Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy St Andrews Day

Today is the Scottish National Day.
The Scottish flag is the cross of St. Andrew, also known as the Saltire. It is said to be one of the oldest national flags of any country, dating back at least to the 12th century.
Tradition suggests that St. Andrew (an apostle of Jesus in the Christian religion) was put to death by the Romans in Greece by being pinned to a cross of this shape.
The flag of the United Kingdom - known as the Union Flag or Union Jack - is made up from the flags of Scotland, England (the Cross of Saint George) and Ireland (the Cross of Saint Patrick).

There is a second flag which is associated with Scotland, the "Rampant Lion", or Royal Flag of Scotland. Although based on an older Scottish flag than the St. Andrew's Cross, it should, strictly speaking, now only be used by the monarch in relation to her capacity as Queen in Scotland¹. However, it is widely used as a second national flag.
The Rampant Lion flag flies over the offices of the Secretary of State for Scotland (who is the representative of the U.K. government in Scotland); that is Dover House in London and New St Andrew's House in Edinburgh.
King George V signed a Royal Warrant in 1934 allowing the use of the Rampant Lion flag as "a mark of loyalty" because of the forthcoming Jubilee celebrations. The Lord Lyon² officially now takes the view that this permission "related to decorative ebullition", that is, it is permissable to wave the flag at football matches. It is however not allowable to fly the flag without permission, on a flag-pole or from a building. The Lord Lyon once threatened the town councillors of Cumbernauld with an Act passed in 1679 which prescribed the death penalty for mis-use of the royal arms.

Och Aye Ye Ken Noo

Goodbye Yello Wiggle Hello Yellow Wiggle

Very sad day with the retirement of Gregg Page from the Wiggles. Somehow it will just not be the same. The rest of the group are going to keep on wiggling for the next generation of 2 and 3 year olds. Our kids loved the Wiggles, although they wouldn't admit it now. The first Wiggles Video was the first video that Hannah took an interest in and she watched it over and over.

The remaining members of the group, Jeff Fatt, Anthony Field and Murray Cook, said it was an emotional time. "It's very surreal that Greg's not going to be with us, very sad," said Field. "The thing about The Wiggles is we love doing it. I know Greg loved doing the shows, it's just that he can't physically do it anymore. "We love touring, meeting all the families, the children. "Myself, Murray and Jeff. We actually said to each other, 'do you want to keep going?' and we said 'yes, we'd love to keep going'."

Yes I am sure that they would, given the commercial empire that they have built. Wiggling for Dollars, not too bad. Queue replacement Wiggle and queue dollars. Are You Ready to Wiggle??

The Kingdom of Fife

Just a couple of images from where I grew up. I like old maps. This is from 1659. Below is East Lomond an eroding volcanic lump close to Auchtermuchty (Home of the Proclaimers). We used to go walking there fairly regularly, just up the road from Falkland , home of the oldest tennis court in Scotland. They still use it now to play real tennis.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tougher Water Restrictions To Kick In

As we head to our first really hot day of the not quite summer season, 38 degrees in Adelaide tomorrow, stronger water restrictions are on the way, with sprinklers banned through the week.

Our gl'eaurious leaders are clearly on top of things.

River Murray Minister Karlene Maywald, said "it was clear South Australians were not getting the water saving message and that consumption was up."

Just a day later, Acting Water Minister John Hill said he was "heartened" to see water consumption was down and that the public was heeding to call to reduce water use.

"South Australia is just following slowly behind the other states, with knee-jerk reactions and mixed messages from it's ministers," according to one commentator.

Prior to the last set of regulations, there was a huge spike in consumption as residents soaked their lawns and refilled their pools.

It does seem that all the focus is on gardening uses of water. Clearly it is the easiest to regulate, but will people dob in serial water abusers and will the government have the resources to really tackle the problem. You can be certain that consumption will be way up in the five weeks leading up to the new restrictions. You will have to get up at 5am or start watering after 8pm on Saturday or Sunday, in order to follow the new regulations.

