As a reply to an interjection by a Greens Senator during his speech to the combined Houses of Parliament in Canberra, President Bush said, "I love free speech." So how come he refused to face any of the Australian Press?



Australia has two visits from Heads of State this week. George Bush will be spending all of twenty-one hours here and the Chinese Head of State, Hu Jintao, will be here for a couple of days. The level of enthusiasm for both visits seems to be about the same. Both will address Federal Parliament. China's position on human rights has been brought up. However, this country does not support China as the USA is supported. Supported by the government at least and some Australians. America's position on Iraq is definitely not supported by many. Please note: that does not mean we are anti-American in all things.

There has been much speculation about the reception that will be given by Members of Parliament to the leaders. Will Bush get a standing ovation? One Labor Parliamentarian is advocating turning his back on Bush and is trying to persuade others to do the same.

I would like to think that disagreement can still be shown in a more polite way. What is gained by such rudeness? The Labor leader, the lacklustre Simon Crean, suggests that his party members be polite but unenthusiastic. Slight applause, if any, is suggested.

We've had other US presidents here before, ex-presidents as well. However, I doubt that before there was such a groundswell of resentment at either the President or our government for our involvement in Iraq. The cry was once, "all the way with LBJ, " and the Premier of this state was heard to say "Ride over the bastards," when protesters tried to stop a cavalcade with President Johnson. To many here, Bush's visit seems like a condescending bestowal of favour on a minor lackey. Responding with politeness won't hurt us. At the very least, we will be ble to know that we acted correctly.


15 minutes of fame
An article on blogs this morning by Antony Loewenstein in the Sydney Morning Herald believes that blogging is the newest way to take out advertisements for yourself. Blogging, once a pursuit known only to computer nerds (his words), became well known during the war in Iraq. Blogs are to words what Napster was to music. In other words, a direct link between writer and reader without the benefit of editor or publisher.

After discussing student Iranian bloggers and a bloggers' summit in Westminster in July, he turns to blogging in Australia. He believes that while blogs have limitations, major newspapers ignore them at their peril. Blogs are often better written, and more up-to-date than many newspaper columns. Blogs may help keep newspapers accountable as they expose poor reporting or bias. He suggests that newspapers should have blogs to give immediate commentary on events.

BeneDiction is currently running a couple of discussions on blogs. It's worth reading what is said there too.



The impersonal menu of telephone options claims another victim. Check this out.


Some years ago I knew an elderly woman who supplemented her pension by rolling small slips of paper with Scripture verses on them. These were placed into promise boxes. I know God can use any method he chooses to bless people, but the random picking of such promises has always seemed superstitious to me. Her visitors were pressed into helping and issued with a pencil around which the paper was wrapped. I think she must have been paid piecework rates as she was always eager to have help.

Since buying my copy of Word Biblical Commentary on CDROM at rockbottom price, I have been added to the mailing list of Word Bookstore. I received a catalogue the other day. In it I found a new promise box. Made of brown plastic, shaped like a loaf of bread. Embossed on the side was Bread of Life. Poking out of the top were the promises, dozens of them. I must say it crossed my mind how incongruous it was that the one store should have something like the Word Biblical Commentary and this promise box.


Occasionally I have written about the lack of courtesy both on the net and in real life. Today I found some pleasant examples, so in the interest of balance will write about them.

My husband was on a trip today, so after church I decided I would catch the bus into the city and have a look around. The bus was quite crowded when I got on and I was astounded and most grateful when I was offered a seat. I couldn't help remembering that many years ago, one week before the birth of my third son, no one would offer me a seat in the bus as the driver hurtled down a busy street, seeing how many pedestrians he could narrowly avoid. A large number of uni students boarded the bus a couple of stops along. Most had to stand. However an elderly gentleman and his wife got on. Seats were quickly found for them and for several others. They were offered with a smile and received in a similar manner. It was a beautiful spring day and the whole bus had a good feel to it. Passengers talked to each other and the driver drove carefully. He opened the doors after originally closing them at one stop so that a latecomer could get on. That is most unusual here. Usually the driver stares stolidly to the front and suddenly develops a deafness so that he can't hear a would-be passenger pleading to be let on.

I got off at Town Hall and felt that it had been good to be there.


A big thank you to Superblessed, Ganns, for being nominated in his blog awards. I was reading his list of nominees and was surprised to find Shalom mentioned in his nominations for maost interesting blog written by a woman. While you are over there, check out the proud dad's photos of baby Superblessed! A real stunner.


Sydney's Opera House turns thirty this week. The building's interior, which was never finished to Utzon's specifications, is being refurbished to cope with modern productions.