Amazon US pays no tax. Where is their competition

Last month, Secular Talk host Kyle Kulinski exposed that the online store Amazon had not paid federal taxes in 2017. He also condemned how workers are treated.

I’ve bought CDs and books from Amazon. However, I haven’t for quite a few years. I think it’s appalling what Kulinski exposed about the company. I feel quite bad for praising them for attempting to set up store houses across Australia last year.

Here’s the thing: where is Amazon’s competition? What drew me to Amazon about eight or so years ago, (maybe longer), is that I was able to buy CDs that I couldn’t find in store. I was looking for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts CDs specifically at the time. Found three on Amazon. All my Christmases had come at once!

Top: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Greatest Hits, bottom left: Alice Cooper's Alice Goes to Hell and bottom right: Joan Jett and the Blackearts' Sinner
These albums I got from Amazon a few years ago. The Joan Jett ones I looked for ages in stores but couldn’t find them.
Left: Joan Jett "Bad Reputation", Right: Suzi Quatro Rock Hard
Two more albums from Amazon. Again, not available in traditional stores around me at the time (or now, for that matter).

A few weeks ago, I found Arch Enemy’s latest CD, Will to Power in Sanity in Lavington, New South Wales.  None of their earlier albums were there.

What about online? I looked at JB – HiFi online store. Only Will to Power and their 2016 Wacken album, As the Stages Burn was advertised. Sanity’s online store do have War Eternal on sale. Two Joan Jett CDs, are available on JB HiFi; Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ Greatest Hits  and Up Your Alley, which is good, but what about Bad ReputationSinnner?

Rightly or wrongly, this is where Amazon has the upper hand, at least for CD sales.

So, what can be done? First, the US and Australian governments should crackdown on tax evasion, any employee exploitation and lack of satisfactory work conditions. From a consumer standpoint, there needs to be much better competition in both online and traditional stores. Stores should offer earlier popular albums from artists and bands as well as their latest. Also, a plea for stores (both online and traditional), please don’t exclude artists. Offer a whole range. Us Joan Jett fans are out there! Do the same for your online sales.


I guess people may think it doesn’t matter now that most music can be downloaded from iTunes or heard on Spotify. But, there have been news reports that even vinyl has made a comeback over the past couple of years. I’ve seen vinyl of contemporary albums being sold in JB – HiFi. But, again, the selection I saw was limited.

While I’m a bit of an iPad addict and was a chronic downloader of music when I first got it, I’ve started to miss listening to CDs. I also miss the anticipation of listening to a brand new one. I used to love getting CDs for Christmas, too. I used to almost flog the life out of them. I’d like to do that again someday. But I want to be able to do so ethically, knowing that the purchase doesn’t contribute to tax evasion or exploitation of workers. I also would also prefer not having to go from store to store finding the ones I want.

Do you buy CDs or vinyl or download your music on iTunes or another (legal) site? Let me know in the comments below.


Happy World Hug Day

Friend group hug
Image: iStock


On a warm and fuzzy note: today is World Hug Day. It’s on the 21st of January each year.

Awwww. Can you feel the love?

Actually, it’s National Hugging Day and is formally celebrated in the US (damn!). However, it is also celebrated at some point around the world. Some celebrate it the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. National Hug Day originated in 1986. The founder of the day was Reverend Kevin Zaborney. He thought of a national hugging day when he realised people often felt down between Christmas/ New Year holiday period and Valentine’s Day.

I think it’s such a lovely idea. I’m a big hugger. I believe in the mental health benefits of hugging. Studies have shown that physical affection can determines a baby’s neurological development, which can determine a person’s state for the rest of their lives. The longing for physical touch is also evident for most people throughout their lives and can have great impacts on well – being.


The origin of “National/ World Hugging Day exposes a real weakness in humanity. Too often, we neglect human connection. To be honest, this generation (including  my generation), unfortunately try and use social media and technology as a substitute to real human interaction. Yet, while social media is great in keeping in contact with people, it can’t compete. People need real physical interactions.

“But I’m not a hugger”

Not everyone is comfortable with hugging and certain people will ask not to be hugged. These requests should be respected. I believe in body autonomy and after what has been exposed recently, I think it’s more important now than ever to respect personal boundaries.

