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43 responses to “New Year’s Eve Salon”

  1. Salient Green

    My son achieved 92 for his ATAR and will be off to Uni next year studying electronics engineering. We will miss him, more than I can foresee I suspect. I hope he returns for a few apricot harvests. If not, he has promised(I made him) to send some interesting students to us instead.
    Some female applicants could get some pushback from my wife.
    Is 2013 memorable? Perhaps for being politically awful. Amazing advances in battery tech, amazing reductions in renewable energy prices and amazing tech in the pipeline.
    Happy new year everyone. Go well especially Brian whose efforts keep this site going.

  2. mindy

    Congratulations to your son SG, sounds like he worked hard. I hope he enjoys the Uni experience.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  3. jungney

    Absolutely! And good news indeed SG about your son’s score. I’ve no doubt you’ll always be with him and he with you.

    Today I harvested Roma tomatoes which I have sun dried on the bonnet of my truck. I also harvested the companion herbs to tomatoes and have been enjoying the fruits of my labors since the sun waned.

    The Strapper and I have stayed in tonight because the last time we went out, xmas eve to see Elvis perform at the at the bottom pub, The Strapper executed a perfect fall with twist and nearly brained herself in the driveway. Seriously, its a good argument for driving to the venue rather than walking :) This necessitated a drive to Moron Local Hospital (Coal Inc Hosp) and stitches and an appalling drive the next am, by me, to pick The Strapper up. That’s an eighty k round trip on xmas day. Eek.

    So Happy New Year all and sundry. May the next year be better.

  4. paul burns

    Happy New Year everyone.

  5. Val

    I am at my holiday ‘shack’ (or stone hut) on Kangaroo Island – was fully expecting to spend NY on my own, but instead spent it with some neighbours – now am listening to the koalas get upset while my neighbours dogs harass them – I wish they (the dogs) had not become so familiar with me that they feel safe on my land.

    Does anyone else suffer this ‘what are you an animal hater?’ – ‘no I just want native animals to have a fair chance’ scenario? I know people love their dogs and cats, but our native animals are so threatened by them. Now must venture out into the night again and try to make those bloody dogs go home.

  6. Terangeree

    Happy New Year to sundry and all. Hope 2014 brings all the good fortune you wish for.

  7. Sceptic

    Jungney @ 3 – going to see Elvis perform?

    How can we be certain that you and Strapper were not breaking out of someplace secure?

    Which Elvis was it by the way. Rocker in leathers or the big blow up in the zip up white jump suit with sparkles.

    Why has Elvis endured?

    I was never a fan when he lived but now I see the appeal. I do not understand it though.

  8. Moz of Yarramulla

    Val: ‘what are you an animal hater?’

    I made the transition from being a cat feeder and dog owner to hunting the &*%^ pests over a few years when I was revegetating a block of land. Initially I was just trying to keep people’s pets away from my poison lines (in NZ, trying to reduce possum predation of my seedlings). But over time regular interaction with “animal lovers” who were defending the right of their pet to kill native animals changed my position.

    Then being a conservation volunteer doing stuff like tracking kiwi and other rare birds tipped me over into full “kill them all” mode. And to be honest, sometime it is literally hate. The other day riding to work I saw a cat “playing” with a ~20cm lizard next to the bike path. I felt a burst of real hatred, for the cat and whoever is responsible for it.

    We used to live next door to the archetypical “cat lover”, who angrily refused to even discuss keeping their cat inside because it liked to go out and kill things. When I suggested that since they supported killing things for fun they’d understand when I killed their cat, they became extremely angry.

  9. paul burns

    Last night I dreamed that Joe Hockey was a lawyer for the Mob in The Sopranos. What does that mean?

  10. Paul Norton

    Breaking news: the remains of a Hobbit, gruesomely murdered and hacked into three pieces, have been found at a cinema near you.

  11. paul burns

    Well, when Jackson left Tom Bombadil out of Lord of the Rings, it was a fair bet he’d absolutely stuff up The Hobbit.

  12. Graham Bell

    Happy New Year to all of you.
    May 2014 bring each and every one of you Contentment and Tranquility, Success and Good Fortune, Happiness and Good Health as well as Pleasant Surprises. :-)

  13. Val

    Moz @ 8
    This is also a revegetation block – not the whole of it, a bit less than half – I’ve tried to create a ‘park-like’ feel, somewhat like Royal Park in Melbourne if you know that. Interestingly this is what Bill Gammadge says much of Australia appeared to have when white invaders first arrived, due to the way it was cared for by Indigenous peoples, though of course maintained more by fire (whereas I pay people to slash the grassy areas).

