Saturday, December 17, 2005


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Beach no-go zones were announced in Sydney as celebrities rallied for peace at Coogee beach.

Actors Cate Blanchett, Claudia Karvan and Bryan Brown joined singer Jimmy Barnes to call for tolerance.

"It is actually very clear and simple," Blanchett said. "Violence and racism are bad. Whenever they occur they are to to be condemned and we should not turn a blind eye."

"It's about respect for others, respect for the rights of others and respect of the rights of everyone to go about their lives in a peaceful way."

Amen! People guilty of violence should be prosecuted, whether it happens on the beach or anywhere else, regardless of their race or religion. That's not hard to understand, is it?

Let's hope that next year those disturbances in Sydney, a blemish on the face of Australia, will be just an unpleasant memory.

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I read in the local paper that 2005 was one of the warmest years on record in Tasmania. We could believe that quite easily.

Thursday night it was so warm and stuffy that I didn't find it easy to sleep. The house still seemed hot and uncomfortable on Friday morning.

We went over to Julie's house and she released two of the chickens she'd been hand-rearing into the newly constructed addition to the hen house. At least it's shaded and protected for them out on the other side of the barnyard.

After watching the chickens for a while, I decided they were all right and went back to the house to walk the dogs. The sun was high and I warmed up quickly. Even the dogs felt the heat and lapped up some water as soon as we got back inside.

It was still sunny when I returned home, but there was enough shadow over by the banksia rose in the driveway, and we took some chairs out and sat in the shade with a glass of wine.

We finished off the 2003 Gordo semi-dry made by Akrasi Wines in Victoria. It's a light fruity wine with a touch of musket, very pleasant.

After about half an hour out there, eating sandwiches and reading magazines, we actually cooled off a bit. Julie moved her chair over into the sun - "I'm getting gooseflesh over there, and reading that theological journal is putting me to sleep". "I recommend another cup of coffee," I said, "and switching to The Lady for a while."

Finally about 7 o'clock it clouded over and two or three hours later it rained for a while.

I served up some salmon for dinner, on a bed of rocket and spinach with a dressing of balsamic vinegar and capsicum. Julie added extra mayonnaise to hers. Washed it down with some green tea and finished off with a slice of pannecota.

Meanwhile, the cage left vacant by the two chickens outside the back door didn't stay empty for long. Julie moved in two of the other chickens from the box outside her bedroom door. This only leaves two chicks inside (one of those is the one with the bad leg - I don't know what we're going to do with him).

At least we're going in the right direction: less poultry rather than more.

Tony Delroy for some reason started his annual holidays on Friday 16th December, so the Friday night radio show went to air across Australia with Anne Fitzgerald, who hails from Launceston in northern Tasmania.

It's always interesting to see how the summer replacements handle the late show. Tony makes it all sound so easy and conversational that you only realise how good he is when somebody else tries to do the same thing and fails.

The midnight quiz segment "The Challenge" is often a litmus test. The regular callers are affronted if the compere doesn't take it seriously and they're always quick to point out if the rules aren't being followed.

I can think of one fill-in emcee who was so obviously out of her depth that we had to grit our teeth and wait out the month for the return of the regular presenter. Her first couple of nights hosting the quiz were trying listening.

The Idlers on Saturday night was pushed back to 9:05 p.m. by the cricket broadcast, which was supposed to finish at 8:30. Will we ever get a radio executive with the gumption to cut off a sports broadcast if it over-runs? I suspect not.

We await the summer with a mixture of trepdiation and anticipation. Sometimes you can get something really good. Sometimes you don't.

I suspect in a few weeks we'll be tired of the word "Narnia" as the movie advertising bandwagon hits high gear.

Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis' step-son [who once lived in Tasmania], says that he tried to interest Hollywood in a Narnia movie for years but it wasn't until the success of The Lord of the Rings that there was a nibble.

If it gets people interested in the original novels that can only be a good thing. My local supermarket already has a special rack displaying paperbacks of the whole series.

I wonder if some television station in a couple of years will make a double-feature out of Shadowlands and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?

Pamela Anderson's new sitcom Stacked is now running on the late show on Friday night. It's mildly amusing – certainly better than a lot of the half-hour comedies that American television churn out by the yard.

I saw an interview where Pammy was asked about the title. She replied drily "I think it's a double-entendre." (The show is about a bookstore.)

Let's hope that it runs longer than her last venture V.I.P. did on local television. That would have to be the most misunderstood programme on the air – nobody seemed to understand that it was a spoof. It wasn't supposed to be a serious crime drama.

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