Thursday, January 31, 2008

Church of Scientology a Dangerous Cult?

According to Google, the Church of Scientology is the top search term for dangerous cult. Swollen Pickles has the scoop on a very clever Google Bomb.

A little scary that Google's algorithm could be hijacked like that. That must be a lot of clever coding and SEO stuff. Amusing all the same.

Client Management Primer

Although I deal with clients and help them to plan out and implement projects, most of them are reasonable, unlike those described in this funny piece by Shae Allen.

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don't have nearly enough insulation in them).

Lots more where that came from.

In our business, we generally either get very prescribed scopes of work, two paragraph emails or incomprehensible phone requests on which we have to work with to develop a scope and technical proposal, cost estimate and schedule. Compared to the design and architecture field it seems we have it easy.

Victorian Premier Sledges "Backwater " Adelaide

People in South Australia are very sensitive when people say bad things about Adelaide, which is very common. This morning, talk radio has been overflowing with aggrieved residents voicing off at the Victorian Premiers off the cuff backwater comment on Adelaide. It is the main story in the local rag, but barely gets a mention in Victoria. Chip on the collective shoulder?

That said, Melbourne and Adelaide are still considered very nice places to live in a global survey. I agree, not having lived in Melbourne, but it does have much worse weather, which is high on my criteria of a nice place to live. I noticed that Kathmandu, where I lived for a year, is in the bottom ten. That may be true, but it is a lot more interesting.

And James, the Honorary Representatative of Geelong in Slaviastan just had to put the boot in (rhymes with Putin). Perhaps that should be his Presidential tag line.

I am definitely of the yes but it is part of the appeal crowd. This morning it was 20 degrees and raining in Melbourne. Here in Adelaide we had 30 degrees, blue skies and sunny. Petty? There is plenty more. Actually we learned today that South Australian Police are the most honest in the nation. Victorian Police don't have that reputation and their Police Chief wants to become a member of the Atheneum Club, an all mens snooty club. Good Luck.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kwality Scottish Historical Poem

by William McGonagall

'Twas in the year of 1888, and on July the 14th day,
That an alarming accident occurred in the River Tay.
Which resulted in the sinking of the Tay Ferries' Steamer "Dundee,"
Which was a most painful and sickening sight to see.

The Steamer was engaged by the Independent Order of Rechabites,
And all were resolved to see some rural sights;
And the place they selected was the village of Newburgh;
While each heart was happy and free from sorrow.

And the weather was sunny, and really very fine,
And 900 souls had agreed to while away the time;
And they left the Craig Pier at half-past two o'clock,
Never thinking they would meet with an accidental shock.

And after passing underneath the Bridge of Tay,
Then they took the Channel on the south side without dismay;
And Captain Methven stood on the Steamer's bridge, I do declare,
And for the passengers he seemed to have very great care.

And all went well on board for some time,
And the silvery Tay shone beautiful in the sunshine;
And the passengers' hearts felt light and gay,
While they gazed on the bonnie banks of the silvery Tay.

To do justice to the passengers, they were a goodly band,
For their behaviour, 'tis said, was truly grand;
But to the eastward of Newburgh, the Steamer was too close inshore,
And on passing a boatman, he warningly to them did roar,-

Warning them not to come inshore so near,
But his warning voice the helmsman didn't hear;
Neither the Captain or passengers his warning dreads,
Until the Steamer struck a number of boulders, known as The Heads.

And close to the point where the Pow falls into the Tay,
Which the people that escaped drowning will remember for many a day,
Because many of the passengers were thrown off their balance;
But, most fortunately, they were all saved merely by chance.

And owing to the suddenness of the shock, many women fainted away,
Which filled the rest of the passengers' hearts with dismay;
But they soon regained their composure when close to the land,
Especially when they saw that succour was near at hand.

The engines were kept going at full speed,
And God helped His people in time of need;
And in a short time Newburgh was reached,
While many women wept bitterly, and loudly screeched.

Because by this time the forehold was nearly filled with water,
Which caused the passengers' teeth with fear to chatter;
Because the Steamer was settling down forward,
While to land the passengers safe Captain Methven struggled hard.

But before one-half of them had got ashore,
The women and children were in a state of uproar,
Because the forepart of the Steamer was submerged in the Tay,
Which filled the passengers' hearts with dismay.

