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Once more with feeling, Alan


Peter FitzSimons


<em>Illustration: Reg Lynch</em>

Illustration: Reg Lynch

Bravo, Alan Jones. (And there is a sentence I have not written often - but I mean it.) In an interview with gay magazine SX in January, Jones spoke out against those who would discriminate against homosexual Australians.

''Hopefully one day we'll develop a level of sophistication and decency where we're not referring to people according to their colour, their sexuality, their whatever. But while that continues, I have very strong concerns about the damage that this does to people.''

More, Alan, more!

''There is nothing wrong with people feeling that their sexuality is 'A' and someone else's is 'B'. Now the young ones understand that - you don't make choices about this, it just happens.''

More, Alan!

''The world is not going to end, and people have to be regarded and respected for who they are and what they bring to the world.''

Triple-bravo. But then, when the journalist for SX asked the broadcaster about supporting same-sex marriage, Jones closed down.

''Well don't ask me, we're talking about Annie now,'' he replied sheepishly. ''I'll pass on that one. Someone's giving me the wind-up here, too, I don't know why. But we'll catch up somewhere, hey?''

So what about now, Alan? Now that it is in the wind again, with President Obama's endorsement of the bleeding obvious. You can't hold the views you do above and not support same-sex unions. So why not come out and put your considerable weight behind it? You must know it's right, so why not?

If Dickens were here, he would tell you: ''It will be a far, far better thing you do, than you have ever done. It will be a far, far better rest you go to, than you have ever known.''


Would Jesus do it?

TFF received a lot of correspondence last week - not all of it in crayon - concerning the sacking by Caloundra Christian College of a pregnant kindergarten teacher, simply because she was not married to her partner. The best of the letters was this one.

''Dear TFF,

''There's an interesting point people appear to be missing in the offensive sacking of this woman by the school: Jesus, the man from whom their school allegedly draws inspiration and guidelines, would NEVER have sacked this woman for being pregnant and unmarried.


''Simone Bailey.''

Surely this is a fair point?


Bright idea

My thanks to the reader who sent me this superb brain-teaser.

Stay with me on this one. We're at your house. And there are three switches downstairs, with each switch connected to just one of the three light bulbs in the attic, which has the door closed. Now, you can turn the switches on and off as many times as you like and leave them in any position you like. But riddle me this, grasshopper. How would you identify which switch corresponds to which light bulb, if you are only allowed one trip upstairs?


Let the insults fly

Re last week's item concerning the best literary quotes on Sydney, Margaret Millar reports that it was on the basis of D.H. Lawrence's visit here in May 1922 that one of his characters, Harriet, in the book Kangaroo, says on looking out at Sydney of the 1920s: ''Oh, but it is a wonderful harbour … What it must have been when it was first discovered. And now all these little dog-kennelly houses and everything … awful piggling suburban place - and sort of lousy. Is this all men can do with a new country?''

Still, why should we cop it alone?

Richard Gordon notes that, after visiting Newcastle in 1895 - at a time when they had just moved the cemetery from being too close to the city centre - Mark Twain sniffed in an address to the Newcastle Club that the fair city to our north boasted ''a very long street with, at one end, a cemetery with no bodies in it and, at the other, a gentlemen's club with no gentlemen in it''.


Joke of the week

Sister Mary Ann, whose duties include visiting elderly parishioners who struggle to look after themselves, is returning to the convent when she runs out of petrol. Praise the Lord, however, for a petrol station is just a block away. And even when the attendant tells her that the only petrol can he owns has been loaned out, it is still no problem. For quick as a blink, Sister Mary Ann goes back to her car, grabs a bedpan and returns to the station where she fills it to the brim, before heading back to her car, balancing it carefully. As she pours the petrol into her tank, two Baptists are watching closely from across the street. One of them turns to the other and says: ''If it starts, I'm turning Catholic!''



I thought you'd never ask. Of course, you keep one bulb switched on for a few minutes, until it will obviously be warm. Now turn it off. Now turn on another switch. Now make your one trip to the attic. You immediately know the light that is on is connected to the switch you've just turned on. The warm bulb is connected to the first switch and the cold, dark bulb is connected to the third, untouched switch. Brilliant isn't it?


They said ...

I would advise Mr Abbott to get off Sydney's north shore and go and talk to some real families and get himself in the real world.
Julia Gillard takes direct aim at the Opposition Leader's criticism of the handouts to families in her budget.

She has the best address on the north shore.
Tony Abbott responds.

American households are now getting as much in benefits from the government as they're paying in taxes. Maybe they should keep the money and fire the tax collectors.
ABC finance journalist Alan Kohler.

[He has a] lurid imagination ... The last thing I would ever do is to give a confidence to Michael Kroger.
Peter Costello dumps on his former best friend Michael Kroger after the latter said that our erstwhile treasurer had wanted, last December, to return to federal politics.

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