Saturday salon: your say


An open thread where, at your weekend leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the comments policy.

Also, for climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French, as he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

Update: I’ve decided that I won’t put up a separate Lazy Sunday/The week that was post at this stage.

Please use this thread to share information about what you’ve been up to on the weekend or notable experiences during the week, shows you’ve seen, books you’ve read etc.

This implies that the thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Follow that and you should be fine.

32 thoughts on “Saturday salon: your say”

  1. First. (I think that’s about the second time that ever happened.)
    Yesterday I watched Ender’s Way. A little drawn out but not too bad. And at the end of all the violence and genocide, a surprisingly humane message of tolerance and understanding.
    Some of you may be aware that Orson Scott Card, the movie’s executive producer and author of the ancient novel on which the movie was based was subjected to abuse and a call for a boycott of the movie because he recently made homophobic remarks. The man’s a Mormon, FFS. Of course he’s likely to be homophobic. (The movie itself is not homophobic.) This is, in this instance, a peculiarly American problem, and something of which the American gay community is acutely aware : reference the brilliant gay classic, Angels in America, which I suspect, despite its length worked a bit better on stage than it did on TV. (The TV series was only mostly brilliant – some of the angel scenes didn’t work that well on the small screen, IMO.
    Now, that should start you all off.

  2. Been wondering about that, tigtog. Read an article in the MSM that said Amazon, and therefore Abe Books, I presume, and various other sites were protected.
    Surely though, the thought occurs to me, if Heartbleed has already been in the system for 2 years unnoticed, hasn’t it done all the damage its going to do?

    On another level – a very peculiar thing happened to m this afternoon. A stranger rang me and told me in very well-spoken Chinese accented English, “I am your worst nightmare. Do you want to meet me?” Then hung up. Bizarre!

  3. Lots of discussion about updating passwords at this time.

    If you’re struggling to understand the deluge of information about the Heartbleed vulnerability, you’re not alone. Some reports tell us to change all our online passwords immediately, others warn us that this could do more harm than good. There is a lot of misinformation out there.

    More here.

    Robert Merkel has an article as well.

  4. WPD a link from your first link suggests that you need to change your password on Facebook and Google. With Twitter it’s “unclear”.

  5. I’ve decided that I won’t put up a separate Lazy Sunday/The week that was post at this stage.

    Please use this thread to share information about what you’ve been up to on the weekend or notable experiences during the week, shows you’ve seen, books you’ve read etc.

    This implies that the thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

    The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

    Follow that and you should be fine.

  6. Did some minor woodwork repairs.

    I’ve now developed an inflexible attitude against pine. Pine is an attractive timber but when it is relatively new, it is too soft; when it is old, it becomes brittle; when it is stained through getting wet and being in contact with other timber or Masonite, the stains are too deep to sand – or to plane out without weakening the piece, making it look botched up or hitting nails and screws.

    Henceforth, it will be hardwood all the time. Hardwood is much more difficult to work and it makes the piece a lot heavier to move around – but it is strong and any accidental stains seem to stay on the surface and are easily sanded off. When oiled or varnished, most hardwoods have a pretty grain though usually in darker colours. I don’t dislike all softwoods though; North Queensland’s silky oak is still the queen of furniture timbers – trouble is, everyone else seems to think so too thus silky oak furniture doesn’t get time to gather dust in charity shops or second-hand stores.

    MDF and “breakfast cereal”? You have to be kidding – that really is a waste of trees.

  7. Thanks a lot, Jumpy, you’re a champion. Never heard of Reviva before; other so-called timber cleaners seem to be very expensive repackaging of ordinary cleaners …. however, the oxalic acid – citric acid combination sounds bloody good; shall buy some from my last pension before my friends, Abbott and Hockey, abolish my unnecessary “Entitlement”. πŸ™‚

  8. If I were to recommend a timber it would be Camphor Laural.
    Beautiful grain and colour.
    The type of tree better dead than alive in Australia.
    Live ones are invasive and explosive.
    Perhaps Abbotts 15,000 strong green army could be used to help turn this pest into supplies for Mens Sheds everywhere. πŸ™‚

