. . . a few of my favourite things . . .

It’s a funny old world, innit?

  • Ash Barty. Just as Sam Stosur starts getting to be just a bit past it, along comes young Ash. What a girl! Will she take out Wimbledon? I’ll keep my fingers (and toes) crossed.
  • Nick Kyrgios and Venus Williams, did you watch their last match? Tennis at its very best, with Nick clearly in awe of playing with such a goddess of the sport. Shame he’s now had to withdraw after injuring himself.
  • Covid – we’ve kept our infections and deaths down pretty well, but our vaccine roll-out has been pathetically slow compared with many other countries. Logistics, all is logistics – our pollies hadn’t even heard of the word until a couple of minutes ago!
  • China. Has reverted to the 1800s, has gone utterly doolally, has a lot to answer for, and is stupefyingly dangerous. Handle with great care until they recover.

That’ll do for now. 😎

Author: Bearsy

A Queensland Bear with attitude

19 thoughts on “. . . a few of my favourite things . . .”

  1. I too hope that Ash Barty does well at Wimbledon, Bearsy. But I’m not heart broken that Kyrgios has retired because of injury. I find him annoying and I believe Tennis Australia does too.

  2. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I agree Sheona, because his talent is considerably greater than his self-control. But if he gets on top of himself he could be one of the best – in my humble (ha!) and old (very) opinion. 😎

  3. I agree, Bearsy, Kyrgios could be one of the best but doesn’t seem to want to apply himself.

    Barty not off to a great start in first set today.

  4. Had I read this yesterday I would have had good reason to criticise the lack of mentioning our new star, Raducanu, when mentioning Ladies Wimbledon tennis, but since yesterday’s disaster i will keep quiet.

  5. Because Boris completely screwed me over (again) I’m now back in California for the time being. Only my things are in the UK and will need to be transported Stateside in due course. I am sorely tempted to send a bill to Boris since it is his fault. As a result, I had the jab in California. Here, you are given an option as to which of the three authorised varieties you’d like: Janssen, Pfizer or Moderna. Having already had the bug, the single-shot Janssen was the best option. As it is a traditional jab, I felt more comfortable with it. I simply turned up, was seated almost immediately, was given the jab, had my European booklet filled in and was given a CDC card and was sent on my way. About ten days later I was given a $50 prepaid gift card to use for online shopping as a bonus. At least in the US, almost everyone who wants to have the jab has been given the jab. Two out of three have at least started the process. Life, as a result, has largely returned to normal. Muzzles are no longer required except in hospitals (probably not a bad idea with or without the virus) and on public transport (a bit annoying, but so long as people kind of pretend to go along with it, they’re left in peace. In stores, restaurants, coffee shops, banks, etc. it’s optional. Most no longer wear one.

  6. You do seem to get around Christopher. Still, better to miss the dreadful floods in Germany. I trust all your friends and relatives in Trier are safe and well. Likewise I hope that Christina and Cog are surviving the heat wave in their neck of the woods.

  7. Sheona: I had an eventful summer, two weeks in Sweden and about 10 days in Turkey before flying to California. It was supposed to be a two-week visit, but it’s turning into a year. I’m looking at places to live in Spain and Portugal at the moment. Córdoba and exurban Lisbon are my two top choices at the moment. After having been burnt badly twice by Boris in under a year, I’ve decided against going back to the UK. The risk is too high for me.

    My grandmother is safe in an old age home on top of a hill that’s miles from any water. My aunt is, likewise, on top of a hill miles from the rivers. The place I used to live has, however, been evacuated and I heard that the basement flooded. It makes the water conservation measures in California palatable!

  8. The disastrous flooding in Germany, and Belgium and the Netherlands and Switzerland, certainly bear out your previous comments about Merkel’s lack of care for the infra structure in Germany, Christopher.

  9. Oz is steadily becoming more of a natural partner to the UK (economically, notably trading-wise in a complementary sense, but also politically, socially etc).

    But there’s the problem, conceptually at any rate, re physical distance of separation, being, sad to say, opposite sides of the globe.

    Might it be time to create a brand new entity – namely a cross-linked trans-globe presence? Like a united Brit and Australia? (Yes, NZ also invited to join if it so wishes).