Asking for hugs, gender and relationships

Having said that, asking for a physical touch shouldn’t be frowned upon either. In platonic relationships, it shouldn’t matter the gender/s of the participants. I love hugs from people regardless of gender. If everyone is comfortable with it, it shouldn’t matter. Hugs between men and women,women and women or men and men should be allowed and encouraged (when mutual).

Of course, hugs and caresses may lead to something else, but it shouldn’t be mandatory in romantic relationships. Sometimes a hug should be enough… at least that’s what I think. Many relationship experts insist that some form of physical intimacy is needed for a relationship to survive and thrive. In my opinion, physical affection in friendships (i.e. hugging), is also really important. It can create trust and further cement the relationship. It creates security and communicates full acceptance. I think hugs are great and needed during times of tragedy, loss or when someone is upset. To allow yourself to be vulnerable, and being allowed to be vulnerable shows the strength of a friendship.

Friends hugging
Image: iStock



So, happy “World Hugging Day” or for those in the US “National Hugging Day!”. I hope you all have someone that you can hug today and any day. Give your mum, dad, brother sister, other family member or friend a hug for me.

What have you been doing this National/ World Hugging Day? Let me know in the comments below!



Speculations spread about Amazon Australian launch

On Wednesday, Herald Sun reported speculations that online shopping giant, Amazon are set to extend business to Australia by the end of the year.

Warehouses are set to be established in Sydney and Brisbane, as well as the one in Melbourne.

An e- mail obtained by news site, Lifehacker suggested that five hundred businesses have already signed up with Amazon to join their Marketplace during a trial.

Amazon argued that this could help smaller retailers by offering a platform. This will make them rivals with Ebay.

Business analysts and other retailers had warned that the (now failed) launch by yesterday was overly ambitious. However, there is confidence that Amazon could complete the rollout by Christmas.


I really hope it goes well for Amazon. I believe the more retail competition we have the better.

I bought a few things from Amazon years ago. Before iTunes took over for my entertainment, I bought quite a few albums that I couldn’t find in a store near me from legends Suzi Quatro, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Alice Cooper. I remember being thrilled when I found them on the site and when they arrived.

They were all in perfect condition, too.

From top left: Suzi Quatro: Rock Hard, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Sinner, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Greatest Hits, Joan Jett, Bad Reputation, Alice Cooper: Alice goes to Hell
I was thrilled when I found and bought these albums on Amazon.

The delivery times were always fair, often a few days before the expected date.

I think it’s great that Australian businesses will soon be able to join Amazon. I think it really could bring success to all parties involved.

The criticism about Amazon taking competition from Ebay, Harvey Norman and David Jones? I hardly think that Amazon will end up defeating such companies. It might drive them a bit more to better services, make sure stock is up to scratch and that financial details remain secure and transactions are legit (I’m looking at you, Ebay)*.

Not only that, isn’t it great that Amazon is offering small business owners in Australia a chance to develop? The Australian economy and culture thrives on small independent businesses! This will give them akickstart! I think that’d be good! As long as Amazon  abides by Australian consumer law and it helps rather than hinders small business, I really can’t see any problems.



*Just a disclaimer: I personally haven’t had any bad experiences with Ebay, but I’ve heard of people who have; both buyers and sellers.

How have your experiences buying from Amazon been? Let me know in the coments below.

Sologamy: Fad? Good idea or selfishness?

There is a bit of a trend of people; men and women,’marrying’ themselves. (Image: iStock)

Emmajane Love, 33, got married… to herself.

It happened last year on the Gold Coast, with friends and family from different parts of the world attending the ceremony.

It’s not legal here, and in the US state of Arizona where she currently is. So, it’s symbolic.

It may seem strange and it worries some experts. Some regard the concept as “the saddest trend you’ve ever seen”.

While many say it’s narcissistic, I can actually see the logic behind it.

Love told David Koch and Samantha Armytage on Seven’s Sunrise that sologamy was the chance to declare a love to the self. According to Love, this came about in the aftermath of toxic and abusive relationships. For this reason, I’m sympathetic to the idea.


More than anything, I think the ‘sologamy’ movement brings up conversations that society needs to have.

