Bookkeeping and adventure

 “You are aiming for happy fulfilled days” was the piece of advice Dominic Billings really took to heart, from one of his early NEIS training sessions at Box Hill Institute.

He was participating in the NEIS program to best plan his new film production business. While considering this particular piece of advice, Dom thought “if I could work and travel, that would make for some happy fulfilled days!”

Dominic has a background in media, writing and film production. With management training and mentoring provided by NEIS, Dom developed the entrepreneurial skills he needed and one of his first commissions after completing the program was a $30,000 video production project.

 Read full article at NEIS Now 

 

 

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I'm in the mood to spruik this, a 2013 production of Soup du Jour Productions aka Vince Moloney and I:

 , a 4-part narrative TV series about women's empowerment inspired by the book Half the Sky by Pulitzer Prize-winners Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn of The New York Times. For a while I was almost ashamed of it, but it's more relevant than ever - I daresay we were a fraction ahead of the curve with the topics therein reaching fever pitch in past couple years.

I'd totally marginalised it til now, split across 12 low-quality vids hidden from view, despite receiving a $5000 grant by the CBF and C31 to reach communities of interest. I thought it was heavy-handed at the time, and too didactic (just look the word up, ya mug!).

Anyhow, have re-edited in to its original 4 episodes in higher definition. I'm actually really fuckin' proud of it. 

Enormous credit to Evan Munro-Smith (first project shot on his beloved RED Scarlet, I believe). Everyone who works with Ev knows that whatever any of us respectively bring to the table, the ship sinks or swims according to his involvement, to which we all know - whether we express it or not - his value is ineffable/inEvvable.

Also, enormous accolade ought be extended to Rebecca Bastiaensz, who held the story upon her shoulders. Such a pro and hopefully destined and deserving of grand things!

Je ne regrette rien

My heart goes out to Barron Trump today. Little does the poor guy know that at the age of eleven, his old man sold out his future for the narrow interests of pandering to the working-class voters of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, energising his base in Kentucky and West Virginia proactively with the 2018 mid-terms and 2020 re-election bid in mind.

If Barron's dad knew as much about business as he claims, he'd at a basic level know that a strong primary industry and manufacturing sector is a hallmark of a second-rate economy. He'd know that only 20,000 coal-mining jobs exist among the 150 million Americans in the labour force. Alarm bells would ring when your Secretary of State, the former CEO of the 2nd-largest historical carbon dioxide emitting company, furiously campaigns in the days leading up to your decision to stay in the Paris Agreement. The accord as it stands already is so short of ambition as reflected by current commitments that it would still lead to catastrophic climate change, far exceeding the aim of a 2-degree Celsius increase of global average temperature as measured against the start of industrialisation circa 1850, scientifically giving us a two-thirds chance of avoiding dangerous, human-caused climate change.

But Donald doesn't deserve all the blame. David and Charles Koch are the real culprits driving the libertarian brand of US politics, overseers of a vast political machine seeking to whittle away government oversight and taxation to the benefit of an oil and gas dynasty presided over by two men living past the average life expectancy of their country of birth.

The Koch's have a shill in Scott Pruitt, the EPA chief and former Oklahoma attorney general, a state that's benefited greatly from the shale boom of the past decade, buttressed by all the litigation Pruitt could help it with. Both Pruitt and the President's chief strategist Steven K. Bannon - pandering to the white, working-class voters that elected them on a key campaign promise - prevailed over the exhortations of a former Goldman Sachs president-turned-economics adviser, an ex-ExxonMobil chief and the president's own First Daughter, mother of Donald's grandchildren Arabella, Theodore and Joseph, along with his grandchildren to Donald Jr.,  Kai, Chloe, Donald III, Tristan and Spencer.

The US Senate never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, so it's short accession to the Paris Agreement need not surprise us greatly as a departure from history, though it certainly may feel so.

It's incumbent upon all of us to take individual responsibility. We all allow our conscience reprieve when our fuel tank gauge nears empty and we pull in to the local branch of Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron or Total. Many of us allow inertia to prevail in continuing to run our home electricity and gas heating off the fossilised sediment of prehistoric lifeforms when a renewable energy provider is but a phone call away (From them, I mean! I know you receive them unsolicited all the time.) An atmospheric interplay of the sun's rays and one carbon atom symbiotically CO-existing with 2 carbon atoms will set our children and children's children on a pathway to a world that paints the world in conflagration.