But, thanks be to God! all the passengers were sent to Dundee
By the Steamers Renown, Forfarshire, Protector, and the Lass o' Gowrie,
Which certainly was a most beautiful sight to see,
When they landed 900 passengers safe on the pier at Dundee.

Then, good people, away to the mountains, glens, and lakes,
And drink of milk and pure water, and eat oaten cakes;
And sit down on the margin of a little burn in the sunshine,
And enjoy yourselves heartily during the holiday time.

Much much more on the life and times of Mr McGonagall available here.

This is my backyard from my yoof and some of the names and places made me all nostalgic. No idea if it is a real event, but Mr McGonagall has captured the essence of the moment in a way only he can.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Don't Do this at Home

There are many things that we do at home that we would not do at work under the paternalistic occupational health and safety dogma that seems to pervade risk management at work. We have a strong safety culture at work, but some of the stuff that is being adopeted is getting a bit loony. Don't get me going on the politically correct stuff either.

One of the things that we have to do is to get the outside electrical system set up properly. The previous owners had extension cords going everywhere, including to the pool. This reminded me to get on to it. The photograph has been all over blogworld and I have seen it a number of times. That said, it is worth saying, don't do this. The alcohol will not be the only thing frying your brains. I used to see this sort of stuff a lot in countries like the Philippines and Nepal. That said, our last house had some of the most astonishingly dangerous wiring. Prime candidate for an electrical fire.

And as for this one. I hate chainsaws. I worked in a saw mill in my younger days and none of the older guys had all their fingers. I would suggest passing if somebody asks you to hold the water melon while he cuts.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Media Consumption Meme

Jayne tagged me with this interesting meme. I normally steer clear of these, but this is quite easy and painless.

With the kids on holiday, there has been a lot of kids programmes and DVDs on in the background. Most prevalent this week was Sponge Bob, which is interesting in small amounts. The kids made a few videos using Hannah's camera and my phone. I was forced to sit through them as they were proudly presented.

I spend a good deal of time reading blogs and news websites. I like the Australian and the Age and had a look at some of the UK sites. Maintaining my own blog also takes time.

We have the Australian delivered on Saturday and the Sunday Mail on Sunday, but I didn't get around to reading either, which is not unusual with my focus on home fixing projects.

With the cricket test on in Adelaide I spent two days there. I love to listen to it on the radio at the same time. Kerry O'Keefe is a total crack up. I also like to follow it on Cricinfo, which is a fantastic cricket website. I watched a little on television, but they only show the last session here in Adelaide because it was not sold out.

I have been doing some reading on gardening as we work out which plants to put where in our new house. Today we were doing some colour matching for our next painting projects and my mother in law brought along a nice book, which helped to solve some of the issues. That and the Ikea catalogue for some storage ideas.

Other things I have been reading have been technical related to my work, bus timetables as I try to work out commuting options for work and mobile phone instruction manuals as I try to make it do what I want. On Australia Day I assembled our barbeque. How Aussie is that? As usual the instruction manual was pretty lame.

I have been listening to what the kids listen to. They only like singing and hate talk radio, which is what I would chose when driving. They like the contemporary stations, who I would never chose. I haven't figured out how to put music on my phone yet, so a musically barren week. I did enjoy the Goodies singing Funky Gibbon, which was posted on Road to Surfdom. I hadn't heard that for years.

Help yourself anybody who wants to have a go. I am not a meme passer on by nature.

I am approximately 15 percent Aussie

Great Aussie Icons I have seen. The Giant Rocking Horse at the Toy Factory in Gumeracha, north of Adelaide. Especially for Shades.

Today is the Australia Day Public Holiday. I felt obliged to test this out as I judge my transition to Aussieness. I have lived here for over 5 years now and must have learned something and taken on some traits. I have tried to be honest with myself as I head down the slippery slope to Ugh Boot wearing, Vegemite eating, beer drinking Aussie Larikin.

You can try too.

You know you're Australian if …

1. You know the meaning of the word "girt".

I only know this because my daughter asked me and I researched it. "Girt by Sea" WTF??

2. You believe that stubbies can be either drunk or worn.

My son used to like to wear stubby holders, but stubbies are definitely just to be drunk.

