Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My Cyberspace Geographical Neighbours

are here.

When is a snivelling grub not a snivelling grub?

Tony Abbott

Snivelling Grub

Labor frontbencher Julia Gillard has been ordered out of the House of Representatives after calling Health Minister Tony Abbott a "snivelling grub".Mr Abbott had introduced laws paving the way for key changes to private health insurance.
But Ms Gillard, the manager of Opposition business in the lower house, interrupted his speech on the merits of the Bill.
"I move that that snivelling grub over there be not further heard," she said.
The Speaker of the House, David Hawker, asked Ms Gillard to withdraw the comment, to which she responded: "If I have offended grubs I withdraw unconditionally."
But Mr Hawker was not satisfied and asked her to withdraw "without reservation".
Ms Gillard insisted she had acted in accordance with the Speaker's ruling yesterday that Mr Abbott withdraw similar comments he made about Labor frontbencher Kelvin Thomson last week.
But Mr Hawker was not happy, and Mr Abbott asked that his Opposition counterpart be ordered from the chamber.
With an overwhelming majority in the lower house, Coalition MPs voted to remove Ms Gillard.
Under the ruling, she cannot return for 24 hours.

Answer. When you have a majority in Parliament.

Politics in Australia is just so highbrow.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cricket just like soccer

Kevin Pietersen managed to beat the Sri Lankan First Innings score of 141 by one run. That is just like a 1-0 score. As we speak, England are wrapping things up. Edgbaston is very happy therapy just like last year.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

OK OK I'll be nice to the Goldfish.

Used to be that you won a goldfish at the fair, you just got a bowl, some water and fed it when you or your parents remembered. Seems that is not enough now.

Fish may not be smart enough to read a book, but fish vet Matt Landos says humans need to start treating their fish as being much smarter than previously thought. He has found quite an amazing array of things that really do debunk some of the old theories.

He has found that fish do possess a memory and they do possess a range of signs, physiological signs where their heart rate goes up in response to things, their hormone levels change in response to stresses.

Apparently there are bad outcomes for fish when they're stressed over a chronic period where they may come down with a bacterial infection.

Not sure if Australia is ready for some of the fruity fish protection legislation out of the EU, but it is not surprising, given the pandemic of depression in human society, that it would spread to some of our pets. I'll just have to be mean to our worms now.

Customary Law

Da Howard Code

At least the Australian has a sense of humour.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

U're a f*****n Glaswegian if...

1. Ye can properly pronounce Ecclefechan, Milngavie, Sauchiehall, St Enoch, Auchtermuchty and Aufurfuksake.
2. Ye actually like deep fried battered pizza fae the chippie.
3. Ye get four seasons in wan day.
4. Ye canny pass a chip/kebab shop withoot sleverin when yer blootert.
5. Ye kin fall about pi*hed withoot spilling yer drink.
6. Ye see people wear shell suits with Burberry accessories - pure class!
7. Ye measure distance in minutes.
8. Ye kin understaun Rab C Nesbitt and know characters just like him, in yer ain family.
9. Ye go tae Saltcoats cos ye think it is like gaun tae the ocean.
10. Ye kin make hael sentences jist wae sweer wurds.
11. Ye know whit haggis is made ae and stull like eating it.
12. Somedy ye know his used a fitba schedule tae plan thur wedding day date.
13. You've been at a wedding and fitba scores are announced in the Church/Chapel.
14. Ye urny surprised tae find curries, pizzas, kebabs, fish n chips, irn-bru, fags and nappies all in the wan shop.
15. Yer holiday home at the seaside has calor gas under it.
16. A big flash car has a ned at the wheel.
17. Ye know irn-bru is a hangover cure.
18. Ye learnt tae sweer afore ye learnt tae dae sums.
19. Ye actually understand this and yurr gonnae send it tae yer pals.
20. Finally, you are 100% Glaswegian if you have ever said/heard these words... how's it hingin clatty boggin cludgie pished get it up yewee beasties ar*e banditamurny away an bile yer heidpeely-wally humphey backit Ba'-heid baw bagdubble nuggit

Child Care Debate Hots Up

Anne Manne, an early childhood expert debunks some of the current let's have more and earlier childcare myths in the Australian.

