The Buttons: Speechless but never at a loss for words

It’s taken me a while to read Speechless, a lovely book about speechwriting by James Button, Walkley Award-winning journalist and author and son of John, a senator and a former minister in the Labor Governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. It’s not only a story about speeches but a father and son relationship, the … Continue reading The Buttons: Speechless but never at a loss for words

Winless in Sydney: Fears of a winter of discontent for the Swans

Shades of 1993. My favourite Australian Football League (AFL) team, the Sydney Swans, have lost their first four matches of the year, the most since that dire season of 1993 when the team set a record of 26 straight defeats. Last night, the Swans lost by 26 points to the West Coast Eagles in Perth, … Continue reading Winless in Sydney: Fears of a winter of discontent for the Swans

A Villanova Reunion: Home is where the heart is, despite Donald Trump

You can go home again. Despite the American writer Thomas Wolfe’s advice to the contrary in his novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, I went back to the US for the first time in a decade this month. The occasion was Villanova University’s Reunion Weekend where I attended the 50th reunion of the Class of … Continue reading A Villanova Reunion: Home is where the heart is, despite Donald Trump

Food for a Journey: Poems and prayers and memories of a renaissance man

I have written many book reviews over the decades, but this one means a lot to me. It’s about a book of poetry by my cousin – a friend, a former priest, an editor of an acclaimed Jesuit magazine, America, an appellate attorney in the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice fighting for … Continue reading Food for a Journey: Poems and prayers and memories of a renaissance man

Are you okay, Buddy? It’s not a crime to say you need help

Depressed. Feeling down. In the dumps. Bitten by the Black Dog. Beyond Blue. All the phrases and words above have been associated with depression. I have been thinking about depression for some time, as my brother Jack committed suicide 24 years ago in September 1991, and I have been asking why ever since. I know … Continue reading Are you okay, Buddy? It’s not a crime to say you need help

Jarryd Hayne: The NRL star doing the hard yards in the NFL

Americans call it football. Australians call it gridiron. For the more than 40 years I’ve lived in Australia, I’ve had to listen to criticism of the most popular spectator sport in the United States. Budding behemoths with huge helmets and too much padding, playing a 60-minute game that lasts more than three hours, and is … Continue reading Jarryd Hayne: The NRL star doing the hard yards in the NFL