Behind the hand-shake. Whack-a-mole. California Dreamin'.
Wry & Dry returns
No sooner had W&D and Mrs W&D turned left on entering their flight to Cathay , than an avalanche of evolutionary throwbacks popped up like whack-a-moles. Will these people never stay down? Work with W&D on Barnaby Joyce, Pauline Hanson, Donald Trump, Nicolás Maduro and Californian politicians.
And as W&D was waved through customs on return to Melbourne, trolley groaning under the weight of the outcome of Mrs W&D's attempt to salvage Hong Kong's retail economy, his thoughts turned to events both alpha-numeric (G-7) and sporting. Read on.
The Photo-Opportunity, Singapore
The Singaporeans host photo-opportunities as well as the Brits do a society wedding. Not that the media caught all of the goings on at the Trump-Kim summit. And many chose to forget the real Hermit Kingdom (as North Korea is often called)....
As Readers would expect, W&D's man person was there, and picked up this exchange just before the leaders shook hands:
Trump: Holy cow, Kim-san, you are taller than I thought. Not quite the runt I was told about.
Kim: Hey, man. Cool. But I am not Japanese, so cut the 'san' stuff. Just call me Kim. Peace be upon you.
Trump: I love the shoes, who is your cobbler?
Kim: Hey, man. Like, y'know. Some dude in the local gulag.
Trump: I gotta get a pair. They will make me even taller than, well, anybody. Even those turkeys in the G-6 will look up to me.
Kim: That's cool, man. Pleased to hear that you have turned the G-7 to the G-6. As for shoes, a man's gotta have people looking up to him. That's why I wear these shoes. And everyone else in my country wear flats. No heels allowed. You should see our range of thongs [ed: i.e. flip-flops].
Trump: Get out of here!!
Kim: True, man. It gets a bit cold in the snow, but who gives a nuke. Hey, I like the stock market. Got any tips?
Trump: Kim, today is your lucky day. The Australian market is going gang busters. And I have some shares that I gotta sell. Melania doesn't like their people. And I gotta listen to her, or that's the end of, well, the treats. If you follow me.
Kim: Hey, man, you need to take a North Korean woman. They are very pretty. And compliant. Just as you like. You can have one of mine.
Trump: It's a deal. I'll give you these Australian shares in exchange for one of your women. Let's shake on it.
[They shake hands. Cameras click. Applause from crowd].
Kim: Hey, dude, what's the name of shares you want to unload.
Trump. It's a great company, with great future. It's called AMP.
And that's what the two leaders were shaking hands about.
Singapore footwear fashion
Having heard the conversation between Tsar Trump and Kim, W&D was keen to the explore the footwear issue. Not only did Kim's shoes have a somewhat thicker heel than men's shoes usually have. But the boy also clearly had special height-adding insoles. Take a squiz:
W&D calculates that his cobbler has added about 8cm in height. So, really, his purported 170cm height is only about 162cm. That's about five foot three inches in American.
"...and I'll have fries with that"
The other exciting photograph to emerge from Singapore was...
W&D is moved to ask, "why does it take three generals to write down an order for a Happy Meal?"
Barnaby Joyce - still seeking privacy
Irony is probably not a word known to the rustic former Deputy Prime Minister. But the word sprang to W&D mind as he sipped a Litchini  in his somewhat decadent Shanghai hotel and heard of a television interview given by Barnaby Joyce, his girlfriend and their 6 week old child. And the following morning Mr Barnaby gave further television interviews. In those he complained about a photographer harassed him outside his church.
(By the way, err, this is the man who wanted anti-abortion protesters given the right to harass, photograph and intimidate women entering clinics.)
Anyway, apparently the happy couple had complained to the press council about breaches of privacy.
But have now dropped the complaint, ahead of the August launch of Barnaby's auto-biography. W&D senses that he will need all the publicity that he can round up.
Barnaby says that the TV interview and book have nothing to do with money. W&D has put that one in the hard-to-believe file. Just alongside Kim Jong-un's 170cm height.
