We are off to Japan for about seven weeks. During this time, I may not be as busy with my blogs/posts as I would be when home. For this, I apologize.
With the exception of Australia, my home country, my favorite place in which to travel is Japan. And one of the reasons – and there are many – are the izakaya. They are peculiar to Japan. Put simply, they are places to eat, drink, and socialize. Perhaps the nearest equivalent is the pinxos bar in the Basque region of Europe.
From my early years, I have had brushes with the immortal invisible One, almost always through unsolicited intermediaries, earthly intermediaries, lurking in the shadows, always ready to prey on young impressionable minds. These days I would say to these pesky intermediaries, Thanks for nothing. And repair, if you will, to your own Hell.
Where we live, far from the noise and confusion of big cities, bird life is in our faces at any moment of the day. To wit, the kookaburra, the magpie, the black cockatoo, the pelican, etc. And the crested pigeon, shown above.
This is the continent of Antarctica. You can see that the land mass is surrounded, especially in winter, by an expanse of sea ice of comparable extent. It is impossible in winter for ships to push through this sea ice, even if said ship has ice-breaking capabilities. Access, then, is by air only. Antarctica is not a hospitable place.
Bob Katter is an ebullient political animal. A journalist I have known has said that Bob can ‘work a room’ as adeptly as anybody in the game. He is the independent Member for Kennedy in the Australian Parliament. The Electoral Division of Kennedy is located in northern Queensland. Among other things, it is coal country through and through.
What a revelatory experience it has been to read this 400 page compendium of ground-breaking vignettes.
Cosmicomics are an invention of Italo Calvino and, fortunately, they have been rendered into English by a suite of excellent translators, and compiled into a volume called The Complete Cosmicomics. There is nothing like them in modern literature.
A panel, set up for the purpose, has recently delivered its verdict on the best beach in the world. Is it somewhere in the Mediterranean? Hawaii, perhaps? Maybe Thailand? Or could it be on the east coast of Australia?
None of these. It is Lucky Bay, near Esperance, in Western Australia.
The disease of racism, like melanoma, comes to the surface with disappointing regularity. And, like melanoma, it will go metastatic if not addressed promptly. Once metastatic, it will be much more difficult to deal with. Words like ‘intractable’, ‘entrenched’, and ‘incurable’ come to mind.
Music is the great perplexity of the ages. It seems not to serve any discernible purpose. It doesn’t put food on the table. It doesn’t build bridges. It doesn’t have wheels, or wings, or rudders. It doesn’t play any part in the daily hustle and bustle of the trade or barter of commonplace commodities. It doesn’t have words to describe it adequately. What is its place in the wider scheme of things? Why is it (except for those who are erroneously dubbed tone deaf) a cherished part of our life?
This exquisite picture is of the Thompson River in Western Queensland. It’s one of those rivers that empties its waters into the Lake Eyre basin in South Australia, the nearest thing we have in Australia to an inland sea.