Monday, July 10, 2017

Readers Write and Monday Miscellany


Readers Write . . . 

An email from Dianne M in Holland, in response to yesterday’s post about remembering things past:

Hi Otto

Great Bytes today going back through memory lane from the dunny can to the fire crackers and everything in between.

The fireman’s hat would look beautiful all polished up, also the memories of your mum.

Just received an email from an Aussie friend, product designed in Australia:

A useful BBQ set up in the pot , water container filled with ice and beer. When finished with the BBQ, flush the toilet and no fire danger, what a great design. 😀👍. 

Take care, have a great afternoon


Thanks, Dianne.

An email from Steve M here in Oz in response to the same post:

Enjoyed the ‘remember when’ segment today Otto. Gosh there were some great memories there! 

I never experienced the Dunny Man but have heard Diane’s family taking about him – what a shit job!

Cracker night was big in the UK where I grew up, being the home of the founding incident, of course. 

As kids we used to get up as early as possible the next day and run around collecting rockets – a stick 

with the shattered remains of a soot-blackened firework at one end. He who managed to collate the 

biggest and the most ‘sticks’ was the winner, and subject of great envy, and quite often, petty thievery from jealous competitors, as well.

One thing I don’t quite understand about cracker night here, though, is that I am told it is not possible to purchase fireworks without an appropriate licence in every state except Canberra? I am also told (I think it was one of your naughty sons that told me this....) that Canberra has very relaxed laws when it comes to various ‘adult services’, including pornography? All joking aside, if that is true, how did it come about? It makes no sense at all, considering it is the seat of Government.

Steve m.

Some comments:
  • All Australian States progressively banned the sale and purchase of fireworks in the 1980’s. Canberra followed suit in 2009.
  • The reasons for such ban were the risk of bushfires being caused (who knows where the lit sky rockets come down) and the injuries regularly caused by fireworks.
  • Sparklers and party poppers may still be purchased, subject to compliance with size regulations.
  • The only place in Oz where you can legally buy fireworks is in the Northern Territory on 1 July, which is Territory Day. Fusion Fireworks sells the fireworks up there but it has to be purchased from within their store, they cannot mail them and cannot end to the other States. Certain fireworks may not be sold. See:
  • Steve, you are correct that the laws on the sale of pornography are more relaxed in Canberra than elsewhere in Oz. Notably the Canberra suburb of Fyshwick, an industrial area, had porn sale outlets and I recall sandwich boards by the roadside with direction arrows pointing the way to XXX videos. I have read that with the advent of the internet, business for these outlets has declined and some have closed down. Why more relaxed in Canberra? I am unaware, perhaps readers can assist.
Thanks, Steve.

Monday Miscellany:

Chris Uhlmann, the political editor for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, for readers overseas), delivered his wrapup of US President Trump’s participation in the G20 Summit. It makes some observations and comments worth considering:
G20: Does Donald Trump's awkward performance indicate America's decline as world power?
By political editor Chris Uhlmann

The G20 became the G19 as it ended. On the Paris climate accords the United States was left isolated and friendless.

It is, apparently, where this US President wants to be as he seeks to turn his nation inward.

Donald Trump has a particular, and limited, skill-set. He has correctly identified an illness at the heart of the Western democracy. But he has no cure for it and seems to just want to exploit it.

He is a character drawn from America's wild west, a travelling medicine showman selling moonshine remedies that will kill the patient.

And this week he underlined he has neither the desire nor the capacity to lead the world.

Given the US was always going to be one out on climate change, a deft American President would have found an issue around which he could rally most of the leaders.

He had the perfect vehicle — North Korea's missile tests.

So, where was the G20 statement condemning North Korea? That would have put pressure on China and Russia? Other leaders expected it and they were prepared to back it but it never came.

There is a tendency among some hopeful souls to confuse the speeches written for Mr Trump with the thoughts of the man himself.
He did make some interesting, scripted, observations in Poland about defending the values of the West.

And Mr Trump is in a unique position — he is the one man who has the power to do something about it.

But it is the unscripted Mr Trump that is real. A man who barks out bile in 140 characters, who wastes his precious days as President at war with the West's institutions — like the judiciary, independent government agencies and the free press.

He was an uneasy, awkward figure at this gathering and you got the strong sense some other leaders were trying to find the best way to work around him.

Mr Trump is a man who craves power because it burnishes his celebrity. To be constantly talking and talked about is all that really matters. And there is no value placed on the meaning of words. So what is said one day can be discarded the next.

So, what did we learn this week?

We learned Mr Trump has pressed fast forward on the decline of the US as a global leader. He managed to diminish his nation and to confuse and alienate his allies.

He will cede that power to China and Russia — two authoritarian states that will forge a very different set of rules for the 21st century.

Some will cheer the decline of America, but I think we'll miss it when it is gone.

And that is the biggest threat to the values of the West which he claims to hold so dear.

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