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The person, whom within MY lifetime, has done more for Peace and the preservation of good Literature in my lounge room, is the inventor of the MUTE BUTTON.

Eugene Polley of the Zenith Radio Corporation is credited with creating the first wireless TV remote that could turn off the sound. The marvellous invention came into being in 1995. Yes, that recently, only 22 years ago.

He did receive the Technology & Engineering Emmy Award (1997); IEEE Consumer Electronics Award (2009).

Unfortunately, this genius passed away in 2012 at the age of 96. This makes him ineligible as the prohibition of posthumous awards fails to recognise achievements by an individual who dies before the prize is awarded.

So, next best thing to do is to confer a Saint Hood, as this is an obvious miracle, witnessed by and of benefit to billions around the world.

FC Mickey Benefiel

Looking back from 20 years in the future

You are only 5 minutes late, don't get so bothered about a little delay.

I can remember when people had to line up for hours just to get on one of those big cramped, noisy aeroplanes in order to go from Hobart to Sydney. Then it took well over an hour to get there!

No Quick Cabs in those days. Everything was sub-sonic. Of course they used petrol driven jet engines back then and they had severe limitations on speed and weight, so they just crammed all the people they could into a plane and only went from one airfield to another. Oh, how I hated waiting for the suitcase to come off the plane and out on the conveyor belt, before I could even get out of the airport.

No door to door at all ! You had to take a cab or a rent a car to get to where you actually wanted to go. Now when I want to visit my son in Helensburgh, they put me down on the footpath right in front of the house, and my luggage as well.

And of course the high speed underwater ferries didn't even exist! I don't think anyone had even thought of such things back then. Hydrogen powered locomotion and aqua dynamics engineering have made a huge difference to all forms of transport, but especially getting back and forth to England or Canada. It took Jet aircraft 12 hours just to get from Perth to Cape town! Can you imagine, sitting in a chair for 12 hours!

Back then just about everyone drove cars. There were just as many idiots in the world then, so you can imagine how dangerous it was. Now when you call for a pickup to go visiting or for an outing, it may take a few minutes for the transporter to arrive; but they have progressed tremendously since they got the trucks off the transways. Used to call them roads in the old days, before they put everything underground.

So settle down in the recliner there and have a cold beer. Fortunately, some things never change.

Mickey Benefiel

Where the Wind Comes From

A storey for Fia

A little girl named Fia sat watching the leaves being swirled in the air by a Dust Devil when her Grandfather came and sat beside her. "you look very thoughtful, what are you thinking about?", asked the old man.

"Where does the wind come from, grandpa?" said the girl, squinting to keep the dust from his eyes. "And why does it make such a mess?", she continued.

"Mother Nature owns the wind, but she doesn't always do a good job of making it behave. Some days it just gets out of hand and runs wild."

Pointing to the sky Fia asked, "Does it blow the clouds around too?" They watched the thin layer of scratchy cloud, strung out in long streamers across the horizon.

"Sometimes it does, other times the clouds and the wind are just playing chasings."

"Does the wind make it rain?"

"Oh no. The clouds own the rain, and the wind is jealous about that. Sometimes they don't get on very well at all, the wind and the clouds. The wind will make the clouds angry and that's when they get all dark and cover the sun. If the wind gets too pushy the clouds throw rain and roar with thunder and lightning to try and scare it off, but the wind just keeps on blowing and that's when we get bad storms."

Fia frowned. “The wind is always bad!”

No, wind makes peoples windmills work and sailors are always needing the wind to make their yachts go. Sometimes the wind cools the land after a real hot day, but that's when it just puffs up a breeze. It dries the washing on the clothes lines and helps you fly your kite. The wind can be really good when it wants to. It just doesn’t try very often."

They sat in silence for while, thinking about the wind and clouds, then Fia looked very seriously at her grandfather and said "when I act bad mum makes me stay in doors and I can't go out and play. I wish I was the wind, then I could do whatever I wanted to, and no body could boss me around."

"Now don't get me wrong dear, the wind doesn't always get it's own way. Mum Nature has her own punishments she hands out. She gets angry and makes the wind spend days out blowing the water into waves. Hard work that. Then another time she gets cranky with the clouds and makes them SO cold, that the rain freezes into ice and snow and the clouds can't hang onto it and they dry out, loose their thunder and lighting and sometimes just turn into fog."

