Despite yesterday’s media headlines to the contrary, the world didn’t end.  I am still breathing.  How about you?

So instead of Armageddon; Europocalypse; Death by Keen or something similar, we all seem to get by.  The Henny Pennys seem to have survived the farmer’s axe once again, only to live another day of worry.  Yesterday’s lacklustre 0.25% cut in the cash rate will no doubt have them all in a spin.

Well, stuff them all – today is something special.  It is an opportunity to take some time to reflect; an early New Year’s Day so to speak.

Today, for most Australians the Transit of Venus will be visible with Venus appearing as a black spot moving across the sun from 8.16am to 2.44pm.

Big deal?

Well it won’t be back until 2117 – yep, 105 years from now.  And just reflect for a few moments on how much effort man made to observe and measure this astronomical event… Captain Cook et al.

Today we have a free iPhone app to watch it, but somehow that isn’t the same as gazing upwards in wonder about where we, and it, are all going.

We humans seem to underestimate the good things and overvalue the utter rubbish.  And what we spend much of our time on these days, for mine, is increasingly plain bunkum.

So in this frame of mind – even more delicious given it is mid-week and all – here are my anti-bunkum things.

Rating agencies

Isn’t it about time that the real world turned its back on the self-serving, hypocritical, attention-grabbing, politically motivated vacuum heads called ratings agencies: Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch?

Surely, there must be some other source of advice of this nature available from less biased, conflicted and publicly discredited sources than these, who often seem to be at the centre of conflagrations of their own making.

Daily and even monthly indexes

Top of the list is house prices.  Prices-schmices.  What is the fascination with regular property price indices? Give it a rest guys, you need to be in it for the long haul.  Frankly it is all just white noise.

And in fact, what is measured is also plain bunkum.  The median or average price – regardless of when or how frequently it is measured, or on what geographic scale – will have no bearing on what your property is worth or how much you should pay.

Reality TV

I mean come on!  Reality my backside, what with five camera angles; metal screws in Bear’s handmade bamboo ladder; planning a meal in five seconds after being told the two key ingredients etc.  And everyone in the house watching it on their own plasma, computer or Apple TV.

Give me a board game any day of the week.  Or better still, a good book; although I am quite partial to Seinfeld & NYPD Blue re-runs…. and I could re-watch The West Wing series anytime.

But if you are going to watch something on the idiot box, get everyone at home involved.  What ever happened to the Sunday night family movie?


Oh, what crap it is.  Yes, it helped make Singapore and other Asian centres what they are today, and helps make living in the tropics more bearable.  True, too, it creates white noise – the good kind this time – to help one live downtown.

But give me a fireplace in winter and a big hat over my house (overhang for those youngins who haven’t seen an eave) in summer.  In fact, a fire makes a bloody good replacement for the TV too.  Nature’s own entertainment and a friend in the bush.  Oh, how far we have strayed from the things that are really important, well at least from what many older boomers commute half way around the country for.  They might be onto something there.

Modern cuisine

Fancy food, lots of silly names and service as “cold as Christmas” as the saying goes.  Give me a home-cooked meal like Mum still makes, and dish me up some decent service, a smile and a whole lot of personality and I will be back with my family and friends every time.

And when at home, the simple meals are often the best – toasted cheese sandwiches; home-made pizzas on the Weber; eggs (with Belle’s bacon of course) on toast; tomato soup with crusty bread – and all hassle free, everyone relaxed and eating together.  And yes, even in front of that elusive Sunday movie on TV.

Modern living

I am an analogue man.  Joe Walsh’s new album out later this week – just two sleeps left Australia – is titled such.  Yes, I use Apple everything but not all the time.  When I get home – it helps when the actual service at home is lousy – it is everything off until the next day.

Why not take a bath; have an afternoon nap (and on both Saturday and Sunday) or sit in the sun for a good while every now and then.  Go see your adult children rather than Skype or text them.  What is all the rush about?

Yes, I know it is easier said than done but what, if anything these days is the Transit of Venus actually good for?


Now we are getting on some shaky ground here.  Moving into some bloody murky waters Michael, given the amount of music I download from Apple.  But I never download a single, always the whole album.  In fact I don’t like the term album – music, as Jackson Browne often discusses on stage, is a record; a record of events of that time or place.  Good records resonate with many listeners; great records resonate deeply with you.

I often listen to Born to Run; Late for the Sky; Blue Valentine or Bella Donna, to name just a few, in their entirety; almost always by myself, in the quiet and often in the bath.  Candles glowing and incense burning if you must know.  Right now I am quite into lemongrass stink sticks.


Yes, I am talking to you Anonymous.  Bloggers who aren’t prepared to give their full name when replying get treated as spam on my blog.  Have the guts to stand by your convictions.  All we have, when it is said and done, is our name.

In an increasingly post, post, post-modern world showing one’s face is a rare thing.


You of course have your own list.  And if you don’t maybe today might be a good one to start one.

As you read this blog this morning, I won’t be rushing to work.  This Transit of Venus will be my last and I won’t be wasting it.

So it’s goggles on folks and look up at your own peril, and don’t complain to me if you find what you are looking for.

Oh, and whilst discussing things that might be better gone, here is our final call for this week’s Matusik Pulse poll – If our housing is really too big what would you forgo?


If you want to keep your comments private and confidential contact me directly on michael@matusik.com.au 

For more stuff visit our website and follow me on twitter, plus connect via LinkedIn.

