March 2017 exiting

Can’t resist the latest spam bot, this one calling itself Jim and emanating, Jim says, from Fox News (UK) with a German email address:

I hafe bedn browsing onlpine more tha threee hours today, yeet I nevwr found anny interesting article likee yours.

It iss pretgty worh enough ffor me. In my opinion, iff aall webite
ownerfs annd bloggeers mde gopod content as youu
did, the internet wwill be mch mopre useeful tha ever before.
I’ve been brosing onlime mopre tha 2 hokurs today,
yett I nevver found any interesting article ike yours.
It iis pretyy wordth enough ffor me. In my view, iff all webmasterds aand bloggers madce gooid conteent as yyou did,

Now “Bye-bye Jim” — presses the “Empty Spam” button…


In March 2017 this blog has averaged 50 hits a day, down on last month but better than last March’s 43.

The most visited posts have been:

Home page / Archives  897 views in March 2017
Friday Australian poem: #NS6 – Mary Gilmore “Old Botany Bay” 29
Ian 24
Ian Thorpe, Bullied, USA insight  15
Tom Thumb Lagoon  14
Proud of my old school/workplace 14
Fascinated by Catherine McKinnon’s “Storyland” 13
Yesterdays — 1944 and March 2017  13
What was I up to in March 2002/2007  11
About  11
Two on Trump  11
Coniston  11
Random Friday memory: 1 – John Mystery, my brother, Illawong 10
Mapping disadvantage 10
All my posts 10
Nobel prize winner’s obituary triggers memories 10
Hard to ignore the weather…  10
London 10


Hard to ignore the weather…

The latest satellite map available:


And a couple of days back:


What’s happening now:

All south-east Queensland schools will be shut today and businesses asked to close by lunchtime as ex-Cyclone Debbie nears, bringing severe thunderstorms, torrential rain and flash flooding…

“We are looking at some totals in excess of 400mm about the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast hinterland and the Great Dividing Range,” BOM forecaster Matt Bass said….

Gale force winds are being forecast for the south-east corner today, up to 120kph in coastal and elevated areas, and more than 700 homes have lost power in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said shops should shut early today…

Live updates. Looks as if Sirdan in Gympie may be getting some of that rain — I just checked the BOM 256 km Gympie (Mt Kanigan) Radar Loop. And here for our part of the world (NSW) is the current weather warning. It is now raining in Wollongong, but not heavily.

Issued at 4:58 am Thursday, 30 March 2017.


A low pressure system over central-eastern Queensland and a high pressure system over the Tasman Sea are dragging a humid tropical air mass over parts of NSW. Heavy rainfall over northeastern NSW is likely during Thursday and Friday as a cold front approaches from the southwest and interacts with this humid airmass.

HEAVY RAIN which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is expected over northern parts of the coast during Thursday and Friday. HEAVY RAIN which may lead to FLASH FLOODING is also possible over northern slopes and ranges on Thursday.

24 hour totals in excess of 100 mm are expected over the Northern Rivers district during Thursday, and it is likely that some locations will exceed more than 250 mm. 24 hour totals exceeding 100 mm during Thursday are also possible over parts of the northern ranges and slopes, and parts of the Mid North Coast.

Thunderstorms may develop with this system and could amplify rainfall.

Recycled: pictures from seven years ago

Selected from Monthly Archives: April 2010.


There are near the Devonshire Street entrance to Central Station busts – not all that good either, I’m afraid – of various heroes of the Latin American communities. I have noticed that every now and again a head gets knocked off, but usually reappears fairly quickly.

Just after Anzac Day I say that the Uraguayan national hero José Gervasio Artigas Arnal (June 19, 1764 – September 23, 1850) had disappeared but had been replaced by a somewhat altered Aussie Digger.


Belmore Park


Central Station



Sunday lunches at The Chinese Whisper in Surry Hills


Sydney skyline from Rosebery

On the Revenant of Oz inoculating us against common sense…

The Revenant is back in form.


The latest:

Senator Hanson had made the comments earlier today while defending her social media post urging Australians to pray for a Muslim ban after yesterday’s London attack.

“Let me put it this way, we have a disease, we vaccinate ourself against it,” she said.

“Islam is a disease we need to vaccinate ourself against that.”

The response from government and others has been swift, as it should be:

The Deputy Prime Minister slammed Senator Hanson’s comments as “bat-poo crazy stuff” and “plain dumb”.

“You can’t say stuff like that, you just can’t. It’s mad,” Mr Joyce said.

I didn’t watch #QandA last night, opting to read and listen to music instead. But apparently some relevant things were said there.

It was not the only time Chikarovski was on clean-up duty. She also deftly dispatched a questioner wondering what could be done about the effort by Muslims “to establish a worldwide caliphate”.

Chikarovski, in summary: “It’s not going to happen.”

In all, it was a night that required panellists to have their wits about them. This much was clear from the git-go, when the opening question began: “In the wake of the London terror attacks in Westminster, the Mayor of London, Mr Sadiq Khan, stated terror attacks are now part and parcel of living in a big city…”

Mr Khan said no such thing last week. He made a similar remark last September – only to find it resurrected out of context by Donald Trump Jr in recent days, and bafflingly resurrected again last night on Q&A.

“He didn’t say that, right?” A hat-tip to panellist Peter Holmes a Court for heading this particular bit of fake news off at the pass, albeit several minutes beyond the point at which it should ever have been let loose.