In the 4 years requisite for the US to legally exit the Paris Agreement, a presidential election will occur exactly the following day, after which a new administration could ratify once again, at the expense of 4 years of business-as-usual emissions, incurring greater expense to decarbonise the US economy by mid-century.

It won't matter. America's abdicated global leadership on Thursday 1 June 2017, ironically to China, the very power Trump intended to curb. I suggest a divestment of American goods and services with exception of the ICT vanguard including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Not as a rebuke to ordinary Americans who want a healthy planet and socially inclusive economy that distributes fairly the wealth of ultra-high net worth individuals such as the Kochs and their cronies. These wealthy elites wrote the US tax code because plutocracy charades as democracy in America, the Republican Party an asset of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company from sea to shining sea. This is about money, and you have the potential to wield your unit of fiat currency, whether US dollar, pound sterling, euro, yen or yuan, even in infinitesimal quantities against the scale of the $100 million mobilised by the Koch's in the 2016 campaign. 

Wield your individual ability to act and do your 7.5-billionth worth of responsibility. Take the UN Climate Neutral Now pledge. Calculate your climate footprint, reduce what you can and buy carbon credits to offset whatever emissions you cannot.

  • Reduce kilometres travelled per week
  • Downsize your car to a smaller vehicle with smaller engine displacement, preferably diesel or electric hybrid
  • Use public transport, preferably trams and trains rather than buses
  • Recycle almost all of your waste
  • Switch your heating source to electricity generated by renewable energy
  • Make your preferred diet vegetarian or vegan
  • Mostly shop for local and organic food
  • Calculate and offset your carbon emissions for international air travel

Educate yourself about the deep decarbonisation pathways toward a decarbonised economy in our respective countries by 2050, built on 3 pillars:

  • Energy efficiency - effective building insulation, fluorescent or LED lights, efficient appliances
  • Low carbon electricity - solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, nuclear, carbon capture and sequestration
  • Fuel switching - electric cars recharged with renewable generated electricity. 

I'm saddened, because I really enjoy being in America, New York City particularly being an enormous inspiration, but I see no morality in being complicit in their economy's depredations any longer, even as a visitor. As it stands though, I can see I, like many others, fell for Columbia's wiles and seduction in the form of a lifestyle that was neither sustainable for its citizens and global citizenry, nor reflective of my morality.  Stoking wars and regime changes in violation of the UN Charter's respect for other members states' sovereignty, an ODA budget of 0.18% of GNI in contrast to a pledged 0.7% from the world's largest economy, a disregard for the virtues of both the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as the UNFCCC, of which the Paris Agreement is an extension of.

The world must look anywhere but the United States now, save for an alliance between progressive and dynamic American cities, states and businesses, in an effort formally being led by former NYC mayor and UN climate envoy Michael Bloomberg, who ironically considered a run in the 2016 election. The world will pivot to the EU and China for leadership, as evidenced by the One Belt, One Road initiative officially presented by Xi Jinping last month. Yet as individuals we must search our own respective actions, being ever-mindful to prioritise the wealth of biodiversity and gains made on ending extreme poverty to ensure the health of our planet and our children's prosperous future.

Friendship, figs & salami

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How many of us can sit back and say with confidence that we’re living our life to the absolute fullest?

Not merely existing, but really living.

Childhood friends and co-founders of Soup du Jour Productions, Dominic Billings, 31, and Vincent Moloney, 32, ask this relatively daunting question in the most humorous manner with their first feature-length film ‘200 Grams’.

Read the full article at Il Globo

I dunno where this is going...

I've been taking solace from Ryan Adams' new album Prisoner over the past month or so. It came to me via John Mayer, a fellow American singer-songwriter-producer. Prisoner is what I was kinda hoping Mayer's new album The Search for Everything, released in entirety today, would be.

Not to take anything away from Mayer. Many of Search for Everything's tracks are what I sonically hoped they'd be, and their subject matter has definitely resonated.

But Adams' album has really made its way in to my soul. It's an unabashed break-up album in the wake of his divorce from Mandy Moore.

I don't know where this is going, but it seems to have had a deep effect. The past few weekends since summer ended have found myself listening to it loudly. Suppose in the quieter moments I seek whatever it has to offer. It's a sad album, to be sure, though not languishing in sorrow.

There's a defiance, and though am less familiar with Ryan Adams' back catalogue, there's an irony in that I wonder whether Moore would be attracted to the peacock's tail on display in the songwriting and producing prowess of Prisoner.

My intuition would say she's well and truly moved on, and such a solid album about her would be near-embarrassing to bear listening. I theorise women are perhaps a little better moving on emotionally, but that's just supposition.