3. You think it's normal to have a leader called Kevin.

Hell of a lot better than a leader called John. Hello.

4. You waddle when you walk due to the 53 expired petrol discount vouchers stuffed in your wallet or purse.

I only do this a little.

5. You've made a bong out of your garden hose rather than use it for something illegal such as watering the garden.

Hoses are definitely just for watering (illegally).

6. You believe it is appropriate to put a rubber in your son's pencil case when he first attends school.

No comment.

7. When you hear that an American "roots for his team" you wonder how often and with whom.


8. You understand that the phrase "a group of women wearing black thongs" refers to footwear and may be less alluring than it sounds.

Mixed feelings on this one.

9. You pronounce Melbourne as "Mel-bin".


10. You pronounce Penrith as "Pen-riff".


11. You believe the "l" in the word "Australia" is optional.


12. You can translate: "Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas."

Can you? I can't.

13. You believe it makes perfect sense for a nation to decorate its highways with large fibreglass bananas, prawns and sheep.

I have seen the big pineapple and there is a huge wooden rocking horse just up the road. Got to have a reason to get people to stop at your place.

14. You call your best friend "a total bastard" but someone you really, truly despise is just "a bit of a bastard".

Not yet.

15. You think "Woolloomooloo" is a perfectly reasonable name for a place.

I quite like the sound of this, although I prefer Tumbarumba.

16. You're secretly proud of our killer wildlife.

My kids are paranoid about spiders.

17. You believe it makes sense for a country to have a $1 coin that's twice as big as its $2 coin.

No opinion Matey.

18. You understand that "Wagga Wagga" can be abbreviated to "Wagga" but "Woy Woy" can't be called "Woy".

I took the train to Wagga Wagga many years ago. I was surprised that everyone called it Wagga.

19. You believe that cooked-down axlegrease makes a good breakfast spread.

Personally I prefer raspberry jam.

20. You believe all famous Kiwis are actually Australian, until they stuff up, at which point they again become Kiwis.

My thoughts about the UK and the English. Still working on this one.

21. Hamburger. Beetroot. Of course.

Not there yet. Seperately and in small measure for the beetroot please.

22. You know that certain words must, by law, be shouted out during any rendition of the Angels' song Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.

I plead ignorance.

23. You believe, as an article of faith, that the confectionary known as the Wagon Wheel has become smaller with every passing year.

As long as this doesn't happen to Tim Tams' no dramas mate.

24. You still don't get why the "Labor" in "Australian Labor Party" is not spelt with a "u".

I always like to correct Brits who make this fatal error.

25. You wear ugh boots outside the house.

Yes, especially for gardening and going to the shops.

26. You believe, as an article of faith, that every important discovery in the world was made by an Australian but then sold off to the Yanks for a pittance.

I am Scottish and we invented all the good stuff. I fit right into the Yanqui resentment mode that many Australians have however. Half a point.

27. You believe that the more you shorten someone's name the more you like them.

I am aware of this curious phenomenon.

28. Whatever your linguistic skills, you find yourself able to order takeaway fluently in every Asian language.

Having lived in Asia for many years I am good at pointing and gesticulating.

29. You understand that "excuse me" can sound rude, while "scuse me" is always polite.

Still working on this one.

30. You know what it's like to swallow a fly, on occasion via your nose.

The worst place for flies was Wallaroo, closely followed by Tumbarumba.

31. You understand that "you" has a plural and that it's "youse".

Only in jest.

32. You know it's not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle.

This is the first summer we have had air conditioning in the car. Luxury.

33. Your biggest family argument over the summer concerned the rules for beach cricket.

We are lawn cricket types and my daughter always cheats, so why have rules. Personally I prefer French Cricket.

34. You shake your head in horror when companies try to market what they call "Anzac cookies".

Those bloody Yanks!

35. You still think of Kylie as "that girl off Neighbours".

Kylie?? Who??

36. When returning home from overseas, you expect to be brutally strip-searched by Customs - just in case you're trying to sneak in fruit.

I remember being strip searched coming off a flight from Singapore during a Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK. Extreme I though.

37. You believe the phrase "smart casual" refers to a pair of black tracky-daks, suitably laundered.

Ugh Boots with a tie.

38. You understand that all train timetables are works of fiction.

That and bus timetables.