According to the childcare lobby, for every $1 invested in child care, $7 are saved by the prevention of crime and delinquency, while ensuring school success. The Australian political elite has swallowed this "fact" hook, line and sinker, with both leading parties out-competing each other over money for child care.

For it is in such early learning programs, the argument goes, that crucial brain development delivered by expert childcare workers will give children a head start.

One has to hand it to the lobbyists. Put the child into day care early, the longer hours the better and, presto, those lil 'ol brain synapses start snapping. The reality is different. The potent stress hormone cortisol has been found in children's saliva in centre-based day care. One recent British study found that on entry into child care, separated babies had cortisol levels between 75 and 100 per cent higher than those measured at home. Even after months of adaptation, cortisol levels declined slightly, but remained higher in the childcare setting than at home. This reveals a childcare experience - from the baby's point of view - very different from the happy talk of the adults promoting it.

Let's take that bogus, much quoted claim that for every $1 invested, $7 is returned. That comes from the US-based Perry Preschool, a carefully targeted, high quality intervention project offering 12 hours a week of care, home visits and parent education to impoverished, profoundly disadvantaged children from chaotic families whose parents were borderline intellectually disabled. It was not for infants, but for three and four-year-olds. It was not ordinary day care.

That's a long way from the have-it-all generation of affluent parents putting a six-week-old baby in child care, where the ratios are one caregiver to five infants, for up to 50 hours a week. With 10 babies to a room, when one caregiver feeds a baby, the other child carer has nine babies to care for. One visiting overseas developmentalist rightly described such care as a "licence for neglect". The Perry Preschool it ain't.

International scholarly literature shows that far from an inevitable benefit, the younger the child and the longer the hours, the higher the risk. The most sophisticated study, by US National Child Health and Development, involving more than 1000 children, revealed that by age 4 1/2, three times as many children (17 per cent) who had experienced more than 30 hours of child care a week from infancy had emotional and behavioural problems, compared with those who experienced less than 10 hours a week (6 per cent).

The more child care, the more problems, including "getting into many fights, showing cruelty, bullying or meanness to others, physically attacking other people and being explosive, showing unpredictable behaviour".

Meanwhile in other parts of the world, the emphasis is on workplace flexibility and paid parental leave. There is an almost complete disconnect between science and politics on the childcare question. It is sensible policy, not fairy stories, that parents need most.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Irn-Bru Helps Perth Man Makes It Big

Fuelled by a multi hundred deal to promote Irn Bru, Scotlands other national drink, St Johnstone striker Jason Scotland scored a goal in Trinidad and Tobagos win in a World Cup warm up game. A spokesman for the Barrs, the Scottish drinks giant said: “With Scotland now heading for Germany fuelled by Phenomenal Irn-Bru, Scots fans no longer need to feel left out of this summer’s football extravaganza. Meanwhile the official Scotland fan song is hitting the air waves. More later on Scotland's World Cup preparation.


Cartoonists have an amazing ability to discect the issues of the day. No amount of weighty commentary could explain the essence of this issue better.

Dumbing down the Curriculum

Music teachers are rebelling against changes to Western Australia's high school curriculum that do not require students to play an instrument and downgrade the importance of reading music.

The outcomes-based course shifts the emphasis from recitals and rehearsals to an ability to write about music from a sociological perspective.

Years 11 and 12 music students in Western Australia are currently required to submit a composition portfolio or sit a performance exam worth 50 per cent of their marks for the year - including scales, sight reading and a recital of five pieces.

But teachers who plan to protest today fear standards may plunge because the new course will no longer be attractive to students eager to master an instrument. They will be able to give presentations rather than performances.

Based upon this criteria my 5 year old and 7 year old would be star students.

Nothing like a little beer for breakfast

LITHUANIAN police were so astonished when they pulled over a truck driver and his breathalyser test registered 18 times the legal alcohol limit, they thought their testing device must be broken.

It wasn't.

Police said 41-year-old Vidmantas Sungaila registered 7.27 grams per litre of alcohol in his blood repeatedly on different devices when he was pulled over for driving his truck down the centre of a two-lane highway 100km from the capital, Vilnius, on Saturday.

