Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tony Says Sorry and Sorry and Sorry......

Tony Abbott fresh from swearing at his opposition counterpart had this summary of his days work to confront. At least he is learning how to say sorry. Perhaps there is some humility in them thar hills. Off to confession with you.

From The Age

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Maggie the Elephant skates down from the Glacier

Can't say that I blame her for seeking out warmer climes.

In Anchorage, Maggie, who has been alone for 10 years since the death of the zoo's other elephant, Annabelle, lived in a house with concrete floors and a small outside enclosure.

Debate over her conditions has rumbled on for years, but the decision to move her came recently after the fire department was called out twice in a week to hoist her to her feet because she could not stand unaided.

An earlier attempt by the zoo board to offset criticism of Maggie's condition failed. They bought her a treadmill but she refused to climb on to it.

Having been to Alaska twice, I can certify that the top temperature there is in the range of zero degrees. Imagine getting a tread mill for an elephant? Having lived in Sacramento, I think that the climate is a bit more elephant friendly and may allow some of her joints to unfreeze. Talk about pulling out the short straw when the elephants were choosing zoos back in Africa. From the Africa to Alaska. Poor Maggie what rotten luck.

Scary Scary Stuff

JMB has by a long way, the scariest halloween post of the day, with pictures of a recent family reunion.

Well worth a go and don't expect to leave if you visit.

OK I was joking about the family reunion, but scary all the same.

Wordless Wednesday: Scary Ghoul

Posted by Picasa

More Wordless Wednesday

What would you do for Beer and Sheilas?

The Light Infantry Charge at Beersheba, 90 years ago today is revered in Australian Military History. It is considered by some to be the greatest infantry charge in military history, where Australian infantrymen, from the Australian 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiment took the town of Beersheba on the 31 October 1917. It is considered especially significant because it was an infantry charge, not a cavalry charge and all they had were extended bayonets and not cavalry killing equipment.

The charging force comprised the 4th (Victorian) and 12th (New South Wales) Light Horse Regiments. They formed the 4th Light Horse Brigade under Brigadier-General William Grant (born Stawell, Victoria). Earlier, Australian General Sir H. G. Chauvel had been ordered 'to capture Beersheba today, in order to secure water and take prisoners'. Chauvel had other units available including British troops, but directed the 4th Brigade forward. 'Put Grant straight at it', he directed.

History's last great mounted charge thus was hastily organised in an atmosphere of urgency. Dwindling supplies of water demanded that the water wells at Beersheba be taken at once. Any delay, while the large British force gradually assembled nearby, would only lead to demolition of the wells by the Turkish defenders. Without water, the whole Sinai-Palestine campaign would be halted perhaps for months, and the Gaza-Beersheba line would remain unbroken. A victory here over the Turkish defenders would help avenge the disasters of Gallipoli.

The 4th Light Horse Brigade had spent a quiet day till then. Widely scattered as a precaution against any surprise aircraft attack, the men and horses rested in small clusters. It took an hour-and-a-half to assemble the brigade behind a ridge overlooking Beersheba. The Victorians were on the left, the 12th Regiment on the right. It was 4.30 pm on 31 October 1917. Without swords (they were not on issue to Lt Horse), the light horsemen drew their long bayonets to flash in the setting sun as swords. . .

As one observer noted.

'It was the bravest, most awe inspiring sight I've ever witnessed, and they were. . . yelling, swearing and shouting. There were more than 500 Aussie horsemen . . . As they thundered past my hair stood on end. The boys were wild-eyed and yelling their heads off'.

Listening to the story this morning on the radio this morning, one of the commentators stated that the primary motivation for the success was the prospect of beer and sheilas if they got to the town, a disappointing mispronounciation no doubt. These kinds of acts of bravery by ordinary Australians is pretty humbling considering the kinds of things that we worry about in our day to day life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Call Me Old Fashioned

Writing in Comment is Free, Ian Williams pines for the good old days of Madras not Chennai and Burma not Myanmar. I am emotionally in tune here and find this kind of political correctness a little irritating. It must be a reflection of my age and the time I grew up in, when British people actually stopped eating Christmas Day lunch to listen to the Queen.