I ought to make a point sometime soon, but don't quite feel like it yet. Maybe I have a hunger to show the peacock's tail and make something great. It takes work, and feel as though am up to it, if am able to keep level-headed. Something that really gets under people's skins and in to their souls. Something that makes people sad, purely from recognition of those feelings emoted in the work reflected back on them. Why sadness in contrast to mirth? I guess I like the former more.

 

The Accountant

Alfalfa is aflame, you say? Well, my girlfriend hates Portuguese. Well, perhaps I'm similarly inclined. Maybe unbeknownst, that's what drew me to it.

'Twas the River Douro whence this story borne. What? Why not on the river upon which Lisboã resides? Ah, but Lisboã is for Running for Fado. Not for your romance. Then, again, why the River Douro? But why not?

Oh, come on!! What is this nonsense? Then fine, let it be the at the mouth of Tagus. Oh, yes, the Tagus.

And what, good sir, is this story about? Why, it's about Fernando Pessoa, 'The Accountant', as...'The Sandeman'. Why? But for saudade, of course.

Ah, why, it's ultimately about saudade, as all your tales must become, whatever their guise. Call it mono no aware, call it duende.

Where La Taverne du Cap Vert et Brasil lays it's hat, that be where this story lies. At the mouth of the Tagus, where explorers set forth, looking for spice, as we all do upon our respective journeys. Whether those journeys be within the Age of Discovery, setting forth under the name and charter of the colonial Crown, on the hunt for canela; or simply a transoceanic flight to lands less ordinary, wheeled luggage, liquids under 25ml packed in check-in and itinerary, travel insurance coverage product disclosure statement in plastic sleeves, along with pre-planned GPS-co-ordinated navigation to one's inn.

Ah, but the Lusophone loves thee. Whether it be Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique or Portugal itself. There's a languid...well, it's saudade, isn't it? Underwhelmed, but...well, the saudade's the most succinct, apt way to phrase it.

So Alfama, beauty though she is to foreign, adventuring eyes, 'tis an eyesore to the heavy hearts that call it home. Why? From whence forth does such gloom and nostalgia originate amongst colour, fading fortunes synonymous with modern-bay beauty, the derelict bespoke spun in to one man or woman's glamorous vacation adventure, suitable for carefully calibrated lenses to capture the beauty of another man or woman's domestic gaol - parole available for cobblestoned gossip.

A ghost town, boarded up and evacuated languidly. Wartime? No, far from it. An economic war perhaps, but no...too dramatic; nearly Spanish in such a histrionic flourish - forgive me. But it is true, things are not so good here right now. One might be forgiven for thinking that the Republic has chastised itself to leaning upon the foundations of cork and vino rosa to propel its economy - surely a folly, yet even further fallacious economic optimism to imagine the old ways (of what has not provided 'prosperity' in much, much time) could offer even a glimmer of hope equivalent of the candlelight of a tourist-touting fado bar in Bairro Alto. Ahhhh, but we Portuguese are used to such things by now. No less, familiarity can be both a source of comfort, and a crutch upon which excuses to stay in one's redundant ways is reinforced.

Ahhhh, with a mentality of this kind, it's easy to picture what called the seamen of more ancient days. Discovery. Voyage. Greener pastures from the terracotta roofs of one's neighbourhood.

Somewhere to miss.

What are you thinking about at the start of 2017?

For whatever reason, I've long envisaged 2017 as my Continuum year. What does that mean? Does it mean you spend time in New York and LA?

Why is that necessary? I'm not ruling that out. I think this year needs to be a year of acting. 

You need something of great excitement in this year. It will be acting. 

What is a Continuum year? Do you go see Mayer? Maybe. I'm not 100% sure that held the appeal it once may've. I'm totally cool with the answer remaining a mystery to me.

What would make an amazing year in the context of creativity? Of becoming whom you sought out to 10 years ago close to the month? I think it's a culmination of that. I think it's a culmination of Soup du Jour. As well as your own, more individual work.

And would that be KJ and making money from KJ? Yes, methinks so.

Is the Continuum/Kind of Blue mind map? Yah, perhaps minus a few other superfluous elements.

Can we reflect on what around about this time 10 years ago set off? Well, I really wanted to become someone, to craft an individual. I basically wanted to become a movie star. And do you think perhaps that this year could set that off? Perhaps, there is potential.

Do you think New York holds a crucial piece? C'mon, be honest. Hmmmm maybe not, I furtively want to venture.

