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Sunday, July 31, 2016



After Schadenfreude and Weltschmerz (not to mention Blitzkrieg and Götterdämmerung), another German word seems to have found its way into the English language: Kopfkino.

I had mentioned to a friend in Germany that I suffered from insomnia and that, during the few hours of sleep I could snatch, I dreamt some fairly hective dreams which left me exhausted.

"Oh, Kopfkino!" she said.

I had never heard that expression before but it made a lot of sense.

Kopfkino indeed. Buy your ticket here!


Sunday morning at Nelligen

Nelligen's old Court House, now the Anglican Church


If I told you that I thought there was a diamond the size of a refrigerator buried in my backyard, and that this belief gives my life meaning and I draw a lot of joy from digging for this diamond every Sunday, I would sound like a lunatic to you, wouldn't I?

It's early Sunday morning at "Riverbend" and I can just hear the faint, and mercifully short, ringing of the church bell from the village church across the river. The same people who would have me certified for believing that there is a diamond buried in my backyard and that digging for it gives my life meaning, think nothing strange about their own belief in prayer for their salvation and eternal life.

At my age, when things begin to wear out, fall out and spread out, I could do with a spiritual dimension to my life. However, while religion is a broad concept, it is trapped in narrow minds, and organised religion has far too much on its conscience to be acceptable to me.

I keep digging for that diamond in my backyard!


"Will you still love me when I become old and grey?" my wife asked me.

"Not only will I love you", I told her, "I'll write to you."

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Thoughts to end the month on


Another month gone! Old accountant's habits never die and, more out of curiosity than necessity, I have been keeping tabs on our living expenses since the beginning of this year.

I'm surprised by what little money we need to live a comfortable life. On average, we spend about $2,500 a month and that includes everything: food and drinks (fewer Tim Tams and more cask wine), clothing (very little; still wearing out my old dinner suits while gardening), fuel and car maintenance (small car; little mileage), electricity (not much needed when you're in bed by nine o'clock), insurances (including private health insurance), telephone and broadband (few calls out as I'm doing more talking to the animals now), council rates (going up all the time; as a self-funded retiree I don't qualify for a rebate), maintenance jobs around the house (DIYs and the ones that cost $65 an hour), and even pocket-money.

That's an annual $30,000 and it makes me absolutely livid when I hear all those do-gooders and social welfare bodies constantly belly-aching about "The Government" (meaning, other hard-working taxpayers) not paying enough when the current age pension is already a very adequate and indeed generous $1,317.40 a fortnight for a couple - or well over $34,000 a year - click here. And then there is rent assistance of up to $172.90 a fortnight - another $4,500-plus a year - click here.

But those cash payments are just the tip of the proverbial because there's also free housing, free medical treatment, free medication, free trains and buses, even concessional postage stamps, and enough other freebies and concessions to fill a whole book - in fact, there used to be a 'Dole Bludger's Guide to Australia'. Today, there are internet sites - click here - which teach bludgers how to squeeze more out of the system.

Every civilised society needs a welfare 'safety net' for the weak and vulnerable but that safety net shouldn't be turned into a soft inner-spring mattress with a cosy doona on top! It shouldn't be so generous or so easy to get that it ends up discouraging hard work and self-reliance. Those who can work must work and those able to provide for their own retirement must do so.

There are always those who claim that it's an 'entitlement' because "we paid our taxes for it!" Well, if this were so, then those who paid lots of taxes would get lots and those who paid nothing would get nothing. The fact that all get the same makes it WELFARE.

Even if ALL their taxes had gone towards their age pension - and who would then be left to pay for the running of the country? - it would never be enough to cover their age pension for another ten, twenty, perhaps even thirty years of retirement. Anybody who's ever tried to buy an annuity could tell them that! - more on it here.

I once tried to tell this to my retired neighbour in Townsville who confided in me that, after a lifetime of earning lots of money in mining, he had buried it all in kerosene tins in his garden - I kid you not! - so that he would qualify for the government pension. I figured that he missed out on more interest than he got in welfare but he was not persuaded because "I paid my taxes for it!" When I revisited Townsville in 1985, I heard he had died and the house been sold. I nearly told the new owners to start digging! ☺

Of course, under our crazy rules, people can live in multi-million-dollar mansions and still claim welfare which means that many put all their money into their houses and then cry poor. And I know of couples who separated - at least 'on paper' - so as to receive fortnightly $873.90 EACH instead of the combined $1,317.40. The length some people go to for another eleven thousand dollars a year is amazing!