So I don't mind if the speakers of Indian English want to say Mumbai, as long as they extend the same democratic linguistic privileges to others to keep on calling it Bombay. Non-English speakers can be as nationalist as they like - in their own languages.

My High School was called Madras College and Chennai College just wouldn't cut it.

Thanks Political Umpire

Are You an Internet Tragic?

Judge for Yourself. Three years of virality on teh intertubes in around 4 minutes.

Thanks Laurel

Homer a Genius?

A new list of geniuses includes Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons and the greatest living cartoon non genius, Homer.

One is credited with dreaming up the technological innovation that has arguably done most to transform our lives in recent years; the other is behind a cartoon about a custard-hued family in middle America.

Yet both the worldwide web founder, Tim Berners-Lee, and the Simpsons creator, Matt Groening, are among the world's top 10 living geniuses, according to a report which ranks individuals according to their "genius factor".

It used a scoring system to assess contenders on how much their contribution had turned conventional thinking on its head, the popular acclaim they received, their intellectual power, their achievements and their cultural importance

Well Doh! Pass the Donuts.

The Top 10, some of whom I know. Drum roll for Google as I check them out.

1= Albert Hofmann (Swiss) chemist (genius factor 27)

1= Tim Berners-Lee (British) computer scientist (27)

3 George Soros (American) investor and philanthropist (25)

4 Matt Groening (American) satirist and animator (24)

5= Nelson Mandela (South African) politician and diplomat (23)

5= Frederick Sanger (British) chemist (23)

7= Dario Fo (Italian) writer & dramatist (22)

7= Stephen Hawking (British) physicist (22)

9= Oscar Niemeyer (Brazilian) architect (21)

9= Philip Glass (American) composer (21)

9= Grigory Perelman (Russian) mathematician (21)

Alternative Views of Climate Change

Tim Flannery's.

Interesting interview with Tim Flannery, Australian of the Year and leading Climate Change Specialist. You can listen or read.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chicken Little and Henny Penny Try Scare Tactics

After years of peddling economic miracles in Australia, within two days last week the Two Johnnies tried the economic apocalypse line with world recession and a sinocidal recession just around the corner if our friend Champion Economic Surf King Kevvie is allowed controls of the levers of power.

I think that Australians are a bit tired of this kind of stuff.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hockey Balls Up

Joe Fat and Happy Hockey outlined the Coalitions plan to take the high road as the bad news continues to mount for Howardco.

Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey has today let slip over the advertising strategy of the Liberal National coalition, confirming allegations of Labor Leader Kevin Rudd and his party.

Mr Hockey today said "Our fear campaign is based on fact," whilst launching a new ad against the Labor Party's alleged union domination.

Talk about stating the bleedin' obvious. Get ready for some nasty stuff as we move forward.

Al Gore set to wipe his bum with 100% Recycled Aussie Toilet Paper

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Al Gore, is set to receive a year's supply of 100 percent recycled toilet paper to his home in Nashville, Tennessee from a Queensland paper company after he was lost for words recently when asked if he used recycled toilet paper at home.

Dubbed the 'Noah of modern times', Gore appeared on the Nine Networks national breakfast program TODAY recently and discussed the modifications he's made to his home to minimise his carbon footprint, including solar panels, new light bulbs, a geothermal system for heating and cooling and a rainwater collection system.

However, Gore came unstuck when asked if he used recycled toilet paper, admitting he "would need to check that,"

SAFE, part of the company that manufacturers 100% recycled toilet paper saw the interview and shipped Gore a whole year's supply.

"If you're a climate change campaigner, as Gore is, then you should definitely be leading by example and using toilet paper made from 100% recovered paper," SAFE said.

"It's one of the easiest everyday changes you can make to help achieve sustainable living."