What did you feel in April 2007? Would you cast it from April in contrast to Jan? Yeah. John Mayer. New album, The Search for Everything. You could get in on that tour. I'd like to have Axolotl out by April, that'd be sweet.

Is it movie star? Is it that status? Mmm it is. If you have one goal for this year, is it movie star? Yes. Sure about that? Yes. Doubly sure? Yes.

What if it comes at the expense of...? Friendships, love, family? Then no. Simple answer.

My friendship with Vincent and the creative budding of 10 years after a hiatus is worth celebrating, and I'd comfortably say you did so with 2 of Us article.

Waiting on the world to change. Ljubljana, Mirror 2 Mirror Productions. I think Vital and Leya ought definitely to produce and direct one of my next films. Veronika Decides to Die.

The world's gotta change this year. You've gotta change, take singly responsibility - it's your sole responsibility! Brooklyn? Manhattan? Movie star before, but open to including NYC.

Acting = #1 😎

I suppose Continuum's about the way it makes me feel. If you can't crack the code, then open yourself to the omens.

Gypsy by Bonobo. Who do you want to be your #1 person of 2017? I want a trio of Vince, Brown, Gouldy and their families! And what of your own family?

What are the omens suggesting at this juncture? What's your bliss? Ooo try free salsa lessons too! Do you need more than one good one?

I want you to sink your teeth in to work this year though, both full-time hard yakka plus hopefully studio time.

Global travel and film. That's the order of the day. No pain, no Spain.

Acting/movie star. Hollywood? Slow Dancing on Mulholland Drive? Acting. NIDA. Ms. LeGrand. Brian Goorjian.

🌏🌍🌎☕️🏀🎟🇺🇸🎭📽🎞

Shake That Body Party That Body

Well, he made us all idiots. No, come on, we already were idiots, let's not shift the blame. For God's sake, I watched Showgirls on television that night as the only salve to our collective wound, watching Elizabeth Berkeley "Shake it, baby", in the words of Duke Nukem, in the solace that how bizarre could a Trump Administration be in a nation that produced screenwriter Joe Eszterhas' pièce de résistance.

I've long thought throughout the Obama Administration that the US President can be subject to so much undue criticism for those unbeknownst of the separation of powers between the Supreme Court's judiciary and Congress' legislature. Well, yes, they will be hampered if said Presidente is a former constitutional law professor.

The succeeding US head of state and commander-in-chief arrives with a vacancy on the Supreme Court due to a Senate refusing to carry out their advise and consent role for the incumbent's nomination, giving way to a stay on Obama's signature Clean Power Plan, severely impeding America's commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Anyhow, I feel like the United States' democratic choices need to be respected. It's an important sentiment, to respect something you essentially revile. 

I'm really hanging out for Jeff Sachs' prospective Sustainable Development Party. I have no idea what form it could take, but I'd love to see the red states turn green. Man, the Electoral College is so tough! How the fuck could a Sustainable Development Party make headway in the South and plenty other pockets.

I feel emboldened, that good art will come of this. I think it's worth respecting why people feel this way. It needn't be a titanic struggle between Good and Evil. You move toward what you want, the reality you want to manifest. You ignore that which could be resisted. It feeds it.

I very firmly know the reality I want. It's private to me. I treasure that privacy, and the energy that feeds it. I respect that Donald Trump (I feel like people don't want to use his name now, the same way he accused Hilary and Obama of not using the term 'radical Islamic terrorism') completely trusted his instincts, in adversity from even those closest to him, yet his instinct prevailed, leading him to the highest office in the land. 

We now resume regular broadcasting.

Do you still want to make a Batman film? Part 2

What do you want to get out of your remaining time in London? Nothing massive or extremely outside my comfort zone, please.

Well, what is England? Crucible of Industrial Revoltion. That's big. If you go to West Yorkshire next week, that's not too far from Sheffield, one of the centres or steel production and so forth.

But this week is more Batman-oriented. Firstly, I want this week to be one apart from the remainder of the year. I really would prefer the year's remainder to carry on as if becoming Batman were not an all-encompassing objective, from which my mental and physical health must be secondary. Batman's 'obsession' must be moderated. That is the Zen way. The source of his psychic aquifer would still be rich, but it ought be left untouched.

England is the home of Mentmore Towers, Hatfield House, Knebworth House and Pinewood Studios.

Can we entertain the idea of what would occur were you not to become Batman? Not to create a Batman film.

Well, I'd see it as a great thing. Because I think the infrastructure would be there to get you there, but perhaps forces outside your control - to say nothing of influence - would mitigate.