39. When working on a bar, you understand male customers will feel the need to offer an excuse whenever they order low-alcohol beer.

Is that not for poofs?

40. You get choked up with emotion by the first verse of the national anthem and then have trouble remembering the second.

Despite many years of listening to it at School Assembly, I still find it annoying and indecipherable. Bring on Jolly Swagman. Is that unpatriotic.

41. You find yourself ignorant of nearly all the facts deemed essential in the government's new test for migrants.

Now this I am pretty good at. Who was the first Prime Minister, what is Mitchell Johnsons test match average, what is the life expectancy of a Kookaburra and what is the third largest town in Tasmania always let me down.

42. You know, whatever the tourist books say, that no one says "cobber".

This is clearly ignorant anti Australian thinking written by non Aussies.

43. And you will immediately forward this list to other Australians, here and overseas, realising that only they will understand.

Well I am posting this.

So about 7/43

Happy Australia Day as I continue my journey.

Thanks Meg

Happy Half Century LEGO

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the patenting of LEGO.

it marks the 50th anniversary of when the original Lego brick was patented in Copenhagen by Godtfred Christiansen, the son of carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen. The patent for the eight-stud brick, which has since expired, included plastic tubes inside the bricks so it could grip from above and below.

My brother and I were always jelous of our cousin Scott who had a fantastic LEGO collection. I don't remember having much.

The manufacturing process is very exacting.

Bricks, beams, axles, mini figures, and all other elements in the Lego system are manufactured to an exacting degree of tolerance. When snapped together, pieces must have just the right amount of "clutch power"; they must stay together until pulled apart. They cannot be too easy to pull apart, or the resulting constructions would be unstable; they also cannot be too difficult to pull apart, since the disassembly of one creation in order to build another is part of the Lego appeal. In order for pieces to have just the right "clutch power", Lego elements are manufactured within a tolerance of 2 µm.[2]

Since 1963, Lego pieces have been manufactured from a strong, resilient plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS. Precision-machined, small-capacity molds are used, and human inspectors check the output of the molds, to eliminate significant variations in color or thickness. Worn-out molds are encased in the foundations of buildings to prevent their falling into competitors' hands. According to the Lego Group, about eighteen bricks out of every million fail to meet the standard required.

That said, LEGO has got be the bane of parents life. I found a huge LEGO set at a charity shop and we gave it to my son when he was much younger. All he wanted to do was to pour it on the ground and make a big mess. We used to spend a good deal of our day cleaning up. How come, with all that manufacturing know how they couldn't come up with an automatic tidying up system?

Now that he is older, he actually uses it quite constructively. He got a bunch of kits with all kinds of different vehicles. Last year he was more interested in Bionical LEGO. Much much more sophisticated than the LEGO I remember from my yoof.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Adam Gilchrist Supreme Entertainer Bows Out

Adam Gilchrist has been one of the most entertaining cricketers for some time. You just never knew what would happen when he came to the crease. Sometimes, like today, in likely his last test innings, when he was dismissed for 14, he still managed to almost take the umpires head off before departing in another typically unselfish innings, where he would either hit or miss.

Peter Roebuck sums him up nicely in this piece. A great cricketer and a great person.

Like Warne, he knew when to leave. Right at the top of his game. OK, maybe just a little after, but you never knew with those two. Still a potential match winner and only the nit picky would have complained if he had planned to play another few years. Always a potential match winner if he was at the crease. He was without doubt the greatest wicket keeper batsman ever.

His last international matches will be the one day series against India and Sri Lanka , coming up.

Photo Hunt: Old Fashioned

The Adelaide Oval Cricket Score Board. Very old fashioned, dating back to 1911. On four levels and manually operated by a team of people. The Fourth Test between Australia and India is going on now.

While we are at it, Happy Australia Day and Happy Republic Day in India.

More Photo Hunters

Coca to be Traded Freely in the US?

Yesterday I learned that Condi was in Columbia spruiking a Free Trade Deal between Yanqui Agribusiness and the Columbian Government Dictatorship. WTF I thought. Why would the US, the largest market for the the biggest cash export from Columbia want to do a deal with them. I didn't know that there were any duties on cocaine?

Seems it is the same old thing. America developing agreements with countries to benefit their agribusiness sector and for the good old boys who run things in Columbia to get richer.

