Otterday! And Open Thread

Dara is thought to be the only hairy-nosed otter in legal captivity. He was rescued in December, and re-homed in the Phnom Tamau Zoo. The hairy-nosed otter is endangered by hunters seeking fur, medicine, and pets, and by loss of habitat.


Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a great book? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: arts & entertainment, environment, fun & hobbies

Tags: , , , ,

39 replies

  1. The weather here is sheerly gorgeous. It’s the night of a long weekend, and there seem to be a number of chirping crickets about. All I need is a nice cocktail–anyone have any recipes?

  2. Well, I’m awake again and without too horrid a hangover. I got a few nice trinkets and a new lounge suite has been ordered and will arrive in a few weeks, yay!

  3. The weather here is pretty spectacular too! Tomorrow is the last day of winter, and for the last week I’ve been able to ‘smell Spring’ in the air – the air is warmer and carrying the scent of grass/trees/flowers a lot better. I love that moment when you recognise that change into Spring *SO* much!
    And I’m sitting here having decided AN HOUR AGO that I would knuckle down to study realising that I’ve spent an hour emailing a friend in France and poking around the net. Ohnoes. Better go be sensible!
    Glad the hangover’s not too bad tigtog!

  4. That has to be my favourite otterday photo yet. Very Marx brothers.
    Can I get this off my chest: My youngest has been in school refusal mode since last term A cast of thousands (ok, make that 4) is trying to get him to change his home-lovin’ ways but in the meantime can you ask the FSM/pink unicorn/deity of your choosing to intercede for the sake of my sanity.

  5. Ouch appalling punctuation in that comment. 15 years ago I was a grammar and punctuation freak: the go to girl for apostrophe advice at uni. Now I can’t even manage full-stops and question marks. Gaah.

  6. On cocktails: If you’ve got an Italian grocery nearby, grab yourself some Pompelmo (grapefruit soda, from San Pellegrino. Add gin. Lime wedge optional. Ice not.
    On school refusal: bother. Any idea what’s triggering it?
    On kitchen gardens: we’ve just planted seeds for a few vegies (beans, tomatoes, corn) and strawberries. Our vegie patch won’t be 100% ready to go till next year, but we can’t wait – we’ve been enjoying our snap pea and cos harvests, and the citrus trees are enjoying themselves. Oh, and I’ve a new raised herb bed ready to go!
    Question: I’d like one tropicalish fruit tree, like maybe a guava or something like that. Any suggestions for what might grow and yield well in the Perth area, and how to treat it (and where to get one)? We’ll put in an avocado tree, too.

  7. Lauredhel–I don’t know anything about Perth climate, but guavas are pretty temperamental. Too cool for an extended time and they don’t like it, too hot and they protest as well. Apparently they have issues with frost?

  8. How cool is too cool? We’re in the northern suburbs, not far from the beach – it never frosts here. Minimum minimum is around 2 C.

  9. Hrm, the information I’ve found seems to indicate that there are problems here in the US with growing it in California entirely, though it seems to prefer a somewhat seasonal climate to grow tastier fruit. You might be okay, depending on how long it stays cool.

  10. For no particularly good reason, we just measured the length of our cat from nose to tail-tip. She’s 666 millimetres long. This explains a great deal.

  11. Mm, I’ll poke around. We have a “Mediterranean” climate in this Eurocentric weather system of ours – mild-to-coolish winters, fuck-off-hot summers, delightful autumns and springs. The soil bears far too close a resemblance to beach sand, but we’re working on it. (At least it’s well-drained!)

  12. Lauredhel–from what I gather, you might have better luck with mangoes in that climate. But I live in the American Midwest, so there ain’t much I have for practical experience.
    and tig–CAT OF EEEEEVIL.

  13. Mmmmmm. Mannngggoooooooes.

  14. I’m pretty sure I remember an episode of Gardening Australia where they grew Mangoes in WA. We have feijoas which are prolific but a bit of an acquired taste. They are quite nice if you pick them at just the right time but getting them at the right time is tricky since they remain really firm and green even when ripe. Not sure if they grow over there though.
    (School refusal thing is a mix of sound sensitivity and general cantankerousness, I think. And a will of iron.)

  15. I’ve got the Diggers’ Club subtropical fruit trees catalogue on my lap: Perth is hot zone 6, cold zone 10. in terms of climate you should be right with just about any subtropical fruit trees – perfect for guavas and tamarillos, custard apples, Babaco, Persimmon. Diggers is a mail order outfit so you can buy the plant online & Aus Post deliver it. They have avocadoes too – for your climate they recommend Hass, Wurtz (smallest tree) or Reed (500g fruit).

