The Artist – a silent film that, like the originals, is never truly silent, speaking volumes in its own unique way. The use of sound is judicious and inventive, especially the dream sequence – and what a soundtrack! Altogether a playful, joyful, uplifting masterpiece.

With its feather-light touch, The Artist dives deeply and works on many levels, as a tribute to cinema, to time passing, to the joy of life and the darkness, to new beginnings and the unquenchable human spirit.

Notice that when sound came in, almost overnight every fashion victim pretended the silents had absolutely no value anymore, even though they found much in them to enjoy beforehand. People seem to be doing that now with ebooks and real books.

If books are George and the e-book is the talkie… well, look what won the Oscar 80 years after its supposed death – the silent! I can’t believe we will ever let real books die out. Books are like George dancing into the new era, nothing can stop them. Each page opening is his smile.

The Ningaloo Reef whale shark story was published a few weeks ago and is still afloat here. Here’s some extra snaps from the trip:
Not whale sharks, a dolphin pod

Whale shark fleet off Tantabiddi Boat Ramp

Talking to the spotter plane

Leopard shark and 'shark spotter'

Final briefing before whale-shark dive

Whale shark at the surface

juvenile male whale shark cruises by

Intrepid Ningaloo snorkeller

Tantabiddi Boat Ramp

Three Islands Whale Shark Dive

Nose to nose with an Eastern Quoll in Tasmania. They went extinct on the mainland in the 1960s, apparently – the last sighting was in Vaucluse (inner Sydney) of all places. But Bruny Island has billions of them.

They are bold little buggers, seemingly unfazed by camera flashes going off in their faces, and some even headbutted the plate-glass door.

I’m sure they would have eaten us if they had the chance.

Here’s a lenticular cloud I shot at Bruny Island (Tasmania) last week, hovering over ‘The Neck’ between North and South Bruny. Or is it a flying saucer planning inscrutable alien experiments on all those fairy penguins and muttonbirds roosting in the dunes below?

Lenticular Clouds at The Neck, Bruny Island

Sydney seems to have a relatively healthy variety of native wildlife for a major metropolis, definitely one of the good things about living here. 

Exhibit A: a couple of eastern water dragons we passed in suburban Manly last weekend, along the path near the Fairy Bower. To get an idea of how big these ones might have been, eastern water dragons usually reach about 70-90cm long when fully grown.

 “Are they waiting for the Tree Train?”

My four-year-old applies the logic of
innocence to the puzzle of a native
eucalypt forest flourishing on this
inner-Sydney railway platform.