December 4, 2018

Comments Off on OPINION: Got a tone to pick with you

OPINION: Got a tone to pick with you

LITERALLY JAB: Muhammad Ali surprised his opponents. NOW listen. But I already was listening. Did you have to say that? Make you feel important did it?

Now that you have commanded me to listen with your best uppity school principal tone, I am going to sit here and look interested but won’t be thinking about anything that spills into the vapour from your pompous gob. I’ll be dreaming about cat videos while nodding away and surreptitiously looking for the nearest exit and planning how quickly I can use it.

The only time I want to ever hear “now listen” is just before Ross Wilson cranks out “Oh we’re stepping out”, providing timeless and sage advice regarding a dance move generations of awkward, sober (awkwardly sober?) and unco-ordinated Australian men – whether they be metro, hetero, or retro – can manage without embarrassing partners, children, innocent bystanders or those who actually can trip the light fantastic. “I’m gonna turn around. Gonna turn around once and do the Eagle Rock.” Yes brother, we can all manage the Eagle Rock. The turn itself can be tricky if done at anything resembling quarter-Michael Jackson speed whilst nursing a dodgy hip or footy knees, but if you take it slowly enough there is a reasonable likelihood there will be little need to seek medical treatment for acute self-inflicted humiliation the following day.

But “now listen” is just one of the everyday sayings that has permeated the language and gets up my goat, which should never be confused with getting on my goat.

What about “I’ve got a bone to pick with you”? Oh spare me days, Nanna. This one buries the passive and privileges the aggressive. Why not say “I cannot legally physically punch you in the head with my clenched fist so I am going to punch you in the brain with a pointless and ordurous idiom as preferred by the most tiresome dolts in the English speaking world.”

“I’ve got a bone to pick with you” is the particularly annoying person’s way of sending a signal that you have annoyed them, winning them an annoyance boxed quinella comprised of being simultaneously both annoying and annoyed in any order.

I never want to hear this tedious phrase again, unless of course you are going to literally pick a bone with me, in which case a courteous invitation to a carnivorous feast may be acceptable, depending upon prior commitments and the nutritious parameters of the fad diet I am failing to comply with at any particular time. You would be welcome to pick my brain at such an occasion.

What about “with all due respect”? Like Muhammad Ali jiving his head quickly to the right before unloading a lethal left jab, this pearler signals something untoward is coming. This is the go-to passive aggressive insult par excellence spurted by attack weasels before they scarper back to their burrows.

Literally is the new “like”. I literally don’t, like, like you using literally. It’s 2015’s “absolutely” and is most often used to sabotage and poison an otherwise tolerable auditory ambience in a situation where an agreeable silence would be just dandy. Please shut up.

Now it’s election season and the Baird government is regularly wheeling out Laura Norder and her get tough promises in the usual cavalier fashion of those attempting to win the hearts of talkback shock-jocks and the Murdoch table thumpers, how about mandatory life sentences for misuse of the word literally? Like, literal life sentences.

“Can I ask you a question?” What? Besides that question you just asked, asking me whether you could ask me a question? I am not sure if I can answer that question without taking it into full consideration that you didn’t ask me a question whether you could ask me a question regarding the asking of a question. Just ask the question.

“I know this sounds like a dumb question, but…” Why are you asking me a question that you are apparently pleased to qualify with a disparaging announcement? Why not rethink the question and make it sharp and focused? Why not pass on asking it at all? Otherwise I’ll take it as a comment and refer the matter to Tony Jones where the Twitterati will joyfully pass comment on the validity of the question’s merits. On the other hand, maybe you could just ask the question without an introductory clause outlining unnecessary anxiety. Verbal oxazepam.

“It is what it is.” Oh Jebus. Just shoot me. Not literally.

“Thanks in advance.” That one means I have flicked you a task by email so intolerable that I would rather chew wasps than do it myself.

“Just sayin.” Arrrrgggh.

Paul Scott is a lecturer in the School of Design, Communication and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle


December 4, 2018

Comments Off on IAN KIRKWOOD: Revel inShow and tell

IAN KIRKWOOD: Revel inShow and tell

IAN KIRKWOOD: Revel in Show and tell All the colour abd fun from the Newcastle Show. Pictures: Marina Neil/Peter Stoop/Phil Hearne/Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald sports writer James Gardiner observed, for ‘‘a fifth straight game the Jets were fiercely competitive’’.

On Saturday, a swell that brought sizeable and picture-perfect waves to every beach on our part of the coast continued to pour in from the ocean depths, as it had on Friday.