Foreign investor rights--a typical pro-corporate, so-called "free trade," measure--would tighten the grip that large corporations have on the country's natural resources and launch a large-scale plundering of those resources such as timber and minerals. Without a government willing to nationalize such resources or, at the very least, make sure that the benefits of the commercial exploitation are widely spread, you can be sure that huge riches will flow to a handful of people, while most of the population is left with pennies.

Well who would have thought.

The plans would seem to encourage poorer farmers to grow coca rather than to get into other crops.

The FTA's grant of duty-free U.S. access for flowers and certain other commercial-scale agri-export crops will certainly put pressure on Colombia to expand agribusiness plantations for such exports. These plantations have been a disaster for the regular farmer. Indeed, under pressure in the 1990s from international lending organizations, Colombia implemented a program of "economic openness," which unleashed a tide of traditional cereals, rice and oats pouring into the country. As a result, 1.1 million hectares of cultivated land were lost. Arenas says that 300,000 farmers, then, turned to cultivating coca. "So, now, with FTA, they want to lower every tariff to zero which will devastate every farmer and make them grow coca,

So much of Americas foreign policy seems to be counter intuitive. What drugs were they on when this was all pulled together?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't You Hate It When Your Screen is Dirty?

Why don't you try this!

This was good while it lasted. Seems like it has been taken down. No doubt because their servers were being swamped. It had a video of a puppy licking the inside of the screen. Even searching Google for the file name didn't bring much luck. Sorry. Feel free to try again.

Happy Birthday Mr Burns

Tae a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

Tuck in now Lads and Lassies.

At the Cricket

Tendulkar and Laxman Batting. Laxman is the tall guy in the middle.

The Adelaide Famous Score Board documents the progress of Tendulkars innings, while the Barmy Aussies play with beach balls (and drink beer).

The latest style of Baggy Green Caps. Modified Sombreros. Excellent for Sun Protection.

Adelaide Oval was at its glorious best yesterday for the fourth test between Australia and India. This year we have seats in the Chappell Stand in the shade. Much nicer than being sweltered and drowned out by the Barmy Army under the scoreboard. The only down side is that they are only serving XXXX beer. Thanks Darren. More than made up by lunch at the Lions Head, one of the best pubs in Adelaide. They have Coopers Pale on tap, so you can recover your taste buds. Oh well can't complain. A fun time was had and back again today. Bounteous thanks to my wonderful employer.

Mindboggling Trading Loss at Society General

A French Trader is being shown the door after French Blue Chip Bank Societe General reported a $7 billion fraud. Ho Hum. They plan to issue some shares and carry on.

The most serious thing is that this puts into doubt the risk management systems at some banks," said Fortis analyst Carlos Garcia.

Well No Shit Sherlock. I think that even Homer Simpson might be able to figure that one out. It makes Nick Leeson look like small time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bigger Better More Tour Down Under

This year the Tour Down Under professional cycling event held here in South Australia is higher profile with official UCI accreditation. This the first time that the professional tour has held an event outside Europe. All the big teams are here with their outrageously expensive carbon fibre contraptions and well honed human speed machines to pilot them.

I still wonder about cycling. All that expensive gear just to haul your way up the hills, weave through traffic and generally exhaust yourself. Not for me, lazy person that I am. My colleague is doing the amateur race tomorrow on sections of road that to my way of thinking are really designed for powered vehicles. Good luck to him. One of my other colleagues is going to watch it on Friday. I asked him why he would give up a day of work to see a bunch of young athletes whizz by in 30 seconds. That is what his partner did yesterday. At least it is free to enter.

I love the Tour De France, which they show live late at night here in Australia. So scenic. Great to participate in the event from afar and on the couch.

It reminded me of one of my first blog posts, which still holds true. I am those people except without the bike and the skin tight clothes.

Adelaide has many great sports events and the Tour Down Under is just one. Tomorrow is the fourth cricket test between Australia and India. My work task for the next two days is to drink beer and watch the cricket with some clients. Now that is my kind of sport.

Free Entrecard Design

I have been using Entrecard for a little while. It is a great way to find new blogs and promote my own blog. This guy is jazzing up Entrecard widgets for free (Terms and Conditions Apply) and I just felt that I could use that so this is my penance. I am so hopeless at graphic stuff.

