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Category Archives: Comment


Summer warzones: reflections on bushfire

It’s ten years this summer since my close-enough encounter with bushfire in Victoria’s high country. I spent two weeks with family preparing for a fire front that thankfully never made it to our doorstep, and compared to Black Saturday, Ash Wednesday, Black Friday – even this summer … Read more »

A Christian’s Christmas

Being a Christian doesn’t exactly earn you cool points in the workplace – especially around Christmas. If a colleague asks, ‘What are you doing over the break?’ responding enthusiastically with something like ‘CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF MY LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST!’ can result in the loss … Read more »

The stories behind your neighbour’s front door

She looks much like any other elderly Chinese woman in Australian suburbia. Short. Greying hair. Perhaps a little healthier than average, a little more upright than most. But there’s nothing obvious to suggest her story threads back to another time, another country, a world of suffering most … Read more »

New to me, New York City

Like Loco, Pola and Schatze I was drawn to New York City to find a millionaire playboy. Wait, that’s not right. But in my nine days in NYC I did sometimes feel that I was acting a part in a movie. The island of Manhattan itself feels … Read more »

On reading Mom Blogs

I started reading ‘Mom blogs’ way before I got pregnant. At first, my reading was secret and covert. Alone in the house, I browsed the 1000 or so pages of blogs ranked by readers on the Top Baby Blogs register the way other people privately peruse porn. … Read more »

An open letter to Melburnians

Once while enjoying a sunny day and a mocha on Brunswick Street, I gave a homeless woman my change, but when she discovered my origins, she recoiled in disgust and spat out, ‘You’re American?? I hate Americans. You’re all taking over Australia.’ Then she wandered off with … Read more »

Facing the phenomenon: Bitchface/Smugface

Image Credit: kris atomic   ‘A bitchface is a way to express your passive aggression,’ announced 16-year-old online wunderkind Tavi Gevinson to Jimmy Fallon. A recent guest on Fallon’s late night talk show to promote the release of ‘Rookie Year One’ – an exciting text appropriation of … Read more »

Fictional friends: ‘losing yourself’ in characters

If I’m being honest, a recent study concluding that ‘losing yourself’ in a fictional character can directly affect your behaviour is not news to me. Researchers at Ohio State University have defined the phenomenon as ‘experience-taking’. I have been experience-taking for years. As a lifelong bookworm, television … Read more »

Save the schmaltz: cooking and family

Babushka Babushka is my cooking blog, where I hang out with old people from around the world and write down what they do. It’s one part Jamie Oliver–style culinary piracy and one part reverse race baiting. My whole life I’ve made my living either from writing or … Read more »

Endeavour: part of the present, symbol of the past

With the rain coming in fits and bursts across the water, the delicate rigging of HMB Endeavour rose into a dark and brooding sky. The ship was illuminated by flickering light from the big screen in Melbourne’s Docklands, where the ANZAC Day AFL game was being broadcast … Read more »