  9. Agree wholeheartedly about camphor laurel: have homemade kitchen knives with camphor laurel handles. Supplying Men’s Sheds with raw material? Now there’s an idea; have you ever considered becoming a senior advisor to government? There’ll be quite a few vacancies soon following reactions to “it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time” Bludget decisions – and even more after the consequent snap double-dissolution election. Take a beanie and jumper though, Canberra can get a bit cool. πŸ™‚

  10. Take a beanie and jumper though, Canberra can get a bit cool.

    Lol, been there once, minus 6 it was, never again.
    I’d rather be cooking steak on my back patio with the 6 burner like I am right now.
    Leaving aside the little blue smudge that is Cat 1 Ita.

  11. I guess Jack Irish: Dead Point is the kind of high quality ABC drama we won’t see again for years now, once Abbott cuts the ABC budget.

  12. Good, wasn’t it, Paul? Sadly you are probably right. My big fear is that they’ll try to axe Radio National.

    A highlight of my week was hearing Richard Fidler interview Matthew Condon twice. First there was a repeat of his interview about Three Crooked Kings, Condon’s first in a series of three books on the corrupt police culture that existed in Queensland from the post-war years up to the 1980s.

    Then on Thursday Fidler interviewed Condon on Jacks and Jokers, the recently released sequel which I’m currently reading.

    There were two surprises. First, the very corrupt Commissioner Frank Bischof was also a paedophile. He had an affair with a mother of six which gave him access to her boys. Bischof was the inaugural Father of the Year in Qld.

    Secondly Joh, when the Nationals fell out with the Liberals, arranged for cash to be given (in paper bags) to Labor to support several candidates in their campaigns against Liberals. The saintly Manfred Cross said it happened.

    Lewis seems less overtly corrupt than I would have thought. More a fellow traveller, and when Commissioner did zilch about combating corruption which he was well aware of and promoted his corrupt mates, especially Tony Murphy.

    Lewis did make himself directly available to do Joh’s bidding.

    We’ll have to wait until the third volume to see whether politicians were directly on the take. So far they aren’t.

  13. Brian! I’ve pointed this out before! Your subheading is barely readable (at least on an iPad). Please change it to a different colour font (light blue?) or ask tigtog to do it.

    It matters because your subheading is worth reading.

  14. Brian@14,
    Not sure they would axe Radio National. Wouldn’t RN be used along with Rural ABC for news in various local catastrophes, especially in cities? The Nats would surely be a bit nervous about that, as RN is valued in the bush as well.
    I haven’t checked Google News today yet, but heard a snippet on ABC morning TV, that Cabinet is very toey about the latest poll figures, with the massive increase to the Greens and the ALP (despite Bill Shorten’s best efforts.)
    Part of that is due to public reaction to the idea of Knights and Dames, and mass disapproval of the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, I gather. The latter is presumably due to the kindness of our hearts of the belief if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it philosophy.(Read no news articles on poll yet.) But surely the broken promises about the ABC and pensions, if these are attacked in the budget will also feed into Coalition fears.
    I don’t see anybody in the Coalition being paragons of moral courage (if you can call it that with that lot) if it means losing lots of votes and possibly government.

  15. No, no, no. You’ve all got it wrong. ABC isn’t being axed at all. While they were perambulating around East Asia, Tomb Australia got an offer from Guizho Provincial Mountain VIllages Entertainment Corporation to buy ABC lock-stock-and-barrel for six million yuan over ten years. Apparently, they’re going to translate “Blue Hills” and “The Checkout” into national minority languages to amaze and amuse residents in remote mountains. The money from selling off ABC will be used to retire debt …. somebody said something about a ministerial credit card and “entertainment(??)” expenses but I’m not sure if that was the debt they had in mind. πŸ™‚

    Almost finished John Brown’s “Anzac’s Long Shadow”. Devastating critique of the trashing of Anzac Day, of the destructive effects of the Digger myth, of dithering and moral cowardice (my terms, not his) inside the ADF and Defence establishment. Disagree with a few of his assumptions and conclusions but he has been a soldier in hostile environments in recent years so I certainly do respect his insights. Doubt if too many political wallahs or corporate mooers-and-shirkers will be inviting him to dinner anytime soon. Worth reading.