Lithuania's legal limit is 0.4 grams per litre which, under the Australian system, equates to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04.

"This guy should have been lying dead, but he was still driving. It must be an unofficial national record," Saulius Skvernelis, the director of the national police traffic control service, said.

"He was of high spirits and grinning the whole time he was questioned."

Medical experts say anything above 3.5 grams per litre of alcohol in the blood is lethal for most people.

"A person this intoxicated should be in an intensive care unit, not behind the wheel," said Tautvydas Zikaras, head of the dependence illness centre in the country's second-largest city, Kaunas.

Zikaras said he had never heard or read of someone being so drunk.

Sungaila, who was slapped with a 3000 litas ($1500) fine and the loss of his licence for up to three years, told police he had been drinking the night before and tried to freshen up by downing a pint of beer for breakfast.

Lithuania has one of the worst road safety records in the European Union. Last year, 760 people died in traffic accidents in this country of 3.5 million residents. Most were alcohol-related.

Heading into Winter

It is 7 degrees tonight and winter is well and truly getting established here in Adelaide. Some sunflowers to warm us up until next summer would do nicely.

Open Wide

Not sure this was what most people have in mind when the dentist asks you to open wide.

Squish- A Metaphor for Life

David Shrigley has an interesting take on life.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Eco Stomper

What's your footprint? I thought I was fairly good, but in reality, pretty unsustainable.

Cancer Can Kill You (If you smoke, eat at McDonalds, live in Africa or eat broccoli...

Bruce Ames, a US epidemiologist plain talks on the real sources of human cancers.

If you asked all the world’s leading epidemiologists who’ve studied the subject, they’d come up with about the same list. Smoking is about a third of cancer, bad diets are another third of cancer, chronic infections, mostly in poor countries, hepatitis and schistosomiasis, all sorts of things like that. Helicobacter in your stomach, as we heard, about 20 percent. Hormones cause a lot of cell division and all of that, responsible for breast cancer, eudiometrical cancer. Occupation, a few percent.

And pollution, the numbers vary. It’s all a guess, but it isn’t much, and this less than one is my own estimate, and mostly heavy air pollution. But this is where we’re spending all the money by orders of magnitude. So something’s wrong if we’re putting our money on minor hypothetical risks and the major risks are not attended to.

So, while we heard about the big cancer epidemic, there really isn’t any cancer epidemic, other than due to smoking. If you look at cancer attributed to smoking, it’s going up, but if you look at cancer not attributed to smoking, it’s been going down. In fact, it’s been going down for a long time. So, there isn’t a cancer epidemic other than that due to smoking, this 30-year delay after people smoke.

And while we are at it, almost all "healthy" food (brocolli for example) is full of carcinogens. There are more carcinogens in one cup of coffee than in all the pesticide residues that a person consumes in a year.

Sensible plain talking. I work in the pollution management field, which is driven by the very minor risks he talks about, while the major risk factors are largely ignored. Let's really ban smoking and really do something about bad diets. If all the energy spent regulating air emissions were spent on reducing the real triggers for cancer, then perhaps progress could be made. But then there are too many people in the world anyway.

Plastic Bag Abstinance No Saviour?

It is believed to be one of the simplest ways people can help the environment, but scrapping the plastic shopping bag might not be worth the effort, according to the Australian Government's economic advisory body. It has recommended ditching plans to wipe out more than five billion plastic bags a year, saying the costs may outweigh the benefits.

The plan is supposed to save marine wildlife and reduce litter, but the Productivity Commission argues that not only is the plastic bag not a serious threat to wildlife, but governments have not taken into account the food-safety benefits of plastic bags or their typical re-use as liners for the garbage bin.

I think it is all in the mind and programs like this have value in increasing awareness about our impact on the environment. Perhaps the zero tolerance policy for plastic bags is a bit extreme given their practical use. Perhaps adoption of South Australia's rebate for bottles and cans would be more practical on a national basis.

Way to Go!

Attila the Hun suffered a severe nosebleed and choked to death on his wedding night.