"Wind can be real cold too", said Fia. "Does she cause that as well? Because I don't like it when it gets real cold."

"yes she does, but to make up for that she lets us have the fire place to get warm again. She owns fire too."

Hello to the Animals in my Garden

I am sitting in my small secluded back garden, the air around me is redolent with the perfume of roses, the trees and shrubs sway in a light breeze. I am watching the tiny silvereye birds joyfully playing in a terracotta bird-bath which I had just filled with freshwater. It stands between two rose bushes, which give a protective cover and an escape route from marauding cats or bossy larger birds. The birds are like small children at the seaside, jumping in and out of the shallow water. This is repeated many times.

I speak to them softly, "Go on my pretties, enjoy yourselves."

As long as I don’t move they continue to bathe and drink the water. The sun catches their shiny olive-green backs and wings as the drops of water sparkle on them.

Another day, same place, I heard a rustle from the dry leaves that had fallen from the magnolia tree, my most prized garden plant. I sat still, listening intently, leaning forward to try to see what animal was disturbing the leaf litter. A glistening scaly head, beautifully patterned in amazing geometric precision, appeared. "A snake," I thought, getting ready to jump on the garden seat.

I couldn't take my eyes away from the beautiful creature. I sat very still as it crunched and crackled its way through the dried leaves. About sixteen inches were visible now. A sigh of relief escaped me when a small leg and foot appeared. It was a wonderful blue-tongued lizard! The biggest I have ever seen.

"You are welcome to my garden," I said, "and to the snails as well."

The most frequent four-footed visitor to my garden is a small wallaby. She is a female because she was pregnant last year. and now she is quite slim, although I never did see a joey. She’s a quiet little thing, she stands and listens to me as I speak in a gentle even tone. She will sit and listen, unmoving, as I talk to her about the weather, or pruning the roses. I haven’t got a dog, so its nice to have this uncritical, quiet little companion. She sits about ten feet away from me but if I make a sudden move she turns and quickly hides in the shrubbery. But still she comes back again and again. She poos a bit but I don’t care. I like her tranquil company and she loves my garden. I think she likes me too!


I have come to the borders of sleep,

Yet my eyes will not close.

I am wondering why.

Was it what I ate tonight?

I’m wondering.

Or the wine that I drank;

Or perhaps the heat of the day

Which has continued till now.

I’m wondering. Why?

Is it the warmth of the body

Now slumbering next to my own?

Or the beams of bright light

Filtering through to my face

From the round golden Moon

Which I’ve watched half the night

As the eclipse passed mysteriously by.

I’m wondering why.

Or maybe, just maybe,

twas the movie we watched:

a classic whodunit, but gory and bloody

and full of strange spirits.

We both were excited, but scared just the same.

I’m still not asleep and I’ve counted more sheep;

Done deep respirations and tried to relax

But still I’m not sleeping

And wondering why.

We put out the light and turned off the cat

So why am I bothering any more about that?

And now it is raining, a little at first,

And now there is more and the wind’s getting up

And keeping me wakeful

The more I ignore it.

We’re away in the morning - a holiday trip;

Our bags ready-packed, await in the hall,

But now I’m remembering, now wide awake,

I should take a towel and my swimmers forgotten.

Need some more money; there’s never enough.

Won’t worry right now cos I’m trying to sleep.

Will the taxi come early? Or late?

We’ll need to have breakfast

And time to wash up.

The sheets are all ruffled,

The doonah too heavy,

It’s no wonder I’m restless

Yet bordering on sleep.


I can’t . . . I can’t . . .

The clock . . . says . . . three . . .

Three . . . I forgot . . . forget . . .

For . . . ever . . . and . . . ever . . .

Aa . . .m . . .en . . .