    But would modern-day Oz accept our (long-established) monarchy as part of an expanded UK (i.e. renamed “UK of GB , NI and Oz”)?

    Just a thought…

  10. Hmm . . .

    You may recall that Australia is a constitutional monarchy – our Head of State is the Queen of Australia (represented by the Governor General), a post currently occupied by Lizzie Windsor. She has many such appointments – New Zealand, Canada . . . etc., all of which are entirely separate from her job as Queen of the UK. No reversion to the old colonial system would be entertained.

    Australia is an independent sovereign nation, beholden to none. The Yanks and the Chinese (recently) may think otherwise, but that’s the way it is. We have a close relationship with the Kiwis, but respect each other’s autonomy. We’ll trade with anyone, within reason, and have initiated several trade agreements with large groupings of nations, to the benefit of all.

    Nobody on this side of the world has forgotten how the UK dropped us like a hot potato, destroying long established export markets at a stroke when Ted Heath (puke!) took you lot into the EU. So don’t look to us for a partnership or any type of special relationship – it won’t happen!

    . . . and we’re not growing closer, to the UK or the States, far from it. Australia’s culture has changed a lot over the past 30 years and the Cultural Cringe has nearly completely faded from view. Mutual respect may stand a chance, but the UK will have to prove that it’s no longer perfidious Albion!

    Have a nice day guys 😎

  11. I understand that no country in its right mind such as Australia and New Zealand would want any links with the UK while Sturgeon is busy ruining part of it. Scottish schools are now back after the summer break with little ones age four and above free to decide that they might want to change gender – well this week at least – and teachers instructed to pander to them. What needs to be taught is that there is a third person singular pronoun for those who do not wish to be “he” or “she”. They must be called “it” and should only be addressed as “they” if they have grown a second head.

    Sturgeon has now finagled an alliance with the Green party, one of whose leaders is an Englishman, but who cares if that’s going to advance her plans for independence. I doubt it will, since there are a host of financial problems in the way. Husband Peter Murrell may even have to allow people access to the books, something he has so far forbidden. Not that there’s any shenanigans to hide of course!

  12. Bearsy’s response puts me in mind of a similarly arms’ length article from Oz that I chanced upon in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum:

    “Australia must remember 1973 before running back to Britain”


    There it’s more explicit re the immediate bone of contention when the UK signed up to the (then) EC (later EU): a massive slump in export of Oz farming products, notably butter and apples.

    But might I request that talk be ended about “running back to Britain” cap in hand as if our exit from the EU is simply about putting the clock back. It’s not. It’s about a lot more. It’s about Britain striving to become |(once again) a major player on the global world stage in partnership with other modern day powers. That requires reaching out to new and distant parts of the world, striking deals that are mutually advantageous to both parties, economically in the first instance, but also socially, politically and diplomatically.

    This is not the time to be licking old wounds, whether real or merely perceived. It’s about re-inventing, re-energizing oneself to cope with the harsh realities of the modern world.

  13. PS. (5 days later, zero response to previous).

    Well, I never thought of Oz as having a post-colonial (or more recent post EU) hang-up in our current, present day of age!

    Oh well. You live and you learn.

    All I would say is this, Oz.

    Look at the present world through fresh eyes.

    See what needs to be done immediately – to counter alien influences, both near and far. (Or, in your case, relatively near!)

    Put the past behind you Oz.

    Grasp the nearby nettle!

    Deal with it- whether on your own, Oz, or with support from afar. Like that long-in-the-tooth parent company of yours from afar!

  14. What amazes me is the vast size of the Australian landmass that still sits there, serving little or no useful purpose.

    Meanwhile the populated areas of the planet continue to push CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, leading to global warming with all its ever-growing risks and hazards?

    Can anything be done to recruit/draft Australia into a planetary attempt to reverse the clock where global warming CO2 is concerned? Better still – can Oz herself take the initiative, and start to serve as a planetary saviour?
    I say she can. How?

    It merely requires some application of classical chemistry, the kind that has already been exploited by mankind for decades, nay centuries. (Gas works, coke manufacture etc etc)

    Step 1Create some transparent tents in the middle fo Oz for starters, using say sheets of cheapo polythene stretched over semi-circular hoops.