This is just tokenism. More serious consideration to tackle other uses of water by industry, local councils, irrigators and other profligate water abusers. Also these regulations do not address other domestic uses of water. Very reactionary and not reflective of sound planning.

Bored With Your Life?

Join the all knew hip and cool CIA. Try the Quiz to see if you have what it takes to be a succesful spy.
I got a Daring Adventurer rating. I can just imagine that means first posting will be a destabilisation exercise in Tonga or Kazakhstan or an assassination in Tibet.


By Nicholson from the Australian.

More funny stuff here and here.

Salt Kills Shock Exclusive

I am shocked I am still alive when I read stuff like this and think about my DIEt as a child.

From the Australian

Children as young as four are at risk of developing high blood pressure and eventual cardiovascular disease because of high levels of salt in many processed foods. Even some foods that parents regard as healthy - such as breakfast cereals, cheese, ham and processed meats - are so loaded with salt that young children can easily eat well above their safe daily limit before they have started their evening meal, experts have warned.

The National Heart Foundation will today warn parents to be more vigilant about how much salt their children eat, saying too much puts them at risk of long-term problems and makes healthy home-cooked food taste bland by comparison. If this happened, children were more likely to reject the home cooking and seek more processed, energy-dense foods.

The foundation said a four-year-old who ate cereal for breakfast, a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch and just 25 grams of savoury biscuits for an afternoon snack would have eaten, before dinner time, nearly three times the amount of salt needed for an entire day.

Post-mortem examinations of four-year-old children in Britain have revealed signs of early vascular disease, according to Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at St George's Hospital Medical School in London. A recent study conducted by Professor MacGregor showed for the first time that if children reduced their salt intake, there was a significant fall in their blood pressure.

"If you cut your salt intake, do more exercise, eat more fruit and vegetables and lose weight, that will cause substantial reductions in blood pressure, and will probably prevent you having to take tablets later in life (to control raised blood pressure)," he said.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Four and a Half Days at the Gabbatoir-The Sequel

The hype has been dissipated and normality has been restored. Andrew Miller dissects the Execution in the Gabbatoir. From Cricinfo.

The Poms are Down Under and they are getting pummelled, just as they have been in every series in Australia for the past 20 years. Forget about 2005, because the locals most certainly have. The Gabba today was an empty shell of a stadium, echoing only to the defiant last stand of a re-enfranchised Barmy Army who had come, it seems, full circle. It was at this venue, in 1994-95, that their legend was born, once again in ridiculously futile circumstances.

That match, in fact, was an eerie precursor to this fixture. It featured, then as now, a woeful first delivery of the series (Phil DeFreitas's long-hop versus Steve Harmison's double-wide); a dismal first England innings (167 plays 157 - CJ McDermott 6 for 53, GD McGrath 6 for 50); a surprise Australian refusal to enforce the follow-on (Mark Taylor was the innovative captain back then); and a spirited late rally from England's batting (Hick and Thorpe added 160 for the third wicket; Collingwood and Pietersen 153 for the fourth).

And had Shane Warne not been usurped by Stuart Clark in this morning's final session, he might well have equalled or bettered the 8 for 71 he took to condemn England to defeat on that distant occasion. It's a familiar tale unfolding, and one that the Gabbatoir, to give it its worthy nickname, is fond of recounting. Australia are unbeaten at this venue since West Indies visited, at the height of their powers, in 1988-89. In the 18 Tests since then, there have now been five draws and 13 wins - four by an innings, three by 10 wickets, and the rest by margins in excess of 100 runs.

It's a record as chilling as the task that now awaits England.

The End. Cue the Dirge.

At least the beer is cold, the weather warm and sunny and although the Barmy Army Trumpeter has been banned in Adelaide, he is welcome in Melbourne and Sydney. Life goes on.

South Park Hero

Which South Park kid are you most like?