  16. Ooops. My mistake. The author of “Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of Our National Obsession” is James (not John) Brown. 2014. Redback (Schwatz Publishing Pty Ltd). 170pp + notes. paperback or e-book.. Not for the comfortable or the timid.

  17. Anyone know by whom and when the retirement age was raised from 65 to 67 ?
    I just want to research the ensuing outrage and polls reaction before I comment here more in depth.
    Off the top of my head I’ve got Swan/Rudd, 2009, zero and tiny.

  18. jumpy,
    I think the outrage, as you put it, is about Abbott breaking several promises made on SBS just before the election, where he promised to leave pensions alone etc etc.
    Just as there was “ensuing outrage” about Gillard breaking the no carbon tax promise.

  19. oh, and jumpy,
    The poll reaction is to the Knights and Dames fiasco and proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act; the Guardian also suggested, Arthur Sinodinos’s performance at ICAC.
    Its too early for the possible broken age pension and cuts to ABC promises to show up in the polls.

  20. Val @ 15, I’ll leave it to tigtog to adjust the subtitle, or not. I think light blue would be even less readable though.

    Paul B @ 16, I think Local ABC is much-valued in the boondocks. However, Radio National is seen as a den of lefties.

  21. Further to my @ 14, seems Commissioner Lewis was directly on the take. Every Thursday afternoon Lewis and a couple of others used to meet Jack “The Bagman” Herbert in the Belfast Hotel in Queen Street for a few quiet ales.

    Condon says Joh ran the place like a police state. The credit manager of BP was vocally against corporate crime and made an address at the Australian Institute of Government strongly criticising the Govt for not investigating a particular financial scandal. This resulted in three phone calls.

    One was from Joh to the man’s boss insisting he be sacked. He was severely hauled over the coals.

    One was from a good friend, a good cop, made from a public phone booth. He was told that Special Branch were investigating him, that they were seriously bad coppers and people had died as a result of their activities.

    One was anonymous telling him that if he opened his mouth again it would be for the last time.

    He didn’t.

  22. Paul @ 17
    Yes a lot of people are talking about the Piketty book. I haven’t read it yet either but hoping to do so soon. Hopefully we might be able to have a discussion here when people have had time to read it.

  23. Brian @ 23,
    Ah, well, Brian, I don’t get out much. πŸ™‚
    Unless the Nats who ring me up to pester me for criticising Barnaby quite mildly in the Armidale Express (they do that sort of thing down/up here) accused me of being a Radio National listener, which I’m sure they have no doubt I am, when in fact I’m not, – I get all my news from teh internet – I’d have no idea.

  24. Val, the colour of the subheading is optimised for desktop and laptop viewing against the pale clouds and skyscape of the banner image. I see what you mean about the lack of contrast on a tablet display where it’s pushed down to the darker treescape background, but I honestly don’t see it as that crucial – the subheading is mostly important for how its keywords are used for indexing in web searches etc.

  25. Hey Brian and crew, hows it going?

    Anyone seen this?

    Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.

    I’ve noticed some people are claiming the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers is claiming fracking et al will save us from AGW. Not necessarily:


  26. @27
    Oh thanks tigtog, I see the problem now. I just thought it mattered because it does suggest broader ranging discussions as well as climate discussions (although that’s suggested in the ‘plus’ of the title anyway I now realise)
    Anyway I guess people will work it out (and are already). It’s a nice design btw

  27. jules @ 28, welcome!

    In cat herding mode, the comment about the IPCC report (interesting!) would be better placed at Climate clippings 92.

    I’ll do a post on the new IPCC report after Easter.

    For everyone, the idea is that you look at the Open Threads link above the banner image to find the appropriate open thread.

  28. Two points about King Fred The Beaut: He spoke Polish too – and – he was the last European king to lead his troops in battle …. and in the case of the battle of Kolin, to bolt from battlefield defeat with them too; (pity 20th and 21st Century political leaders didn’t emulate him; might have saved millions by doing that)..

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