And it was still there on Sunday, a great run of surf, even if it was a fortnight too late for Surfest.

Also on Saturday, the Newcastle Knights ran out for the first game of the season, scoring a spine-tingling 24-14 victory over the Warriors, fighting their way back from a 14-6 deficit and doing it with a man in the sin bin for 10 minutes in the second half.

There were 16,000 people cheering the home team on at Hunter Stadium, but I listened to the game through one earphone while negotiating my way with a mate and three children through the Newcastle Show.

Ah, the show!

Beloved by children, and looked at by many of us with a weary and wary eye.

Picture: Simone De Peak

A day out, yes, but once you get sucked into the sideshow alley, you can kiss goodbye to $100 or $150 a child without even blinking.

For those on limited budgets, it’s best to hand over the folding stuff and console yourself that it’s only once a year, and that the smiles on those little, and not-so-little faces are worth the wallet-full of redbacks that it’s cost to put them up on top of whatever ride is now scaring the daylights out of them.

As the word itself suggests, the ‘‘sideshow’’ started out on the ‘‘side’’ of the ‘‘show’’. An addition to the main attraction, in other words.

But the way the Newcastle Show is nowadays – and I am pretty certain it’s the same with a lot of regional shows – the ‘‘sideshow’’ appears to be the main game, especially if the weight of numbers is any indication.

All up, show organisers expect the three days of good weather this year will have brought more than 50,000 people through the gates, an increase of about 30per cent on the 35,000 of last year and 2013.

I was there from mid-afternoon until 9.30pm on Saturday and through all of that time, the crowds were much thicker over on the amusements side of the showground than they were over on the traditional side, where the goats and the chickens and the horses were doing their thing.

The main animal sheds were shut on Saturday afternoon – the cattle exhibitor had to cancel, as I later learnt – and I left with the feeling that the agricultural and industrial part of the Newcastle Show was on a noticeable decline.

So I went back on Sunday to talk to Newcastle Show Association president Roger Geary and his dedicated – and mostly volunteer – band of helpers, who told me that, yes, it was a battle, but a battle they were determined to win. It’s definitely a show of two worlds, financially.

While $20 and $50 notes disappear hand over fist on rides and amusements, those showing their goats and ponies are doing so for a love of the game, and for precious competition points to gain entry to the Royal Easter Show.

To make the most of the show, I would definitely recommend picking up a program. I was too distracted by the pull of three nine-year-olds dragging us relentlessly towards the rides and the sugar, and when I did finally drag the group over to the show ring, it was a bit hard for an untutored novice to know what was going on.

But I know one thing. I’m glad we stayed for the fireworks. In January I had a whinge about Newcastle’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, which, for most of the crowd, were like distant paintings on a near-silent sky.

Not so at the show. Let loose on Friday and Saturday nights from the centre of the show ring, it was an explosive rain of explosion and colour, the air thick and grey with the sulphurous reek of gunpowder.

As the kids said on the way home: Best fireworks ever!


December 4, 2018

Comments Off on EDITORIAL: The year of living equally

EDITORIAL: The year of living equally

AS long as gender inequality exists in society, there will always be a need for International Women’s Day.

It’s true, women are highly visible in positions of power; in politics, on television, in the workplace. But the reality is that men still rule the world, or think they do, and still make up most of the rules that govern the world.

Yes, Julia Gillard was Australia’s first female prime minister, and deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop is one of those named as a likely successor to prime minister Tony Abbott.

But they are the exceptions that prove the rule. Their high profile makes it seem as though women are equal players on the political field.

But the reality is that most of the positions that matter in Australian governments are still held by men.

Indeed, the latest global measures of gender inequality – a ‘‘gender gap index’’ compiled by the World Economic Forum – shows that Australia is slipping in relation to other countries. We ranked 24th last year from 142 nations, a steady decline from 2006, when we were 15th from 115 countries.

In everyday fields, most women still live lives that depend, to some extent, on the goodwill and largesse of men. Parenting is now much more of a shared experience than it was a generation or two ago, but women are still often cast in the role of the primary caregiver, while the man’s image remains that of the bread-winner. Some men – and perhaps some women – will say that is how it should be, and that gender roles are bequeathed to us by nature, not society. They may even say this division is not one of inequality, but of intrinsic, natural difference.

But modern experience tells us this is not the case. A crucial aspect of child care is that it provides women with choices if they want to contribute to the workforce, who wish to build careers for themselves.

Whether we realise it or not, the truth of the matter is that many of society’s conceptions of male and female roles are preconceptions, shaped by an often subtly acting group of biases and prejudices that we are often not even aware of until they are deconstructed.

