The continent has most of the world's most poisonous snakes, not only on land but in the ocean. It has the world's largest crocodiles, and one can be devoured by one in or near the ocean or a river, and then out in the surf great white sharks abound. And I haven't even mentioned box jellyfish, blue ring octopi, stone fish, or the red backed and funnel spiders.

If ever a land was saying "Go away, people," it's Australia.

Add to all this that Sydney, strangely, is one of the most expensive cities on Earth and that you're so far from the United States (where everyone wants to go) and why would anyone live there, much less WANT to live there?

So, why are there people in Australia? What explains it?

Yes, and of course I'm being tongue in cheek. I'm sure there are many reasons to risk the many ways to die there.

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And that, Strega, is the difference between growing up in a secular nation, rather than one founded on Calvanist principals by Pilgrims and Puritans. American goody-two-shoes church goers, who don't drink or smoke, see no injustice in taxing those who do, and using the funds however they please.

Hey, you don't like it? Then quit sinning!

I think mainly politicians pockets

Mr. Norm Keller here, an otherwise nice guy from Canada, a country noted for its nice people, has expressed a belief, Mak, that that concept is a myth (see page 7) - having yourself lived through the Moi era in Kenya, is there anything you can contribute to that discussion?

archaeopteryx, why not simply indicate that you believe that slandering without proof is good practice? Is that not what you are asserting in attacking my character?

It seems to be both unjust and irrational to assert that all politicians are immoral. Where does that get us? How does that benefit society?

It simply adds pressure to those in politics who are genuinely affected by what others think and feel about them so as to discourage their involvement, IMO. That would seem to select in favor of those who just don't give a damn about what others think, right? How is that a good thing?

How on earth, Norm, do you consider, "nice guy from Canada, a country noted for its nice people" to be an attack on your character? What I was, in fact saying to Mak, who doesn't know you, in admittedly a bit of a coded fashion, was, this is a nice guy, when you relate your experiences with Kenyan political graft, treat him kindly (which was really unnecessary, as Mak treats everyone kindly).

If you consider that to be an attack on your character, I'm reluctant to say anything else, for fear of offense.

And at no point did I assert that all politicians are immoral, just that there are immoral politicians.

As a smoker, I would wholeheartedly support a measure that forced me to quit for economic reasons. No use killing a worker without making him work for it. The only reason I started smoking in the first place was I enjoyed watching the smoke. To me it looks like a small cloud of little white dragons, dancing for my amusement. Calms me down and helps me focus on my thoughts. I really can't stand it when a nic fit consumes me, I light my pipe up and start puffing quickly to try and get the nagging urge to subside, usually burning my tongue in the process. One of the reasons I love my ecig. I get my dragons plus a lovely taste of vanilla, without that bothersome dose of Nicotine. I'm down to one pipe bowl a day, and I'm trying to quit entirely.

I might see if I can't design a little something to sit on my desk to periodically shoot a little puff into the air. Wish I had a 3d printer.

Quitting is easy, according to an old boss of mine. He claimed to have quit 30 or 40 times.

Not helping, I know....sorry. (VBG)

I've often heard, H3, that psychologically speaking, watching the smoke curl is a significant part of the smoking satisfaction. Try breaking up your habit - smoke that one pipe in a windowless room, with the light off, in other words, entirely in the dark. Make it a point to never again smoke where you can see the smoke, and see if that will make a difference in your smoking frequency.

I know, smoking is not a "habit," as many will tell you, it's a full-blown addiction, but there ARE habits attached to it (I'm working on a book of things to do to quit), such as coffee and a cigarette, an alcoholic or soda-based beverage and a cigarette, after eating, after sex, when starting your car, when you finish a task, etc. You can choose to smoke less if you break these habits up - eg., never have coffee and a cigarette together again, etc.

Just a thought, from a recent ex-smoker.

@Norm Keller - We have some thick ones here. Did you see on the news yesterday by any chance, a couple of Australians saw a shark caught behind a sand bar. They tried to maneuver the shark out, and wondered why it bit them. Truly. Gotta be thick.

Didn't notice but not surprised as too much Disney watching in our population, IMO. Sharks, Box Fish and some others will bite in self defense so one is well to consider. One of my favorite practices while snorking in a river mouth was to watch for puffers around distant coral bommies. When say one would take a line to stay out of sight then dash out from around the bommie close to the puffer. They would always panic and blow up like a balloon, then decide to try to flee. It was a panic to see this extremely tubby fish trying to flee. I never pursued them as didn't want to chance over stressing  or having one justifibly bite me. ;)

Teasing Ozzies was fun as they were generally into that and saw it as silly, fun exchange rather than a mean spirited competition camoflaged as humor. The greatest fun was to stir up Ozzies and Kiwis to get them going at each other, then sit pack and throw in digs to keep things going. I don't recall any ocassion in which it was other than obvious good spirited. Always respected that in both nationalities. Others could take a page from that book, IMO.

That was the spirit in which I started this thread. Call me a troll, but it was time things got stirred up a bit. Aussies have used it to tell us what they like about Australia, which isn't a bad result.

Sharks, Box Fish and some others will bite in self defense so one is well to consider.

I don't think sharks experience much "My life is in danger" kind of fear, and jellyfish are far too primitive to form intent. They don't attack. Unfortunate swimmers and divers simply blunder into a group of them.

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