Jack Daniel, founder of the famous Tennessee whiskey distillery, died of blood poisoning due to a toe injury he received after kicking his safe in anger when he could not remember its combination code (We can all identify with that one).

François Faber, Luxembourgean Tour de France winner, died in a trench on the western front of World War I. He received a telegram saying his wife had given birth to a daughter. He cheered, giving away his position, and was shot by a German sniper.

Sani Abacha, Nigerian dictator, died at his residence in Abuja of a heart attack, rumored to have been caused by the ingestion of large quantities of the drug Viagra as a prelude to an orgy.

Here are some other dramatic ways to go.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Lordi Lordi

Dressed as bloodthirsty orcs and warning Europe to "get ready to get scared" the rockers from Arctic Lapland took the stage as Eurovision outsiders and left as winners, taking the bookies to the cleaners and taking the contest to what Terry Wogan described as a new level of foolishness with their song Hard Rock Hallelujah. Em's fightin words from the master of bland muzak.

The cartoon metalheads wore latex monster masks and played spark-spewing instruments as they sang: "Wings on my back, I got horns on my head/ My fangs are sharp and my eyes are red."

This is just not the Eurovision Song Contest I remember. It makes Kurt the Norwegian Hobbit from World Idol look talented.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Da Vinci Code Baloney

According to statistics from the Roman Catholic Church, 22 per cent of British adults have now read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, and of those 60 per cent believe that, it is probably the case that Jesus indeed got married to Mary Magdalene and sired a line of descendants. Wow! cries of heresy from the eclesiastical corner. In the Vatican, the papal portavoce has described this pot-boiler as ’shameful and unfounded lies’. Let's complain and drive more people into the book shops and the movie theatres seems like a great publicity campaign for the rights holders. On the other side, claims of the biggest, the spookiest, the most chilling conspiracy in history, by the non eclesiasticals.

So here we have a major fisticuffs between two groups of people who each to a certain degree support two different works of fiction. Hello it is a book and a movie. Let's not get too alarmed.

Zeig Smile PAP

The smiling assassins have sneaked home again in the Singapore Elections. With election promises to deny public funds to electorates which did not support them and and a public campaign of vilification and bankruptcy for anybody who dares to stand up to the most succesful electoral machine outside the old Soviet Union, they only won 82 out of 84 seats. At least the opposition managed to put up candidates in more than 50 percent of the seats. Ten elections and ten wins, not bad for a bunch of dictators.

Two Takes on Scary Scenarios

I don’t know if it’ll happen again. The only thing that I would suggest to you is that one procedure that people use now to make fear is they say, “I don’t know the answer, so let’s all be afraid.” Another way to do it is to say, “I don’t know the answer, so let’s stay calm and try to find the answer.” Michael Chrichton, talking about bird flu. Very pertinent to many scary scenarios. The first sells newspapers and frightens people, the second gives people hope.

Over a Billion of Us

The Internet is growing at about 18 percent every year and now has one billion users, says Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.

So who was the billionth person to go online? "Statistically, we’re likely talking about a 24-year-old woman in Shanghai," says Nielsen.

Meanwhile, " A second billion users will follow in the next ten years, bringing a dramatic change in worldwide usability needs," says Alertbox.

Most of the second billion will be in Asia, but, "The third billion will be harder, and might not be reached until 2040."

"According to Morgan Stanley estimates, 36 percent of Internet users are now in Asia and 24 percent are in Europe," says Nielsen. "Only 23 percent of users are in North America, where it all started in 1969 when two computers - one in Los Angeles, the other in Palo Alto - were networked together."

Saturday, May 20, 2006

His Masters Voice

When I was little, my dad had a large collection of bakelite 78s, with a wind up player and sharp needle. We used to love to play them, although his musical taste was a bit highbrow. Kathleen Ferrier, Edith Piaf and other Divas. Some were HMV, with the cute little dog, that looks just like Spotty, our Tenterfield Terrier.


His Masters Voice


Hannah loves this song. She was shocked, when we translated the words. It is certainly better than Lark Ascending (presumably to burn up in the stratosphere if it had as dark a meaning as Allouette). Of course, I might be completely wrong in reading such a grim meaning to the song. I mean why would you want to pluck a lark?

