Saturday, September 30, 2006

Goodbye Newspaper Boys

As part of the Australian Magazine's goodbye series, recently they focussed on newspaper boys. Based upon my own experience in the US, it was the first stop for many immigrants and a car was requirement. Not sure I would be comfortable having my son delivering newspapers early in the morning. Sounds romantic, but it is a very early start and lonely work. With the advent of the internet, the heyday of printed media is well and truly over. The Telegraph in the UK, which has one of the best news sites, recently sacked a bunch of print journalists and photographers. More of this likely to be on the way.

Speed Cameras Suck

So the UK Rozzers have been forced to admit that speed was a factor in only 5 percent of accidents. Then why is so much energy put into the technology. Here in Adelaide, the locations of the speed cameras are published every day and at the same time the numbers of cameras continues to increase. While speed is a more important factor in the more serious accidents, it still does not seem to justify the game governments pretend to play related to road safety. Seems to me it is more about revenue generating than public safety.

Friday, September 29, 2006

No surprises that taxes are so high in Oz

It seems that most of Australias current big ticket military purchases are either US cast offs, or adjuncts to the US global adventuring. None of it seems to be much good either in Australia or in our potential local hotspots (Honiara, Port Moresby, Bali, or Dili) Gobsmacking!!! I mean you can't even transport one of the new tanks on the road or rail, far less land it at a dock in Australia or any of the local countries that we might want to invade. We are talking multiple billions, without all the infrastructure required to park, move, train.......

What are we scared of? Flesh eaters in West Papua, Balut sellers in the Philippines? The tanks are really good on the road to Tehran and the new destroyers are great in a fight to defend Taiwan. Not much good anywhere else. Can we please have more money for some hospitals and schools please?

Finally the Oval Tampered Ball available to view

Office Move

We recently moved office and managed to fight off managements orginal plans for the office layout.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

So what are Scots to say?

Scots in Australia will have to be careful with their language as the $*()@!_(*@#)(*@!_)(*#@)_!(*#)@(*)('n Poms come to defend the Ashes. Our loyalties are split.

Monday, September 25, 2006

If Marmite then Parwill

In the days before Vegemite took off as a brand there was Parwill. Only ever sold in Queensland, it was a way too clever marketing campaign to counter the success of Marmite. If Ma (r) might then Pa (r) will. Wow a bit too clever for your average cleverclogs. The brand only took off when it was given away with other unknown brands made by the same company. I can certainly understand why it would be hard to persuade people to try it. It is a step up from an acquired taste. How about disgusting until the tastebuds are acclimatised. Once hooked, it appears to be like an addiction.

No Runny Eggs Please

In an unusual move, aides to Prince Charles denied a report on Saturday that the heir-to-the-throne's staff have to cook him seven boiled eggs to allow him to choose one with the perfect consistency.

According to BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman's new book "On Royalty", Charles enjoys a boiled egg after a day's hunting but he is fussy about how long it is cooked.

"If the Prince felt that number five was too runny, he could knock the top off number six or seven," Paxman told Saturday's Guardian, which is to serialise the book next week.

"The story is not true," said a spokesman for Prince Charles, despite Paxman saying the story's source is one of the royal heir's friends.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pot Calling the Kettle Black

My seven year old daughter (who always gets the last word) accused me yesterday of always wanting to have the last word. Hah! I don't think so. She is far to good at that debating skill.

TimTams Rule

I lived in Australia for almost four years before I got to know the addictive power of TimTams. The ladies I used to work with at Coles, used to go on about them, but it was only when my five year old chose them one day that I tried them. Very good I have to say.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hot Air

Leads to Global Warming

Hate Your Job? Try One of These

From the Stone Age to the Victorian Era. You can browse and select online.

For those looking for a more contemporary crap job, crap place to live or crap place to have a holiday, look no further.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dubya you little devil you

Scary stuff from the leader of the US Cheer Squad, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who took his verbal battle with the United States to the floor of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, calling President Bush "the devil."