Pauline Hanson - still waving the broom
The Wicked Witch of the North is in a spot of bother. One Nation Senator Brian Burston, who in May announced he would keep his word, defy TWWOTN and vote for the government's company tax cuts, yesterday quit Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (PHON).
Election analyst Antony Green alerts W&D to the facts: of the 30 MPs elected on the PHON ticket, 19 resigned in their first term, with others booted from parliament for a range of reasons. Just three made it through to the next election and the voters have re-elected just one.
TWWOTN will now hold One Nation party meetings in a phone booth.
World Cup - Russia
Readers will recall that FIFA (the incorruptible body that controls global football i.e. soccer) awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Qatar has a population of just 2.6 million, of which foreign workers (mostly Indian) make up about 88%. Football is, well, not all that popular in Qatar, as shown by the average attendance at a senior league game being about 4,000. Perhaps the weather?
W&D digresses. The current World Cup is just underway in Russia. And on Wednesday night, FIFA, meeting in Moscow, chose the venue for the 2026 World Cup. Tourists flying in from Miami Beach, BOAC, who didn't get to bed last night , will rejoice that the Yoo Ess Aye along with Canada and Mexico, were successful, comfortably outvoting now five-time loser Morocco. Ah, Casablanca,
Tsar Trump has already taken credit for the USA's victory. Oh, by the way, Canada and Mexico also got a mention in his tweet. There's that word, again. Irony abounds.
California: one into three?
Readers will recall that some time ago W&D was alerted to some bright spark's idea that California would be better off as three states rather than one.
Well, the first step has been taken. The plan has earned a spot on the ballot in November's mid-term elections. If Tim Draper's Cal-3 initiative gets a majority vote, it would trigger a long process to split California into northern, southern and central states. Readers will know that should the proposal become a reality, it would be the first division of a state since West Virginia split off from Virginia in 1863.
Readers will also know that the US constitution allows for the formation of new states. However, under Article IV, no new state can enter the union "without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned, as well as of the Congress".
That means that if Cal-3 succeeds with voters, California's legislature would also have to approve the move. Then, it would make its way to Washington, DC for federal approval.
Politically, such a change would be momentous. The number of Representatives in Washington would remain unchanged, as a state's allocation is population based. But four more Senators would be added (each state gets two Senators). And the state's 55 Electoral College votes would be disrupted. Which is why the Democrats, who basically control California, will likely strongly oppose the initiative.
China and the Indian Ocean
It was former US President Obama's cowardice that allowed China to seize and occupy atolls and islands in the South China Sea. Not quite 1938, when UK Prime Minister Chamberlain mused as he allowed Hitler to stroll into Czechoslovakia that it was, "a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing." Well, not quite; no people live on these atolls and islands. But China has effectively expanded its borders across the South China Sea. And there is now nothing that can be done about it, protestations from Australia's clothes-horse Foreign Minister, Ms Julie Bishop, notwithstanding.
And China will soon swallow Taiwan, piece by piece. The latest tactic, to coerce airlines that fly to China to explicitly refer to Taiwan as a part of China, is another example of 'the long view'. Qantas' cowardice in acquiescing to this want of justice is in contrast to its domestic championing of social justice issues. Its spine is as stiff as the soggy and speculative food substances found congealed in its in-flight food trays.
W&D digresses. Readers will be aware of China's increasing influence in the Indian Ocean, specifically by 'debtplomacy'. Whilst lounging in a decadent, revisionist and clearly capitalistic chair in a hotel in Beijing, W&D was reading China Daily, an English language newspaper mouthpiece of the Chinese government. In it were two articles on China's desire to influence events not in the South China Sea, but in the Indian Ocean. One headline boldly declared that the 'Indian Ocean big enough for China, India'. W&D won't bore Readers with the contents of the articles.
But just reminds Readers of China's long view. The Indian Ocean and nearby will be next. Atolls and islands, anywhere, are vulnerable.
Perhaps we might appease the Chinese if we offer up Tasmania.