ALLOUETTE Traditional

Allouette, gentile allouette,
Allouette, je te plumerais
(Lark, gentle lark,
Lark, I will pluck you.)
Je te plumerais la tete,
(I will pluck your head,)
Je te plumerais la tete,
Et la tete, et la tete,
(And your head, and your head),
Allouette, allouette, oh-oh,
Allouette, gentile allouette,
Allouette, je te plumerais.
Je te plumerais le nez (your nose), etc.
Les yeux (your eyes), la bouche (mouth),
Les bras (arms), les mains (hands),
Les jambes (legs), les pieds (feet)

Kids Time Warp The Return of George Spartels

The kids got out all the old CDs that they used to listen to over a year ago. It was instant nostalgia as all the old favourites were rehashed and sung along to. Out came the instruments and the orchestra got going. Ryan loves George meets the Orchestra, which is a great kids CD from the ABC. He used to get up on a little table and conduct the orchestra. He only did it when we left the room, but we sneaked some looks over time. Hannah prefers one of his other CD's, Return of the Spangled Drongo. George Spartels is very good and I learned from Wikipedia that he is most famous as a television soap opera star in Neighbours, playing "Benito Alessi". Of course we know better. He is much better known as a children's entertainer and friendly face from Play School. Personally I like his rendition of Ning Nang Nong by Spike Milligan. We saw one of his kids shows at Henley Town Hall and he autographed the CD's. The kids have all the Play School CDs and videos, although they have not been played for a while. In Australia, Play School is on at 9:30 and 3:30 and gives many houses across the country some peace and tranquility for up to half an hour as the under fives of Australia settle down to be entertained. Our kids often go into a zone and cannot be disturbed, short of physically turning off the television. George and Benita and all the Play School people finally got some recognition when they got a lifetime award at the Logies, Australias TV Awards, this year. Well deserved.

How to Get Ahead 101

From a strictly mathematical viewpoint it goes like this:

What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%


1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%


2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical
certainty that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the BULLSHIT

and Ass kissing that will put

you over

Classic Scots Poetry

Tae A Fert

Oh what a sleekit horrible beastie
Lurks in yer belly efter the feastie
Just as ye sit doon among yer kin
There sterts to stir an enormous wind.

The neeps and tatties and mushy peas
Stert workin like a gentle breeze
But soon the puddin wi the sauncie face
Will have ye blawin’ all ower the place.

Nae matter whit the hell ye dae
A’bodys gonnae have tae pay
Even if ye try to stifle,
It’s like a bullet oot a rifle.

Hawd yer bum tight tae the chair
Tae try and stop the leakin air
Shift yersel frae cheek tae cheek
Prae tae God it doesnae reek.

But aw yer efforts go assunder
Oot it comes like a clap a thunder
Ricochets aroon the room
Michty me, a sonic boom!

God almighty it fairly reeks;
Hope I huvnae shit ma breeks
Tae the bog I better scurry
Aw whit the hell, its no ma worry.

A’body roon aboot me chokin,
Wan or two are nearly bokin
I’ll feel better for a while
Cannae help but raise a smile.

Wis him! I shout with accusin glower,
Alas too late, he’s just keeled ower
Ye dirty bugger they shout and stare
I dinnae feel welcome any mair.

Where ere ye go let yer wind gan free
Sounds like just the job fur me
Whit a fuss at Rabbie's perty
Ower the sake o won wee ferty.


Yee Haa AUSAtralia

Car Free in Adelaide??

Adelaide's heart should be made car-free on Sundays in a month-long experiment to rejuvenate the city centre, according to City of Adelaide Minister Jane Lomax-Smith.

On the nominated month in a quiet part of the year, the city centre would be blocked off to vehicles, special bicycle assembly areas would be provided, and the city would fall silent to the sound of motor cars. Shops would be open for business as usual.
She proposed the plan yesterday so people could experience what it would be like in a city of only pedestrians and cyclists. Wow dangerously radical thinking. What will the RAA say? What about all those Car Park Operators and those traffic inspectors.