"The devil came here yesterday, the seat still smells of sulfur" Chavez said. "He came here talking as if he were the owner of the world."

But it is true isn't it. He was a member of Skull and Bones at University.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ice Factories

I really like the Goodbye Section of the Australian Magazine. One of the recent articles related to ice factories. It made me think of my time in the Philippines,where I lived in the 1980s, just after the Challenger blew up. We lived in Puerto Princesa on Palawan. The Vietnamese refugees that I worked with used to go to the ice factory in town and bring back huge chunks first thing in the morning. Early morning, we used to eat noodles and drink tea and and by mid morning, it was on to San Miguel, iced down with large chunks of ice. I think the San Miguel was probably safer than drinking the water. We all take fridges for granted, but in many parts of the world the cost of the power, not to say the initial capital cost of the fridge makes it an impossible luxury.

Double Decker Buses

It is a great pity that the era of the double decker bus is over in many parts of the world, including Adelaide. The only ones left ferry school kids to excursions and drunks home from night clubs. I used to love going on them with my Grandad in Kirkcaldy, when I was little and have vivid memories of the clippie coming round to collect money. There was a grand royal poo bah when they took away the conductors job. My Grandad, ever the working man thought it was the end of civilisation as ye know it. I mean, how could you operate a bus, with just a driver. Now it is the norm. One of the great things in Singapore was getting on the front seat at the top in air conditioned bliss and watch the world go by. The Harry Potter Triple Decker takes the biscuit for that mode of transportation. "It's gonna be a bumpy ride"

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Excess of Evil

From our balanced Political Commentator Charles Krauthhammer in Whitewash DC.

In the region, Persian Iran will immediately become the hegemonic power in the Arab Middle East. Today it is deterred from overt aggression against its neighbors by the threat of conventional retaliation. Against a nuclear Iran, such deterrence becomes far less credible. As its weak, nonnuclear Persian Gulf neighbors accommodate to it, jihadist Iran will gain control of the most strategic region on the globe.

Then there is the larger danger of permitting nuclear weapons to be acquired by religious fanatics seized with an eschatological belief in the imminent apocalypse and in their own divine duty to hasten the End of Days. The mullahs are infinitely more likely to use these weapons than anyone in the history of the nuclear age.

Yes couldn't have put it the Dubya/Rummy/Condy plan better if I had tried. For Iran read Yanquiville for mullahs read Peace and Democracy Loving 'Merica (y'all). Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seems to me history is the best judge of the future.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Easy Mac Chef

Last night Ryan, our five year old was being his usual picky self about evening food. Eventually he broke down and agreed to have Easy Mac. Elizabeth, who doesn't normally do evening food patrol, read the instructions and made it. It turned out very runny and despite additional zapping, was still more like soup. Ryan did eat a little, but commented that Dad makes it better. Now there's a ringing endorsement for my culinary skills. I feel validated as a provider of food. Actually that stuff is disgusting. He had had it at his friends house and he begged and begged for it. I eventually gave in and the first few versions were wolfed down. Now he picks at it. The novelty has worn off. Sorry Kraft, you will have to find some other revolting processed food ideas to tempt him.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What the hell are Aussie Values?

Kim Beazley is off his tree. Is he going to sign up for Iranian values when he visits Tehran. Is his wife going to put on a Burqua and will he refrain from beer drinking. Very silly idea.

Update: Seems he has backed off and will only push this for Permenant Residents.