You're very unlucky. You're poor, no one understands what you're saying, and you die very often.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

Since I live in Kilkenny, it is appropriate that I am most like Kenny. Kill Kill Kill!! I can honestly say that I have never seen the show. The local bank uses the phrase

If your bank thinks that Kilkenny is what they do on South Park, it's time to change your bank.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

School Concert

Last week was the School Concert. The school that the kids go to is around 200 kids and they have lovely grounds. They also lucky to have a parent that has a music supply store, who puts on the stage and sound system. The concert is outside in the early evening and is accompanied by cake stalls and the like. The kids both had their chance to shine. I remember my first school concert, in our 20 kid school in New Gilston. The concert stage was in one classroom and they opened up the divider and the parents sat in the other. I remember being dressed as a Cowboy and singing

California Here I Come
Right Back where I started from
Open up those Golden Gates
California Here I Come

I had no idea where California was. Funny that I would end up living there for a while, 35 years later.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Who Cuts the Umbilical Cord?

From The Age

The elephant has one of the most amazing journeys through the womb from one-centimetre foetus to birth as a calf weighing 118 kilograms. All in 22 months. Imagine being pregnant for that long.

Researchers for a two-hour documentary film, Animals in the Womb, used scans to track elephant calves for the first time during their 22-month gestation — the longest of any mammal.

Hannah's interest in the article, was who was responsible for cutting the umbilical cord. The way children think is amazing.

Barmy Harmy Goes Quiet

If the first ball of the Ashes is anything to go by, us "Poms" ie non Australians will have to be hopeful. On the backfoot after one ball is a bit sad. Maybe England could use some of these techniques. At least it is funny. Apparently the impact of the Barmy Army is muted at the Gabba because the English fans are spread throughout the ground.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Can You Get it in the Drive Through?

Defying police warnings, a Dutch group is set to roll the world's biggest joint, sending the previous record for a marijuana cigarette up in smoke. The world's largest joint will be a 500g, metre-long monstrosity, rolled with cigarette paper and easily dwarfing the previous 100g winner, ANP news agency reported overnight.To beat the record, it must be made entirely of marijuana with no tobacco mix.

"Afterwards we'll light it up," predicted event organiser Thijs Verheij, who is hoping his feat will land in the Guinness Book of Records.The Dutch police are not amused, however, warning they will intervene if the joint surpasses the five grams of marijuana allowed for consumption and sale in the Netherlands.

Wonder how many plants you need?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Did he fall or was he pushed??

Nicholson in the Australian, regularly captures the Prime Miniature at his innocent "Who? Me? scheming best.

Also this series of animations are hilarious.

Kanga Cricket

Ryan tried Kanga Cricket for the first time on Saturday. Run by the South Australian Cricket Association, it is a fun activity for little kids to develop skills and get them interested in cricket. They get a free cricket kit I was interested that he picked up the bat and batted left handed. Apparently Mike Hussey batted right handed in the back yard, until he decided that he wanted to bat like Alan Border. Now he is one of the top left handed batsmen in the world. It is interesting to watch your children when they start activities. Will this be something that they will be good at? I am very relaxed about it all, but you cannot help but be hopeful for them.

Wanna Duel

Ryan's latest interest is Yugioh Cards. He has been bugging me for months to buy some. Luckily his friend got him some for his birthday. It is a little challenging for a six year old, since you have to be able to read the cards. Although Dad can read the cards, the rules and game play are way above me. Watching the kids play at the local games store on Saturday was like listening to somebody talk Serbian to me. Kids are very generous in teaching him and Ryan told me after being soundly beaten three time that he will start to win when he is ten. Very cute.

Disco Divas

Hannah had a disco party on Sunday. It was great, we hired some people and they brought all the stuff. We just hung out and drank wine and took photographs. Don't we look stunning.

Monday, November 20, 2006

It is Poopoo and Weewee!!

