User:JackofOz/The Sinister World of Jack of Oz

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Epigram[edit]

Aspetti, signorina, le dirò con due parole
chi son, e che faccio, come vivo. Vuole?
Chi son? Sono un poeta.
Che cosa faccio? Scrivo.
E come vivo? Vivo!
In povertà mia lieta scialo da gran signore rime ed inni d'amore.
Per sogni e per chimere e per castelli in aria, l'anima ho milionaria.

(from La bohème, music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa)

I, myself and me[edit]

I hereby announce my existence. Let the doubters doubt.

My alleged life and times follow for your amusement.

My name's Jack and I'm a 5th-generation Australian. I was born at a very young age, somewhere between the 31st of February and the 12th of Never. I've been a human being for most of my life. As for my age, well, let me just quote William Plomer's variation on a theme of John Burgon: I am a rose-red sissy, half as old as time.

Jenny Randles defines the Oz Factor as "the sensation of being isolated, or transported from the real world into a different environmental framework ... where reality is but slightly different, [as in] the fairytale land of Oz" [1]. I can certainly relate to that. Oz is also a nickname for Australia. Australia is an island nation, which explains why, traditionally, most of our imports come from overseas.

I currently live in Maffra (Gippsland, rural Victoria), where I share my life with my male partner. We were once described as "Maffradites", an epithet we wear as a badge of honour.

I strongly identify with my Celtic roots - Irish mainly, with dashes of Scottish (and a bit of English for good measure). My two adult sons are ethnically half(ish)-Russian (one more than the other), with dashes of Serbian, Polish and Jewish. You can read more about my family connections here. However - and this may surprise you - in the hispanosphere I am widely referred to as "El Terrifico".

The term "Jack of all trades, master of none" was coined in my honour, personally. I've been a public servant, internal auditor, human resources manager, taxi driver, and policy adviser in the private health insurance industry (about which I have often said "Anyone who isn't confused by this business doesn't really know what's going on"). My last gig was employment consultant (which is very appropriate since I myself am highly unemployable). I now rest in the ranks of the retired, or should I say "unpaid professionals", since I've never been busier, but there's no pay. And I'm occasionally writing a book (but who isn't, these days) when I can ever get away from damn Wikipedia.

I am a kind of poor man's polymath ... well, pauper's polymath, more like it. Some people's weight goes to their belly; I'm lucky - my weight goes to my brain. But I'm not so conceited that my brains have gone to my head. No, they reside in ... other parts.

I blush to admit that I invented the Internet. I occasionally print it out and read it on rainy weekends.

So far from having delusions of grandeur, I am actually grand.

In kindergarten I was asked to play the title role in War and Peace, but decided to let someone less experienced do it, to give them the break they so richly deserved. However, I did agree to sing the baritone role in the Eastern Hemisphere premiere of La voix humaine. But I got no curtain calls, so never again will the world hear my indescribable voice.

I have always thought encyclopedically, so Wikipedia is very much my natural territory, and I spend a significant proportion of my time here, without being a Wiki-addict about it (well, only sometimes; well, most of the time, actually - but what the hell, it's worth it). I like to take a broad intellectual view of issues and see them in perspective. I'm definitely a "glass half full" person and a "big picture" person. But seeing the big picture can sometimes cause me to sit on the fence, where I can listen, understand and accept opposing views without really knowing what I personally think of the issue. Then there are other subjects about which I have very passionate views indeed - as you might discover.

I'd like to think I have the artistic temperament and bohemian lifestyle of someone like Oscar Wilde ... if only this were true. Nevertheless, I am a person of debonair and jovial inconsequence, and I fear neither depth nor candour. My mind mostly operates in the melancholy but noble key of B minor. When I deign to speak, I speak to the world, rarely addressing my remarks to anyone in particular. I can do no wrong. Underestimate me at your peril.

When it comes to "Shakespeare", I am a strong supporter of the Oxfordian theory. The evidence for the 17th Earl of Oxford is, to my mind, compelling. By far the best I've come across is contained in Mark Anderson's 2005 book "Shakespeare" By Another Name: The Life of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, The Man Who Was Shakespeare. Another very detailed, but less readable, work on the subject is Charlton Ogburn's The Mystery of William Shakespeare (1988). But I read and debate the upcoming literature with interest.

My intentions are exemplary, peerless, beyond reproach. I have never claimed to have any interest in actually fulfilling any of them.

Naturally, I am very civic-minded. So much so, that I am frequently away from home, assisting the police with their enquiries.

I have thick skin and broad shoulders, but I am not as ugly as that might lead one to believe. (Moreover, as Konrad Adenauer said, "Thick skin is a gift from God".)

To anyone who dares to disagree with me about anything, I can do no better than quote the conductor Hans Richter:

Up with your damned nonsense will I put twice, or perhaps once, but sometimes always, by God, never.

Despite, or perhaps because of, all that, it should be clear by now that I am a perfectly wonderful human being. (Oh, and apparently I'm also a horse - [2]).

Safe to say I have "enriched the world with my moral excellence and adorned it with the flowers of my virtues" (apologies to the nuns of Fontevrault, who were in fact talking about Eleanor of Aquitaine; but, hey, if the cap fits, and all that.)

I undoubtedly have a brilliant future behind me. (Apologies to James Joyce)

Legendary status was not something I ever sought or aspired to, but who am I to quibble with the verdict of history?

Comrade: Lord Gom has to have been around for 16 years and you claim a mere 13 2/3, although that indeed is awesome. Wikiain (talk) 01:10, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Got your response on my homepage and welcome back to the commons! I'll remove that message and I'm happy for you to remove these: this episode can be forgotten. All the best. Wikiain (talk) 03:30, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

My main interests[edit]

I'm particularly interested in:

  • among many other things, I've created 19 of the articles on chief conductors of Australian symphony orchestras and very substantially beefed up a handful of others, which (without checking) is probably more than any other single editor (there have been about 58 conductors, of which there are currently about 51 articles)
  • the foregoing numbers could probably do with some updating (21 December 2015)
  • Australian, British, Russian and European history - particularly from the biographical perspective
  • parliamentary and political affairs
  • the cinema - see my favourite films, director, film composers and individual film score - here
  • words and wordplay

As well as writing articles, I'm a kind of Reference Desk Regular (the best kind, naturally) - see a list of my esteemed colleagues here. I tend to hang out on the Language, Humanities, Entertainment and Miscellaneous desks these days. I occasionally put in an appearance at Mathematics and Science. I'm proud to say I have never even visited Computing, and probably never will.

These are more of my favourite things.

One of the most horribly written statements in Wikipedia history[edit]

For some perverse reason, I'm particularly proud of the following testimonial from User:Ward3001. It refers to an edit of mine, which he reverted and I then queried. Here is his response:

Let's examine the meaning of the word coup: "A quick, brilliant, and highly successful act; a triumph". Juxtaposing "literary coup" with "Pope John XXIII died" is about as tasteless as you can get. Excluding obvious and intentional vandalism, I would nominate that edit as one of the most horribly written statements in Wikipedia history. Ward3001 (talk) 04:25, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Here's the diff.


  • I note that Ward3001 hasn't contributed to WP since 2009, so it seems that "Wikipedia history" has taken on a special meaning for him. Ah well ...