“Mum, Mum, wait till you see this!”
The girl was hard to see in the darkness: a vague silhouette, slithering over
piles of rotting rubbish, fruit, vegetables and other unsold and out-of-date
foodstuff. Behind the shopping centre a yard was enclosed by a brick wall,
high, but not high enough to stop determined scavengers bunking up and over
to look for anything which might fill an empty belly.
Lily was always hungry. There never seemed to be enough money for food.
What did Mum do with it, she wondered. Smokes? Drink? Pokies? She could
not be sure but they both did this nightly round of the grocery chuck outs.
Her hands slipped over more rotten fruit: bananas oozing from split skins;
apples, some still firm, most slimy and not worth a second touch, oranges
covered in films of mould; mushy plums, apricots, grapes getting pongy,
squashed tomatoes: a jumble of stale bread rolls, cream buns, tacky glazed
icing, crumpets, doughy muffins, smashed cream cakes. Lily’s fingers dipped
in and out of her mouth: the taste was good but it was too dark to see what
she was eating.
A rat scurried away.
Her hand fingered inside a fibre carton: packets of something unopened,
several of them. She pulled one out in front of her face. “Hey Mum, come
over,” a loud but muffled whisper, “wait till you see what I got.”
Her mother, a formless shadow slid around the jumbled garbage. “What is it
then? What yer got?”
“Doughnuts, packets of ’em. They’re in boxes like this. I seen ’em in the shop.
Cor. I love doughnuts.”
“OK, put ’em in the bag. We’d better be orf ’fore security comes round.”
“I got a few rolls as well.”
“OK, that’ll do us dinner. Come on.”
“Mum, how come all this food don’t get sold in the shops?”
“Dunno luv. Waste, ain’t it.

Is this an apple which I see before me?
Come, let me behold thee.
’Tis shapen like an apple red
yet hath these shining russet yellow streaks all round.
’Tis small, yet light upon my hand,
with tiny broken stalk upon its upward face.
’Tis like a cherry – larger – yet not so sweet;
with juice, ’tis crisp and crunchy to the bite,
a taste like fallen honey drops,
sharp to my teeth, sweet to my tongue,
rapture to my nose, with flavour rich and joyful;
and cheerful sound unto my ears.
This gentle longing to have thee whole,
at once, as favourite love-bites on my lips.
Oh, wondrous fruit, how blest thou art.
Thy skin, though firm doth still resist my ardent bite
yet longeth to be with me – as any lover might –
to satisfy my hungry need.
I love thee still,
thy inner flesh so firm, so white,
so pure within and true.
I love thee, all of thee.
Resist me not, my love is sure
And will be till I’ve eaten all of you!

We are nearing the end of the term now.

The new newsletter is available, also our new program for Term 2.

I suggest you peruse the program and choose something which interests you. You can enrol here on the website as well.

If you are not already a member you can join here as well - it is inoirtant to have registered as a member before enrolling in a course

When enrolling on line it is important to note two things

First, when indicating the classes you wish to attend you MUST also check the box for no session in the other class time slots. For example, if you wish to attend a class in session 1 on the Monday, then class 3, but you don't want to do anything in the middle. You must check the box for no class in the time slot(s) you are not coming to a class..

Secondly, you must then scroll down the page to the "submit" button and click that. You will then get confirmation of your enrolment.

If you don't do the "submit" then the enrolment will not have gone through.

Enough technical stuff.

Right now I have a dog lying at my feet waiting for her evening meal.....15 minutes to wait! Honestly, this dog has such an affinity with food, it is the centre of her world!

Next week we have our final morning tea for members to enjoy. This is always special. It is our opportunity to say thank you to all those who keep us going, especially the Tutors...more on that next week.

I am looking forward to our three week break, I am also looking forward to greeting members back in Term 2.

I am keen to greet new members as well, I think there is something for everyone on the program, whether you want to get physical, enjoy a singalong, learn a language or increase your General Knowledge.


























































































































































































































































































My picture this week......"it isn't Tasmanian" you say.

"It is" I say

It was taken in my kitchen and it is a lemon I was given - it was grown here in Tassie - it was huge as you can see and it yielded half a cup of juice. I was impressed!

I seem to be running late this week, everything is a day or two behind my usual schedule - why? I have absolutely no idea, I wish I did!

Perhaps it is just that I am moving a little more slowly than usual due to the wet weather? You know, our old friend "Arthur" has paid me a visit. ("Arthur" = Arthritis).

it has been a full week as usual. On Wednesday Ann Frith and I went to the Clarence Council reception for representatives of volunteer organisations. It was held at the Tasmania Golf Club and there were about 100 people there, representing some 50 organisations. The guest speaker was a 12 year old boy who, at the age of nine asked his mother (on Christmas Eve) if they could take gifts to the children in hospital. His mother suggested that it would be a huge task considering the day it was and the fact that they had only just finished shopping for the family. He then told us he has eight siblings.