Tony Ross's excellent The Little Princess kids books have been cartoonified and were on ABC kids this morning. Very amusing. I still prefer the books, which were read over and over when the kids were younger. As Ryan commented "I love this". I suspect this was due to the emphasis on naughty behaviour and poopoo and weewee, which are very interesting to him at the moment. They really touch kids imagination with the zany independence of the main character, the quaint and interesting support cast along with interesting social messages.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Things You Don't Need to Know

Reading the Oztralian today, my understanding of the sporting world was greatly enhanced by the knowledge that an Englishman had become this years Rock Paper Scissors Champion. Apparently they have a world championship in Toronto every year, complete with referees and MCs and assorted razmataz. They have a very nice website if you are interested. Here was I thinking it was just a kids game of chance, when in fact, most of the competitors were adults and there is a section of the site on advanced strategy (borderline cheating if you ask me). Better not give that information to Hannah she always beats me anyway.

Friday, November 17, 2006


For the confused, everything you need to now.

Fag Bearing Drivers Beware

"But Officer, the kids have gas masks" may not cut it when South Australia
joins that standard bearer of progressive politics, Arkansas, in legislating to ban smokers from cars with children in them. Very good move. Police will have the power to levy on the spot fines of up to $200. This is similar to the days when you could smoke in the back of airplanes and the smoke was recirculated throughout the plane.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Hate You Two

My commute home tonight was one hour and twenty minutes rather than the more normal twenty minutes because of bloody zillions of carbon emitters commuting to see U2. It made me really appreciate Adelaide that we don't have to put up with significant commuting baloney most of the time. I have very unpleasant memories of my commute home around the Beltway in Washington DC, trips into town from the Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Manila, Jakarta and Bangkok, trips through San Francisco and over the George Washington Bridge into New York. People in Adelaide are very lucky. Let it be a warning to the government that their plans for growth have to be accompanied by sensible planning for transportation. Anyway Bono and Pals had a special guest tonight. Glad I missed it. I never did like them much.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Collapsing Beds in the National Health Service

According to the source for all important newsecossaise , no wonder the NHS is going bust in the UK. Hospitals are spending up to eight thousand pounds for beds for fat people of up to 500 kilograms. That's a lot of flesh and bone. Obese testers are even getting jobs jumping on the beds to see if they collapse. I doubt nurses will be lifting these patients into bed. They are even having to retrofit mortuaries. Gillian McKeith, where are you?
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
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Although I grew up in Scotland, I lived in the US for many years. People often have trouble picking my accent. Yesterday it was Irish. I am often taken for Canadian. My Yanqui influence has moderated since I am not around 'Mericans as much. Now that I am in Australia, my language influence has changed again. It is definitely not such a jarring transition as the one from Scotland to the US, when I made wholescale changes, just so that I wasn't pulled up and corrected. You say Tomayto I say Tomato.....

Monday, November 13, 2006

But I'm Scottish Your Honour

You are 79% English.

You are either native and stupid, or you are foreign and knowledgeable.

"And did those feet
In ancient times,
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
In England's pleasant pastures seen?"

Well, no, but it's a cracking good tune.

How English are you?
Create a Quiz

Thanks to James Higham for a late night diversion.

Even Captain Hook has to have a rest (and a nice glass of Shiraz)

The real reason for my earlier moustached look was the final touches of my splendid Captain Hook impression for Ryan's Pirate Party. I scared the shit out of at least two 3 year olds and even Hannah got a shock, not realising I was dressing up. As for Ryan, he told me

I'm not scared of anything. I am six.

Oh Urr I'll fix that when I make him swab the poop deck before walking the plank.

Move Over Movember

People in my office are participating in Movember, growing moustaches, to raise money and awareness about mens health. I have done my dash. Don't I look dashing? Just send money now.

Where the Bali Hell Are You?

With the news that the Where the Bloody Hell Are You? adverts were a flop with dramatic declines in visits from most of the target markets and with the death of the Face of the Ozzie Tourism Industry in one of the major tourist destinations, comes an even worse advertising campaign from the Balinese Tourism Industry with this cheezy offering. Not sure what they are hoping to achieve.

