Category Archives: Life

Weekly salon 13/1

1. Saudi teen feared for life while waiting on Australia refugee ruling

Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun had applied to come to Australia.

But she told SBS News the process was taking too long and she feared for her life because her father and brother were in Thailand.

“Yes, toooooo long,” she responded to SBS News, when asked about the length of time. Continue reading Weekly salon 13/1

Weekly salon 30/12

1. Man plays piano for elephants


Pianist Paul Barton plays to elephants at the Elephants World sanctuary in Thailand. (Supplied: Khwan Barton)

Google the above phrase and you will find plenty. It is about an English man Paul Barton who plays classical music on the piano to elephants in Northern Thailand. See:

Continue reading Weekly salon 30/12

Christmas newsletter 2018

I didn’t do more than a very few Christmas cards this year. This post is a somewhat enhanced version of a belated newsletter.

For general readers, this is written initially for friends and family, who are apt to say, “That’s a great blog you have there, Brian. I sometimes read it when I’ve got nothing better to do!” (Actual quote.) However, general readers may find it of interest. Continue reading Christmas newsletter 2018

Weekly salon 15/12

1. Can democracy survive?

Using democracy against itself: Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and US president Donald Trump at the White House in Washington. Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Shaun Crowe has written an excellent review article on Can democracy survive?, based on the following books: Continue reading Weekly salon 15/12

Weekly salon 9/12

1. War gaming Brexit – seven scenarios

A House of Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit plan is due on Tuesday, 11 December, if she doesn’t postpone it.

Katy Balls at The Spectator has delineated seven scenarios as to how the Brexit saga will play out. Rule out the first, I think:

    Theresa May squeaks over the line after convincing Brexiteers that it was her deal or no Brexit — and Remainers that it was her deal or a no-deal Brexit.

There would be consequences:

    The DUP then rains on May’s parade. Seething over the backstop, it declares that the confidence and supply agreement is over for good.

Continue reading Weekly salon 9/12

More excitement than I need

Sometimes I yearn for a simpler world where the main thing we had to worry about was a nuclear holocaust – MAD (mutually assured destruction).

Now I have to warn anyone who was associated with me by email or Facebook not to open a video that is said to find me in a compromising position, apparently “looking hot” which would really be something for someone my age, caught on webcam (which I don’t have, as far as I know) and while streaming something really naughty.

I can stop this happening, it is said, by coughing up a substantial amount in Bitcoin by 3am tomorrow morning.

The main thing is, don’t open anything you might be sent about me, because it is almost certain to contain malware. Continue reading More excitement than I need

Australian cartoon puts fuel on Serena fire

Here’s Mark Knight’s Herald Sun cartoon which initiated a social media and general media storm around the globe:

My wife drew my attention to it in an article ‘Racist’ Australian cartoon of Serena Williams prompts global controversy in The New Daily.

Strangely, the cartoon is no longer there, and to save you trouble, none of those links lead to it. Continue reading Australian cartoon puts fuel on Serena fire

Serena meltdown a missed opportunity

Much has been written since the women’s final of the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships saw world number one Serena Williams beaten by a young rising star Naomi Osaka after receiving a code violation warning, then a point penalty and finally a game penalty, which put Osaka in an excellent place to win the second set 6-4 and the match. Elite opinion, especially overseas, has come down heavily in Williams’ favour, blaming the umpire Carlos Ramos for his handling of the incident, which, it is said, was an example of sexism because he would never have treated a male player so harshly, and probably racism to boot.

I’ll tell you my opinion, on the evidence I’ve seen (I didn’t watch the match) and comment on the commentary. My conclusion is that tennis needs to put its house in order, and has missed a golden opportunity to enforce rules so that tennis fans can expect to see excellent tennis being played, rather than players venting. Continue reading Serena meltdown a missed opportunity

Weekly salon 9/9

1. World pollution kills more people annually than wars, disasters, hunger

    Environmental pollution — from filthy air to contaminated water — is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

    One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 — about 9 million — could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study released on Thursday in The Lancet medical journal.

The worst affected countries are in Asia and Africa, with India topping the list. Continue reading Weekly salon 9/9

Care of strangers

Australian Border Force missed a Vietnamese boat, so now we have Dozens of migrants missing in crocodile-infested Daintree rainforest after boat sinks:

The boat containing irregular migrants that ran aground near the mouth of the Daintree River on Sunday 26 August 2018.

Steve Ciobo, newly minted Minister for Defence Industry, and a Queenslander from the Gold Coast, declared they should be taken to Nauru. Continue reading Care of strangers