Dr Peter White's Blog

Thoughts and comments from Dr Peter White -- political, philosophical, spiritual, musical and more

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am retired from the Uni. of Queensland, and have numerous interests inside and outside of the uni. I play classical, bluegrass, country and folk guitar (hows that for a mix?) I am a member of the Australian Labor Party and am currently branch secretary of the Mt Coot-tha branch. I'm also involved in developing virtual reality builds and websites. Never bored!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dead horses

I was reflecting yesterday on some of the 'modern management methods' that are all the rage these days in our institutions, be they private or public. And I remembered something that came across as a joke a while ago. I thought it was worth revisiting. Here it is.

The tribal wisdom of the Lakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover that you are riding a deadhorse, the best strategy is to dismount.

But in modern business (and education and government), other strategies are
often tried with dead horses, including the following:
1. Buying a stronger whip.
2. Changing riders.
3. Threatening the horse with termination.
4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
7. Reclassifying the dead horse as "living-impaired."
8. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
9. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
10. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead
horse's performance.
11. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve
the dead horse's performance.
12. Declaring that the dead horse carries lower overhead and therefore
contributes more to the bottom line than some other horses.
13. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.
And, as a final strategy:
14. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Enjoy, oh do!

PB White

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Root causes...

Generally I rave on about things political. Today, after reflection, I would like to instead share a poem I wrote recently. I wanted to write a song for my group, but what came out instead was this sonnet. Consider it, perhaps, as an expose of the root causes of many of our human problems...


So, does a business ledger have a soul?

And does a massive profit make us whole?

Or, does a loss then make us even less

Than who we are? Ah, I can only guess,

For values in our land are based on gold.

We humans are worth less – or so we’re told –

Than what in life we manage to obtain;

The merit in our lives is based on gain.

Now Greed – once vice – is held a worthy aim,

No matter that we’re called to kill and maim

To win a war and take the widow’s mite.

And starving millions hidden from our sight

Bear witness to our arrogance and pride:

From Nemesis to come we cannot hide.

That's enough for now.

PB White

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007!

January 1, 2007. The start of a new year for us in the West, at least. One of my New Year's resolutions (another quaint Western custom oft honoured more in the breech than the promise), is to write more entries in this blog. Generally I write only when something triggers me off, which is generally some sort of political decision that I don't agree with at all. I hope that this year I can continue to do that, but also to write some more positive stuff.

To start the latter at least, I wish Kevin Rudd and his colleagues in the Labor Party the best of 2007 and may they well and truly get their act together to take government this year.

And my thanks and continued support to the ACTU and the NTEU for their stalwart support of workers in this 'enlightened' era of neo-con industrial deform.

And I hope and wish that my colleagues at work realise that they are working themselves to death for no apparent reason... Remember folks, the system cares not a whit and besides we're getting all too old to fret the pathology of workaholism.

And may the music continue! I hope that Quanto, my classical guitar duo, will finish its Elizabethan music CD, and the Brown Grass Boys go from strength to strength with an aim of playing at Woodford next year. (something to shoot for, guys).

I want to do more creative writing. Songs, poetry, and more work on my autobiography.

On a broader scale, I hope that the American people realise they've been sold down the river by an unholy coalition of the greedy and the seedy; may the number of red states dwindle considerably! This of course, implies that the other side of their politics also gets its act together and puts up good candidates.

And may my faith community of St Marys in South Brisbane continue to grow and prosper, and may the music continue to grow and improve -- thanks Wendy :-)

Enough for now.

PB White