    Step 2. Set up shallow troughs, a few metres deep at most using cheap waterproof material.

    Step 3. Pipe in (admittedly expensive) starter water as a key ingredient.

    Step 4. Prime the water with green algae and nutrients (mineral salts etc). Wait for the algae to proliferate, taking in radiant energy from the sun, taking in CO2 from the atmosphere.

    Step 5 . Recycle as much water as possible, collecting and condensing released water vapour, returning to the algal- incubation troughs.

    Step 6 . Harvest the algae at intervals as a sludge, via filtration or similar.

    Step 7: Leave the sludge to dryin the sun, still under cover, continuing to recycle released water vapour.

    Step 8: Now for the critical step. Load the harvested, dried algal into retorts, open at one end only. Heat the retorts using energy from the sun (maybe converted first to electricity with solar panels).
    There then follows that process known at destructive distillation. In the absence of oxygen, smoke and fumes are released from the open end of the retort, which is condensed and then processed further to generate useful chemical byproducts, deployed locally for synthesis of this or that. That detail does not concern us for now. It’s what remains behind in the retort that is the crucial end-product – namely solid carbon – charcoal by any other name. It represents elemental carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere as CO2!

    Step 9: What to do with the solid carbon end -product, that can further reduce global warming. The first step may seem at first sight counterproductive – start to spread it over the vast surrounding area of largely barren, mid-Australian desert, building up layers of sizeable thickness. Initially those layers will be counter-productive – absorbing radiant energy from the sun, releasing heat into the atmosphere that one doesn’t want. Here’s the final step:

    Step 10. Cover the stretches of disposed-of carbon with a thin layer of reflective white powder of some description, chosen for its chemical stability. Why? Because the surface coating, instead of absorbing solar energy, will reflect it back into space, gradually producing what might be termed “global COOLING”. The coating may need to be glued in place – to render wind-resistant!

    End result : two-fold: removal of (global-warming) gaseous CO2 from the atmosphere as solid elemental carbon, followed by creation of a thin light-reflective OVERLAY that can not only render less unsightly, but can importantly reflect incoming (global-warming) solar energy back into space.

    Is there anything I’ve overlooked as regards chemistry, economics etc? If so, please don’t hesitate to say so. ( Yes. retired scientists like myself (especially) can still by afflicted by occasional blind-spots!)

    Admittedly the priming water, mineral salts etc have first to be introduced at some cost from outside. But much of it can be recycled, and thus re-deployed again and again to keep those carbon-trapping algal-cultures going.

  15. CB: I rather doubt that Australia is returning back to “mummy” Britain. It’s a strategic move. Australia, like New Zealand, assertively seeks new and diverse markets for its exports. This need has become ever more important as China is growing increasingly aggressive (read revanchist) and the USA is spiralling the dunny. Australia’s geopolitical position is not entirely secure. Seeking as many allies as possible and (re)building bridges is vital for Australia’s security. Australia has been put under more pressure by its now nearly-complete isolation in the region. New Zealand has all but become a Chinese client state, to the point that its membership in the Five Eyes Partnership is no longer certain in the mid-t0-long-term. This is part of a more general realignment. It is no longer West vs East. It is liberal vs illiberal.

    The EU, inward looking as it is, is of increasingly less interest to the UK but the Indo-Pacific Region is. However flawed, countries like Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan (de facto), South Korea and India are actively seeking to counter-balance China. For the UK’s long-term interests, the key is not Europe or the United States. Having another reliable economic, military and intelligence partner is looked upon favourably. What will change is that this time, it will be a partnership with India developing into the first-among-equals over the next 5-10 years. Seeking perfection of a new “Washington Consensus” is not going to work. Broadly liberal countries are recognising that the world is no longer as friendly as it was even two years ago. Because developing countries will play a far more important role, the mistakes of the 1990s will not be repeated. Of course, new ones will almost certainly made.