And if there is one area of society that proves the amount of ground that men are yet to give, it’s in domestic violence.

Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators, and the act itself – of male violence towards women – is always wrong. There are no excuses, ever, and we should not need an International Women’s Day to remind us of this.

Nor is the right to a life without violence something we should think of only once a year.

Australian society, indeed all society, benefits from gender equality. In 2015, the idea that a woman should enjoy exactly the same rights and privileges as men is not feminist dogma, it is simple common sense.


August 7, 2019

Comments Off on Star that could be chomping a planet

Star that could be chomping a planet

Debris surrounding the star RW Aur A, which could be munching on a planet or mini-planets.Astronomers may have caught a relatively nearby star munching on a planet or mini-planets.


A NASA space telescope noticed that the star suddenly started looking a bit strange last year. The Chandra X-Ray Observatory spotted a 30-fold increase in iron on the edge of the star, which is only 10 million years old, along with pronounced dimming.

Astronomers have been watching the baby star – in the constellation Taurus – for decades and iron levels weren’t high in 2015, the last time the Chandra telescope looked at it.

The star, called RW Aur A, is 450 light-years away. A light-year is 5.9 trillion miles.

Hans Moritz Guenther, a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says he’s never seen anything quite like this before, calling it “a lot stranger than we thought we’d be seeing.”

“We’ve never seen any star that’s changed its iron abundance like that,” he said.

Guenther said one potential simple explanation is that the star is eating a planet or mini-planets.

He looked at other possible explanations, and of the two that make sense, he prefers the planet-munching one. Computer simulations show it can happen, but it has never been seen before, he said.

Outside experts are wary.

“This could be an exciting discovery, but the evidence is circumstantial and not definitive,” said Harvard’s Avi Loeb.

Guenther’s preferred explanation is speculative, said Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science, an expert on planets outside our solar system.

The study is published in Wednesday’s Astronomical Journal.


August 7, 2019

Comments Off on NRLKnights backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon’s two match ban turned into five weeks on the sideline. He’s ready to make up for lost time

NRLKnights backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon’s two match ban turned into five weeks on the sideline. He’s ready to make up for lost time

Raring to go: Knights backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon [pictured caught in a bear-hug by teammate Mitch Barnett] will start on the right edge against the Titans tomorrow after a two game suspension. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAPIt was atwo matchsuspension that turned into a frustrating five week stinton the sideline for Lachlan Fitzgibbon.


But the silver lining out of his enforced lay-off is the Knights backrower says he is physically and mentally raring to rip into the Gold Coast Titans at McDonald Jones Stadium tomorrow.

Originally named on the bench for the Titans clash,Fitzgibbon will start on the right edge and will be out to make up for lost time after his suspension stretched to a period of five weeks in limbo because of the representative round and a bye.

He was outed for a “crusher” tackle on Melbourne Storm forward Tim Glasby on June 17 which carried a one match ban for an early guilty plea.

Fitzgibbon and the club rolled the dice and he lost so copped an extra week.

“It was tough. We went down there with the expectation to win and not miss any games,” Fitzgibbon said.

“As it was, I get two weeks and we had the two byes in between. It was disappointing to say the least but that’s just a little road block in the season for me and I’m through it now and can’t wait to get out there.”

Despite losing at the judiciary, Fitzgibbon says there was no intended malice in the tackle and he has no regrets in fighting the charge.

“I think if I didn’t challenge it, I would have had to cop aweek and I’d be thinking back “what if” so it is what it is,” he said.

“They were two tough games to sit out, especially the Bulldogs game. We had aspirations of doing really well and it was tough on the sideline to get beaten the way we did.

“The Eels have been struggling but they still have some quality players and they came to play on the weekend so credit to the boysthat we held them out for that last 15 odd minutes.”

Fitzgibbon has been far from idle on the sideline and says he was put through a grueling “mini pre-season” training block to make up for the fact he wasn’t playing.

“It was a big four weeks [leading into this week] but in saying that, the silver lining of it all is I’m feeling fit and healthy and pretty strong at the moment,” he said.

While the Knights’ 33-26 loss to the Titans on the Gold Coast earlier in the season wastwo competition points the playersconcedethey threw away, it does not add any motivation to this game according to Fitzgibbon.

“We went up there with plenty ofexpectation and we had control for most of that game,” he said.

“But a couple of lapses and in the last 10 minutes, they came home with a wet sail and they managed to do a number on us up there which was very disappointing.

“But it’s not as if we owe them one. We want to beat every team and I don’t think there is extra motivation because of what happened last time.

