Monday, May 15, 2023

Cyclone Mocha bears down; Sweden wins Eurovision; the seahorse hotel opens its doors; and meet Chonkosaurus the snapper turtle.



Today’s Quick Links: 

Eurovision 2023 performances:





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In the end, despite the fireworks, the keyboards shaped like guitars, the outrageous costumes and very catchy tune, Australia’s entry to this year’s Eurovision could only manage a 9th placing. 

But ninth out of a field of 37 – in a song competition that we’re probably technically not even meant to be a part of – is something to be really proud of.

And so there were celebrations yesterday as the Voyager – the Aussie band from Perth – capped off a very successful Eurovision campaign in Liverpool, England yesterday morning.

It was Sweden that finally won the day, with its singer Loreen winning for the second time. Sweden narrowly beat Finland – whose rapper Käärijä was a crowd favourite. 

As well as its catchy tunes, Eurovision is a celebration of ludicrous costumes and over -the-top performances. Here’s a word that’s often used to describe Eurovision: flamboyant. Because it is colour and light and enthusiasm and artistic nuttery. And let’s face it: just the right amount of silly.

As Joni explained on Friday: Australia has an impressive track record when it comes to Eurovision: having made it into the top 10 on four of our seven appearances. 

I’ve stuck links to videos of the Swedes, Finns and Aussies in today’s episode notes: because it’s a Monday and we have to ease our way into the week.

A much less cheery event, meanwhile, was unfolding last night in Myanmar and Bangladesh – two countries near India – as Cyclone Mocha was threatening to cause widespread damage. 

Thousands of people had evacuated from their homes as the storm bore down on them yesterday – with grave fears for thousands more who live in makeshift houses in a refugee camp which is in the direct path of the cyclone.

A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their home in the country they were born in – often because of war or because they are unfairly targeted or treated – and flee to live in another country. 

Fingers and toes crossed everyone is safe and the cyclone runs out of puff.



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in the city of Chicago, in the United States, where the Chonkosaurus has set the internet alight. 

Chonokosaurus is the made up name for a HUUUUGE snapper turtle that was spotted sunning itself last week by a couple of kayakers on the Chicago River.

I’ve stuck a link to photos of the Chonk in today’s episode notes .. it’s fair to say he has a healthy apetite, and has been making good use of his time in the Chicago River … well … eating pretty much everything in sight, I’d say. 

According to local wildlife officers, Chicago snapping turtle are renowned for having a short temper and being capable of a bite that really hurts. 

Chonk – you have my utmost respect. 




Meanwhile at the other end of the chunky animal spectrum – and around 300 baby seahorses have been released into the wild in Port Stephens, north of Sydney – as conservationists work to save this delicate, endangered species.

The rare white sea horses used to be a common sight in Sydney Harbour and Port Stephens, but in recent years, their numbers have dropped right off.

The babies are born at Sydney Aquarium – as part of a breeding programme – raised to an age where they can fend for themselves – then released into the wild ..

And get this: to help them acclimatise to their new home – special seahorse hotels have been built underwater – basically open-sided cages for weed to grow on in which sea horses can live.

And how about this for a fun fact: sea horses are the only species in the world where the dad gets pregnant and has the babies. Imagine that … And that’s a little late Mother’s Day gift to all the mums out there … 




In keeping with the Eurovision theme, we’re sticking to the wonderful world of the arts – and offering up a great big Squiz Kids Salute to the many kids in outback Queensland who do distance learning and rehearsed for months remotely to put on a musical together.

You know how most of you do your learning every day in a classroom with other kids – except for our home-schooling friends – and a big shout out to all of you. Well, there are some kids whose families live on remote farms or other far away places in regional Australia that they do their school every day over the radio or over the internet. 

And recently, the Longreach School of Distance Education – whose school area is the same size as the entire state of Victoria – presented their 10th annual school musical, Robin Hood and the Sherwood Hoodies.

A musical in which all of the auditions and rehearsals took place over internet video calls – with kids learning their parts and practising their dances separated by thousands of kilometres on remote properties dotted all over the Queensland outback. 

And I’m reliably informed the show was a smash success. I’d love to come to the next one … Longreach School of Distance Education, if you’re listening, sling me an invite to this year’s show and I’ll be there …


This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. Which country won this year’s Eurovision song contest?
  2. Name one of the two countries that were last night bracing for Cyclone Mocha?
  3. What’s the funny name given to a giant snapper turtle in Chicago? 




It’s May 15 – today marks the start of National Volunteering Week … so get involved already!

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … 

Lily from Oran Park, Blaze from Paraburdoo, Marci from Yoorooga, Lilly from Musgrave, Claire from Albany Hills, Bowie from Tullera, Lewis from North Perth, Pareeza and Siya from Holsworthy, Bob from Liverpool, twins – Riley and Brody from Little Bay and Jacob and Ki from Sydney.  

Belated shout outs go to Zachary from Chatswood, Hermes from Sydney, Daniel from Balwyn North, Tully from Bathurst and Maeve from Watson.

Classroom Shoutouts today are for Class 5/6 Shakeshaft and Ms Tory at Tempe Public School, class 3LB and Mrs Burt at North Ainslie Primary School, class 6A and Miss Darnell at Emmanuel Anglican College in Ballina, the students with Mr A and Mr Lester at Anglesea Primary School, class 5ST and Mrs Twigg at Chatham Primary School, class 6J and Ms Jones at Gulgong Public School and lastly to class 3B and Mrs Buckland at North Rocks Public School

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Sweden
  2. Bangladesh or Myanmar
  3. Chonkosaurus