    I think that koalas here, like possums in NZ, may have actually been brought in rather than being indigenous to the area, but they are not a menace, although in my experience they can do quite a bit of damage to young growing eucalypts.

    I was actually more worried about the dogs chasing the wallabies, as they could potentially harm them more, but in the dark of night, it was the koalas I could hear protesting, as they are loud and noisy, unlike wallabies.

    As Kangaroo Island is about a third national parks and still has in addition much remnant bush land as well as revegetated land like mine, there are large numbers of native animals. As there are no foxes, some kinds of domestic fowl, such as peacocks and turkeys, have gone feral and wander about freely.

    I guess there is no point hating dogs or cats, they are what they are, but owners such as the one you mention are a problem. I had a cat once – a stray found and adopted by my children – we used to try and bell her, but eventually she would always get rid of the bells somehow.

    My neighbour’s dogs do normally stay on their own place, I think, that’s the only time I’ve known them do that, though who knows what they may do when I’m not here (most of the year).

    Anyway nice talking to you. Maybe dogs and cats, and their impact on biodiversity, will be a topic on Brian’s New Blog one of these days!

  14. Val

    I feel so terrible about this now because it turns out the dogs actually killed the koala. I wish so much that I had gone and yelled at them earlier instead of writing about it here. I thought that they were barking at in the tree and was more worried about the wallabies – it just never occurred to me that they had it on the ground. I can’t talk to my friends and family about this, it’s too horrible, but since I wrote it here, I hope it’s ok to write about what happened. It’s just so sad. If it ever happens again, I will know, but hopefully it never will. I don’t know if I will ever see a koala here again.

  15. Chris

    Val @ 14 – as you may well know there has been an ongoing program on KI to reduce the number of koalas as they are introduced and because of the damage they do to the environment are considered by some to be pests. The government tried to introduce a culling program a few years ago to replace the sterilisation program that they have, but there was the expected public backlash given koalas are so cute and cuddly looking. Nevertheless I think that letting dogs roam free resulting in them killing koalas is unnecessarily cruel. I don’t think dogs should ever be allowed to roam unsupervised by a human, but primarily because of the real risk to frail/small humans.

    Moz @ 8 – I’m a big ‘cat lover’ myself but my cats are primarily indoor cats (especially no roaming at night). Albeit primarily out of concern for my cats rather than anything else. I’d appreciate it if other cat owners didn’t let their cats out at night as well because they come to harass mine through my house windows.

    From a human perspective I’d agree that cats do often seem cruel to animals they catch – mine very ocassionally will catch a mouse (I have chickens and the food attracts the mice) and they just play with them, not eat them. But its just the way they are – I don’t think you can read a human type of cruelty into it – cats little and big do play with their prey.

    IIRC the ACT has been trialling some cat-free suburbs which are right on the border of wildlife areas. I think this is a reasonable approach. I also wish they’d bring in compulsory registration of cats (like dogs) charging significantly more for cats which aren’t neutered, and having more regulation around who is allowed to sell/breed kittens. Over time this should reduce the number of feral cats.

    As for asking existing owners to keep their cats inside at night, I think that’s much easier said than done. The best way to have an indoor cat is never to let it out at all. Once they’re used to going out it can be very difficult to keep them in (mine can open unlocked doors, others will just cause a lot of damage if not let out). Also in my experience people should consider getting two cats (at the same time), not one so they don’t get bored.

    The other (and others may well dispute this) is that from what I’ve seen not only are the random moggy stray type cats a lot harder to keep inside all the time, but they are also a lot more efficient at killing birds. Whereas the purebreds I’ve seen are generally a lot more incompetent about it all – perhaps because they’ve never been taught how by their mothers.

  16. Val

    Thanks Chris, I guess when you think about the culling program it doesn’t seem so bad, but it was a horrible way for the poor animal to die. Anyway tonight there are wallabies about again, and I may have even heard another koala.

    My neighbour has been told about his dogs, by others as well as myself, and is keeping them tied up. In the long run he may have to give them away so they can be proper farm dogs. I hope hunting wild animals hasn’t got into their habits now.

  17. tigtog

    Just reminding anyone who really wants to talk about Corgi Bernardi or turning back the boats or anything else in the news but doesn’t feel that the Goodbye thread is the place, that this thread is still open for a while.

  18. paul burns

    Apparently lots of people have gone on Amazon and given his book really foul or really sarcastic reviews, without reading it. So, if you’re feeling mischievous . . .

  19. paul burns

    Apparently Cory Bernardi’s office refuses to comment on the satirical reviews appearing on Amazon.

  20. Brian

    Some 200 electricians could lose their licence under Qld’s bikie laws.

    See also the Brisbane Times.