“It’s just another week and another game and we should go out and perform strongly and hopefully win.

“There are seven or eight games left and our goal is to win as many as we can.”


August 7, 2019

Comments Off on Ristevski’s statement was ‘flimsy’: aunt

Ristevski’s statement was ‘flimsy’: aunt

Borce Ristevski’s accounts of the day his wife Karen vanished seemed “flimsy”, her aunt told police.


Patricia Gray, who flew to Melbourne from NSW after her niece went missing, also said in her statement that Ristevski wasn’t helping police as best he could.

Ms Gray stayed with Ristevski and his daughter Sarah at their Avondale Heights home for more than a week to support them and assist in the search for Ms Ristevski.

“I provided as much support as I could for both of them,” Ms Gray said in a statement, released by a court on Thursday.

“But I could tell Borce wasn’t assisting police or himself to find Karen, which I found frustrating.”

It’s alleged Ristevski killed his wife at home and dumped the body in the quiet bushland area, taking Karen’s Mercedes-Benz roadster to do so.

Ms Gray told police that Ristevski originally said he took the car to several garages for quotes that day.

But Ristevski said that was wrong and he actually drove the car to get petrol, changing his mind when the faulty fuel gauge showed it wasn’t needed.

He claimed he kept driving towards Ms Ristevki’s dress store but missed the turn-off so decided to return home.

“I accepted this first account about going to the garages for the quotes, and (was) relieved because I believed police could verify his movements,” Ms Gray told police.

“But this second account appeared to be flimsy and I found it hard to fathom.”

Ms Ristevski’s body was found between logs at Macedon Regional Park by two horticulturalists eight months after she vanished in June 2106.

Ristevski is facing a committal hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court to determine if there’s enough evidence to send him to trial charged with murder.

Prosecutors have compiled a 22,000-page evidence brief, including CCTV footage of what they allege is Ristevski driving his wife’s Mercedes to dump the body.

A computer systems and digital imagery expert testified on Thursday, saying CCTV footage taken near Diggers Rest shows a car like Ms Ristevski’s.

The footage is blurry but Dr Matthew Sorell, a lecturer at the University of Adelaide, said the driver in question had features “broadly consistent” with Ristevski.

“I would note the short hair, coloured light grey,” he said.

Dr Sorell also noted the driver’s physical features were not consistent with the brunette Karen Ristevski.

“The physical features are not a match in terms of long hair, in particular the colour.”

Ristevski was charged in December last year and he’s fighting the allegations.

The hearing continues.


August 7, 2019

Comments Off on Eats shoots and leaves … in Borneo

Eats shoots and leaves … in Borneo

I have just returned from taking 20 undergraduate students on a two-week New Colombo Plan expedition to the Kalimantan Provinces of Indonesia on the enchanted and exotic island of Borneo.


All of us agreed it was the trip of a lifetime. Our itinerary was organised expertly by our partner Lambung Mangkurat University. We set out with the twin goals of cultural immersion and to understandthe pressures of palm oil plantations on the survival of the many unique fauna of Borneo, particularly the proboscis monkey and the orang-utan.

Palm oil has become a major and lucrative export of this island and the expansion of these plantations has led to a devastating loss of tropical forest habitat. The consensus was that we all learnt much, and indeed achieved these goals. The proboscis monkey is found exclusively in the mangrove forests along the waterways of Borneo, and its primary diet is mangrove fruits, shoots and leaves, analogous to our koala with its dependence on eucalyptus leaves. The males are very distinctive with a long and fleshy nose and a swollen stomach. We spent several days observing the ecology of these endearing animals. We stood waist-deep in muddy water to plant more than 100 mangrove trees to expand their habitat on an island sanctuary. The plastic pollution problem was evident wherever we looked, as the coastal river flow not only brought huge barges loaded with coal to the sea, but myriaddiscarded cups, bottles and bags downstream.

A short flight took us to our departure point for a magical boat ride into the large Tanjung Putting National Park to spend three days traversing the waterwaysin search of the orang-utan. We saw many primates, including orang-utan, langur, macaques, gibbons and, my favourite, the proboscis monkey, along with squirrelsand bearded pigs.We visited the research camp where Dr Birute Galdikas has spent the past 47 years observing the orang-utan. Unfortunately, we did not meet her as she and her team were out in the forest carrying on with their research. She is such a testimony to the dedication of the scientists of this world.Hopefully some of our tour group will continue in her tradition.

Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts,School of Enviromental and Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle.