You can do this too (if you want).

Corey's House on the Market in a Fire Sale

With world markets melting down and no Aussies left in the Australian Open, Swollen Pickles picks up on the most important story du jour. Where is Corey and how is he going to pay his fine? Now we know.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hema Online Advert

This is very cute and effective retail marketing.

It has obviously been around the world and back and the brand is modestly trumpeted by Anorak. I saw it most recently on Meg's blog and Ian's blog.

Rotten Apples?

An investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald has determined that apples sold in Woolworths "The Fresh Food People" are up to a year old. . I just bought a bag of refrigerated Granny Smiths last week.

While I think that the technology is amazing, swirling the apples with ethylene to maintain a cool temperature, it rather puts me off apples. My brother works in the refrigeration field, where he designs food storage systems amongst other things. I must ask him about this.

This shatters my idea of the fresh apple. I think I will stick to stone fruit, which is in season at the moment in Australia. And how about some disclosure from the supermarkets on their storage policy.

Anyway, here is a great Apple poem to cheer you up as you head out to buy your apples.

The Apple and the Worm

I bit an apple
That had a worm.
I swallowed the apple,
I swallowed the worm.
I felt it squiggle,
I felt it squirm.
I felt it wiggle,
I felt it turn.
It felt so slippery,
Slimy, scummy,
I felt it land - PLOP -
In my tummy!

I guess that worm is there to stay
Unless . . .
I swallow a bird some day!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Importance of Books

With the kids about to head back to school soon, we have been looking into supplementary reading material. There is nothing more important than good books to feed their growing minds.

I wonder if you were allowed to move the ball for a cow pat

I learned today that Australias first golf course was in a cow paddock in Adelaide. Having grown up in and around St Andrews, the home of golf it is nice to know that I have an Antipodean parallel.

On opening day twenty foundation members "of status and wealth", all of whom sported traditional red coats, joined a varied assortment of Adelaide citizenry who had turned up "to see the fun". In those long-gone days anything out of the ordinary, which was participated in by so-called "Swells", was considered amusing by thr lower strata of society.

"The first games were played in the presence of a highly amused gallery. If a player missed the ball the crowd roared. If he hit it, they laughed just the same - on principle it seemed. But the crowd soon tired of the novelty and the golfers were left in peace as far as the gallery went." A further hazard was the presence of young boys who, despite the engagement of fore-caddies by the players, stole many of the expensive "feathery" balls...

A greater handicap was the presence of cows; in those days the parklands were an unfenced commonage and many families in the city owned a cow which was turned loose on them. It is left to the reader's imagination as to some of the natural hazards confronted by the intrepid golfers. The mind boggles regarding the pitfalls of a "lift and clean" local rule!

After the governor left the colony interest waned; the harsh Australian summers cracked the glue in the expensive clubs with their beechwood heads and ash shafts, while breakages and other damage were most annoying as the clubs had to be sent back to Scotland for either repairs or replacement.

Although the cattle links have long gone, other animals make sport with horse race meetings held at Victoria Park intermittently. Unfortunately Victoria Park is very run down and the SA Jockey Club have turned off the sprinklers to save water. There is a good chance that racing may be finished there also. The good people of that part of town would like to have it maintained as a private dog paddock rather than have the area developed. But that is another story.

Thanks Jayne from Our Great Southern Land

Golf Week Crosses the Line

The editor of Golf Week has been fired for putting a noose on the cover of the magazine.

The golf magazine featured a noose on a purple background as part of their cover story in response to the comments made by Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman on January 4th, that one way for young golfers to stop Tiger Woods is to "lynch him in a back alley." PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem sharply criticized the inappropriate cover of the magazine, calling the decision to put a noose on the cover "outrageous and irresponsible".

I mean what were they thinking? Right in the middle of an election campaign with a black man a prominent candidate a golf magazine playing the race card. I suggest sticking to birdies, eagles and albatrosses.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tom Moody - Haggis Hurler Extraordinaire

One of the great things about summer in Australia is the cricket and although I don't watch it too much (who has time for that), I like to listen to it on the ABC. While I really like Kerry O'Keefe, there are many other very knowledgeable pundits who put out over the air waves.