  21. Brian

    Tony Taylor at The Conversation looks at Christopher Pyne’s move to review the national curriculum.

    Ken Boston on NewsRadio (link from here) points out that Pyne has no authority to conduct such a review. He is but one member of the Ministerial Council. Boston also says Donnelly is a propagandist promulgating specious nonsense.

    Dr Ken Boston is a former Gonski panelist and former DG of NSW education. He’s worth listening to IMHO.

  22. paul burns

    I would’ve put this on the Whimsy thread but I think its closed.

  23. tigtog

    I’ve opened up comments on some older threads again, Paul. We’ll take everything through to just before Australia Day and then shut the lot down.

  24. paul burns

    Thanks, tigtog.

  25. Terangeree

    Oh dear. Why does it seem that this country is rapidly proceeding Topethwards in a portable, open-topped container specifically designed for being transported with the aid of the metacarpus?

  26. Graham Bell

    I said goodbye – and it would be bad manners, perhaps, to post again – but I shall anyway….

    Dear tigtog:
    Was just lurking – having said goodbye (and neglecting to thank Nabokov, lefty elitist, faustusnotes and several others) – and was surprised and delighted to see LP was still breathing. Can we hope for another resuscitation – please?

    My lurking was rewarded by good news from terangaree about their growing family and by jungney’s not-so-good news about his rural neighbourhood (who seem to be just as narrow-minded as some – but not all – of my rural neighbours).

  27. tigtog

    Graham, resuscitating the blog is not just up to me – this is a group endeavour.

    The default commenting period on Mark’s post on day of publication meant comments on it are set to close a few days before Australia Day. Brian asked me to rejig a few things out the back so that comments on the other last few threads would also stay open until then. That’s been done, but we’re not promising anything more than that.

  28. tigtog

    BTW, as a suggestion for some of you who feel that you will really miss the blog and want to keep some sort of group/community happening, one/some of you could always start a free forum in memoriam, call it LP Nostalgics or something wittier and let people know about it here. You’ll just have to sort out your own forum moderation/membership rules.

  29. Casey

    Paul Burns Paul Burns!

    Before we fade into the mist, I need to tell you I’ve been watching Breaking Bad.

    Well. At first I was a bit tense about it all but then I figured out it was a retelling of Milton’s Paradise Lost in a way. Oh the Pride, it cometh before the fall (yes yes that was in a review I read later but I thought of it on my lonesome).

    A Dickensian morality tale, the reviews said and I am inclined to agree. Great story, although the atheists (as opposed to us supernaturals) won’t much go for its underlying vision, I’d imagine.

    Anyway, good series. Sopranos is better but this is very very good.

  30. Helen

    I’ve been revisiting Twin Peaks Casey.
    I remembered the brooding, uneasy darkness of it but what I didn’t remember is the sheer hilarity of much of it. It’s an incredible feat to combine the two in such a way that they both work.

  31. paul burns

    Hi, Casey.
    Yep, its pretty bloody amazing, isn’t it?
    I’ve just finished watching the series 1, 2 & 3 of The Sons of Anarchy. Its often spoken of in the same breath as Breaking Bad. It combines the Real IRA with outlaw bikies. Not quite as good as Breaking Bad or The Sopranos, but better I think than Mad Men (which is beginning to pall for me. Don Draper is an anti-hero I just can’t identify with.)
    Also watched the box set of A Good Wife.Refused to watch it on TV because of the commercials. Its a very good legal/crime/politics drama. A good way to wile away a few lazy summer days.
    And series 3 of GoT is out next month. Joy, oh, joy. But youse will all be gone.
    Have ordered The Wire, but don’t have it yet. 70 hours of DVD watching.

    Thank you for bringing Twin Peaks to mind. Will check it out. I always found it hard to follow on straight TV.

  32. Helen

    Earlier in the December-January silly season I binged watched most of the first season of *Revenge*. It’s a hugely entertaining Noughties successor to such things as Dallas and Dynasty. Think haughty evil women wearing couture. It’s so not the kind of thing I would normally watch, but it’s a heap of fun. A lot of the humour in this one is unintended though :)

  33. paul burns

    Further thoughts on Sons of Anarchy.
    Its in the mode of The Sopranos, Breaking Bad (sort of): family drama of an out-group, in this case bikies. It would probably give Newman the chills. Another reason to watch it, its delightfully subversive.

  34. paul burns

    Have started watching The Wire. 3/4 way through the first season. Very good. Much easier to follow on the box-set.

  35. Casey

    Paul Burns, re Breaking: All I want to say is “Poor Jesse”. Imagine what it would be like if Satan had a soft spot for you cause Breaking Bad gives you the an idea!