It's an insane and unsustainable system (for those who're footing it; mainly generations yet unborn) but perhaps no more insane and unsustainable than when Germany pays out $50-billion-plus every year to house and feed the same people that now terrorise the country.


Friday, July 29, 2016

The bean counter who won paradise


The lucky winner of the tropical island resort, who until yesterday was only known as Joshua - click here - , is a self-confessed goofy tax accountant with MST TAX in Wollongong.

Josh Ptasznyk, who has a Snellen chart for his name and spent most of his short working life filling out tax returns, may have no hospitality experience but the 26-year-old is about to take charge of more than a dozen staff at a resort on the Micronesian island of Kosrae.

He, together with his 25-year-old financial planner friend Nick, spent $129 on three raffle tickets and walked away with a family’s 16-room Kosrae Nautilus Resort and associated scuba diving business — both fully staffed and debt-free.

“What started as a simple click of a news article during my lunch break that piqued my interest has resulted in a life-changing experience that I could only dream of”, he said.

“I would like to thank Doug and Sally and the whole Beitz family for providing this amazing opportunity and am looking forward to cutting the red tape, making a trip to the resort to see what paradise looks like, and to experience all that the resort has to offer.”

Josh Ptasznyk

Who will have the harder job? The locals trying to pronounce Josh's last name, or Josh Ptasznyk learning Kosraean which has eleven consonants and twelve vowels and where possessives such as "mine" are "sihk" when referring to dwellings, and "nihmuhk" when referring to drinks (I drink to that!)

Of course, old habits die hard and for some time Josh may still look at his newfound paradise from an accountant's point of view:

Click on image to enlarge

Methinks, before he moves to his personal patch of sand, he may get luckier still, just like the chappie in this story.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Census Day, Tuesday 9th August 2016


Tuesday 9th August 2016 is Census Day. For the first time this year there will be a “No Religion” option. Please be careful how you answer this question.

Bear in mind that although many Australians have no religion these days, the Muslim population in Australia will all declare that they are Muslim - with bells on! - and this fact will be counted to ascertain what type of country we are in regard to religion.

Even though you may now have no religion, please consider entering the religion you were christened or born into, when answering this question. Otherwise in time Australia will officially be declared to be a Muslim country because the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census will reflect this. Just imagine the repercussions if that were to happen.

For example, if the population of a SUBURB turns up in Census 2016 as having a majority of one particular religion, that religion can ask for privileges such as building their own place of worship.

For Australia’s future, please pass this message on to your family members and friends.


Would you have bought a raffle ticket for your chance to win a tropical island resort?


An Australian man has won a tropical island resort in Micronesia after paying just AUS$65 for a ticket in the raffle that netted him the Pacific paradise. The winner is a New South Wales resident known only as Joshua.

Doug and Sally Beitz, who built the 16-room Kosrae Nautilus Resort in 1994, recently decided that, after living 20 years in Micronesia, it was time to return to Australia. That only left one problem: who would take over their tropical island paradise?

The couple’s son, Adam, had the brilliant idea of raffling off the island, with the aim of not handing it over to someone who was already a millionaire. Co-owner Doug Beitz hoped that the winner would be "someone who likes warm weather, likes meeting new people from around the world, is adventurous" and that "this piece of untouched paradise placed in the hands of someone who truly falls in love with it, someone who has dreamed of island life and who will continue to respect the island's precious ecosystem, not simply the person with the deepest pockets".

With 75,485 tickets sold to people from 100 countries around the world at US$49 each - that's a staggering US$3,698,765 !!! - , the raffle certainly meant that the family profited from the competition, which was the impetus behind Adam’s idea.

When the winner was announced on Tuesday, Doug and Sally, after a bit of difficulty tracking Joshua down, were elated to learn that he was Australian.

The lucky winner will take possession of the Pacific island resort, including scuba-diving business, eight motor vehicles, AU$13,000 in a bank account, and two dive boats. The resort, which is debt-free, profitable and has over 20 years left on its lease, is situated on the Micronesian island of Kosrae, just west of Hawaii.

Kosrae features ancient ruins, a volcano, its own international airport, schools, healthy tourism trade and 6500 residents.

Doug and Sally Beitz are looking forward to handing over the island resort to an Aussie and beginning their new life together.

"We feel like a new chapter in our lives is beginning, and we're ready to pass the baton to someone else," said Mr Beitz. "We've had our time in the sun and enjoyed a career most people would never even dare dream about. Our current goal now is to become professional grandparents.” Read more here.

