you can visit one of their palaces in Vienna) and a pun on tierra austral, "the south land". So, confusion between Austria and Australia in the naming conventions is actually completely reasonable...
Anyway, this work highlights the fairly atrocious treatment of prisoners, essentially serving as a model for the Goulags of the 20th century up in Russia.
It also swayed my thinking around the date of Australia Day. Firstly, Captain Philip hauled into Botany Bay on January 18, 1788. So the date of January 26th is only special because it took the sailors a few days to find a more sheltered harbour. And then the 'Australian-ness' of the event should be questioned. There really was absolutely nothing 'Australian' about the event of finding safe harbour in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) by British sailors. They were explicitly British citizens there to form a prison colony. Anything resembling an Australian identity was decades away. So, I actually have no idea what date "Australia Day" should be, its just that I have no issue, in principle, with it not being January 26th.
Why Russia has never accepted Ukrainian Independence - The Economist - December, 2021 - 20 mins
A timely history lesson written a couple of months before Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
The Myth of Australia - Dave Milner - The Shot - 7 mins
A punchy little primer for the upcoming Australian elections - whenever they end up being called.
What I am Watching:
Reacher (Prime Video)
For those that don't know, I am a bit of a diehard Jack Reacher fan. There are 26 books, a pile of short stories and two movies before the series on Amazon Prime came out. I have consumed them all.
The series is just about perfect. The tone is perfect. And I watched all the episodes in a day. Then I rewatched the series again a week later.
And another series has been confirmed.
This is Going to Hurt (Binge)
Black humour to cope with stressful medical bullshit.
Fantastically true to the book. And worryingly true to what I hear out of the NHS.
A must watch for anyone in medicine, or anyone with any friends or family in the field.
Dark. Gritty. Violent. Period London.
And Tom Hardy. It's fantastic.
For anyone who thinks they might like to do a bit of teaching or training on the side within their own profession, do it. I personally find it quite satisfying and there is a real sense of accomplishment when you are able to produce something that might be actually useful to someone.
I have been tapping away at a couple of things for a while. I send a daily educational email to Medical Students and Junior Doctors with study questions and cases. And I made a little course for that same cohort to practice their first after hours shift in a hospital.
The email newsletter is here: Your Daily Meds - it is built on the substack newsletter service, which is free.
And the course is here: Ward Call Preparedness: The First Evening - it is built on the thinkific course software, which is also free.
Give it a go.
My next (ongoing) travel plan is to quit my job and escape for a year. Departure is in 305 days. The savings game is in full swing. More to come on this endeavour...
Thank you once again for reading along with me.
If you found something you liked, let me know.
If you think I can do something a little smoother, please let me know.