Let's for a time consider what a working relationship with Warner Bros. would be like.

Firstly, though you're not God, and have little position to judge others, I'm not so sure the legacy of the Warner's née Wonsal née Wonskolaser, is one I'm beloved of. For goodness sake, Jack Warner deceived his own brothers to obtain control of the studio bearing the name of their kinship.

Time Warner - Time magazine I don't necessarily have a beef with, even though the publishing arm has since been spun-off from the media conglomerate. Again, the Wonsal's appear. Time Warner is a big corporation. It's a legal person. So what do I make of it?

Let's consider one of its units, DC Entertainment. Now personally, the remainder of the DC Universe has come to be of negligible interest to me, largely confined to a curiosity of Gothamite denizens.

Operating out of Burbank at the new DC HQ, in addition to Warner HQ, the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, soon to be relocated to Hudson Yards in the West 20s. It could work, it really all could. But I also feel like there would be so many compromises.

Truly, maybe in my heart of hearts, and knowing what I know at this juncture of my cosmic spiral, I feel like the best I could hope for would be to put out the intention willfully and with positivity and let the Universe decide. The actual Universe, in contrast to the DC Universe.

Which brings us to...Would Giusep and yourself be willing to do 'your own Batman'? Oooooffffaaa. You know what this means. Not Bruce Wayne, not the the Dark Knight. Not a trademarked, established icon of American pop culture. Your own creation, intellectual property fruit of the minds of the Billings Brothers?

Sharing many a characteristic of Bruce/Batman, but an original creation - your own interpretation. This is difficult, because Batman's symbolism already carries such a gravitas in the world's collective consciousness. I daresay there's nary a fictional character which possesses the power Batman does.

In any respect, I truly believe now that your priority is to make any desire - whether to become Batman or any other such goal - relegated secondary to what's best for your health, what is sustainable for your psyche. Bruce is just gonna make himself a mischief if he keeps up this bizzo. It's not good for you. And anything that's not good for you, cannot be good for anyone else either. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of each other.

Now, to be clear, none of the above so far is ruling Batman out. I like to consider it as moderating an instinct lest it drive you crazy. To become a cinematic Batman is a worthy goal. So let's pause to ponder, what is a feasible alternative, whilst not outwardly sacrificing your original intent?

Imagine Joseph and yourself were able to cast a character - and perhaps an accompanying rogue's gallery - as a befitting substitute that held the potential to then transcend Bob Kane and Bill Finger's creation. I think a further exploration of who those two men were, their working relationship, and whether the merit still stands thereafter deserves exploration. After all, the integrity of the creator of a symbol that has become beloved to me has import.

All of this deserves a thorough exploration and study of Batman. I am beginning to sense a drift toward being favourable to Joseph and I manifesting our own character. Who knows, perhaps Anthony McCormack has a role to play here too.

I think in tandem, particularly whilst being in the United Kingdom, James Bond ought be explored further too, or perhaps Ian Fleming. I'd love to use this week to read a biography of his, as well as Kane and Finger. I think the reality of what Bond represents to me has gained clarity, and Batman may follow suit. For what it's worth, the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover holds curiosity for me also.

Where possible - and the Ninja Turtles link suggest this also - I'd like any pursuit of the Dark Knight herein - and by that I mean from 2017 onward - to go forward hand-in-hand with Japonais/Zen. I want the two to coexist, and in that sense, if a brand new creation is borne of that, so be it. I just truly believe it's perhaps the only sustainable way forward for moi. The Zen Warrior = The Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne as Rising Sun's Captain John Connor-san. A Scottish backyard Connery née Commander James Bond of the Royal Navy.

Do you still want to make a Batman movie?

That's the question, or theme, of this week.

So what are the pros and cons? I don't psychically feel like physically becoming that brawny. Truthfully, it'd be such a departure from my natural morphology for starters, but the amount of meat consumption necessary the complete an appropriate protein profile would be just ridiculous. On a moral level, the plane from which all of this emanates, I would be considerably uncomfortable taking responsibility for that level of animal sacrifice. I just think I'd find it quite obscene to attain a physique comparable to more muscular depictions of the Batman.

More wraith than man. Bare-chested love god? Again, a compelling case could be made that lothario's like Russell Brand manage to maintain the mantle of love god whilst being more yogi than beefcake. I'd somewhat like to make a deal with myself, whereby I trade in heavy-lifting and serious weight gain in favour of a Zen warrior holistic, a regimen of aikido and hatha yoga.