Although Adelaide traffic is nothing compared to some of the cities I have had the luck to visit or live in, noteably Seoul, Manila, Washington DC, Jakarta, San Francisco for example, the scale of the city makes it a good candidate for a greater emphasis on non automobile transporatation.

Goodbye, Good Riddance You Autocratic Old Fart

According to the Independent, Nepal's parliament has voted to strip King Gyanendra of his constitutional powers and reduce him to a ceremonial figure.

The vote represents a decisive victory for pro-democracy protesters who took to the streets in huge numbers last month after a year in which the King had ruled with absolute power.

Parliament removed the King as commander-in chief of the Royal Nepalese Army, which will be renamed the Nepal Army. Soldiers will cease to swear an oath of loyalty to the King, and the chief of staff will be appointed by parliament. Removing his command of the army was widely seen as the crucial step to prevent King Gyanendra trying to seize absolute power again.

The Raj Parishad, Nepal's privy council, which had retained real power under the King, was abolished. The King will also have to pay taxes.

In a sign the interim government intends to modernise the country, yesterday's proclamation also announced that Nepal, until yesterday officially Hindu, is now a secular state.

There is considerable hope among Nepalis that the King's removal could pave the way for a peace deal with the Maoist rebels.

About time.

No Need to Get Up

 Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 19, 2006

Scottish Geography Facts #264

This is the very distinctive and famous Forth Rail Bridge across the River Forth in Scotland. The 2.5 km. (1.5 mile) bridge was the world’s first major steel bridge, with its gigantic girder spans of 521 m. (1710 ft.), it ranks as one of the great feats of civilization. It was begun in 1883 and formally completed on 4 March 1890 at a princely sum for then of 3,200,000 pounds (over a billion in todays money). Up to 4,000 men worked on it (57 died) and today it is the largest Scottish 'listed building' and presents one of the largest painting challenges in the world. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

25 Rules

Follow these and you will never be dissapointed at work. Today, Rule 2 was particularly helpful. Thanks Dilbert.

1. I can only please one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow is not looking good either.
2. I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.
3. Tell me what you need, and I'll tell you how to get along without it.
4. Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue.
5. Needing someone is like needing a parachute. If he isn't there the first time, chances are you won't be needing him again.
6. I don't have an attitude problem, you have a perception problem.
7. Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, and I thought to myself, where the hell is the ceiling?
8. My reality check bounced.
9. On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.
10. I don't suffer from stress. I am a carrier.
11. You are slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.
12. Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, because you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
13. Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.
14. Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.
15. A pat on the back is only a few centimetres from a kick in the butt.
16. Don't be irreplaceable -- if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
17. After any salary raise, you will have less money at the end of the month than you did before.
18. The more crap you put up with, the more crap you are going to get.
19. You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and carry a clipboard.
20. Eat one live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
21. If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done.
22. When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.
23. Following the rules will not get the job done.
24. When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the
question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
25. Don't let yesterday take up too much of today

Climbing Ben Nevis

I climbed Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain (1344m) over 20 years ago. In classic Scottish hillwalking traditions it was sunny and warm at the bottom and snowing at the top. We were only just well enough prepared. Although it is the highest, it is rather like Everest, not the most attractive. Generally hill walking/mountaineering in Scotland is for gnarly types, interested in trudging for many hours uphill in the rain/wind/hail/snow to stand on top of a large mound of rock in the fog and mist, with a view of up to 2 metres, in order to turn around and do it again downhill. Call me cynical-I used to do it regularly when I was at the University of Stirling. Masochists read more here.

Danger Danger TV Can Kill You

We hear a lot about the negative impact of too much television watching for children, but in two separate incidents in Brooklyn recently, TV has actually killed children – by falling on them. Recently, the New York Times reported that a four-year-old girl was killed when her family’s 27-inch TV/DVD/VCR fell off its rolling stand and crushed her. A three-year-old named Alexander Williams, also of Brooklyn, died last month in a similar fashion. No doubt there are many other examples. I know from personal experience that my son loves to climb on things and I am sure something like that would be very appealing as a climbing target.

