Monthly Archives: January 2008

Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam documentary on ABC tonight

“Father and Son” I still really like. I have put that up over on the VodPod to remind all of us who are of a certain age. Some songs are part of your life’s sound track, aren’t they? For me this is Wollongong, 1970s. And then he vanished as Cat Stevens. Tonight’s documentary explored that and his current reemergence as a singing Yusuf Islam, after a long period when he gave up music. The documentary — or the first and last parts — is also in the VodPod, as is one of his recent songs.


Didn’t know he and Dolly Parton were such good mates; she apparently gave the US authorities a lashing when he was forbidden entry to the US in 2004.

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Posted by on January 31, 2008 in faith and philosophy, Islam, nostalgia, TV


Visitor #5,000

… to this blog, which began in December 2007. Arrived 7:41:19 am from Terrey Hills, NSW. Month’s stats review tomorrow.

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Posted by on January 31, 2008 in blogging, site news, site stats


This really is a shame

I know this place well. At one time I lived just around the corner from it. Later on, in the early 1990s, I took M there and he found it fascinating, like a quick trip back to China, indeed back to China’s past.

Fire investigators will work today to determine if arson caused a blaze at an historic temple in inner Sydney. At least one room and its contents were destroyed at the Sze Yup Chinese temple, in Edward Street, Glebe.

Residents living nearby the temple reported smoke billowing from the building just before 1am (AEDT) today. Crews rushed to the scene and extinguished the blaze around 4.20am, a NSW Fire Brigades spokesman said.

The temple’s website states the site has been the “spiritual and cultural centre for Sydney’s Chinese community since 1898”.

The temple is also a focal point of Chinese New Year celebrations, to be held on February 7.

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Posted by on January 31, 2008 in Australia, environment, M, multicultural Australia


Reconciliation etc. Update

Just two bits from a quick look at this morning’s news.

1. Apology welcome, but plenty more to be done: Chaney

A former Aboriginal Affairs Minister has welcomed the Rudd Government’s announcement of a formal apology for the Stolen Generations, but says the real work will come after the apology is made.

“An apology is long overdue, and it will be good to get it out of the way and get on with the business of dealing with the 17-year-gap in life expectancy,” he said.

“For many Aboriginal people this is an important step in putting the past behind them and getting with the business of ensuring that Aboriginal futures are better than the Aboriginal past.”

Mr Chaney says it is a shame the apology has not come sooner.

“One could go on having consultation about these matters forever,” he said. “It’s nearly 10 years since the report on these matters was brought before the Australian people, I think it’s high time the apology was made, and we are able to move on and work constructively for a better future.”

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Heath Ledger and the plank in the eye syndrome

Christian readers will instantly get the reference.

At this stage we actually do not know how and why Heath Ledger died. It may turn out to have been a tragic accident, or a mixing of prescription drugs with fatal consequences, rather than anything that can remotely be said to resemble your archetypal sex, drugs and rock and roll exit from life. Repeat, we just don’t know.

People who improve on the shining hour, then, by sermonising on his death tell us more about themselves than they do about Heath Ledger, life, God, religion, or Jesus Christ.

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Posted by on January 30, 2008 in awful warnings, blogging, Christianity, other blogs


Reconciliation, Stolen Generation, Reparations… and all that

Yes, I am still thinking about these matters. It is good that Australians do think about them, but I do realise that it is not at all as simple as perhaps I would like it to be, a reference to my vent the other day — which I still stand by for what it’s worth.

Jim Belshaw took me to task rather on that one, and subsequently addressed one aspect rather persuasively.

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What price justice after this sorry saga?

That is the headline in Peter Roebuck’s opinion piece today. It is a very well argued take on the latest developments in the Harbhajan Singh matter, judicious even, in my opinion.

…Brinkmanship or not, threatening to take their bat and ball home in the event of a resented verdict being allowed to stand was an abomination. It sets a dreadful precedent. What price justice now?

Not that the attempt made by Cricket Australia to broker a compromise had much more to commend it. Ricky Ponting and his players were entitled to take a stand on principle. As it happens, I thought their strategy unwise because they had fanned the flames, Anil Kumble had not been given a chance to intervene and the case was unwinnable… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on January 30, 2008 in Australia, Cricket


Ann Coulter is not our problem

Beside her Miranda is sweetly reasonable. There have to be some advantages in living in Australia. 😉

I was prompted to mention Ann the Alien by this post: The madness of Ann Coulter.

One of my favorite fellow bloggers once referred to Ann Coulter as “the worst thing to happen to the Republican Party since Watergate.”