30 year's in to life, your body's demonstrated it favours the legs and aerobic system over your top half, arms and weight training. Bodyweight stuff is great. But if you're Batman - let's say you - were to focus in on an aspect of oneself outside of the mind, what would YOU do?

I'd combine the no-mind i.e. mushin, with the body. I'm in the practice of push-ups, and will resume barbell-based weight training, and perhaps even get a pull-up bar, once am home. You've nominated targets for sustainably developing that.

But my instinct would be to combine the soul with the physicality, approaching them as One. I do feel that's represented via the disciplines of both yoga and aikido.

My only reticence with aikido is finding a dojo am comfortable with. The dojo is East Village was superlative. I would actually be open to driving to the Belmore Rd dojo a couple evenings a week. Perhaps even the Doncaster Bikram studio. I think it worthwhile to try other disciplines of yoga. Experiment with studios. I think an investment of both time and money would serve you excellently.

So something is forming here. I'd like to identify an aspect I'd dearly like to cast in relief here. The attitude toward this discipline - it must be Japonais. It cannot be Americano. That is my precondition. If you go gung ho Americain, it'll destroy you. That's the way of steroids, if only figuratively.

It's clear to me that if I follow an American approach, it simply will not be sustainable. The only sustainable path, I hope, is the Way of Zen. I must pursue that, even in my yoga practice, albeit originally a practice originated in the Indian subcontinent. Bikram yoga has always been a good fit for me when practiced through the lens of wā, the Nippon word for 'harmony' and a synonym for The Land of the Rising Sun itself.

Aikido would be a way to formalise your focus of Zen also.

So it's clear and hopefully offers a sustainable path of personal, physical and spiritual. development.

This Batman film cultivating in both yourself and Joseph's head is increasingly taking on an anti-American twist for you. Or should I say a path which washes over the USA, ignoring it, as a stream passes over the rocks as a metaphor of Zen, like a passage from aikido's missal, The Art of Peace.

If you take the Way of America in your training, it will be unsustainable. It will be your folly, your downfall. This Batman film is morphing in to "your Godfather", a tale about America. You know deep down, you want to see this film spark the demise of the United States of America. To put its hegemony to the side, ignored thereafter, whatever nominal power it retains. It's power in the spiritual collective will be an abstraction, it's claim to sovereignty in the minds of a populace within and without evaporated. A community no longer willing to imagine such a community.

What's the value of girls' education?

The right to education is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, perhaps the definitive distillation of universal morals for the world's populace to live up to. Upholding a basic human right alone ought to be reason enough to educate girls. 

In girls' education we also hold among the greatest drivers of actualising Sustainable Development Goal Numero Uno (aka #1 for any Hispanically-challenged readers) i.e. ending extreme poverty by 2030.

For those playing at home, extreme poverty is defined as living on under $US1.90-a-day. In 2016, I'd count my blessings were I able to buy a Mate from a milk bar for $1.90. Remember Mates, the caramel covered in compound chocolate that cost 5¢-a-piece when I was being educated? Do milk bars even exist any more?

Anyway, it's doubtlessly horseshit that 900 million Homo sapiens are still living on the equivalent of 38 Mates, adjusting for inflation to 1996 prices. Pardon the French btw. Actually horseshit a la Français is une crottin de cheval.

Anyway, horseshit that's bears a remarkable resemblance to Mates aside, it's not fair that people - anyone, yes even just a singular down-on-their luck individual - lives literally hand-to-mouth on a day-to-day basis.

Johnny Come-Lately: But won't we just be giving forever?

Dominic: (exhales deeply under his breath, palming face) Ohhh, Christ...not again.

No, no we won't be "giving forever", and heaven-fucking forbid were we forever charitable anyhow. What a thing that after realising from however many years of having the great privilege to live on this planet that giving makes us feel good. I'm forever of the belief that the programming of this Life we partake of deliberately allows us to remember-and-forget, remember-and-forget, in a virtuous cycle, that giving makes us feel good.

We sub-consciously lead lives of self-service til..."Hey mate, do you want a Mate?" And didn't that just give a big warm fuzzy?

But once we allow all those living in extreme poverty to gain a hand on the proverbial first rung on the ladder of development, they are then able to help themselves. Living hand-to-mouth in a perpetual state of daily survival disallows forming a grip on said first rung, as no surplus income means no tax revenues for the state, which ordinarily in developed countries pays for social services, infrastructure, etc, that further our standard of living for those unable to do so themselves by the simple of grace of God.