Great Thinkers of the 21st Century

According to the Observer Elton John has said organised religion should be banned because it promotes homophobia and turns some people into "hateful lemmings".

"I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it,

He said he admired the teachings of Jesus Christ, but disliked religious bodies.

"The reality is that organised religion doesn't seem to work," he added.

Couldn't agree with you more Elton, but a bit harsh on lemmings. Unfortunately if all religions were banned, people would be forced to invent others.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oi Be a Pirate Oi Be Shiver me Timbers

A Children's Pirate Shanty
by Mark "Cap'n Slappy" Summers
(can be sung to the tune of Monty Python's "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK" - or make up your own!)

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

Yo Ho, my friends I have a tale
of treasure, plunder, sea and sail
my story's bigger than a whale
it gets so deep, ye'll have to bail.

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

I like to fish, I like to fight
I like to stay up half the night
When I say "starboard" ye go right!
Me ma, she says, "Ye look a fright!"

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

I've got no hand but that's me hook!
I pillage stuff but I'm no crook.
Me booty's in this chest I took.
They'll write about me in a book!

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

And that's all there is to this song.
I hope it hasn't been too long.
A pirate's life might just be wrong
So grow up nice and big and strong!

I'm a pirate! That I be!
I sail me ship upon the sea!
I stay up late - till half past three!
And that's a peg below me knee!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ryan is 6 today

Well in case you are interested, six year old boys like model pirates, action men, model knights, dragons, sound effects swords, star wars mr potato heads, complete with potato masher weapons, hot wheels, books, clothes, lego, magnetix... Ryan certainly seems happy with this years stash. Next up his Pirate Party on Sunday. Happy Birthday Ryan!

Ta Ta Rummy English Language Masher

The demise of Donald Rumsfeld is only sad for commentators of his mashing of English. Examples abound. Here are a few.

Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know.

We do know of certain knowledge that he (Osama Bin Laden) is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead.

I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past - I think the past was not predictable when it started.

If I said yes, that would then suggest that that might be the only place where it might be done which would not be accurate ... necessarily accurate ... it might also not be inaccurate, but I mean ... I'm disinclined to mislead anyone.

Plenty more funny stuff here.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oh No It's Christmas Soon

Ryans best friends family are totally into Christmas. Their house is a temple to crass Christmas commercialism, with the tree, tinsel and all and it is only early November and summer has started. My northern hemisphere instincts are still powerful and warm weather and Christmas together are still a challenge. That despite having only one cool weather christmas in the last 10 years.

Hey Ray Turn it Round

Load of Pollocks!

Retired female truck driver Teri Horton paid $US5 for a paint-splattered canvas at a Californian junk shop in 1991 for a joke. But the joke may be on the art world.

A fingerprint found on the painting has raised the possibility that the artwork is a masterpiece by Jackson Pollock.

If accepted as authentic, the junk-shop picture would be worth up to $US50 million. Pollock's No5, 1948 sold last month for $US140 million, a world record.

Ms Horton, 74, of Newport Beach, had never heard of Pollock. When told her painting might be by the abstract expressionist, she asked: "Who the fuck is Jackson Pollock?"

Ms Horton bought the 120cm by 165cm picture in San Bernardino. She and a friend had a good laugh over it. "We were going to throw darts at it, but we sat there and drank beer and never did get around to it."

Months later, to clear out her clutter, she offered it for sale to friends.

An art professor told her she might have a painting by Pollock, who died in 1956.

The non-profit International Foundation for Art Research rejects the idea that the painting is a Pollock. Thomas Hoving, the former director of New York's Metropolitan Museum, who investigated the claim for the documentary, believes it was done as a lark. "I think somebody had a house in some sunny part of the world, Palm Beach or something like that, and wanted an abstract painting, maybe like a Pollock, in colours that would have fit the room."

But Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal art restorer, says he has matched a fingerprint on the painting to a fingerprint on a paint can in Pollock's studio in East Hampton, New York.

