Now, good lord willing and the creeks don’t rise – read, the Plague abates – it will be opening in Sydney at the Lyric Theatre in mid-March next year, before moving on to Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane etc. Look, it’s not an Australian-grown creation like Matilda, but for an American production it is a very good effort, and you will love it!
There is a bumper sticker taking America by storm at the moment, and it simply says 864511320. What do you think it means? The only clue I will give you is that a well-known American phrase that came from the restaurant trade is to “86” something, which means to get rid of it, take it off the menu. The answer is at the end, but no looking till you’ve given it a good go. You’ve got one minute, and I’m watching you, so no cheating.
Right message, wrong messengers
The Harry and Meghan thing? You know, how this week they have made a public plea that we need to change the system so that systemic racism no longer exists, and everyone can start out on an equal footing. On the one hand, it is admirable and they speak nothing but the truth. On the other hand . . . when your starting point is being the Duke and Duchess of Something-Or-Other which comes with castles attached, surely it is right call, wrong people? I mean when your foundation stone is the most flagrant example of entrenched privilege there is – the absurdity of royalty, and the notion that one family is automatically superior to all others because of your blue blood – there is a slight disconnect, yes? To live the change they seek, renouncing their royal titles and working for a living like everyone else, would seem to be a good start?
Not in the mood
In response to my request for Tweets of the week, one of my followers nominated another follower @mbabbbage, who posted on Thursday:
My call from Nora at “Westpac security” today.
Nora: “Good morning, I am Nora blah blah. How are you today?”
Me: “Good thanks Nora but to be honest I’m not in the mood to be scammed today.”
Me: “So who is going to hang up first, you or me?”
Nora: “I will.”
Wrong steer on Speers
It’s like that famous quote from Abraham Lincoln you often see circulating: “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” On Monday morning the ABC’s David Speers was trending on Twitter, for a quote he was purported to have said on the coverage of the Eden-Monaro byelection, which showed him to be a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal man: “I hope we can hang on in Queenbeyan.”
The problem is, of course, he never said it. The closest approximation of this classic example of #FakeNews was this Speers quote: “The government, even if they don’t get there tonight, will say Labor’s primary vote really fell off here, we held up though where it counts in the economic message in Queanbeyan and Yass and so on.”
But, once on the internet and circulating, the thing took on a life of its own.
“Like everyone else,” Speers noted to me on Monday, “I’m happy to be held to account for what I say, not false quotes invented by others.”
Joke of the Week
Finally, the negotiations are concluded. Moses comes down from the Mount to speak to the gathered Israelites crowding around him.
“I have good news and I have bad news!” he says.
“What is the good news?” the crowd chimes.
“I have negotiated with God and I have him down to just 10 commandments!”
An uproar of cheering breaks out: “Hooray!” “Hip-hip, hurrah!” “Good on you, Moses!” “Moses is the man!”
And then, when the cheering has subsided a little, another voice from the back calls out.
“And what is the bad news, Moses?”
“Well,” Moses says, suddenly appearing crestfallen. “I am afraid the one on adultery stays in.”
Quiz answer: “86” is indeed a restaurant term for getting rid of something, taking it off the menu. “45” is Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States. “11320” is the date of the presidential election, so all put together it means “vote out Donald Trump, next election”. We can only hope.
Quotes of the Week
“I also laugh but I don’t have a laughter problem.” – Johnny Depp, on the stand, when asked whether he has an anger problem – after being shown footage of him being angry.
“Today, Donald is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesise information.” – Backcover quote on the book by the US President’s niece, Mary, which seeks to air the family’s dirty laundry, going back generations.
“I’m very good at processing emotional stuff. You have to accept the lows and highs. One makes you appreciate the other. I’ve had a little bit of time to sit back and all I can say is I loved every minute of it. No regrets.” – Cook Poh Ling Yeow being philosophical about leaving MasterChef last Sunday.
“We know there are four primary road crossings, 33 bridges, two waterway crossings and multiple smaller roads. The task is not lost on me in terms of the enormity of the logistics of this operation. There are 11 local government areas and five police districts, which will all have to pull together to make sure this operation is a success.” – NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on the difficulties of closing the NSW/Victoria border.
“Like Voltaire on his deathbed, who was asked by the priest to renounce the devil, he replied: ‘This is no time to be making enemies. The same applies to Prince Andrew. He is damned if he does [condemn Ghislaine Maxwell] and damned if he doesn’t. This doesn’t seem a good time for him to publicly come out and criticise her. It would seem bad timing to do that now.” – An unnamed source said to be “close to Prince Andrew”.
“When it comes to institutional and systemic racism, it’s there because someone is benefitting from it. We can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been brought up and educated to see the world differently. However, once you start to realise that there is that bias there, you need to acknowledge it. And then you need to do the work to become more aware … so that you can help stand up for something that is so wrong and should not be acceptable in our society today.” – The Duke of Sussex, president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust youth organisation, speaking to young people via video link from his home in Los Angeles, following his recent vocal campaign work on the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This is a disaster that we have been watching unfold in our Indigenous communities since invasion. The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has been severely impacted by colonisation … If we don’t set time limits and targets, people won’t work hard enough [to fix it].” – Dr Ruth Stewart, the new rural health commissioner, calling for measurable, short-term health targets to close the almost 10-year average life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
“There is a unanimous view that this is required to avoid absolutely catastrophic outcomes.” – Professor Brett Sutton, Victoria’s Health Officer, about the expanding re-lockdown in Melbourne.
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.