So until we help those living in extreme poverty get on the ladder, which we're on track to do by 2030 if all society mobilises toward that Goal (aka SDG #1), those living outside the grip of the development ladder will remain in that cycle intergenerationally.

900 million humans living in extreme poverty - how do we fix that? Well, for a many number of years now, the developed countries (jargon for rich countries) have committed to giving 0.7% of GNI as ODA. Now don't shit your breeches with those acronyms and decimal percentiles, we're all adults.

0.7% of GNI as ODA just means 7¢ of every $100 made in rich countries goes to poor countries. 7¢ for every gorilla (I've heard that as slang for a $A100 note; I don't know what it means) ain't much, right?

Extreme poverty done and dusted by 2030 if the rich countries (and that's your taxpayer dollars, you've already paid for it, no matter what) give 7¢ of every $100 made. SO easy.... 

Yet only the Nordic countries plus the UK and tiny Luxembourg have honoured it. Australia's barely halfway there, giving under 4¢ for every $100; USA, the biggest economy in the world's contribution's even more paltry, at under 2¢.

We have a population of 7.4 billion, 8 billion's going to come running up very soon, and 9 billion will follow even sooner. What's behind this trend of rapid population growth? Simple: very poor people making babies.

All people are well-entitled to make babies at their leisure, but there's a reason why the world's most vulnerable are makin' 'em like they're goin' out of fashion.

Poor families in developing countries have a desire to insure themselves against the future, and one of the ways they do this is having several children, sometimes in hope of having boys, as in some cultures, boys are considered to hold greater earning-potential.

Also, fragile environments make the deaths of several children in a family commonplace, the logic being that more children increases the chance of surviving family members, which can also care for the parents later in life. But for already-vulnerable families struggling to make ends meet, more mouths to feed can be a burden harder to shoulder.

Many of the same societies characterised by the above trend have also marginalised the value of women in their societies, whether due to tradition, religion or because men stubbornly and adamantly don't like asking for help, even when we really clearly need it.

For this reason, if the choice between educating a boy or a girl is a decision a household is facing, the choice invariably falls toward the child with a penis. Naturally, this hinders the girl's future prospects of income-generation later in life, and again, many of these societies see it fit to marry off girls at a relatively young age in lieu of allowing them to work or giving the gift of education.

After marriage comes babies, then more babies, some of which will sadly die, hence more babies follow to hedge this tragic bet. The short cycle between the high fertility rates of already-vulnerable mothers, coupled with the high infant mortality rate, high maternal mortality rate, the high disease burden coupled with inadequate health services, particularly in rural areas, and the sad fact that climate change is presently affecting the planet's most vulnerable people via extreme droughts, floods and other natural hazards, affecting their to build upon and invest in their livelihoods.

BUT...what if girls are educated rather than married off young? What does that look like? Firstly, the gender gap for both primary and secondary schooling is rapidly narrowing in the developing world, which is superlative news.

So a girl graduates high school, with the prospect of a tertiary education and increased power to seek employment and earn a living wage in the labour market.

She'll delay marriage and childbirth, have more power in both the household and society at large due to her earning potential, coupled with what is generally agreed to be a woman's sounder managing of household finances in the developing world.

The fertility rate drops, the infant mortality rate drops, the pace of population growth decreases, the rate of personal savings rises, allowing for greater personal investment, perhaps in a woman's own enterprise, which she now has the confidence to conduct.

With this rise in income, it may even be possible for the taxable income of the population to rise sufficient for the government to use any tax revenues received to invest in services to further the upward swing in prosperity, creating more opportunities to lift others out of extreme poverty.

Imagine half a society's labour market left unused? One entire gender marginalised for either traditional, religious or societal reasons? How could it possibly expect to prosper, to get ahead? Since the 1980s, China has pulled an overwhelming proportion of its enormous populace from extreme poverty. How? One of the key drivers was the empowerment of women, educating and entrusting them as the valuable members they are of the workforce that drives an economy. It's simple.

Educating a girl is the clearest path we have to lifting 900 billion from extreme poverty by 2030, thereby achieving the first Sustainable Development Goal, and doing what is plain and simple the moral thing to do as global citizens.

Take it from Kofi 'Black, Two Sugars' Annan, as he addressed the International Women's Health Coalition as outgoing UN Secretray-General:

"Study after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls and the empowerment of women.  No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, or improve nutrition and promote health, including the prevention of HIV/AIDS.  When women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately:  families are healthier; they are better fed; their income, savings, and reinvestment go up.  And what is true of families is true of communities and, eventually, whole countries."