The Prime Miniature is dealing with this in his own way, with plans to extend the period prior to citizenship beung offered. Immediate citizenship will be offered to those politically inclined to vote for the coalition. The waiting period for those likely to vote labour has been extended to 30 years. Other sins such as non Christians, drunk drivers, water abusers, Greens voters, devil worshippers, non speakers of English and potential members of the Barmy Army, will have waiting periods decided by Department of Immigration functionaries and their likely electorate.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Campaign to Save Cheltenham Race Course continues. The South Australia Jockey Club wants to sell it and concentrate on the two other courses that they have in Adelaide. It is one of the last large open space areas in the Adelaide Western Suburbs. While it is not as widely used as it might be, it would be good to make better use than MacHouses, which is what is proposed at the moment. I don't even like racing, but the rush to find every last square meter to develop for housing is sad.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

How to Get Fat Fast

We are in the middle of the periodic angst about fat kids and the impact of over promotion of junk food on the crisis of obesity. Australia certainly has its fair share of the worlds overweight. According to those who know, it is an epidemic and a major time bomb for the future. It is easy to blame the parents as Cardinal McAbbott would like, but I do think that our friends who dole the carbohydrates, fats, sugar and associated non recyclable packaging out have something to answer. As parents of impressionable young things, I think "Just say no!" works quite well, despite the impassioned complaints. Personally, I am also not sure how people can afford to eat fast food regularly. I feel like I have been pickpocketed every time I break down to the pressure of 5 and 7 year old fast food groupies. "Please Daddy, Just this once!....Pleeease....

Star Wars meets The Simpsons

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's raining it's pouring The old man is snoring....

Picking up the kids from school today, it was drizzling lightly (emphasis on lightly). Hannah commented that "it was just like Scotland". On a good day I thought. She has never lived there and only visited when she was little. Actually Singapore has better rain than Scotland. At least it is warm there. It is the combination of the cold, wind and rain that would miserify the kids and Elizabeth if we ever went to live there.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fathers Day

I have never much taken an interest in Fathers Day, but it is now a big deal for the kids, with television advertising and brainwashing at school, so glad to play along. We went to visit Granny's new house being built in Yankalilla and went to the beach at Normanville. Despite the bracing weather conditions, 14 degrees and windy, the kids insisted on getting in the water. Not as much fun as they had hoped. They weren't too happy afterwards. It reminded me of many trips to Scottish beaches as a child when these sorts of conditions would be considered normal. At this time of the year there are many virtually deserted, beautiful beaches near Adelaide. We had lunch at the Normanville Beach Cafe. Very nice. Happy Fathers Day to all Dads.

Earth to Tony Come in Please Your Time is Up

Tony Blair is certifiably nuts. And that is just for starters. Time for him to go and do something else.

Tartan Army Happy Again

Nothing like a morale boosting shellacking of the amateurs from the Faroe Islands (Fifa Ranking 169) to boost the spirits of the Tartan Army. Scotland are top of the group on goal difference over the winners and losers of the World Cup Final. Now for the minor challenges of France and Italy. Euro 2008, no problem. More likely all downhill (or should that be uphill) from here, based on previous qualifying campaigns. I think that their challenge is up there with the Scottish Cricket team not being beaten by an innings in the World Cup in the West Indies next year. Call me cynical, but you have to aim low with these guys, then you are not disappointed.

Good and Bad Reasons for Mud Swimming

The first guy has lost everything in an oil gas well calamity in Indonesia and is looking for it. The next guy is competing in the World Bog Snorkling Championship in Wales.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

It's dry here

Adelaide had the driest winter since they started keeping records. Under 50 millimetres for June, July and August. The garden already looks challenged. Probably be a long hot spring and summer. Time for more drought tolerant plants. Other than that pleasant, sunny and 28 degrees. Not bad for the first day of spring.

Alexander Downer Pants on Fire

Matt Price sallies forth and the Australian public vent.

