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Letter 17 (page 4)


OK, enough serious discussion. We had an enjoyable visit to Australia in April last year though there was not enough time to see everyone and everything. This was our first visit home since my sister returned from living in the UK so I finally got to meet her daughters.

Actually, I had met Eleanor before but she was only 1 at the time. She has grown since then. Lan was a big hit with the girls. My mother and I went to visit one day while Lan went to see her sister but Eleanor was very upset that Lan didn't arrive crying "I want Aunty Lan!". She had to make do with Uncle Peter which I admit is a poor 2nd prize.

Lan has a wonderful niece and three nephews in Sydney and we took them bowling which was a lot of fun. I hadn't done it for perhaps 20 years and Lan had never done it at all. We enjoyed it so much we did it again in Adelaide when we visited the rest of Lan's family.

My mother's sister Pat and husband Des came to visit in June last year staying with us on the weekend and making some expeditions into the countryside during the week. We bought a tent in 1996 but had never used it so it was great that they took it and a sense of adventure with them.

I am very worried about what we as a species are doing the global ecosystem but it was wonderful to read about the large increase in the number of whales passing Sydney each season Note 10.

We don't own any Ray Charles CDs but his life and finally death touched us. We saw the film Ray and came away with a much greater appreciation of his musical impact. I heard somewhere that Ray had said that being black held him back more than being blind—a sad indictment of the racism he and other African-Americans endured. My favorite magazine has a moving obituary with a beautiful photograph Note 11. It mentions that even at the school for the blind he attended, black and white students were kept apart!

Speaking of films, I also urge you to see Hotel Rwanda if you haven't already.

If you use the internet and still use Microsoft's Internet Explorer, I'm guessing that's because you are unaware of a new and better alternative. Firefox offers much better security, tabbed browsing, popup blockers and more. It is one of a new breed of 'standards-compliant' browsers including Opera, Safari and Konqueror that are built around open standards rather than locking you into one company's (i.e. Microsoft's) vision of how the internet should operate. Download it now:

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  1. From the newspaper I read online almost daily, Pod squad wows the watchers
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  2. As Larry Ellison once said, "I used to think. Now I just read The Economist". Ray Charles
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