August 7, 2019

Comments Off on Helping your blood vessels go with flow

Helping your blood vessels go with flow

GOOD CIRCULATION: Vascular ultrasound is used to assess blood flow to the brain and the body’s organs and extremities.ADVERTISING FEATUREVascular ultrasound is a specialised application of ultrasound looking specifically at blood vessels – arteries and veins, and blood flow.


Your doctor may send you for a vascular ultrasound on your arteries or veins if they suspect you have a blockage: for example, if you are experiencing pain in the legs with walking or exercise –a condition known as intermittent claudication.

Other common examples include evaluation of suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or of extra-cranial carotid disease in someone with a minor stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

“Vascular ultrasound is used to assess varicose veins, vascular malformations, aneurysms or unusual anatomy,” Dr Mathew Sebastian, from Vascular HealthCare said. “It helps the vascular surgeon or physician to plan treatments, and is of significant use in assessing the outcome of interventional procedures. Many modern varicose vein treatments are performed under ultrasound guidance.”

This advertising feature is sponsored by the following business. Click the link to learn more:

Vascular HealthCareUltrasound is a non-invasive procedure with no radiation, making it the safest of all imaging techniques.

It is also relatively inexpensive compared to CT scan and MRI, and can be repeated multiple times without any detriment to the patient i.e. no radiation or contrast (the ‘dye’ used to delineate vessels).

“There are no needles or dyes used to obtain your results, and there are no harmful side effects,” Dr Sebastian said. “Once your clothing is loosened or removed, a gel is applied to your skin and a probe (transducer) is moved along your skin, over the blood vessels being examined. You may hear some unusual sounds from the Doppler during your examination but this is quite normal and is an indication of blood flow.”

Vascular ultrasound scans can be time consuming because theyinvolve the detailed collection of blood flow information from many locations along the course of the blood vessels, depending on whatyour doctor has asked to check. This is essential for the most accurate results.

“Our experienced vascular sonographers at Vascular HealthCare do not take ‘short cuts’ in order to finish your test as quickly as possible,” Dr Sebastian said. “They adhere to specific, Medicare-recognised protocols that ensure no abnormalities are missed so that your results are as comprehensive as possible. Examinations typically take 30 -90 minutes, depending upon the test your Dr has requested.

The quality of an ultrasound examination is heavily dependent on the ability of the sonographer performing the test and the only way to maintain the high standards of all examinations is to have regular audit of scans by the end-users, the clinicians.

“All the sonographers at Vascular HealthCare are dedicated vascular sonographers and liaise regularly with the vascular surgeons in the practice discussing patient results and carrying out audits – a comparison of the ultrasound findings with what the doctor finds when they perform an angiogram,” Dr Sebastian said.

“This audit process ensures accuracy of scans performed at Vascular Health Care.”

Vascular HealthCare is a specialist medical practice treating arteries, veins and circulation disorders in the Newcastle and Hunter regions of New South Wales.

It comprises the surgical services of Drs Mathew Sebastian and Nicole Organ, and phlebologist Dr Naomi Hunter from The Hunter Vein Clinic.The ultrasound team is lead by senior sonographers Richard Rounsley and Kylie Burnley, who are excellently supported by sonographers David Wroblewski and Shannon Taylor.

“Our patients are typically older, over the age of 50, and are typically affected by atherosclerosis, or plaque, in the arteries,” Dr Sebastian said. “We do perform many examinations for varicose veins and other arterial disorders, which generally affect younger people.”

Vascular HealthCare has fourlocations conveniently located across Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, at Gateshead, East Maitland, Merewether and Toronto.

Doctors consult at all these sites and all sites have wheelchair access with free on-site or street parking.

Bulk Billing is available and all ultrasound referrals are accepted. Appointments can be made by phoning 1300 664 227, email [email protected]杭州桑拿 or by using the contact form at www.vascularhealthcare杭州桑拿


July 7, 2019

Comments Off on Broncos move Boyd to make room for Isaako

Broncos move Boyd to make room for Isaako

The future is now for Brisbane after Wayne Bennett made the surprise call to replace captain Darius Boyd at fullback with young gun Jamayne Isaako for Friday night’s NRL clash with Penrith.


The 22-year-old Isaako topped a red-letter day by inking a four-year contract extension to remain at Red Hill until the end of the 2022 season.

Isaako turned down interest from the Sydney Roosters to stay at the Broncos where he has a chance to establish himself as the club’s long-term fullback after former Test No.1 Boyd’s retirement.

Bennett has opted to hand the flyer the fullback now in a bid to bolster their left-edge defence against a Panthers outfit that has welcomed back NSW five-eighth James Maloney from injury.