Ask Andy - An Occasional Political Interlude

"Matthew Hoggard called the Prime Minister a knob when we were celebrating winning the Ashes at a Downing Street function, and you know what? That's the first thing Hoggy's got right in a while. Blair is a knob."

England captain Andrew Flintoff shows what he lacks in diplomacy he makes up for in having his finger on the pulse of the nation.

The Beer Belly. What every bloke needs.

This is being marketed for those events where you pay more for beer than to get in. I could use one for work some days.


I thought that this was a very stunning image for a bestselling book. Not sure what it has to do with Freakonomics. One of the issues that the authors talked about was nature versus nurture in terms of learning and being good at things. They seem to fall very heavily in favour of nurture. Practice makes perfect in their eyes. Interesting reading on their blog.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chalk Drawings

My kids love to draw on the ground with chalk. We always have a large supply. The Christmas Pageant in Adelaide (largest parade in the southern hemisphere) is a kids chalk drawing mecca. You have to do something to keep them busy as they wait for the floats.
These other guys are a little more professional.

A is for Arvo O is for Oz

I have lived in Australia for four years and been married to an Aussie for almost 8 years and my kids are Aussies (and Brits). In the last few days I keep hearing people using arvo for afternoon. I hadn't noticed it before and all of a sudden it is everywhere. If it happens to you, this is all you need.

Ace! :Excellent! Very good!
Arvo :afternoon
Amber fluid :beer
Aussie :Australian
Beaut, beauty :great, fantastic
Big Mobs :loads, a lot of
Bloody :very
Bloody oath! :that's certainly true
Blue :argument/mistake
Bodgy :poor quality
Bonzer :great, ripper
Bottler :something excellent
his blood's worth:he's an excellent, helpful bloke
Buckley's chance :(you've got)no chance
Bull dust :rubbish
Cactus :dead, broken
Cark it :to die, stop working
Chocka :full up
Click :kilometre - "it's 20 clicks away"
Come a gutser :a bad mistake or have an accident
Come good :turn out ok
Cooee, not within :figuratively a long way away
Cost big bikkies :expensive
Crack a fat :get an erection
Cream, to :defeat by a large margin
Cut snake :(mad as a)very angry
Dead dingo's donger :(as dry as a)dry
Deadset :true / the truth
Dingo's breakfast :no breakfast
Dinkum / fair dinkum :true, real, genuine
Dinky-di :the real thing, genuine
Docket :a bill, receipt
Doco :documentary
Drink with the flies :to drink alone
Dunny rat :(cunning as a)very cunning
Exy :expensive
Fair dinkum :true, genuine
Fair go :a chance / break
Fair suck of the sav! :exclamation of wonder, awe, disbelief
Furphy :rumour
G'Day :hello!
Give it a burl :try it, have a go
Give it away :give up
Going off :good fun
Good oil :useful information, a good idea, the truth
Good onya :well done
Grouse :great, terrific
Heaps :a lot
Iffy :dodgy
It's gone walkabout :it's lost, can't be found
Kangaroos loose in the top paddock :Intellectually inadequate
Kick the bucket :to die
Knock back :refuse
London to a brick :absolute certainty
Lunch :(who opened their?)OK, who farted?
Mate's rate :cheaper than usual for a friend
Mate's discount :cheaper than usual for a friend
No worries! :no problem / its okay
Nun's nasty :(as dry as a)very dry
Piece of piss :easy task
Pig's arse! :I don't agree
Plate, bring a :Instruction to bring a plate of food to a party
Pozzy :position
Quid, make a : earn a living
Rack off :get lost! get out of here!
Reckon! :for sure
Ridgy-didge :original, genuine
Right :okay
Ripper :Great
Rooted :ruined, broken, engage in sex
She'll be apples :It'll be alright
She'll be right :it'll be okay
Sparrows fart :dawn
Strewth :exclamation
Stoked :very pleased
Stuffed, I'll be :expression of surprise
Too right :definitely
Turps, hit the :go on a drinking binge