17 thoughts on “Bunkum

  1. Henny Tasker says:

    Oh, for good old-fashioned values! Being in a similar age bracket, i can empathsise with all your comments!

    RE HOUSE SIZE: I love my big house – i don’t want to downsize. If anything, i would like to ADD an undercover alfresco area and an outdoor kitchen for year-round outdoor entertaining.

    I like having a place for all my special things. I like my study, I like having a guest room for when my dad or friends come to stay. My kids, in their 20s, still have their own bedrooms (and bathroom) . They are in their 20s and belong to the yoyo generation – they keep leaving home and coming back.

    The only thing I would like to downsize is maintenance – but I can outsource that.

    As I get older and not being a gardener – landsize is the only thing I would happily downsize (currently 1200sq m and not subdividible) – a small sunny patch of grass would do me nicely.

    The only thing that could tempt me to a slightly smaller house – would be if I could purchase the perfect level block of land in my dream location – then I would build a single level home without a single stair ,with wide hallways and doorways, so I will be able to move around in with my wheelie walker/zimmerframe/wheelchair when I’m in my 90s! I don’t want to live in a unit, i want to make my own decisions as to how I wish to maintain my home.

  2. Nice ‘rant’ Michael – with some justification! I’m sure you feel better for posting this as do I for reading it. Keep the fresh air coming!!

  3. Jessica says:

    What a random list! Love it! Is anyone else having trouble with the survey link?

  4. Daryl Ladd says:

    Me. I only watch TV one night a week. Monday evening betwwen 7:00pm to 10:30pm and only the ABC. The rest is from morning to morning nothing but ADS, annoying so called breaky shows with finacial gurus with I pads, funny talking hollywood critics and ADS,tabloid news and current affairs, more ADS then american crime, medical and forensic cr^&%p with ADS.
    Even our own TV series have now become a litle boring and punctuated with ADS of course, (have to look after the sharholders and ratings).
    I have taken to reading again and excersising the brain with my own images and guess what NO ADS.
    I eat porridge for breakfast, good old brown bag sangers for lunch and a hearty dinner with meat and vegies.
    Call me an oldie if you like but I’m getting a little sick & tired of all the negativity in the world today, if it’s bad news the media go hard, but if its happy news read it on page 10,11,15 of the daily newspaper. Don’t get me started on our daily in Brisbane.

    I live on a 400m2 allotment, it takes me about 45 minutes all up to mow and tidy up every 2 weeks or so depending on the season. The rest is doing what I please(or what she pleases)

    I’m with you Michael, more baths with stinky aromas, more music, good food, and bugger the rest until tomorrow. And try lighting a fire to stay warm in the burbs today and see what happens?
    Yes I’m a baby boomer and proud to be so, besides I have no choice, and I really do miss those times but…………….. it’s nice to be alive today.

  5. Wayne says:

    I was with you all the way ( especially in agreement on the ‘put your name to it or F*%&k off”, as the modern blend of cowardice and entitlement is posionous to civilised behaviour) – until you launched into my unsuspecting mind the image of Matusik blissing out in bath sans clothes and surrounded by candles, incense sticks and concept-album music. THAT’s an image that is going to take a week to clear from my brain; I’m half-inclined to send you the therapy bill !

  6. Michael, great post and good ol’ common sense which unfortunately isn’t too common. I am also happy with the big house and our 2037 m2 lot at Ashgrove as it’s our haven and only 7 kms from the city.We want the teenagers to stay as long as possible and the recent renovation was angled that way. With this mad world we now live in it’s important we enjoy the journey so your list strikes an accord with people in our age bracket. On the theme of music I have been reading biographies of Eric Clapton, Don Felder, Keith Richards and now Paul McCartney and you can’t beat using Youtube to look up videos of events and clips once I have just read a chapter. brings it to life and transforms you back in time, endorsing the fact that nostalgia is a strong value set for baby boomers – keep up the good work

  7. Well said. Great post!

  8. Audrei Keam says:

    Thanks M for bringing us down to earth or UP I should say. lets just boycott negative journalists and politicians.

    • Win Property Investments says:

      Its great to hear you have found a balance in your everyday style – it will make you much happier and true to the real world which is subjective not objective – Venus is looking at you with a big smile of approval Michael!

  9. Ian Wharton says:

    Great read as always….keep up the good work!

  10. Chris says:


    “All we have, when it is said and done, is our name.”

    indeed, and some of us do a little to guard our identity to an extent as the WWW is the wild west and not everyone wants to get bushwacked.

    That I give you a valid email address for comment should be enough credential. How much do you give of your self when you speak to somone in the supermarket or in the traffic?

    “Yes, I use Apple everything but not all the time. When I get home – it helps when the actual service at home is lousy – it is everything off until the next day.”

    well that’s good for Apple to hear I’m sure. However I guess you don’t find that interoperability is important. Companies like Google and Apple are trying to make their own enclaves or ‘walled gardens’ where they can isolate their users from others. I know that this helps them to develop better things, but does it help US to get better devices?

    Just the other day I discovered that I can’t send a contact detail from my phone to an iPhone or to an Android one without it going through iTunes of Gmail … so when I give my neighbour the plumbers phone number Google/Apple are in on that information exchange too.

  11. Anoop says:

    Great post Michael, loved the thought provoking points…life has become just too fast or is it us trying to keep pace with everything around us…

  12. […] our Bunkum missive comments, too, for some interesting replies to house sizes.  I got many more directly […]

  13. […] Bunkum for some interesting replies to house […]

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