Brisbane are bracing themselves for Maloney’s return from toe and foot complaints, re-jigging their backline with Boyd at left centre and Jordan Kahu now on the right wing.

Bennett denied Boyd’s move was permanent but said something had to give after their poor 26-6 last round loss to the Warriors that relegated them to eighth on the NRL ladder.

Asked if Isaako was Brisbane’s long-term fullback, Bennett said: “Yeah but we have just fast tracked it a little bit.

“This is not permanent. We will just see how it works for us.

“But I needed to do something at the back there. I just thought we could tighten up our (defensive) positioning in the centres a little bit.”

Bennett said Boyd, who is contracted until the end of the 2021 NRL season, took his surprise positional switch well.

“He was happy as. That was his original position. That is where he played all his football growing up,” he said.

“I have played him there before on the odd occasion, he handles it great.”

Bennett has confirmed forwards Joe Ofahengaue (knee) and Tevita Pangai (hamstring) had passed fitness tests and will play.

Brisbane’s NSW centre James Roberts (achilles) is another certain starter after missing last round’s disappointing home loss.

The Broncos will need all hands on deck against the fifth-placed Panthers after Maloney was given the green light on Thursday by coach Anthony Griffin.

Blues playmaker Maloney appeared in serious doubt for the round 19 Suncorp Stadium clash after post-State of Origin scans revealed a minor sprain.

He was rested from last week’s loss to Cronulla, along with fellow NSW stars Nathan Cleary and Tyrone Peachey.

However, former Broncos mentor Griffin said Maloney would play after training strongly at their Gold Coast base on Thursday.

“He’s been a bit tender since State of Origin but he’s going to play,” Griffin said.

“It’s good to have everyone back together again (post-Origin). The level will go up again now the rep season is over.

“The intensity will be a lot higher than it was a month ago.”


* Brisbane are aiming to win three-straight matches against Penrith for the first time since 2001.

* Penrith coach Anthony Griffin has won eight matches and drawn one in his 12 matches against Brisbane’s Wayne Bennett – the Broncos mentor’s equal worst win percentage (25 per cent).

* Bennett is seeking a record 500th NRL career win in his 806th match.


July 7, 2019

Comments Off on Reece Hignell eliminated from MasterChefPhotos

Reece Hignell eliminated from MasterChefPhotos

Newcastle’s Reece Hignell eliminated from MasterChef What’s Cooking: Reece Hignell made it to the last six of MasterChef 2018. His next step is a pop-up restaurant in Newcastle. Picture: WIN Television


Reece Hignell on MasterChef. Picture: WIN Television.

Reece Hignell is planning to start a pop-up restaurant in Newcastle.

Reece Hignell.

Prince Charles on the show.

Gordon Ramsay on the show.

Gordon Ramsay on the show.

Gordon Ramsay on the show.

Gordon Ramsay on the show.

Nigella on the show.

Nigella on the show.

The judges – Gary, George and Matt.

Reece’s Frozen Mandarin Nougat with Beetroot Caramel, Mandarin Granita, Biscuit Crumb and Thyme.

Click ahead for more of Reece’s dishes.

TweetFacebookTickled TastebudsIt’s been a long time on the air for MasterChef. A decade, in fact.

Judge Matt Preston recently spoke about the show’s “no dickhead” policy. Perhaps that’s one reason for its remarkable longevity.

The slick M-logo reflects the show’smarketing prowess. It’s a whole lot better than thatother M-logo from the ever-temptinganddecadent food universe.

Topics admits we’re not a regular viewer. But after watching a couple ofepisodesstarring Reece, we found ourselves thinking that ourfood experience could improve.

On the show, Reece cooked dishes like basil sorbet with pink peppercorn meringue;smoked vanilla ice cream with poached plums;rump steak with carrot puree, gremolata and jus; and hazelnut parfait, chocolate sorbet and eucalyptus caramel.

Eucalyptus caramel? Is that evenpossible? Ourtastebuds areprotesting. We had brown rice, chicken and tomato for dinner.Topics might have to check out Reece’s pop-up restaurantsome time soon.


July 7, 2019

Comments Off on FFA facing tug-of-war for Fowler family

FFA facing tug-of-war for Fowler family

Australia faces a battle to secure the long-term allegiances of 15-year-old progidy Mary Fowler.Australia faces a battle to secure the long-term allegiances of 15-year-old football prodigy Mary Fowler and her talented siblings amid strong overtures from Ireland.