  36. Fyodor von Bazarov und zu Lolzberg

    Heh. Sympathy for Jesse?

    “What’s my name?!” “Pleased to meet you, can you guess my name?”

  37. Casey

    Yes Jesse. I haven’t watched to the end yet, but Jesse was a small time drug dealer who happened to have the misfortune of meeting ‘say my name’ (it was ‘say my name’) again. What made it worse was Walt’s position as an authority figure, a benevolent patriarch. Still, it has the makings of all those wonderful old stories about meeting the devil on the road on dark evening and etc.

    However, I was thinking – as compelling as it is watching someone’s ethics turn to worms and rot if front of you, it’s not psychologically possible, imo, to go from being Mr Chips to being El Diablo in two years. You can’t go bad like that in real life, from the age of 50 … er, can you, do you think? What do you think? You should would be best placed to advise I imagine. After all, you work in Hades for the Gods of Jordan Belfort, or perhaps their cousins, don’t you Fyodor? I’d ask Devil Drink, as he would really be the expert, but ever since I met him one night many years ago in a dark pub, I really rather not disturb him in any way whatsoever … it was his eyes … you could see your own heart throbbing in them … terrifying and I am a witch, imagine. Let’s not conjure it, it’s a dangerous thing to conjure that entity.

  38. David Irving (no relation)

    Casey, I found Jesse more sympathetic, and Walt less so, as I watched Breaking Bad. The last episode is a doozy!

  39. Casey

    Okay, now I’ve watched the last ep, David. !!! (Did you see the alternate ending when Walt wakes up and he’s the dad from Malcolm in the Middle again and he’s all sooky lala with his wife from that sitcom and it was all a bad dream?)

    Too good.

  40. Casey


  41. Fyodor von Bazarov und zu Lolzberg

    However, I was thinking – as compelling as it is watching someone’s ethics turn to worms and rot if front of you, it’s not psychologically possible, imo, to go from being Mr Chips to being El Diablo in two years. You can’t go bad like that in real life, from the age of 50 … er, can you, do you think?

    Well, that’s the genius in the storytelling/scripting. I think the key is accepting that he wasn’t really Mr Chips, but a deeply repressed, angry and disappointed man gifted with tremendous intellect but no self-awareness. Proximity to death made him question the path he had chosen, revealed the futility of his repression and released the anger and narcissism buried deep down. The analogy thus isn’t to Mr Chips, but Faust, which seems à propos, in the context, dontchathink?

    You should would be best placed to advise I imagine. After all, you work in Hades for the Gods of Jordan Belfort, or perhaps their cousins, don’t you Fyodor?

    Hades? Hardly. Besides which, Hades, like me, is good in parts.

    And don’t get me farkin’ started on that boiler-room bounder, Jordan Belfort. “Wolf of Wall Street”? His pissant retail scams had nothing to do with the real Wall Street, and certainly pale in comparison to the arch-devilry that really goes on but is far less entertaining than the drugs & hookers vicefest Wallfellas that Scorsese directed. If you want a realistic understanding of what Belfort was up to, “Boiler Room” is a much better take. The best movie on how Wall Street actually works is “Margin Call”. Much less exciting (and definitely could have used more Margot), but that’s the banality of evil.

    I’d ask Devil Drink, as he would really be the expert, but ever since I met him one night many years ago in a dark pub, I really rather not disturb him in any way whatsoever … it was his eyes … you could see your own heart throbbing in them … terrifying and I am a witch, imagine. Let’s not conjure it, it’s a dangerous thing to conjure that entity.

    Yah, about time Teh Debbil Drink Methistopheles rocked up on this grave.

  42. Casey

    In regards to Walt, yes Fyodor – everything you said. That sums it up. He was deeply repressed and a very angry man – and the cancer diagnosis unleashed it. I loved that scene when he went into remission and he punched something in the bathroom, was it a paper towel dispenser? Anyway, it was like he had kicked the Angel of Death to the kerb. It was an amazing scene.

    I haven’t seen the Wolf of Wall Street yet, but I’ve watched a few interviews with Jordan Belfort and I’m with you already. I’ve seen a few reviews where it is suggested something like this is Jay Gatsby without the metaphysical yearnings, with all the hope gone, that this is American finally cut adrift from it transcendental underpinnings, which is a nice way of framing it, but really really? Jordan Belfort is cringeworthy and has all the charms of a car salesman on crack. I can’t believe they made a movie about him and they are giving him money for his efforts.

    Anyway, the blog closes today. All the best everyone!

  43. paul burns

    Farewell to you all. May we all meet again somewhere on teh internet.
    FYI, occasionally comment in the Guardian as historyhead, and in The Conversation under my own name.