Another thesis...

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Wed Jan 22 23:23:13 EST 2003

--- Margaret Ball <margaret at> wrote:
> Congratulations! You've just finished what my quilt
> group has decided to 
> be one of the three touchstone experiences beside
> which nothing else in 
> life ever seems quite so difficult: writing a
> thesis, raising teenage 
> daughters, surviving a coup in a third world
> country.
> -- 
> Margaret Ball
I can only claim 1 and a half (unless raising two
teenage daughters counts as two), with no theses
written but I have assisted several people editing
theirs, my wife and a number of her friends, most
recently one over the Christmas period when we got it
from "hopeless" to "wonderful" in about four days. 
I have a friend who survived several coups in third
world countries. He had some great stories - the
Communist take over in Laos in 1975 was a non event -
a mob stormed the US embassy, tore down the flag and
trampled it in the dirt, the next day the new
communist government returned it very apologetically,
washed and ironed. He was also in Iran when the Shah
was overthrown in 1979. He said that it was quite
scary before the coup, he worked  teaching English
classes for air force officers, which needless to say
were full of SAVEK spies, lessons would go something

My Friend; "give me an example of the comparative"

1st AF officer "The Shah is the worst dictator in the

2nd AF Officer "NO, NO NO  you can't say that.. That
is quite wrong - That is the superlative - the
comparative would be 'Hitler was a bad dictator but
the Shah is a worse one'"

He spent all his time looking over his shoulder for
the secret police. He later went on to become a spy
himself. I was once rung up at school by ASIO - the
Australian equivalent of the CIA or MI 5 when they
were doing a security check on him. I was very tempted
to say that we'd been in the Communist Party together
in our student days. He later said that he had told
them about his activism against the Vietnam war and
their response was that anyone with any brains was
doing that and they didn't want anyone who hadn't any
brains. They never seem to have discovered his wife's
terrorist connections. They only married because none
of the countries for who's passports she was eligible
would give her one - this list included France,
Argentina, Israel, Austria, Germany, Poland and the
Soviet Union.
As they now live in Canberra they can add surviving
Bushfires to their resumes.

Jon Noble
> --
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