Merino hasn't heard whether Gore has put the free SAFE shipment to use, but is hoping next time he's down under he'll be promoting the use of 100 percent recycled toilet paper as part of his global climate change message.

I can testify that it is a bit rough, but does the job. I wonder if this is part of the US Australia Free Trade Agreement. At the time it was agreed, there was a great deal of cynicism that all the benefits would be too the US. Well it appears that is indeed the case as Australia continues to clean up the messes created by US Politicians and their friends.

Thanks Scopical

Photohunt Theme: Pink

These Pelargoniums are blooming at the moment in our garden.

Happy Hunting Everyone!

More Saturday Photohunt Sites

Friday, October 26, 2007

Camel Racing to be Trialled in Broken Hill

With the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival still not confirmed due to Horse Flu, camel racing is being test marketed in the Silver City Carnival in Broken Hill.

I wonder if races will be won by one hump or two?

And if that doesn't work you could always race camels indoors.

Thanks Shades

Flying Castle Makes it to Sydney

After nearly bankrupting its manufacturer , with billions of dollars in overruns and after years of delay, the A380 finally made a commercial flight from Singapore to Sydney. People were paying up to $50,000 for a ticket. A regularly scheduled service starts this weekend. It reminded me that most of my flying days are over. Even the so called benefits don't outweigh cattle class, crap food and crying kids. And then there is jet lag.

Impressive engineering all the same to get that much weight into the air.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rudd Finally Breaks Out With New Advertising Angle

All Plaise to His Gloliousness Kevin 07

Thanks Kwoff

Quince? You What?

No Runcible Spoons Here, but Lots of Blood Sweat & Tears

Jeremy got me to think about Quince. It made me realise that I had no idea what they look or taste like. I only know of them from The Owl and the Pussycat and never really knowing what the combination of mince and quince. That was not the mince, tatties and peas that I grew up with.

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are."
Pussy said to the Owl "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?"
Said the Piggy, "I will"
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

And for those who don't know the difference.



And what is a Runcible Spoon Anyway?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Look of the World

It is around 3pm and time to go home. This is what the world looks like at this time.

Pay Peanuts......

The joys of cubicles. This is one of my ambitions, so that I can blog and work at the same time. Sad but true some days.

Australian Election - Very Boring

Only 31 sleeps until it is over.

My Great Wall Certificate from 1996

More Wordless Wednesday

Worried About Sunburn? Try the Martian Beach Look

Just Rub Yourself All Over With SPF-15 Brocolli

Brocolli is apparently an excellent sun screen.

Research suggests that broccoli can prevent the damage from ultraviolet light that often leads to skin cancer. And, as many children would surely appreciate, you do not even have to eat it.

In tests on people and hairless mice, a green smear of broccoli-sprout extract blocked the potentially cancer-causing damage inflicted by sunlight.

The product is still in early stages of development. Among other issues to be worked out is how best to remove the extract's green pigments, which do not contribute to its protective effects and would give users a temporary Martian complexion.

Scientists said the extract works not by screening out the sun's rays — which also blocks vitamin D production — but by turning on the body's natural cancer-fighting machinery.

To bad about the pigment issues.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Einstein R Us

Thanks Tom

Nicole Cornes Political Bimbo and Kamikaze Act

This lady a former high profile columnist with the local Sunday Rag is the victim of the ultimate in political arrogance best typified by State Labor here in South Australia. She was appointed after they couldn't get her high profile husband, former Adelaide Crows Coach and Sports Columnist and Media Personality, Graeme Cornes to run. She was parachuted into a competitve federal seat, Boothby, where the sitting MP has a very low profile and has had an even lower profile since Nicole started campaigning. I mean she is so bad, he doesn't have to campaign, just wait for her to stuff up.

Her current strategy is to avoid all contact with the media, refuse photo opportunities and media requests and to run away if the media turn up. Very odd given her previous career as a columnist. Not too clever. Very sad and an indictement of crony factional political decision making. I hope that she is resoundingly rejected.