He then asked his mother how many days there are in a year and so began Project 365. He decided to learn to sew and, using his own money he purchased materials and began sewing toys - one a day for the whole year! The project has continued and he has just turned 12. To date he has made over 500 teddies and similar toys and over 500 other types of toy. He had three different teddies with him as examples and he told us various stories about the distribution of his toys. He also puts together bags for babies "born too soon" as he said. By my reckoning (as he told us his birthday is in March) he has done this in about two and a half years.

What an amazing and inspirational boy. I take my hat off to him.

Our Newsletter will be on the site within the next few days. I have had a sneak preview of the courses on offer and I am impressed. As always there is quite a mix for us to choose from.

The visits to Government House are going smoothly and I think people are really enjoying them. We also had an offer made to members before it went out to the public to take advantage of. It was nice that the organisers at Government House thought of us that way. The offer was to attend a charity black tie event. The cost is a donation of $80 which is going to charity. I sent it out to all members for whom I have an email address, I wonder if it was taken up by anyone?

Planning is under way for our annual Trivia afternoon in July. That is always fun and for $10 members get a good afternoon tea, the chance to win a prize and a lot of fun. These afternoons are enjoyed by all, they are not serious at all and the quiz masters always love what they are doing. I do feel I can now call it our "annual" event as this is the third year we have run it.

Here are my best wishes to you all for the rest of this week. I hope to manage my time a little better next week and be writing on Wednesday again.


another week gone! Time to write another screed for anyone who may stumble into this site.

I have had a bit of feedback over this last week regarding the overall running of U3A and most people seem happy with what is going on. I know that often silence is golden in that if people are not saying anything they must be happy, I also know one should let sleeping dogs lie, but I have a need to know if the needs of others are being met properly - it is the nurse in me I think. I am also aware that many times people will not "go to Management" with an issue, they prefer to mutter about it to one another.  Still, the general feeling that comes through is one of satisfaction with the way things are going.

Our social calendar is looking good with visits to Government House organised and our annual Quiz afternoon into the planning stages. This is planned for 14th July so come along singing the French National Anthem! We are keeping the cost at $10 per person which covers the cost of hiring the venue as well as prizes and afternoon tea. I think it is really good value. Our Quiz Masters love doing the job which makes it easy and we usually have a lot of fun. Do think about coming along, the notice with the fine details is on the notice board.

I have been forwarded information about the upcoming census - see below


Tuesday August 9 is Census night. The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is now looking to employ up to 800 enthusiastic Field Officers from across Tasmania to make sure everyone gets counted this Census.

If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding job, with flexible working hours, then look no further.

Census Field Officers:
· Are casual positions, with flexible working hours
· Earn $21.61 per hour (inclusive of 25% loading)
· Must be comfortable using a computer, mobile or tablet device
· Will be responsible for making contact with households to make sure everyone can complete the Census.

Desired skills and experience for the role:
· High levels of motivation, a positive attitude and reliability.
· Well-developed communication and interpersonal skills.
· Reasonable level of fitness.
· Ability to work independently in the field.
· Moderately tech savvy.

Job seekers from diverse backgrounds, including non-English speaking backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, are encouraged to apply.

Digital Banners

(See attached file: 590 w x 144 h Field Officer Recruitment Banner 2.png)(See attached file: 300 w x 250 h Field Officer Recruitment Tile 2.png)

Apply online now for Census 2016 jobs, at

I am often thinking about "stuff" and lately that has been about the next President and the qualities they'll need to bring to the role.

As you are probably aware, members of the generation known as the Baby Boomers are beginning to retire. This generation, unlike their forebears did not live through war, rationing, depression and other things like that.

They held a very different attitude to women, especially in the workforce. Also women were freed from not being able to plan their families because of the innovation of the contraceptive pill. Thus they were more able to work and add to the family income. This all led to consumer demands going higher, expectations of needs being met sooner, desire for more consumer products, demand for better and more consistent service. As the media changed they changed with it and embraced the technology as it developed.

This is the generation which will form the future of U3A so the management, represented and led by the President, needs to be in tune with the needs of the Baby Boomer. We need to continue moving forward, not be looking back at what was, not holding the attitude that what was good enough for the previous generation will be good enough for the next. Someone has said to me that the Boomers will expect it all on line and not be physically going to U3A but I disagree, so many people come along for the social aspects of our organisation and for the activities which cannot be achieved on line. Maybe the more "academic" areas will go to online only but there will always be a need for an actual U3A as well as a digital one.

My ramblings for the week!