One is self – esteem and self – worth. Even now, I think these two things are (mistakenly) linked to marriage and significant romantic and sexual relationships.  The link between lack of marriage and loneliness is still emphasised, even though it’s not always the case.

Too often, women (and men) can feel inadequate or broken for not having a ‘significant other’. While marriage and long – term relationships are the norm, marriage is not something that people should be pressured into. People’s self – worth should not be tied up in finding “the one”.

On a second, and more sobering note, I think we need to talk about those who need healing from toxic or abusive relationships. Domestic violence is way too prevalent worldwide, with the World Health Organisation stating that around one in three (35%) of women are victims of sexual and/ or physical violence at the hands of a partner, spouse or non – partner in their lifetime. Data from the 2012 ABS Personal Safety Survey said that 1 in 22 men have experienced sexual violence since the age of fifteen. Survivors of abuse need to be given permission and tools to heal from such trauma. If a “sologamous” wedding provides that, then good luck to them.


On the other hand, as I researched for this blog, I have noticed that some women have had’sologamous’ weddings to prevent nagging about finding a partner and getting married from friends and family. This should not be necessary. Some adults are single; happily single, single, but want a relationship and those who may have given up on finding love. I strongly believe that the stigma towards these people, especially those in their 30’s needs to stop. Some people won’t get married. Ever. Or get married again. These people should be left to be. If they want to find someone, then let them look. BUT for those who aren’t on the look out, they should NOT be made to feel broken or lesser than anyone else.


Will sologamy be a dying craze or keep growing? We’ll have to wait and see. It certainly brings up a lot of interesting things that should be talked about: healing from toxic or abusive relationships, how society views single people, particularly women over thirty and the ability to love yourself unconditionally.

What do you think about sologamy? 


Social media: is it a platform for honesty?


Facebook logo
Image: Canva




On Tuesday, Channel Ten’s The Project Mitch Wallis, who said that he had a breakdown when taking a trip in Kentucky.

The breakdown spurred Wallis on to start a campaign “Heart on My Sleeve” on both Twitter and Facebook, encouraging people to be honest about their experiences and feelings on social media.


I think it’s a good, and frankly, brave idea (I’ll explain why in a sec).

When on social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, most people only upload photos and write posts that reflect the best aspects of their lives. The happy holiday snaps, the cute kids when they aren’t fighting and (usually) not crying, the happy couple pics, you get the idea.

So, I scrolled through the Heart on My Sleeve Facebook Page recently, and it’s quite brutally honest. If you read the pinned post I embedded above, you’d know what I mean. That’s good.

Here’s the thing, will this campaign take off and change the way people view and use social media? That’s what I’m a bit skeptical about.

I said that this campaign was “brave” because people who are too honest on social media, they often get a backlash, either online or in their personal lives. This is especially true when it comes to conflicts with others. And I get that, to be honest. Unless it’s something to do with the law or something terrible has happened, it’s probably best to work out conflicts among you and the person you have issues with.

So, that’s obvious. But what about talking about things like depression, mental breakdowns, grief? What about photos that don’t look the best? Now, I’ve got to say that my Facebook friends are quite honest in how they’re doing. But for some people, especially younger people, this can be intimidating, especially when a backlash is likely.

Thing is, some – if not most people – only want to hear and read certain things and are, unfortunately, critical of people when they aren’t. So, how do we change this mindset? How do we get rid of the fear of backlash because we may have posted something someone may not like? Also, in terms of mental health, when should someone just seek professional help, rather than airing it online? Is there a potential risk that airing certain things will only exacerbate the problems?

Maybe this campaign can extend to honesty in everyday life, not just on social media. Are you OK? if not, talk to someone, a friend, partner, family member or a professional. We all need someone who we can be honest with. Will it work with three hundred “friends” (I think the average number of friends someone has on Facebook)? Not sure.

I think something could be said about this, for both online and the real world (probably the latter more so). And that’s we need to let people be who they are and express how they feel and let ourselves do the same thing. For some people, social media or a blog may be an ideal platform – at least to an extent. But, for others, it may be better to do things more privately; one on one or in a small group. At least then, you may get more sympathy and/ or understanding. Whatever works, I guess. Anything that prevents someone bottling up too much must be a good thing.

