Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photo Hunt: Furry

Furry Tibetan Animal

Furry Aussie Animal

Furry Face Child Beast

Tasteless Furry Santa Hat

Favourite Furry Animal

Furry Garden Animal 

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Ryan and I at the National Museum in Canberra last week.

More great photographs at The Skywatch Friday Site

Monday, January 26, 2009

Have a Ripper Aussie Day Mates

Beaut. And if you catch one, don't overcook it.

In the early days of living in Australia I used to really like Rolf Harris after watching him through my childhood. I could not see how many Australians cringed when he came on and failed to enjoy the obvious self parody. Now that I have been here for a while I am much more likely to listen to Paul Kelly and unfortunately something my daughter chooses.

Just spent a couple of days on the road returning from Canberra along the River Murray. What a great drive and what a beautiful country, driving through parts many Australians don't get to see. If you could just arrange to get rid of some of the Truckies on the Hume Highway, that would be great. We saw kangaroos and Emus, went to the Pioneer Settlement at Swan Reach, which had a scottish pipe band timed for Burns Night, a three wheeled Glasgow Tractor from the early 1900s (who knew), passed through lots of communities with funny names and met some friendly Aussies. We got to see the bizarre looking Scottish submarine at Otaway, the Huge Murray Cod at Swan Reach and the Big Orange at Berri. How Aussie is that.

Coming over the hill from Swan Reach to Mannum was one of the greatest drives I have taken as the sun set over the rolling brown hills and then there was the free ferry at Mannum. The change in the character of the Murray as we drove along was stunning. Sometimes a wide channel, sometimes almost non existent, some interesting bridges and then the scale at Swan Reach and Mannum. I hope the politicians can work something out and that it rains a bit.

Thanks for having me Australia. I like it here.

And I still like Rolf Harris, although I don't tell many people.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Photo Hunt: Chipped

Just as well that the areas where my kids play on the swings are wood chipped. This week we had a sad realisation at one of the local parks here in Canberra where we are on holiday. The kids were too tall for the monkey bars. How sad is that for two wannabee monkeys. They had to improvise, which of course they are good at.

Happy Australia Day Weekend everyone. And for my Scottish Heritage, it is also Burns Night on the 25th. I'll be throwing a haggis on the barbie mate!

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Why Doctors are Paid TOO Much

Thanks First Dog on the Moon c/o Crikey.

What a waste of Mars Bars.

Sumo the Depressed Poodle Bites Homme Sacre Bleu!

More in the "You Couldn't Make It Up Department" courtesy of the Daily Mail via Alex Massey

Former French president Jacques Chirac was rushed to hospital after being
mauled by his own 'clinically depressed' pet dog.
The 76-year-old statesman
was savaged by his white Maltese dog - which suffers from frenzied fits and is
being treated with anti-depressants.
The animal, named Sumo, had become
increasingly violent over the past years and was prone to making 'vicious,
unprovoked attacks', Chirac's wife Bernadette said.

My family are always talking about getting a poodle. I hate them. My grandparents had miniature poodles and they were a pain in the neck to look after and look silly. I would be the one who would have to take it for walks and I will not do that. It would make me even more depressed.

I wonder how they evaluate depression in dogs? Recently I was listening to a radio programme about all the humanising of dogs and the development of specialty services for dogs including socialisation coaches, dog psychiatrists, dog hypnotists, dog nutritionists, dog manicurists and the like. Don't get me started on dogs going to bed with owners. Enough. They are dogs and should be allowed to be so.

During our holiday here in Canberra I was forced to endure Hotel for Dogs with the kids. Very annoying movie.

All this is depressing as I hear more and more requests from the kids for another dog. Don't they know how much work they are?

Rant over.

So thanks Sumo for lighting up my day. Can't say I blame you living with that Pompous Arrogant Frog and I am keeping this article for future defence against eager requests for poodles.

Skywatch Friday

In Canberra on holiday this week, so posting a sunrise from last winter.

Holiday Weekend coming up for Australia Day and for my Scottish Heritage, Burns Night. Pass the Haggis Skippy.

Many more splendid skies here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Photo Hunt Hat(s)

Disposable Nappy Hats

Captain Ninja Underpants Hat

Well Worn School Hat

Casual Stylish Hat

Zombie Warrior Hat

Crazy Hat

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Skywatch Friday

This photo was taken by a scientist working on my project in Kingston South East near the Coorong and Lower Lakes region of South Australia. The lack of water is very depressing for all the people who live in that area and depend on water flows from the River Murray for their livelihood.

Click on the photo to read the sign.

A lot of buck passing and not much action by governments. Very sad.

More great skies here.

Photo by Jason Roberts

Howard Gets Gonged

The Future Australian President,John Winston "Brown Nose" Howard (in his wet dreams), buffed his street cred with another doubtful Yanqui "Friend of the Neocon" award. He has been finally rewarded for his years of unselfish brown nosing to Dubya and his "Iraq has nothing to do with oil" buddies by being awarded the Order of the Back End of of the Pantomime Horse at a modest ceremony in Dubyaville, soon to be renamed Obamaramaville.