  16. Mmm, can you imagine an avocado tree? How awesome would that be?! I mean, mangoes too… but… 🙂 I wish I had a vaguely gardeny-garden! And that ‘cocktail’ sounds awesome, Lauredhel. I’m still in love with mojitos: all lime and minty rum. Yum!

  17. Plus, Mojito – fun to say! Mo JI to!

  18. I’ve got a margarita–the real style thing–going at the moment, but maybe tomorrow I’ll hit up the local gourmet grocery to see if they’ve got some of that soda. Mojitos are great, but they gotta be strained first. Otherwise, well, ew.

  19. I have finally actually got out of bed and had coffee. Went out with another birthday girl last night and drank way too much wine. I haven’t had a hangover like that for years.
    Wow that antacid tablet is noisy.

  20. Thanks, Laura. I think we’ll go for the Hass variety of avocado.

  21. The High Court has upheld the conviction of Wei Tang for slavery offences. The dissenting judge in a 6-1 verdict was Justice Michael Kirby. From The Canberra Times:

    Justice Michael Kirby said he would not have allowed the appeal, as he agreed with the Victorian court’s decision. The prosecution had to prove intent.
    ”We do not advance the correct application in Australia of a contemporary statutory provision to tackle modern issues of ‘slavery’ and trafficking in ‘sexual slaves’ by distorting the essential ingredients of serious criminal offences as provided by the Parliament,” Justice Kirby said.

    This confuses me a little because he seems to be implying that one can “accidentally” hold slaves, in the same way that one can “accidentally” cause someone to be injured. Surely the only way one could hold slaves without intent would be if one were ignorant of the law but I didn’t think ignorance of the law was a valid form of defence?

  22. Next weekend I’m putting in an avocado tree – it looks like the best option for my spot is a variety called Bacon. I’m trying really hard to think of it as a tribute to Kevin Bacon rather than a reference to sliced-up pig.

  23. Su:
    I’ve just had a quick scan of the case. I *think* what Kirby is saying is that the correct result would have been to disallow the appeal, and to hold another trial. This seems to be because of the haziness of the definitions of the crime in the new legislation, and further there seems to be some queestions about directions given to the jury in the initial trial, and further again regarding some level of confusion or inadequacy of evidence? (it seems her co-accused was unable to be convicted on the basis of conflicting or insubstantial evidence?). This is a very *quick* scan, not trying to justify or excuse him or whatever, I too don’t know how one could ‘accidentally’ own a slave. But I think it’s more a commentary on *how* we reach the convictions? The link is here. If you *control F* and search for Kirby you can skip a lot of the text.
    It’d be an interesting read. Sadly I have too much study for tonight to get to it. But, yeah, I’d be very surprised if Kirby of all people was actually making excuses for this stuff.
    On another note, I hope stuff settles with your son. My son has had tremendous issues with school over the years and is now settling – my sympathies!
    And YUM – Avocodos. I am jealous! Hope you feel better Tigtog

  24. Well, I’m awake again and without too horrid a hangover. I got a few nice trinkets and a new lounge suite has been ordered and will arrive in a few weeks, yay!

    You’re a real wild child TigTog … get drunk, and order furniture! 😉

  25. More mild than wild these days, DEM. Today I have a crook husband at home with a horrid external ear infection that I want to have properly nipped in the bud, so light blogging again today. Never mind.

  26. Thanks for the link FP -yeah I didn’t think he was excusing it and it seems his argument turned on how intention was interpreted in the judge’s directions.
    Thank you for the sympathies 🙂

  27. To have a husband home crook is bad enough, but to have a crook husband home… commiserations. Keep the chocolate and PIN numbers hidden.
    Laura: Six degrees of separation, remember.

  28. I knew he would be the dissenter! That is what inspired me to google and that is why I ended up here. I’m not suggesting he wants to promote sexual slavery. Just that he is happier to entertain weak arguments for their intellectual value because he is less negative about the implications of such sport than most people.
    Thank goodness people who keep sex slaves can now be prosecuted. I was worried about the outcome knowing people like him are up there. The contract thing is the classic approach to sexual slavery. It is a sign of the times that this could end up in the High Court in the first place.
    There is big money in the industry and I believe it is a growing industry for existing drug networks. Unlike heroin you won’t get busted for flying into the country with a group of women and you can sell the “product” repeatedly. At least there can be prosecutions in Australia.
    Finally if you want an edge of seat movie I recommend “Taken”.

  29. Deni @ 28: I’m wondering if you could elaborate on your reasons for saying that Kirby has a tendency to the self indulgent exercising of weak intellectual arguments for sport disregarding the actual effects, and for referring to him as ‘people like him up there’. To date Kirby has been by far the most vociferous advocate of our international human rights treaties having any actual influence on our legal system, to the point of arguing forcefully for the necessity and desirability of reading our Constitution in line with a commitment to fundamental human rights.
    As noted, his objections were to do with the actual progression of this case, directions to the jury, hazy definitions and questions about evidence presented. Often High Court justices will offer a dissenting opinion to give an elbow nudge to the legislature about which areas of law need tightening in order not to come undone in the Courts later, or to flag that they feel there was a preferable alternative – in this case, not a finding of not guilty, but a retrial.