Would you have bought a raffle ticket for your chance to win a tropical island resort? Would you be happy to relocate to an island paradise and begin a new life there?

What an absolutely brilliant idea! Under the Terms & Conditions, a minimum of 50,000 tickets had to be sold for the raffle to go ahead which would have given the Beitz family a minimum of US$2,450,000 which presumably was already well above the outright sales price (as it turned out, they well exceeded their target by selling 75,485 tickets worth US$3,698,765 - or almost five million Australian dollars!!!).

Under the same rules the Beitz family was always going to make some money because, if the raffle had not reached its target of 50,000 tickets, the winner would not receive the island resort but instead HALF of the proceeds from the ticket sales and the Beitz would keep the resort and the other half of the money (e.g. sell [say] 20,000 tickets @ US$49 each = US$980,000; US$490,000 was paid out to the winner; the other US$490,000 was retained by the Beitz for their troubles - the sort of troubles I wouldn't mind having! ☺)

I hate to be called a copycat but is anyone out there who wants to buy a AUS$65 ticket in a raffle in which "Riverbend" is the first prize? ☺

P.S. And here is the sequel to the story.


Don't breathe under water

I haven't spotted a DON'T BREATHE UNDER WATER sign yet
but it won't be long!


Another aqua therapy day in Ulladulla. The pool is heated to a comfortable 30-something degrees and as I float about with my eyes shut, I could easily imagine myself back in Bali. All that's needed is a few potted palms and some soft gamelan music.

Alas, this is Australia which has gone the way of litigious America and, instead of potted palms and soft music, the pool's walls are plastered with BEWARE and DON"T do this-and-that signs while officious life guards with First Aid bum-bags on their belts bark out instructions.

All the more reason to keep my eyes shut!


Omar Sharif returns to the screen as "Monsieur Ibrahim"


During the early 1960s, Paris, like much of Europe, was an explosion of life. As the old gave way to the new, everything was in flux and the city was filled with a energy that promised cultural shifts and social change.

Against this background, in a working-class neighbourhood, two unlikely characters — a young Jew and an elderly Muslim — begin a friendship. When we meet Momo (Pierre Boulanger), he is in effect an orphan even though he lives with his father, a man slowly retreating into a crippling depression. His only friends are the street whores who treat him with genuine affection. Momo buys his groceries at the neighborhood shop, a crowded dark space owned and run by Ibrahim (Omar Sharif), a silent exotic-looking man who sees and knows more than he lets on. After Momo is abandoned by his father, Ibrahim becomes the one grown-up in Momo's life. Together they begin a journey that will change their lives forever.

This is a beautiful, life-affirming and inspiring film which may also change the way you look at life. Watch it!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Daily Reckoning


A large part of my daily intellectual diet is reading The Daily Reckoning Australia. Today's newsletter includes a letter written a few months ago by their contributor Vern Gowdie to his children. I am reproducing it here because it is so full of truths and insights that it ought to be read by everybody. I'm sure Vern won't mind.

‘Dear girls,

‘Everyday I’m reminded about how different the world you are growing up in is to the one from my youth.

‘People taking photos of themselves in provocative poses hoping they will be liked by other self-absorbed wannabes…I don’t get it. In our youth these people were called “show offs” and were generally disliked for being “so far up” themselves. Yet today’s self-obsessed individuals can make a healthy living by getting enough brain dead people to follow them.

‘The abbreviation of the English language is another adjustment I’m still struggling with — thx, fyi, omg, lol. My Grade 7 English teacher — the one who taught us “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” — would be turning in his grave. Long gone are letter writing skills of yesteryear…commencing a letter with “Dear” and signing off with “Yours Sincerely”. Now, if you’re lucky, it is “Hi” and “Cheers”.

‘Skype and “WhatsApp” are fantastic ways to communicate with each other at no cost. What perplexes me is we don’t pay anything to use these applications yet the companies are valued in the billions of dollars. Either I don’t get it OR these companies are not worth what people think they are.

Twitter is another one I don’t get. Never used it and probably never will. I’d rather take your Mum for a coffee and have a chat. Maybe a few more people are opting to do the same because Twitter recently announced it’s laying off 300 people. This is a company worth US$20 billion and for every share on offer the earnings are MINUS US86 cents. Again I don’t get it.

‘I hear you talk about Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and other forums you use to stay connected.