Come on Nicole. Lets have some more cringe moments.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is it a bird? Is it a boat? It's a Solar Powered Car

The 20th anniversary World Solar Challenge begins in Darwin this week, with 61 teams from 20 countries in beetle-like solar cars taking to the outback on the Stuart Highway.

On the 3000-kilometre slog to Adelaide, they will encounter road trains, dangerous winds and blazing temperatures, with cabins expected to exceed 50 degrees in the Red Centre. The first car is expected in town in about 30 hours.

When I was in University in the US, the mechanical engineers made a solar car that was raced in this race. We civil engineers made a concrete canoe who we raced against other sad civil engineers. Solar Cars sound much more sexy. Not sure I would want to be driving in these conditions however. For all the lack of water here, at least we can count on hot weather and some sun.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bored of Negative Campaigning Already?

Need some more cerebral input into the Australian Election?

Try Whack a Poll

Ryan (aged 6) loves this one. Perhaps political pitches are aimed at this age group?

This is also very entertaining. Pick the look that you would like them to have.

Thanks Meg for the excellent hair styling advice.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Union Bashing 60 Years On.

Spotlight: Sixty years ago today, the House Un-American Activities Committee opened its investigation into alleged Communist influence in the motion picture industry. The first witness to take the stand was Jack Warner. As a result of hearings that took place over the next month, 10 screenwriters and directors were cited for contempt of Congress and served a year in jail. Blacklisted until the 60s, some wrote under pseudonyms; Michael Wilson and Dalton Trumbo were unable to collect Oscars they won under assumed names.

Quote: "No member of our generation who wasn't a Communist or a dropout in the thirties is worth a damn."
Lyndon B. Johnson

Spotlight: This week, the Crosby Texter Liberal Bash a Unionist Committee for Truth about the Militant Communist Influence of Militant Trade Unionists who want to Take Over Australia, opened its public debate into Militant Trade Union influence in the Australian Labor Party. The first witness to take the stand was Minister for Fat and Happy Employers, Joe Fat and Happy Hockey, with the terrifying warning that Militant Trade Unionists want to nationalise your house, bankrupt your employer and generally make your life miserable.

As a result of the Australian Government's advertising that took place over the last year, it has been established that Militant Communist, Feminist, Homosexual, Pro Iranian, Muslim, Worker Loving , Militant Trade Unionists are in control of the Australian Labor Party and ready to take over the Government and send all Freedom Loving Australians to reeducation camps and that Workchoices can save the world from Union Domination. As a result of the first week of the election campaign, seventy percent of the Australian Labor Party Politburo were tarred with the same brush as Militant Trade Unionists destined to destroy the Australian Way of Life.
As a result of this mean and spiteful campaign the militant trade unionists have been banished to their constituencies to sell Kevin 07 T Shirts, never to be heard from again until the election is won and a victory declared by Kevin "I am Not and Never Have Been a Militant Trade Unionist" Rudd.

Quote: " The role of unions in Australia is essentially over."
- Joe Hockey

I am So Right Brained

that it is not even funny.

Practicing for Ryan's Scary Birthday Party

Posted by Picasa

Math Atheists

My daughter has a bit of a maths phobia and we are working to build her confidence in that area. This rang true and made me laugh.

Thanks Liz

British Sausage Week hits Ten

The British Butcher famous British Sausage Week hits ten this week. The society is designed for sausage appreciators everywhere and that would be me.

I am encouraged to know that I can join the British Sausage Appreciation Society, "for sausage appreciators everywhere" and purchase two pairs of sausage appreciation boxers, where I can park my sausage for only fifteen pounds.

Is that a sausage in your pants or are you just glad to see me?

Thanks Sara from Farming Friends, a great farming related blog, which includes a chicken, cow and guinea fowl pen pal scheme for lonely people and advertises useful things like Massey Ferguson 35 Tractor Engine Rebuild DVDs. I think that must be a very niche market.

