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Today's quote:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Full steam ahead!

left-to-right: Padma, Siegfried and Heike


It was a perfect final autumn day for a steamboat by the river. We talked, we laughed, we ate, we drank - and then we drank and talked some more.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

As the Piglet said to Winnie-the-Pooh, “We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?" "Even longer," Pooh replied.


Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

First light


It's been a late night last night as I simply couldn't put down my new book Atlantic. I still have another 200 pages to go which should take care of the weekend. It's Friday today. I know because I've just taken in the garbage bin which gets emptied every Friday. Somehow it seems I'm taking in the bin more frequently these days - or is it just that the weeks roll by faster?

I've been for my first walk across the property, cup of tea in hand, to feed the wild ducks on the pond and the many parrots. Soon it'll be time to prepare for lunch with our German friends Siegfried and Heike who come over from Ulladulla to sample our 'steamboat' and the baked German-style cheesecake Padma made last night.

And that's it for another non-working week!


-Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A vast ocean of a million stories


Simon Winchester is a master of narrative non-fiction and has written over a dozen books. He seems to publish them faster than I can read them as I've only managed so far to read The Surgeon of Crowthorne, The Map That Changed the World, Krakatoa, and The Meaning of Everything.

I've just started on Atlantic which is an utterly enthralling mixture of history, science and reportage about this magnificent body of water.


Bullshit permeates our advertising


How do you make an everyday staple more sexy? You add bullshit! All cow's milk has permeate. They used to remove it, then add it back. Now they don't remove it, so there's no need to add it back.

Which in advertising-speak makes it 'permeate-free' because it's "The way milk should be" - even though it's always been like this. Except now you pay more for it because bullshit comes at a price!

Have all the politicians' speechwriters gone into commercial advertising?


Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Let's be frank about franking credits


We're almost at the end of another tax year. Unlike some people, I don't mind paying tax. They're the dues we pay to live in a civilised society. Not that I pay much these days as I am no longer gainfully employed and my dividend income from the shares I hold are fully franked.

At one time in Australia, companies would pay company tax on their profits and if they then paid a dividend, that dividend was taxed again as income in the hands of the shareholders which was a form of double taxation. As part of the tax reforms by the Hawke/Keating government, dividend imputation was introduced in 1987.

Under this system, Australian companies are allowed to attach franking credits to dividends paid. These franking credits represents the amount of company tax paid on that dividend. Shareholders include in their assessable income not only the dividends received but the grossed-up amount - dividends plus the tax already paid on it by the company - then have their income tax calculated on it and use the franking credits (the company tax paid on their dividends) to reduce their own tax payable, effectively eliminating double taxation on company profits.

Prior to 1 July 2000, franking credits were "wasted" if individual taxpayers had to pay less tax than the franking credits they had received but good ol' Costello changed all that. He made franking credits fully refundable so that taxpayers can not only reduce their tax liability to zero but have any excess franking credits refunded to them.

I have made some preliminary calculations and I think I am due for a refund. I think that franking credits are - frankly - wonderful!


You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Laundry Day

My friend's operation in Tonga


Liberty Reserve operates as a no-questions-asked alternative to the global banking system, with little more than a valid e-mail needed to open an account and move money across borders and is one the most popular currencies for cybercriminals.

Liberty Reserve's founder, Arthur Budovsky, has just now been indicted in the United States along with six other people in a US$6 billion money-laundering scheme described as "staggering" in its scope, authorities said yesterday. He was arrested in Spain on Friday. A defendant identified as Budovsky's partner, Vladimir Kats, was in custody in New York.

The inquiry involved law enforcement in 17 countries and "is believed to be the largest money laundering prosecution in history", the prosecutor's office said, "processing at least 55 million illegal transactions worldwide for one million users, including 200,000 in the US."

It makes my friend's operation in Tonga look tiny by comparison ☺


This is a story which is perfectly logical to all males:

A wife asks her husband, "Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk. And if they have avocados, get 6."

A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk.

The wife asks him, "Why did you buy 6 cartons of milk?"

He replied, "They had avocados."

(If you're female, I'm sure you're going back to read it again! Males will get it the first time.)

Would you like to live here?

Click on image to enlarge


Our little village on the Clyde is a retreat for nature lovers, an angler's paradise and a safe place to swim and canoe. You can head upstream to Shallow Crossing, on the water or by car, to explore the headwaters of the river. You can sample fresh berries at the Clyde River Berry Farm, or you can head downstream and sample fresh oysters from a river that has just been awarded the export stamp of approval for the quality of its water.

Or simply stay in Nelligen - pronounced, should you wish to know, with a hard "g" - and chase the local bream, flathead and jewfish, secure in the knowledge they thrive in one of Australia's cleanest waterways.

Visitors can explore Nelligen's quiet streets and learn something of its history. And after a great day in the outdoors, you can sip a cold one in the Steampacket Hotel, famous for its hospitality and woodfired pizza.

Nelligen is a popular destination for houseboats, who make the journey upstream from Batemans Bay. For landlubbers there are several quaint bed and breakfasts, great camping, cabins and self-contained waterfront units.