‘When you have time to actually meet these people I am not sure, but somehow it must work because coffee shops are full of young people…are they working (doing their next self-indulgent pose perhaps), going to Uni or living courtesy of the taxpayer? I don’t know, but they inhabit local cafes in their droves.

‘Then you read about sites like Tinder and Ashley Maddison where single, attached and married people can connect for some casual sex…just like that. What does that say about society’s moral compass? Again, I don’t get it.

‘The purpose of this letter was not to go on a rant (or at least not a complete rant) and confirm just how old-fashioned and out of touch I am. There are some things in this new world of technology that I admit don’t make sense to me, yet there are others I do comprehend.

‘It is these that I would like to share with you.

‘A large percentage of the population operate in a “head down, bum up” fashion. Swept along with the tide of life. Jobs to go to. Bills to pay. Courses to study for. Kids to educate. Careers to worry about. Relationships to manage.

‘Technology has made life easier in some ways, but busier in others. Because so much more can be done over the internet, we have come to expect more to be done. The demands keep escalating. Emails pile up. Text messages “bing” away at us. Photos demand to be liked.

‘All these forms of communication are constantly encroaching on society’s spare time.

‘Not having these distractions provides me with the luxury to read, reflect, comprehend and think.

‘Just because I “think”, it doesn’t mean my conclusions are right. Life can be very complex and throw up all sorts of surprises.

‘One of my warnings when it comes to investing is to be wary of projecting the past into the future. Life is dynamic and the influences that created certain past results may no longer be in play. You have to continually reassess the assumptions you’re basing your decisions on and build in some variables.

‘In looking to the past we can possibly make some broad assumptions about the future and try to gauge the world we are going to encounter in the coming decades.

‘The past century has been one of enormous change.

‘We need to go to museums or antique shops to catch a glimpse of the way the world used to operate.

‘While there were advantages in a world that was a little less complex and slower paced, there were also disadvantages. Infant mortality rates were higher. In a world before antibiotics, illnesses claimed many a life far too young. Your great-great grandfather died in his 30s from an infected tooth. The opportunity to travel abroad — unless it was to fight a war or represent your country for sport — was not an option for the vast majority. Communication was via telegram or letter.

‘Life was simple but also more insulated.

‘The priest, bank manager, headmaster and police sergeant were all respected pillars of the community. Beyond reproach.

‘These days priests and headmasters are tainted by child sex scandals. The bank manager is nothing more than a salesman and the police sergeant could be on the take. How the mighty have fallen — fairly or unfairly — in the eyes of today’s society.

‘We have come a long way (for better or worse) in so many ways.

‘We earn more. We also consume more — goods, services and calories. We are better educated. We are living longer. We are more heavily regulated and governed. We are less independent — we rely far too much on government and its agencies for “solutions”. We are more indebted — home loans, student loans, consumer credit, lines of credit, credit cards. We are in the midst of one of the great periods of transformation in history — technology is only just starting to change our lives.

‘In spite of the contrasts between now and then, some things remain constant.

‘We all die. Booms still bust. Fear and Greed will never go out of fashion. Prosperity is achieved by productivity not the printing presses. It is never ‘different this time’. Too much debt always ends in disaster. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. While the world gets smarter and faster it is still humans — with all their foibles — who make the decisions. Society and our economy are the sum total of those decisions — good and bad.

‘Millions of collective decisions have created the three big trends that I see influencing our future:

  • Health revolution — living longer, plan for a working life well beyond today’s accepted retirement age. Expect higher taxes to be paid to finance age pensions and care.
  • Technological revolution — automation and robotics will drive costs lower and unemployment higher.
  • Financial revolution — after the next credit crisis, there will be a spurning of debt in favour of savings.

‘Understanding the interaction of these three powerful trends on society in general — and we as individuals — will be important in our endeavour to successful navigate our way through the challenging and exciting years that lie ahead.

‘Love Dad’


The C(o)urse of Love


In a more self-aware society than our own, a standard question would be, "And how crazy are you?" because none of us are normal. We only seem normal to those who don't know us very well. Ditto with marriages: the only ones that seem normal are the ones we don't know very well.

Alain de Botton, the same person who wrote the insightful article 'Why you will marry the wrong person' has done it again: he's come out with another insightful book: "The Course of Love" (I would've preferred parentheses around the letter 'o' in the word 'Course' but that's just my personal opinion ☺)

De Botton is probably the most famous living philosopher in the English-speaking world. I would go so far and say he could easily become the Plato or Nietzsche of our time. He has written several best-selling books, including 'The Consolations of Philosophy', 'Religion for Atheists' and 'How to Think More About Sex'. Three obvious factors have propelled his international success: (a) he is very good at thinking of book titles; (b) he has a French-sounding name; and (c) he is bald. All of these are vital attributes for a public philosopher.