What do you think of the Heart on My Sleeve campaign and honesty on social media? Do you think it’ll ever become a regular thing? Leave your thoughts below. 

What should Australia’s national anthem be?

On the “Today Show”, panellists talked about the Australian national anthem and if it was changed what should it be. Just for fun, I’ll offer a few suggestions:

1. Eagle Rock – Daddy Cool (1971)

Does this song need any introduction? Fun fact: Ross Wilson was the first concert I went to at the Commercial Club in Albury, NSW.

2. Solid Rock – Goanna (1982)

Written by someone who was born in Australia (singer/ songwriter Shane Howard was born in Dennington, Victoria). Plus, it is about Australian history. Then again, it may be too controversial and too divisive.

3. Land down under – Men at Work (1981)

Flute riff aside,  this song was written by Colin Hay and Ron Strykert. It’s mixed as in who was born here. Strykert was born in Korumburra, Victoria. However, Hay was born in Saltcoats, Scotland.

4. We can’t be beaten – Rose Tattoo (1982)

How can I leave out Rose Tattoo? Written by front-man, Angry Anderson (real name Gary Anderson), who was born in Melbourne. We need a bit of a pump – up song, don’t we?

If New Zealand was another state….

5. This time – Dragon (1976)

Written by brothers Marc (late lead singer) and Todd Hunter.

6. Computer Games – Mi – Sex (1979)

Written by late singer Stephen Gilpin, Kevin Stanton and Murray Burns. The first time I heard of this song was actually on the Countdown Spectacular extras DVD. How has computer games taken over so many people’s lives now? Except instead on an old PC, most people play them via social media (Facebook, Messenger) or on Ipads and phones. I’m no exception.

Bonus one: I Still Call Australia Home – Peter Allen (1982)

How can I not add this one? If I’m honest, I’m not a big fan of this song like the others, but it’s undeniably iconic. Written by the late Peter Allen, this song is an ode to Australia, which, I think many people would agree, that this country needs. For those who live here, we are lucky. Very lucky.


To Australians, if you could pick a song for our national anthem, what would it be? Feel free to comment your thoughts below. 

“The Simpsons” turns 30

It’s been thirty years since the hit animated sitcom, “The Simpsons” debuted in the U.S. I can’t believe it. What an achievement!

I grew up watching “The Simpsons”. Here in Australia, it’s been featured on “Channel Ten” (now on Eleven), for years and years. It used to be on weeknights at 6 pm for, I don’t know how many years. Plus, episodes use to get played on the weekend, too. That includes endlessly repeated episodes.

I’ve also seen “The Simpsons Movie”. It’s good. I’ve never been overly keen on the Halloween episodes. Not sure why, just like the regular ones.

Favourite episodes

Hmm, favourite episode… That’s a bit of a hard one. There are so many to choose from, but I do have a few favourites. One of my all – time favourites is where Homer realises his mother is still alive and is a fugitive. Here’s one of my favourite scenes from it:

Another one I liked I actually studied at school in Year 10. It’s where Homer gets paranoid about having gay local shop keeper and about Bart’s sexuality

When Homer tries to be a hippy… with disastrous consequences, of course.

Of course, Bart, even though he is (eternally) only ten, he has a mortal enemy, Side Show Bob. Yet, they become allies when Bob’s evil brother tries to kill them both. Even though Bob saves Bart, he still gets arrested. Life’s just not fair for some, eh?


“The Simpsons” still manages to make an impact on pop culture. What a legacy! I guess it still reflects Western society today, as it did back in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, and people can relate to the characters: a child who’s too smart and crying for recognition, a boy who has behavioural problems, the underappreciated housewife, etc.


It goes to show that, quite frankly, people are slow to learn – about prejudice, how reliving the “old days” tends to backfire and how, unfortunately, the education system is failing children that need help the most.

Apparently, there’s an episode about “safe spaces” online. I’ll have to check that out.


I don’t think “The Simpsons” is going anywhere anytime soon. It’ll remain a staple in pop culture both here in Australia and in the U.S. for years to come. With it’s biting humour and relevancy, how can it go wrong?


So, happy birthday, “The Simpsons”!


What are your favourite “The Simpsons” episode?