  30. When I was googling around I came across a few submissions on the drafting of this legislation that pointed out that the so called “fault element” was not well defined. I have no legal training but it seems to me that defining what is intent in regards to keeping slaves is particularly vexed. Michael Kirby was talking about the necessity of proving Tang acted with a sense of entitlement commensurate with someone who believes they own another person, that even withholding passports and restricting movement could be seen as oppressive conditions of employment rather than slavery unless that sense of entitlement was apparent. I can see his argument but I am also glad for the 6-1 verdict. In particular I was glad to reas this from Justice Hayne:

    There is one further point to make about the evidence of purchase and sale. There was no evidence at trial about the circumstances in which the transactions were made. In particular, there was no evidence of how it came about that the “vendor” asserted the right to make the sales that were made. Exploration of those matters would very likely have cut down, even eliminated altogether, the notion that the women came to Australia voluntarily. Not least is that so because it is possible, even probable, that examination of those matters would reveal not just great disparities of knowledge and power as between the “vendor” and each of the women concerned, but other circumstances touching the reality of the assent which it was accepted each had expressed.

    The Law Report had another piece on the case this morning.

  31. Just noting this on the open thread rather than cluttering up any other thread: I’m off shortly to watch our school strut their stuff in the Final of the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge. Wish my boy luck!

  32. Luck to your boy, tigtog!

  33. Good Luck Tigling.
    I was wondering today, while cleaning the shower, what Sarah Palin’s political future will look like. Should McCain fail in his bid, I suspect she will cop the brunt of the blame and will be blacklisted from the VP spot on the ticket forevermore.
    Contemplating the horrible possibility of two McCain terms, I pondered whether Palin would be allowed to run for the top job after presumably being VP for two terms, or whether she would be dumped by her party for someone with a penis.

  34. Hoydenistas! — can you recommend me good books on suffrage in Australia?
    Watching Hillary Clinton’s speech at the DNC I ordered online a biography of Harriet Tubman, who in addition to the underground railroad was later involved in that issue. I was just watching it again, after dl’ing from iTunes. I know obviously Australia granted women the vote a lot earlier than the US … but to my eternal shame I realised I had so idea about HOW it happened nor who were the players nor what were the details nor …. nor anything really.
    So. Book recommendations?

  35. Not my area of expertise, Amanda, but until someone else comes along – there are some good introductory resources at the Office for Women. I’ve found my public library (surprisingly? But it shouldn’t be surprising) good for local history resources in the past.

  36. Amanda, try these:
    Lees, Kirsten., Votes for women : the Australian story, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, N.S.W., 1995.
    Grimshaw, Patricia, ‘A white woman’s suffrage’, in Irving, Helen (ed.), A Woman’s Constitution? Gender and History in the Australian Commonwealth, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1996, p. 179.
    Smart, Judith, ‘Modernity and mother-heartedness : spirituality and religious meaning in Australian women’s suffrage and citizenship movements, 1890s-1920s’, in Fletcher, Ian Christopher, Laura E. Nym Mayhall and Philippa Levine (eds), Women’s Suffrage in the British Empire: Citizenship, Nation, and Race, Routledge, London, 2000, pp. 51-97.
    Bomford, Janette M., That dangerous and persuasive woman : Vida Goldstein, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Vic., 1993, 264 pp.
    Oldfield, Audrey, Woman suffrage in Australia : a gift or a struggle?, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1992, 263 pp.
    Apart from Vida Goldstein you could also check out my favourite SA heroine, Catherine Helen Spence (the woman on the $5 note) who was a ferocious 19th campaigner for women’s suffrage as well as for parliamentary reform. Some women were able to vote in SA as early as the 1860s.

  37. OMG– This is actually the top story on the SMH right now [trigger warning]:
    The Day I was Raped by Helena Kauppi– a personal narrative from a survivor, it actually uses the word “rape”, it speaks out against victim-blaming, it draw attention to the fact that it exists on a continuum with verbal abuse. The only thing it doesn’t do is recognise that most rape is not stranger rape, although it does note how common rape is. I do love the way she ends the article:

    Until more people refuse to accept sexual abuse on any level, sexual abuse will continue. And the most insidious thing about it is the silence. But that one quarter of all women in Australia who are sexually abused deserve a voice for they are our sisters, daughters, mothers, girlfriends, wives, grandmothers …

  38. Thanks for the link, Beppie – that’s really powerful.

  39. Ta, Lauredhel and PC!

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