He was born in Zurich, Switzerland, to an Egyptian father and a Swiss mother. Both his parents were Jewish. His father was a multimillionaire merchant banker and a pioneer in the field of asset management. De Botton grew up in England, where he attended Harrow School as a boarder.

Critics have attacked him for trivialising philosophy; others applaud him for making it accessible to a modern audience. If nothing else, you must admire him for having become a multi-millionaire through his books and his School of Life which now has branches in London (headquarters), Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Istanbul, Melbourne, Paris, Perth, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Sydney, and Tel Aviv.

It's been a while since I had "de-Botton-ed" on one of his books. The Course of Love, which is a story about the nature of modern love interspersed with de Botton's trademark philosophical musings which are signposted in self-conscious italics, will be my next one after having read this preview:

"The Course of Love - Infatuations

The hotel is on a rocky outcrop, half an hour east of M├ílaga. It has been designed for families and inadvertently reveals, especially at mealtimes, the challenges of being part of one. Rabih Khan is fifteen and on holiday with his father and stepmother. The atmosphere among them is somber and the conversation halting. It has been three years since Rabih’s mother died. A buffet is laid out every day on a terrace overlooking the pool. Occasionally his stepmother remarks on the paella or the wind, which has been blowing intensely from the south. She is originally from Gloucestershire and likes to garden.

A marriage doesn’t begin with a proposal, or even an initial meeting. It begins far earlier, when the idea of love is born, and more specifically the dream of a soul mate.

Rabih first sees the girl by the water slide. She is about a year younger than him, with chestnut hair cut short like a boy’s, olive skin, and slender limbs. She is wearing a striped sailor top, blue shorts, and a pair of lemon-yellow flip-flops. There’s a thin leather band around her right wrist. She glances over at him, pulls what may be a halfhearted smile, and rearranges herself on her deck chair. For the next few hours she looks pensively out to sea, listening to her Walkman and, at intervals, biting her nails. Her parents are on either side of her, her mother paging through a copy of Elle and her father reading a Len Deighton novel in French. As Rabih will later find out from the guest book, she is from Clermont-Ferrand and is called Alice Saure.

He has never felt anything remotely like this before. The sensation overwhelms him from the first. It isn’t dependent on words, which they will never exchange. It is as if he has in some way always known her, as if she holds out an answer to his very existence and, especially, to a zone of confused pain inside him. Over the coming days, he observes her from a distance around the hotel: at breakfast in a white dress with a floral hem, fetching a yogurt and a peach from the buffet; at the tennis court, apologizing to the coach for her backhand with touching politeness in heavily accented English; and on an (apparently) solitary walk around the perimeter of the golf course, stopping to look at cacti and hibiscus.

It may come very fast, this certainty that another human being is a soul mate. We needn’t have spoken with them; we may not even know their name. Objective knowledge doesn’t come into it. What matters instead is intuition, a spontaneous feeling that seems all the more accurate and worthy of respect because it bypasses the normal processes of reason.

The infatuation crystallizes around a range of elements: a flip-flop hanging nonchalantly off a foot; a paperback of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha lying on a towel next to the sun cream; well-defined eyebrows; a distracted manner when answering her parents and a way of resting her cheek in her palm while taking small mouthfuls of chocolate mousse at the evening buffet.

Instinctively he teases out an entire personality from the details. Looking up at the revolving wooden blades of the ceiling fan in his room, in his mind Rabih writes the story of his life with her. She will be melancholy and street-smart. She will confide in him and laugh at the hypocrisy of others. She will sometimes be anxious about parties and around other girls at school, symptoms of a sensitive and profound personality. She’ll have been lonely and will never until now have taken anyone else into her full confidence. They’ll sit on her bed playfully enlacing their fingers. She, too, won’t ever have imagined that such a bond could be possible between two people.

Then one morning, without warning, she is gone and a Dutch couple with two small boys are sitting at her table. She and her parents left the hotel at dawn to catch the Air France flight home, the manager explains.