Fowler is set to debut for the Matildas after being selected in coach Alen Stajcic’s 21-player squad for next week’s Tournament of Nations in the US.

It should be the start of a long international career for the Cairns-born wonderkid – but whether the Fowler family stays in green and gold remains to be seen.

Born to an Irish father and Papua New Guinean mother, Mary is one of five children and all of them aspire to play professional football.

Brother Quivi, 19, and sister Ciara, 17, have both previously represented Ireland at youth level and were born there but are on Football Federation Australia’s radar.

However, AAP understands the Football Association of Ireland is desperate to lock the Fowler family down and is in regular contact.

“I want to play for Australia, but obviously Ciara and Quivi have played for Ireland,” Mary told AAP.

“And we all want to play together for the same country.

“Family is really important to me, it’s important to all of us.

“I’m not in any rush to make that decision right now, I’m only 15, so we’ll see.”

Playing in the Tournament of Nations won’t tie Mary to Australia as it is essentially a series of glorified friendly matches.

However, the lure of an appearance at next year’s women’s World Cup – for which Ireland have failed to qualify – may swing their decision.

It’s understood several W-League clubs have offered contracts to Mary and Ciara but the pair are considering moving to Europe, where Quivi will be based next season.

Quivi is viewed as a potential Socceroo and has signed for second-tier Dutch club FC Dordrecht, having previously spent time in the youth system of Eredivisie outfit Vitesse.

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder played for Wollongong in the NSW NPL this year and trialled with multiple A-League clubs but was not offered a senior contract.

“He hasn’t played any senior football yet, but the boy’s definitely talented,” FFA head of national teams Luke Casserly told AAP.

“We certainly hope to connect with him and see how he’s going at Dordrecht.

“We’ve got Ante Milicic based overseas now who can easily get around and see him.”

Casserly said FFA would make their pitch to the Fowlers, just as they did to Daniel Arzani as he entertained interest from his birth country Iran.

“We’ve had a number of players who can play for multiple nations, and obviously we go through the same process with everyone – meet with the players, their parents, their family,” he said.

“If it’s a player we’re really interested in, we put our best foot forward as to why we believe Australia is the best place to go.”


July 7, 2019

Comments Off on Mensink and his lawyer ‘have never spoken’

Mensink and his lawyer ‘have never spoken’

Clive Mensink’s lawyer has told a court he’s never spoken to the former Queensland Nickel director.A lawyer for former Queensland Nickel director Clive Mensink has told a court he’s never actually spoken to his client, and that Mr Mensink’s uncle, Clive Palmer, was their “conduit”.


The company’s liquidators want Mr Mensink to return from an open-ended overseas trip to face questions about how the nickel business was run before it collapsed in 2016.

In the Federal Court in Brisbane on Thursday, solicitor Sam Iskander was asked if he’d ever spoken to Mr Mensink, who is the subject of an arrest warrant for failing to return home to be grilled in court.

“No,” the solicitor replied.

“My understanding was Mr Palmer was the main conduit of instructions and he had the authority to act on his (Mr Mensink’s) behalf, and so therefore I would follow those instructions accordingly.”

The court was told that Mr Palmer had given Mr Iskander phone numbers to contact his globe-trotting nephew. but the solicitor had never made direct contact with him.

In a statement to the media on Thursday, Mr Palmer blasted liquidators for continuing to pursue his nephew.

“They are continuing their public examinations of Clive Mensink’s solicitor Mr Sam Iskander even though every Australian has the right to legal representation,” the businessman and former federal MP said.

“They will for a second time examine Mr Mensink’s son, Ryan, in an attempt to intimidate and seek retribution.”

Ryan Mensink has previously testified his father is unlikely to return to Australia because he “is probably having too much fun” overseas.

Mr Mensink is still paid a salary by Mr Palmer’s flagship company Mineralogy, and receives rental payments for properties in Brisbane’s north and the Gold Coast.

The arrest warrant issued for Mr Mensink, and another for contempt of court, are essentially unenforceable unless he returns to Australia.


July 7, 2019

Comments Off on Forever torn: Bob Dylan and mystery of his love it or hate it concerts

Forever torn: Bob Dylan and mystery of his love it or hate it concerts

Present tense: Bob Dylan’s latest promotional image.


FOR six decades, Bob Dylan has left us guessing.

At a press conference held in San Francisco in 1965, the 25-year-old sat before a media pack who spent almost an hour firing off questions – some interesting and others terribly dull.

At times visibly uncomfortable with the focus all on him, Dylan’s answers shifted from comical to laconic, but it is early on in the footage that he delivers one of his most remarkable responses.

“Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or a poet?,” one reporter asks.

With a pause for thought, Dylan answers: “Oh, I think of myself as a song-and-dance man, ya know”.

It’s delivered with a crooked smile, but it’s clear that he’s actually not joking.

When asked why, Dylan – who had been propelled to superstar status with the release of his third album Bringing It All Back Home– shuffled in his seat before responding: “I don’t think we have time to really answer that”.

Labels have never been his thing.

Over the course of his career, Dylan has constantly changed, shifting styles musically – and vocally – from folk to rock, country to blues, gospel and, more recently, a deep exploration into the Great American Songbook across series of albums, including 2017’s Triplicate.

There is a mystery to him that remains unsolved and makes him undeniably intriguing.

Like his musical output, Dylan’s set lists aren’t exactly predictable.

There is no shortage of material to choose from, hundreds of songs that have led the way for countless covers by everyone from Rage Against the Machine to Cher, but the chances of hearing Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Hurricane, Like A Rolling Stone, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Just Like A Woman, I Shall Be Released, All Along the Watchtower (and all the rest, of course) are not guaranteed.

Frustrating for some, perhaps, but that’s the way he operates.

1996: Bob Dylan playing at Hyde Park in London.

So what can we expect when Dylan, who turned 77 in May, returns to Australia next month?

A look at his recent shows tell us the 2000 hit Things Have Changed, which he recorded for the film Wonder Boys and picked up two awards for best original song at the Oscars and the Golden Globes, was the most-played track on his run of dates across Europe earlier this year.

Long and Wasted Years (released in 2012) and Ballad of a Thin Man (from his 1965 record Highway 61 Revisited) are also on high rotation, with Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right (1963) and Blowin’ In The Wind (1962) getting a run alongside his Frank Sinatra cover Melancholy Mood and jazz standard Autumn Leaves.

It is by no means a greatest hits set, but Dylan has never pandered to his audience.

Songs are often reworked live, sometimes barley resembling the original.

He is known to joyfully interact with his band, but engaging with the audience on a personal level is not part of his game.

And it’s exactly this that has opinions divided about a Bob Dylan concert – it’s a love-it-or-hate-it experience.

Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour – as his constant tour schedule has been nicknamed – kicks off in Perth before heading to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle and Brisbane, then across to New Zealand.

He performs at Newcastle Entertainment Centre on August 22, returning for the first time since playing the venue in 2003.

I was at that show and left feeling satisfied.

He closed the set with Blowin’ In the Wind and All Along The Watchtower, so who could argue with that?

Sharing the room with a true music icon, one that has left such an indelible imprint on the canvas of modern music (as well as being a recipient of a Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), is nothing short of incredible – even if they don’t sound quite like they used to.

A reworked version of Mr Tambourine Man got a run, as did I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight and It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.

It was another box ticked for me, but I recall receiving an email or two from readers in reply to my positive review of the show that strongly questioned my experience.

Was I at the same show? one reader scoffed.

Fifteen years on and the divisiveness of Dylan is unchanged.

In a review of one of Dylan’s shows in the US last year, Washington Post reporter Joe Heim described Dylan in concert ‘’as challenging as ever”.

Heim said the show felt “both riveting and oddly removed”, with the band remaining un-introduced for the whole show and Dylan not uttering a single word, before adding: “It didn’t matter. The songs connected even when the singer didn’t.”

In comparison, a glowing review from his show at London Palladium last year declared: “If there were ever a time in the last 20 years to see Bob Dylan live, now is that time”.

Dylan’s upcoming tour of Australia follows his 2014 month-long run of shows that placed him in smaller, intimate venues including Sydney’s State Theatre and The Palais in Melbourne.

1966: Dylan at a press conference in Melbourne.

He first toured Australia in 1966 and regularly returns, with no hint at plans to retire, despite peers such as Paul Simon and Elton John recently announcing they will step back from life on the road.

Even though Dylan has gone on record to dismiss the theory of a “Never Ending Tour”, it is one label that has stuck whenever he’s on the road.

The tour began in June 1988.

It’s debatable whether or not Dylan actually coined the term himself, but the fact is that he has remained on the road almost constantly since that year, with a three-month break due to illness being the longest period he has spent away from touring life.

He is on the verge of clocking up 3000 shows on the 30-year tour which have been played in more than 800 cities around the world.

“A lot of people can’t stand touring but, to me, it’s like breathing,” Dylan once said.

“I do it because I’m driven to do it.”

* Bob Dylan and his band perform at Newcastle Entertainment Centre on August 22. Tickets available through Ticketek.