This week they have had Tom Moody, a very tall former test cricketer, former Sri Lanka coach and currently coach with the Western Warriors. As they do with the rambling form of commentary, they got onto tangential areas, namely haggis hurling.

Apparently during the 1989 tour of the UK, the Australians played a match against Scotland (don't laugh) it wasn't rained out. While they were in the land of the haggis, Tom and some of his cricket buddies resplendent in kilts were guests at a highland games. While there he competed in the haggis hurling competition and threw a haggis 230 feet into the car park, denting a car and taking the unofficial world record. The snooty Scots don't recognise him as the world record holder, preferring somebody who threw 50 feet less.

So now you know.

Based on some of the ineffective bowling over the last few days and a desire to play night test matches, perhaps some red haggises could be a way forward for cricket in Australia.

Photo Hunt: Important

A very important person in our families life, my wife and Hannah and Ryan's Mum, Elizabeth.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What I did not do at the Office Today

With school holidays in full steam, I am balancing work and home life precariously. This morning I proved my full navvy abilities by creating two garden beds using a tool very like this one. The goal is to reduce the lawn area and to allow for drought tolerant plants to be taken out of pots and planted where they can soak up the sun and look good. Our new house has virtually no shade unlike our last one. We also have very restrictive watering allowances, with watering using a hose only allowed for a few hours once a week. Radical horticultural plans were required. Stupidly I volunteered, thinking that the alternative using a shovel would be longer and more tedious, especially given how dry the garden is.

I can recommend that if your partner suggests the same thing that you pass and claim that it is too difficult and that we really need to hire someone. My upper body is still aching. It is amazing how you get into a sedentary mode, with the only parts of your body moving at work are your fingers, with extra exercise from the walk to the kitchen. I am quite out of shape, which is good and an excellent reason for sticking with my day job.

The end result is very good however with the addition of large volumes of mushroom compost, which the dog really appreciated as he rolled over and over.

I am now in the office doing the night shift, glad that I don't have to do that again and aching slightly. Next up retaining walls, moving the pool pump and a long list of smaller projects that seem to be part of the duties of the male of the house. I shall also be sure to be a good boy. I don't think that I would last long in hard labour.

In Favour of Australia Week

With Australia Day fast approaching, Sam Kekovic hits the nail on the head with a call for Australia Week. Why Not? This is a great country and we need a full week to celebrate. I think that the brewers could live with that.

Elizabeth has all the background on this lamb eating orgy except the number of cute lambs that will be slaughtered to meet the demand for 21 lamb meals for all Australians during this new and extended lamb eating orgy.

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

One of the benefits of moving house is that it forces you to go through your stuff. Yesterday I dug out a box of cassettes, many probably unplayed for over 2o years. One of the treasures was My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by David Byrne and Brian Eno. I remember thinking that it was a revelation when I heard it for the first time. The musical collage of electronic sounds overlayed on real world speech and singing is dramatic. It was considered ground breaking at the time and influenced many other musicians.

After getting over the issue of what a cassette tape was, the kids settled down to listen in the car as we drove to sports camp. At the end, they asked to hear it again because they really liked it. Some of the tracks reminded me of the computer games that Ryan loves to play. All very familiar given the number of times I played it in the 80s.

It was rereleased recently with new tracks and some politically correct edits to address concerns by Islamic Groups who objected to singing the Koran. New to me. Having spent time in Indonesia, I thought that was what you did at 5am.

The sources that form the basis for the tracks are as follows.

Side One:

  1. "Unidentified indignant radio host, San Francisco, April 1980."
  2. "Inflamed caller and smooth politician replying, both unidentified. Radio call-in show, New York, July 1979."
  3. "Dunya Yusin, Lebanese mountain singer. (From The Human Voice in the World of Islam, Tangent Records TGS131)"
  4. "Reverend Paul Morton, broadcast sermon, New Orleans, June 1980."
  5. "Unidentified exorcist, New York, September 1980."

Side Two:

  1. "Algerian Muslims chanting Qu'ran. (Same source as 3 (Tangent Records, above))"
  2. "The Moving Star Hall Singers, Sea Islands, Georgia. (From The Moving Star Hall Singers, Folkways FS 3841). Produced by Guy Carawan."
  3. "Dunya Yusin. (See 3 (Tangent Records, above))"
  4. "Samira Tewfik, Egyptian popular singer. (From Les Plus Grandes Artistes du Monde Arabe, EMI)."
  5. "Unidentified radio evangelist, San Francisco, April 1980."
Worth a listen if you can find it. Some of the tracks are available on teh interweb.