"Boy it has been hot in there and that Dubya guy always decided where to go. I had to follow him everywhere. He had the reins. I just followed up the rear" said the clearly elated former member for Bennelong.

Onya John. We know you did it for all Australians you and Jeanette. Now piss off the world stage with your lame Yanqui friend George. Get back to writing your book and see if you can sell a few more copies than the Australian version of the Back End of the Pantomime Kangaroo.

Giddee Up Skippy

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Warning - Contains Chocolate

Cadbury's have decided to warn us that Dairy Milk contains milk.

Where will it end? Lawyers, you have a lot to answer for.

Cadbury's Corporate Warning - Contains Nuts

Thanks Wierd News from Sky News (I can sleep at night now).

Rann Armstrong 2010 Love In

With a sag in the polls, SA Premier "Iron" Mike Rann unveiled a blockbuster new team to lead South Australia into a new era with the pairing of Lance "Tough as Nails" Armstrong with Rann for the 2010 Election.

Their first election event was held earlier today as Mike "I single handedly brought Lance back into competitive cycling here in South Australia" Rann revealed his secret plan and clever tricks to dump Grumpy Kevin Foley as his partner for the duping of the South Australian electorate in a years time.

Labor of Love Not!

Lance mania kicks in for the next two weeks. You would think that it was Paris Hilton, the way the non stop coverage is going. Nothing personal Lance, but I am bored already.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Skywatch Friday

On Christmas Day, my wife decided that it would be a good idea to go and see the Christmas lights in Lobethal, a small town in the Adelaide Hills which is done up for Christmas and about an hour away. Great plan except we went too early, everything was closed, the kids moaned, the dog threw up, we couldn't find anything to eat.... Luckily we found a Chinese restaurant open in Norwood, a very nice suburb of Adelaide. As the kids and Elizabeth sat down to order, I stepped outside to take the dog for a short walk and saw this. It is the Odeon in Norwood with the sun setting behind it. Everything was good again.

The irony of the story was that the street behind us gets decorated and that is where we took the kids to see pretty Christmas houses, including this understated one. Funny.

You can see other nice sky photographs here.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Where's the Potted Hough?

Chris Applegate pointed me to The Great British Sandwich. Very clever and fun.

You can follow in Twitter, become a fan on Facebook or even add to the layers.

Next up, The Great Aussie Barbie?

Do they still make Potted Hough, one of the torturous food challenges of my childhood? Just say no kids!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

This Couldn't Be True, Surely?

True? You Betcha.

Thanks for that ugly dose of reality Where's My Jetpack via @Simon Small

Aye Right II

And following on from the Scottish you've never had it so bad good discussion in the previous post, we have this gem!

Scottish Housing Market Best in the UK

Interpretation, least disastrous. "Ma hoose only went doon 10 percent."

The Nationwide Building Society reported that the UK's annual house values fell by 15.9% in 2008.
However, in Scotland prices went down by 8.1% over the year.
The Nationwide's chief economist, Fionnuala Earley, said: "Scotland remains the best performing part of the UK."

Unfortunately, you have to live there...

Broch's going cheap?

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Wearin' o the kilt

Mike Smith of Auld Reekie Rants has pulled together a great You know when you are Scottish when... list. A potted guide to Scottish culture if ever I saw one. Sounds like an oxymoron hower, Scotland and culture in the same sentence.

Anyway here are a few. I can identify with many of these despite having lived out of Scotland for almost 25 years.

Scattered showers with outbreaks of sunshine and a northerly wind is good weather.

The only sausage you like is square.

You have been forced to do Scottish country dancing every year at high school.

Aye = yes.

Aye right = not likely.

Auld yin = someone over 40.

Baltic =freezing.

You have an irrational need to eat anything fried with your supper from the chippy e.g. haggis, pizza, white pudding, sausage, fish, chicken.

You used to love destroying your teeth when you were young: Buchanan's toffees, tablet, Irn-Bru bars, Cola cubes, etc.

You have an enormous feeling of dread whenever Scotland play a diddy team.

You happily engage in a conversation about the weather.

and many more at Mike's site.

Every now and then I put on my Scottish dress outfit for company parties and the like here in Adelaide and in other parts of the world where I have lived and it is an amazing ice breaker. All the stereotypes come out and people who would not normally talk to you are happy to discuss all aspects of my heritage, not least, what we wear under my kilt. It is the only time when it is fair game to flash young ladies. That usually gets them to shut up.

The best reaction was when I wore a large fake penis that my wife had fashioned out of a stuffed stocking for a bad taste party. I wore it with a 60s, ladies bathing costume and a wig for the bad taste party. It got quite a reaction. I got an even better reaction when I wore it with my kilt.

It was very surprising, because not only do people not expect you to reveal your Scottish secret, but when you do and it is a monster it doubles the fun. People just had to touch it. The power of the truth about what Scotsmen wear under their kilts and a little bit of jelousy combine for a great reaction.

All good clean fun.

Talking of good clean fun, one of our local chip shops run by a nice Lebanese lady sells Deep Fried Mars Bars. Now all I need is for her to experiment with deep fried pizza and I can feel right at home.