The whole incident is negligible. They are never to meet again. He tells no one. She is wholly untouched by his ruminations. Yet, if the story begins here, it is because—although so much about Rabih will alter and mature over the years—his understanding of love will for decades retain precisely the structure it first assumed at the Hotel Casa Al Sur in the summer of his sixteenth year. He will continue to trust in the possibility of rapid, wholehearted understanding and empathy between two human beings and in the chance of a definitive end to loneliness.

He will experience similarly bittersweet longings for other lost soul mates spotted on buses, in the aisles of grocery stores, and in the reading rooms of libraries. He will have precisely the same feeling at the age of twenty, during a semester of study in Manhattan, about a woman seated to his left on the northbound C train; and at twenty-five in the architectural office in Berlin where he is doing work experience; and at twenty-nine on a flight between Paris and London after a brief conversation over the English Channel with a woman named Chloe: the feeling of having happened upon a long-lost missing part of his own self.

For the Romantic, it is only the briefest of steps from a glimpse of a stranger to the formulation of a majestic and substantial conclusion: that he or she may constitute a comprehensive answer to the unspoken questions of existence.

The intensity may seem trivial — humorous, even — yet this reverence for instinct is not a minor planet within the cosmology of relationships. It is the underlying central sun around which contemporary ideals of love revolve.

The Romantic faith must always have existed, but only in the past few centuries has it been judged anything more than an illness; only recently has the search for a soul mate been allowed to take on the status of something close to the purpose of life. An idealism previously directed at gods and spirits has been rerouted towards human subjects — an ostensibly generous gesture nevertheless freighted with forbidding and brittle consequences, for it is no simple thing for any human being to honor over a lifetime the perfections he or she might have hinted at to an imaginative observer in the street, the office, or the adjoining airplane seat.

It will take Rabih many years and frequent essays in love to reach a few different conclusions, to recognize that the very things he once considered romantic — wordless intuitions, instantaneous longings, a trust in soul mates—are what stand in the way of learning how to be with someone. He will surmise that love can endure only when one is unfaithful to its beguiling opening ambitions, and that, for his relationships to work, he will need to give up on the feelings that got him into them in the first place. He will need to learn that love is a skill rather than an enthusiasm."


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sleeping around


Well, I thought this heading would get your attention! And, yes, our resident possum has been sleeping around because for the last few mornings it never poked its head out of the 'Possum Penthouse' but this morning there it was again, demanding breakfast in bed.

Then I had to drive into the Bay to see the vet. No, not for myself but for Rover who seems to have developed, on top of his cataracts, an ulcer in his left eye. $118 and the tiniest 10mg-tube of 'Conoptal Eye Drops' later, we were back at "Riverbend", watching the share market and watching the news, none of which was good.

While I’m personally a pacifist, I believe, with tensions in Ukraine, the South China Sea, and the Middle East rising at an alarming rate, the Third World War has already started. It's quite clear that the US - a declining economic power, and it doesn't like it one bit - wants a war.

Having considered itself the world’s policeman, the US has poked its nose into every geopolitical event since the Second World War. The difference this time is that China — the world’s second largest economy, and soon to be the largest — won’t be pushed around and its Central Military Commission is already preparing for war.

So where does this leave the stock market? As legendary investor Jim Rogers said: 'War isn’t great for much else but commodities', so if you want a hedge against war, buy commodity stocks, especially oil.

Speaking of which: when push comes to shove, you had better stock up on candles and get out your old draft horse because Australia, one of the world’s top energy exporters, closed its last oil refinery in 2014, and the whole country will come to a grinding hold when our 90-day stockpile runs out.

Let's hope those ordered twelve $50-billion French submarines and 72 F-35A fighter planes can be converted to run on cheap Hunter Valley chardonnay or else we'll be sitting ducks.

And that's all the good oil for the day!


Monday, July 25, 2016

My reverse Bucket List
Things I will NOT do before I get old!

Extreme skiing in Wyoming

Cliff camping

Skywalking in the Alps

Climbing Redwoods

Sitting on the Trolltunga rock in Norway

Jumping on the Trolltunga rock in Norway

Rock climbing in South Africa

Ice climbing a frozen waterfall

Extreme picnicking

Skywalking on Mount Nimbus in Canada

Tree camping in Germany

Just having a look around

Extreme kayaking at Victoria Falls

Diving 30 meters through a rock monolith in Portugal

Climbing Mt. Wellington

Standing on the Edgewalk in Toronto

Cycling in Norway

Sitting around at Yosemite

Walking over a crevice

Glacier boarding anywhere

Biking on the Cliffs of Moher


Fortunately, I am ALREADY old. I didn't get here by being stupid!