But getting back to the opening question, "Would you like to live here?" If you do, you could do a lot worse than buying Nelligen's - in fact, arguably the whole South Coast's - most spectacular waterfront property "Riverbend".


-Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

Monday, May 27, 2013

ABC Radio National


A day without ABC Radio National would be unthinkable for me as it keeps the grey matter occupied. Take today for example: where else could I get, all in the span of a few hours, a recap of America's darkest medical history - which is, of course, very much the story of the "Leper Priest" Father Damien - read more here and hear about the story of the BIRO ballpoint pen and have my attention drawn to the latest books, such as The Last of the Vostyachs ?

Hearing about James Wood's The Fun Stuff made me search for his book which I ordered after having read this review.

My nightcap for the day is Phillip Adams' Late Night Live at 10 past 10 before I drift off to sleep.


So how's YOUR day going?

Dr Albert Schweitzer


As a boy in Germany, I had two heroes: Heinz Helfgen who, penniless and on a borrowed pushbike, pedalled right around the world from 1951 to 1953 after which he wrote the book "Ich radle um die Welt", and Dr Albert Schweitzer, perhaps the greatest humanitarian the world has ever known who spent a lifetime in equatorial Africa curing the sick.

I have several books written by him and about him and have tried - unsuccessfully - to get a documentary and a dramatisation of his life and work in Lambaréné in present-day Gabon, both of which exist but are only available in NTSC format in the USA.

Thanks to YouTube, I have just now been able to watch this amazing documentary with incredible on-location footage of Albert Schweitzer at his hospital in Africa.

An amazing story of an amazing man.


Sunday, May 26, 2013



Another great Aussie movie premiers on ABC television tonight: Cliffy, the true story of the 61-yer-old Cliff Young, an oddity from the small Victorian regional town of Colac. For a start, he's a vegetarian. And he's a teetotaller. Add to that, he's a virgin and still lives on the family farm with his mother.

Cliff scrounges out a meagre existence farming potatoes and a few dairy cattle. That's not so odd in these parts. But when he's not battling the fickleness of nature, Cliff doesn't head to the pub or the footy ground like most. He spends his time running, covering vast distances in a single day. On one of these runs, he meets a local girl, Mary, and an unexpected connection is formed.

When the potato crop fails - again - Cliff enters the inaugural 550 mile Sydney-to-Melbourne footrace in 1983. He hooks up with his old friend, Wally, who hasn't trained a decent runner in years, and who now lives a sad existence alone.

This unlikely duo set out to defy the doubters and qualify for the gruelling race. But waiting for Cliff in Sydney are the world's greatest distance runners and a media that views his ramshackle entourage with wide-eyed incredulity.

Foregoing sleep, Cliff runs eighteen hours a day. When he hits the wall and can't go on, Mary is on hand to help him through. When he takes the lead and shuffles on, Australia is utterly transfixed. Five days later, a nation celebrates when Cliffy wins by the proverbial country mile.

The real Cliff Young

Read more about Australia's gumbooted Forrest Gump here.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

American politics - Eric Holder for President


It's cold down here and I want to keep this short as it's difficult to type with a pair of mittens on but, apart from the American accent, we have had a spade of inquiries and royal commissions just like this in which people displayed a similar lack of recall. Dementia is a wonderful thing!




The Letter


I'm a fan of W. Somerset Maugham's short stories some of which have been made into movies. Just now I have obtained a copy of the 1940s movie "The Letter" with Bette Davis which is a dramatisation of a short story that first appeared in Maugham's 1926 collection "The Casuarina Tree".

The story is based on a real-life scandal involving the wife of the headmaster of a school in Kuala Lumpur who was convicted in a murder trial after shooting dead a male friend in April 1911. She was eventually pardoned.

In the story - and the movie - the action takes place in the house of a plantation owner, Robert Crosbie, and his wife Leslie in the then-British colony of Malaya, and later in the Chinese quarter of Singapore. With the husband away on business, the wife claims that she shot the mutual friend, Geoff Hammond, in self-defence, following an attempted rape.

But I don't want to give too much away. Read the whole story here.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Shits that pass in the night


If Longfellow had lived in our little lane, he may have been tempted to reword his famous poem ever so slightly. After years of inverted victory-signs and anonymous notes in the letter-box which met with no response from us, a certain person has now resorted to lurking in the dark as we walk the dogs and to follow us and mutter obscure obscenities. "... only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence."

Who says life in the country was dull? Our evening walks are highly entertaining. But not tonight; tonight is 'Barramundi Night' at the Club.


We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the others are here for, I have no idea.

The latest game in town

Click to enlarge, read right side, read left side, read upside down


"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing."


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gillard Obituary

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Home cooking. Where many a man thinks his wife is.

It's a cool morning at "Riverbend"


Even the dogs feel the cold and wait for the first rays of sunshine so we can all sit in the "Clubhouse" by the pond to get our daily dose of Vitamin D.



A guy is watching a film with creepy organ music on the TV and suddenly yells, “Don't enter that church, you damn fool !!!”

His wife asks him, “What are you watching?”

Husband replies, “Our wedding video.”