Today’s “Thank You” Notes

There can be great satisfaction from ritual.

One of the finest rituals is writing correspondence. Putting pen to paper; considering your salutation, your content and your closing; dating your letter or card; noting where in the world you are writing from; correctly addressing your envelope; placing the right postage on the envelope, and; depositing the envelope into a post box.

Each stage of this ritual has its own nuance, considerations and choices. A kind of emotional and intellectual texture to run my mind across.

What pen shall I write with? The blue fountain or a black fine-point texta?

What level…

At 58, I have for the first time become a dissident.

I am in active opposition to COVID19 related policies by Governments which, I believe, are lacking in evidence, ineffective from a health perspective, costly from a societal perspective, and downright cruel to too many people, especially the young amongst us.

My protest mostly takes the form of being much more assertive in what I do on social media, as well as through some columns and media appearances. That’s especially about the significant mental health impacts of prolonged and arbitrary lockdowns and the Zero COVID fear model that underpins them…

The young people in my life do practical things and that makes me very proud.

It also makes me think about how, perhaps, a younger generation is re-embracing the making and doing of useful stuff rather than getting in the grips of the digital vortex of modern life.

Indeed, having spent most of my life right where I am right now — tapping away at a keyboard and trying to create some semblance of reality from the abstract — I admire those people who produce direct results in the real world. They can stand back and say: I made that…

With every day, two things get more prominent in my 58 year old life.

More stuff on my older body hurts. Most recently, after a bike crash, it’s a newly arthritic right thumb. It’s harder to open the jar of dill pickles.

The second thing is that, every day, I more realise how very little I actually know.

I recently did an audit of my own ignorance. I walked from my flat to my office which is about 500 metres through the central part of Parramatta. I looked at things and asked myself: do I know how that thing /…

When I was a political candidate in 2007, a local newspaper dubbed me “the loudmouth New Yorker”. They probably thought it was insulting. I took it with pride!

And, the older I get, I become even more outspoken. Perhaps, that’s about no longer really caring about success and status — but very much caring about democratic discourse. Perhaps, it’s about no longer having too many professional or political constraints — and being very much a free agent of radical centrism.

Perhaps, it’s about claiming the opportunity that comes from inheriting a quirky mind from my parents, a commitment to critical…

I went “lockdown loony” a few days ago.

Long story short, a dude in my building flagrantly and rudely ignored the rules when it comes to masks and number of people on our high-rise’s lift etc. I enforced those rules in no uncertain terms, eg, equally rudely.

This led to two middle-aged men trading school-yard insults in the foyer of our up-market building. We almost got to the “your mother!” stage and total meltdown before some tiny remainder of maturity, and the concierge, intervened in. He probably saved us both from court dates and defibrillators. Thanks, Mo!

The whole incident…

Today, the Biloela family will be given permission to remain in Australia and, from a compassionate perspective, that is an undeniably a good thing.

Today, rather than acknowledge the grace amongst us, Australia’s on-line combatants will sully that good thing.

From those bent on seeing the world only through a partisan political lens rather than a humanitarian one, we will hear the following types of statements.

From the Left of the spectrum:

· “This only happened because the Government was forced into it.”

· “It took way too long for this to occur and the Government should be ashamed.”


Identity politics. Half the time I don’t know what’s meant by a term wielded like a Star Wars lightsabre.

I do, though, have a guesstimation that nowadays: a) some people feel better by being able to call themselves what they individually feel themselves to primarily be, and; b) some people feel worse cos they think that undermines us as a social whole. The two ‘some people’ don’t appear to like each other very much.

All of which seems a bit upside down to me cos the people in the first group tend to also think of themselves as ‘progressives’ and…

If you ever catch a cuppa with an Australian Federal or State politician who is out of Government and in Opposition, he or she will inevitably lament the situation of their Party and themselves.

You’re likely to be told about the lack of resources, the lack of critical data, the inability to ‘make a difference’, and the difficulty of ‘cutting through’ and getting one’s messages out. Some have described to me their feeling that they’re in some airport waiting lounge ceaselessly waiting on the plane that is power, prestige and policy influence.

Some in Opposition become obsessed with the Leadership…

Some old golfer with a gut won a big tournament in the States overnight and, as we march around the park with beer bellies and Olympic-level sneakers, McCluskey reckons it’s a vindication of everything he, his generation, and the realm that we survey have ever stood for. He cites it as evidence that there’s still hope for washed-up white males. I note it as we get to around 5k steps.

As young workmates in the early 90s, me and McCluskey would drink at the Concourse bar in the bowels of Wynyard Station on the way home to our respective and…

Pete Shmigel

Pete Shmigel writes, coaches, advocates for mental health, and serves on Boards - after surviving 3 CEO gigs and professional politics.

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