W&D is a shy man person ("with the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein"). But cannot help but remind Readers of his warning some time ago of the deleterious economic situation in Venezuela.
And so it gives W&D no pleasure to announce that Venezuela's inflation rate last month hit 25,000%. Not too bad for what was once South America's richest nation. And still the country that has the world's largest oil reserves.
W&D hesitates to peel back the onion of the country's woes. Except that it cannot be long before the revolution against the extreme left wing government gets underway.
But wait, there's more! It's about the domino effect that Venezuela's demise will have elsewhere. Cuba, that icon of tin-pot Latin American socialism, has only one unconditional ally left: Venezuela. And it is Venezuela that provides Cuba with its oil. But, weirdly, Venezuela had to buy on the open market its last lot of oil for Cuba. And that might be the last that Venezuela can provide.
However, Readers should hold no fears that that twenty-first century Socialism is in its death throes. Quite the opposite in Australia. Queensland, with its amazing state budget announced this week, will soon challenge the Peoples' Socialist Republic of Victoria's podium socialist position. Don't you worry about that.
Deepak, W&D's Uber driver, wanted to hear all about...
... W&D's trip to China. "You must have found it interesting"
"That's an understatement", said W&D hurriedly. "But I'm in a rush today. I'll tell you all about it next week."
And, to soothe your troubled mind...
"Every topic we discuss needs to reflect on its impact on women as well as further intersectionalities, whether it be race, gender identity or background or cultures...."
- Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, at a preliminary G-7 meeting on women's empowerment.
First Samuel client events calendar
NGV Winter Masterpieces Exhibition
Masterworks from Moma (New York)
Forum - guest speaker TBA
Some lightly salted absurdities from all over...
At the extreme left-hand end of the Bell Curve
Tips for young players:
- Don't drive when drunk; but
- If you do, don't speed; but
- If you do and the police see you, don't flee; but
- If you do, don't fire shots at them; but
- If you do, make sure that you don't have five firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition in your car.
A 44-year old man from Sumpter Township, Michigan, missed all the tips. He's now safe, in the slammer.
Guess what he did next?
A man suspected of assaulting a person with an axe thought he could evade capture by:
a. Hailing down a taxi;
b. Calling for an Uber;
c. Taking a train; or
d. Swimming into a lake.
Close. But no cigar. d. is correct. Escaping Police 101, lesson #1, page 1: You cannot escape police by swimming into a lake. The police will just wait for you to swim back to shore. Or you drown.
Bonus: the lake was in MacArthur Park, Los Angeles. Yes, Readers, the very same park where someone left the cake out in the rain .
Not ready for Prime Time
It was Rachael Tyler's first day on the job at Oklahoma City's Twin Peaks restaurant. She was keen to make a good impression. Perhaps skimming customers credit cards wasn't the right way to do it.
But wait, there's more. Once she was arrested and put into the Oklahoma County Jail on one felony count, police discovered that she had multiple outstanding Oklahoma City and Tulsa County warrants for her arrest.
Have a Wry & Dry weekend.
 Cathay: as northern China was called in medieval Europe. The word is derived from Khitay, the name of a seminomadic people who left southeastern Mongolia in the 10th century CE to conquer part of Manchuria and northern China. By the time of Genghis Khan (died 1227), the Mongols had begun referring to North China as Kitai. Kitai is still the Russian word for China.
 Litchini: 30ml vodka, 30ml Soho lychee liqueur, 30ml cognac, guava essence and white peach juice.
 From Back in the USSR, by the Beatles, 1968, from the White Album. Ringo Starr had a dummy spit during recording sessions, and Paul McCartney played drums (as well as double-tracked vocal, backing vocal, piano, bass guitar and lead guitar).
 MacArthur Park was a song written by Jim Webb, released in the midst of the flower power days of 1968 and sung by Richard Harris, an Irish actor (who played King Arthur in Camelot (1967), Cromwell in Cromwell (1970), Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator (2000) and Dumbledore in Harry Potter movies). As was astutely said, if you can remember the 1960s, you weren't there. And you could only understand MacArthur Park if you were high.