"Since Pollock was known to work alone and had no assistants or pupils, the probability of the fingerprint on the blue paint can being Pollock's is very high," he said.

He then sought to match the fingerprint on what he calls "Teri's Find" to a Pollock work of undisputed provenance. In September he discovered what he says is a second matching print on Naked Man with Knife, one of six Pollocks in the Tate Modern's collection in London.

"The new data now firmly identifies Jackson Pollock as the contributor of the fingerprint on the blue paint can as well as on the Horton submission."

Good story, whether it is a Pollock or not.

To create your own Pollock, go here..

Where are the Bloody Bananas?

I was out shopping this morning and noticed that bananas are still pathetically small and expensive. Apparently the promised return of cheap and plentiful bananas in time for Christmas is in jeopardy, because of a severe shortage of fruit pickers in formerly Cyclone Larry ravaged Northern Queensland. Things must be fixed up there, because General Peter Cosgrove is out hawking his new book, so where are the bananas?.

The Australian Banana Growers' Council says after Cyclone Larry wiped out most of the nation's banana crop in March, many of the industry's long-term workers moved away to find jobs elsewhere. Now with a much-awaited new crop coming to maturity in north Queensland,the Council is worried that there wont be enough hands to pick hands of bananas.

This is up there with Honest Johns promise on interest rates. The whole reason for waiting this long for bananas is to protect the banana industry. Well enough is enough. We want our bananas and we want them now! Where are those short term visa holders with specialised banana picking skills?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

So it was about Oil

Dubya has changed his tune and and has recently been citing oil as a reason to stay in Iraq. If the United States pulled its troops out prematurely and surrendered the country to insurgents, he warns audiences, it would effectively hand over Iraq's considerable petroleum reserves to terrorists who would use it as a weapon against other countries.

"You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources and would use energy as economic blackmail and try to pressure the good old US of A,"

Back in 2002, Rummie and his sidekicks stated that "It has nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil."

A White House apparatchick, said recently, that Bush's latest argument does not reflect a real shift. "We're still not saying we went into Iraq for oil. That's not true. But there is the realistic strategic concern that if a country with such enormous oil reserves and the corresponding revenues you can derive from that is controlled by essentially a terrorist organization, it could be destabilizing for the region."

And what Dubya and his buddies are doing at present is not destabilising???

Happy Birthday Hannah 8 Today

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Melbourne Cup Day

Welcome to Silly Hat Day. Happy Punting Fellow Ozzies. More money for the Tab today than the rest of the year put together. Leighton's wife starred with the fashion faux pas of the day, although it looked better with a jacket. Two Japanese horses duelled for top honours. Today was the first time I had been in an Australian Office for the Melbourne Cup and it is true. Everything did stop (other than drinking). Fun times.

Ideal Living Arrangement

There was something very appealling about this living arrangement. I always liked trips to Scottish Islands when I was little. Some of that is still with me. All I would need is some decent broadband, food (I wonder if you could get take away) and a supply of beer. I suspect that the requirement for beer for those long winter evenings is the reason there is a car on the island. Hopefully there are no booze buses patrolling.

Australian Water Policy is Nuts

Must be an election coming up. Look for some big dollars to be spent on environmental, global warming abatement and water related projects after todays water summit, one of the early positionings for next years election. King John has squillions of dollars to spend on feel good projects to dent the dastardly Beazers attempts to focus on the not so cute parts of the Coal itions environmental agenda.

Two articles from The Age tell the story of Australias well thought out water planning.

Vast quantities of Victoria's most precious resource — pure drinking water — will be siphoned off by a bottled water manufacturer with links to soft drink giant Coca-Cola Amatil, which will pay a paltry $2.40 per million litres for the privilege.

The charge is well below the $960 paid by Melburnians for a megalitre of tap water, or the $45 paid by farmers for the same quantity of irrigation water.