Damaging... I mean Fixin' Levee's 101

During Dubyas Hurricane Katrina mea culpas this week, we learned why it all really happened and then quickly the political spin.
"The engineers were working...to damage the levees... to repair the damage to the levees..."
Ho hum he makes Reagan look positively talented. I remember the Saturday night skit when Reagan is in with the nasty advisors and acting gooby. They all fall asleep and he then takes off in a fantastic spate of global diplomacy in multiple languages, with multiple phones and actions. A side we never saw in public and don't from the current version.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Pass the Carrot Juice

The Australian Beverage Council recently unveiled new voluntary guidelines as part of an advertising and labelling policy to be introduced over two years. The policy sets out guidelines such as removing all sugar-sweetened drinks from primary school canteens and only supplying them to high schools on request.

Other measures include banning advertising of such products directly to young children or during children's TV programs and re-labelling soft drinks, juices, teas and sports drinks to provide kilojoule content and nutritional information. Diet drinks are not included in the bans.

Adelaide-based dietitian Tania Ferraretto, from Nutrition Professionals Australia, encouraged all food and beverage manufacturers and outlets to provide clear labelling so consumers could make informed choices.

She said a 375ml can of coke contained 40 grams of sugar or eight teaspoons. A 2-litre bottle had 212 grams or about 42.5 teaspoons.

"Soft drinks are not something for everyday and it is not necessary for school canteens to provide soft drinks," she said. "Soft drinks don't provide nutritional value. They provide sugar . . .

Looking at the pictures of a glass two thirds full of sugar, which is the amount in a 2 litre bottle of Coke, is sickening. Our kids school canteen still sells some sugary drinks and that is what they buy if they have enough money.

I wonder if Work Cover covers this.

A Human Cannonball stunt at the Royal Adelaide Show nearly ended in tragedy this afternoon. American stuntwoman Stephanie Smith clipped the back edge of the airbag which was supposed to break her fall after her 35m flight across the main arena. She then landed heavily on her back on the ground. Ouch!

Update. She has a broken vertebrae and the spokesman from the show did not think that she would be back this week. I was astonished when they speculated that she may be back in action before the end of the show.

Essential Fashion Accessory

Oh What a Sinking Feeling

Sport is very fickle and cruel. The Adelaide Crows looked the real deal and virtually unbeatable until a crushing run of injuries at the end of the season, including the Roo out with Parvo virus, another with a dislocated knee (very rare) and four other star players unavailable due to injury. Only luck and the two home finals will help them. At least the Power are done after their likely shellacking in Fremantle tomorrow. In the footy tipping I am in fourth spot in our company competition, just out of the money. Up there on 112 with one round to go, ahead of almost all the professional pundits and tippers and well ahead of the Swinburne Computer and Coco the Guinea Pig. I know I am modest, but not bad for a Scotsman.

Which string shall we pull Daddy??

When I got a little frustrated with the kids when they wouldn't cooperate with me in our hectic last few minutes before we left for school, I was put in my place when I vented about all the things that I did to get organised in the morning and all the things that they didn't do.

We don't have to we are kids.

Too clever for words those two. I am also a pushover, which they picked up on years ago.

Return of the Scream

Ironically I am happy that this painting has been returned. I was sad that it had been hidden away. I mean what can you do with such a well known painting. Almost everybody can identify with the embodiment of anquish and pain graphically depicted in the painting. We've all been there. Dating back to 1893 it is regarded as an icon of existential anguish. Not sure whether that only effects the intelligent. Doubt if you would respond to a cheery How is it going? with Not too good, I am existentially anquished today . Obviously a happy soul, Munch's work often included the symbolic portrayal of such themes as misery, sickness, and death.
Meanwhile talking of screams, my kids like to sing I scream, you scream we all scream for ice cream.....

Big Tobacco Gives Away Free Nicotine

The amount of nicotine in most cigarettes rose an average of almost 10 percent from 1998 to 2004, with brands most popular with young people and minorities registering biggest increases and highest nicotine content, according to a new study.
Nicotine is highly addictive, and while no one has studied the effect of the increases on smokers, the higher levels theoretically could make new smokers more easily addicted and make it harder for established smokers to quit.

Sounds like a good long term plan for the cigarette companies. Not so good for your lungs.