Now to see what other relics from my music library the kids can stomach.

Petrol Versus Coke

Wordless Wednesday: Corey Worthington Party Animal and Naughty Boy

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Now I know what a Heirophant is

You are The Hierophant

Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.

All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Thanks to the Probably Not a Heirophant Bags Rants.

The March of Time One to One Hundred


Monday, January 14, 2008

Facebook as Big Brother

I quite like Facebook for its shallowness and irreverent fun. I am certain that I am unimportant enough to worry about being bookmarked and socially indexed. Tom Hodgkinson in the Guardian thinks otherwise.

I despise Facebook. This enormously successful American business describes itself as "a social utility that connects you with the people around you". But hang on. Why on God's earth would I need a computer to connect with the people around me? Why should my relationships be mediated through the imagination of a bunch of supergeeks in California? What was wrong with the pub?

And does Facebook really connect people? Doesn't it rather disconnect us, since instead of doing something enjoyable such as talking and eating and dancing and drinking with my friends, I am merely sending them little ungrammatical notes and amusing photos in cyberspace, while chained to my desk? A friend of mine recently told me that he had spent a Saturday night at home alone on Facebook, drinking at his desk. What a gloomy image. Far from connecting us, Facebook actually isolates us at our workstations.

Fair enough, but some of the heavier stuff later on is a bit chilling. Apparently some of the venture capital money is funded by the CIA venture capital fund and one of the current boare members is associated with that group. Interesting.

Seems that we all just need to lay back and smell the roses as Big Brother rolls down the hill (gathering moss?)

Or is it a snowball?

Enjoy it while you can, before you are unwillingly dragged into a battle that you had no idea you were part of.

Thanks Peter Black from Freedom to Differ.

Culture Corner

I found this beautiful winter poem and thought it might be a comfort to you.
It was to me, and it's very well written.

A poem by Isobele Carla Ewan

It's Cold!

Winter (Southern Hemisphere Version)
A poem by Jocko McMarsbar

It's Hot!

Cheap Sexy Calenders

Now that it is mid January, I am happy to announce that I have some cheap sexy calenders available. Don't wait, they will be gone soon.

Why Men Are Never Depressed

Men Are Just Happier People--
Your last name stays put.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack.
You can never be pregnant.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.
The world is your urinal.
You never have to drive to another petrol station restroom because this one is just too icky.
You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

Same work, more pay.
Wrinkles add character.
People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.
New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood all the time.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
You know stuff about tanks and engines. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

Your underwear is £8.95 for a three-pack.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
You never have strap problems in public.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

Everything on your face stays its original colour.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
You only have to shave your face and neck.
You can play with toys all your life.

One wallet and one pair of shoes -- one colour for all seasons.
You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife .
You have freedom of choice concerning growing a moustache.

You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Super Delegates - Hillary's Secret Strategy

With the US Election under way for real and with two primaries completed, it was surprising to me that the Clinton machine has twice as many delegates despite being smashed in Iowa and narrowly winning in New Hampshire, where she and Obama both got nine delegates.

Bring on the Super Delegates, or rather the unelected delegates, many of whom get to make up their own minds. The congressmen, democratic apparatchicks, state politicians and the like. They all get to pledge support to one candidate regardless of the results of the primaries and there are hundreds of them.

Sounds a bit suss to me. Is this not the sort of thing that we complain about in Russia and China. How about some transparency guys? On with the political machine.

Saviour for Adelaide Rail System Found

After years of neglect, failing infrastructure, unhappy drivers, late trains, derailments......, the Adelaide Metro has gone abroad to hire a new technical and operations director. As the Transport Minister said, "we have screwed it up so much, we doubt that this guy could make it any worse."

Thanks Mr Eugenides

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Photo Hunt: Skinny

Hannah's dolly's are without exception, skinny. She took this photograph as one of the first with her new camera that she got for her birthday.

This is cheating, but it is funny. A skinny haircut.

This makes me feel a little squeamish.

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