What is Batman about to you?

It's about resistance to the authority of a state which has ceased to serve its nominal purpose.

It highlights a Bruce Wayne highly trained in the arts of aikido, the harmonisation of the life energy as a way of life and being.

It represents a non-violent Bruce, drawing a contrast between him and the state which has bestowed upon itself a charter to monopolise the use of force.

Who endowed the state with this right? Tis it the divine right of kings to maim its own? Batman, though synonymous with vigilantism, would never presume such folly.

Obsessed though he may be, he is conscious that the wiles of his rogue's gallery pale by comparison to that of the foundation upon which Gotham City resides - the United States of America.

As a man, Bruce can be a sprite, cheekily taunting the authority of the GCPD, albeit in collusion with Commissioner Gordon, having taken it upon himself to be a man apart from a corrupt system whilst working within.

"I believe in America", opines Buonasera in the opening stanza of the novelisation and cinematic adaptation of The Godfather, the consummate allegory of the machinations of crime in the Land of Manifest Destiny. "These...animales."

What is the greater conceit? To present to the world a facade of integrity upon a rotting foundation? Or to be a card-carrying member of those which flout the norms of society, enshrined in legislation and judicial precedent? To embrace the occupation and enterprise of 'crime'? Is there equal fairness in each? Does the former's deceit leave a more bitter taste in one's mouth than the forthcoming flouting of the 'criminal'?

Does the criminal justice system work? War on Crime - the state monopolises the former whilst sanctioning the latter.

The superlative and iconic illustrative talents of Alex Ross' War on Crime graphic novel, The Wire of Batman narratives, promises more grotesque characters than the existent rogue's gallery ever could. Who needs the colour and flamboyance of the Riddler, Penguin and Two-Face when the wretched stench of the Establishment nurtures the fertile plains of Gotham's maligned streets and searing skyscrapers? Palaces to gross commerce, unchecked by the social balancing to give back to Gothamites what the captains of industry have harnessed by the intersecting environment of corporatocracy the City, US government and revolving door of mercantilist clients have cultivated.

Who's the greater threat to Gothamites - an acutely isolated incident of The Scarecrow poisoning the waters of the city, or the chronic maladjustment encased in the 'rules' each man, woman and child navigates in the name of 'social order'? Separated from nature, encased by a warden of steel and concrete, how else was a civilisation constructed of such inert materials to allow its citizenry to flourish?

The criminal justice system does not work in Gotham. A sick, oxymoronic affront to the decent efforts of all those trying to live in peace and prosperity amid relative decadence. Has Gotham City been abandoned by its its federal government, let alone that of the state government? A city, one of the greatest loci of hope and energy in our modern world, only takes care of so many services and responsibilities.

Are there echoes of New Orleans after Katrina, a bountiful city abandoned - or worse yet, incapable of providing aid - by its federal government? What is the purpose of the state, whether federal, unitary or constituent, if it fails to progressively ensure peace and prosperity? Does it continue to be relevant? If the 'crimes' it has enshrined are committed as commonplace, then do these rules the state has laid out define it? A disfigured, self-fulfilling prophecy; a Harvey Dent/Two-Face analogue, almost suffocatingly gorgeous its its poignancy.

Bruce works as a self-imposed exile to the system, undermining it, impudent and light-footed, an essence of his years of hardened training in Japan and the globe over permeating throughout.

He didn't fit in to Princeton, New Jersey. And why would he? It's an institution, bound by a likely charter or constitution, which noble though its ideals may be, proffer the parameters within which justice is continually miscarried, rupturing the psyche and fabric of a society's compact of goodwill and hope asunder. If the real-life Governor of the state the university sits upon is so obviously corrupt at face value, where does this state continually derive its legitimate authority in the eyes of its people? By its fortitude in weathering the passage of time, much like the ivy resplendent upon the sturdy structures of the universities whose credibility and endowments multiply by virtue of their durability 

Though the primitive aspects of ourselves gravitate to the comfort of symbols, logos, and perhaps in some instances, institutions of myriad description - corporate, civic, governmental or religious - it is the symbol of the individual which speaks to my soul.

Is the symbol of the Bat, and what it represents, pure and untouched by any challenge to its integrity? Certainly the philosophy of jurisprudence would explore and weigh the virtues or otherwise of this vigilante, and the positing of what would happen if everyone acted this way?

"I believe in America." I do not believe in America. America has lost its legitimacy. I believe in Batman. I believe in Bruce Wayne.

I am Batman. I am Bruce Wayne.

I do not believe in America.