We were driving through Belmont with a friend on Sunday, when a conversation started.
Friend: Did you hear about North Korea’s failed missile test?
Friend: Trump should just take out the sites where the missiles are.
Us: But he can't. If he does, [North Korea leader] Kim Jong-un will wipe out Seoul. North Korea is building the capability to attack the US with intercontinental ballistic missiles and there are fears that they’ll make a nuclear bomb that fits onto a missile. Trump has to deal with it, but he has to be careful.
As we relayed these thoughts, our friend saw something out the window.
Friend: Look, it’s a cat chasing a dog.
Us: Hey, we were talking about something important here.
Both of us are laughing now (quite possibly at the absurdity of life).
Friend: (still laughing) Sorry, I'm easily distracted. And you don't see a cat chasing a dog every day.
For a moment there, it felt like we were in a Simpsons cartoon.
While we’re on this subject, The Simpsons did feature Kim Jong-un in a special short YouTube video in 2015.
In the video, Marge Simpson challenges the North Korea leader to an ice bucket challenge.
Remember the ice bucket challenge? That was quite a fad. It was once described as "a middle-class wet T-shirt contest for armchair clicktivists”.
The Party Posse
A Topics reader told us he’d been getting ads popping up on his digital devices lately for the Australian Defence Force.
“I have been reading a bit about North Korea, Syria and Trump lately. Does this mean Big Brother thinks I’m ripe for recruitment,” the reader said.
This reminds us of The Simpsons episode where Bart, Nelson, Milhouse and Ralph form a boy band called The Party Posse. They record songs containing subliminal messages about joining the Navy.
Lisa Simpson gets to the bottom of it, discovering that the chorus in one of their songs “Yvan eht Nioj” is “Join the Navy” written backwards.
I’m from Texas
Back in the Great Depression, there was a place called Texas… at Carrington.
Reader Neil Pitt told us about it. Neil said Texas was in the suburb’s north, near the coal loaders.
Poverty-stricken people lived there in humpies and shacks made of tin and wood.
The place had only a few taps. Locals would walk to the taps with buckets to get water to take back to their makeshift homes.
“People had to live somewhere – they couldn’t afford rent,” Neil said.
Herald history writer Mike Scanlon wrote an article about Texas 15 years ago.
Mike wrote that Texas was one of several camps in Newcastle in the 1930s Depression era, where unemployed people lived.
“One of the people who used to live at Texas was Frank Embleton, a film projectionist. He even shot a short film at Texas. A western, naturally,” Jim Smith told Mike.
“People used to run horses there. There were stables. That's why it was called Texas.”
The “Carro” shanty town flourished from about 1930 until at least 1956. In 1932, 54 people, including 16 women, gave the area as their address.
Other camps in Newcastle during the Depression were Hollywood at Jesmond (also known as Doggeyville), Platt's Estate and Tramcar at Waratah, Diggers Camp in the West End, Nobbys Camp, the Stockton “Coral Trees” and the “Pig Sty” at Waratah saleyards.