Column 8

Regular contributors Dave Horsfall of North Gosford and Allan Gibson of Cherrybrook clearly have this date circled in red in their calendars and Granny was delighted to receive their birthday messages.

To mark Granny’s 72nd birthday, here is the opening item from the very first Column 8, published Saturday, January 11, 1947: “VALUES. Don Bradman, Test cricketer, can’t remember the number of autographs he’s signed – “must run into many thousands”. Marcus Oliphant, atom expert, can. He’s never been asked for one.” Despite all the discussion about how Australia has changed over the years, such a prominent feature of Column 8, there are some things that you can always rely on – having the ability to split an atom, build an atomic bomb then advocate for only peaceful uses of atomic power will always pale into insignificance next to someone who can hit a ball with a wooden bat quite a lot of times. 

Perhaps all is not lost though. Karl Kruszelnicki of Maroubra was at the School of Physics at the University of Sydney on Monday, when the university was officially closed – something you do when you are the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow. “I saw two female students walking on the pavement, reading books (C8) as they walked.”

Zoological chivalry (C8) is alive and well in Sydney. Paul Thistlethwaite of Frenchs Forest regularly stops to give way to animals crossing the road, “including a three-metre snake in Yuraygir National Park a few months ago”, also witnessing “a garbage truck stopped in the middle of the road in Beacon Hill for an echidna”. It would appear that stopping for echidnas crossing the road is a regular feature of northern suburbs life, with Vicky Marquis of Glebe reporting that traffic on both sides of a busy road in Warriewood stopped “to wait for a little echidna to cross to the bush on the other side”.

While visiting Canada, Judi Turnham of Port Macquarie invited a couple of Canadian friends out for “supper” (as Canadians call dinner). When she said it was “our shout” her friends “looked aghast and asked why we would want to yell at them?”

“Is there a word or expression for the common phenomena of a melody or song that repeats itself interminably in the mind or brain?” is the question from Robyn Dalton of Beaumont Hills. Earworm is the term that immediately springs to mind, followed by certain tunes that Granny will not share out of consideration for her readers.

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