Here is a heartening story, definitely not fake. Women formed a human chain along Westminster Bridge tonight to remember the victims of the attack on March 22. We need to “inoculate” ourselves against the likes of The Revenant with what these women have!

Participants in the Women's March, gather on Westminster Bridge to hold hands in silence, to remember victims of the attack in Westminster earlier in the week, in London

Former Howard government minister Amanda Vanstone has a good piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

We hope for and, I think, are entitled to expect a higher standard from our elected representatives. Why on earth did Pauline Hanson rush out with her “pray4muslim immigration ban#”?…

The radical Islamists are engaging in a war for the hearts and minds of the next generation. We, the West, will not win that war with guns and bombs alone.They will have their place. If you fail to stand up to your enemy you will be crushed. The battle for hearts and minds will certainly not be won by taunting and insulting those the radicals want to win over.

Throwing gravel in the face of normal decent Muslims just makes some of them, and particularly their children much more vulnerable to the messages from the radicals.

Hanson’s constant knocking of all Muslims just plays right into the hands of the very people we should be afraid of. They don’t have to convince Muslim children that they’re not liked by the West when there are Members of Parliament happy to go out there and do it for them. Hanson doesn’t mean to help the radical islamists. Nobody could suggest that. But that doesn’t change the fact that what she does or says does in fact help them.

My reading last night continued with the excellent Graeme Wood, The Way of Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State. I have found his What ISIS Really Wants on The Atlantic. I commend it to you as a condensed version of the book. I find him learned, convincing and enlightening.

Virtually every  major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal…

Denying the holiness of the Koran or the prophecies of Muhammad is straightforward apostasy. But Zarqawi and the state he spawned take the position that many other acts can remove a Muslim from Islam. These include, in certain cases, selling alcohol or drugs, wearing Western clothes or shaving one’s beard, voting in an election—even for a Muslim candidate—and being lax about calling other people apostates. Being a Shiite, as most Iraqi Arabs are, meets the standard as well, because the Islamic State regards Shiism as innovation, and to innovate on the Koran is to deny its initial perfection. (The Islamic State claims that common Shiite practices, such as worship at the graves of imams and public self-flagellation, have no basis in the Koran or in the example of the Prophet.) That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God.

Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. The lack of objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks. Muslim “apostates” are the most common victims….

A few “lone wolf” supporters of the Islamic State have attacked Western targets, and more attacks will come. But most of the attackers have been frustrated amateurs, unable to immigrate to the caliphate because of confiscated passports or other problems. Even if the Islamic State cheers these attacks—and it does in its propaganda—it hasn’t yet planned and financed one….

Western officials would probably do best to refrain from weighing in on matters of Islamic theological debate altogether. Barack Obama himself drifted into takfiri waters when he claimed that the Islamic State was “not Islamic”—the irony being that he, as the non-Muslim son of a Muslim, may himself be classified as an apostate, and yet is now practicing takfir against Muslims. Non-Muslims’ practicing takfir elicits chuckles from jihadists (“Like a pig covered in feces giving hygiene advice to others,” one tweeted).

I suspect that most Muslims appreciated Obama’s sentiment: the president was standing with them against both Baghdadi and non-Muslim chauvinists trying to implicate them in crimes. But most Muslims aren’t susceptible to joining jihad. The ones who are susceptible will only have had their suspicions confirmed: the United States lies about religion to serve its purposes….

In the light of all that The Revenant’s nostrums make no sense at all!

Yesterdays — 1944 and March 2017

I mentioned on Facebook that I managed to speak on the phone to my brother Ian in Devonport Hospital. A nurse took the call and then passed the phone to Ian. Given the circumstances I didn’t talk long, the real object being to let him know I was aware of what has been happening and was thinking of him. He thanked me.

What I didn’t say on Facebook is that his son in Lightning Ridge and his daughter in Engadine had both told me to try to speak to him — he doesn’t always answer the phone — as it may possibly be the last chance to do so. If a new course of antibiotics started yesterday is effective, that may change. If not…

I was at times teary yesterday, but fortunately not when speaking to Ian.

I further posted on Facebook:

Document: 14390 Cpl. Whitfield J. N.
Group 833

My Darling Wife

I came to work this morning thinking it was just another day, another hot steaming day, after a terrific thunderstorm last night. About nine o’clock a chap came in with some demands that had to be attended to and on dating them the realisation struck me, this was no ordinary day to me, but a very special one, the anniversary of the day when I made my very bestest pal in all the world mine for keeps, for worse or better. You notice I put the “worse” first, because I am sure many, many happy days lie ahead for us. Yes, we have had more than our share of worries & I have at times very selfishly added to them, sometimes quite unintentionally, because there really wasn’t any need for you to worry at all. I’m a bit of a tease really… Anyway dearest one I will try to do as you wish me to in everything. I have caused you enough heartaches. I can’t always help this of course, but I fully intend to try and make up for any short comings I may have. I can never repay the debt I owe you for giving me three such lovely children. I love them very dearly, and am exceedingly proud of their nice appearance & manner… .…/about-the-whitfields-2/


Back row: Aunt Ruth, my mother Jean, Uncle Neil (on leave from the RAAF), Aunt Beth

Front row: me, my sister Jeanette, my brother Ian

Probably 1944. Creased because my father carried it with him in Port Moresby 1945.