    As for Australia and its emissions… Tiny. There’s nothing that Australia can do to change a bloody thing. Even if it agreed to cut emissions by 50% off 1990 levels, China will have produced that much by the time I finish my first cup of coffee in the morrow. China will not cut emissions beyond what would occur as older power plants are replaced with newer, more efficient versions. India, for its part, has paid lip-service to the Western conceit but has effectively exempted itself from anything except building cleaner, more efficient power plants and factories — something it was going to do, anyway. Countries like New Zealand, Germany, Canada, etc. bang on about cutting emissions and sign ever-more-ambitious accords whilst exempting core industries thus doing nothing but talking. Greta Thunberg (whom I saw in person in June) might be a bit batty, but she is at least correct in pointing out the degree of hypocrisy in the posturing of far too many countries.

  16. I agree with 99% of what you say, Christopher, re the rapidly changing geopolitical scene.

    The only point on which I would take issue is Australia re global warming.

    I did not suggest Oz was a major contributor to global warming. Far from it. I proposed a new global role as a SINK for excess CO2, one that would “put it on the map” in a new constructive sense.

    How? Here’s a link to a superimposed map of the Amazon forest and Australia that provides a clue.


    Australia needs to invent a more efficient alternative to the Amazon rain forest as a more efficient sink for CO2.

    So much the better if it can provide growing visual evidence – year -on-year – of conversion of CO2 back to elemental carbon (more specifically, algae-derived charcoal).

    See my tail-end comment immediately above yours – which was less about geopolitics – more about ridding the planet of its centuries of excess man-made CO2!).

  17. Seems like my idea of Australia (correction, Outback thereof) serving a new role as Mark 2 Amazon forest (albeit semi-synthetic, deploying artificially-cultured algae rather than trees) has struck no chords whatsoever on this site.

    OK, I’ll go away and have a rethink. Maybe the idea is unrealistic.

    Or there again…

    Remember: the algae generates hard evidence that it’s doing its job, albeit slowly but PROGRESSIVELY, year-on-year.

    How? By generating masses of elemental carbon (i.e. charcoal) – removed from atmospheric CO2, thereby putting global warming into reverse!

    Maybe there are reservations re limited scale of operation – at least initially.

    Answer: invite all the major developed nations (and maybe some less developed ones also) to set up their own patch of operation in central Australia, such that – collectively – the planetary atmospheric de-carbonization begins to make an impact in years – over a steadily expanding area of otherwise neglected territory – rather than decades…

    Apols for the intrusion. That’s all I have to say for now , barring further responses – whether positive or negative.

  18. CB: I see your point now. Sorry about that. I have long liked the idea of algae carbon sinks. Some of the technologies associated with that are also interesting. It’s not that I haven’t concerned about environmental issues or that I don’t think we couldn’t have done better as a whole. It’s that I haven’t been able to overlook the gap between what was said and what was done. If the likes of John Kerry, Pharrell Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ginger Megs, etc. fly in private jets to attend climate summits but I’m supposed to be taxed until the pips burst for daring to want to take a holiday in Japan or Korea “to save the climate”, one could fairly raise questions. Of course, it doesn’t help that countries like Canada, New Zealand, France, Germany, the UK, etc. crow on about slashing emissions, exempt key industries from their targets and then routinely miss them. That others like the US under the former administration and Australia have actually been outperforming the crowing cabal without committing to unrealistic targets that they would never be in the position of having to honour shouldn’t glossed over, either.

    So, yes. The algae idea is a good one. The algae can be used for other things, too, including biodegradable plastics so I’ve been informed. Two birds with one stone! Australia could do it, so could California, so could Spain, etc. It might start slowly, but between growing forests, algae and cutting emissions through efficiency and cleaner technologies real, sustainable progress could be made.

  19. Thanks for the supportive comment, Christopher.

    Without it, I’d have drawn a complete blank where this site is concerned. That’s despite my having chosen it intentionally, given the Down Under focus of what I consider to have been a novel proposal, making I believe its first ever internet appearance!.

    Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

    Maybe the idea of artificial algae troughs occupying ever-growing areas of the Outback – followed by laying down of vast stretches of biocharcoal – was considered too bizarre to contemplate.

    Better I say than the entire planet slowly, indeed now rapidly, roasting away on account of global warming, due at least partially to those ever-growing levels of man-made CO2!

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