Aye Right?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

When is a School not a School?

When it is a place for learning.

I am just off to the place for cooking to make some stuff you infuse and pour in some white liquid stuff you get from large domesticated animals who chew the cud.....

No further comment necessary.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Photo Hunt: Hope

Ryan played under 9 soccer this year. In all games they swap positions. They managed to make their way through the season losing every game, conceding gazillions of goals and scoring only one. At the end of season tournament, they were on their way to an honorable no score draw in the final game. In the last minute they conceded a penalty. Ryan was in goal at that time. Such tension for all the parents. If all the collective hopes of the parents, including me were the reason that he saved it, then great.

They were all so excited not to have lost (again). There is always hope for next year.

Hope you are hopeful about 2009. I am.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Stephen Conroy Mr 14.4 Downloads

Stephen Conroy wants to slow down your Aussie Broadband Experience under the guise that we are all child pornographers. When I first had internet in the US, it was 14.4 downloads with this. If Stephen and his political pals have their way we will be heading back that way very fast. Our ISP's will be jacking up their rates and our overall experience will be worse. Imagine downloading porn and the like on a dial up connection. Perhaps it will achieve their objectives. What I hate is the hypocrisy. This is the Labor equivalent of Work Choices. Who knew? Nasty public policy thrust down our throats by smiling assassins. No thanks.

It is an utterly bogus and sick political strategy. So looks like with all the baloney with the broadband rollout plan, his plan is that you pay more and you get less. I don't like it along with a few other people. This kind of stuff needs to be opposed root and branch. You can make a difference by making a phone call or writing an email. I think that it is worth it.

Kevin and his conservative side of Labor appear to be serious. As such their stupid plans need to be opposed very seriously.

There are many organisations who are working to oppose net censorship in Australia. Get Up is one. This is their take. There are many many resources and I would urge you to research them. Personally I have written to many local and Commonwealth Politicians. I have had some very supportive responses from all sides of politics although the closer you get to Minister Conroy, the more you get "So you like child pornography on the internet?" Very insulting. I recommend that you write some emails, call some politicians offices. If you are here in South Australia, Mike Rann, the State Premier is the Top Cheese of the Australian Labor Party this year. He also has a tough reelection next year. I am sure that he is fair game for an email.

This is what I got from Get Up.

Dear Colin,
Thank you for taking the time to speak out against the Government's misguided plan for a mandatory internet filter.

You have joined many thousands of members of the public, as well as Internet Service Providers, censorship and human rights experts in calling on the Government to drop the scheme.

Testing has already begun - please take a moment to tell your friends and colleagues about this campaign so that we can build a powerful movement to stop the mandatory filter dead in its tracks.

Just forward the original email below.

You can also collect petition signatures from your own social network page, blog or website with our new 'Save the Net' widget. It's secure and easy to use. Click here for more details.

The GetUp team

-----------------Original email to forward to your friends-------------------

Dear friend,

Imagine a government proposing an internet censorship system that went further than any other democracy - one that made the internet up to 87% slower, more expensive, accidentally blocked up to one in 12 legitimate sites, and missed the vast majority of inappropriate content.

This is not China, Saudi Arabia or Iran - this is the vision of Senator Stephen Conroy for Australia. Testing has already begun. The community must now move to stop this plan. Click here to save the net:


The system that Senator Conroy wants is a mandatory filter of all internet traffic, with the government of the day able to add any unwanted site to a secret blacklist. Already, the wrangling has begun for the inclusion of material relating to anorexia, euthanasia and gambling. It isn't difficult to see the scheme is open to abuse.

Even when it comes to preventing child p-rnography, the filter will not prevent peer-to-peer sharing and is very simple to sidestep. The protection of our children is vitally important - that's why we can't afford to waste funds on this deeply flawed system. We should be concentrating on solutions that are more effective and won't undermine our digital economy or our democratic freedoms.

This must rank as one of the most ill-thought decisions of the Rudd Government's first year in power. We need to act now to tell big brother the mandatory internet filter is incompatible with the principles of a modern democracy and modern economy:


Our government should be doing all in its power to take Australia into the 21st century economy, and to protect our children. This proposed internet censorship does neither. Take action to save the net today.

Thanks for being a part of the solution,
The GetUp team

PS - The proposed scheme will pass all internet traffic through a government filter - it's like asking Australia Post to filter every letter sent in Australia. Click here to save the net.

Scary Stuff. Now is the time to do something. Not later, when these guys have stitched things up.

It's just so UnAustralian (Thanks Roy).

I am waiting for somebody to tell me why this is such a great idea. Senator Conroy and your accolytes, please make your case. Don't have Australia up there with Saudi Arabia and China. We all have our own minds. We don't need Kevin Ingsoc Rudd and his Pals to dictate.

Thank you.

Skywatch Friday

Optimistic Morning Sky from earlier in the month. We have had quite a bit of overcast weather this week, so nothing very current. Hope the New Year was good and that 2009 works out for you.

More interesting skies here.