“What do you call a fart in the bathtub?” It was a question I asked award-winning columnist of The Australian, author, snake lover and bagpipes player, James Jeffrey (Photo above The Australian), a decade or so ago. The answer, of course, is “Gorp,” the sound of a fart in the bath. James liked it and … Continue reading Strewth! A magnificent memoir of home truths
Pity the poor editorial page editor who has to predict who will win the US presidential election a year ahead of the ballot. I was thinking that the other night as I listened to Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor of The Washington Post, who’s in Australia under the auspices of the US Studies Centre … Continue reading The US presidential election: Only 368 days to go!
Americans call it football. Australians call it gridiron. For the more than 40 years I’ve lived in Australia, I’ve had to listen to criticism of the most popular spectator sport in the United States. Budding behemoths with huge helmets and too much padding, playing a 60-minute game that lasts more than three hours, and is … Continue reading Jarryd Hayne: The NRL star doing the hard yards in the NFL
When you have a surname like Day, you can be king for a day, a hero for a day, but when you’re Jason after winning a major golf tournament, you have just had your Greatest Day. This is a rags to riches story, a sporting fairy tale that comes along once or twice in a … Continue reading Mama told Jason there’d be Days like this
I’m beginning to worry about Tony Abbott and how his war on the ABC is affecting him (Photo above by Jeremy Piper, News Corp Australia). I don’t agree with all his policies (too many to mention here), but I’ve considered him a nice bloke since I got to know him in the late 2000s. In … Continue reading Tony Abbott: No longer Mr Nice Guy
Six weeks ago, I posted a piece about the Australian Government's new law to force telcos to retain data of journalists and everyone else for two years and how dangerous it was for press freedom (http://wp.me/p1Ytmx-kL). I said I was looking forward to hearing what Ross Coulthart (photo above) had to say about the threats … Continue reading Journalists beware: Rogue cell towers spying on a mobile near you
Terrorism came to Sydney this week in the guise of a deranged gunman -- a self-styled Sheik, who took 17 hostages in a Lindt chocolate café in the CBD of one of the world’s greatest and safest cities. It wasn’t Taliban terrorism where 141 people, most of them children, were killed in a school in … Continue reading Hell has touched Sydney, yet blessed are the flower people
President Barack Obama sent me an email last week. It’s not unusual, as he’s been doing it for six years now, ever since he ran for the White House and won. I’ve voted for Barack Obama twice now, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic National Committee, and Organizing for Action (OFA), have … Continue reading G20: What’s wrong with mentioning climate change?
Gough Whitlam, who died today at the age of 98, was my first Australian hero. When I arrived in Sydney in 1971, I got a job teaching at Cabramatta High School in the western suburbs. I didn't know a lot about Australian politics, but one of the first things a fellow teacher at the school … Continue reading Gough Whitlam: We will never see his like again
"There are some very pleasant people in newspapers, but would you want your son or daughter to marry one?" That was a question asked by the journalist Peter Smark in a five-part series in The Age in the 1970s. Well, my answer is yes, and I’ll give you three examples why from this week’s news: … Continue reading Journalism is not a crime; it’s a way of life