I agree completely. A real-life friend of mine has remarked that he really can’t talk about Ann Coulter with me. I get that her whole column is about trying to irritate people. I understand that completely. THAT is exactly my problem with her. Her column isn’t about persuasion or argument, it’s about belligerence and irritation. It bothers me that that passes itself off as worthwhile writing.

Anyway …

In recent months, I have concluded that she doesn’t even try to apply anything like a consistent principle to her writing. Except, of course, “If I don’t like you, then you’re extremely bad.”  Of course, the beings that she does and doesn’t like are pretty random.

I’m going to work mostly with her attacks on Mike Huckabee, because I know those better.  Bear with me…

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Posted by on January 30, 2008 in blogging, Christianity, current affairs, media watch, USA


Postcard from Patagonia

From Ushuaia, “mas austral del mundo” — the southernmost city in the world. It was written just before the trip to Antarctica. Of course the man himself will be back in Australia the day after tomorrow.

As an Australian, I did a double-take at one of the pictures on the postcard:


Hands Cave and Pinturas River Canyon…an amazing display of cave art 9,300 years old in the heart of southern Patagonia

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Posted by on January 29, 2008 in M, M's trip, travel


NSW teachers return to work today

I will drop in to The Mine for partly social partly business reasons, and to confirm the boss’s suspicion that I turn up whenever I know free food is to be had! The Rabbit begins his second year Way Out West with, he tells me, a broken foot…

Meanwhile the Sydney Morning Herald reports something we have all known but the NSW government has not highlighted: in a few years time many of the current lot of teachers will not be working any more. Where their replacements will come from is as yet unknown, because it seems likely that the numbers of twenty-somethings in the pipeline will not match the numbers departing.

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Posted by on January 29, 2008 in Australia, education, personal


One of the most interesting blogs on WordPress

I have referred before to Strange Maps, a blog that presents in each entry some weird, wonderful, imaginative, or just plain informative map. 4,757,081 hits suggest the blog is on to something! The latest one is below, the map itself linking to the relevant entry where you will find not only a larger version of the map but also a really good account of it.

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Posted by on January 29, 2008 in blogging, Christianity, faith and philosophy, religion, USA


More cyber condoms

Back in December I posted Cyber condoms? 

With so many dodgy things out there on the Internet all of us (especially those using Windows) need to practise safe surfing. What protection do you use? Yes, there are firewalls, but I’m afraid having tried a few and found they have their downsides I use the one XP comes with. Given that of course, I need extra protection, aside from anti-virus where I have opted for Avast!. So I have Spybot Search and Destroy and Spyware Blaster

So I installed Spyware Terminator, but opted eventually to get rid of the security guard toolbar that comes with it…

In addition I have McAfee Site Advisor on IE; it is a bummer trying to hook it to Firefox I have found so there I opted for WOT, reviewed here...

Now with all that installing and uninstalling my computer would simply not function without Ccleaner, which very smoothly removes the stuff uninstallers leave behind…

I finally succeeded in getting the McAfee Site Advisor to work in Firefox. Keeping WOT as well and another program called Finjan

Finally, a registry cleaner that is free, does not seem too aggressive, yet is thorough. For sure the Toshiba is working better for its ministrations: Eusing Registry Cleaner. That’s a very thorough review of it.

All the items mentioned are free.

Over a month later and I am very happy with all those. But I have more! Both are really good. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 28, 2008 in blogging, computers


He was a "character" when all is said and done…

p It will be apparent to anyone who has followed my blogs over the past few years that I am not a great fan of the late Padraic McGuinness; Paul Sheehan’s friendly obituary piece is actually quite amusing, however, and I suspect Paddy M would rather like it. The neat little caricature on the left is taken from another friendly source, The Rathouse. Whether that was originally meant to be PP or not I am not sure*, but it certainly resembles him. Sheehan concludes:

Spleen was his calling card. Economics his expertise. Opinion his livelihood. Like many dyspeptic people, he also had a wide streak of generosity, and a sardonic sense of humour.

McGuinness was a prolific commentator, first as economics editor of the Financial Review then as a columnist for the Herald and The Age, and The Australian, switching several times between Fairfax and News Ltd. His final job was as editor of Quadrant, where he helped force out the previous editor, Robert Manne.

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Posted by on January 28, 2008 in Australia, current affairs, events, humanity, media watch, politics



One reads strange things on other blogs, but then I am sure what I write must seem strange too at times. On a no-names-no-packdrill basis (for two of them) I would like to share three I have found just this afternoon.

1. Aboriginal reconciliation is a left-wing plot.

…even my leftist friends, who madly apologise for the arrival of Arthur Philip and the subsequent dispossession of the indigenous people, benefit from that we celebrate. We can certainly try to understand the events that shaped our nation but we live in the here and now and from where I stand it is pretty good.

Enjoy this day without shame.

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