HMS Iron Lady to Hang At Ten Downing St.

From Broons Petition Site

18 October 2007

We received a petition asking:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to honour the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, by naming a ship in Her Majesty's Royal Navy "HMS Iron Lady".

Details of petition:

"As Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher protected the interests of the UK on the world stage. She ensured that the Falklands were defended when invaded by a foreign power. During the ensuing conflict, the Royal Navy fought valiantly and were distinguished by their actions. The Baroness's determination to stand up to Communism, in particular by maintaining our Armed Forces and nuclear capability, contributed greatly to the fall of Communism, and the liberation of millions. The US have honoured Sir Winston Churchill, who stood up against the tyranny of fascism, through naming one of its vessels "USS Winston Churchill"; we should accord a similar honour to a woman who struggled against the tyranny of dictatorship. The Royal Navy is currently commissioning Type 45 Destroyers. One such ship could be named "HMS Iron Lady" in reference to Baroness Thatcher, echoing the designation of the vessel "HMS Iron Duke", named in honour of the Duke of Wellington, who also stood firm against a tyrant."

And the Response

Recommendations for the names of new ships are made by the Ships Names and Badges Committee, whose selections are passed through the First Sea Lord and Ministers before final approval by Her Majesty the Queen. I have ensured that the Chairman of this Committee is aware of the views of you and your fellow petitioners so that the name IRON LADY may be considered when a suitable vessel comes to be named in future.

The last politician to be recognised by having a vessel named after them was Sir Winston Churchill, after whom the nuclear submarine HMS CHURCHILL was named in 1968, three years after Sir Winston's death. In addition to the Duke of Wellington, after whom HMS IRON DUKE was named, the only other record of a vessel being named after a former Prime Minister is HMS WALPOLE, a W Class destroyer launched in 1918, some 180 years after the death of Sir Robert Walpole.

You may be aware that Baroness Thatcher recently visited No10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister. He asked her, and she has graciously agreed, to sit for a portrait which will hang in Downing Street on a permanent basis. The only other 20th century Prime Ministers whose portraits currently hang in Downing Street are David Lloyd George and Sir Winston Churchill.

Having supported the petition I laughed reading the last part. I wonder if Broon likes to play with boats in the bath. I wonder if the Iron Lady will hang in the Rogues Gallery or in the toilet next to Tony. Will Tony be offered a photoshoot? Does Gordon Brown have the hots for Maggie? I can imagine Gordon wanting to hang Tony, but more likely from Tower Bridge. Also on the question of ships, what would be an appropriate ship? Imagine the potential insult if the latest tug is commissioned as HMS Iron Lady.

These questions, issues and less to be answered shortly.

Photo Hunt: Practical

prac·ti·cal (prkt-kl)
1. Of, relating to, governed by, or acquired through practice or action, rather than theory, speculation, or ideals: gained practical experience of sailing as a deck hand.
2. Manifested in or involving practice: practical applications of calculus.
3. Actually engaged in a specified occupation or a certain kind of work; practicing.
4. Capable of being used or put into effect; useful: practical knowledge of Japanese. See Usage Note at practicable.
5. Intended to serve a purpose without elaboration: practical low-heeled shoes.
6. Concerned with the production or operation of something useful: Woodworking is a practical art.
7. Level-headed, efficient, and unspeculative.
8. Being actually so in almost every respect; virtual: a practical disaster.

I had to look at the definition of practical to get some inspiration on this one. I have conflicted behaviour in this area. Sometimes like this, I help the kids change and get sand off their bodies and sand off their clothes before before getting in the car and going home, I am very practical and fit most of the definitions 1 through 7. At other times I just pile them in the car and go home and face a big clean up everywhere and my wife thinks that I meets definition 8 a practical disaster area.

We will be doing this more now that the weather is getting hot. Which practical part of me will win out?

Happy Hunting Everyone!

More Saturday Photohunt Sites