Quail for Mothers Day

We went to a nice Chinese Restaurant for Mothers Day on Sunday, with Elizabeth's mum. On the menu was Quail. It made me think of the little Quails that we have in with the budgies. I wonder how many you get with a serving? I have only had them once at my Godfathers in Donegal. My memory was that it was mainly sauce and bones. I got Mr Q a Mrs Q for Mothers Day. Perhaps they can be parents and breed the next meal for hungry Quail eaters.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Walter the Miner

Watching all the coverage of the Beaconsfield miners, reminded me that mining is a very tough way to earn a living. My grandfather, Walter Lumsden was a coal miner in the Frances Colliery in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Born in 1914, he first went down the pit when he was 13, in the days when you mined coal with a bar and a hammer and a canary came along to monitor for gas. Miserable working conditions. When he came home, he would have a bath in the living room, to get most of the dust off and the wounds healed a little. He was lucky and didn’t get too badly injured and managed to get out of the mine before neumoconiosis took over. He got out when he was in his early 40s and became a gardener for the mine manager, allowing his lungs to recover. He lived until he was 88. Most of his contemporaries died much earlier. He wouldn’t let his son go down the mine, despite the lure of greater money. He lived in the same house for 40 years, never learned to drive, invented a now established breed of canary, the Fife Fancy, in 1951, and became a champion breeder and well respected international judge. He was a tireless fundraiser for charity, along with my Grandmother and was runner up in the Scottish Old Age Pensioner of the Year one year. Anyway, he crammed a lot of living in his years.

Clicket goes Global

No pitches, no cricketers, no infrastructure, no problem, as the Chinese set out to develop the nobel game. With a bottom up approach, involving young people, and a plan to play Test Cricket within 20 years,things are moving forward rapidly. From ban qiu, ("ban" for wooden board, bat, and "qiu" for ball) of the 1850s, the game has now moved to being the shen shi yun dong. (the Noble Game)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sick of Annoying Flash Adverts

Get Flashblock
I did. It really works and surfing is much faster. Goodbye annoying adverts.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

UFO's Just Plasma - How Disappointing!

Truth is out there: UFOs just plasma

LONDON: Britain's defence intelligence chiefs have come up with a detailed scientific explanation to solve the mystery of unidentified flying objects.

After a four-year inquiry, they have concluded that most UFO sightings can be explained by a little-understood atmospheric phenomenon.

Defence Intelligence Staff scientists describe how glowing "plasmas" of gas are created by charges of electricity. Airflows then sculpt the plasmas into aerodynamic shapes which appear to fly at extraordinary speeds through the sky.

Their report is emphatic that UFOs do not come from alien civilisations or hostile powers, but equally it does not dismiss those who claim to have seen them as fantasists or hoaxers.

Instead, the scientists say such plasmas can play tricks on the mind, creating vivid impressions.

They note that "local (electromagnetic) fields ... have been medically proven to cause responses in the temporal lobes of the brain".

As a result, UFO witnesses may suffer from "extended memory retention and repeat experiences" induced by the plasmas.

Their report says that, though UFOs have "defied credible description" as to their cause, they are confident they now have "a reasonably justified explanation".

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Superhero ABC

Silly and wacky, and armed with the most unusual powers, these heroes are out to save the world one letter at a time! Bubble-Man blows big bubbles at bullies, and Laughing Lass Laughs at Lawbreakers! Bob McLeod, who has penned for Marvel Comics turns his attention to children's books. My son loved the pictures and the rhymes. Power Pup Protects Pets from the Pound and Good Girl shoots Great Gobs of Goo at Gangsters.

Dog Tail Semaphore

Dogs tails are the most expressive part of their body. Happy and the tail wags frenetically. Sad and the tail is glued to the body. Indifferent and it flies at half mast. As Phillip Adams notes, perhaps humans could benefit from such an expressive signal, but it would be hard to function with such a visually expressive way of demonstrating how we are feeling, something that we don't deal with very well.

Comrade Laika Space Dog

I learned courtesy of the Australian Magazine Goodbye Section, that Laika the Space Dog died from overheating in the maiden animal flight in space. Apparently at least 57 canines were launched into space between the late 1950s and mid-1960s. Not sure how many came back. Sounds like it would be a good topic for a book for my 5 year old would be space explorer.