Melbourne bottling company, Sunkoshi Limited, holds a permit to extract 150 megalitres annually from an underground aquifer on private land 85 kilometres east of Melbourne.

The owners of Sunkoshi provide water from a Ballarat spring to Coca-Cola Amatil for bottling. Sunkoshi plans to build a 250-metre road on the Powelltown property that would allow six trucks (more carbon emissions?) to remove 150,000 litres of water each day.


Phillip Island could be without drinking water by February, according to the local authority, which has placed residents on stage four restrictions and is desperately searching for alternative sources.

Westernport Water chief David Mawer has warned Bass Coast Council that Phillip Island could run dry if residents failed to curb consumption. "That would be the extreme case, but we have a reservoir that is not that big, so if it doesn't rain, then yes, we will run out," he said.

Well we know where Phillip Island could get their drinking water for cheap.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Healthy School Meals Hard to Swallow

In the UK, healthy school meals are proving so unpopular with pupils that some school caterers are facing a financial squeeze as students vote with their feet and eat elsewhere or opt for packed lunches.

The backlash against the so-called "Jamie Oliver effect" found a significant reduction in numbers of sudents taking school meals.

TV chef Oliver exposed the dire quality of food served in school canteens which in some cases was almost exclusively chips, burgers and pizzas. His television series helped embarrass the British Government into pledging more money for school catering.

"We expected there to be a bit of a downturn – children are going to have to get used to eating more healthy food at school", said a spokesman.

Obviously we need more of the Healthy Eating Nazi, Gillian McKeith treatment, rather than the Jamie Oliver feelgood strategy, if some of these caterers are to return to profit and kids are to eat their brocolli and green beans.

Well Blow Me Down

It is not often that I agree with Alexander Downer, but on the issue of removing funding for small primary schools in communities close to Adelaide, I strongly agree. He was on with Matt and Dave this morning on the ABC Morning Programme. He made the point that religions used to be a strong focal point for these communities, and now that people don't go to church in the same numbers, the local schools have an important role in small communities. I agree with him when he says that the State Government is trying to close these schools, without stating that this is there objective. It is interesting that Alexander Downer, the Foreign Secretary and Julie Bishop, the Commonwealth Education Secretary went to two of the schools affected by this policy. Look for some fierce lobbying. He did concede that it was the State Governments responsibility.

I grew up in a small country community in Scotland and recognise the value that the schools had for that community. I mean why would you live there if you couldn't send your young kids to a local school. Certainly when we were older, we had almost an hour of commuting to go to high school, but I think that communities should have local primary schools.

Many of the Adelaide Hills Schools affected are in parts of South Australia, where the roads are very windy and dangerous. The thought of kids making twenty kilometre trips to larger Primary Schools does not sound safe. This in a State only reluctantly committed to installing seat belts in school buses. How about the added carbon emissions. I thought we were trying to be the environmentally friendly state. More obfuscation from the somewhat extremely cocky Rann administration and their Department of Miseducation Lackies.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Camels are Comin'

In the mid-nineteenth century Afghan camelmen played a critical role in opening up the vast Australian outback to Europeans. In these times camel trains were a crucial life support system to outback communities. The cameleers came from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Turkish empire and their labour and skills in hot, dry arid conditions made possible a number of key projects including the Overland Telegraph Line between Adelaide and Darwin, the Queensland Border Fence, the Transcontinental railway Line between Port Augusta, South Australia and Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, and the Rabbit Proof fence and Canning Stock Route in Western Australia. Cameleers were also vital to the early wool and mining industries What’s more, some of the exploratory expeditions which traversed the most inhospitable parts of Australia only survived due to the expertise and endurance of the cameleers in the hot and waterless land (they were also dependent upon Indigenous Australian skill and knowledge of country).

Not too many of them around any more, but you can still ride a camel at many of the Country Shows around South Australia and sometimes at the beach at Glenelg. As for the Afghans now, any who make it here end up in Immigration Detention. Small reward for the cultural link between the countries.